Embracing My TODAY

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it! Psalm 118:24

Esther at her wedding, 80 years old

A few days after posting my last entry, I received an email from a dear friend and former college roommate DeeDee.  She sent this email to family and friends to memorialize her mom who had just passed away at the age of 105.  I remember DeeDee's mom Esther as a "spunky lady" who "embraced  life."  The email reflected just that and was entitled "Esther's motto."

Today Outside my window, a new day I see, And only I can determine what kind of day it will be, It can be busy and sunny, Laughing and gay, Or boring and cold, unhappy And grey, My own state of mind is the determining key, For I am only the person I let myself be,

I can be thoughtful and do all I can to help, Or be selfish and think just of myself, I can enjoy what I do and make it seem fun, Or gripe and complain and make It hard on someone, I can be patient with those

Who may not understand, Or belittle and hurt them as Much as I can, But I have faith in myself, And believe what I say And I personally intend to Make the best of each day.


Now I don't think DeeDee or Esther would say that having a positive attitude is the answer to our every problem.  But knowing them, I do think they would say, "Embrace your today!  Hug it to your breast, and live it with courage, tenacity, and unselfishness."

I've been thinking about this very thing as my husband John has been going through cardiac rehab.   John's heart attack in July was in the artery that doctor's call "the widow maker."  So I am well aware that I could have become a widow that very day, as many of our college friends and other peers had already become.  And John could have said good-bye to this earth and joined those loved ones now with the Lord.

So here are some of my reflections on TODAY:

1.  TODAY is a gift.  It's all I have...and it has been given to me by my Creator.

This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

2.  TODAY will never be again. It is totally unique with unique challenges and opportunities.  Yesterday is gone...tomorrow is in the mind of God.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." James 4:13-14 [See also Psalm 90:3-6; Luke 12:22-32]

3.  TODAY is filled with opportunities.

*The opportunity to "love on" those around me -- my husband, my children, my grandsons, my neighbors, my friends, my co-workers, my students, and others who may cross my path today.

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. Hebrews 3:13 NIV

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ...Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Gal 6:2,10 NIV

On facebook, my daughter Beth just posted a cute little story about my 5 year old grandson Kaden.

Kaden said to Beth the other day, "Did you know we each have an invisible bucket of happiness, and when we are mean, it is like dumping somebody's bucket?" Beth then wrote that Kaden also said hi to the neighbor and told his mom that he was filling up her bucket.

Apparently this was from a kindergarten lesson based on the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud.  Wow, maybe I need to go back to kindergarten...or at least read the book!

*The opportunity to do my work with all the skill that God has put in me.  There is great satisfaction in doing my work well, whether it's at home or at my job.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Eccl 9:10a NIV

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1Peter 4:10-11 NIV

*The opportunity to walk with GOD, the Eternal I AM in a deeper way, hearing His voice and following Him.  And this, of course, is most important of all!

For he says, "In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2Cor 6:2

So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness..." Hebrews 3:7-8

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Over the years, one of my favorite studies to teach from the Scriptures has been the Old Testament Names of God.  In that study, one of the most exciting insights is that God's memorial name Jehovah, meaning I AM, expresses a God Who is eternally Present, totally above and beyond our chronological time, yet totally present in it with us and for us.  In the course of teaching that study, the Holy Spirit moved upon my heart to write a meditation in the first person.  I pray that this brief meditation will fill you with courage and excitement to embrace your today also:

All that I AM, I AM for you!  I am everything and anything that you will ever need:

I AM ELOHIM, your Creator.  I made you exactly the way you are.  You can be the unique person I created you to be.  You don’t have to fit into someone else’s mold or picture of what you should be.

I AM EL ELYON, your God most High, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe.  I am in control over all your circumstances.  I am weaving all your hurts and failures into my sovereign plan for My glory, bringing good out of them for yourself and others, as you trust Me.

I AM EL ROI, your God Who Sees and cares about every trial and heartache and injustice.  Others may judge you and use you and write you off, but I don’t.  I care and open My arms wide to receive you and bless you.

I AM ADONAI, your loving Lord and Master.  Present your body to me.  I will lead you in my good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12: 12-2).  You can trust Me to be all that you need and to use you in My kingdom.

I AM EL SHADDAI, your All-Sufficient God.  “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalm 81: 10.)  I am the Source of all you will ever need.  I am your strength and the fulfiller of all My promises to you, my child.

I AM JEHOVAH-JIREH, your LORD Who Provides.  I provided a Substitute, My Son the Lamb, for you, so that you could be saved and enter into relationship with Me your God and Father.  I have wiped away all your guilt and shame.

I AM JEHOVAH, your “I AM”, your Self-Existent LORD.  I am your life always and forever.

I AM JEHOVAH-RAPHA, the LORD your Healer.  I am the source of all your healing;  physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.

I AM JEHOVAH-NISSI, the LORD your Banner.  I give you victory over all your enemies:  the world, the flesh, and the devil.  They are conquered foes as you rest in Me.

I AM JEHOVAH-MEKODDISHKEM, the LORD Who Sanctifies You.  You can rest from your self-effort.  Why do you try to do for yourself by your own religious good works what only I can do—make you holy?  Throw off that “yoke of bondage” (Galatians).  I came to set you free!  “And if the Son shall make your free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8).  Rest in Me and I will sanctify you.  I will do it!

I AM JEHOVAH-SHALOM, the LORD Who Himself is your Peace.  Because of My presence within you, I can provide the peace that passes understanding no matter what the circumstances.  Trust and rest in Me.

I AM JEHOVAH-SABBAOTH, your LORD of Hosts.  Greater am I Who is in you than my enemy who is in the world.  Victory is secure—I have all the forces of heaven and earth at My command.  Come to Me when you are at the end of your rope.  You are more than a conqueror in Me and My Love.

I AM JEHOVAH-RAAH, the LORD your Shepherd, Who seeks after, nurtures, protects, leads, and speaks to you your whole life.  You are perfectly cared for and secure in My loving arms (john 10: 27-29).

I AM JEHOVAH-TSIDKENU, the LORD your Righteousness. You are fully righteous and acceptable to Me because you are in My Son.  He actually became sin when He died on the Cross, so that you could become His righteousness.  Glory in that, dear child!

I AM JEHOVAH-SHAMMAH, your LORD Who is There.  I have said (and I won’t change My mind), I will never leave you, nor will I ever, ever forsake you. So you can confidently say in every situation, The Lord is my Helper.  I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me? (Hebrews 13: 5b-6)  You are My home (John 15), My sanctuary (1Cor 6: 19-20; Col 1: 27).

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12