October 23, 2017

Today is another Monday filled with hope and promise and possibility and joy and love. For some it might also be a Monday of fear or anger or disappointment or regret or sorrow. Let me encourage each of you today as God promises us . . . “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). I am praying that you will see God’s plan today and you will do His will.

One of my favorite lines from the movie Gladiator is the one where Maximus says, “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” I truly believe what we do today affects our tomorrow and the tomorrows to come. We can’t do anything about yesterday. Today is really all we have but what we do today can indeed and does affect tomorrow. It may or may not directly affect tomorrow, Tuesday, but it will affect the tomorrows to come. We have to decide today to do what will have a positive effect on our tomorrows. We have to live with intentionality and purpose and on Mission.

We had a young man from Nigeria who preached last night. His name was Oluyemi. He preached from Mark about the story of blind Bartimaeus. The main point that stuck with me last night and which I want to add to our discussion today was the request that Bartimaeus asked of Jesus. Jesus asked him what He could do for him and he, of course, asked to receive his sight. Oluyemi asked us this question. If Jesus were to ask you what you wanted from Him . . . what would you ask for? I began to think and everything that entered my mind either seemed silly or self-serving. I immediately thought that I would want every person to be saved. But would that be a fair thing to ask for? Would I want God to take away their free will for my request? What if I asked for world peace or an end to disease and sickness? What about all the people that come to Christ in moments of hardship and adversity? What if world peace brought about a contentment such that no one had any need for God? What about unlimited wealth so I could use it help the poor and needy and efforts to share the gospel around the world? Me with unlimited wealth? God probably knows me too well to not trust me with that. So you can see the dilemma.

And that brings me back to the heart of our discussion today. What we do today will affect our tomorrow. How you live today and what you ask God for reveal the nature of your heart. Randy Alcorn says, “We’re called to a life of endurance empowered by Christ, and accompanied by joyful thanksgiving. Endurance requires patience, because reward for today’s right choices will come, but it may be months or years from now, or not until we leave this world. Those who drum their fingers waiting for the microwave to finish demonstrate that patient endurance doesn’t come naturally.”

I believe there are some of you out there today who are facing tough situations in life. Maybe you have lost hope in a spouse or a child or your church or maybe even in God himself. Let me encourage you today to persevere. I want to give you a pretty large quote here from Randy Alcorn’s article called “Today’s Decisions Determine Who You’ll Be Tomorrow.” I would encourage you to read the entire article but I will warn you that it is lengthy but worthwhile. Here is a part of that article:

“Today’s roadblocks and distractions make endurance in the Christian life seem unattainable. Our temptations aren’t worse than those in first-century Corinth. But televisions, computers, and even cell phones bring into our homes what used to be found only in back alleys. In our technological Corinth, temptations are only a keypad or mouse click away.

Failure to endure — in marriage, jobs, church, or any part of life — has become normal. A consistent long-term obedience, without periodic diversions into sin and unfruitfulness, seems an impossible dream. Sin has become so common, so expected, that holy believers are either elevated as heroes or dismissed as legalists.

In our disposable society, we use something up, then toss it (whether a paper plate, a spouse, a church, or a career). The stick-to-it philosophy is a relic of another age — something monks once did, but we can’t. And why should we? Who wants to work hard or become bored by staying a course when endless alternatives call to us?

But the essence of the Christian life cannot change with culture. Paul’s words to the Colossians and Timothy are words to us. We should not shrink from hardship. We should endure it with patience and thanksgiving. We are to follow Christ from start to finish, repenting quickly of our sins and moving forward in deeper devotion. Yes, there will be dry times, but overall, the arc of spiritual growth will steadily rise higher, not trail off so our lives end in a wasted whimper.”

In closing let me say that I got more responses to my P.S. from last week than I usually get from my article as a whole. At least I know you were reading all the way to the end! Join us this Sunday as we conclude Missions Month and we prepare to launch into Thankfulness Month in November!

I am ON MISSION Today! Are You?