Monday, January 3, 2011

what a difference a day makes

What a difference a day makes.

Too often in our world, the nice day before turns tragically into the terrible day after.

Like the three college students who were out on a weekend jaunt. After a fun-filled day,
they decided to go for an evening drive in the country. Finding themselves on an unfamiliar road,
they took a wrong turn, and mistakenly drove into a pond and drowned.

Or the professor who had been dean of a college for more than 20 years.
He had been the pinnacle of health. He walked miles every day, ate a vegetarian diet, and always had
a smile on his face. Then one day the doctor turned to him and told him that he had leukemia.
All of a sudden, everything changed,and he found himself standing on the edge, fighting for his life
with all that medicine and prayer could offer. What a difference a day makes.

There was a day before these events. A day with no thought of drowning. A day before “leukemia.”
A day of work, chores, dinner, and bills. A day spent with family and friends.
A day with no thoughts of eternity or heaven. No thoughts of meeting your maker or meeting your
doom. The assumption was that tomorrow would be pretty much just like today.
Not a second thought about any unexpected turn of events.

We all live in those days before. We are living them right now.
There was a day before Pearl Harbor Day. There was a day before 9-11.
There was a day before the employer said “lay offs.”
There was a day before the stroke, a day before the tests showed there was cancer.
We are living out those days before. We are living them out right now.
Some of us are doing, for the last time, what we think we will be doing twenty years from now.
Some of us are on the verge of a very different life, a life turned upside down.

Some pastors are preaching their last sermon, some parents are saying “I love you” to their children
for the last time. Some are spending their last day without the knowledge of God or the reality of
eternal judgement. The sobering fact is that sometimes tomorrow doesn't always give us a second
chance. There may be a different tomorrow on our schedule entirely. We just don’t know it today.

So who are you going to be today, tomorrow, in this new year, before you're compelled to be someone
else? Who are you going to be, and what are you going to do? What are you living for?
And what are you prepared to die for? How will you show forth who you are and what you believe?
Your life is an accumulation of what you believe to be true each and every day.

Well, here's your chance. It's a brand new day. 2011 is a whole new year. As you bask in the glow of Christmas and look forward to the light of Epiphany, here are a few things to consider for your new life in this new year..

Lay down your sin and take up the good news of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.
Spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer every day.
Strive to live your life each day this new year as if the Gospel is really true.
Commit to fully living out your new life in Christ each and every day.
Let go of old grudges and any nagging guilt. Live your life determined to be useful and joyful.
Live each day in a such a way that, should all things change tomorrow, you will give witness to the
unshakeable and unchangeable truth that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord.

After all, the whole reason Jesus came on that first Christmas was to give you a new life.
He was born of a virgin so that He could grow up to be a man and stand in your place, to do what you
couldn't do for yourself, to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death for you on the cross,
to pay the penalty for your sins, and on the third day rise again, so that all who believe in Him
may be raised to new life as well. Oh, what a difference a day makes!

He comes to make all things new - and that includes me and you.

We have His promise this new year that He is Immanuel - God with us. We have His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We have His promise from Romans, that if God is for us, who can be against us? Who will separate us from God's love? Will sorrow, hardship, persecution, hunger, danger or sword? No, in all this we are overwhelming victors through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, nothing the present nor the future, nothing above or below, nothing in all creation can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thanks to Jesus, this is the day of the Lord's favor - today is the day of salvation. It is a day of grace and
favor. A day of celebration and new birth. It is a day the Lord has made - for you.

So, what should you do today?

Repent and believe the Gospel... Embrace the new life God gives you in Christ.
Forgive anyone who has wronged you, and ask anyone you have wronged to forgive you.
Share the Good News of Jesus with a neighbor.
Go see the friends you haven't seen for a long time.
Write the letters that you always wanted to write.
Tell your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, how much you love them.
Don't delay or postpone anything that could bring joy into the lives of those around you..
These are the things you want to be doing, if you knew your time had come.

And every morning God in His grace chooses to give you, tell yourself this is a special day..
This is the day the Lord has made - I will rejoice and be glad in it.

It's a special day because it is one of the last days, one of the days of God's new creation,
one of the days of God's salvation in Christ.

The Lord is at hand - His coming is near - The night is nearly over - the day is almost here...
And on that day, all those who are in Christ will surely say - What a difference a day makes!

1 comment:

Al & Sylvia said...

What a way to live! Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of such a great life! Thank you, Pastor Pete, for putting our lives into an eternal perspective. How can we not appreciate the present that is ours?