THIS IS THE DAY

Frequently we anticipate the next day of our lives when we expect something momentous to happen.  When I was a child, my birthday party was the source of excitement and anticipation, and when I would awaken in the morning, my Mother would say “This is the day!” 

birthday party and balloons (c)

When graduation day came, I remember thinking well, “This is the day!” 

After delivery of my firstborn, I thought “This is the day I will never forget!” 

baby jonathan tummy time '76

And then I repeated that same thought when my second child was born.

“This is the day”.  It is a phrase that we say, or think, often and for good reason.  As human beings, we celebrate things and anticipate things.  It is appropriate, and it is good.

In Scripture we read of things that are to come and the words “this is the day” speak of a time when the anticipated thing will occur.

God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel and said:

“And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.  Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord GOD. This is the day of which I have spoken.”

Ezekiel 39:7-8 NKJV

Some days bring judgment, as prophesied by Ezekiel.  We may not see the final judgment of God during our lifetime, no one knows when that will occur.  But each of us has known of a time when judgment came for our actions, whether it be by judicial fiat, by way of reversal of fortune due to improper greed, whether it is illness brought on by a reckless lifestyle, or a breakdown of a marriage because of abuse, and the list goes on and on.  If you are one who cannot think of any such judgment time in your life, be aware that there will be a judgment later … you will not escape!

The Apostle Paul said:

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”

Galatians 6:7 

We must remember that while our Lord God is patient in His steadfast love, He is also a God of justice.  The only way we can come before Him and escape punishment for our sin is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Our sinless Lord has taken our guilt and our sin through His death on the cross and His resurrection establishes the sufficiency of His work to redeem us and free us from the bondage that sin creates.  Praise His Holy Name!

It is for this reason that we can rejoice in Him.  The Psalmist understood rejoicing in the Lord.  See Psalm 118:24 where David exhorts us to rejoice in the Lord when he penned:

This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24 

Today, see ways that you can rejoice and be glad in the day that the Lord has given to you.  We may have chores, we may have business to attend to, we may even have to pay bills with ever diminishing funds; we may have children to chase, sicknesses to endure, and all manner of difficulties … but we can still rejoice and be glad in the day that the Lord give to us, if for no other reason than our sin and guilt has been paid for and we are adopted into the family of God.  Each moment is a gift from God. 

Don’t waste the time we have by being frustrated, angry, and/or sinful!  Be glad that our God loves us and has given us this day to serve Him in whatever way He directs.  Because of Jesus, we can be free indeed, and we can be at peace and glad in whatever comes our way.  If you do not know Jesus as Lord of your life, receive Him into your heart today … and you will truly rejoice and be glad in this day of all days!

Father, I pray that I would not waste the day, that I would take that which You have given me and that I would glorify you through my actions, words and thoughts.  Thank  you for the blessing of this day. 

THE BEAUTY OF HUMILITY

The Christmas Season. A time marked by packages to buy, wrap and send; cards to sign and post; food to prepare for the family and food to take to gatherings of friends; church events to attend; civic concerts of beautiful music hear. Anyone remember the Babe in the manger?
When the world’s focus is on giving and “doing good” during this season, we can even become arrogant in boasting about our busyness; the calls that we have upon our time, talents and finances; and what we have done for others.
Humility has, from the beginning, been difficult to find among mortal men. Adam and Eve turned their back on humility and sinned when they ate the forbidden fruit in their attempt to “be like God”. Genesis 3:5.
But Scripture reveals that we have no basis to be proud or arrogant.

O LORD, what is man that you regard him, or the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
Psalm 144:3-4.

According to Scripture, we are temporal, finite, sinners who have absolutely no standing with God. While we may look good to other sinners here on earth, we have no basis to stand puffed up before God. Anyone remember the Babe in the manger?
When I have forgotten the priority of humility, I have to confess, seek forgiveness, and then refocus on the right attitude before God. For me, the best way to remember just who I am is to look at God’s creation and to read His Word.
• The majesty of the mountains.

Mountains view in Alaska (C)
Alaskan mountain range with Mt. McKinley, now Mt. Denali, in background.

The strength of the hummingbird. Beauty with wings fluttering going so fast we can’t see them with the naked eye!

Hummingbid getting a drink (C)
Hummingbird getting a drink without standing on the feeder, still using wing power even while eating.

The vastness of the ocean.

Ocean waves  (C)
The ocean, continually moving and teeming with life.

The incredible variety of creatures that inhabit the seas.

Fish from Mississippi Marine exhibit 3
Coral animals alive in the Gulf Marine Specimen Lab.
Fish from Mississippi Marine exhibit 8
Are you looking at me? Fish in Gulf Marine Specimen Lab.

 

Fish - Florida Spiny Lobster
Florida spiny lobsters.

 

The detail in a flower.

Flowers at Hotel Alyeska, Alaska,
Flowers in the mountains of Alaska, at Hotel Alyeska.
Flowers (3)
Flowers blooming in brilliant purple.

The beauty of the newborn baby. All the parts of an adult but in miniature.

Newborn baby girl (C)
Newborn baby daughter, alive with all sorts of possibilities ahead of her.

 

God is at work in His creation and in my life on a moment by moment basis. He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (all over, everywhere), and He has extended His grace to us through Jesus Christ, His Son, and our Savior.
What is the response to this powerful, present Creator God? It certainly is not strutting our stuff before Him, as if we could accomplish anything without Him!
Rather, it should be the response that Abram had when God told him that He was making a covenant with him. Genesis 17:3 says:

 Then Abram fell on his face.

When the people of Israel were standing outside Jericho and Joshua, their leader after Moses’ death, was looking for guidance from the Lord:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13-15.

It should be the response that Ezekiel had when he had a vision of the Lord in His heaven.

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 1:28

When confronted with the holiness of God, we come face to face with the reality that we are sinners and the magnitude of our unrighteousness is directly before us. There is no puffing or grandstanding before God – we bend the knee, we bow our head, we prostrate ourselves and we submit to Him.
We should have the same attitude that Mary expressed to the angel after being told that she would be the mother of Jesus.

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:38.

Of course, the ultimate example of humility is found in our own Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Babe in the manger grew up into our Savior. In His teaching, Jesus said:

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Matthew 23:11-12.

Anyone remember the Babe in the manger?

The one who left heaven to come to earth, not as a king or mighty ruler but as a baby, was found in a manger, the rough feeding trough for the animals. It was not the sterile, washed and well-padded baby bed that we find necessary for our newborn children.  It is this Babe that Paul is talking about in Philippians 2 when he exhorted the Christian believers to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ had when He came to earth … humility.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8.

May this Christmas find us with an attitude of humble thanksgiving for the grace and mercy God has showered upon us through Jesus Christ His Son. The Babe in the manger became the Lamb on the cross who was crucified for our sins and transgressions. The Babe in the manger then rose from the dead and became our resurrected Lord and Savior. Salvation is possible because of that Babe’s obedience to the will of our Sovereign God and Father, and we receive that salvation through faith and trust in that Babe whose name is Jesus Christ.
Let your Christmas be blessed by our Lord as we serve Him with His heart of humility and peace. Humility is the mark of our Lord on His children, and it creates beautiful lives lived in His Spirit for His glory and honor, this Christmas as well as each day that He grants us life.
Father, I pray that I would live my life in humble obedience to your will, as exhibited by Mary upon the angel’s announcement to her. I pray that you would empower me to do that which you direct, and that you would receive honor and glory as we celebrate our Lord’s birth and your work in human history on Christmas Day.