Well, since I wrote Part One, we have had overnight low temperatures up here from 15 to 25 below zero. In fact, as I write this on an early evening, it is already below zero. That’s ok: it’s going to be “warmer” tonight than last night (only -10), so we’ll take that as a positive. And … get this … we may actually see 30 degrees (above!) tomorrow … before it’s back to near 20 below in a couple of nights … Last Friday, when I left School, it was 17 degrees (above zero!), and it felt like Spring. I remember that it was 16 degrees on my front deck, and I felt like I should be wearing just a t-shirt. So … it really is just a matter of perspective … how you look at things … your attitude. Since that writing, we’ve had a couple of snowstorms, with another one set to arrive on Sunday … into Monday.
One of the things I had to learn over the last few years up here in the North Country:
Never, ever say, “It’s too cold to snow.”
Now, I can add to that, something else I guess I should never say … something I had let “slip out” a couple of times over the last couple of days:
“Looks like this will be the first “Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” where I won’t have to shovel snow.”
Anyway, I remind myself again, that, you just never, ever know what the day will bring. That’s why it’s so important to start your day the right way. We all work with people who seem to always be in a bad mood, and, you take it personally when they turn on you. My stock reaction to these people is this: “They weren’t in a good mood when they got here.”
It is so important to “Begin a New Day” with the correct attitude. And, I believe the only way to achieve that is by going to the One Person who controls the day, who already knows what the day is going to hold … By starting the day with prayer and reading His Word. Why would you not consult with the One who already knows what’s “coming up,” and, most importantly, can give you the advice to get through it, no matter what comes along.
I am reminded of the quote from Mother Teresa, and this is a paraphrase from memory:
“Lord, help me to remember that there is nothing that can happen today, which you and I can’t handle together.”
So, why not get a head start?
Something tells me I’m not going to get to that piece of artwork, which was the original idea …
Often, I mention that people ask me for suggestions about what are the best Scriptures to read during your morning Bible study. First, I think that should be a choice of what you believe God is directing you to read and study. If you aren’t sure, how about starting with one of your favorite passages of Scripture, and allow God to lead you from there. If you will begin, and be sincere, He will lead you into what to read next.
I must say that one of my favorite books to read from, especially first thing in the morning (and the same rule would apply at night), is the Psalms. One of the reasons is that, yes, they are so good, but, most of the chapters are short, allowing you to read an entire chapter in one sitting. I know that time is critical in the morning (even more of a reason to start the day with Him), and being able to read an entire chapter just gives you a boost on its own. Plus, the messages from the Psalms, reading that David faced the same struggles which you are facing, are so encouraging.
Here’s what David wrote about this “Begin the Day” situation:
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalms 5:3). Look how early in the Psalms this word comes. Notice that it begins with “my voice,” meaning that David is beginning the day with prayer-first. He is confident that God will hear his voice, which is so important. I like the fact that, before David talks to anyone else … friends … family … neighbors … the television … the radio … the stereo … he directs his communication to God. Then, he looks up, which I can see as David, after praying to, speaking to God … he then listens … As important as it is to speak to Him, we must follow that up with listening to Him … I also like the way that David is just as confident, just as certain, that God will hear him … as he is confident, just as certain, that God will speak to him …
Now, let’s see what Jeremiah wrote about this “Begin the Day” situation:
“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22, 23).
So, God’s mercies are made new-to us-every morning. Hey-That even includes weekends!
Isn’t it great to know that we really can get a fresh start … every morning!
When I read these two verses from Lamentations, I couldn’t help but read the next two verses:
“The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him” (Lamentations 3:24, 25).
How much do I love the fact that God is good to those who seek Him … who hope in Him.
When I think about what makes Christians different from the world, and how those we know, who are “in the world” handle the tough things which life throws at all of us, I think of this verse. It is because, as Christians, we have hope. Hope which the world just doesn’t have. Just knowing that we know the One who holds the future … and, holds us … makes all the difference “in the world.”
As the old saying goes, “I may not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future.” I can hold onto that hope, my hope, by holding on to Him. When we think of the future, often, we think of things a long way off. I need His help to get through today!
If I can start the day off right … then, I’ve gotten off to the right start … and, I like my chances … As long as I keep Him near me every moment of every day.
Just yesterday morning, after I had a tough “day before,” which would involve me thinking much about the future … As I was praying, speaking to God about the situation, God broke through my prayer, and gave me, spoke to me, quoted to me, a particular verse, from Philippians. The meaning was clear, and I would study the passage for my morning Bible study. It spoke directly to me about the future, and God’s place in it. Immediately, God’s peace flooded my entire being, and, I’m not worried or anxious about this particular situation anymore. In fact, I won’t worry about this particular situation ever again.
This is another example of why it is so important to “Begin the Day” the right way.
By speaking to … listening to … the One who holds today, and all of my tomorrows.