CARPE DIEM—SEIZE THE DAY

CARPE DIEM—SEIZE THE DAY

Seize the day!  Enjoy the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future.  Life is short. Today is all there is. Don’t think about how long you may live.  Don’t think about tomorrow any more than you must. This is the philosophy we hear from many quarters today, and I fear that a great number, especially our youth are following this path to a life without any real meaning 

Today’s youth would say “YOLO,” meaning YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE.  Wring as much living out of today as you can. Throw caution to the wind, and try any and everything.  Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never come. It’s today that counts.

A person, young or old, following this path is a person without any real hope and without purpose.  While it is true that we can deal with the past by repenting and making reparation for the wrongs we have committed, and we must do that, the past cannot be amended.  What is done is done, and we cannot undo it. So—to agonize over the past is counterproductive stopping us dead in our tracks unable to move on.  

  So, what about living in the moment?  Though it seems many are doing it, somehow I don’t think that’s entirely possible.  What happens when the lights go out at night, and you crawl into bed in your mansion or a hovel?  Unless your mind has been rendered totally useless with drugs or alcohol, you must think of tomorrow or next week or years to come asking what is to become of me, or perhaps critiquing the day, feeling a vague disappointment, realizing that nothing of worth remains.

I have an acquaintance, who is almost ninety.  This is exactly how she and her husband lived all their adult life.  They were good, moral people. They both had good jobs, but they spent every penny they earned never thinking about saving for the future.  They bought the best and most beautiful. They traveled. They had custom furniture built that was so big and heavy it couldn’t be moved out of the house.  In their mid eighties, their home was still not debt free, for they always moved up to something bigger and better. When the husband died, his retirement died with him.  They spent it all without making any provision for the surviving spouse.

CARPE DIEM!  They surely seized the day.

In 1969, Peggy Lee recorded the song, “Is That All There Is?” After singing about experiences that did not measure up to her expectations, the refrain says,

“Is that all there is, is that all there is?

If that’s all there is, my friend, then let’s keep dancing.

  Let’s break out the booze and have a ball, 

If that’s all there is.”

I must tell you, “That is not all there is!  We have a future that stretches into eternity.”  Yet, that seems to be the climate of the moment. Our world is in chaos today.  America is committing political suicide. Everybody hates everybody. The streets of our great cities are swarming with multitudes of the homeless, people who can’t look beyond today, because, in their plight, tomorrow very well may not come.  The Coronavirus is sweeping the world. We are warned repeatedly to take precautions because we don’t know where it will crop up next, and fear is increasing.

No wonder many are living in the moment, but living life every day in every way means you cannot ignore the future.  The future is our hope. Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. It is amazing how a little hope for tomorrow can make up for a whole lot of yesterday.  You know my motto:  “THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!”

If anyone ever had the right to be pessimistic, it was Helen Keller, deaf and blind, and yet she said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.  Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Just as the lungs cannot function without oxygen, so man’s spirit cannot thrive without hope.  To live without hope is to die inside. Hope is intrinsically linked with the future, something good yet to come.

Someone has said, “The only way to face the future is to fly into it on the wings of hope.”

However, this world and all that is in it can never be our source of hope, but you can hope regardless of the world around you.

The Psalmist said, in 71:5, “For you are my hope, O Lord God; you are my trust from my youth.”  In a hopeless world, Jesus is our only one true source of hope. 

In Romans 5:5, the Apostle Paul tells us, “Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts…”  The knowledge that God loves us gives us hope that will never disappoint us.

Hebrews 6:18 says, “…we…have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”

My friend, you can hope regardless of the turmoil around you.  So run to Christ and seize, “lay hold of,” the hope that He has promised.  Go ahead, seize the day. Make the most of it, but don’t forget tomorrow and eternity to come, for it has all been promised to us.

Titus 2:13, “Looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”  That will be the culmination of our hope, when Jesus returns.  What a day that will be!

FRIENDS, DON’T GET STUCK IN THE NOW.  WE HAVE A GLORIOUS FUTURE BEFORE US!

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

WRINKLES

WRINKLES

Sitting with my sister the other day, holding her hand and looking into her sweet blue eyes framed by her little wrinkled face, I thought how beautiful she was, wrinkles and all. 

   I remember when I first became aware of real wrinkles in my face.  I was having some trouble with my eyes. Oh, I could read easily enough with my glasses, but when I was out and about looking for some specific location, I couldn’t read the street signs.  Seemed like there was always a film over my eyes, and no matter how much I blinked, it wouldn’t go away. I decided I needed to see the optometrist. I’m one of those “every ten-year” gals.

“I think I need new glasses,” I said.

“I think you need cataract surgery,” the doctor replied.

Time was of the essence for me, so I arranged for the surgery immediately.

After surgery on the first eye, the doctor sent me home with a patch and an appointment to come back tomorrow.  On the morrow, he took the patch off and gave me some eye drops. Outside, for the first time in a while, the world seemed bright and beautiful.  I was thrilled at the success. At home, I went into the bathroom to look in the mirror and was horrified at what I saw.

“No, no, no, no, no, no!” I cried.  

I knew I had wrinkles, but I thought they were just little, sweet undefined lines.  With my new lenses, I could see that they were full-blown wrinkles, and I didn’t like it.  I seriously thought about reversing the surgery and demanding back my old damaged lenses.

Actually, my wrinkles don’t bother me.  Years ago, after I had lost a lot of weight, I had some cosmetic surgery, and a friend of mine said, “I suppose now, you will want a “facelift.”  

“Why would I want a facelift,” I asked?

“Well, she said, “It will make you look younger.”

I didn’t want to look younger.  I like the way I look. I feel like Helen Hayes, when she said,” I love my wrinkles!  I call them my service stripes.”

To me a mature face indicates that I have been around the block—that perhaps I have learned a few things, and have gained a bit of wisdom.  I wouldn’t trade that for all the “facelifts” in the world. Someone has said, “Age should not have its face lifted, but it should rather teach the world to admire wrinkles as the etchings of experience and the fine line of character.”

Every wrinkle on my brow was earned by facing up to life’s dragons, and the wrinkles around my mouth and eyes are rewards for frequent smiles.  Mark Twain is quoted as saying, “Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. So, I don’t take wrinkles seriously. For me, they only exist in the mirror.

You may think me simplistic, but I do believe that we are created by God, and He has designed different seasons of life.  The truth is, we are all going to grow old, and “old age” necessarily presents new problems, which must be faced. How we face them is crucial.

I have always been troubled by our frenzied effort to reverse the inevitable.  Every day there is something new coming down the pike—something that will make us look younger, feel better, or boost our energy.  Cosmetic surgery, Botox, hormones—you name it. There are a billion promises out there to stop the aging, and make a new person of you. 

Please know that I am not dismissing all of these things, but something tells me that the wrinkles on my face are not nearly as important as the wrinkles on my heart and soul.

We will all face, sometimes heart-rending, life-destroying problems.  Job did.  

In Job 10:1, he said, “My soul loathes my life; I will give free cause to my complaint.  I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.”

Job had been faithful to God, and he was kind of proud of that.  Oops! Still he lost everything, even his health. Why did God allow this?  I dare say that Job’s bitterness gouged furrows producing wrinkles in his soul.  Only after he saw and understood the greatness of God did he repent of his bitterness.

It may just be today that you are in Job’s situation.  You loathe your life, and your soul has become wrinkled with bitterness.  You don’t see any end to your dilemma. 

In Psalm 42:5, David asks the question, “Why are you cast down, O my soul…hope in God for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.”  

That’s it!  Hope in God.  Praise Him for His help.  When facing impossibilities, our attitude is all-important.  Throwing up our hands and quitting wrinkles the soul. All the Botox and facelifts cannot remove the wrinkles from the soul, but God can.

Again, in Psalm 23:3, the Psalmist says, “He restores my soul.”  That’s what God did for Job, and he will do it for you.

 

  We may have wrinkles on our brows, but we need not have wrinkles on heart and soul.  Our spirit should not grow old.

 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!

 

SOMETHING TO “CELEBRAGE”

SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE

An anniversary is the date on which an event took place in a previous year.  More often than not, we think of an anniversary as something to celebrate, that’s what it seems to imply, but perhaps “remember” is a better word, for anniversaries are not always joyous occasions.  For example, think of December 7, 1941, the day Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, and World War II began.  We recognize that day every year, but there is no joy in it.

We do, however, celebrate, with parades and picnics and majestic fireworks, the birthday of our country on July 4, 1776.

I suppose, when we think of anniversaries, we think more often of wedding celebrations.  My brother was married sixty-five years when his wife died a few years back, and I have friends who have stuck together for well over fifty years.  That’s something to celebrate!  There are those, of course, who have no happy memories of their marriage, and remember only with sorrow or anger that particular day.

Yesterday, February 9, was my seventh wedding anniversary, and I can almost say with certainty that no one in heaven or on this earth remembered or even had a fleeting thought about it, unless perhaps, Sweet Cecil peaked through the pearly gates to see how I am faring. 

On February 9, 2013, at the advanced age of seventy-seven, I was married, for the first time, to a dear old friend.  It was a glorious day, a beyond beautiful wedding, and a hilarious celebration.  I had never experienced so much fun and sheer happiness in my life. 

If I had thought about it, I would have acknowledged that Cecil and I would never celebrate a twenty-fifth anniversary, but ten years together didn’t seem out of the question.  Those thoughts, of course, were far from my mind that day.  I was happy, I sensed God’s blessing, and I was no longer alone.  I would take what came, and I did, and I do.

Cecil and I never even celebrated our first anniversary.  On July 20, 2013, five months and eleven days after our wedding, my sweetheart was ushered through the gates of heaven and into the presence of God, and I was left alone again.

I don’t tell you any of this to gain your pity.  No!  I just want to say that sometimes life goes awry.  It heads off in a direction we never expected.  A friend of mine used to say, “Life turns square corners—meaning “You can’t see what’s coming,” and I certainly didn’t.

On that auspicious day, a day that promised great success, the day when I said, “I do!” the thought of losing my husband never entered my mind. 

I didn’t understand Cecil’s death.  None of it made sense, but I did demand to know  why God allowed him to be snatched away so quickly. It’s all right to ask God, “why.”  Jesus did.  I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I told myself I would face God with it when I get to heaven.  Then I realized that, once I get there, it won’t matter anymore. 

What to do when you turn the corner of life and face difficulties you never imagined, things that don’t fit into your neat little plan?  Well, you can go to bed and pull up the covers, you can throw up your hands and quit, you can nurse your hurt and anger, you can blame God or the handiest person around, or you can just keep walking.  

I shed an ocean of tears.  Alone, I howled like a banshee in agony.  BUT—I got up every morning, and I kept reading my Bible and praying.  Sometimes my prayers were no more than an anguished cry, “God help me.  Please help me,” and I kept walking.  At times I felt like I was walking through a dark tunnel in quicksand.  Every step was a supreme effort.  I was so tired, but one day I saw light at the end of the tunnel, and I walked out of the darkness into His shining promise for the future.  That was something to celebrate!

What did I do yesterday on my anniversary?  I took a long, loving look at Cecil’ portrait, then I went to church.  I worshipped with other believers.  I taught my Bible study and went to lunch with dear friends.  I came home and took a nap, and later I ate left over pizza.  That was my celebration.  I didn’t cry or mention my anniversary to anyone.  I’m not sure why, but I knew I didn’t want to be pitied.  I didn’t want any special attention.

Considering all of this, I must tell you that I am living a joyous life.  Everyday there is something to celebrate.

Has your life gone awry?  Is it all of a sudden headed in a direction you never expected?  You don’t know why.  I don’t know why, but if God is in charge of your life, He knows.

It seems to me that one must be fearful and without hope if he does not know the Lord, and does not have His daily guardianship.

King David said, in Psalm 34:4, I sought the Lord and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  

In Psalm 120:1 he said, “In my distress I cried to the Lord and He heard me.”

Again in Psalm 121:8, “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more.”  This truth should make you want to celebrate.

An old song says it all:

And hither to the Lord has led,

Today He guides each step I tread,

And soon in heav’n it will be said

Jesus led me all the way.

WHAT A CELEBRATION THAT WILL BE!

It is my conviction and I have found it true, that when Jesus is in charge, it is possible to experience a celebration of joy in your heart, no matter how difficult life becomes. 

REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!