Learning to Live One Day at a Time — Morning Devotions – Hope 103.2

Learning to Live One Day at a Time — Morning Devotions

Having a personal faith in Jesus means we have his strength and grace to handle today’s issues, and with him we can live one day at a time.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions. (Airing daily on Hope 103.2 and Inspire Digital at 9am)

By Chris WittsSunday 24 Nov 2019Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 5 minutes

If you’re into golf, you may be familiar with the American professional golfer Bruce Lietzke. Bruce Lietzke has won numerous tournaments at both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour level. In the early 1990s he was at the top of his game.

One day, some reporters came looking for him because he had dropped out of a couple of tournaments. One of them was the United States Open Championship and the other, the Western Open, and they began asking, “What’s happening? Why aren’t you here? You have a great chance for fame and fortune. What’s going on in your life?”

He turned to them and said, “Well, something very simple. I’m coaching my son’s baseball team just now and they’ve reached the playoffs and this is where I’m going to be.” “Yes,” they said, “but you’re going to miss the United States Open.” And he calmly replied, “No I’m not, I’m where I want to be. This is my priority right now.”

Living In Day-tight Compartments

I think there’s something special about his attitude. He understood the importance of that particular day, and he was using it to be involved with his son, even though he could have made a lot of money playing golf. We seem to think that life has to be lived in a hurry, and we don’t value each day. I like what it says in an old book written by Dale Carnegie called How to stop worrying and start living.

It was a best-seller and one thing I remember him saying is this: we should live in day-tight compartments. He was referring to this as a key to success. Carnegie quotes Sir William Osler, a Canadian doctor who was well-known at that stage, but he was a chronic worrier. His favourite saying was ‘what if’, and he worried day and night. Here’s what Osler said:

If the load of tomorrow be added to that of yesterday and carried today, it will make even the strongest man falter. Live in day-tight compartments. Don’t let yesterday and tomorrow intrude on your life. Live one day at a time. You will avoid the waste of energy, the mental distress, the nervous worries that dog the steps of the man who is anxious about the future.

He was talking from personal experience. Maybe you know what he means—you may worry about a lot of things, too. Dale Carnegie said you should think of your mind as a giant ship travelling the ocean. To stay afloat and steady, you have to close the bulkheads to keep the excess water out before it knocks it off kilter. He said if you can’t close the bulkheads of your mind, you’ll sink like the Titanic.

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Taking One Step At A Time

It makes sense to me. Life is a daily experience. Those who climb Mt Everest constantly say, I’m not climbing a mountain—I’m taking one step at a time. It’s simple, but it works. It stops life becoming an overwhelming experience.

One seven-year-old daughter was thrilled when her dad took her to Disney World for the first time. She headed straight for Space Mountain. The dad worried that the rollercoaster would be too scary for her, but she insisted. To her delight, they rode it twice. The next year they returned to the Magic Kingdom, and the daughter, now eight, again dragged her dad to Space Mountain.

As they stood in line, though, her dad could see her soberly studying the signs that warn about the ride’s speed. “Dad,” she said, “I don’t think I want to go.” The dad then asked her why she would be nervous when she had enjoyed herself so much the last time. She replied, “This year, I can read.”

Isn’t education wonderful—the nice thing about being educated is that it enables us to worry about things all over the world! The fact is, worry has become an obsession in our modern world. I wonder if you’ve come across the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time,
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
taking as Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to your will,
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
and supremely happy with You
forever in the next. Amen.
(Reinhold Niebuhr, 1892-1971)

Members of the Alcoholics Anonymous program believe strongly they have to live one day at a time. And maybe some of us need to hear that message. And Jesus understood we need because he said in Mathew 6:34, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today”.

Jesus said Don’t worry about tomorrow

He didn’t mean that we don’t plan ahead—we can’t pretend tomorrow is not coming—but when we trust in God and his Son Jesus, we can actually embrace today with confidence. Even the worries of today can be met because of our faith in a loving God who knows all about today and what will happen to us.

The great Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon back in the late 1800s used to say, “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows—but only empties today of its strength”. Having a personal faith in Jesus does not mean today’s worries suddenly disappear—because they don’t.

But it does mean we have his strength and grace to handle today’s issues, and with him we can live one day at a time. So, if we use today properly, our anxiety about tomorrow diminishes. In reality, most of our fears are unfounded anyway. At his deathbed, Winston Churchill said he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened. It’s about facing each day step-by-step. Finish what you need to do today, seeking the Lord’s guidance.

Dear God, our times are in your hand, even though we would grab those times back for ourselves and become worried and anxious. We have all allowed worry to have its way with our hearts. We know that worry is senseless and harmful. We know this in our heads, but we still struggle to choose the way of faith over the way of worry. Thank you for loving us even though sometimes we are the ones with such a little faith that we worry. Lord, we choose to trust you. We choose to seek you first. We choose to orient our lives in the direction of faith instead of fear. Amen