One Day at a Time — Morning Devotions – Hope 103.2

One Day at a Time — Morning Devotions

Jesus taught us to live one day at a time. Trust God with the future and enjoy His gift of each day. Make your life count!

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsFriday 3 Sep 2021Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotions

A frail, elderly woman fell and broke her hip. The doctor set the bones as best he could, but he knew that she would have a long and uncomfortable recovery. The next day when he visited her in the hospital, he found her in great anxiety. Oh, Doctor, she asked, how long am I going to have to stay in bed? He thought about her question and then with great wisdom and kindness said, Only one day—one day at a time.

And that was a good piece of advice, something we need to think about. Very often we worry about life and feel we can’t cope with too much. Not like the committed Christian lady who had learned a lot about life. She said, I’ve had a lot of trouble in my life—and most of it never happened! It was imaginary, like so many of our worries.

You may have heard of the AA program, the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which has been going for a long time to help recovering alcoholics. They have a special saying, which is, One day at a time. For many of them, they are so overwhelmed by their addiction that the only way to cope with their problem is to concentrate on one day only—not get burdened with what tomorrow will bring.

It’s a good principle and I think it can apply to anyone. It means that we take whatever the moment presents and strive to live in that moment. It makes sense. You may know the story about Sir William Osler, the great doctor and teacher at John Hopkins University. His medical students were getting tired and stressed out, and he said, “Learn to live in day-tight compartments.”

What is a day-tight compartment? You know what a water-tight compartment is. You put some water in a jar, screw on the lid, and when you tip it over the water doesn’t leak out. Osler instructed his students to circle each twenty-four-hour period and live within that period, with their full focus and energy. If a day seemed too overwhelming, he suggested circling an hour and coping with that hour.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow; God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time” (Matthew 6:34 – Living Bible). It seems to me that Jesus is saying to us this is the way we should live—live in bite-sized pieces in 24-hours segments.

Make your life count—do it now!

Bill & Gloria Gaither sing a lovely song called “We have this moment today”,  which says:

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Hold tight to the sound of the music of living,
Happy songs from the laughter of children at play;
Hold my hand as we run through the sweet fragrant meadows,
Making memories of what was today.

Tiny voice that I hear is my little girl calling
For Daddy to hear just what she has to say;
And my little son running there by the hillside,
May never be quite like today.

We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

Tender words, gentle touch, and a good cup of coffee,
And someone that loves me and wants me to stay;
Hold them near while they’re here, and don’t wait for tomorrow,
To look back and wish for today.

We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday’s gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

We each have got the present time. That’s all I have. That’s all I have to give to this world. Not next hour or next month but right now. That’s the gift that God has given to me so I ought to use it. Just because the future is uncertain and unsure and brief, doesn’t mean you get all uptight and get paralysed with panic and worry. It’s the motivation to trust God more.

You put your trust in God. That’s how you face the future—I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future. That’s what counts. That’s why David said in Psalm 31:15, “Lord, my days are in your hands.” In Psalm 37:5 we read, “Let the Lord lead you and trust Him to help”

Writing to the Christians of Ephesus 19 centuries ago Paul says, “Make the best use of your time.” (Ephesians 5:16 – J.B.Phillips)

Use your time wisely

There are two reasons why we should do that:

  1. It is God’s time each day that we are using and enjoying—or wasting and letting slip by. Psalm 118:24 (ESV) says, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Kipling had this idea in his famous poem If: “If you can fill each unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run…” There is so much we can do for God, and so much God has given us to enjoy, that to waste time is like throwing a precious gift out the window.
  2. But there is a more sombre thought: Today could be your last day in this earthly life. That is a possibility no-one wants to think about, but which nobody can deny. That very practical Christian, James, wrote: Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (James 4: 13–14 – NIV). If this were your last day on earth, how would you use it?

Am I making my life count or frittering it away on non-essentials, things that aren’t going to count? God says, Make your life count—do it now!

The Serenity Prayer, written by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, says:

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

Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. Amen.