Jimmy Chapman tells a story about a preacher going for a meeting and staying in the house of a widow. He and his wife arrived late on Saturday before he was to preach on Sunday. Graciously, the lady had given up her master bedroom for her guests.
The next morning when the preacher awoke, he opened the curtains to a beautiful scene–gentle rolling hills in the distance and a beautiful green pasture in the valley below. Then he noticed these words in the corner of the window pane with a child-like writing scratched in the glass: “This is the day.”
At breakfast he asked his hostess, was it done by a grandchild who had been playing around with something sharp?
“No,” she said. “I did it myself, with the diamond on my engagement ring.”
She then explained how, having lost her husband some years previously, there were many times when she would throw open the curtains and not see a beautiful country scene but a dark day ahead. Her lost plunged her into depression. She had lost her zest for life.
Then one morning, in a moment of bleak despair, she opened her Bible for her daily reading and saw these words, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psa. 118:24).
They reminded her that God had a plan. So every morning she said, “I want to look into the day through the promise of God. This is the day and whether the Lord calls me or whether He comes for me, I want to live this day for him.”
I love this great Bible verse. I’ve used it on my phone messages for years. It’s simple. Yet profound. It can change your attitude. Your actions. Your life.
Consider three ways in which we can apply this great verse.
(1) Appreciate today as a gift from God.
In God we “live and move and sustain our very existence.” He is the giver of life. And by His goodness we live to enjoy today. Bill Keane once quipped, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow’s a mystery. Today is a gift of God. That’s why we call it the present.”
When we spend the day griping, fussing, and complaining we are disrespecting God’s gift to us. When we approach the day with fear, dread and worry we are misusing the day God blessed us with.
(2) Dedicate today to the glory of God.
Admittedly some days are better than others. We have days of joy and sorrow. Sickness and health. Poverty and riches. Good and bad. But today is all that we have. So, we must find a way to use it to God’s glory.
Regardless of today’s circumstances, what can I learn? About myself? About God? About life? Is there a lesson that God may be teaching me that makes today unique?
Regardless of today’s challenges, how can I grow? Spiritually? Mentally? Emotionally? Hall of fame basketball coach, John Wooden, used to tell his players, “When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…” Don’t miss today’s opportunity to grow.
Regardless of today’s obstacles, who can I help? Maybe it’s simply a smile. A kind word. A pat on the back. A text message. An email. Or it may be my commitment to excellence, and courage to be the best I can be that inspires someone else.
(3) Celebrate today in the goodness of God.
The Psalmist said “rejoice and be glad.” 199 times the Bible exhorts God’s people to “rejoice.” Those who belong to God and enjoy His grace and goodness have a reason for rejoicing.
Psalm 118 is a praise psalm giving thanks for God’s love and everlasting mercy. There is even a Messianic reference in it quoted in the New Testament.
There are many reasons today to “rejoice in the Lord.” Physical protection. Material abundance. Spiritual blessings. Good friends. Loving family. Caring brethren. These and so many more elicit daily rejoicing.
And even in times of sorrow and heaviness of heart, there’s always a silver lining that leads to be glad that we belong to the Lord.
Today is a new day. Don’t let yesterday interfere with your present. Rejoice!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman