Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Carpe Diem

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

1 Peter 1:24-25 (NASB)
24 For, “All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

I can't help but read this verse and chuckle. Years ago I had painted a shirt with these words and a bunch of flowers. Only I used a version that said "All men are like grass". I was wearing it one day and some ultra feminist woman saw it and commented as she passed by about no good, men being like grass that should be trampled on. Clearly she missed the point of this verse. It was not a slam on men but a reminder that our glory is for a very short time. Like the flowers of the field we grow old and wither and die. Thankfully our time frame is longer than flowers but in the great expanse of time our 70 to maybe a 100ish years of life is pretty fleeting. 
What are you doing with the time you have been given? 

The words Carpe Diem come from the last line of a Latin poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus from about 65BC to 8BC. It talks about not spending your time trying to predict the future. Rather get on with living your life. The last line ends with the words Carpe Diem which means to seize the day.

Are you living in the present or are you spending your time regretting the past and dreaming about a different future. We can find our selves developing our future plans about what we will do and who we will do it with and rather than living in the present we are busy living in a fantasy dream of our possible future. There are always unknown variables that are out of our ability to control and in those cases we sometimes even have alternate future plans. I'm not saying that one should not have a general sense of direction or a vision for ones life. Vision and purpose are good things and help keep us moving in the direction we want to head. It becomes a problem when we spend all our time dreaming. Sometimes we do this because our present life is a mess and we are depressed and unhappy. So we spend our time dreaming and hoping that things will someday be better. The fact is that if you don't begin doing something today to move towards that vision you will never get there. At some point you have to seize the day and do something productive with it. When I am working on art projects I often don't have everything I need to accomplish the project. So I assess what I do have to work with and do what I can with that or I realize I need to work at getting the needed supplies. Getting the supplies or the training that I need is part of the bigger process. What I don't do is sit and fret or have a pity party because of the current state of my project as compared to the vision of it that I have in my mind. I constantly ask the question "What can I do today that will help me to actually move towards the vision. I think sometimes rather than being purposeful about moving towards a vision we default into what I like to call floating down the lazy river. We just drift along reacting to circumstances and we go with the flow. I don't think that God intends for us to be tumble weeds for Christ blown about by every circumstantial wind. Like a runner in a race we are to press on towards the goal. 
1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win."
If you want your future to be different than your present you have to decide to do something with today. Too often we just continue to do the same old thing hoping for different results. To often we get stuck in the familiar comfort zone even if there is a lot about it that could be better. We sit around praying Oh God come solve my problem thinking that we have no part in the process beyond crying out to God. Obviously prayer is a good place to start. Too often we are trying to have our will be done when we should be seeking God for His will to be done. We can be mad at God for not giving us the desires of our heart. We are quick to quote Psalm 37:4 and then wonder why its not working for us. 

Psalm 37:3-5 (NASB)
3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord;  (I believe this means learning to enjoy His will and ways)
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

Heres the deal - God desire is for you to become more and more like Jesus. Its a process of humbling our selves, learning to trust, learning to obey, learning to know God's heart and purposes. For most of us its a slow process because we are too busy trying to do what we want and to get God to help us do it.  

Some of you are thinking some day I will do more for God. Someday I'll have more time to pray and seek the Lord. Someday I will read my bible. Someday I will help the poor or go to the mission field. Someday I will have enough money to support God's work. I heard someone say "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." 

James 2:17
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Seize the day. Take a step towards the goal. Do something you probably can't eat the whole elephant in one bite but at least take a nibble and keep nibbling. Then look back from time to time to see how far you've come and take a moment to celebrate. 


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