Good morning, y’all! Today I have this message on my mind and heart and hope to encourage you that every day is a new day–a fresh opportunity to seek and serve the Lord, to love and enjoy your family and others around you, and to work on being the person God has created you to be!
I’m thinking about this because yesterday, Will and I started a 5k running program. We’ve done so many of these in the past, but it’s been a good while now since we’ve run together. We have been married for over 16 years and the majority of this time, we have always kept some sort of physical fitness routine as it’s something we really enjoy to do together, even if it’s just a walking regimen. In fact, that’s usually our favorite and most consistent form of exercise because we can accomplish a lot during our walks, aside from just the physical benefits it brings us. We do a lot of praying and talking, laughing and connecting (with each other, God, and His creation). It’s great and I highly recommend it!
We have a very strong marriage which I am so very grateful for, and we help each other a lot in our walk with the Lord. We really spur one another on in our faith and build one another up to seek the Lord with everything we’ve got. Having said that, since we are best friends and most of what we do is together, it can be a negative thing in certain areas–such as, we both like to eat! I’m just being open and honest here as y’all know I always am. This has been a struggle for us for the entirety of our marriage. We always WANT to be healthy and fit for the Lord’s work, but keeping the practice of self-discipline in this area is something we are always working on, it seems. We enjoy going out to dinner together. But dinner out here and there can quickly become a habit now that we are approaching the empty-nest stage. We are getting older and we need to get back in better shape again. I could write a whole book about my lifelong struggle with food and body image and eating disorders and how God freed me from most of this, HALLELUJAH!!!!! And maybe one day, I will. But that is not the purpose of this blog post.
What I was thinking about when I got up this morning was how everything that we do builds like blocks, one upon the other. And this can be for good or bad. Think about it. Everything that we do in life is a process and it takes one step after another to reach the end goal or destination. So in terms of physical health, we can build good habits-one after another-until we get to a place of better health. We can choose to eat less for each meal, make better choices of what we put into our bodies, cut out the things that we know are addictive and bad for us. We can start some form of physical activity that we enjoy and begin to spend about 30 (or so) minutes a day just moving more. There are many activities to choose from, so we don’t have to do anything that we will hate. And none of this needs to be extreme or unhealthy or consume our every waking thought. Just invite the Lord into every part of your life and He will give you wisdom and guidance here.
The same way that our physical life is built up and improved step by step, day by day, so can our spiritual life be. If your prayer life is lacking and you don’t feel as close to the Lord as you’d like to, simply start talking to Him more. I think we really make it out to be harder than it should be. I know I have–and still do–sometimes. He is our Daddy, our loving Father and closest Friend. There’s nothing we can’t bring to Him. And He wants to hear from us. All the time and about everything. He already knows all things, yes, but I encourage you to just invite Him in. Tell Him all that’s on your heart. You will feel yourself growing to be more like Christ when you spend more time with Him. You can’t spend time in His presence and leave unchanged. Impossible! The same goes for spending time in the Bible. It’s the LIVING WORD of God! It also changes us when we spend time in it learning Who our God is and how much He loves His creation. It gives us hope and encouragement that we simply won’t find anywhere else. We learn who we are too, and why we need Him so much. You don’t have to have a seminary degree to understand this amazing love letter He’s written to us either. His Holy Spirit is the best Teacher and He will give you understanding when you truly begin to seek Him and ask Him to help you learn and obey. That’s the most important thing-to come to His Word asking, “How can I apply what I’ve read to my life? What is God telling me to do here?” You WILL begin to see change in your life and character when you put into practice what He has written to you. A.W. Tozer said, “The Holy Spirit never enters a man and lets him live like the world.” Oof. Amen. Spend just a little bit of time in the Word and you will find MANY Scriptures that attest to this statement.
The awesome thing that draws everything I’ve said in this post to a close and ties it into a nice little bow is the title that I’ve given it–“His mercies are new today.” Every single day, in fact. So if you have felt like you’ve failed in any area, dropped the ball, missed the mark, whatever…don’t give up! Just start again. It really is that simple. Don’t let past mistakes or bad habits deter you from trying again. I am really talking to myself here (I never realized how much I do this until I started writing this blog!) because as I’ve already confessed, this is something I’ve definitely struggled with. All of it. But in all things, He is my focus. He is my strength. Check this out from Lamentations 3:
His mercies never cease.
23Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
25The LORD is good to those who depend on him,
to those who search for him.
I hope this encourages you like it does me. God knows our weaknesses, our failings, our great need for Him. And His character doesn’t change. His faithfulness, love, mercy, and grace is there for those who depend on Him, every moment of every single day. Praise God, He is so good!!!!! We CAN start over…and we CAN endure (to the end)! These small habits grow and build us up and truly produce change in our lives when we surrender it all to Him. I hope and pray that you will give it over and bask in His mercy today, as you lift up this song to the Faithful One.