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Mail from The Manse -November

Dear Friends,

November as we know is traditionally the month for fireworks. To see the sky lit up with colourful patterns that commemorate the explosion that did not light up parliament back in 1605 and take King James with it.

Fireworks too, are synonymous with hot tempers where through frustration or annoyance perhaps, once the fuse of someone’s anger has been lit, it can erupt in a way that often brings more heat than light to bear on a troubling situation. I saw this kind of fireworks in my bank recently, when one young lady flew at the bank assistant because the bank had charged her penalties for the few days she went overdrawn before her pay cheque cleared. I felt her pain even as the banker tried to gently explain to her that trying to purchase something before the money is there to cover it will always incur a cost.

As I reflected on that later, I sensed the same thing is true for anyone of us who gets ahead of God’s deposit to provide the means to cover the challenges we are facing. Something eminently possible if we fail to understand that His promised deposits for us to meet the needs of us only come one day at a time.

That is why Jesus tells us three times in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not worry” and concludes His challenge not to do so by saying “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) In other words Jesus portrays worrying as borrowing tomorrow’s trouble before you get there. When we do that, we overdraw on God’s grace deposit in our account because He puts just enough in there for today, but not for tomorrow. Moses in (Deuteronomy 33:25) reminded God’s people of God’s promises in his day by telling them, “Your strength will equal your days.” The promise could not be stronger, the deposit could not be securer, and the message could not be clearer. We get Monday’s strength for Monday’s burdens and Tuesday’s supply for Tuesday’s demands, but if we try to run ahead emotionally to what may happen on Wednesday or a week from Wednesday, or a month from it, we on our own. Thursday’s grace arrives Thursday and next month’s resource will be there next month.

The fireworks go off when we let worry haul tomorrow into today and we get overdrawn on grace, don’t have what we need to cover our anxiety, and it just gets too much.

We may be looking ahead at something that looks totally unmanageable, unbearable, and indeed unsolvable to us. The strength, the grace, the wisdom that it is going to require to get us through it is more than we have ever had in our life. The reason we have never had this much grace in our account before however is precisely because we have never needed this much grace before. But when we get there, God has promised He will deposit everything we need to cover those demands. If we insist on worrying about it today however, then, like the irate lady I heard at the bank, we will find there is always a price to pay in getting ahead of what is in our account. The deposit God knows we need will be there the day we need it, so let us not write cheques before God pays into our account what He knows we need to cover them.

God’s grace is inexhaustible. There will always be enough, but God dispenses it in day to day amounts. If we are feeling overstressed and overwhelmed today, could it be that we have been bringing too many of tomorrow’s burdens into today? Jesus taught us to pray for “daily bread.” The psalmist said that God “daily bears our burdens.” (Psalm 68:19)

and Jeremiah reminds us that “His compassions are new every morning.” The promise is today’s mercies for today’s challenges. Next time then, no matter the reason we might be tempted to let some fireworks off and some fury out, maybe it would help to recall the prayer in the words of the old country song and ask, “Lord for my sake teach me to take one day at a time.”

Your Friend and Pastor,

Shaun