Summary: There is hope in Seeking God in the Present as we look ahead to the future.

What expectations do you have for this new year which just began?

· Perhaps that’s not a question you’ve thought too much about… but every one of us has formed a sense of expectations for life…even if not specific, our souls have a general sense of what we expect in life as we enter a new year.

· Most likely for most of us our souls are still a bit unsettled by the events of this past year… the attack upon our own country that tragically took so many lives… and the broader economic woes that it accentuated.

· Such events cause some to see a pessimistic year ahead…and while outwardly there may lie many challenging circumstances ahead…the reality we come to celebrate this morning… on this first Sunday of the new year… is the fundamental reality that the universe is still run by a benevolent and all powerful God… ‘a community of love.’ Who holds out ‘peace on earth for men and women on whom is favor rests.’

· As we consider our inner expectations as we enter this new year…one of the significant realities which God calls us to grasp… is that He is the God of today… the God of the present.

Matthew 6:34 (Msg)

"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” - (cf. Ps. 84:10; 118:24; Matthew 6:11; 2 Cor. 4:16)

· Context is declaring the reality of life under God’s reign… and how one facet of entering and experiencing this new life involves transforming our sense of worry. As we enter the life God has for us… reality of His benevolent care… the trust we discover will allow us to give ourselves to the day at hand.

· More than some cliché idea of ‘taking it one day at a time’… as if to offer some nice advise…Jesus is describing the very nature of reality. > God cannot resolve tomorrow today… it’s simply the nature of experiencing His hand. His faithfulness for tomorrow cannot be experienced today. Today is the only tangible moment you have in which in which you can experience His faithfulness.

> Embrace the day… it’s the most sacred moment in your life.

Psalm 118:24 (NIV)

This is the day the Lord has made;

let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Lament. 3:23 (NLT)

“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day.”

The faithfulness of God begins afresh every day. How easily many of us may think of God’s faithfulness as a ‘static entity’… that His heart of mercy towards you is inactive… or worse… it gets used up over time.

> But as the prophet declares, the mercies of God begin afresh every day… ‘are new every morning.’ His faithfulness is active every day. He is the God of each moment in your life.

> Embrace the day… it’s the most sacred moment in your life.

Psalm 23:6 (NLT)

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord

forever.” -

What does His goodness and unfailing love do? Is such goodness and love held waiting for some unique moment in our life? > It PURSUES US… each one of us.

(Hebrew word used - Radaph- to run after, chase, follow after, hunt, pursue)

The “love” (hesed; KJV, “mercy”) of God is the covenantal commitment to bless his people with his goodness, i.e., his promises. The psalmist expresses deep confidence in God’s loyalty. Instead of being pursued by enemies who seek his destruction, God’s “goodness and love” follow him…every day of His life.

What days? Special days? > ALL the days of our life.

> Embrace the day… it’s the most sacred moment in your life.

As we prepare for the new year… God wants to awaken us to the reality that 2002 will not simply be lived one day at a time… but by one sacred day at a time.

· Only as we awaken to the sacredness of each day… will we experience the fullness of this new year.

· Our tendency is to let our expectations be defined by yesterday… or deferred to tomorrow.

· The result may be a tragic loss of not embracing the sacredness of each day… and therefore experiencing God as the God of the present.

God’s perspective for embracing the present: the present is sacred but not separate. The present that is sacred is connected to the past and future… it is informed by the past and future.

Far from some notion that each moment has no meaning apart from itself…we live in relationship to the God of all time… the Alpha and Omega… the God of the beginning and end. The God of today is the God who provides continuity.

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