Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Time…Where Did It Go?

Antique Clock Face

Last week my wife and I took my step granddaughter and two nephews on a vacation to San Diego, California. We had a wonderful time; we visited Sea World and let the kids swim in the Pacific Ocean. Over the last few months we anxiously awaited for this vacation to arrive. We choose our destination and booked our room back in January.  We looked forward to taking the kids and spending this time with each other. Not to mention a vacation from work. Then the time arrived and then passed just like that. I am sure you have heard many people say, “The time just flew by.” Perhaps you have said it yourself. This statement I certainly do echo. Now with every moment our vacation is slipping away further into the past, never to be experienced again. We just have a few pictures and our memories. It is like watching a sail boat drift away into the sunset, soon to be out of sight. This vacation is now in the history books of our lives.

Looking back at my life I remember a trip some twenty years ago to the Glacier National Park in Montana. This too was a most enjoyable trip. Likewise, time just flew by.  I remember we hated to see our vacation come to an end so much that we dubbed the road home, “The Trail of Tears.” Even though we had an awesome time, this vacation is now a distant memory. I can only recall very few of the conversations we had plus some of the highlights of the trip. So it is with time. People who lived two hundred years, or two thousand years ago journeyed through life and then their time passed away. Now they are long gone. Except for a few, most of these people are not even known of this day. They had their dreams and their plans, their victories and defeats. They had things which they looked forward too, then these things also came to pass.

Concerning time, a few years ago I heard an analogy which went something like this: Here in the USA we have a measurement know as an inch which is roughly about 2.5 centimeters in length.  Suppose there is a tape measure which starts here and stretches to the moon, the sun, then to the stars and keeps on going…forever. Now on this tape measure the first inch represents 100 years of time. Our life begins here on earth at the beginning of the tape measure. Most of our lives will not fill up that one inch of time. Now suppose what we do with that short amount of time will affect the rest of the time represented on the tape measure. Would it not be wise to invest this time wisely? Obviously coming to faith in Jesus and receiving His free gift of salvation is of most importance. What a wasted life it will be for all who end up spending eternity in hell. Yes, there are many other important things in life, such as helping others and being a blessing to those who we know. These are all good things which we must do. But the one thing which is weighing heavy on my heart is this: Most of us live our lives looking out for number 1, which is ourselves. The thing is God did not place us here on earth for ourselves. Think about it like this, when we live our life looking out for number 1, then we actually short change ourselves. The truth is that God has something much bigger than ourselves for each of us. We are here for God's purposes. That is, through each of us, He wants to be glorified and to make Him known. In Christ, we become servants of the Most High God. We must remember, not only what I do with my life will affect the rest of that tape measure I mentioned above, but also may have a positive or negative impact someone else’s rest of their tape measure. So the question we must all ask of ourselves, “are we going to shortchange ourselves and others in living for ourselves? Or are we going impact others for good and live life bringing glory to our God so that others may come to know Him?”

Below are a few scriptures to meditate on:

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. (Matthew 23:13 NKJV)

While Jesus is addressing the scribes and Pharisees, I believe us believers may also stand in the way of people from entering into the Kingdom.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, (1 Timothy 2:1-6 NKJV)

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. (Matthew 9:37 NKJV)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Peace In A Crazy World

Picture from (CC BY-NC-ND)

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:4-8 NKJV)

The above passage from Philippians is one of my favorite in all of Scripture. My wife tells me that I am very patient in the things which matter most, but the things which do not matter, I am very impatient. I hate getting stuck behind a slow driver!!! Then there is worry, which is also something I must always constantly do battle with. All of us believers face many things in our lives which may drive us crazy, such as arguments with those close to us. Then there is the issue of divisions in the church for various reasons. If you read the above passage in context with Philippians chapter four, it gives us a biblical procedure for attaining unity in the church. Beyond this, one may also draw application into many areas of our lives if we would only apply it more deeply. If things have you down, for what ever reason, count your blessings. If you are fighting with a loved one, write out a list of the things you love about that person. While we do not neglect things which are troubling, our focus must always be on the Lord and the things which are good. We should also always rejoice, be gentle, be patient, and pray always; then we receive His promise. What is His promise? It is the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.

I will not be writing a post next week as I am blessed to spend some precious time with loved ones. Take care and God bless.