Teach Us To Number Our Days

 

timeSo, here we are heading into the last month of the year, Almost ready to start a new year.  A time when many of us make time to take stock of the last year.  Questioning things like, was this year better than the year before?  What were the accomplishments and/or failures?  Was there growth?  Was there spiritual growth, or did we lose ground?  

I think it can be good to think about these things.  We can learn from our mistakes. Think of new ways to do things in the coming year, or celebrate things where we made real progress.  Set goals for the new year.  Think about where we want to be in another year and so on.  

I was pondering on all that this morning.  I was thinking that though its important to take stock, too often we put too much weight on where we are right now in our lives, or what went on the last year or week or month.   

God is an eternal being.  He is in the past and He’s in the future.  According to Ephesians 1:3 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. He chose us long before any of us were ever born.  And we who are in Christ, will have eternal life with Him when we die. Forever.  Never-ending.  

Whether we may be having the best day of our life, or the worst day, or just an ordinary day; we need to remember its just one day.  Whatever this day or this week or this year held, it does not dictate the rest of our life.  It may change life as we know it, but things are always changing.  If today was bad it doesn’t mean tomorrow will be.  If today was great it doesn’t mean tomorrow will be.  

God is still God and He still has a plan for our life.  So often we beat ourselves up, because we feel that we have not made the progress we think we should have.  We think God must be disappointed with us, because we  didn’t do great things for Him this year.  Or surely, we must have strayed from our appointed path, because it sure doesn’t look like we are going in the right direction.  Or we think, it’s too late now.  God can’t do anything with me now.  I’ve wasted too much time.  

Sometimes we do make mistakes.  Or we take the wrong path. But guess what?  It’s no surprise to God.  He is still waiting on the other side to keep us moving in the right direction, if we are willing.  We sometimes spend so much time obsessing over these small blocks of time.  Measuring our lives by accomplishments and standards and times that often are not God’s plan for us, but they are things we think we should do, based on the standards of men.  

God is looking at our life from the view of eternity.  He sees the beginning.  He sees the end.  He sees all the little stops in between.  And when we are born again He sees us not as we see ourselves but He sees us as we will be one day.  He sees us through the Blood of Jesus.  

Our job is just to take care of today.  Ask for wisdom and direction for the day, and carry on to the best of our ability.  Don’t take ourselves too seriously.  Don’t give place to the thoughts that the world may end if we don’t accomplish our goals today.  Matthew 6:34 says: “ Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Live each day to the fullest. Spend time with God.  Find joy. Use your time wisely.  At the end of the day, learn from the bad, be thankful for the good and then let it go.  Then we can say as Paul did in Philippians 3:13-14:  “ Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” 

the-hardest-part-of-moving-forward-is-not-looking-back

Be Thankful In All Things

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.  

2013-thanksgiving

So, Thanksgiving came and went quickly as it seems to every year. Hopefully, most of us took some time out of the busyness of the day, to reflect on our blessings, and those things in our lives that we are thankful for.  But, here’s the question.  Are we, as  the above scripture instructs, consistently thankful?  Do we give thanks in everything?  

That can be a real challenge sometimes.  Ask the single mom who’s homeless with her children.  Or the soldier fighting in a far away land and unable to be with their family for the holidays. Or someone who just lost a loved one. Or perhaps those struggling with loneliness and wondering what God’s plan is for their life.  Or the times we may be struggling with health issues or lack, or family problems.   Times like that it can be hard to remember to be thankful.

Thankfulness can be a sacrifice.  Sometimes it may take all you have to find something to thank God for.  But as it says in Hebrews 13:15 it is something we are to do continually.  “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name”.

When we thank God despite everything going on around us, it reminds us that every good thing we have is from Him anyway. It was God that gave us breath and life for another day.  God who gave us the air to breathe and made the sun to shine.   The more we practice finding things to be thankful for; the more we will realize all that we have.

If we were to wait until things are perfect in our life to be thankful, we might never thank God.  There will always be challenges in our lives.   God asks us to be thankful in all things, at all times.  If we cannot do this in obedience even when it is hard; then how can He trust us to be obedient in other things He asks us to do?  When we are in a hard time we can be thankful when we remember we are never alone.  The Bible reminds us of this in Deuteronomy 31:6: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Many times the cause of us being un-thankful or ungrateful is that we spend too much time focusing on ourselves.  We focus on what we want that we don’t have.  What we have but do not want. Or the fact that people don’t act the way we think they should.  We get wrapped up in self pity. We spend to much time murmuring and complaining like the Israelite’s did in the wilderness.  We saw how well that worked for them. 

The most important thing to remember to be thankful for is that through Jesus; God made a way for us to be saved.  Jesus died for us all so that when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior all our sins are forgiven and we will live in eternity with the Lord.  That surely is worth praising Him and thanking Him for the rest of our lives!  

We Are Not Each Others Enemies

Oh, the enemy of our souls and the world would have you believe that we are enemies.  But how many of you know we are fighting the wrong enemy and the wrong battle?

 Our pledge of allegiance has not seemed to be too true these last few months has it?  One nation, under God, indivisible; yeah, that’s the part that hasn’t been going well for us.  The dictionary definition of indivisible is “unable to be divided or separated”.  Do we as a country seem to be following that definition?  Seems like the opposite many times.

What is going on?  Some  blame the Democrats, some the Republicans.  It’s all the media’s fault.  Or it’s the world powers working behind the scenes pulling the strings.  Truth be told its probably some of all of the above.  One place we know its not from, is from God.  

The strife and division that has been tearing the country apart and in some cases even friends and families is not God’s plan for this country.  When the Pilgrim’s came to this country hundreds of years ago it was so they could freely worship God without persecution.  This nation was founded to honor God.  It does not honor God when we call each other names and people get beat up in the streets.  

There is a battle being fought in the spiritual realm for this country.  Every time we give in to bitterness, anger and strife; we are being used as pawns in the enemy’s plans to try and win this battle .  As believers we are called to walk in love and to treat others as though they had done us no wrong.  Not to stop associating with each other because we disagree.  

Does that mean we have to agree with each other?  No.  Nor does it mean we should turn a blind eye to unrighteousness or any lawlessness that is going on just because its deemed to be okay by one group or another.  We do need to be sure we are fighting the right battle, against the right enemy, in the right way.   Fighting and arguing among ourselves  accomplishes nothing except more strife.  

Remember who and what we are really fighting.  Ephesians 6:12  “ For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 “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”.

 First of all.  So before we do anything else; we are told to pray and to intercede.  These are our instructions if we want a quiet and peaceable life.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Well, most of us anyway.  

Many of us have heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 quoted a lot in recent months.  “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land”.  This shouldn’t be a one time thing. We pray and seek His face when we want something, then we can forget about till the next time. No, rather this is something we should be doing on a regular basis.   If you give evil and unrighteousness a foothold;  it does not take long for them to begin flourishing again.  

The Lord wants to heal our land.  We all know the multitude of problems that we have.  No leader, or even we as a people, can heal all that needs to be healed. Jesus is the only  solution.  When we as believers  are standing in unity and asking God for His will to be done in this land, we all win.  His will may not be our choice or our friends or family’s choice, but His will is always best, and better than anything we can do. 

download

How about if the next time you’re listening to someone spout their opinions at work, or school or you read a post on Facebook, and you want to send back a scathing reply; before you respond, take a minute, say a quick prayer and ask God for wisdom.  Wisdom to know whether to respond or not. Wisdom to know what to say and how to say it.  And don’t respond at all unless you can do it in love!  Think how much more peaceful our week and our lives would be if everyone did that!  And if you aren’t supposed to respond at all then follow the advice below!

download

Unexpected Gifts

God is so good!  Sometimes He gives us gifts we didn’t ask for and weren’t expecting.  I’m not talking about a car or something you can hold; though often He gives those gifts too.  I’m talking about the gifts and talents that He has put inside us.

 He made us, and knows the plans He has for us, He knows the gifts He put inside us; often for a specific season. For us, it’s exciting when we discover something new that God has given us to use or to do!  

giftOooh! Look! A Present!

In my case, in the last few months, God has given me the desire to write a blog and share what He puts on my heart.  To me, this seemed to come completely out of the blue.  I have never been a writer nor been particularly interested in writing.  I didn’t take many writing classes in school, and I didn’t like the ones I did take. As I’ve mentioned  before, I am not by nature a wordy person.  And yet, here I am; proof that when you give God permission to do what He wants with your life, all kinds of good things can happen.  

What about you?  Have you felt a kind of itchiness inside?  Maybe you’ve had thoughts or a desire to do something totally new and unfamiliar to you?  Why not give it a try?  God could be opening a whole new area to you.  

Psalm 37:4  says “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart”.  Mind you, that’s good desires.  If you have a desire to do something wrong or illegal, God is not the one that placed that particular desire in your heart!  

He is the one that gives us the desire to do the things that go along with His plan for our lives.  Maybe you are dreaming about starting your own business, or you find yourself thinking about homeschooling your kids. Or going back to school yourself.  Could be you find yourself thinking about leading a Bible study or going out and ministering to people on the street.  

God gives each of us different desires.  Aren’t we glad? How boring it would be if we were all doing the same thing.  When God puts a desire in our hearts it becomes something we want to do, even if its something we have never thought of doing before.  And it doesn’t feel like work; we can enjoy it!

Here’s the way I look at it.  If you have a desire in your heart to do something, give it God and ask Him what you should do with it.  Psalm 37:5 says “Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass”.  If we can honestly say that we want God’s will in our lives, then we can be confident that He will show us what to do, where to start and when to start.  

psalm-37

If you are waiting until you feel you are doing something “right” or “perfect” before you step out and do what God has called you to do; you may never do it.  And what a loss that would be to the world.

You could be the one that starts a new business that employs 100’s of people.  Or the one that writes a book that inspires thousands, and leads people to the Lord.  Maybe you’re the one who would stop to pray for a stranger on the street, and change their life forever.  Perhaps you’re  the musician who would write that song that speaks to peoples hearts, and gives them the hope they so desperately need.  

Author Leo Buscaglia said, “Our talents are the gifts that God gives to us…what we make of our talents is our gift back to God”.  

Step up.  Take a leap of faith. Just start.  But, be sure that  God gets the glory for what you accomplish with the gifts He has given you.  He gives us those gifts for a reason; there is an eternal purpose to the things we do.  Without Him, trying to do these things on our own they can vanish like a puff of smoke and accomplish nothing.  

God is on the move!  It seems like all around me I see people stepping into new things.  Perfecting new talents, starting new areas of ministry, getting bold in the things of God. It’s exciting!   I can’t wait to see what you will do with the gifts that God has given to you!  Come on, let your light shine!

 

-.