Archive for June, 2013
It was the most productive hour of the whole week. Maybe the whole month. I happened to look at the clock at about 10 in the morning. I got busy answering emails, returning phone calls, doing some writing, and even outlined part of a sermon. When I next looked at the clock, it was only 10:15. I was amazed and thrilled at how much I had accomplished in such a short time. Then I looked at my watch. It said 12:15. The clock on the wall had stopped. Then I decided I really had not accomplished near as much as I should have. I did the same amount of work; it was just my perception of time that changed my outlook.
My grandfather only knew three times on the farm. Sun-up: time to go to work. Sun straight overhead: time to eat. Sun-down: time to quit working. He really didn’t even need a watch. But someone who gets paid an hourly wage has a much different perspective. We worry about too much time on our hands.
We even speak of life in terms of time. We refer to people who live a long time. Or we wonder how much time we have left. We plan how long we must work before we can retire. We want more hours in the day and years in our life.
We mark time, measure time, and calculate time. But we cannot make time. Nor can we determine how much time we have. So maybe it really is about what we do with time, and not about how we try to quantify time.
How much time do I have left in this life? I don’t know. How long can I be productive and active? I don’t know. What do I know about time then? I know that I want the time I do have to be filled with the things that will matter when time is no more. I have found that purpose in Jesus.
“And through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:18)
All nations on earth… that’s us! Through Abraham’s descendants, we have received a blessing. And the Bible tells us that it was specifically one descendant that brought that blessing: Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, our Lord.
If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church? (I Timothy 3:5)
Do you ever wonder how to know which church leaders you should follow? Look at their family. And a word to church leaders: lead your own family first. If you don’t lead them to Jesus, you do not have the credibility to lead others.
“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.” (Acts 19:18–19)
Fifty thousand drachmas was a lot of money. A drachma was supposed to equal a day’s pay for a laborer. Fifty thousand drachmas… well, you do the math.
They burned these scrolls to show publicly that they were now Christians. They didn’t need the power of magic; they had the power of the Holy Spirit.
What would you need to “burn” to show the reality of your conversion to Christ?
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar — the Lord Almighty is his name: (Jeremiah 31:35)
Have you ever wondered why you should pay attention to what God says? Read this verse again. He created the Universe. He controls the universe. Listen to him.
“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25–26)
It’s the great promise: “He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.” We live surrounded by people who fear death above all; we needn’t be like them. We needn’t fear death, because we know the One who is the resurrection and the life.
Be specific in praising God. Acknowledge the powerful things he has done. Praise him for all the ways he is greater than anything and everything. Praise him.
It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Mexico City. 74 men set out to run the marathon in the 1968 Olympic Games. 57 of them finished the race. Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia was the winner, yet the most remembered runner from that race was the last one to cross the finish line.
John Stephen Akjwari of Tanzania began the race with high hopes, but those hopes were dashed when he collided with another runner and fell violently to the pavement. Bleeding badly, with a dislocated knee, Akjwari continued the race. He trotted, stumbled, walked and hobbled his way to the stadium, then ran as best he could the final yards,.
Akjwari finished almost an hour after Wolde. What drove him to continue running despite his pain and the futility of the effort? Akjwari stated simply: “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start this race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”
In almost every endeavor of life, it’s easier to start than it is to finish. Finishing requires perseverance. Finishing requires dedication. Finishing requires a willingness to continue on, even when things are difficult.
The apostle Paul, writing to his close friend Timothy from a Roman jail cell, penned these words: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) Like Akjwari, Paul had done more than begin the race; he had pressed on to the finish line. Because of that, he could go on to say, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)
When the Christian life gets hard, will we press on? Will we remember that we were called to finish the race, not just start it? If so, then there’s a winner’s crown waiting for us, just like there was for Paul.
Don’t stop. Keep going. All the way to the finish line.
“And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.” (1 Chronicles 11:9)
It’s easy to say that David was a great king because he was an excellent military man and a good administrator. The Bible puts it more simply: David was great because God was with him. More importantly, God was with him, because David was faithful to God.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)
There is nothing in all the world that can cause God to cease loving you. He will always love you. He loves you. Rejoice in that love today.