31 Days: The Business of Busy-ness

As the weekend commences, and I tackle my hefty to do list, the business of busy-ness came to mind. When did I get so busy? When did it become so important to have something to do ALL the time? What happened to the days that could be spent whiled away in a good book or a nice afternoon at the movies (or the show as I often call it). Heck, I’ve even started a blog series about being busy ( 31 Days of Getting it Done)!! Granted a lot of the things I had intended to do aren’t getting done because I’m too busy worrying about the 546,245 other things I want to get done. See, again with the busy-ness.  I recently read an excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ Utmost for His Highest concerning the business of busy-ness:

“The great enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ today is the idea of practical work that has no basis in the New Testament but comes from the systems of the world. This work insists upon endless energy and activities, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation . . . . For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). It is a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives to be seen by others, while it is the innermost, personal area that reveals the power of a person’s life.We must get rid of the plague of the spirit of this religious age in which we live. In our Lord’s life there was none of the pressure and the rushing of tremendous activity that we regard so highly today, and a disciple is to be like His Master. The central point of the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship with Him, not public usefulness to others.

It is not the practical activities that are the strength of this Bible Training College— its entire strength lies in the fact that here you are immersed in the truths of God to soak in them before Him. You have no idea of where or how God is going to engineer your future circumstances, and no knowledge of what stress and strain is going to be placed on you either at home or abroad. And if you waste your time in overactivity, instead of being immersed in the great fundamental truths of God’s redemption, then you will snap when the stress and strain do come. But if this time of soaking before God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in Him, which may appear to be impractical, then you will remain true to Him whatever happens.”

Granted Mr. Chambers was speaking of over-work within a ministry setting and his target audience was a group of seminary students, but I found a few nuggets in there that could be applied to my life. For instance, “practical work” calls for constant energy towards that work and no time to really “soak up God”. With a job,a home life, and the misguided desire for perfection, it’s easy to let those things take away that valuable time with God. But I must remember, that allowing myself to be immersed in this “overactivity” instead of being immersed in “the truths of God’s redemption”, I’m stealing peace and joy from myself.  When things really do get stressful, and there really is something that causes a huge strain on me, I’ll bend and snap (but not the good bend and snap, name that movie!) instead of bending down in prayer.

So, instead of worrying about the 673, 952 things on my to-do list (yes, it’s growing by the minute!), I need to focus more on the Lord, since He is found within me.

Give Thanks

“1O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 136:1(KJV)

Happy Thanksgiving all!! I hope your Thanksgiving is just as bountiful as ours. Remember to give thanks to those you love and to the One who is good!!



Must we wait??

I wanted to share some thoughts today about waiting on God, it sort ties in with my post concerning patience. It takes patience when we wait on the Lord. But sometimes, we must wait to receive patience. We wait to see what He has set before us instead of rushing ahead and losing our way.

Psalm 27:14 says:

14Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

So wait on the Lord and be of good courage, you definitely need to “be of good courage” to wait.  But to be patient enough to wait? I guess what we really need is the grace and courage to wait. For me, to wait on something especially those big somethings, is a frightful thing, so to find the courage to wait and to have  grace during the waiting is almost unimaginable. But we must all remember that when we are going through those times of waiting, that God will supply that courage and grace we need to stay on His path. Sometimes, He doesn’t want us to move forward just yet, He needs us to wait and listen. That’s the ultimate in obedience to the Lord.

Trust

21For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV)

The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made. . . to be sin. . . .” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the loving kindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. In speaking to the world, Jesus Christ never referred to Himself as One who revealed the Father, but He spoke instead of being a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9 , where Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was spoken to His disciples.

That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (seeGalatians 4:19).

Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

What resounding words,  Jesus was made to be sin. “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the rightesousness of God in Him”. Christ didn’t die on calvary because He felt sorry for us, but out of obedience to His Father.  What an example to follow! Christ paid the ultimate price to be obedient to Him. Is it so much to ask of us to follow where the Father leads? To follow in Christ’s footsteps of obedience? It’s true, not all of us will face the sort of death and torture that Christ did in our walk with God. But to be completely and utterly obedient, means to follow Him even in those dark times when it seems there is no end to the trials. It also means to keep focused on our Lord, and not the trials and the hardships.

The first step of this walk of obedience is to accept that sacrifice that Christ suffered on that cross. Do you live your life as if someone else has paid the price for your sin? Or do you cling to traditions and superstition to get you through this life instead of the putting your faith utterly and completely into the Savior’s hands?

 

Implusive?

20“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” Jude 1:20 (KJV)

There was nothing of the nature of impulsive or thoughtless action about our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into a panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our own nature, not along the lines of God’s nature. Impulsiveness is a trait of the natural life, and our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God gives a sense of restraint to impulsiveness, suddenly bringing us a feeling of self-conscious foolishness, which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulsiveness is all right in a child, but is disastrous in a man or woman—an impulsive adult is always a spoiled person. Impulsiveness needs to be trained into intuition through discipline.

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.-Oswald Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest”

Don’t be impulsive, sounds easy enough right? Not so much. Sometimes we allow our human-ness to impede the development of our “disciple-hood”. Think about it, actions and words, when taken impulsively, can cause a lot of hurt to those around us.  That’s why it’s so important to think and pray about what we do and what we say before we do it or say it. We must allow God into those actions and words for them to be truly used for His glory. As Mr. Chambers mentioned, we must allow Him into our ordinary everyday lives.  Because isn’t that what our lives end up being, a lifetime of everyday? Why not put God into everyday, so in the end you’ll have a lifetime that was spent giving every minute, hour, day and year to the Lord. How wonderful would that be?

When?

Patience

By Ruth Harms Calkin

Lord, as I read Your Word today

I underlined these words:

“Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act.

Keep traveling steadily along His pathway

And in due season He will honor you with every blessing.”

I know I need more patience Lord.

But I simply cannot create it.

I plead with You to do it for me.

And, Lord could You hurry a little?

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Patience is such a fleeting thing for people today, myself included, one moment I have it and the next minute it’s gone. Or maybe I never had it in the first place. Like Ruth mentioned, patience is not something that can be created by us. It’s a gift from God. In our culture today, everything can be bought or found instantly. But when it comes to the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians, we can’t be find those up for auction on Ebay. Those fruits are things that we must wait for God to bless us with as we walk along the path that He has set before us.  It does us no good to cross our arms and tap our toe, and ask God when? How? Are you listening? Because we cannot know the when or the how only the Lord knows our “due season”.  The only thing we can do is wait, listen, and keep walking.

Today

It is true, the Lord is with His children  every minute of every day, but it makes such a difference to spend that time in His presence. To drown out all the noise and listen to His still small voice. That is why I try to set aside that all important time with Him. It’s like a standing appointment with God, a time for me to “dish” with my Heavenly Father.

They say you should spend quiet time with Him first thing in the morning so that your day is started off on the right foot, in God’s presence. But that’s not feasible for me and my morning un-alertedness. Yes, I pray  as soon as I wake-up, or after I realize how late I am for work. But I don’t take the time to sit quietly and soak in His presence.  So, I try to set aside sometime in the evenings before I go to bed, and at least one point during the day to stop and just be with my Lord.

To keep myself accountable for this time with God, and to share the blessings found in His word, I would like to share what God has laid upon my heart for that day. It may be an entry from my current devotional, or it may be scripture that has really spoken to me  that day.

Don’t worry, this blog will still remain a happy place, where I can share my home improvement fumbles. But I find it so important to include the Lord in everything in my life.  Even if that means including Him in this silly little blog.

So to start us off with this new endevour, I’d like to share with you a verse that I use in my life daily, if not hourly and minutely and secondly (?). It is found in Matthew 6:34

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This is something that I must remind myself of everyday. So often, I get lost in worry, and I end up in a vicious cycle of internal questions: What will I wear tomorrow? Will I get to work on time? Will I not hear my alarm and oversleep again? Will I have time to scrub the shower today? These questions, although important to me today, will they matter a year from now, or even 5 or 10 years from now? Probably not. But what will matter is how I used today, because today is really all we have. Tomorrow is not promised, yesterday has passed, but today is what God has given us.  We must use today as it was intended, as a testament to His love. As a way to show others who Jesus is, so that they might know that joy and peace. So, to be worried about the little things does not show the perfect peace that resides in my heart. Instead, I want to use my todays to serve and glorify the Almighty. How do you want to use your todays?

What do flowers pray for?

This evening I noticed my sunflowers have come to a point where their heads are too heavy for their little stems to hold them up, so they droop. But to me, they look like they are enjoying a prayerful moment with heads bowed. It got me to wondering what flowers pray for. Do they pray for the same things that we pray for? Do they pray for help in those dark times? Do they praise God in those bright and happy times? Or do they pray for more flower appropriate things like rain and less bugs? Do they hope for the day that they will be plucked and used in a beautiful arrangement? Much like we hope that God will pluck us and use us in one of His arrangements.  Or  do they find hope and peace like we  find in the Lord, when our heads seem too heavy for our stems to hold us up.

This reminds me of a verse that was a favorite of my fathers it’s got nothing to do with flowers specifically, but I find it appropriate for times when it seems that we cannot hold our heavy sunflower heads up by ourselves:

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31

So, just like these little sunflowers wait upon the Lord and show complete and utter dependence on God, we should do the same when life seems to make our heads too heavy for our little stems to hold us up.