Thursday, January 13, 2011

Time Ticks Away

I’m a clock lover.  No matter what type of store I enter, I seem drawn to clocks.  I have no idea why, but they comfort me with the tick, tick steadiness of their voice always in the background.  Guests in my kitchen are fascinated by the clock on the wall saying, “ What a wonderful old clock!” and ask, “Do you tire of the noise?”  I usually laugh and tell them to listen closer and they’ll hear the one in the next room.  It sits on the mantle and has a different rhythm.  As does the large very old clock in the front hall when it is wound.  Three distinctly metered ticks of time going at once.  When you focus on one, the others fade.  My two children have grown accustomed to the sound and it reminds them of home.  Time ticking away.  
This morning as I read in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, I was stopped by a word. One word that made me realize how very much I needed to spend time with it. In this devotion book, the author writes as if God is speaking directly to the reader.  To me. Here is the sentence that grabbed my attention this morning: 
“Thank Me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious unrepeatable gift.”
Unrepeatable.  That’s the word.  Today is unrepeatable.  Never to happen again just this way.  Not like the movie, that shows an ungrateful man repeating the same day over and over. We don't have that luxury.  There will be no “do-over” as kids cry loudly in outdoor games.  No- today is unrepeatable.
What if it were? If it were like my DVR where I could instantly back up and hit play again?  Ah, but the DVR only records what’s already happened.  It can’t change it.  Most of us who might long for a do-over want to make some changes.  In the way we reacted, the words said, the person ignored, the complaining spirit we nursed all day.  What would your do-over DVR change about yesterday?
I think I’ll post that one sentence on a card where I can see it every morning.  I need to realize that Today is a gift to be thankful for no matter the circumstances.  It’s the only Today I have. 
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. - Hebrews 13:8

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Resolution 2011

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Psalm 111:10

Priscilla Shirer got me where it hurt this morning. I decided to do her study “He Speaks to Me” on my own. I’ve taken a break from leading study and thought this would be a good place to focus as I try to allow Him more of my time.

I do want to hear from Him. I’m so empty. And with that emptiness, I’m all over the place with trying to control. My family. Their choices. My friends. My health. Even my dying. Seriously. I’ve prayed and worried about dying before it’s my time because I’ve treated my “temple” so badly. That, in itself, is unquestionable. But, whether I die now or not, is not my decision. It’s God’s. Obese people die and live. The timing question is not ours, but His.

But, back to Priscilla. She did a good job of researching the words used in the verse above and then asking the one question that brought it into focus. Fear really translates into “respect and reverence”. I have long felt that we treat The Holy God way too casually. “Jesus is my best friend” is a statement made by youths as they accept Christ. They, perhaps, need to put it into that perspective due to their limited understanding. But, do we, as adults? If our understanding of who Jesus is compares to a child, then as the Bible instructs, we have to get off the bottle and chew some spiritual meat to gain a deeper knowledge of this unfathomable God. As you study encounters with God through visions in the scriptures, you find... holy. Those who “saw” him in these visions didn’t approach him and ask “What’s up? Wanna go hang out?” They fell on their face and some went into a coma! An angel had to wake them up and give them strength to stand. Best friend? Yes, definitely. I AM. Yes- and all that the name implies. And we’d better start realizing that so we can grow in our faith and not remain babes.

Once we revere him and respect him, we can begin to gain wisdom. We can look at things from a holier perspective and then decide what to do. As we study God and his teachings designed just for us, we’ll change our ideas of how to handle things. Of what’s truly important. Psalm 128:1 tells us “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.”

Priscilla said that as a child, her parents often said, “You must not respect me or else you would obey me.” She had us list areas where we’d like to improve on obeying. Take a moment and list a few. Got those down?

Then, she popped the question. Based on practical obedience, (how you’re doing with those areas) - where would you fall on the “respect scale” with God? If you’re doing pretty well, maybe you’re on one end of the scale enjoying a close respectful fellowship with Him. If you’re falling in the middle, you’re still missing out on the benefits of walking in obedience. If you find yourself, like I did this morning, realizing that you’ve ignored his command and kept right on heading down your own road, you are not respecting Him. God. The “I AM” who is the only one. The “put-you-in-a-coma because I’m Holy” God. How are you doing with that respect thing?

Ouch. No wonder I’m feeling empty. I’m ignoring my creator. My strength, shield, encourager, comforter, Rock, lifter of my head, lover of my soul and patient Father. Why does the idea of obeying feel negative as if it will take away my joy? Am I thinking my joy comes from...what I want? I’m afraid I have been. Seeking satisfaction from idols. I will only feel satisfied when I’m obedient and walking hand in hand with him.

My resolution isn’t for the New Year but for each day ahead. I will seek to revere my God and walk in obedience to honor him and live each moment in fullness. And, in order to do that, I have to spend time with him. I have a feeling he’s waiting.