What Are You Investing Your Time In?

Jeremiah 2:32 (NIV), “Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.”

How many of us go about our day and “forget” God? I know, we have a multitude of excuses, and reasons, and complicated lives. Yet, it’s all a matter of what is important to us, where our priorities are. Listen to what Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew.

Matthew 6:19-21 (KJB), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

He is talking to them about what they are investing their time, money, and energies into. Instead of working for things that are short lived (temporal of this earth and for a limited time), they should be working for treasures of heaven (long term, eternal, heavenly things that last forever). Whatever we earn here is quickly used up, wasted, rotted, spoiled, moth eaten, and temporary! Yes, we have to work, yes our kids need shoes and clothes and a warm place to lay their heads. However, that can’t be our first or only priority.

When we put God first, spending time with Him in the word, in prayer, listening to what He has to say, fellowshipping with Him and other believers, the rest will come easier.

Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans pursue all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”

Stop worrying! Don’t fret. He wants what’s best for us. He always has and always will. Investing your time in a close relationship with Him will always pay off.

“We can be tired, weary and emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that He injects into our bodies energy, power and strength.”  Charles Stanley

No matter what happens during our day, when we purpose to spend some quality time with Our Father, peace will come into our hearts and lives.

What are you investing your time in?

I Am Living In Hope

Romans 8:22-25 (BSB), “We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see? But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.”

Hope is a wonderful thing. It keeps us from giving up, from throwing in the towel, or tucking tail and running away. In that long dark tunnel, hope is that little bit of light way off in the distance that promises you will come out on the other side. Romans eight tells us that we patiently wait for something we hope for, especially when we can’t see it.

Knowing God has healed us, that He wants us healed, can help us be patient when the symptoms are still there. We can pretty much apply that to any promise God has given us. Just because we can’t see it, or maybe it is only that tiny speck of light, doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. God isn’t a liar. If He said it, it is a done deal.

In I Timothy 1:1 Paul calls Jesus our hope, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” (Emphasis mine).

Think about that for a minute… Jesus IS hope.

I know that He is in me and I am in Him. So, it isn’t a stretch of the imagination to say that I live IN HOPE.

What will make me lose hope, only me. My wrong thinking, my impatience, my doubt and unbelief, my lack of trust in Him.

I choose hope, I choose Him.

What’s Holding You Hostage?

Nehemiah 9:17 (Net Bible), “They refused to obey and did not recall your miracles that you had performed among them. Instead, they rebelled and appointed a leader to return to their bondage in Egypt. But you are a God of forgiveness, merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and unfailing in your loyal love. You did not abandon them,”

We are all aware of the term “hostage”: when someone is taken against their will and held hostage usually for a ransom, or when a terrorist hold a person to either protect themselves or again to force negotiations. Each one of us was born a hostage. Satan, the ultimate terrorist, held us against our will. Jesus paid the ransom. We are now free to go. If we are still under the rule of Satan, it is purely by choice. We can choose to surrender to Jesus, who only ever asks us to come willingly and never forces us to do anything. Or we can allow things, or the enemy, or our flesh to hold us hostage.

I Timothy 26:5-6 (BSB), “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all — the testimony that was given at just the right time”

What is keeping you from walking free? What is keeping you from surrender to God? Is it your habits, addictions, or lusts? Is it greed, selfishness, or pride? Maybe you feel unworthy, unclean, and unloved and can’t seem to get a grasp on the fact that God loves you, wants you in His life, and made a way for you to live free from every bondage.

Maybe you chose God and somewhere along the way wondered off, like the dog that returns to its own vomit. You have placed yourself back in bondage after tasting freedom. Don’t despair, God has not abandoned you! Turn from that life and turn back to God. He is waiting with arms outstretched.

What’s holding you hostage? The ransom has already been paid. Walk free, walk tall, you are a child of the King.

Produce Love

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Galatians 5:6 (HCSB), “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.” (emphasis mine)

I want to be productive in some way, to contribute. I don’t ever want to be accused of just taking and never giving. I don’t believe in distribution of wealth, or socialism. I believe everyone has something to give, something to do, some part they can play in making the world a better place.

As Christians we are to be productive. God told Adam and Eve, as well as Noah after the flood, to be fruitful and multiply. We are supposed to be about His business of furthering His Kingdom.

How do we do that? By producing fruit.

Galatians 5:22 (KJB), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Some years back while studying for my bachelors’ degree, I took a class on “The Fruit of the Spirit.” It was at that time that I finally got a true understanding of what this ‘fruit’ was. The Spirit produces Love in us. All the other things listed in Galatians five are part of love. Think of an orange. Love is the whole fruit and each section is; joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control. If we truly have love in our lives, we will produce the other things listed in this verse. For what is meekness without love, but false humility, what is goodness without love, only duty. Love is the motivation, the fuel that moves us to do good and to be better people. It’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us when we apply the Word to our lives. Our senior pastor, Dr. William Hohman, says it this way, “Love is produced by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us. Fruit isn’t a gift, it is produced.”

John 13:35 (NIV), “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

God has many plans and purposes for His children, but our main purpose it to multiply and bear fruit. We multiply by making disciples, by growing the family of God. The goodness of God, manifested in His love, is what turns hearts to repentance. So we have to sow love, plant the seeds of love so that we can produce love where ever we go.

Produce love! Be the Johnny Appleseed of Heaven and sow it everywhere!

Limbo

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I am not talking about the game where you duck under a broom to some fun music, I am talking about that in-between stage in your life when you know change is coming, yet you lack the details.

Limbo- an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.

You know something is coming, something big. Usually it involves some kind of change, maybe a promotion, or a change in lifestyle, or a new spiritual level. My husband gets excited in this place. I get scared. (Yep, God put us together for a reason.)

I have to admit, I don’t so much get anxious anymore, but I do feel like the “Velveteen Rabbit” the abandoned favorite toy. I feel like I should be doing something, but I don’t know what. I find myself feeling stretched, but I don’t know why. I feel like just around the corner is something exciting, but I don’t know what. If you know me at all, you know I hate change. I want to know the plan and there better be one. I am not real spontaneous. So this in-between time, this limbo is a very uncomfortable time for me. Another reason it isn’t a fun place is that there is just too much “feeling” going on which is made evident in this paragraph. It is a place where you have to bypass all of those feelings and stand in faith. You have to blindly put your trust in Him who is trustworthy.

Another reason I don’t enjoy this state of limbo is because usually it means letting go of something. I was in limbo right before I left my secular job and started in the full time ministry. I was in limbo right before I left the ministry of working at my Church. (I am still in the ministry, just not at my church building.) It took a while to know what the changes were going to be. It was scary stepping out into the full time ministry. Finances were slim, new enemy attacks were coming, more faith was required! It was just as scary leaving the place that I worked and ministered for thirteen years to begin working from home. Who would I talk to, who would pray for me on the spot when I needed it, how would I stay in the loop? All things that I fretted about. I have been in limbo so many times during my life and I am starting to get that feeling again lately.

I can honestly say that every time I made the transition from one level to the next, even though I thought it was scary and totally plan-less, God had a plan. He knew what He was doing. Even when I didn’t understand how, or why, or when, or pretty much anything, He did. My life was always better on the other side. There was greater faith, more blessings, more fruit coming out of the old and into the new.

And those times in-between of waiting and praying?

Those brought patience and maturity.

Are you doing the limbo? Do you feel like you are off balance and ready to topple, or ready to knock your noggin on that broom stick?

Don’t fret!

There is a promotion on the other side!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV), “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Get Out!

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“Hebrews 10:38 (KJV), Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

I love my bed. It has one of those pillow toppers and though it has some age on it, I still sleep very comfortably there. After a long hard day, I can crawl between my flannel sheets with my electric blanket set just high enough to be cozy, and feel like I am wrapped in a warm comfy cocoon. I never get the dishes done while I am in bed. The floors and laundry stay dirty and unfolded while I lay in my comfort. I do sometimes write in bed, and quite frequently do my morning devotions there. Why? Because I feel comfortable in that spot. Nothing challenges me while I snuggle there, though I can be inspired in my comfortable place, I rarely act out or work toward that inspiration. I have to get out of my comfort zone to accomplish much of anything. In fact people who are “bed ridden” would give anything to be able to get out of bed. What I consider one of my comfort zones, they think of as a prison.

God has so challenged me over the years. I hate change. I love being comfortable. That’s why conflict was always hard for me, moving was a nightmare, and don’t even talk to me about changing schools as a high school student! Did I mention I hate change? I know God also has a sense of humor, how did He get me to step out of my comfort zone? First off my parents moved around a lot. Each move to a better house, a better job, or a better neighborhood, and I hated it. Then I married a man with a gypsy heart. And guess what…we moved…a lot! I had to change Churches, doctors (I suffered from a chronic illness at the time), grocery stores, jobs, etc. One move was across the country, almost 2,000 miles away from family and friends. Did I mention I hate change? Life felt a great deal like one big roller coaster to me, and I didn’t handle it well. One of the manifestations of that was the symptom of my illness got worse, my marriage had its issues, and I wasn’t exactly a stellar parent.

Instead of taking it all away, and setting me in one spot, God strengthened me, and healed me, and taught me how to stand on His word. In the middle of all of that, He called me to the full time ministry. My faith was enough to step out in that area, though most of the time I felt like someone would notice how unqualified I was and send me home. I ended up in the full time ministry (working at the Church or for the Church) for over 16 years, for two different Churches. I helped and reached countless people, most of them children, during that time. My confidence in myself, and mostly in my Heavenly Father grew leaps and bounds. My marriage was healed, my body was healed, my kids turned out great, and I was able to put down roots in one place for an extended amount of time. God never wanted my roots to be in a place, but to be rooted and grounded in Him.

Ephesians 3:16-20 (NASB), “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”

So if your comfort zone is a place, get out! If it is a person, walk away! If it is a certain set of circumstances, have faith! God always intended for us to have a “comfort zone” it is Him and it is Heaven. When we abide in Him no matter who we are around, what the world is doing, how the weather is, how tired or confused we seem to be, how rebellious our own flesh can become, we can be confident that He is on our side and will bring us through. When we place our trust in Him and live from Heaven (we are citizens there after all) we know the victory is ours.

Back in the day when I suffered from Anxiety, slowly I stopped going anywhere I had ever felt anxious. It started with standing in a line for anything, then it was the Movie Theater, then restaurants, pretty soon it was anywhere there was a crowd, or something unfamiliar. Unless, my “safe person”, my husband came with me. I might still get anxious, but I could handle it if he was there. God wants to be our “safe person.” When we know He is there with us, we abide in Him, and He abides in us, we can safely go anywhere, do anything, and accomplish His plans for our life.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV), “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Do you want to please God, then GET OUT!

Of any comfort zone outside of Him.

 

Springtime Prayer

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Father,
When I see the new growth of spring, the buds on the trees, the bright yellow daffodils, I remember You are faithful. After a long winter of snow and cold, the vibrant colors of spring renew my heart. I wake I the morning to the sound of birdsong, and go to sleep to the sound of spring rain or gentle breezes. In the same way, Your word refreshes me, and comforts me. Spring brings hope of summer. Your love brings hope of Heaven. Thank You for new birth and re-birth. Thank You for Your unfailing love, for promises of flowers, growing things, and a great future.