Dear Grace Family,
While talking to a friend last week, he asked me how long I had been at Grace. When I told him 5.5 years he was blown away. He thought it had been three years at most. This conversation reminded me of how fast time goes by for all of us. With this in mind, I want to re-share with you an article I wrote about time for the June 2017 newsletter. I hope it is encouraging to you.
Have you ever stopped and thought about time? Where did it come from? In Genesis 1:1 we read “In the beginning”. One of my professors commented that in the Hebrew language this designates the beginning of time as a measurement. Before Genesis 1:1, there was no time. Essentially, God made time for us. Eternity for God is meaningless because He Himself cannot be measured by a yardstick or a clock; therefore, to attempt to put a measurement on His existence is useless. What a mind-blowing thought!
Time is a measurement tool all of us use; most of us on a daily basis. We might think, “Well, it is 7:00 am now and I just finished my BLT. I have to wait about five more hours before I can have a bacon cheeseburger, with emphasis on the bacon. Then, another six hours before I get to eat the bacon and lettuce salad I have planned for supper; without the lettuce of course.” [What? Not everyone does this???]
We use time to measure the length and scope of projects so we can bid jobs accurately. We use time for punishment such as in time-outs for our kids or jail sentences for those convicted of crimes. We use time to know when to plant crops, when our livestock will be born and when harvest season will come. We purchase time from our employees, bargain for time with our parents (curfew is when!?), try to save time through efficiency and forget time when we’re doing something we love (curfew/bedtime already!?). Time is quite the resource!
As we get older, we recognize time is fleeting. Jerry Scott, the author of the comic strip Zits, once wrote, “The days drag but the years fly.” How true this is. Time came from God as a gift to us but it is fleeting and once gone we can never get it back.
I don’t know how you are using your time but I challenge you to consider the words of Eph. 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” This summer, and for the rest of your life, budget your time as you would budget money. Use it wisely. Give some to God, give some to your family and give some to others. You only have so much time. Let’s use it well!
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find that to be an extremely daunting command (and no, this is not the only command in Scripture that feels daunting), but to be in a state of prayer constantly, every minute of every day, no matter what? Wow! I often find myself struggling to find a time each day to pray at all, much less be in a constant state of prayer. Why is it so hard? Should it be? How do we get to a point in our lives that we can, as Scripture calls us to, “pray without ceasing”? My mind and heart are often so cluttered with the things going on in life, that I neglect to pray about life. If that just doesn’t sound counter intuitive. When we are struggling, shouldn’t we want to go to God with those issues? It is not that I would ever state prayer is not important, or that there isn’t power in prayer, but my life and actions do not proclaim that as I would hope. I am going to guess that I am not the only one that feels this way. I do believe that prayer is important and powerful. How could I not, when so many places in Scripture say so? So, again, why is it so hard to make time for prayer? Why does prayer often take a back seat or is an afterthought when the struggles of life are pounding on our door? Why is it so easy to slip through the day and not have even considered prayer? “Pray without ceasing.” There it is, plain as day. It sounds so simple. God is telling us how we are supposed to be living our daily lives minute by minute, in conversation with Him through prayer. Yet this is hard for me and maybe for you as well. There are those out there who do make it look easy…they just live this out. Others proclaim, in an accusatory manner, that it would be easy if you were just more faithful or spiritual, yet they are probably struggling in this area as well. If we say we love God, shouldn’t it be easier? Maybe it should be, but that has not been my experience. I would love to talk with the prayer warriors here at Grace so I can figure out how to be better at praying, because honestly, I often feel like a failure at prayer. My heart has been convicted lately by this feeling of failure and I could use some help. The Bible says we are to help bear each other’s burdens. So, I am laying a challenge out there for anyone who wants to join me: come see me, let me know how I can be praying for you, let me encourage you as you seek to pray more, and then in turn, encourage me to pray more as well. I also challenge you to let others know that you are praying for them. We all need prayers: so lift each other up in prayer and in doing so, encourage others by our prayers.