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Stealing Time?

9 Feb

John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, said his first sermon at the church was 1 hour and 15 minutes long because there was no clock.

LargeWallClock_RedeemTheTimeThe next week A LARGE CLOCK was installed. *

I read some cute humor about being late. It seems a little girl, dressed in her Sunday best, was running as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran she prayed, “Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late! Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late!”

While she was running and praying, she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off, and started running again!

As she ran she once again began to pray, “Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late. But please don’t shove me either!” **

When I traveled with a revival team, the director, Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., was a careful to start meetings in churches on time, but he was a stickler about our team meetings.

Once, when several team members were late and we had to wait for their arrival before beginning, our director waited until we were all settled and then said – quietly but firmly – “Some of you have stolen the other team members’ time and you need to ask their forgiveness.”

Are the time, I thought he was being a little severe. But the more I thought about it, it made sense.  I realized lateness, especially habitual tardiness, was rude and thoughtless. Those who cared about punctuality had to wait for others to arrive.

Granted, we need to give each other grace. But when team members, employees and even family members consistently show up late, perhaps it’s time for a loving but pointed “conversation.”

To encourage accountability, one of the things our revival team director did was to have all the team members memorize some applicable scriptures for diligence and wise use of time.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:58 – “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
  • Colossians 4:5 – “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.”
  • Ephesians 5:15-17 – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

In our director’s thinking, being late wasn’t just about causing others to wait. It was also about not wisely using the time God allots us. Our director wanted to impress a powerful principle in our hearts:

Time is more than time … it’s about people, ministry and accomplishing the will of God in the world. It’s a matter of stewardship.

We surely can waste time, abuse time and yes, even steal others’ valuable time though our thoughtless behavior.

Often it’s just a matter of poor planning on our part; and if it’s a regular issue, perhaps we need some help so we won’t cause an offense and so we can be more effective in accomplishing our tasks. We can ask God to show us the tools and attitudes we need to make some time adjustments.

Maybe, like MacArthur, we just need a bigger clock!

What do you do to help yourself arrive on time? Which of the scriptures above speaks to you today?

* “John MacArthur: The Infographic” by Josh Byers and Tim Challies, 1-28-14, Challies.com

** http://ministry-to-children.com/funny-church-jokes/

– Dawn

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Spring(clean)ing into Action

15 Apr

I think spring cleaning must be hormonal. And it seems the women’s hormones are the only ones that kick into gear!

I came across an article written by Kellie Head, a mother of six, as a guide for her husband to help her with the spring cleaning. It was called “Spring Cleaning a la Testosterone.” (1)

Kellie says she used to wonder whether men play dumb when it comes to cleaning, or whether they are simply trying to avoid any sort of housework; “but now,” she says, “I think it may have something to do with a testosterone brain block or something.”

Kellie decided to make a “cheat sheet” to help her husband when spring cleaning comes around. It included a number of definitions, and I’ll only share a few here:

“Vacuum (cleaner) … much like the leaf blower except it sucks in , instead of blowing out. Don’t let this alarm you. It isn’t broken and doesn’t need more torque, speed, RAM, or whatever it is you did to the dishwasher.

“Dust pan … Contrary to popular belief, this is where you sweep the dirt, not under the hallway area rug.

“Dust Cloth … A cloth designated for removing tiny particles of dirt from every flat surface of the house. Hint: look for your old ‘lucky shirt.’

“Oven Cleaner … No, not the teenager. This is an actual product that you buy, spray in the oven and wipe out two hours later. You won’t need your welder’s mask for this task, but if it makes you feel more dangerous, go ahead.

“Squeegee … Same principle as washing the car windshield, and yes, real men do squeegee!”

And then Kellie added this final note: “While Duct tape may be a wonderful plumber’s aid, it’s really not the best solution for keeping the bathroom towels in place and Jamie’s teacher is still asking why his homework was stuck to his forehead last week. For these reasons, I have hidden the duct tape and distributed your picture to the local hardware stores. Don’t make me call Duct Tape Anonymous again….”

My dad had a thing for duct tape. I think that I inherited the duct tape gene. While traveling on a revival team during the years when girls all wore “maxi dresses,” my heel caught on the hem of my burgundy plaid jumper and it ripped out right before I was due to go on stage. No problem. I talked our sound crew out of a roll of duct tape and taped my entire hem. It stayed in place through several washings that year!

I’ve often wished I had the Martha Stewart gene, but no ~ spring cleaning is not my cup of … Lysol. It seems there’s always something else I’d rather do when my daily work is done ~ like writing, time with grandkids, water aerobics, or watching something off-the-wall on TV like “Doomsday Preppers.”

I imagine that a number of cultures have some form of spring cleaning. I read about the preparations Jews made for the Passover in the Old Testament. Talk about spring cleaning! Unleavened bread became the symbol of the Jews’ exodus from days of slavery in Egypt, and every observant Jew made sure there was no bread containing leaven anywhere in the house ~ not even a crumb ~ before the Passover celebration. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was so much a part of Passover that their names were sometimes used interchangeably (Exodus 12:15-19, 41; Luke 22:1). During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Israel was to eat only bread without leaven (which represented sin) for seven days. (For more about this feast and parallels to Jesus, the Bread of Life, read here.)

So getting rid of the leaven was a crucial cleaning ritual, and, while I realize that the Jews had a spiritual reason for cleaning their homes before Passover, I imagine that every Jewish woman stood back and admired her clean, “purified” home when she was done. There was the satisfaction that they had obeyed God, and they were ready for the blessings to come.

When I look at the diligence of the Proverbs 31 woman, I imagine that she (and her maids) cleaned her home for many reasons, too. A clean, organized home enabled her to care for her family better. Perhaps it allowed her to offer hospitality without worrying about how the house looked. A clean home was one way to honor her husband.

We can’t have perfectly neat, clean homes all the time. Life gets messy sometimes, and we let things slide. Our dust bunnies invite friends, and spiders crochet doilies in the rooms’ corners. But there comes a time when we need to pick up the broom and dustpan and get busy. We set our homes in order to create a place for greater peace and joy. The more we want to experience a clean, hospitable home, the greater effort we’ll make to do whatever is necessary to get it in shape.

And by the way, our hearts get “messy” sometimes, too. We let things slide, and one sin invites another.  There comes a time when we need to remember the words of 1 John 1:9, God’s promise of forgiveness and cleansing when we confess our sins to Him. When our hearts are clean, we experience more of what God has for us, including peace and joy! We need more passion for purity of heart, like King David, who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God” (Psalm 51:10).

We need to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and watch out for the “leaven” that causes problems. Cleaning doesn’t just happen, with or without the Martha Stewart gene.

May we use the words of scripture to motivate us to spring into action ~ cleaning our homes and our hearts!

(1) http://www.familycorner.com/parenting/humor/springcleaning.shtml

No Girlie Girl Running

17 Jun

Deciding to take up jogging, the man was astounded by the wide selection Tennis Shoe with Pocketof jogging shoes available at the local sports shoe store.

While trying on a basic pair of jogging shoes, he noticed a minor feature and asked the clerk: “What is this little pocket thing on the shoe?”

And the clerk replied, “Oh, that’s to carry spare change so you can call your wife to come pick you up when you’ve jogged too far.” *

LOL!

I (Dawn) read about two runners who both needed a good dose of character.

“Marathoner Loses by a Mustache.”  So read the headline of an Associated Press story. It appeared that Abbes Tehami of Algeria was an easy winner of the Brussels Marathon, until someone wondered where his mustache had gone!

Checking eyewitness accounts, it quickly became evident that the mustache belonged to Tehami’s coach, Bensalem Hamiani. Hamiani had run the first seven-and-a-half miles of the race for Tehami, and then dropped out of the pack.  He disappeared into the woods to pass race number 62 on to his pupil.

“They looked about the same,” race organizers said. “Only one had a mustache.”

The article said it was expected that the two would never again be allowed to run in Belgium. *

Ya think?

I never was a runner. First, I run like a girlie girl. My sister did not inherit this girlie girl gene, and she could really fly when she ran. But I even look clumsy jogging. OK, I’ll be honest. I look like a duck when I walk.

But I admire people who run. I will cheer them on and watch them win medals. I know how much hard work it takes to prepare for a race.

I have gone to out to breakfast with my friend Jill and her husband after she’s completed a good run. When she meets us at the restaurant (not even panting), her face glows. Her body is svelte. She pays the price, and it’s worth the results.

The Bible uses the metaphor of running in Hebrews 12:1-3. Paul exhorts believers, “…run with patience the race that is set before us…..” Paul tells us to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, so we won’t be “wearied” ~ so we won’t get discouraged and “faint” in our minds.

The key to our own race is to consider “Him that endured.” Jesus endured in His own life “race,” and as we focus on Him, we understand how we can be persistent and press on in ours.

Paul also used the running metaphor in 1 Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

In other words, in the spiritual realm, Continue reading

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