Tag Archives: time

Taking Root: Killing Time

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Taking Root is a series of meditations I’m writing and editing for Central Vineyard Church during the season of Lent. You can download a podcast for each day of Lent by subscribing to my church’s podcast or visiting the podcast blog for each day of the series.

 

We have some pretty crazy ways of talking about time. It’s like we’re in this abusive, exploitative relationship with time that passes through dramatic ups and downs.

  • We keep time.
  • We lose time.
  • We save time.
  • We kill time.
  • We make time.
  • We spend time.
  • We waste time.
  • We guard time.
  • We fight time.

We always wish for more time.

On one hand, time is one of the most precious gifts we can give to someone else. On the other hand, it can be a slave master that rules us—prodding us to move faster, to do more, and to feel guilty. The guilt of how we spend our time can be crushing.

Time isn’t the problem.

Our problems come from our adversarial, sometimes overly sentimental relationships with time.

Time is a Gift from God

God is present in our days, using us for his purposes. He gives us these limited amounts of time on earth so that we can accomplish his Kingdom work. This is an essential starting point.

If time is my own, then I will guard it from others and fight to use it as I desire. If time comes from God, then I don’t need to fight, struggle, or save. God does the saving, and I do the following.

God Wants to Use Time

Each day doesn’t have to begin like a race we are losing. We can begin by seeking God’s desire for us and for our days. I often find that an attitude of submission and seeking that is directed toward God’s desire for my day can make the difference.

I begin to fight against time when I’ve elevated my own desires to a place where I can’t find God or his desires.

We don’t need to struggle with time. In reality, any struggle against time is a struggle against ourselves and neglects God’s presence in our lives. God wants to heal our relationship with time, leading us to a place where we can find his peace and rest each day as we line ourselves up with his desires and direction.

We’ll have enough time if we have enough of God.

The Greenhouse

Take a minute to thank God for today and to offer your time to him.

 

There’s a Celtic saying that goes like this, “When God made time, he made enough of it.” Take a few minutes to reflect on this. Is there one thing on your schedule where that feels untrue? What is God saying to you about that today?

Jesus is Coming, What Do I Expect? More Time

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Nine years ago we were newlyweds. I remember when our photo album arrived from the photographer with 4×6 prints and negatives. Yes kids, people actually used to hold pictures in their hands, and you could only make another print if you brought the negative to a developer—I’m sorry if all of this is making your head spin.

I looked through the pictures and began to think about having some prints made, buying frames, and putting up some pictures around the house. Perhaps a nice picture of Julie for my desk and a portrait in our bedroom.

However, I had seminary classes, my wife was attending graduate school, and it seemed like we never found the time for it. We’d wait for later—a time when we’d have more time.

Nine years later, I’ve made no progress on this. Worse than that, there are so many things that I’ve put off by telling myself, “I’ll get to this when I have more time.”

It’s like I’ve created this fairy land in my future where I’m be rested, relaxed, and completely at leisure to do as I please. The truth is that we can always fill up our time with something. You can never have “enough” time.

One area where God is working on my heart lately is the stewardship of my time and how badly I can waste it. One night I drove over to our community market, which is an amazing natural foods/organic grocery coop. It’s in the middle of our residential neighborhood, so I parked on the street and could see the lights from televisions flashing in every single living room on our block.

The sight saddened me, but then God, champion for hypocrisy exposure, reminded me that I was chomping at the bit to go home and watch a bit of hockey. There was no use arguing that hockey is morally superior and more redemptive than Dancing with the Stars, even if I know that’s true. The matter was one of time and priorities.

I can always put off important things by saying that I’ll have more time in the future for them. This is a lie that turns me into the victim of the circumstances, when in reality I’m a victim of my own mismanagement—which is another way of saying that it’s my fault alone.

When Jesus came to earth, Simon and Anna proclaimed that God’s salvation had come that day. Herod sought to kill the newborn child because the threat to his rule was immediate. When God acts, there is no room for delay. We can’t let our circumstances become obstacles.

Jesus told his disciples that the time has come now. Today is the day to repent. Today is the day to follow him. When a man tried to put off following Jesus in order to take care of his family obligations, Jesus wouldn’t let him off the hook.

God’s timeframe is always now, not later. As much as I’d like to delay dealing with my sins and bad habits, God wants to heal them now. As much as I’d like to fill my day up with “important” tasks, God wants me to pray now. Whenever God prompts us to act or sit, to think or rest, he’s seeking what’s best for us.

I keep thinking that I’ll get to these things, but if I expect God to heal me in the future, he’s actually saying that he wants to do it now. He doesn’t want me to wait for a day when I’ll be less busy, less stressed out, and less fragmented because that day will never come. While I wait for life to become less stressful, I miss out on the source of healing that I need the most—the one thing that I’ve been waiting for.

Today’s post is a synchroblog with Christine Sine. Check out her post: Jesus is Coming—What Do We Expect?

And hey, did you know Advent is coming? I contributed to this great collection of meditations that is now available: Waiting for the Light: An Advent Devotional. Also check out Christine’s advent video.

Dear Jesus, I’ll Pray After I Check Twitter

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clock

A few days ago I had about twenty minutes to spare before running off to an appointment. I sensed a gentle nudge to sit quietly before God to pray and to just make myself available to him.

And then I thought, well, twenty minutes is a pretty big chunk of time. I’ll just go on Twitter to see what’s happening, and then I’ll sit to pray.

I read through the latest stream of updates, and then I noticed an interesting article. Without even thinking about it, I clicked it.

After reading the article, I obviously had to leave a comment.

After hitting the submit button for my comment,  I checked the time. I had five minutes.

Shoot.

We can always justify doing one more thing, but when I look back at that moment, I essentially squandered a chance to love God with all of my strength and to seek his Kingdom first. It was a good blog post, but I once heard someone say that the good is sometimes the enemy of the best.

Did reading that blog post and leaving a comment actually move me closer toward the most important objectives in my life? Probably not. While we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over our to-do lists, there is something to be said for hearing God’s voice and responding with quiet time before him.

Sometimes we need to just stop.

We can always add another chore to the list during the holiday season. However, are we leaving space for God and letting him rise to the top of our priority lists?

Lately, God has been claiming my time in the car. It has been really great. I’ve had some refreshing moments of prayer and meditation while driving that I would have missed if I’d had the radio on. Nevertheless, when God wanted to move in my time at home, I found reasons to distract myself.

It’s a process. It’s a relationship. There will come times when we lose sight of what’s most important. Thankfully God is passionate for his people, and he is patient with us. I’m blown away that he sticks with us.

As our schedules fill up during the holidays, may we find the time to stick with him and to enjoy the love he has for us.

For more posts about finding Jesus during the Christmas season, drop by Bonnie Gray’s Faith Barista Blog.

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