Redeeming The Time – Part 1

Grace For The Journey

ThemePhotoForGraceForTheJourney

3nov  This Sunday we turn our clocks back in the annual effort to best utilize the time that we have.  I would like to use the next two blogs to look at what the Bible says regarding “redeeming the time,” based on the Scripture passage in Ephesians 5:15-20:

“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Why Redeem The Time?

The obvious reason is simply because God tells us to redeem the time.  Every second of our lives is a gift from God.  Our gift back to Him is in how we choose to live it.  In the Ephesians passage above, Paul tells us to be careful how we live so we can “make the most of every opportunity” that God gives to us.  Let’s take a look at one suggested summary of the activities that fill a typical lifespan of 70 years:

Sleep                           23 years                                  32.9%

Work                           16 years                                  22.8%

TV                                8 years                                    11.4%

Eating                          6 years                                    8.6%

Travel                          6 years                                    8.6%

Leisure                        4.5 years                                 6.5%

Illness                          4 years                                    5.7%

Dressing                      2 years                                    2.8%

Religion                       0.5 years                                0.7%

Total                            70 years                                  100%

Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon titled The Preciousness of Time, in which he said, “Things are precious in proportion to their importance, or to the degree wherein they concern our welfare.  Being uncertain of its continuance – knowing how little of it remains, whether years, months, weeks, days or hours – we ought to see the preciousness of time.”

When you look at the numbers in the table above in light of what Edwards preached, our relationships with Christ and service for Him is not that precious to the average individual.  How is it with you?

Funny thing about time: there has no inherent value in it until it is invested.  If we invest our time on stuff that truly doesn’t matter, we end up living a life that truly doesn’t matter.  But when we invest our time in things that have eternal value, we end up living a life of eternal value.  I’ve learned the hard way that the greatest time waster in the world is doing something God doesn’t want me to do . . . and having to clean up the mess afterwards!

Since time is a gift from God, we are stewards of it . . . not owners.  Each week God gives us 168 hours to use any way we choose.  The wise person is described in Scripture as one who redeems those hours by investing them in the advancement of the kingdom of God in every area of life.  We are to advance the kingdom of God in our homes with our families, at work with our co-workers, in our communities with our neighbors, and in our recreation with our friends.  Everything we do is to be done for the glory of God; that will only happen when we are in some way advancing His kingdom in this world.

We are His ambassadors on mission to redeem our time for the advancement of the cause of our King.  What we need to remember is if we don’t order our time someone else will do it for us.  The problem with that is that they might want us to be filling our time in ways that might not be what God wants for us.  We must live as the psalmist instructs: “So teach us to number our days aright, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  We do not want to live as the person Pascal describes: “The last thing one knows is what to put first.”

The choice is clear for the Christian.  Jesus Christ is to be our first priority in every aspect of our lives.  We are to live coram Deo – that is, “before the face of God.”  Living before the face of God means living under His authority and living for His glory moment by moment.  And it is the truths of the Gospel that free us to live this way – not in order to gain His favor, but because we already have it, thanks to the finished work of our King.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

GraceForTheJourneyBottomOfPagePicture

The Blessing Of Rock Bottom

Grace For The Journey

ThemePhotoForGraceForTheJourney

2nov  For all those who have spent any time at “rock bottom,” I promise you today’s blog will be a source of great comfort and encouragement for you.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 33:27, “The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.  And He thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’”

If the eternal God is your dwelling place, then when you find yourself at rock bottom know this: you are still standing on the Rock – and His name is Jesus Christ.  No matter how far you fall, His everlasting arms will be there to cradle you.  You cannot fall so far that He is not still underneath you.  The Savior is your support, regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself.

  • Are you under the weight of financial misfortune?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of trouble at the office?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of sickness and disease?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of difficulties in your marriage?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of rebellious children?  He is underneath you still.
  • Are you under the weight of the snares of sin?  He is underneath you still.

God’s arms never grow tired or weary, but continually provide strength and support.  When you find yourself as low as you can possibly go, you are eternally sustained in His everlasting arms.

The blessing of rock bottom is to know that you are still standing on the Rock.  When you feel you are at your lowest, He is there, holding you up with His everlasting arms.  He provides comfort and strength for every battle you face.  When the flesh takes you low, He is lower still.  When the devil takes you under, He is underneath.  When the world takes you down, He is down under!

What a promise for the child of God, that there is no sinking past our Savior! The Bible says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

There is safety even in the grave, if you are an adopted child of God.  The grave cannot hold you, because His everlasting arms are underneath the grave, doing two things at once: preventing us from going further down and propelling us into the presence of our Lord.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

GraceForTheJourneyBottomOfPagePicture

There is No “Small Print” in Sacred Scripture

Grace For The Journey

ThemePhotoForGraceForTheJourney

1november  The terms “small print,” “fine print,” and “mouse-print” all refer to less noticeable print that is dwarfed by the more prominent larger print it accompanies.  Small print is frequently used by advertisers selling a product or service.  Some merchants, who hope to deceive the consumer into believing an offer is more advantageous than it really is, will sidestep the legal technicality which requires full disclosure of all terms or conditions (even the unfavorable ones) by relegating the “bad news” to the tiny type font at the bottom of the page and trumpeting the “good news” of spectacular sale prices with brightly colored oversize type fonts.

The small print often contradicts what the larger print says.  For example, if the large print says “No Credit? No Problem!” the fine print may murmur “Subject to bank approval.”  You are probably familiar with television advertisements that flash small print text in camouflaged colors, and for the briefest periods of time, making it all but impossible to read.

And when the advertiser reads the small print disclaimer out loud, you’d think you suddenly landed in an auction with the fastest speaking auctioneer on the planet!  Sadly, we have all grown cynically accustomed to “small print” advertising designed to mislead us about the price, quality, or content of a particular product.

But there is no small print in sacred Scripture, even though many in the pulpit today preach as if there is.  Far too many preach a “small print Savior,” for fear that people will refuse to “sign up” if they know the truth about what is involved.  They preach blessing without burden.  They preach success without sacrifice.  They preach getting without giving.  They preach living without dying.

The irony in all this is the truth that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation.”  The more we water it down to try to make it more appealing, the more we strip it of its supernatural power.

Listen, the Gospel is designed to both repel and attract.  Sadly, many who sit under shallow “small print” preaching, which is crafted to attract by tickling the ears of the listener, are ill-equipped for the promised trouble to come.

Jesus said the day of tribulation will come; and when it does, if all they have built their faith on has been the shifting sand of small print, they will find themselves knocked off their foundation when the waves of challenge begin to wash over them.  They will be confused by challenge, surprised by suffering, and derailed by difficulty.  But this is not what God wants for you!

Jesus said in Luke 9:23-26, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their own soul? Whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Jesus refused to hide the truth of the Gospel in small print in order to increase His “success rate.”  In fact, it seems as though He went out of His way to make it clear just how difficult it would be for one to follow Him.  If the rich young ruler showed up in the church today he would be at the top of the list of potential leaders.  Yet after a conversation with our Savior, who refused to shroud the Gospel in “small print,” the rich young ruler went away sad.

You see, the Gospel Jesus preached – and the one we are to be preaching with both our lips and our lives – is a Gospel of self-denial and self-sacrifice.  He refused to tell people what they wanted to hear just so He could get someone to sign on the dotted line.  He spoke the truth and the truth was this: to follow Jesus is to follow Him to the cross where dying to self is the only way to live for the Savior.

We know the apostle Paul fully understood there was to be no “small print” in sacred Scripture when he spoke these words, which were “strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” The words were: “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

GraceForTheJourneyBottomOfPagePicture