Hurry Up Already! We’re Going to be Late!

 How many times have we said this?

This morning it came home to roost over my house- I was responsible for taking Clara to school, she was on time, I was not… and we both paid for it.

 It always amazes me how I feel once I’m on the other side of the  “hurry up” moment.  Mission accomplished! There’s this sigh of relief and a wave of calm down deep. This morning was no different-it was a cool morning and I opened the windows in the car, turned off the radio, and just drove like I had nothing better to do-such peace and amazingly quiet. That adjusted my whole morning. What’s more amazing, I got several things done I had no idea I would be able to get done after I returned to the house- and that was with my little helper-Connor.

 We live in the world of now. Communication is instantaneous. Travel seems to be at light speed, ‘need it yesterday’ has become a litany for some. Information and references are only a click away.  We are constantly bombarded with quick, short, efficient, fast-acting, momentary, lightning speed and “works in only… seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks… ‘”products.

 When I think about hurrying, things begin to blur, my head starts to spin and the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland starts talking to me: “ I’m late, I’m late for a very important date.” He always was in a rush to some other where.  And then there’s Mr. McFeely, from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, shouting: “Speedy Delivery!”

Ever want to throw open the front door and yell “Stop, already!” to the world? But, who would be listening?

 I could go on, but you get the point.

Slowing down.

Even writing it and saying it in my head seems to convey the reduction of speed.

 But can we do it? I’d like to think so….

There will always be things beyond our ability to manage. Knowing that everyone is allotted the same amount of time does not help when you are pushed and pulled by the hurry monster. Manage what you can, let go of what you can’t and try not to look like you stuck your finger in a light socket when you arrive at the end of your day.

 The world is not going to stop for us. We must find that place of stillness within. Think about that one thing that you could change, redesign, add or do without that would make your life a little less hurried, a little less stressed, and give you more rest. Then make that one small adjustment.

For me, it’s getting up 20 minutes earlier- agghhh – that’s my weak point- morning! As you can tell by the fact that Clara was tardy this morning because of me.

 Oh, and there’s a little secret in there, too.  I am so thankful for my friends who pray! My yesterday was a rough day and I did look like I had a light socket hairdo at the end of it.  I asked them to pray and they did, as did I; and the rest and change of pace I’m seeing today is all to God’s Glory!  He has ordered my day, Amen! I’m not perfect- still late for things and still get frazzled by the end of a long day, but the day is His.

 We can “Be Still!” before the Lord and retreat into His Word. He hears the sincere prayer of our hearts, and He knows when we are hanging at the end of the rope after one of those days.  Even a moment in His Time is worth so much more than a century in ours.

Words to ponder:

 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14

 “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long,
and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12b

Faith and Works

Last week in my Bible study the discussion of faith without works was on the table. Very interesting and different perceptions were expressed. For my part, if I am a true believer, then with my faith comes an outward expression of that faith. I also believe that those “works” have an inward component that is not seen by the world. We can be a prayer warrior and never serve a roll in the soup line at the shelter; we can bring names to the foot of the cross over and over and never teach a verse in Sunday school; we can cry from the depths of our souls for those we care for and they may never know. No one will ever prove to me that those hours in the prayer closet are not works.

 And, while works can include a quick note to a co-worker in appreciation, a neighbor mowing the lawn next door while he’s at it, a little boy bringing flowers to his teacher, reading to a nursing home resident who’s no longer able to read for himself, relieving the young mother from her duties for an hour, or taking a meal to someone; to some folks these are not works but gifts of themselves, their time and their resources back to the Father.

I believe there are seasons in our lives when the manifestation of works in our lives may not be evident immediately to others; but they are evident to the Father. Perhaps those times are opportunities for others to express their faith in works that He has prepared for them to do for us.

Faith moves us to do different things. And by these things others can see the evidence of the impact of that faith in our lives. So whether you think that you must “do good works” that are actually work; or whether you think that there are a multitude of ways that faith can be expressed, seems to me, they are all evidence of our faith.

 Of course, if you are sitting around on your duff, doing nothing at all…. then maybe it’s time to sit up, take note of the world around you and find where you can best express your faith!

Some things to ponder:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. John 14:10-14

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. 

 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Romans 3:23-28

What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: 

 “Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.” Romans 4:1-8 

What if?

You fall down?

The world is falling down around you?

Those you love have abandoned you?

Your life is plagued by physical pain?

Your child isn’t perfect?

You discover you are pregnant and you don’t know who the father is?

You’ve been told you have AIDS, or cancer, or early onset Alzheimer’s, or Multiple Sclerosis?

Your brother was sent to war and didn’t return?

Your parents both have Alzheimer’s and you are their only child?

You lost your job due to budget cuts after working at the same position for 27 years? 

Your fun friends find other fun friends to hang out with- without you?

You can’t bring yourself to walk out of the door of your house-ever?

You just finished the fourth half-gallon of ice cream, the fifth box of cookies, and a third jar of hot fudge sauce topped off by a bag of marshmallows?

Your best friend is no longer your friend?

Your husband drinks himself to sleep every night?

Your sister lives her life on the edge, you never know when she will show up or what shape she will be in?

You found cocaine in your 14-year-old’s bedroom?

You have maxed out all of your credit cards, you are behind on the mortgage, and the electricity has been turned off because you can’t stop spending?

You can’t move from room to room in your house because there are boxes everywhere, up to the ceiling because you can’t throw anything out?

Your mom sleeps with every man she meets?

Your father abused you, your older sister, your younger sister and your baby brother for years?

Your wife left on a business trip with her boss and didn’t return?

You have never heard the words “I love you” said to you?

 

The list can and does go on. We pass people on the street that carry crippling burdens around with them and we never notice. Meanwhile, we are buckling under the weight of our own burdens.  

 

Yet…

 

He         LOVES         us.    

 

All of us.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

 

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

 

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no human mind has conceived”- the things God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9b

 

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9

 

May your unfailing love rest upon us oh, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22

 

Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Psalm 36:5

 

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 36:7

 

Do not withhold your mercy from me, oh Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me. Psalm 40:11

 

When I said, “My foot is slipping”, your love, oh Lord, supported me. Psalm94:18

 

“ A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39