Tag Archives: time

Spending Time With God’s Perspective

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Spending Time With God’s Perspective

Good evening! I have had something come up unexpectedly and wont be able to blog post tomorrow…so I grouped the verses together. Our Ecclesiastes 3 study continues tonight with verses 9-13…

What do people really get for their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful in its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

How do we stay content in this life with so much negativity, so much violence, so much grief. Do we ignore it? Do we keep it in the back of our minds like it doesn’t exist? Ignoring, or pretending the reality of the world doesn’t exist, or doesn’t affect us, is not a healthy state for us to be in. That is why Solomon shows us here in the first 8 verses of Ecclesiastes 3 that everything exists and operates in a proper balance. We cannot ignore that hate exists. We cannot ignore that war exists. We cannot ignore that killing, death, grief, and sadness exist.

What we can do is change the attitude of our hearts. The only way for us to find true contentment in our lives depends upon our attitude. If we constantly focus on the negative things, or on the contrary, ignore them all together, then we live in a state of disillusionment. It happens when we lose our sense of purpose…the purpose God put us on this Earth to accomplish for His Kingdom. When we keep our eyes focused on the work God has for us, we begin to realize the fruits of our labor are gifts from Him. Everything we do, everything we possess, every single minute of everyday we have is because of Him… the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Ultimately, we can never be satisfied with “earthly pleasures”. Maybe for a short window of time, but after a while the pleasure fades and we are right back to reality. Of all the people I have encountered, I have never heard any of them say that being addicted to earthly pleasures was fun and gave them hope. Maybe for a split second at first, but that “high” soon wears off and doesn’t help us learn how to change our lives for the better. Most of the time it only makes our situation worse.

God wants us to enjoy life, to live it to its fullest, to experience the beauty of His creation… but to do it in a way in which we don’t lose the proper perspective, His perspective. Then, and only then, will we discover that our joy and happiness comes from using the gifts God blesses us with, not in the stuff we accumulate.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

photo courtesy of Proverb 31 Ministies

Here on Earth.

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What I’ve been given is time. Not life, not really. If I believe in what the bible says (and I do) my life, as it were, is a blink compared to the life that awaits me in a very real kingdom finer than those described in any legend or myth. Still, the time I’ve been given here is such a great gift that I can’t even grasp it. What do I do with it? How am I to spend it and with whom?

I’m still trying to work out the first question for myself and my family, and with a firm assurance I can tell you I am a terrible steward of time. I waste it, and mock it, and complain about it either dragging on too long. or flying by too fast. I often wonder what I could’ve done better in time past. Then I turn around and wonder what I can do to improve my future, and promptly begin scheming. How utterly human of me.

Why not live in the moment? Now is the best time of all. Insight is all we need, a.k.a prayers of wisdom. To remember we aren’t given a spirit of fear is to resolve to use our time wisely. We profit nothing when we fear what the future holds, or fear what some might think of our past. It does no good at all, yet it is done everyday. Certainly time should be thoughtfully and lovingly spent with a large dose of bravery in the mix. Because here on Earth we have little time to decide where we’ll be spending eternity. As to who we should spend time with . . . time will tell.

To Keep Or Not To Keep?

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To Keep Or Not To Keep?

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s blog post. We are continuing with our study in Ecclesiastes 3, taking a look at verse 6…

A time to search and a time to stop searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.

If you have read my blog post a few weeks back titled The Gift of Gab, you will know that I have been overwhelmed with the amount of things we have accumulated. With adult children in the house it has been difficult to keep up. (One daughter is expecting a baby in Sept. and the other just moved back home after graduating college) Verse 6 has been something that I have had on my heart for a while, especially the keeping and throwing away part. Deciding what to keep and what to get rid of has been a challenge but I have left it up to God to show me what is important and what isn’t.

I have lots of books because I love to read. I have an elaborate craft room because I love to create and do art. I have boxes of my “skinny clothes” in the attic because I have been dropping weight and want to fit into them again. (I have gone down almost two whole sizes already! Yay!) I have a lot of knickknacks, glassware, silver, and china that I have inherited or were given to me as gifts. I mean really, who needs two sets of formal china and silver in this day and age?

I have already cleaned out a considerable amount of books. God said… it’s OK, you can go to the library and get any book you need. So out they went. I have gone through my art room, gathered up the things I don’t use, and took them to church for craft supplies. God said… its OK, you are not using this stuff anyway. So out it went. Even though I have been losing weight, I went through my “skinny clothes” anyway, gathering up what I know I wont wear. God said… its OK because your taste in clothes has changed over the last 6 years and some of those clothes don’t go with your new style. Now going through the knickknacks were easy! So bye bye! God said loud and clear…you don’t like to dust them anyway. Now I am on to the glassware, silver, and china. This I was wrestling with. All of these are valuable, whether monetarily, sentimental, or both. Some of the pieces I have are from our grandmothers and were handed down to us when they passed. Some of the pieces were given to us as wedding gifts, anniversary gifts, or just gifts in general…but they all have meaning, memories attached to each one. Of these things, God has said to me…these are things you keep to remind you of memories of special events, special people, and blessings of both.

What about you? Do you have things that you need to decide…is this a time to keep or is it a time to throw away?

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

photo courtesy of frugalandthriving.com.au

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Time

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“Time lost is time when we have not lived a fully human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavor, enjoyment and suffering.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

A German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906. He was a brilliant student, earning his doctorate at the age of 21. His dissertation was published in 1931 as “Act and Being.”€ Bonhoeffer was one of the first German Protestants to see the dangers of the Nazi rise to power. He founded a secret seminary to train pastors in an illegal anti-Nazi church he had organized. Though frien…

Date of Birth: February 04, 1906
Date of Death: September 04, 1945

Cultivating Time

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Cultivating Time

Hello! Welcome to our blog! Today in our blog post we will be continuing our study of Ecclesiastes 3 with verse 5…

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

I will admit this verse puzzled me at first when I read it in my NLT Bible above. So I looked at what it says in The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson…

A right time to make love and another to abstain. A right time to embrace and another to part.

The Message Bible is not an exact translation, so I went into further study in my amplified Bible and it says…

A time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.

In pondering different versions of this passage, I couldn’t help but to think of a garden. I love gardening! So much so that I am willing to put my body at risk due to the immense nature of my outdoor allergies. (The patch of eczema on my shin that I can’t get rid of proves it! LOL) This verse makes me think of all the times in the Bible where God’s Word talks about a vineyard. A garden, or a vineyard, are the same in terms of the work it takes to cultivate it. Time to clear away the “stones” in order for the ground to be just right and time to build those “stones” back up again around the perimeter to protect it from invading pests.

As I sit here meditating on these words of King Solomon, I think about the “stones” in my heart that since becoming a Christian I have had to “cast away”… anger, bitterness, jealousy, envy, impulsiveness, idolatry… just to name a few. I also reflect on the “stones” I have had to “gather”, to rebuild my heart…love, peace, joy, trust, faith, patience, gentleness, self-control. I thank God every day that He brought me to a place in my heart where I was open to receiving Him and willing to let Him be the captain of my faith journey. After all, He isn’t called the the Lord and Giver of Life for nothing!

So now I think about the second part of this verse… to embrace or not to embrace. It seems there is a time for both of these as well. I remember times in my life when I have had to embrace situations, both good and bad. Along with that, there have been times in my life when certain situations have arisen that I simply could not embrace.

Now I wonder… what do the two parts of this verse have to do with the other?

Relationships!

In any relationship, whether it be with a friend, someone you are dating, your spouse, a family member, a co-worker, or someone you just met… relationships take a lot of work to cultivate. In order to have healthy relationships your heart has to be in the right place, sowing those good seeds we talked about in a previous blog post. Why? Because you can’t grow and produce good fruit in your garden unless you “cast away stones”, just like you won’t have healthy relationships if you have stones in your heart that get in the way.

If you are in an unhealthy relationship, how do you cultivate it to make it healthy? By “gathering stones” of a different sort. Stones that build up, not tear down. Stones that protect your heart and protect the hearts of those who you are in relationships with.

Changing ground, or relationships, to be fertile and produce good fruit, takes time. Sometimes a lifetime. God will help you . His Word contains a wealth of ideas of how to do it. Ask yourself , and God, these questions…

Do I have “stones” in my heart that are affecting my relationships? If so, how can I tear them down and build them back up again in order to cultivate good fruit?

How can I replace those “stones” with ones of a different sort, ones that protect my heart and the hearts of those around me?

Are there certain relationships in my life I should embrace and are worth taking the time to fix? Are there ones I need to turn away?

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

photo courtesy of makeroomforgreatness.com

 

 

 

A Time For Everything

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A Time For Everything

Ecclesiastes 3 

There’s a Right Time for Everything

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

14 I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

15 Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

God’s Testing Us

16-18 I took another good look at what’s going on: The very place of judgment—corrupt! The place of righteousness—corrupt! I said to myself, “God will judge righteous and wicked.” There’s a right time for every thing, every deed—and there’s no getting around it. I said to myself regarding the human race, “God’s testing the lot of us, showing us up as nothing but animals.”

19-22 Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Time has been on my heart lately. Not just because all of us here on the Lutheran Ladies Connection have been blogging about it, but in my own personal life as well. I have had many conversations with God recently about this very thing. Time is of God. It is like God in the sense that we cannot see it, nor can we control it, but we can feel its presence all around us.

Time is a funny thing… most of us either spend our time regretting our past mistakes or spend our time worrying about what will happen in our future. Some of us even do both. What ends up happening is we lose time in the present and the vicious cycle starts again. We end up say things like… “I wish I would have done that differently.”, “I wish I could get back time I have lost.”, “What will happen because of those choices?”, “Will God be mad at me for the things I’ve done?”, “What consequences will I suffer in the future because of my past?”. The list goes on and on…I am sure that every one of you reading this today has had these same thoughts and emotions in your own lives, just like me.

That is why God put it on my heart to share the above passage from Ecclesiastes 3 that I have found most comforting about time. Over these next couple weeks, I will be writing a blog series on this passage. It is filled with so much wisdom from King Solomon that it has to broken down into sections. Our tiny brains can only wrap our minds around it in chunks! LOL!

So please read this chapter in Ecclesiastes in your Bibles at home. Set aside time to read God’s Word. Remember, God’s Word never returns void so it will never be a waste of your time to read it as much and as often as you can. I pray that you will come with me on the journey of discovery, learning what King Solomon had on his heart to share with us concerning his observations of time. He isn’t coined the King of Wisdom for nothing!

As we venture on our way, please feel free at any time to pose questions, start a discussion about a particular verse or thought, or share your life with us about how this subject of time has been on your hearts too! I am excited as we begin and can’t wait to see where God takes us, for such a time as this.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

 

photo courtesy of dailylifeverse.com

For Such a Time As This

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For Such a Time As This

I teach our Women’s Ministry Bible Study at church. We are studying the book of Esther. It has been a great study for us to really dig into. I was surprised at the number of women who had not read it before or knew very little about the story of Esther. We have been going through it, one chapter each time we meet. Last night we were rooted in Chapter 4 and as I was preparing to teach this section, verse 14 stood out to me…

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but you have been elevated to the palace for such a time as this.

In this one verse it says the word time twice. When things are repeated in succession in the Bible, pay attention. Mordecai is pleading with Esther to make a choice…risk death by Haman’s plot to kill all Jews, or risk death by entering King Xerxes’ chamber, uninvited, to plead with him for deliverance from their annihilation.

No one knew yet that Esther was a Jew herself, except her cousin Mordecai. She had been orphaned, brought to live with him in Susa, a Persian providence, and brought to the King’s palace as a young virgin in the harem when he banished Queen Vashti. Xerxes was to choose a new queen from these virgins. Esther was elevated above them all, and won Xerxes heart and he made her Queen of Persia.

When Esther first learns about the edict to kill all the Jews, she is deeply distressed but I don’t think she quite got the seriousness of it. She sends out clothes for Mordecai to cover himself instead of his public display of mourning, wearing sackcloth (burlap) and ashes. Mordecai refuses and sends her back a message of the exact details of the plot and pleads with her to go King Xerxes and beg for the lives of her people. I believe he did this to explain to her the urgency of this situation. She feels stuck, not knowing what to do, and says “What do you want me to do, risk dying trying to talk to him when he hasn’t summoned me?”  Mordecai becomes irritated and points out to her “you will not escape the same fate, maybe this is why God has elevated you to the position of queen, for this very thing!”  Then comes Esther’s dilemma… die at the hands of the Persian army when they found out she was a Jew, or die trying to enter the King’s inner court, uninvited, to plead for the deliverance of her people. (Read the rest of Chapter 4 to find out what she chooses if you don’t already know!)

I couldn’t help but ponder, which offers the greater risk? On one hand, she dies like all the other Jews under the verdict carried out by the Persian army, and disappoints God by not defending His people. Or on the other hand, she goes before her husband’s throne, risking death because she was both uninvited and exposing that she had not revealed her true identity to him, but pleasing God in the process because she was willing to die for His chosen people.

We see God’s Provision in Esther’s life because of the importance of her position as queen. We are not queens, nor do most of us hold the high position that would pale in comparison to hers. Most of us can’t even fathom the immensity of the fulfillment of this significant destiny that God places on her life. So how can we apply her situation to our lives?

Take this to heart. We are royalty in the most literal sense possible because we are daughters of the King of the Kings, the Lord of Lords. We have royal blood in a way that even Esther did not because the crimson blood of Jesus Christ flows through our veins.

  1. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (there is a time and place for all things!)
  2. Have you ever had a “for such a time as this” opportunity in your life? If so, how did you use the gifts and talents entrusted to you by God on the behalf of others?

Four Principles we can learn from Esther…

  1. God has a special plan for each of our lives.
  2. Sometimes you have to go against your own common sense, against what other people advise, even against what you want to do, in order to follow God’s plan.
  3. Don’t wait to follow God’s plan for your life. The time is now! At some point you have to gather up the courage to move forward, one step at a time. Otherwise you stay stuck and complacent.
  4. Trusting in God completely and wholeheartedly brings great rewards but it takes radical obedience! Be sold out for God, living to please Him above all else.

 

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie

 

Photo courtesy of theadoptshoppe @ etsy.com

Times Have Changed

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(“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Read the verses above and you will realize that times change.  During our life we will fill many roles and do many things, but none of them are permanent.  The good news is, bad times will pass and the bad news is well… good times will pass as well.

So, what is the message?  The author of Ecclesiastes (thought perhaps to be Solomon) is rather fatalistic.  Life will end in death;  the good man and the evil man end up in the same condition.  What is the point?  He does say we should enjoy daily life — “eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart…. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love …” (Ecclesiastes 9:7, 9).  He also instructs us to “Remember your Creator”(Ecclesiastes 12:1).  This is good advice, as far as it goes.

Luckily for us, it’s not the end of the story.  Times are different now –not because of computers and cell phones, but because we have the gospel.  We’ll still have happy times and miserable times;  scary times and peaceful times;  times of plenty and times of pain.  We still need to enjoy what we have and trust in God;  but now, thanks to Jesus, we know that death is not the end.  God sent Him “at just the right time”(Romans 5:6) to be the world’s Savior.

Thank God that Jesus has risen!  He has risen indeed!  Times have changed!