Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Procrastination Is Making Me Wait, Keeping Me Waiting

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)

It occasionally strikes me that I have been waiting ‘til the last minute to do things again. I’ve made a commitment to do this, write that, speak here, go there, and I’ve wasted precious time before addressing the commitment. When we wait until the very last minute to start on the way to an appointment, we often find that we’re not prepared for the flat tire, the wreck just ahead, or the road construction that was supposed to be completed two days ago. We walk into the meeting late with an apology hanging on the tip of our tongue.

I plead guilty once again, for those few who have begun reading here. A few weeks ago, our ministerial alliance group divided the next several months (beginning with August) with the goal that each of us would post at least one devotional thought a week. I missed last week. Mea culpa, pardon moi, I’m so sorry. But doesn’t that illustrate what we all do all of the time—put it off until we’ve either missed the opportunity or turn in a shoddy, half-hearted attempt at the job? Of course, while the idea of “there is a time to wait and a time to go” included in the preacher’s words from Ecclesiastes 3, the assumption of “there is a time to put it off and a time to ‘git ‘r done’” doesn’t quite foot the bill.

Franklin suggested, “Why wait until tomorrow to do what you can do today?” We often turn it into, “Why do to day what you can put off until tomorrow?” There is a time for everything, and the time is now to do what we have committed to do.

Lord of all time, help me to use wisely the time you have given me. Thank you for the time to work, to play, and to live. Help me to be faithful to the commitments I have made.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

“Have a Blessed Day”

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Genesis 12:3)

That’s how the waitress said good-bye to the patrons at the table near mine in the restaurant just this week. I like this greeting better than the one it seems to be replacing: “Have a good one.” After all, as believers in Christ we are to be blessed and be a blessing, are we not?

In thinking of this way to say good-bye, I began to think of ways that I am blessed. My family of origin (that’s my parents, my brothers and sister, the family into which I was born) is one in which God was important and church life was a natural succession. My family of choice (that’s my wife, the family I got to have a say in) is supportive of my ministry and loves me in spite of who I am. My children provide times of growth and pride for me. I can’t imagine life without them.

I’ve had experiences that have allowed me to grow closer to God along every step of the way. You may have had those, too. Mine are time spent as a public school teacher, time spent living overseas in service of the Lord and His work, and time spent on staff at a local church. That brings me to my next blessing: the church. We live in a place where church involvement is available at an easy rate. Even in our village with a population of 700, there are three churches within the city limits (not to mention those which are planted outside the city limits). We are a church saturated society. Do you want to be blessed? Get involved in one of the local churches on the corner of the street near you.

And the list goes on: health, safety, love, food. An old hymn says, “Count your many blessings name them one by one . . . And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” (“Count Your Blessings, Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr., Music: Edwin O. Excell)

Have a blessed day!

Father, thank you for my many blessings. Keep them coming, and keep me thankful. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

I Am Thankful . . .

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

I am thankful for the gift of life in this beautiful world that God ahs created and for parents and grandparents who taught me about God’s love and His promise of eternal life through His son Jesus.
I am thankful to be born in a country where we can live and worship in freedom and for those who have sacrificed and are still sacrificing for that freedom.
I am thankful for my home and family who have blessed my long and happy life.
I am thankful for the hard times and disappointments that have taught me to understand and appreciate the grace and comfort of the Lord.
I am thankful for each person who has blessed my life and given me a reason to live; my husband and our children and grandchildren and all the little ones yet to come.

God has given us so much of life
And love and health and such:
Little ones to bless our home,
Three boys and two girls of our own.
Wonderful, happy, busy days
For all of these we give You praise;
Some troubles, sorrows, disappointments, too
You’re always there to see us through.

Thank you, dear Lord, for Your presence with us here and now and for the promise fo a life everlasting in Heaven with You that You have given to all who believe Your word and receive You as Savior.

Jaynece Dothager, First Baptist Church of Mulberry Grove