Stay the Course

Patience. It can be the bane of our existence when we resist it, or the blessing of a lifetime when we surrender to it. In fact I’m here to tell you that as you surrender and let the fruit of patience develop in your life it will only bring you benefits… great benefits; not the least of which is learning to stand firm in the person and character of God. But in order to practically give patience a chance in our daily life, we need to address the possibilities of why we’ve become a culture of hurry-up-and-wait-for-nothing impatient people.

I enjoyed the discussion in the small group I participated in Tuesday night as we considered the following:

• Was your parents’ and grandparents’ generation busier than yours? Were they more/less patient because of it?

• Has all the technology you’ve become used to really simplified your life… or complicated it? How so?

• Has the increase of communication in your life made you more anxious or more content?

This morning, Dr. Jim Denison’s “Denison Forum on Truth and Culture” he addressed “The iPad and our Souls” and the busy, noisy culture we find ourselves in today. You can read about it here: Denison Forum.

A good word. Timely. And as I read it I thought of my own life and the constant state of motion I tend to exist in and the silent scream of my soul that cries out, “Enough, already! Quiet!” I most definitely think that there is a strong connection between advanced communication technology, busy-ness and impatience. I’m not suggesting that technology is a bad thing at all. I’m simply pointing out that with the increase of communication and technology came the increase of a great many things that we simply did not know we couldn’t live without but had been living perfectly fine without for decades. All of a sudden we are concerned, burdened, and tempted with great matters and wonderful things. I think of King David’s words~

My heart is not proud, O LORD, my eyes are not haughty; 
I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 
But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. (Psalm 131:1-2)

So, I offer a few suggestions for a Spring Break for your Soul:

• Take a day to be intentional in all you do by doing one thing at a time. As an exercise, stop multi-tasking for just 24 hours and see how much MORE you get done. If you’re on a phone call- just be on the phone call. Don’t unload the dishwasher and type an email at the same time.

• Take a technology fast over the weekend. If you can’t do without it (cell phone, iPad, computer, etc.) for 3 days, it’s probably an addiction. Alright, then start with 1 or 2 days. :-)

• Cultivate an ear for God’s voice by learning to “Be still”. Stillness is the main ingredient in the recipe for knowing God. Have you noticed that He never speaks in a hurried, busy or blaring voice? Our culture values busy-ness. But stillness (which means to “cease striving”)… is still very much in fashion in God’s economy. Try it… you just might like it.

Happy spring “soul” break!

…you are greatly and dearly loved by the King!

 

 

PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!

The Worthlessness of Riches

Where are you storing up your treasure? The Bible shows us, in regard to riches and possessions, that there are two kinds of people: Those who store up treasures on earth, and those who store up treasures in heaven. One of the interesting points for me from our lesson this past Tuesday night was that in God’s economy and in His kingdom, gold and silver rust! The earthly imperishable and incorruptible simply end up in rusty heap in heaven (or as heavenly asphalt– to pave the kingdom streets with). Think about it this way: Gold and silver are not the currency of heaven. Their earthly usefulness is only as valuable as their heavenly investment. Once we leave the planet, we will no longer have use for it or for any of our possessions for that matter. You simply cannot take any of it with you… but you can send it on ahead of you in the way of heavenly treasure by investing in those things that will last for all of eternity: God’s truth and people. We’ve to get away from the “building bigger barns” mentality and adopt the Kingdom-building lifestyle. Whether our bigger barns are bigger homes, bigger closets, more homes or simply more storage units to contain our stuff- it all takes time, money and focus to maintain; time money and focus that could be invested in kingdom efforts. That’s how we turn money (a root of all evil) into a heavenly blessing: Send it on ahead by investing in eternal work. As a dear friend of ours said after losing money in the stock market crash, “The only money I’ve never lost is the money I’ve given away for God’s work”. So true.

So… what’s a girl to do with her “bigger barns”, bigger closets and all the excess in her life (and we’ve all got some)? 1 Timothy 6:7-8 tells us that the weed-killer of all evil is “godliness with contentment” which equals “great gain”. Contentment is a learned behavior (Phil. 4:11-13). It’s the principle of enough… no matter what. Cultivating contentment in one’s life takes serious focus until it becomes a habit. May I suggest again the four-pronged approach I gave you Tuesday night:

1. Buy one – give two away: For every new thing you purchase, give away two things you already own. (Give away- not consign.)
2. Get one – give one away: For every gift you’re given, give something you already own away. You’ve been blessed to be a blessing!
3. Use it or lose it: If you have an excess of anything and are not using it- then get rid of it… give it to someone who can and will use it. Remember, hoarding is having but not using. Just say “NO!” to hoarding!
4. Give it away: Break the stronghold of things over your life and over the next seven days whenever someone compliments you on something… give it to them. (For instance- if it’s an article of clothing, clean it and then give it to them; if they compliment you on your purse or necklace… empty it out, take it off and give it to them). My only exclusions are wedding rings, family heirlooms (although I think that all my family who’ve gone on to glory are shouting, “Give it all away!) There is great freedom in releasing your grip on stuff. Try it… you just might love the freedom so much you won’t want to stop!

If you haven’t already read The Treasure Principle – by Randy Alcorn, you might want to pick up a copy. It’s a keeper that you’ll read and reread forever. I think it will really bless you.

…you are greatly and dearly loved by the King!

 

 

PS: If you missed the lesson, be sure to listen online!