Deadlines: Ours or God’s?

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But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3:10

Today, I’m battling deadlines. In our world, we have the advantage of knowing the deadlines. Usually, I’m on top of things. I don’t like the rush at the last hour, so I tend to plan well and meet the finish line without adding to my grey hairs. Usually.

Not today. Today, I’m struggling to keep up because this week went off-kilter and never got back on track.

What about your Christian life? Are you off-kilter, trying to get back on track. The verse above might create fear in your heart, but I hope you’ll rest in the truth of His word and find peace instead of fear.

The verses prior to this warning say:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9

The Lord wants all to come to repentance. He’s more forgiving than the deadlines I’m dealing with, but I give my deadlines more attention than the most important one: the day when the Lord returns.

What about you? Are you fighting the world’s deadlines and forgetting His? If so, I hope you pause and focus on the most important one. Seek Him first, find His love, His will, and the others should fall into place.

When Do You Take Time To Stop?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

One of my favorite authors posted on Facebook the other day that she took a day off and did nothing but watch TV, catching up on shows and eating. This was unusual for her, and she asked if this was what normal people do every day.

Most of the ones who responded said they didn’t know because they never had time to stop. I was one of those people.

This morning, as I geared up for everything on my to do list, I realized that I should not feel proud of the fact I never stop. That is not good. It’s not good, either, for people to spend their days watching TV and eating.

We are commanded to stop, be still, know that He is God. This is not by accident. We need it.

God knew we needed to slow down and rest. Even he rested.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  Genesis 2:3

Although people focus a lot on Jesus’ efforts to push forward and act during his time on earth, he did carve out  niches of time to rest.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Matthew 14: 13-15

In the above passage, Jesus had just learned of the beheading of John the Baptist. He needed time to think, to draw near to God. He withdrew by boat to a solitary place. Have you ever gone out on a boat and drifted on the currents? It’s peaceful, quiet, a place to reflect and restore. When the people followed him, he tended to them, but by the end of the day, the disciples express concern over how to feed the people. Why? Jesus chose a remote place where he could be quiet, to be still, to be with the Father. There was no food.

The crowds took that time. Doesn’t that sound familiar? But, it doesn’t deter Jesus. See what happens after they feed the five thousand:

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Matthew 14:22-25

He still found the time to pray and be alone. It meant he missed his ride, but he made the choice to get what he needed most.

This is just one day in Christ’s life, but if you look, you’ll find many occurrences where he sought time to rest as his father commanded, to follow the psalmist’s admonition to be still and know.

This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV or playing with your tablet. It means to be still. To listen for the Spirit. To pray to the Lord. To feel the comfort of His power and presence.

I admit, this is hard for me. I’m pulled in so many directions, but I need to rejuvenate and be still. Even if it’s a few quiet moments with the bathroom door closed, I need to find it.

Where do you go to be still?

Houses Divided at Christmas

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Many people suffer from depression during the Christmas season. Some are experiencing their first Christmas after a loved one has died. Others worry about the family dynamic on Christmas day–Will Uncle Ralph pick a fight?  Will Cousin Sarah get drunk? For others, the limitations of getting everyone together can create stress and disappointment.

Anyone who’s divorced with children knows the heartache of Christmas. Where will the children be? How do we divide up the time? As the children grow up, marry, and start their own families, it becomes even harder. Which family will they spend Christmas with? Who will we have to leave out? Add to this married children of divorce who have married a child of divorce, and the problem is staggering.

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three… Luke 12:51-52

Even though these verses don’t refer to this specific situation, this is another example of why divorce is not God’s plan. We are facing it, ourselves. After many years of Christmases with most of our family gathered together, we’ve hit an interesting crossroads. One child is saving her money to come home for a wedding in April, instead. The others are headed to various family members’ homes, just not ours. Aging parents can’t make the trip.

I know Christmas is not about who is where. It’s about the birth of Christ, and the world’s awareness of God’s gift of salvation. It’s a time of blessings.

But it’s also a time when families gather together.

So, we will be trying out new traditions this year. New ways of approaching the day. On the plus side, we won’t have to rush to get dressed and get the turkey in the oven before family arrives. We can take it slower. And we will see most everyone over the next week. We get a prolonged Christmas.

Someone you know is facing a Christmas alone or separated from loved ones. Reach out to them, share with them your lives, and, most importantly, share the story of Jesus and the hope he brings.