Monday, October 17, 2011

Coffee, Journal, and Time

I stare at a half empty cup of coffee that has gone from rather inviting on such a frigid Irish morning to dull and lifeless as the foam begins to harden over the top. My journal sits beside it beckoning me to fill it's empty lines, but the words just won't come. So instead I grab my computer and begin to vent upon technology the whirlwind of confusion that clouds my thinking.

How could two months pass by in the blink of an eye? When did the slender waist of the hour glass forget to keep it's shape? Do I have the right to be angry with her? Well of course I do... It's not my job to keep track, it's hers! But what if she didn't lose shape? What if I just began to do what comes naturally? What if I just became comfortable not paying attention? Is that what happened?

I can't blame her, I can't blame anyone but myself. Our time is given to us as a gift. We choose whom to give it to and what to give it to. I should really keep track of mine shouldn't I? Why do I pay such close attention to my money, my clothes, my material possessions but not my time? Ask me at anytime where my wallet is and I can tell you the exact pocket in my jacket and when I put it in there. Ask me where my computer is and I can tell you what room, what corner, and what I used it for the last 20 times I turned it on. Ask me about my time and the haze sets in slowly. My eyes become glazed over as I strain to recover the details of my currency exchange with the hour glass of life. Isn't our time in this life the most precious commodity we have been given? Is it really so easy to forget that our bank account of life has a set limit that we cannot deposit into? So why am I so careless with my time?

I sit here this morning and stumble over the right words to paint a the picture I wish you to see. Our time is so precious and we should take care of it. We should spend it on others and most importantly on our relationship with God. Wait a minute, that's it right there!

Something begins to crack the rigid pose of my face right now. Something begins to brighten the room as I generously smile at those around me because it has dawned on me.

No we cannot deposit more time into our account of life, but neither can we overdraw it! Our currency is good for everything and there is no limit on how much we can spend daily. Our choices are to do nothing and not spend it, or do something with it. Our Father in heaven gave us a set amount of days to use our account, but not a set limit that we could spend daily! As I realize that I sometimes forget how precious my time is, I will not let a few bad days of ignorance ruin a lifetime of abundant giving.

One of the greatest gifts we can give is our time because it is something we can't get back. Each moment is unique and non-refundable, once spent it is spent. So let us spend it wisely and today give as much as possible to God and to others! I want to look back one day and say, "that was a life well spent." Invest in love, laughter, hope, faith and the things that the Bible says will last for eternity. You only have one account, what will you spend it on today?

The cup of coffee has been drained and the vents in my mind have almost fully cleared the haze of confusion. I think I'm almost ready to take the pen to my journal now. I see more clearly that these two months in Ireland have truly been spent wisely and the smile that began to crack just moments ago gleams so brightly that the curiosity in the room has grown larger than the room itself. I can hear the thoughts from the strangers facial expressions seeking to know what could possibly make a person smile so selfishly. Here's a little secret they don't know that I will let you in on (and probably them too). My smile has become unending and impossible to mask because I realize that for two months we as a corporate body have invested in the most important product a man can spend his time on. For two months we have been investing in the eternal salvation of others... And here in Ireland... Business is booming! I can't refrain now, involuntary giggling has began to protrude through my mouth!

Ya... I'm ready to take the pen to my journal now :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Reflect and Respond

"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour."
~William Blake

My birthday was yesterday and while I was taking some time to myself the Lord started reminding me of everything that has happened this past year.  As I sat there thinking about this, I realized that I don't take enough time to reflect on my life, and time.  This is something that I believe we all need to do more of, because something that has become so evident to me is that as we grow older, time flies by faster and faster.  

I realized yesterday that this last year went by in the blink of an eye.  I could not believe everything I had done and how most of it, though a while back, seemed like it just happened yesterday.  This thought doesn't scare me, but it does make me think about how I need to change my mindset about life and the daily choices that I make.  I don't want to be 70 one day and look back finally just to realize that I missed so much and didn't do all of the things the Lord offered to me.  Instead I want to be 70 and realize that I didn't miss a beat, I didn't say no to anything the Lord asked of me, and I don't have any regrets because I lived life to the fullest.

In order to get to this place, it begins with our day to day reflection and choices that come into view from this reflection.  I believe that as we come to the alter of the Lord daily, we must ask, what He has for us today and then we must ask what we missed from Him yesterday so that tomorrow we don't miss the same things.  I don't want to live in the past, nor do I want to worry about the future... but I want to fully live today, which is done when we honor the past, prepare for the future, and see/live in the now.

In this place of daily reflection we must let our mind be transformed by the Lord so that our decisions line up with the plan God has for us... Only in this place of alignment will we truly be able to say in the end, "I wouldn't change a thing."  I don't know about you, but when my time comes I want the Lord to hold me in His arms and say, "well done my good and faithful son, I wouldn't change a thing."  Because when our heavenly Father says that to us, it means we lived in the fullness of what He planned for us.  

This cannot be done on our own.  It can only be seen and grasped when we live a life of complete reliance on the Lord.  The place where Jesus sits on the throne of our heart and we lay it all down at His feet, the place where we say to Him, "I'm all in."  I had a pastor from a church in Colorado ask me what the phrase "all in" meant to me on the missions field and this is what I said because it has to do with coming to the alter daily.

"To be all in means to be 'all out' of the way of Lord in my life.  It is the place we all should be and try to be, but the place we fail to be daily... And so shines forth the beauty of His grace.  To be 'all in' means that my life will reflect the Word and the Spirit daily, truth and power, none of which is my own but Christ in me who shines forth.  Oh how I wish I was truly 'all in' and yet even living on the mission field, I regret to say I don't fully know what it means... but I am learning what it means daily."  

We must reflect on life and our time daily so that we can make changes accordingly.

Be all in today!
Come to the alter daily and ask,
"What do you have for me today Lord?"
"What did I miss yesterday?"
Then learn and live in His GRACE and LOVE

On a side note, as you may have noticed I have been taking a slight break from continuing on the "Delusions of Degradation" series.  The reason being that I have not had a lot of time to really put my thoughts together in the form of a well articulated blog based off of the revelations I have been receiving during my times of study.  I don't want to rush this series and I want to make sure that the thoughts I put down are well thought out and well worded.  I will be stateside in a couple weeks and at that point I will be able to take the time needed, so it might be best that I hold off until then.  Thank you and love you all.