For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth…a time to keep silent, and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 NET).
There is just so much noise. Twenty-four-hour news channels, talk radio, and social media provide a ceaseless surge of sound. Unfortunate news is twisted, amplified, and replayed into an unremitting feedback loop. To add to the noise seems almost like pouring a cup of water into the Pacific. I long for silence.
In the midst of all that noise, there are moments of deafening silence. There are occasions when voices must rise and cut through the clamor, speaking with clarity, conviction, and compassion.
When should we speak and when should we be silent? Continue reading “The sacrifice of silence”
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein (Psalm 24:1 ESV).
Everything belongs to God. If everything truly belongs to God then nothing truly belongs to us. While we may be in possession of many things, we are owners of none. Instead we are stewards.
A steward is “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another.” Continue reading “Stewards of God’s gifts”
Although we realise that God is different from us and so much more than we are, often we place our human limitations and thoughts in how we think of him. Two verses that should bring us back to our senses are found in 2 Peter 3.
“Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9 NET)
There are two thoughts here that radically distinguish God from humans. Continue reading “God’s patience”
Our title is but one phrase that emphasizes the importance of timely completion. It comes from the language of contracts and recognizes that delay causes harm.
When it comes to spiritual things, time is of the essence. Delay is dangerous. We are often reminded in Scripture of the brevity of life and the immanence of Christ’s coming. Continue reading “Time is of the essence”
By Johnny O. Trail — Drives returning home after Wednesday evening services are typically uneventful. Last Wednesday was vastly different than what I typically experience on my commute from mid-week Bible study. The tragic experience I came upon made me ponder a few things of spiritual importance.
As I was topping a hill on the way home, I saw a motorcycle laying in the ditch. Just a bit further down the road, there was a white car that had wrapped itself around a tree. Since my eldest son typically drives himself and his brothers to and from church in his car, my concerns were immediately raised. He too, drives a white vehicle. Continue reading “One less day”
Last Sunday, our time changed here in Brazil on the same date as in the US. That’s unusual. Usually, it occurs before, but was put off a few weeks because of the runoff presidential election last month. The US went off Daylight Savings Time, and Brazil, or much of it anyway, went on. So our time difference from Central Time, where most of our family members are, went, overnight, from two to fours hours.
They say that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of DST. Whatever caused this normally practical and good-ideas man to come up with this, we’ll never know. Must have been the same day he dreamed up the post office.
On Sunday Brazil held its country-wide National Exam, which also functions as a college-entrance exam. Some people missed getting in for the exam because we lost an hour. One girl was one minute late, after the gates had been closed, and missed her chance. When the gates close, no pleading will open them. Continue reading “One minute late”
The world started with God. He spoke, and it came into existence. God existed before all else. He is not created. He created all things.
Human beings started with God. Before the world was created, God planned to make man. In fact, everything else was created for man’s benefit.
Salvation started with God. He gave free will to man, so that the choice to love and serve God would be a real one. But man rejected God. God was not content to leave it at that. He had decided to bring man back to himself. Continue reading “Start with God”
A year is a God-given division of time. He made the heavenly lights to mark days, seasons, and years. So people — recognizing God’s sovereignty or not — make plans for a year, such as traveling, doing business, and making money, James 4.13.
As people age, it seems that “the years that lie ahead are few” Job 16.22. Even though we may reach the ripe old age of 80, “the years of our lives pass quickly, like a sigh” Psalm 90.9-10. But Solomon said it doesn’t matter if you lived a thousand years twice, death is still coming for you, Ecclesiastes 6.1-9. Maybe how you live, and what you live for, is what really matters, yes?
The Bible has a recipe for adding years to one’s life: wisdom, Proverbs 4.10; 9.11, and obedience to parents, Deuteronomy 5.16; Ephesians 6.1-3. Diet and exercise are good, but God’s plan for longevity is better. Remember that Hezekiah got 15 years added to his life, but it didn’t turn out so well for him, Isaiah 38.5. Continue reading “The years of our lives”
If God has still allowed me time on this earth, it is because he still has something for me to do. I do not presume to know all his thoughts, but that seems to be a safe statement to make. Others younger and more talented than I have entered eternity. There have been moments when I came close to the exit: car accident, surgery, my own foolishness, perhaps. (You may have your own moments to tell about.) But the Lord rescued me from them all (to borrow Paul’s language, if not his experience, in 2 Tim 3.11). Continue reading “The opportunities of life and time, and why we don’t pursue them”
We’re sitting in the auditorium in the congregation we attend. Facing the pulpit, we look at the walls to the right and the left and imagine a powerful string stretched from one to the other.
On that string, we see a beautiful, brightly colored tapestry. The tapestry begins on the right wall and ends on the left and it represents time as we know it.
On the right wall is creation (Genesis 1-2) and on the left wall is the return of Christ and judgment (John 14:1-6; Revelation 20:11-15). In the middle, we have the measurable days of the human existence. Continue reading “Time, tapestry and God”