Saturday, September 25, 2010

Time Management

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ."
-Ephesians 5:15-21

I LOVE LOVE LOVE these verses. They are so succint. It's like the Holy Spirit writing through Paul doesn't even want to waste our time as we read this. He's short, he's sweet, and to the point. He knows the way we spend our time is valuable, so instruction in the area of what we should be filling our time with is not just a luxury, but a necessity if we're to walk out this journey of faith. Time management is one of the biggest areas in my life that I struggle with. But I see in this verse a picture of a balanced Christian life. And while I am not living it at this moment, it's the goal before me in these verses. So what does a balanced Christian life look like? What does it mean to manage our time wisely? Here is what I see in these verses:

1. The Christian life should be lived with the end in sight. In other words, I should continually be asking myself if the things I am choosing to spend my time on are things that have eternal value and significance.

2. The days are evil. This shouldn't be a revelation to any Christian, but how often do I feel shocked when the world seems to run backwards to all that is good and perfect and true? When we live in revelation of this truth, it should be freeing and empowering. Not to despair, but to accept the reality in which we live and expect that when we seek to live a life for God, we WILL ENCOUNTER RESISTANCE. Just like a soldier on a battlefield, I should never leave the weapons of my warfare at home, but keep them on at all times, ready to engage the enemy and shine His light into dark places. And our weapons are not carnal, earthly weapons. The word of God hidden within the human heart, the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation...all of the weapons that we find listed in Ephesians 6- these are our weapons.

3.It takes some degree of seeking and wisdom to find the will of God for my life. It will not come automatically. At the same time, God wants to reveal His will to me. He knows my weaknesses and He has a plan that accounts for them. He is constantly working behind the scenes in my life to bring me to a greater knowledge of Him. He pursued me first. I was not the one who pursued him in my sinful state. Nevertheless, I have a part to play in this, and it is not a passive one. If wisdom came automatically, I would not have to seek to understand the will of God.

4. True joy and peace in my life will never be found in any addiction or physical high, but only in knowing my God more and more. In knowing Him and serving Him with a grateful heart, a wellspring of joy will flow out of me to give His life to others. Such a simple truth, but how many people try to find fulfillment and escape the pain of life through the path of addiction?

5. Submission is a key part of God's plan for EVERY believer's life. I know this is almost a dirty word in our culture today. We value independence and free thinking in America, not laying your will, your agenda down to serve another. However, God's kingdom does NOT work according to the same rules as the one we live in here on earth. To be great for God, you have to be willing to make yourself last --To love another person more than you love yourself.

That is what I see in these verses. I struggle so much in this area, often because I do NOT do one or more of these things. I have never struggled with drug addiction, but I believe I have struggled with filling my time with entertainment in order to avoid painful realities in my life. I definitely struggle with submission, not just to my husband, but also to my God. There are many times by my actions I show that my true belief is that I know better how to run my life than He does. Sometimes I am just plain lazy. I know the will of God is available to me if I seek it, but I grow weary in well doing. And it is easier to be passive and just "eat, drink, and be merry." But God is so patient with me.

Well my goal for next week is to get in bed by 10 pm each night and get up by 6 am. We'll see how it goes. Sometimes the things we know are the best things for us, though simple, are still the hardest things to discipline ourselves to do.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What's the point?

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.b]">

11You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

-Psalm 16:9-11

Here are my thoughts tonight. I borrowed a book from the library that was in the children's section. It was talking about NDEs (near death experiences) and how many believe in a life after death. Then because it was a scientific book, it basically explained away all the ndes people have had as a biological reaction of the brain trying to preserve itself. Now whether or not people are getting a glimpse of the afterlife or they're just having a chemical reaction in their brain, I cannot say. But it got me thinking. Our culture is seeing the end result of evolutionary teaching in action, I think. If death has always been around, then it was not caused by sin in the Garden of Eden. If we are all just cosmic accidents and a result of all these evolutionary processes, then right and wrong become irrelevant. There is only my needs and feelings and making me happy. I think some people are totally happy with this as the state of the world. But to me, it is a depressing thought.

Either the Bible is true or it's all a big fairy tale lie. And while there is evidence presented to show evolution is true and evidence to show the Bible is true, either position as far as I can see takes some degree of faith. I am honest in saying that while my religious beliefs are based on logical analysis and reasoning, they are in the end, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It bothers me when I hear evolutionary scientists take some moral high ground that their theory of evolution (NOT natural selection, which is proven, but the idea that all life came from a single celled organism) is not a belief which requires some degree of faith. Because it does. No one alive today was there. There has yet to be a specimen presented as the "missing link". And yet we live in a world where the women of the View television show spewed hatred calling people like me a "child abuser" for teaching my children the views of creationism. Do my children know about evolution? Of course. But I have shared my faith with them. And part of that faith is in a loving Creator who sent His son to die for a totally depraved and wicked humanity. His noble purpose was to set a captive humanity free from the law of sin and death. I know that's not always been the reality the historic church has acted on. But is it really any wonder that a fallen mankind would even botch up God's best efforts in some ways if what he says about us in his word is in fact true?

I am not arguing for a state sanctioned religion. But the further mens' hearts drift from their creator, the blurrier the lines of right and wrong become. It is a sad state, and one I fear will lead our nation to ruin. What this country needs more than anything is true revival in the hearts and minds of its people, first and foremost the people who claim to be the followers of Christ. God is a god of reason and logic, though he resists the proud. He is a God of order. And in Him, " there is no shadow of turning." (James 1:17) He is well able when we humbly come to His word to teach us by His spirit and to help us see how order follows from right thinking, from renewing our minds to the truth we find in Him.

I suppose if this is not the truth, then what's the point of any of it? But if I am correct, then it's EVERYTHING. And we should live in a way that reflects that. You are either made in the image of God, or just another animal. Choose whom you will serve, but choose carefully.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Personal Mission Statement and Bucket List

Well, I was reading in a book about clarifying your purpose and goals in life, so I developed a personal mission statement. Thought I'd post it here for my convenience. Without further adieu, here it is:

The most important treasure in my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. More than anything, I want to come to the end of my life and hear him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I want every area of my life to express love and obedience to His perfect will, serving Jesus joyfully with my time, talents, and resources. I want my relationships with my loved ones to be a clear, constant expression of God's love for them. To these ends, it is essential that I devote myself to time spent in His Holy Word, in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and to prayer. I will treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit, and give it the proper nutrition, rest, and exercise it requires so that I may best be equipped to fulfill God's call on my life.

This is MY Bucket List also, in no particular order:

1.Take a vacation to Hawaii.
2. Take a family vacation to Europe.
3. Travel to the Bahamas.
4. Do a mission trip with each of our kids when they are teenagers.
5. Write a children's book.
6. Pay off the mortgage and be totally debt free and weird.
7. Own a little dog.
8. Learn to snorkel.
9. Learn to ski.
10. Visit Texas.
11. See Teddy Roosevelt's house in New York.
12. Read through the entire Bible in a year.
13. See a Broadway play.
14. Learn to tap dance.
15. Learn to play the violin.
16. Visit China.
17. Give my children a legacy of faithfulness to build their futures upon.
18. Visit Jerusalem and pray at the Wailing Wall.
19. Leave the world better than I found it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Clay shards

Well, now marks the time of a new school year in the Cherry house. We are excited this week as we jump headfirst into all of our fall activities, from ballet classes to cub scouts, piano and homeschool co-ops. I have really sensed his grace in my life these past few weeks, and a fresh hunger and zeal within to know creator even more intimately than I have before. When I hear news or read about things going on in the world today, I quickly become depressed and overwhelmed. But each time I read my Savior's word and focus my mind again on HIM and his plans for my life, I feel my strength renew like the eagles'.
Well, I'm praying right now about what God would have for me in the future, It is still in my heart to write a book, but I am not sure if this desire is from the Lord or if it's just a childish fantasy I still am holding on to. I'm never quite sure WHAT book I need to write. I'm leaning toward a children's fantasy novel, but I'm just not sure. So I continue to pray and ask him to show me His will and to put HIS desires in my heart as I delight myself in Him.
Been trying to come up with a cool name for our homeschool lately also....something to reflect our family's identity in Christ.
God is so good. Every day I sin in a million different ways, not on purpose, but mostly just because I'm so good at it. And every morning, I wake up. And Voila! Fresh grace and mercy and he's still my friend and on my side and actually LIKES me and wants to hang out with me. I can't quite get my head around it. But it's true.
Broken, dirty clay vessels, that's what we all are. And yet God will often take broken clay shards and somehow transform them by His spirit into vessels of honor. How crazy is that?