Wasted Time

I only have so much time here on this planet – I shouldn’t waste it.  If there is one lesson that has been engraved on my mind these last few years, it’s ‘Life is short”.

I truly never knew how extremely short life can be until my son was killed.  One moment he was here and the next he was gone.

My life flipped upside down in that one moment.

Life is short – I have no time to waste.

Just like Jonah – he had no time to waste.  So it’s a little frustrating to read about Jonah going through his big drama of disobeying God’s direction to go to Ninevah.  Jonah decided to go the other direction, got caught on a ship in a big storm, was thrown overboard by sailors and spent 3 days in a huge fish at the bottom of the ocean.  It was there that he repented and reached out to God. (bottom of the ocean, end of our rope – sound familiar?)

Jonah used a bunch of time running from God before finally deciding to obey him by going to Ninevah.   “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.  From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2.  When Jonah turned back to him, God ordered the fish to spit Jonah out on the beach so Jonah could go ahead and do what God asked him to do in the first place.

That whole first whale trip was just a big waste of time and energy!

Wait a minute – do I do this?

Do you do this?

I have to admit that I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past disobeying God.  I ignored what I knew was right.  I did what I wanted to do and gained nothing from it.  It was useless – a waste of time.

One of my life goals now is to obey God the first time.  I want to stop wasting time and energy while disobeying.

I want to avoid getting hit by the 2×4 that eventually comes our way when we ignore the lessons God is trying to teach us. God. The issue or problem doesn’t go away when we disobey – it grows.  And it continues to grow until it’s too big and bad to ignore any longer.

Have you ever been hit by God’s 2×4 as a consequence for avoiding his directions? Have you found yourself at the end of your rope? Or stuck at the bottom of the sea like Jonah?

I have.  It’s a wake up call.  An enormous red flag pops up and starts whipping through my life.  It seems like everything starts going wrong at the same time but, in reality, this issue has been gradually building steam while I prioritized other things.  Because he is a good Father, God doesn’t ignore me when I’m trying to ignore him.  He lets the consequences of my own actions grow until it’s just like getting hit by a 2×4.  By then, the issue has become too enormous and too awful – I cannot continue to look the other way.  Newsflash from God – attitudes and behaviors and priorities need to change – and they need to change NOW!

I got it, God!  I have learned my lesson and I intend to obey right away from now on.  No more 2×4’s in my life if I can help it!

I have also learned that obedience up front, the first time, brings additional blessings of peace and strength that come from being in line with God and in step with the Spirit.

Obeying right away is never a waste of time.

Thank you for teaching me this important lesson, Abba Father.

We Make A Mess

We can do what makes us happy.

We can focus on what we want.

We can fill up our calendars with commitments we have made and things that are important to us – maybe squeezing in a visit to church once in a while.

But when something bad happens to us, who do we turn to?August 22 2015 we make a mess

Who are we suddenly calling on to help us?

Now that this terrible thing has landed on our doorstep, we want God to get involved.  We want him to listen.

And he is.

Unfortunately, sometimes it can be too late like it was for King Zedekiah in Jeremiah 21.  The king had rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar which was not very smart.  Zedekiah’s army was like an ant facing the giant, fierce lion of Nebuchadnezzar’s army.

When this roaring lion of an army showed up outside of Jerusalem’s city walls, Zedekiah finally decided it was time to consult with God through Jeremiah.

God said it was too late.  God had set his plans of punishment for the people’s years of sins in motion and everything was going to be destroyed.

It was too little, too late.

The good news is that God no longer punishes believer for their sins.  Jesus paid the price for all of our sins – past and future – on the cross.

When I read the Old Testament, I am reminded what an awesome gift that is.  The Holy Spirit now lives inside of us – leading us into truth and life.

If we take the time to listen.

If we decide to obey.

We are no longer punished for our sins but God does let us experience the consequences of our bad decisions.  He disciplines and teaches us as any good father would do for the children he loves.

We decide how many consequences we’re going to experience by how many decisions we make without consulting God.  We choose how many messes we will create when we choose to do things our way instead God’s way.

Of course, sometimes things happen to us just because we live in a sinful world.  They are not a consequence of our choices.  But God can still use these situations to grow us and mature us if we’re listening.  If we’re submitting to him and obeying.

God is telling us that, either way, its much better to be listening and obeying daily than to wait until we have a roaring lion of a mess in our lives.

Please help us listen and obey, Abba Father.  Thank you for the miracle of your grace in our lives.