Use Time Wisely

Use Time Wisely “Because the Days Are Evil”

From Don Whitney’s  Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life:

To use time wisely “because the days are evil” is a curious phrase embedded in the inspired language of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:15-16: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” (NASB). Paul may have exhorted the Christians at Ephesus to make the most of their time because he and/or the Ephesians were experiencing persecution or opposition (such as in Acts 19:23-20:1). In any event, we need to use every moment with wisdom “because the days are evil” still.

Even without the kind of persecution or opposition known by the Christians of Paul’s day, the world we live in is not conducive to using time wisely, especially for purposes of spirituality and Godliness. In fact, our days are days of active evil. There are great thieves of time that are minions of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. They may range in form from high-tech, socially acceptable preoccupations to simple, idle talk or ungoverned thoughts. But the natural course of our minds, our bodies, our world, and our days leads us toward evil, not toward Christlikeness.

Thoughts must be disciplined, otherwise, like water, they tend to flow downhill or stand stagnant. That’s why in Colossians 3:2 we’re commanded, “Set your mind on the things above.” Without this conscious, active, disciplined setting of the direction of our thoughts, they will be unproductive at best, evil at worst.

Our bodies are inclined to ease, pleasure, gluttony, and sloth. Unless we practice self-control, our bodies will tend to serve evil more than God.

We must carefully discipline ourselves in how we “walk” in this world, else we will conform more to its ways rather than to the ways of Christ.

Finally, our days are days of active evil because every temptation and evil force are active in them. The use of time is important because time is the stuff of which days are made.

If we do not discipline our use of time for the purpose of Godliness in these evil days, these evil days will keep us from becoming Godly.”

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Sins We Blame on Others

12 Sins We Blame on Others

by Ben Reaoch, pastor of  Pittsburgh, PA.

[Some good reminders from Ben.]

It started in the Garden. Adam said to God,

The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (Genesis 3:12)

The first man, caught in the first sin, turns to blame his wife. And he extends the blame to God as well! He implies that he would have remained innocent if God hadn’t put Eve in the garden with him.

The blame-shifting in the Garden continues today. Our proud hearts send us desperately looking for someone else to point to every time we’re confronted with our own sin. There must be someone else—our spouse, sibling, parent, boss, co-worker, pastor, friend, or God, himself.

We are so desperate to justify ourselves that we become irrational. Here are 12 examples.

1) Anger

I wouldn’t lose my temper if my co-workers were easier to get along with, or if my kids behaved better, or if my spouse were more considerate.

2) Impatience

I would be a very patient person if it weren’t for traffic jams and long lines in the grocery store. If I didn’t have so many things to do, and if the people around me weren’t so slow, I would never become impatient!

3) Lust

I would have a pure mind if there weren’t so many sensual images in our culture.

4) Anxiety

I wouldn’t worry about the future if my life were just a little more secure—if I had more money, and no health problems.

5) Spiritual Apathy

My spiritual life would be so much more vibrant and I would struggle with sin less if my small group were more encouraging, or if Sunday school were more engaging, or if the music in the worship service were more lively, or if the sermons were better.

6) Insubordination

If my parents/bosses/elders were godly leaders, then I would joyfully follow them.

7) A Critical Spirit

It’s not my fault that the people around me are ignorant and inexperienced.

8) Bitterness

If you knew what that person did to me, you would understand my bitterness. How could I forgive something like that?

9) Gluttony

My wife/husband/roommate/friend is a wonderful cook! The things they make are impossible to resist.

10) Gossip

It’s the people around me who start the conversations. There’s no way to avoid hearing what others happen to say. And when others ask me questions, I can’t avoid sharing what I know.

11) Self-Pity

I’ll never be happy, because my marriage/family/job/ministry is so difficult.

12) Selfishness

I would be more generous if we had more money.

Making excuses like this is arrogant and foolish.  It’s a proud way of trying to justify our actions and pacify our guilty consciences.  And it keeps us from humbling ourselves before God to repent of our sins and seek his forgiveness.

Consider James 1:13-15, which leaves us with no way of escaping our own sin and guilt. We cannot blame God, for he “cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

Instead, we have to accept the humbling truth that “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”  This will end the blame game, and it will send us pleading for Christ’s mercy and grace.

Worship – A Daily Thing

Worship – A Daily Thing
Terri Pettyjohn, Experiencing God website

I’ve come to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to come to church on Sunday morning and have a meaningful worship experience if I haven’t worshipped during the week in my own time with God.

It’s like the little child who comes to a birthday party expecting to be the honored guest, everything revolves around them for that moment. How many times have we been that little child when it comes to our worship on Sunday? “Tada, I’m here!”.

I can almost see God shaking His head wondering why we can’t get it right. The party isn’t about us, it’s about Him and all He’s done for us. There would be no reason to celebrate had there not been a cross, I’m not worthy to be at His party except for the blood that washed me clean and lets me stand in His presence. Try worshipping for seven days by yourself and then coming to church to worship with other Christians, you’ll never view worship the same again.

John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”