A Few Seconds Can Change a Life: Use Your Time Wisely

A Few Seconds Can Change a Life: Use Your Time Wisely

As I look back, I realize more than ever how often a few seconds can change a life. I am still learning the art of using my time wisely by valuing the days, moments, and even seconds God has given to me. The results, or fruit, of these moments become the seeds that influence many other moments of our lives.

I have often told others, “I can not afford to have one negative thought toward anyone.” Why? Because the thought I harbor will influence my actions, my actions will form patterns of behavior, and those patterns will ultimately dictate the course of my life.

Does this sound too dramatic or overstated? Perhaps, but not likely!

God continues to challenge me with the reality of making the most of this moment of time — to reevaluate and refocus.

Procrastination

Procrastination robs us of any future reward for present effort. It deceives us into believing we have unlimited time to do the things we know we should do, and to think the way we know we should think. In the deception, we are hindered from moving forward.

“I know I should forgive, but …” “I should invest in that relationship, but …” “I shouldn’t think this way, but …”

We muse, buried in excuses and self-absorption — unmoved and unchanged. It’s a sad representation of far too many lives.

In a Few Seconds

In a few seconds, we have the power to change both our thoughts and actions.

  • “There’s nothing I can do about it,” can become “I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”
  • “Someone else will do a better job of that,” can become “I may not be the best, but I can make a difference.”
  • “It’s not my problem,” can become “Whether I’m the source of the problem or not, I am responsible to do my part.”
  • “I tried, but nothing changed,” can become “This relationship means too much to quit now. I will do everything I can to bring change.”

These changes of attitude demonstrate single moment re-thinks capable of transforming the lives of more people than we realize. A few seconds can change a life. Even mine!

The Seeds of Change

What is it today? What is God asking us to do right now? Les Parrott speaks of six impulses that keep us from improving:

  • Giving up before trying … because we feel helpless.
  • Shunning a challenge … because it seems daunting.
  • Settling for the statue quo … because we lack vision.
  • Shirking responsibility … because its easier to shift blame.
  • Doing the bare minimum … because that is all that’s expected.
  • Avoiding taking action … because we fear failure.

We don’t need to lose momentum, robbed of time and opportunity. By God’s grace, we can move beyond limitations into a lifestyle of wise time management. A few seconds can change a life!

May we be bold, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas which are keeping us from living to our full potential. We have all faced similar challenges.

Truth to Hold on To

Instead of focusing on the problem, God offers us living truth:

  • We are not helpless!

 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness…”
Romans 8:26

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

For we are each responsible for our own conduct.
Galatians 6:5

  • I will do my best in every situation.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

  • God defines me, not failure!

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7

A Few Seconds Can Change a Life

Let’s take a few seconds to consider these truths God declares about us — seconds that may change our lives. Hopefully, these seeds of change will produce the fruit of change in others.

“Lord Jesus, show me the paralysing lies that keep me from transformational change. May the truth You declare about me become stronger than the belief systems that have bound me. May I use the time You have given me wisely, bringing life, love, and hope to others. May I accomplish the full purpose and design You have declared for me. Today, Lord, I turn from wasted moments. I know that what You have ahead of me is greater than I can imagine. Thank You, Jesus. Amen.”

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Weeds in My Garden: Living a Fruitful Life

Weeds in My Garden: Living a Fruitful Life

Like a gnarly invasion of weeds in a garden, certain things persist to prevent each of us from living a spiritually fruitful life.

Despite our best efforts, an inevitable battle arises year after years. Prolific and persistent weeds resist every attempt to subdue them. No matter how vigilant our efforts are, their ornery tendrils refuse to surrender.

Though I no longer farm or garden, weeds push their seedy heads even among my container plants. Infamous for their vigorous growth, they choke out more desirable plants. They thrust their boisterous crowns through cracks in the sidewalk and pavement.

Weedy attitudes often press their destructive force in our spiritual lives as well. Just when we gain the victory in one area, another area proves in desperate need of attention. Hopefully, our spiritual gardens may not be nearly as weedy as they were initially. Still, God graciously and gently points out areas where untended thoughts, attitudes, or life-patterns continue. He desires that we display true beauty as our lives produce abundantly.

Fruitfulness and beauty mark any well-maintained garden or life. Anything that threatens requires immediate attention.

Thorns and Thistles

If we could turn back the pages of time and look into the ancient Garden of Eden, God’s perfect garden, thorns and thistles would be noticeably absent. They pushed their prickly force upward and outward only after Adam and Eve sinned.

” … Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food
from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles
for you … “
Genesis 3:17-18

Weeds in my garden

Once humanity shared perfect unity and fellowship with God. How difficult for us to envision a time without struggling to keep life on track! Thankfully, God promises to again partner with us. Successfully, tending the spiritual gardens of life requires this partnership — God with us!

“Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55:13

With His help, we act against anything that chokes out the more desirable and beneficial traits that result in a flourishing life. In Him, we transform from thornbushes to long-living junipers and beautifully scented myrtles.

Vigilance

Here in Canada, we wait through cold, dark winter months for summer to arrive. We welcome the warmth of long, sunny days and fresh spring rains.

For many people, summer also welcomes camping and hiking, beaches and relaxation, vacations and ease. We all need times of rest and refreshing.

But beware! Let’s not allow a habit of ignoring the serious work of dealing with destructive internal issues. Apathy may give those weedy attitudes and life-patterns opportunity to take root and multiply. Solomon warns how quickly “thorns, weeds, and ruins” can take over.

“I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.”
Proverbs 24:30-31

Hoe and wheelbarrow

How does the enemy so quickly get such a firm hold on us? Like a tangled vine of deception choking out life, the taproots of unforgiveness suck away hope, or the seeds of perversion multiply unrequested. Pride dashes humility beneath its arrogant growth.

To keep the vineyard of our lives producing healthy fruit requires vigilance. The walls around God’s good work within us require continual maintenance to protect from theft or damage.

Little Problems

“Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Song of Songs 2:15

Little foxes

Solomon warned that even the cutest little foxes will inevitably do significant damage to any vineyard. Let’s not wait until we see the evidence of destruction or until “little” problems become giants. May we each lead a fruitful life, eliminating anything which threatens.

Whether in relationships or ministry, minor problems may quickly escalate. Without proper attention hopelessness overcomes vision, despair replaces purpose, and fear uproots courage, and even the most fruitful life becomes sidetracked.

Good Seed

Jesus told a parable about a man who carefully chooses good seed for his field.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
But while everyone was sleeping,
his enemy came and sowed weeds
among the wheat, and went away.”
Matthew 13:24,25

Damaged fruit

This is not the time to be caught sleeping! Satan’s emissaries come when we are off-guard or have lost our focus. Though we may not initially notice, the result becomes visible soon enough. He comes to destroy the good fruit intended to produce Kingdom purposes.

There was nothing wrong with the “seed,” or the kingdom investment the man was making. He made wise choices and worked faithfully. But while he slept, the field was ruined.

Take Action

We each have negative influences working in our hearts and minds. Some we easily uproot on our own; others need the support of counsellors, pastors, or mentors. Some disintegrate through repentance or renouncing; others take consistent accountability to keep us on track.

However, we should never ignore the destructive efforts of enemy tactics! Sin, like weeds, appears lovely until we try to free yourself from its effects. The more complex and enduring the invasion, the more strategic we become at their eradication. Few people overcome long term destructive behaviors on their own. Fortunately, compassionate, skilled workers are ready to come beside us, helping us to regain lost fruitfulness.

Let’s not allow complacency to delay action. To win this spiritual battle, let’s be vigilant through:

  • prayer and Bible reading
  • seeking godly mentorship and accountability
  • confessing to pastors or counsellors where we need help
  • humbly receiving the help offered
  • refusing any “quick fix”
  • live in faithful obedience to Jesus

Take comfort, my friend. We all have weeds in our gardens. Together we will overcome!

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My Call to Action – Living and Communing Authentic Relationships

My Call to Action

I don’t know about you, but I find it challenging to live fully and freely in relationships with others while simultaneously remaining in communion with God. My call to action is living and communing authentically!

The other night, I had a vivid dream about several mountain ranges filled with high peeks. An outdoor deck nestled at the base of each mountain while a house perched solidly on the highest point. Halfway up the mountain was a “docking point” – a small out-shoot of metal.

As I viewed the sheer mountain face, I questioned how one would get from the deck to the house. Instantly, I whizzed above even the highest apex. Each mountain was a solid rock with unique and beautifully intricate marble-like veining.

Mountains

I knew that God was showing me three positions I could choose:

  • The first was on the deck, relaxing and enjoying the company of those around me.
  • The second was at the top where a different kind of “dwelling” occurs! It is where I get to know God in reading the Bible, prayer, solitude, and lingering in His Presence.
  • But there is a third choice — neither up nor down! The place of “self” — disconnected from both God and others. This is the most precarious spot.

The longer I meditate on the dream the more truth it reveals of the life choices I have made and am making in relationships. Regrets, like heavy dew, settle on me as I think of how often I choose to sit in the “docking-point” – disconnected from others and trusting in the frailty of myself.

My Call to Action – Living and Communing Authentically

I feel God’s invitation to enter more transparently into the lives of all those around me while at the same time allowing Him the reins to draw me closer with Him. I can do neither in my strength or power.

To commune means to “share one’s intimate thoughts or feelings with…
especially when the exchange is on a spiritual level…
to feel in close spiritual contact with.”

To fully share life together has a spiritual dimension – not just in our relationship with God and but also with others.

Community

Living fully with others may include:

praying together.
sharing spiritual truths and insights,
spurring others on in their faith journey
and relationship with Jesus,
trusting Holy Spirit together to lead and direct
our lives and ministry.

The Deck

I greatly enjoy “deck” times! Hanging out… relaxing... getting to know others… often laughing… sometimes crying… reminiscing…sipping lemonade on a hot day or hot chocolate on a cold one. Relationships with family and friends fill life with a rich hue of appreciation and growing respect.

Communing

My ever-expanding circle of friendships are woven intricately with threads of Jesus Christ and the fullness He brings. The deck is where I introduce Christ to people!

The Mountain

I long to live continually on the mountain. Here is where my heart rests, my body restored, and my mind renewed. Clothed in the full forgiveness of Christ, I approach His throne of grave,

listening and speaking,
waiting and resting,
rising early and lingering late,
fully me wrapped in Holy Him
with childlike freedom
warrior courage
maturing faith
breathing deep
trusting more…

“No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another,
Know the Lord.’ because they will all know me.”

Hebrews 8:11

The first “know” in this verse means a growing kind of knowledge, to come to know and to know personally.

The second “know” is a different word meaning to perceive, to know absolutely, to have complete knowledge of.

Mountain

The mountain is where I come to know the Triune God more fully and personally and where I pray for people!

The Dock

In the middle is a desolate place! It is the place of neither hot nor cold. (Revelation 3:16) The place of disconnect with God or others! I have the option to go, stop or even stay here. It is the forty years in the desert place. The place where no one really wants to stop, yet where all will at some point.

Alone

Every moment is a choice — a choice about where I will live and commune. Will it be the deck, the mountain, or the dock? True authentic living always breathes life of God into people. Always!


Authentic Living

Lord draw me to the place of richer and deeper
fellowship with those around me.
where I am neither ashamed or afraid to
share how much You mean to me.
Lift me up, Lord, to my true resting place
the place where I can see beyond believing,
feel completely and fully,
and be fully known and loved.
Both require a level of vulnerability that
I try to avoid, but must maintain.
I ask for courage and grace to live fully
and authentically!

Want to check out other blogs about living in healthy relationships?

3 Relationships We All Need and The Reasons Why

Top 4 Hindrances to Authentic Relationships