Revive Me #25- Cherish the People in Your Life

Revive Me, Week 25–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord

Cherish the People God Put in Your Life

Tomorrow morning our very dear friends, Bob and Sheryl Turner, are moving to Louisiana (pause for weep-fest here).  We’ve been working with them and enjoying their friendship for the past eight years.  As soon as I found out Sheryl was moving, I realized how much she has impacted my life.  I have learned so much from her:

  • How to be hospitable
  • How to lovingly and graciously take care of an aging parent
  • How to serve
  • How to work hard
  • How to give
  • How to be compassionate
  • How to see the needs of others
  • How to do crafts without breaking out in hives

I began trying to cram in as much as possible…lunch together, meaningful conversations, questions, expressions of appreciation.  Now we’re at the end.  I keep thinking of all the things I meant to do and wonder if I’ve said enough about how much I love and appreciate this precious friend.

Why do we wait until it’s time to say goodbye to express love and appreciation?  God has put special individuals in our lives so we can learn from them and be encouraged.  I want to be more invested in the people around me–my family, my Christian brothers and sisters, my neighbors.  Regret comes from neglecting golden opportunities to show love, to live in the moment, and to simply enjoy the unique traits and gifts of the people around us.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

Rom. 12:10-12

Look around at the people God has put in your life.  Are you making time with them a priority?  Are you learning from them?  Are you encouraging them?  Are you serving together with them?

I thank God for Sheryl Turner.  I will continue to follow (stalk) her as she and Bob begin the next chapter of their life.  And I know I will continue learning from her.  May I find someone to encourage as she has encouraged me.  May I daily make the most of time with special people God has put in my life.

Suggestions for the week:

  1.  Think about some individuals you’re thankful for but haven’t expressed that thanks.  Tell them to their face how much you love and appreciate them.
  2.  Pick someone to teach this week.  Do you have a skill you can share with a daughter-in-law, a new member, a neighbor?
  3.  Pick someone to serve this week.  Can you think of anyone who could use a cheery visit?  Can you offer to help someone paint their house or work in their yard?
  4.  Cherish the relationships in your life, even the ones that cause a certain amount of stress.  Growth, patience, and compassion can come from appreciating the time and work it takes to build bonds.

Read it.  Memorize it.  Live it.

10346443_10206593023922449_6888848515361639513_n

Boys to Men

I know I am not the first mom to face an empty nest, so why does it feel like I am?  I knew my sons would grow up, but it’s as if I’ve discovered a surprising and disconcerting fact– Time does not listen to me!  It won’t slow down.  I can’t put it on “pause” until I’m ready for it to move on.  I can’t go back in time to redo some things I’m just now figuring out.

Okay, so I know I haven’t discovered anything new.  I know I was even warned of this by other moms who had already experienced it.  They made comments to me when my boys were babies and toddlers.  “Enjoy it while you can!”  “This will all go by so fast!”  But I don’t recall them telling me that mixed in with the pride and joy would be this unnerving sense of fear and doubt.  I know I made mistakes as a mom.  I can look back and see inadequacies and laziness.  And I don’t recall them telling me that my heart would begin constantly replaying mental videos of rocking my small boys, reading to them, and listening to their childish prayers.  Why didn’t one of those moms grab me by the shoulders, look me in the eyes and say, “Make the MOST of every single day.  I’m serious!”

This past Sunday I watched our firstborn son, Gary, participate in the graduation ceremony of the Bear Valley Bible Institute.  I think I kept shaking my head as he walked down the aisle.  Didn’t I just have him?  Then Sunday night I watched our youngest son, Carl, preach a sermon.  He didn’t need the little step stool to see over the pulpit.  He looked and sounded like a grown man.  When did that happen?  How is it possible that my baby will be a senior this fall?  And this very afternoon we will take our middle son, Dale, to the airport.  He is going to Alaska to begin a summer internship with a church in Anchorage.  Did you know it’s over 3,000 miles from here?  I don’t think a state that’s one of ours should be allowed to be that far away.  With all of these events, I just want to grab each of them, pull them close, and hug them fiercely.  I have one continual prayer, “God, please! Be with them.  Help them always put you first!

For years I’ve been meaning to write each of my boys a letter to read in the event of my death.  I’ve been putting it off because I knew it would be an emotional undertaking.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  It took me five hours to write three letters.  I gave it to them on my birthday since it’s possible they could be senior citizens before I die, and I want them to know my hopes for them before then.  None of them wanted to read their letter.  Carl finally opened his a few days later.  Then Gary was next.  Dale still hasn’t read his.  He has only gone as far as opening the corner of the envelope.

And that brings me to the point of this post (finally).  As I wrote those letters and thought about what I wanted to impress the most upon my children, it amazed me how easily it was to figure out.  It all boils down to the past, present, and future.

  • Past:  I have loved them with all my heart from the very beginning.  God has loved them even longer than that.
  • Present:  My only desire is that they will love God with all their heart and serve Him with all their might.
  • Future:  I want to see them in Heaven.

With their whole upbringing condensed to these truths, it seems that parenting has never had to be overly complicated.  It’s really all about taking the time to focus on what truly matters.

Gary, Dale, and Carl May 31, 2015

Gary, Dale, and Carl
May 31, 2015

 

 

 

Today is the Day

TODAY is the day to wake up from spiritual stupor if you find yourself just going through the motions.  Engage your heart and awaken your senses as you really live for Christ.

  • Read Psalm 103

TODAY is the day to make sure your loved ones know they’re your loved ones.  Has it been awhile since you’ve been intentional with your love?

  • Read James 4:14

TODAY is the day to open your eyes to the lost around you.  Pray for opportunities, carry your Bible, speak the name of Christ, and something will happen.

  • Read Matthew 28:18-20

TODAY is the day to let go of grudges.  With God’s help, forgive those who have hurt you or disappointed you.

  • Read Matthew 18:21,22

TODAY is the day to step out of your comfort zone.  Throw away the excuses and do hard things.  Make a difference to someone somehow.

  • Read Philippians 4:13

TODAY is the day to give up selfishness.  Be inconvenienced and remember the blessing of putting others first.

  • Read Philippians 2:4

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”

–Prov. 27:1

Prayer for Today:  Help me see this day as you do, Lord.

19944546_10213029316785748_3100939899822009372_o

Making the Most of My Time for God

My brother-in-law has a birthday today.  I’m attending a funeral this morning.  Birthdays and funerals always make me more aware of the passing of time.  The older I get, the more quickly time passes somehow.  I once heard “time” defined as “the period between two eternities.”  Life is brief.  The Bible compares the shortness of life to a shadow (1 Chronicles 29:15), a cloud (Job 7:9), a flower (Job 14:1,2), a vapor (James 4:14), a sigh (Psalm 90:9), grass (1 Peter 1:24), and a breath (Job 7:7).  Standing before Christ, each of us will give an account for our brief time here on earth.  So how can we make the most of our time for God?

Focus on Our Treasures.  What do we treasure?  Certainly we know what the answer to that should be.  But what if strangers were asked to answer that question for us?  How would they go about finding the answer?  They would watch where we spend our time, energy, and money.  These three things are dedicated to what we treasure.  Jesus told us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19,20).  In other words, our priorities must be spiritual, heaven-minded.  How can we make sure we’re laying up treasures in heaven?  We must put the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33).  We must love the Savior more than our own family (Matthew 10:37).  We must love Him more than we love ourselves (Matthew 10:39).

Focus on Our Influence.  The scope of our influence is broader than we think.  People all around us are watching us walk, talk, and shine the Light.  What is my role in my Christian family?  What can I do?  Paul told some Christians that the way they received the Word with joy became an example to other Christians around them.  He said, “For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth…Your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything” (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8).  The influence of these Christians saved Paul, Silas, and Timothy some work.  Are we saving anybody some work?  Perhaps the elders?  Some teachers who need a break?  The minister of personal evangelism?  Our influence can make a difference in the kingdom!

Focus on Our Mission.  “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Jeremiah sent these words in a letter to Jews who were in captivity in Babylon.  They weren’t where they wanted to be.  They certainly weren’t where they planned to be.  Jeremiah was reminding them that God had a plan for them, a purpose.  Some of us are happy and content.  Some of us aren’t where we had hoped to be at this point in our life.  Jeremiah gave the Jews a two-part program:  prepare for the plan and pursue perfection.  No matter where we are in life, we must keep ready for action.  We must keep ourselves in spiritual shape for the mission God has for us.  We mustn’t wait for a better time!  Henry David Thorough said, “As if you could kill time without injuring eternity.”  The only way to tell the difference between wasting time and investing time is to know our purpose, our mission.  What if you’re not sure what it is?  Christians can all adopt the two missions of Jesus.  He came “to do the will of the Father” (John 6:38) and “to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

Focus on Our Eternity.  Now is the time to build our faith, strengthen our foundation, and put on the whole armor of God.  We can make the most of our time by challenging ourselves to obtain the high mark Jesus set before us (Philippians 3:12-14).  Paul challenges all of us with several charges in Philippians.  Develop the mind of Christ (2:5-8).  Serve without complaining (2:14,15).  Find our joy in the Lord (4:4).  Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything (4:6).  Meditate on holy things (4:8).  And be content with God’s help (4:11-13).  These are six different things.  We can take focus on one each week and see if we can tell a big difference at the end of six weeks.  If we practice all of these things, we’ll become Christ-like, humble, content, happy, calm, filled with the glow of purity.  We will be prepared for eternity.

Am I satisfied that I am making the most of my time for God?  Not really.  But I can pray for wisdom so I can discern where God wants me to be and what He wants me to be doing right now.  Finding out if I am making the most of my time is not going to happen by accident.  Am I focusing on my treasures (making God my top priority)?  Am I focusing on my influence (are my actions leading others to Christ)? Am I focusing on my mission (looking for ways to serve now instead of waiting for the right time)? And am I focusing on eternity (weighing everything against the ultimate goal of Heaven)?

Prayer for Today:  Thank you for each new day, Lord.  May I recognize it as a gift and make the most of my time for You.

This post can also be found at:

DSCN3037