Think of all the people who said this to God. Abraham. Samuel. Isaiah.
I am thinking there's something to that.
I don't really remember to whom that quote can be rightly attributed, but it really gets you in the heart, doesn't it? Haven't we each felt the pain of wasted time and regretted mistakes?
I think the wasting of time hurts so much because it's something you can't get back or do over.
"Thank God that, although you cannot change the past, He can help you change what you're doing with it." -Beth Moore
Today was my last day at Athens Bible School. That's the end of thirteen years of time--some of it used, all too much of it wasted. And I am thankful for every second. I know that God can use that time, even my mistakes, to shape this servant into His image. If I will put my everything back into His hands, He will give me a hope and a future. My wasted time doesn't have to be wasted forever. Nor does my used time have to fear falling into disuse or neglect of lessons learned in days gone by.
I don't want to waste more time, because life is short. So short that God compares it to a vapor, like smoke. Barely there, and then gone. I want my vapor to be a sweet-smelling aroma to my God! I want to trust and obey.
I know several congregations have websites now that offer free sermon or singing downloads. Ours is
...if you want to check it out!
My sister Christian showed me this one, with free hymns available for individual download--GREAT way to stock an iPod. :)
And this one is really worth the the five or so minutes to check it out. It's a couple ways to visualize the Bible; my favorite is the first one about Bible cross-references.
What are your favorite web resources for downloads, articles, etc.? :)
you put a lot of prayer and effort into teaching a class or baking a meal for someone or what have you, and the person won't realize that it's to God's glory, not yours? no matter what you say!
oh well. something to pray about!
suggestions on how to correct this gross misappropriation of thankfulness?
"Where are the Christly leaders who can teach the modern saints how to pray and put them at it? Do we know we are raising up a prayerless set of saints? Where are the... leaders who can put God's people to praying? Let them come to the front and do the work, and it will be the greatest work which can be done." -E.M. Bounds
Jesus is still at the front teaching us how to pray. The problem is we don't listen.
God says, "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place and was praying there." (Mark 1:35) In other words, while Jesus was in human form, just like us, He woke up in the darkness of the morning and left the house to find a place to pray alone. When no one else was even awake, Jesus began His prayers. But He didn't just pray while everyone else was sleeping. He left the house so that when everyone else woke up He would still be alone, able to continue in prayer.
God says, "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray." (Luke 5:16) Sometimes we read, "Jesus was a really good Person and He set a standard so high that it's in the clouds. Imagine slipping away all the time to pray! What a righteous Savior!" Of course Jesus Christ is righteousness! Of COURSE He sets the standard for prayer! But we are called to live by His standard and His example. This verse is not only detailing the prayer life of our Lord, it is His design for our prayer life, too.
God says, "Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;" (Colossians 4:2) Would I describe my life as devoted to prayer? Would my family, my classmates, my co-workers, describe my life as devoted to prayer? (Before you balk that prayer is private, how would Jesus' family and disciples describe His prayer life? People can tell.) Am I on the alert in every conversation, sermon, and wandering thought, always catching tidbits that I can take to God in prayer? Do I have a thankful attitude every time I pray? Do I really care about God's instruction to ME in this verse, or do I just like to read it and talk about it because it sounds good?
God says, "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for THIS is GOD'S WILL for YOU in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, emphasis mine) Do you say, sing, and pray, "Your will be done?" God's will for your life personally is laid out pretty clearly here: it's joyful streams of thankful prayer all the time, for every thing, for every person, for every situation in your life.
We hear, but we don't listen. We see, but we do not learn. Sometimes we do learn--but will we apply? We all too often don't want to accept the responsibilities of such an active prayer life. We don't want to pray like that. More than we have ever realized, we do want that. We need it so much more than air or food or clothing. We waste away when we avoid it. Who has ever died of starvation with a feast spread before him? Many a Christian. In the words of Mr. T, "Pity the fool!"
Set prayer goals. Prepare for prayer. Start small, in the details. Then step it up a little each day.
Find time to pray. Bathroom visits, daily chores, filling up at the gas station, doing homework... We are often with only ourselves, if just two minutes or so. These are ready-made short prayer opportunities. Use them!
Make time to pray. It's nothing new to hear, but it might be new to try--wake up a little earlier or stay up a little later one day and devote an hour or few to prayer. (This is easier if you have something planned to pray about.) Slip away during the movie or the party and find a place to pray alone. Pick a night in advance to stay home from the social activities or television shows and secretly devote it to talking to God.
Look for examples and encouragers. Find an older person whose prayer life is impressive to you, and ask them for their tips and thoughts on improving yours. Surround yourself with people who pray sincerely and regularly.
Address God appropriately. Acknowledge His role and yours. Keep a list (mine is on one of those empty pages near the front of my Bible) of names God is called in His Word; look to this list for appropriate prayer beginnings. This brings an amazing level of focus to short prayers, especially. Saying a quick prayer for strength in a present situation? Try, "Faithful Creator to whom I entrust my soul" (1 Peter 4:19). Or "God who cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13) in a moment of temptation. "God who raised Christ from the dead and gave Him glory" (1 Peter 1:21) reminds me of God's awesome power--nothing I could ask is too big for Him, though it may not be His will.
Go figure out more ways to strengthen your prayer life, and carry them through all the way!