Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Take Time Tuesdays...

A new look! I found this artwork at a local Christian bookstore and knew it was exactly what my vision was for Take Time Tuesdays. We're all different, but we share a commonality in wanting to know God more. And, this is the verse that God has been speaking to me for the past 2 years...

I've really been making what I'm learning, through this study, a part of my life and I was really excited when I saw the title of this chapter. So many wonderful lessons!

Chapter 8 ~ The Sacred Present

"Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise." Psalm 90:12 TEV

"Those who sanctify time and who give time away - who treat time as a gift and not possession - have time in abundance. Contrariwise, those who guard every minute, resent every interruption, ration every moment, never have enough. They're always late, always behind, always scrambling, always driven. There is, of course, a place for wise management of our days and weeks and years. But management can quickly turn into rigidity. We hold time so tight we crush it, like a flower closed in the fist. We thought we were protecting it, but all we did was destroy it." Mark Buchanan

Just had to share the beginning of this chapter with you, "In the book Distracted, Maggie Jackson makes these comments: Yet increasingly, we are shaped by distraction... The seduction of alternative virtual universes, the addictive allure of multitasking people and things, our near-religious allegiance to a constant state of motion: these are markers of a land of distraction, in which our old conceptions of space, time and place have been shattered. This is why we are less and less able to see, hear and comprehend what's relevant and permanent... We are on the verge of losing our capacity as a society for deep, sustained focus... We rarely are completely present in the moment or for one another."

Have you experienced this in your life? Been on the receiving end of someone who wasn't totally there? Has this been you?

I answer YES to all three questions. However, I am trying to be more aware of getting caught in this "way of living" and stop myself and refocus on the now and who I'm with.

The author shares, "Time is a gift; it is not a possession. It is to be used wisely. George MacDonald reminds us that each moment is to be valued as, "The Sacred Present.""

Do you take life for granted? Do you think you'll always have another tomorrow? "Why do today what you can put off for tomorrow?" I've thought this way - said those words... In reality, we don't know how many tomorrows we will have. Each day is a precious gift from God and we ought to live as so!

Proverbs 27:1 "Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring forth."

I know I've often taken it for granted that I have lots and lots of time in this life. And perhaps, I do ~ but God instructs me to live in today, be fully present and not always thinking how tomorrow will be different and live in a "planning and preparing mode". For years, I have lived in the now, but shared that time with "planning and preparing" for an even better life in the future. I missed out on nearly half my living time each day, but I don't want to do so any longer. I want to make the most of every day - right now, today!

"What becomes important is not that I manage time, but that I let God manage me." David W. Henderson

"We must convert our spare time into another kind of time: time when we study the Bible; time when we turn our thoughts toward the throne of God in prayer; time when we pick up a good book, go for a walk, do some gardening, or visit someone in the hospital; time when we do what we have sinfully neglected because we were "too busy". John Phillips

I have good intentions in my life. I really do. There are times when I do realize each day is a gift and I must make the most of it. At others times, I am selfish with my time and I "deserve" time to myself ~ when I can do whatever I feel like and no one should bother me. And, there are things that I want to do for myself that are important. Oh yes, and did I mention that I have really good intentions in my life...?

Lately, as I've reflected on my life and the choices I make about my time ~ I realized how short I fall sometimes. I tell myself to drop someone a note, a card, to call them, or mention that we should get together for coffee ~ and then time goes by and it doesn't happen. It's because I was "too busy"... This became a reality for me this past week when I received one of our Christmas cards returned to us. Written on the front of the envelope - "deceased". Grandma Anderson was 92 and passed away last August. She was my brother's godmother, but she and Grandpa Anderson were like another set of grandparents to us. I loved visiting them or having them visit us! Every year, she sent Blaine and I an anniversary card. I told him that we really should get over the Gig Harbor and visit her, as I hadn't seen her in years. It's only an hour+ drive from our home... We never did and now it's too late. What a wake-up call. Lord, I want a new attitude about making the most of each day and using my time wisely!

A question in this week's study: Paul exhorted the Ephesians to use their time wisely, to make the most of every opportunity. What helps you in making the best use of your time?

For me ~ when my heart and attitude are focused on Christ I do very well. However, I struggle with selfishness and that I deserve "my time" (which is a lie of this world). I'm thankful I can recognize my shortfalls and go to the Lord and ask Him to transform my life in this area.

A word of warning: when you ask the Lord to do something in your life - get ready, as He may do just that. This past week, Blaine came down with a nasty virus and instead of sharing household duties, I've had to take them all on. Now, I usually have an attitude about not being able to get "my projects" done - but this time I'm really working on giving my day to the Lord and allowing Him to unfold it. Adding in making dinner, cleaning up and other household work - it hasn't left much time for any of the projects. I've had my moments when I feel sorry for myself, but I remind myself that all time belongs to God and if this is what I need to be doing now, He will enable me in His time to be able to accomplish all He desires me to do... And if I never get some of those "projects" done - He didn't want me spending my time doing them in the first place. What a concept!

"In other words, we need to make an active and determined effort to become acquainted with wisdom. We need to make an active and determined effort to get to know the word of God where the highest wisdom is stored... When we hear and receive God's words, hide His commandments in our hearts, apply ourselves to understanding, and ask earnestly for divine wisdom, we will be on our way to understanding the fear of the Lord... It is a reverential awe that inspires all those who find themselves in the presence of an all-powerful, all-wise, all-loving God." John Phillips

Did you read this passage carefully? It states that getting wisdom requires EFFORT! It's work on our part. We can't just absorb it...

Living in the present requires our full attention!

I worked on my Bible study this week while sitting in Starbucks. I actually laughed out loud when I worked through this section and realized I had to keep rereading verses and the study, as I kept looking away while watching the people coming and going and those sitting around me visiting... So easily distracted, but my full attention is required!

Okay, this blew me away when I read this...

"Think of the things that take you out of the position of abiding in Christ. You say, "Yes, Lord, just a minute - still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then." Get moving - begin to abide now. In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. Make the determination to abide in Jesus wherever you are now or wherever you may be placed in the future." Oswald Chambers

I've said all those things before. Have you? I want to abide. It's going to take effort, but it will so be worth it!

Thoughts from Cynthia Heald:
" I need to be vigilant to guard my heart each moment and be careful in redeeming my time."

"Often our days do not go as planned, but when we are abandoned to God, we are free to allow the Lord to use our days as He wants. We need to be realistic in realizing that interruptions are part of life and are often God-ordained, but we also need to be discerning in knowing when an interruption needs our full attention and when someone else's perceived need can wait."

Good words.

In closing this week, Cynthia's prayer that I am posting on the board near my computer:

"O Lord, impress upon my heart how short life is. Give me wisdom to live as You intend. Let me be a woman who engages people and tasks wholeheartedly for Your glory. Help me to know how to deal with each day's distractions. Give wisdom in knowing how to respond to interruptions. May I be fully present in Your presence and focused on anyone who crosses my path. May I learn to value each moment, for it is a gift. May I sanctify each day by living in simple and pure devotion to You. In Jesus' name. Amen."

Yes, this is the prayer of my heart. May you live simply devoted to Him.


  1. Hi Joanie,
    I feel bad as I haven't been able to be apart of this study as I thought I might be. Also, I leant the book to my Bible study leader and haven't gotten it back, that was 3 weeks ago! We were considering doing it...so when I get it back I'll try and continue w/the study.
    Thanks for your thoughts on Ch 8. I've been savoring everyday, every hour I guess because we've seen a lot of death lately in our family. It reminds you to nuture and love those you relationships cherish, I just wish we had more hours in the day!

  2. Laurie ~

    No worries... I have no expectations of others' participation. I love for people join in and share their insights, but I knew the reality was that this isn't like a Bible Study group that meets weekly, in person, and that's okay. I'm learning and love when people do share (because I only have one perspective) ~ and I'm thankful God gave me this opportunity to participate in this study...

    And, I'm learning that He made day and night and said they were good ~ so He knew exactly how many hours in a day was the right amount. I'm trying to learn to listen to His voice and fill my time with people, activities, etc that He desires to use my time for ~ and may He do the same for you!


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie