Waiting Like Leo

swamp-rat-16Leo was as regular as clockwork.  A few minutes before 3 PM, he would walk into my office, and say:  It’s time to get a cup, are you ready?

While I enjoyed the break and our afternoon conversations, the ride to the coffee shop was a hang-0n-for-your-life experience.  This kind, jovial, old gent evidently had nitro in his DNA because the second the traffic light turned green he morphed into a mixture of three of the all time NHRA greats: Matt Hagan, Don Prudhomme, and Big Daddy Don Gartlis.

Quicker than you could say Folgers, Leo honked his horn, smoked his tires, floor-boarded the gas pedal and raced to the coffee shop—Leo was a better fumer and fretter than he was a patient waiter.

To be truthful, if you’re anything like me, both of us are too much like Leo. We hate to wait at red lights, in lines, or for the 30 seconds it takes for a microwave to do its magic—we’re better at getting up and going than we are at sitting and waiting.

Whatever you do, please don’t put me on hold—elevator music isn’t relaxing; it’s a fight song.

A.W. Tozer (1918-1963) lamented this spirit of busyness because it has diminished our ability to be still and know the Lord.  Tozer said: We are victims of the philosophy of activism tragically misunderstood, and he defined it as an urgent life of getting and spending, going and returning, organizing and promoting, buying and selling, working and playing. Tozer continued: If we are not making plans or working to carry out plans already made we feel that we are failures, that we are sterile, unfruitful eunuchs, parasites on the body of society.

In these stress-filled times, we need to ease up on the throttle and learn to wait on the Lord. David said that he waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry (Psalm 40:1).

When we wait, with an expectant hope, in God’s providential care, we find that God will:

  • Offer guidance: Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long (Psalm 25:5)
  • Provide deliverance: We wait for the Lord; he is our deliverer and shield. (Psalms 33:20).
  • Answer prayer: Listen to what I say, Lord! Carefully consider my complaint! Pay attention to my cry for help, my king and my God, for I am praying to you! Lord, in the morning you will hear me; in the morning I will present my case to you and then wait expectantly for an answer (Psalms 5:1-3).
  • Give strength: Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

John Ortberg has commented on the importance of waiting.  Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.

Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. ~Isaiah 26:8

Second Hand News

timeThe rhythmic and timely sound of a ticking second hand has been hushed by the advance of technology and the proliferation of digital watches. The value of a second isn’t found in its sound but in the action that transpires within this brief span of time that’s 1/86400th of a day and 1/60th of a minute.

Most people don’t give a second thought to the length of a second, but something unusual will happen on New Year’s Eve. When clocks strikes midnight in England, the final minute of 2016 will be 61 seconds long to adjust the world clock to the correct time.

Just how important is a second?

  • If you’re an astronaut it’s important since the speed of light travels at 18600 feet per second ( At the speed of light, the moon is about 1.5 seconds from the earth)
  • If you like hot rods, you know that a fraction of a second is the difference between winning and losing at the drag strip.
  • If you play baseball, one second is the time it takes for a baseball to leave the pitcher’s hand, get hit by the batter, and then be line-driven back to the pitcher.
  • Beekeepers think of one second as the time it takes for a honey bee to flap its wings 200 times.
  • One second is the amount of the time it takes for the earth to receive 48,600,000,000kw of energy form the sun (kilowatt = 1000 watts).

What is one second?  It’s the time it takes to say three words: “Goodbye and Hello.” When you bid farewell to 2016 and roll out the welcome mat to 2017, I hope you’ll take a second to turn a frown into a smile; change a bad impulse into a good one; and to say a simple “God bless you” to the person who is on your heart and in your mind.

Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days carefully, so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts 

The Time Is Right

whatever2I hate the two times each year that we’re forced to try and manipulate time by changing our clocks.  Regardless of whether it’s forward one hour in the Spring or back one hour in the Fall, my internal clock doesn’t change; and, I’m out of sync with the rest of the world.

As I was setting my clock before I went to bed last night, I thought about a time related statement from the Apostle Paul:  “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . . demonstrating His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8).”

As I thought of Paul’s “right time” statement, it occurred to me, that the right time is the time when God is present:

Because God intervenes at the right moment, you can know He is always present: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you (2 Chronicles 20:17).”

God promises to help battle the bullies, calm your fears, and give you hope for tomorrow, “for the Lord is with you.”

A Timely Commodity

timeTime is an interesting commodity of life.  While it doesn’t cost you anything, it’s still priceless. It’s something that you can use to your advantage, but you’ll never be able to own it.  Time has a unique life cycle:  As soon as it is born it dies, and once you lose it, you will never find it again.

Perhaps this is why Paul spoke to Christians at both Ephesus and Colossae about the importance of “redeeming the time” or as it says in The Voice: “Make the most of every living and breathing moment…”

Here are a couple of suggestions to help you make the most of life’s precious moments:

  • Before you ever get out of bed, pledge to walk in step with God; and, pray: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths (Psalm 25:4).”
  • When you find yourself waiting in a line, line up your thoughts; and, pray: “Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me (Psalm 119:133.”
  • Whenever you check the time, take a second to check-in with God. Make Psalm 55:17 a habit:  “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.”

It was Henry van Dyke who said: “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”

I say: “Time is just right when it’s justly redeemed for God’s glory.”

2015: A New Year of Decision

opportunity-knockingThe last chance to do something with the opportunities of 365 days of 2014 is gone, over, and lost.  The 8,760 hours have ticked-tocked themselves away, and they have joined Grandfather Time in the hallowed halls of history.

At the stroke of midnight, the future became present, and it gifted us with a new year full of fresh opportunities and precarious choices.   The challenge of 2015 is to recognize the divergent path that lies within each decision you will make.

This divergence is seen in the lucid language of David as he chronicles the lives of the blessed man and the ungodly.  Notice the distinctive contrasts between the two.  As you read this first Psalm on this first day of 2015, I hope it will inspire you to be discriminating in the decisions you make, and resolve to live the blessed life throughout this year.

Psalm One (Amplified Version) . . .

Blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly [following their advice, their plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful [and the mockers] gather.

But his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity].

Not so the wicked [those disobedient and living without God are not so]. But they are like the chaff [worthless, dead, without substance] which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked [those disobedient and living without God] shall not stand [justified] in the judgment, nor [b]sinners in the congregation of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God].

For the Lord knows and is fully acquainted with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly [those living outside God’s will] shall perish (end in ruin and come to nought).

All of That in 60 Seconds

TimeWhat Happens in One Minute Around the World? Robinson Meyer considered this question in the March 12, 2014 issue of the The Atlantic, and I share some of his findings below:

25 Americans will get a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.
58 airplanes will take off around the world, according to the International Air Traffic Association.
11,319 packages will be delivered by UPS, according to UPS.
243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook, according to Facebook.
5,441,400 pounds of garbage will be created, according to the World Bank.
7,150,000,000 human hearts (according to the United States Census Bureau) will beat…
500,500,000,000 times, according to the American Heart Association, as their bodies create…
858,282,240,000,000,000 new red blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.

After looking at these statistics, you can see that quite a bit happens within a 60 second frame of time. What have you done so far today with the precious minutes of your life? What have you thought, done, and said?

A quick Google search will tell you that the average person will speak between 110 and 150 words a minute. After I read this, I wanted to find something that was between 110 and 150 words that I could say and that would be a great way to start the day.

What I found was the first Psalm that starts the book of Psalms—I’ve always thought it was first for a reason. Take 60 seconds and read it out loud, so you can learn the secret of the “blessed man.”

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.