Is time on your side?

What really, really ticks you off? I mean, what really gets under your skin?

Is it the guy who cuts you off in traffic? I just realized, with the threat of a snow storm here tomorrow, that I actually get angry at the weather for slowing down the progression of my plans for the week.
Does the repairman who wants a 10 hour window of time for his appointment drive you nuts?
How about waiting in the only open checkout line while five bored-looking employees saunter outside for a smoke break?

Now you will have noticed that nothing throws [a human] into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. [It] anger[s] him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen.

It occurs to me that perhaps the most common and pervasive lie among men is that we honestly believe our time is our own.

The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might as well regard the sun and moon as his chattels.

Guilty as charged.

Not only is this a prolific lie, but at Predatory Lies, the goal is to, “uncover the lies that destroy our lives.” Is this lie all that destructive, really?

It doesn’t seem like it. I mean, we might stress less if we actually understood that all of our striving and fretting and hurrying accomplishes nothing.
We might present the Gospel more winsomely if we weren’t thinking about how the person’s question really came at a bad time.
We might not mourn over death as much as we do if we believed that our time is not our own and that what time we do have is a gift from a benevolent Father, from whom all good gifts come. (James 1:17)

The misconception that time is our own leeches the joy, value and posterity from our lives. “Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
Ps. 90:12

All quoted wisdom in this article, aside from Scripture, is courtesy of C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters.The Screwtape Letters.  

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Stay in the Moment

Be present! Stay in the moment!

It might well be the mantra of the decade. It is hummed from the yoga mat, preached from the pulpit and scribbled in the margins of self-help books. I warrant, it’s true. There is little worth in worrying about tomorrow, as it will happen exactly as God intended it to happen without the assistance of human agony. And fretting about yesterday only gives me indigestion and entices me to break open old wounds in an effort to right past wrongs.

The humans live in time but our Enemy destines them to eternity. He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which our Enemy has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them.  ~Screwtape in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters

I can see the wisdom of his words. I have felt the lingering, nagging, splinter-like pain of regret. I have felt the heart-stopping, immobilizing fret of the future. The great lie is that by attending to either one, I do some good. Perhaps, guilt and regret are part of paying the penalty. Do I think I am earning God’s sympathy or forgiveness through my groveling? Do I think that by making all kinds of logical suggestions about the future I can change God’s course for eternity?

Far better to rest in the finished, past and continuing work of Christ on my behalf. And far better to trust the Creator of the world to be sufficiently wise to sustain me.

-for the past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future.

Endless Beginning

Servant, Child

Lamb of mine.

Once I stepped into your time.

Never before had I curbed my power

Paid homage to a ruthless hour.

 

Beneath the burden of your yesterdays

And the looming knowledge of my own tomorrow,

I wept, I laughed and I shared your sorrow.

You cringe with ending, each night a mystery.

Does life await with next sun’s warmth?

 

I once inhaled the fog of death.

But of my own, breathed out life-breath.

In my plan of beginnings, life’s fruit a bounty

I first exhaled life’s breath.

I watched the lungs I gave to you

Expand.

 

Take it in! I smiled

All true and new.

Take it in and begin

With nothing to prove.

Conclussions and confusion…and time

I have quite literally wrung my brain dry with this investigation of eschatology. I have decidedly fallen into the camps of Partial Preterists. I have no insights left to impart, simply the bearing of the Holy Spirit on my own spirit, which leads me to this conclusion.

If you want to read more about this topic, here a couple useful links: Ligonier Articles  and a Wikipedia definition. 

Changing the subject…

If time had walls,

What would frame this hour?

Would I find safety in the confines?

Fewer lost moments, bleeding in chaos from one to the next?

Who would share this hour-room with me?

Would the doors be open?

Walls hung with color and beauty?

Homey? Or shuddering will we

Hustle to leave, lock the door and run

To another moment and hope to stay…

even as time slips past?

No, time is like adornment. Jesus,

Dress me in scarlet to brighten rainy hours.

But as the whirlwind moments pass,

Seamlessly, like seasons, unthought freedom,

I change.

Finding comfort in each dress and shoe

To walk the proverbial halls of time.

Yesterday, I wore a garland of buds

And slept wrapped in a blanket of cashmere.

In each moment hangs a wardrobe.

I only have to chose,

To enter or leave each moment

With well-dressed mind.

Blast! It’s February Already!

I’ve so many ideas for February, but I’d be lying if I told you that I had any idea where to go with them! Every quiet time I have with Jesus, every poignant conversation with friends, every glance at a headline, every jot and tiddle in my journal begs to be a new blog post. I just hope I can keep track of all the scraps of thoughts long enough to weave them into some interesting fodder for your thought.

For the first full week of the month, I have to get some stuff of my chest. C.S. Lewis says, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” I think the same is true of love. In order to fully love Jesus, and to fully praise Him, I have to share what I love about Him.

Lately, I’ve been discovering some things about being holy. My sisters and I have recently started a Skype-ing, Precepts Bible study. We are studying “Living Like You Belong To God.” In just 40 tiny minutes per week, God is revealing nuggets of gold. Do you wonder if you can ever become completely comfortable with God? Can you regard Him with reverence and as your Daddy at the same time? What does that have to do with being holy?

We’ll look at some other questions:

Can you really be an introverted Christian?

Do you have any alters in your life?

The second week, I think I’ll bring you into my bedroom. That sounds bad! What I mean, is that I’ll allow you to watch my experiment with Project 333. I’m afraid it’s going to be a fiasco, but hey, you never know until you try! I’d love it if you want to do it with me, misery loves company!

It’s funny, I really do wear the same things over and over, but somehow it’s nice just knowing that variety is available. Honestly, when I read this lady’s list of what she’s wearing, 33 items goes a long way.

Also, we’re in the process of upgrading all things WordPress so that I can include video and audio for you. You might even get to watch me winnow out my closet!

So, we’ve taken care of February, week 2.

And lastly, you’ve heard me mention Moody Radio and Publishers hundreds of times. You also know that I read Table Talk, by Ligonier Ministries. Sooner or later, it will no longer catch me by surprise that God weaves all His teachings through my days so seamlessly. Both of these resources have been highlighting the catechisms. Do you know what those are? During the fourth full week of February, I will review the book

The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism, by Kevin DeYoung.

And then we have one final partial week before we stomp into March! March! March! Since I expect my head to be spinning with the spiral of time’s dial, and my minutes slipping through like hourglass sand, we will just celebrate the progressive nearness of Christ’s return through poetry.

So that’s it, that’s February in a wrap! See you there!

Burnt Offering

I collect the fragments of yesterday

And the wispy tendrils of tomorrow.

Standing in a void of time

Wedged between the bulges of my hourglass.

I place memories and wishes

In a basket made of thorns.

My sweaty palm blisters

From its death grip on the handle.

A looking glass behind me mocks

Like wicked witch, cackling failure and doom.

If I turn, alas the fate of all men – death,

Will come too soon. But welcomed?

The Son pierces weighty clouds above

Called by songs of praise and love.

My mirror, enemy of my soul, backdrop of

a redeemed past.

Sparks, ignites like withered twigs.

The thorny collection on my arm

Takes light

In a moment blazing offering

Of yesterdays, tomorrows and

Pours forth a mysterious fragrance

Of sweet, redeemed pain.

Convenient Life

It makes me cry to see November

All life past a continuous blur.

Defining moments of a convenient life?

Can there be, will there be?

 

From one degree of pleasure and milder pain.

To another height or valley.

Defining moments of a convenient life.

Can there be, will there be?

 

When did time assault me?

It used to be my friend as I

Begged each year to grow me up

And experience to make me wise.

 

I climbed few mountains, notched few years

As critical memories. For each day fades.

How does this change? My current is strong.

Is middle, mediocre where I belong?

 

Or what impact would I have?

Do sleepless nights parade dreams

Of wealth and status?

Have I missed a lucrative calling?

 

Or have I buried dreams of sacrifce?

Goals of pouring out the fullest measure?

Will my mark be left on people or economy?

Who would define a convenient life?

Time Warp

I used to think it was just my husband.  Then, I thought it was only me.  Now, I’m convinced it’s nearly everyone.  It’s a talent really: we not so much cross timezones when we travel – we time warp.

Recently, while I was home in Kansas visiting my family, my alter-personality, “Sister” emerged.  I didn’t have my own schedule or set of friends in Kansas, so I clung to Rachelle’s shirt tales.  I had so much fun going to see the play, “The Little Mermaid” with her.  We lost ourselves in the characters of a crime show called, Without a Trace.  We painted our toe nails, ate frozen yogurt, walked her dog, and drank exorbitant amounts of coffee.

“Daughter” also appeared.  I voluntarily washed the dishes and helped with laundry.  Like a cat getting its back scratched I thrilled to my father’s compliments or gratitude.  I put my head in my mother’s lap and let her play with my hair.  For two weeks I wasn’t concerned with groceries, laundry, litter pans, dirty floors or mowed lawns.  When I did chores, it was simply because I wanted to help and it hardly felt like work.

Then, POOF, suddenly I came home.  I mean to my real home, in Virginia, where the adult Abby lives.  Wake up!  The lawn desperately needed to be mowed, the litter pan was lending its fragrance to the entire house, the dishes I had left drying on the counter were still there.  Suddenly I remembered that I need to fix the rusts spots on my car’s trunk, Patrick’s car needs new tires and I had a meeting at the church the very next day.

The stark contrast between these two or three me’s, easily makes one pine for the good ol’ days.  We admire, wistfully, the carelessness of a child.  The truth is: we don’t have to lose it.  I’m no expert, in fact, I rarely get it right, but I firmly believe that we adults have no more reason to worry than a child.  After all, doesn’t God say He is our Father?  I am relieved to still be His child.

I recently visited another blog called, Not Bob.  He wrote this poem that I find mesmerizing and I think it fits here as well.  I hope you enjoy:

I think the world is a pin cushion

There’s a space between everyday matters
that makes someone feel every day matters,
a breath or sigh in the darkness. We surround
our time with excuses and distractions, bind
those we love with commitments when we should be
splashing around in dark puddles while the rain
covers us in nothing more than what it is.

– Robert Lee Brewer, author of Not Bob