Archive for January, 2023

Time Flies

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” I Corinthians 13:11 

On a large town hall clock in Switzerland are these words ornately carved:
“When I was a child I laughed and wept,
Time crept.
When as a youth, I dreamed and talked,
Time walked.
When I became a full grown man,        
Time ran.
When older still I grew,
Time flew.
Soon I shall find in traveling on,
Time gone.”

Each of us is in one of those groups, and rapidly moving to the next. Each day we do well to write on our heart that today will be the best day of our life. So don’t rush by today to get to tomorrow. Do not anticipate some future event so that you waste today’s world. Likewise, don’t be like a peacock whose glory is behind. Conversely, a past tense life is to never move into today’s world.

Nearly 5,000 years ago it was written in the ancient language of Sanskrit this tribute to time: “Look well to this day, for it and it alone is life. In the brief course of this one day lie all the verities and realities of your existence; the pride of growth, the glory of action, the splendor of beauty. Yesterday is only a dream and tomorrow is but a vision. Yet, each day, well lived, makes each yesterday a dream of happiness and each tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this one day, for it and it alone is life.”

These words have long been known, but learned by few.

An old bromide known by most from youth is: “Never put off to tomorrow what you can do today.” It might be added, you might enjoy it so much you will want to do it again tomorrow.

Philip Dormer Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield, originally stated it: “Know the true value of time. Snatch it, seize it, enjoy every second of it. No laziness, no idleness, no procrastination; never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

A current poster reads: “Today is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.” 

His gifts are always good. Make sure your gifts to Him is good for something.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90: 12)

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.” (Ephesians 5: 15, 16)


“Whatever!” is the mantra of the moment.

It is a synonym for relativism, a byword for “anything goes,” and a revelation that situational ethics have made great advances. It makes for an uncertain society.

A “whatever” mentality means vague is vogue.

It is a word used extensively in our current culture. It shows indifference, a lack of understanding and commitment. Unfortunately a person or society that stands for nothing will fall for anything. That is the point to which many have come, so many it defines our society. How about you?

The Barna Research Group ascertained the following facts as a revelation that this is a “Whatever!” culture.

* Three-fourths of all adults believe “there is no such thing as absolute truth. Two people can define truth in conflicting ways and both be correct according to this concept.” This is contrary to the long held belief that when there are two polar positions on the same issue one is wrong. 

* More than 70% of American adults agree that there are no absolute standards which apply to everyone. This means when it comes to morals and ethics, what is right and wrong, there are no absolute standards that apply to everyone in all situations.

Understanding breaks down when people don’t have the same system of values. In a whatever world every person is a system of law unto self. It creates a wonderful world of “ME.”

The act of believing is important. The object of belief is even more important.

“There are no absolutes,” assert relativists.  First of all, the relativist is declaring there are absolutely no absolutes. That is an absolute statement. The statement is logically contradictory. 

Absolute truth exists in the worlds of science and math. It is a fact that cannot be changed. For example, there are no round squares. There are also no square circles. The angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees. Doesn’t God have the right to determine all truth if He has done so, so obviously in the sciences?

A follower of Jesus sets Him and His teaching as their standard for truth. Following should be this commitment to Him, “I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.” (Psalm 119:30) 

Then further pray, “Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:5)

Do so with the resolution of Martin Luther who when on trial for his faith declared, “Here I stand, I can do naught else.”

Pray about it now.

All This for You

There is found in the story of one oil painting the truth of the application of the love of Calvary to all persons.

The artist, Sternburg, who lived in Dusseldorf in Prussia, was commissioned to paint the crucifixion. He knew the story of the crucifixion by heart but was not a believer. One spring morning he was walking in the forest near his city when he met a gypsy girl making straw baskets. She was lovely. He enlisted her to be a model for another painting he was doing of a dancing girl. She was asked to come three times a week. As she posed, her searching eyes found the painting of the crucifixion. “Who is that she asked?” Sternburg: “The Christ.” “What is being done to Him?” Sternburg, “They are crucifying Him.” “Who are those people with the angry faces?” Sternburg, “Now look here! I cannot talk. You have nothing to do but stand as I tell you.” Days later she asked, “Why did they crucify Him? Was he bad, very bad?” Sternburg, “Listen, and I will tell you once and for all. Then no more questions.” He told her the story of the cross. It moved her to tears.

Finally, her last day came. She stood motionless but emotionally before the painting and said to Sternburg, “You must love Him very much when he has done all that for you?” “All that for you” rang through his mind for days. He knew he did not love Jesus. Sometime later he was saved. Out of gratitude he sought to express his love through finishing the painting of the crucifixion. It was soon hung in the great museum in Dusseldorf. Underneath the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What hast thou done for Me?”

One day Sternburg visited the gallery and saw a lovely girl standing before the painting weeping. It was Pepita. They greeted and she said, “O Master! If he had but loved me so!” The new Sternburg told her of Jesus’ love for her. In near unbelief and with deep gratitude she accepted Jesus as Savior.

Some years later the painting was visited by the wealthy young nobleman, Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf. This young aristocrat was trained for a diplomatic career in the Court of Dresden. On a trip to Paris he stopped in Dusseldorf to rest his horses. While there he visited the art gallery. He noted the painting of Sternburg and was struck by it. He stood paused to read the inscription: “All this I did for thee; What has thou done for me?” His eyes met those of the thorn-crowned Jesus. He could find no answer to that question that satisfied his mind. Hours passed, the light faded; time came for the gallery to close. It was night when he left the gallery, but a new day had dawned in his experience. From that day all that he had was placed at the cross of Jesus – his wealth, fame, heart and life. He declared, “I have but one passion. It is Jesus, Jesus only.” Jesus became his life’s passion.

You who have previously trusted Him pause and express your love to Him

You who have never done so are urged to do so now.

Take Every Thought Into Captivity

“…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ….” II Corinthians 10: 5

Every thought releases a chemical into the body, some good, some not good for you. You determine which chemical by what thought you have.

It is for this reason Scripture notes “A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 7: 22)

Before dealing with the first part of this verse consider the second.

“Bones” in the Bible figuratively represents the body: fat bones means a healthy body (Proverbs 3:8; 15:30; 16:24), but dry bones signify unhealthiness and lifelessness. ( Ezekiel 37:1-14)

A broken spirit, that is a negative spirit, always looks on the dark side of things, contributing to poor health.

Pause and think, before scientific knowledge opened our understanding to these things the Lord revealed a summary of the principles to Solomon.

It is even known now that the left brain is more associated with positive emotions, while the right brain is more associated with negative emotions. A key to sunny disposition, and good health is to keep the left side dominating.

When the levels of serotonin are normal, one feels happy, calm, less anxious, more focused, and emotionally stable. There is an increase in activity and zeal. A bright outlook exists.

Negativity can become a habit. Frequent criticism, cynical thoughts, and denial can create neural pathways in the brain that encourage a negative outlook which is unbecoming of a person of faith.

The good news is the brain can be trained. The basic premise is to “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus….” (Philippians 2: 5)

When you think on a topic, think of how Jesus would speak on it if He were present under your circumstances. Your first thought on the subject may be negative. Before leaving the topic go back and consider how Jesus would think about it. Retrain your brain to flip negatives into positives. That is a good final filter.

Some steps in training the mind include: focusing on good things, practicing gratitude, being open to and enjoying good humor, and spending time with positive people. 

Foremost on training your mind is found in this axiom: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119: 11)

That requires that you “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2: 15)

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23: 7)

Let the good chemicals flow.

Now Thank We All Our God

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Heb. 13:15, 16

Our text gives us two directional outlets for gratitude.  Verse 15 speaks of praise and is God-ward.  Verse 16 speaks of performance, that is, service which is man-ward.

We are to praise God and share with others.

Note the reference to “the sacrifice of praise.”  This is one of the only gifts we can give God.  When it is difficult to praise Him, our praise is often best.  We have to sacrifice our feelings in order to praise. We sacrifice our ego and praise Him rather than seek praise for ourselves.  It is “the fruit of the lips.”  Praise on the lips is the fruit and gratitude in the heart, the root.

A German named Rinkart was the son of a poor coppersmith. He lived through the Thirty Years War which started in 1618.  His city was ravaged by plague and famine.  Yet, he wrote:

“Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who mighty things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices.”

We are to offer the sacrifice of praise to God and render service to people with our voice, hands, and heart.

We are to “continually” offer praise to God not just when things are going good and we feel like it. It is not to be simply a feeling, but an expression of praise.

Praise that comes from our lips pleases God. It is likened to the fruit of a tree. It is spoken out unto the Lord. What comes from the lips is regarded as fruit. The fruit of a tree reveals the nature of the tree. Expressed praise reveals the heart of the one praising Him.

This is more than a cliche flippantly spoken when something good happens. It is a heartfelt expression of sincere gratitude. It is to be a sacrifice at times. Those are the times things aren’t good, but God is acknowledged to be good. Don’t confuse things with God. Things are not always good, but God is always good, always. To praise Him when things aren’t good is a testimony to His good nature and sufficiency.

We are to be thankful not only for the benefits of God, but for the God of all benefits.  Thank Him not only for what He gives, but who He is.

In a culture where our passionate desire for things is inflamed, contentment is hard to find.  When one comes to the realization that contentment is only in Jesus and not commodities, can it be had.