Tag Archives: eternity

Eternity In Mind

What would you change if you knew the day you were going to die? How would it change things if that day was years in the future or next week? I always wonder why God allows us to know when someone will be born, but not when we will die. He already knows the date, so why not let us know? For me, that leads back to the first question. Would we live differently if we knew the date? I think human nature dictates that we would live differently. Unfortunately, many people would live their lives for themselves, then at the last moment, give their lives to God. Since we don’t know when, we must live our lives being ready to meet our maker at any moment.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average life expectancy in the United States is 78.6 years. With that kind of average, we all assume we will live that long, but the truth is that we don’t know. 78.6 years seems like a long time when you compare it to people you know, but what if we compare it to eternity? 78.6 years is nothing. It’s not even a second. What we do, and how we live will have an eternal impact. Why would we then try to live that second for anything other than our creator?

Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). Thinking about how short life is should push us to think eternally and make us live wisely with eternity in mind. The problem is that most of us don’t want to live our lives with the end in mind. We only think about today and what we need for it. God has planted eternity in our hearts, but He has left the future unclear (Ecclesiastes 3:11). He doesn’t want us to live our lives short sited. We need to live with eternity in mind.

Photo by Simeon Muller on Unsplash

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Second Hand Religion

  
How do you know what is sin? Do you let your pastor decide that for you? Do you let your political party tell you what it is? Do you let society define it? Maybe you just go with what feels right to you. The fact is that none of these have the power to define what is right in God’s sight and what is wrong. There is only one source that defines what is sin and what is not. It’s the Holy Bible. God’s Word was written by about 40 people over the period of about 1,500 years. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is inspired by God.

We know that even though it was written by so many people over such a long period of time, that it was all inspired by God. The beauty of God’s Word is that it stands the test of time and will remain relevant forever because human nature doesn’t change. The Bible looks at human nature, defines what sin is, but more importantly, shows us how to get forgiveness from it and how to avoid it. Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved” (NLT).

To avoid falling into sin, we must first know what sin is to God. James 4:17 gives us a simple definition of sin. It says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” If you know what’s right and then choose not to do it, then you’re sinning. The Bible is also filled with other things that it names as sin like lying, adultery, stealing, etc. at the heart of each of those and every other sin is that basic definition. You know there’s a right and a wrong and you’re willfully choosing the wrong.

So how do we avoid falling prey to our desire to do the things we want to do, but aren’t the right things? Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” If we want to know what sin is and also to have the ability to overcome it, we must put God’s Word in our heart. We must read it, understand it, meditate on it, and memorize it so that we can live the way God wants us to. It’s not up to other people to tell you what it says. It’s up to you to read it and to understand it. When it come to your eternity, don’t rely on second hand information alone. 

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What Are Your Priorities?

In order to teach people to prioritize their time, I do a little demonstration with them. I have them hold a paper plate and then ask them what all they are involved in or have going on in their lives. Each time they name something, I place an object on the plate they are holding. Sooner or later one of two things happen. Either the plate slips out of their grasp or it buckles and everything ends up on the floor.

It’s a great demonstration of what happens when we’re involved in more things than we have time for. We either need a bigger plate, fewer things on our plate or to find a way to prioritize the things on our plate better. Each one of us lead busy lives. We have more demands on us than ever before. The question is, “What falls off your plate first when life gets crazy?”

For too many of us the answer is God. We get so caught up in making a living that we forget why we are living and what we were created for. Our goal is not retirement. I’m not saying don’t save up for retirement. I’m saying it shouldn’t be such a priority that you fail to give God your time. I know what it’s like to work so hard that on your only day off you want to sleep in instead of going to church. It’s also easier to hit the snooze button than to wake up and pray.

The problem is that we’ve not made God a priority. I heard someone recently say, “We’ve made God a luxury and not a necessity.” When that happens and things need to be cut in our lives, He’s one of the first things to go. God must become a priority in each of our lives or the balancing act with the plate is all for nothing. Job 1:21 reminds us that we were naked when we came into this world and we’ll be naked when we leave. If we can’t take it with us, why have we made it such a priority in our lives?

What we do take with us is our soul. Romans 14:12 says that each one of us will give a personal account to God for what we’ve done and how we’ve lived. What we do on earth for God will echo in eternity. He should be our number one priority in life followed by doing the things that matter for eternity. We still have to provide for our families and to do the things necessary to live. It’s finding the right priority that is the key to living the way God intended us to live. There is a way to balance the things in your life without having them fall on the floor.

It starts with having God at the center of your life. When you make Him your number one priority in your life, you begin to see what matters and what doesn’t. You learn what matters for eternity and what doesn’t. You begin to see where things belong in your life. You find the balance He wants you to have. You may have to let go of some things you have as a high priority right now. You may find you’ve been focusing on the wrong things and need to put different things on your plate.

To help you determine how you prioritize things in your life, I ask again, “What falls off your plate first when life gets crazy? What falls off last?” The answer to these questions is where you currently have your priorities. What order do you want or need your priorities to be in? What changes can you make today to begin to put them in the right order? Putting God in the center will help you to find the balance you’re looking for.

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Smacked by God

My brother said I could share what happened to him yesterday. He was pulling into a fast food restaurant with his son to grab lunch. As he was turning in, a lady whipped in front of him nearly hitting them. She was in a hurry to eat as well until she got in the drive through line. Once she got there, she started using her phone. The line would pull forward, but she was oblivious. She’d look up and notice and then pull forward.

After what seemed like an eternity and I’m sure 10 minutes of complaining about her, they got to the window to get their food. He handed his card to the person at the window and they said, “Actually, the lady on front of you paid for yours. It’s free.” He looked at my nephew and said, “That’s how God disciplines us. It’s in love, but it hurts.” They then laughed the rest of the day about how he had been behaving and how God smacked him.

A lot of times, each if us let our pride, anger or selfishness get in the way of our attitudes. We let those things change who we are into people we don’t recognize. We complain, scream, argue and find fault with others. One little, insignificant in the face of eternity event happens and sets us off. We let it dominate our thoughts, our attitude and our actions. Before you know it, we aren’t in control anymore. Our blood is boiling for what seems justified at the moment, but not long term.

Thankfully, God cares about us and usually will do something to end it. In this case, and I think in most cases, a little dose of humility was in order. But God didn’t just impugn him to humble him. God blessed him and at the same time showed him the error of his ways. That’s what I love about God. He doesn’t act like us or think like us. If I were in charge, I don’t think I would have blessed him for how he was behaving. Thankfully I’m not God.

In Isaiah 55:8, The Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” He loves each one of us individually and corrects us how He sees fit. He knows if we need to be beaten over the head with a 2×4 because He can’t get through to us any other way (guilty). He knows if we need a gentle, quiet rebuke. His discipline always fits the situation and the person. No matter how He does it, it’s always done in love with our best interest at heart.

Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For The Lord disciplines those He loves.” If God corrects you or disciplines you, don’t get angry at Him. He loves you enough to correct you and to point you in the right direction just like a parent would for their child. Accept it in love, laugh about how you were behaving and then make the adjustment so He doesn’t have to do it again.

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