Thursday, November 27, 2008

Student Devotions - November 27, 2008

Typical. We've all done it. We know that if we do something now it could prevent extra work later but it is not a problem now so we ignore it. It can be anything from bill payments to spilt milk. You know what I mean. You see the milk container is too close to the counter edge but you just leave it because it isn't really a problem. Two minutes later you, or someone else bumps against it. Now you have to spend the next ten minutes trying to clean it up.

We refer to it as "preventative medicine". Insurance companies are getting good at this in order to save money. They come in and inspect your property to see if there are any dangers. They then give you a list of things like broken tiles, piled boxes, torn carpet that need to be fixed or they will cancel your insurance. It makes sense doesn't it? Why pay out money after the fact for something that can be prevented with a simple repair.

I once saw an episode of "Malcom In The Middle" where their dad had discovered he had forgotten to send in the cheque to the medical insurance. This meant they had no medical coverage. Suddenly everywhere he looked he saw potential hazards. Of course he spent the rest of the episode comically accident proofing his house.

There are many things in our lives that we should look at in order to prevent hardship and heartache in the future. Our reading this morning is another example of this in our relationship with Jesus.

Joshua had just won a great victory and was ready to move on. He had no idea that a hazard had shown up in the form of hidden sin. You may think "How could he know about something that was hidden?" Because he had access to our God who sees everything. Joshua's mistake came in not asking the Lord for direction. He made some assumptions and lost in a big way. This could have been prevented if only he had taken the time to ask. God would have told him and Joshua would have taken care of it. Instead they went into battle without the strength of the Lord and lives were lost. They put on a big effort to petition the Lord but it would have been an easy matter if they had asked first.

This lesson can be carried into every aspect of our life. It is always best to take care of the little details, put everything in order, don't be lazy about it, don't assume and you will save yourself a lot of work later. on.

A good example for my students is their school work. So many of them have milk sitting on the edge of the counter. They can take care of it by putting a little effort into completing the task to move it from the edge. It would be better to do that than to try to clean up the mess later. Afterall, who enjoys cleaning up a mess (or attending summer school). If there are things preventing victory in this area of your life ask God and he will reveal the problem to you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Time Keeps On Ticking Into The Future

Our struggle with time continues. There was a point in my life, not long ago, when I was able to complete my To Do list. This year my daily To Do list seems to be an impossibility, requiring many days to complete my work for a one day list. I have a sense that God has shortened the days instead of prolonging them for me.

Obviously this is an illusion because our God established the length of a day from the beginning of time. It was only on a couple of occassions this changed and it was for a very specific reason. I do not believe God is going to accomodate my busyness in this manner. What we do with the time God has allotted us is an important matter that should be considered carefully. Yet, I must do something more than just long for those quiet moments when we hear God's voice pulling at us, "Be still and know that I AM God." (The emphasis on the great I AM is mine.) We must do something to accomodate our need.

It is amazing how two items on my To Do can take my entire day. I tried to figure out why and really it s only today that I realize what does it. They are all those little time stealers, the things that are too small to include on a To Do list. They are things like the spilled soup that needs to be cleaned up, the unexpected phone call, the late bus. In time management they tell you to expect such things by building in empty spaces in our day. These empty spaces are meant to absorb these time thieves. The problem comes when we crowd our To Do's without considering the unexpected. We can't do anything about a late bus. With time buffers we will avoid frustrations but with a crowded To Do we will feel like we are about to have a heart attack.

At least I have a To Do list, I only need to remember to spread out my tasks over more days. I feel bad for those people who try to live without a list. I guess non-busy people would not need lists but others certainly need them. If you are feeling overwhelmed, lost, confused, stressed then I strongly recommend learning how to use a To Do. But on that To Do list book in those quiet moments so you will not crowd out the Father who longs for one of the things we consider most precious to us; time.