WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Managing Our Time

Wednesday Reflection – July 03, 2019

Managing Our Time

Teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.Psalm 90:12  

Arthur Jackson writes, “Psalm 90 is a worshipful conversation Moses has with God. The superscription reads, ‘A prayer of Moses, the man of God.’ But even if we weren’t alerted that this psalm is a prayer, the language and tone clearly indicate the psalmist was talking to God. This prayer was spoken during a rough period in Israel’s history. It appears the people of God had experienced discipline (vv. 7–11, 15), which prompted Moses to talk to God about the brevity and fragility of human life in view of God’s eternal nature (vv. 1–6).” The psalmist makes several references to time, such as generations, years, days, morning and evening. For Jackson, “…tough times can compel us to talk to the Lord about our brief time on earth and appeal to Him for His help. They can also cause us to ask who may need the gift of our time.”

There is an African proverb that says, “Westerners have watches. Africans have time.” How many times have we said, ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I can’t find the time’? It seems as if our very busy schedules and many deadlines to meet is dominating our lives. We seem to not even have time for ourselves. In the midst of all this, Moses prays in today’s Watchword, ‘Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.’ Paul writes, ‘Be very careful, then, how you live . . . making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil’ (Ephesians 5:15–16).

Bill Crowder shares that he suspects that Paul and Moses would agree that our wise use of time isn’t just a matter of clock-watching. For Crowder, ‘The situation may call for us to keep a tight schedule—or it may compel us to give someone an extended gift of our time. We have but a brief moment to make a difference for Christ in our world, and we need to maximize that opportunity. That may mean ignoring our watches and planners for a while as we show Christ’s patient love to those He brings into our lives. As we live in the strength and grace of the timeless Christ, we impact our time for eternity.’

We are urged to be mindful that our time is limited so we have to make use of every time we have. Yet, we are challenged to recognize that what some people desire most from us is not our money or other physical possessions, but our time. Our time to give them a listening ear, our time to empathize with them, our time to extend a word of encouragement. This may be our greatest gift to others. God has given us all the time we need to fulfill all that he has given us to do.

Till next week, let’s remember that time management is not about clock-watching, it’s about making the most of the time we have.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Lord, do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil

Tuesday Reflection – 02 July 2019

Lord, do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil. Psalm 141:4

David’s prayer is indeed one that is often on our lips, as we pray The Lord’s Prayer “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” It is a thought that many times we struggle with, hoping to stay on the narrow way. But David prays that he would be not be drawn to temptation. He asks God to protect him from every form of temptation, for godly correction that may continue to live the holy and sober life that we have been called to live.

Hear Psalm 141:3-5 from the Message Translation

“Post a guard at my mouth, God,
    set a watch at the door of my lips.
Don’t let me so much as dream of evil
    or thoughtlessly fall into bad company.
And these people who only do wrong—
    don’t let them lure me with their sweet talk!
May the Just One set me straight,
    may the Kind One correct me,
Don’t let sin anoint my head.
    I’m praying hard against their evil ways!”

David’s earnest intention is that he would not fall into the trap of sin, and it is a prayer that we all would share as believers. We know, that the devil is as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour but David asks God to guard his thoughts, his words and his actions so that he may never ever yield to temptation.

My brothers and sisters, we will be tempted. In fact, Christ himself was. The sin is not being tempted, it is in yielding to the temptation. Christ was tempted but never fell to temptation. So, we guard our hearts against actions that are contrary to God’s standards and his will and purpose for our lives. But it’s not just saying, we need to yield to God, to his Holy Spirit to guard us against the wiles of the devil. David prayed as he asks God to help him, to guard him against temptation. We need Jesus on the inside, working on the outside to bring about that change in our lives.

Then my brothers and sisters, we strive to live as children of God. Paul puts it this way “You are dead to sin and alive to God.” (Romans 6:11) And you, may ask, how then do we do that? The Apostle Paul gives an answer to that question in Romans 6: 12-14 (MSG) “That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live.” We then have the power through Christ Jesus to be dead to sin and alive to God. David’ prayer is a request that he be so guarded so as to not slip. Not by his thoughts, his deeds or his lips. Then David in the latter text of Psalm 141 (MSG) writes;

“But God, dear Lord,
    I only have eyes for you.

Since I’ve run for dear life to you,
    take good care of me.
Protect me from their evil scheming,
    from all their demonic subterfuge.
Let the wicked fall flat on their faces,
    while I walk off without a scratch.”

Fix your eyes on Jesus on not on the things of this world. Keep focused on the things that are true, the things that are honest, the things that are just, the things that are pure, the things that are lovely, the things that are of good report; where there is virtue, or where there is praise. (Philippians 4:8)  James says “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Until next week, let our prayer be like David, “Lord, do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil.” May our song be “Jesus be a fence all around me, every day. “We cannot on our own, live this Christian life so let’s invite and allow Jesus to indwell us to show us the way. I leave with you today’s doctrinal text “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21) Then we can say with every authority “Get thee behind me Satan.”

Dominic J. Blair 

MONDAY REFLECTION – True Wisdom

Monday Reflection – July 01, 2019

True Wisdom

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. James 3:13  

Wisdom? What is that? While there are many persons who walk around boasting about how wise they are, there are some who struggle to come to grips with what it means to be wise. The latter becomes real when we reflect on the many foolish thoughts and ideas that we have had; the many foolish words we have spoken; the many foolish things we have done. Some of us wonder whether we can claim any measure of wisdom. I have always believed that wisdom is grounded in knowledge; there is no wisdom without knowledge. Wisdom therefore is the capacity to use knowledge appropriately.

The straight-shooter James clarifies for us what wisdom is and outlines that there are two kinds of wisdom. Hear him in chapter 3: 13-18:

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15 Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

For James, when it comes to wisdom:

1.      It must be shown by our good life – Wisdom is not hidden or kept a secret, suppressed nor buried. Wisdom is shown, more so revealed by and in the way we live. We need not declare to anyone that we are wise, it will be seen.

2.      Our works must be done with gentleness – Those who are wise are not arrogant and boastful, but humble and gentle. This gentleness recognizes that others may not be as mature and developed as we are. In any case, the wise know that all that we are and all that we have is because of the manifold grace of God. The wise are disciples of Christ who walk alongside others and help them to grow and mature in Christ.  

3.      The signs are the Fruit of the Spirit – James distinguishes the earthly, unspiritual and devilish kind of wisdom from the heavenly and godly. The former may be described as the works of the flesh, while the latter is the fruit of the Spirit. The truly wise are those who bear the fruit of the Spirit in their daily lives, including love, joy, peace, purity, gentleness, willing to yield, mercy, impartiality and honesty. True wisdom comes from God and is dispensed by God in differing measure to whom he chooses.   

As we pursue wisdom, a good place to begin is to join with David in today’s Watchword, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting”Psalm 139:23-24

Jermaine Gibson