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Posts Tagged ‘investment’

Time Touches Eternity

July 11th, 2012

“Walk in wisdom . . redeeming the time.” Colossians 4:5 NKJV

An empty life is any life devoid of contributions of eternal consequence.

My thoughts and comments today are that “time touches eternity.”

Time is a priceless gift, given by God and invaluable exactly because it is irreplaceable. Once you spend it it’s gone, except for whatever the return from your wise use of the time you have. In any given day, everyone is given the same amount – 24 hours, 1,440 minutes. Use minutes wisely and your hours will be utilized well. You can’t accumulate time for later; you can’t hoard it for when you may need it more. You use it now or waste its potential for benefiting yourself and others.

Time itself has little intrinsic value. The value of any segment of time is only determined by the investment of yourself that you choose to make in the time allotted you. Nowhere are Jesus’ words more applicable than to one’s use of time, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 6:20 NKJV. Let your time on earth be invested in the eternal affairs of the Kingdom of God. See Matthew 6:33 NLT.

The Bible instructs that you, “Walk in wisdom . . redeeming the time.” Colossians 4:5 NKJV. How do you redeem time? Use time well; use it wisely. Direct every moment toward a worthy purpose. To me that means to live every day engaged in things of eternal value. The Bible refers to a coming time when “the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear.” Hebrews 12:27-28 NKJV. Godly fear is much more but is at least this: living each day with a holy desire to honor God and help others in all you say and do. You live wisely when you are an example for others and invest yourself in others’ lives for eternal good.

“Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” Colossians 4:5-6 NLT. Are you making the most of every opportunity? Your use of time in this life relates directly to your experience of time everlasting and eternal. What you do with your life touches eternity, for yourself as well as others. “And remember that the Heavenly Father . . will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of Him during your time as foreigners here on earth. For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from an empty life you inherited from your ancestors.” 1 Peter 1:17-18 NLT. Your days may be activity filled, your schedule busily occupied and yet your life be empty. An empty life is any life devoid of making contributions of eternal consequence.

My prayer for you today is that you prize every moment as a priceless gift from God.

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Munificence

December 13th, 2011

“They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us.” 2 Corinthians 8:5 NIV

“Munificence is a grace flowing from a heart devoted to Christ.”

My thoughts today are about “munificence.”

People assume that happiness and security comes from what they have, but the greatest joy is found only in what you give. Christmas is a good season of the year to re-establish a proper understanding of meaningful giving and sincere generosity, but this is much more than a seasonal practice. Your old nature, before renewed by Christ, wants to keep the most and best for one’s self. That is the surest path to unhappiness. Let’s look at some practical lessons to be learned about giving from reading 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 NKJV.

First of all, munificence flows from a heart devoted to Christ. Munificence – a great word – is defined as “lavish, bountiful liberality. Isn’t that how you want to live? The Apostle Paul commended Macedonian believers who gave “According to their ability, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift . . and not only as we hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:3-5 NKJV. Liberality is expressed to others but its seed is rooted and grows in your sincere love for God. Get the sequence right; first give yourself to God, then to others.

Liberality flows from one’s heart, not pocket or purse. “In great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality . . if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:1-2/12 NKJV. Giving is not about what you have nor primarily about the size of what you give; it is about your desire and ability to give. You have the capability of liberality if you have the capacity of heart to give.

Liberality is a lifestyle issue. “As you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace (of giving) also.” 2 Corinthians 8:7 NKJV. Generosity is not only about money and things – it is about a lifestyle of bigheartedness in your words to and about others, never failing to encourage, be positive and give praise – a lifestyle of unrestrained expression for others’ kindness – a lifestyle of consideration and thoughtfulness where it would not be expected or required – a lifestyle of helpfulness in giving your time and lending a helping hand – and a lifestyle of tolerance and forgiveness for others’ errors. See Luke 6:37-38 NLT/Ephesians 4:29-32 NKJV.

When you give freely and liberally, you are most like God. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NKJV. True liberality is both an expense initially and an investment ultimately. My friend, Des, has often said, “It is not ministry until it costs you something.” I have found that true financially and relationally.

Generosity can and should be practiced by those who have less, as well as by those who have more. “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV. Some measure of a person’s poverty may even be the result of how little they give, rather than how little they have. There are always good reasons to be generous; rarely is there a single reason not to be.

My prayer for you today is that you practice and perfect a Godly munificence.

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Time Well Spent

August 5th, 2010

“Make every minute count.” Ephesians 5:16 CEV

Everything that you use or lose can be replaced, except for time.”

My thoughts today are about “time well spent.”

About everything that you use or lose can be replaced, except for time. Time is an incredibly valuable commodity, irreplaceable really. Because there seems to be so much of it, you may not value time as you should or use it as wisely as you could. But is there so much time that you have plenty, and to spare? You cannot know how much time you will have, and to live as though you have all the time in the world is presuming upon the future.

James’ counsel was that you are not to assume anything about tomorrow “because you do not know what a day will bring.” James 4:14.  The Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom.” Psalm 90:12. Your goal should be to prize each hour and day granted to you, and to use time wisely and invest it fully in matters of Kingdom priorities and eternal realities.

Here’s some practical advice to “make every minute count:”

(1) Just say no, to things (or people) that waste your time, so that you have opportunity to say yes to the best investment of your time to do God’s will, care for your responsibilities, and be helpful to others – to serve God well. You will feel stress when you commit to more than you can accomplish in the available time. Jesus could confidently say, “I have finished the work that (Father) gave Me to do.” John 17:4. Jesus knew what was eternally important. I want my life to be focused on what matters most.

(2) Put off procrastination. You can always do that later! Putting off things that must be done, and could be done now, wastes time presently and inevitably takes more time later. An evidence of personal and spiritual maturity is doing what you don’t feel like doing when you don’t feel like doing it, just because it is what you should do. Jesus said, “I do always those things that please the Father.” John 8:29.  Obeying God promptly and fully in your everyday life is time best spent.

(3) Take time to be holy. “You cannot be fruitful unless you abide in Me,” Jesus taught. John 15:4. Keep in touch daily with the One Who can guide your life and direct your steps. See Proverbs 3:5-6. Time spent doing so is well spent, making every other minute more effective.

Jesus taught that if you “seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, all these other things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33. When Jesus is first, everything else that should fit, does. When He is not, nothing works as well as it could.

My prayer for you today is to establish priorities in your personal and spiritual life.

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Remembering Thankfully

July 23rd, 2009

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philippians 1:3 NLT

“Without others every life would somehow have been different, somehow less.”

My thoughts today are about remembering thankfully.”

Who is it in your life that brings warm thoughts to your heart when they come to mind? There probably should be a number of folk that fit that description for each one of us. People will touch you across a lifetime; many leave their fingerprints of kindness and helpfulness. At one point or another, in one way or another, those people shape what you are becoming.

My birthday was a few days ago, and my family and friends were most kind to me. Of all the generosity shown to me last weekend, the thing most satisfying was the words spoken and written that expressed I had somehow been allowed to touch their lives in some meaningful way.

As I read each of the cards our church families had given – the printed sentiments they had chosen and the personal notes they had penned – their faces came fondly to mind, as did memories of our times together, some joyous and some challenging but grateful for all. I found myself remembering thankfully how they had touched my life with their blessing. Without any one of them my life would somehow have been different – somehow less.

From prison the aged Apostle writes somewhat wistfully, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to God.” Philippians 1:3 NLT. In all the powerful words that flowed from his pen, his introduction to the Christians at Philippi is different, sounding more personal and tender, and written to friends. They were in his heart, easily came to his mind, and readily spilled out in his praise. As names and faces came to mind, Paul found himself giving God thanks for them.

Who comes to mind that releases your thanksgiving to God? Such an inventory is a good and necessary thing. Whose generous investment of themselves is the reason for the dividends you daily enjoy? Your heart will be more full and your life richer when you thankfully remember the ones who have made you who you are. Parents? Family? Spouse? Pastors? Teachers? Mentors? Friends? Maybe today would be the best of times to tell them – in a letter or in person – while you can and while they are there to hear that.

I guess birthdays that note the journey of one’s life and mark the milestones along the way are a time for reflection. My reflection is of a path strewn with blessings I did not earn and grace I could not have demanded. I think I know a little more of what the Psalmist David was feeling when he wrote, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 NKJV. I will remember thankfully the generosity of God and the graciousness of people who have touched and blessed my everyday life.

My thanks to God today is for those whose life contributed so much more than I could repay.

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