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Wasting the Time God Gives You

Whether you own an alarm clock, phone, or watch, time doesn’t stop when you fall asleep. From the time you get to the time you go to bed; time keeps ticking away. Some days you may be productive while others have too many distractions to get what you want done. Subsequently, you’re either living the abundant life that Jesus promised, John 10:10, or you’re wasting the time that God has given you.

And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons; 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them. 13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living. 14 And when he had spent all he had, a [g]mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want, Luke 15:11-14.

The Bible uses the expression of sitting down to signal completion. When completing God’s will for His life by dying on a cross, Jesus sat down to be with God the Father in heaven. Yet, many Christians sit down at the end of each day without finishing what the Holy Spirit has called them to do. Subsequently, sitting down often results in wasting the time that God has given you on earth.

For while we were yet with you, we gave you this rule and charge: If anyone will not work, neither let him eat. 11 Indeed, we hear that some among you are disorderly [that they are passing their lives in idleness, neglectful of duty], being busy with other people’s affairs instead of their own and doing no work, 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11.

Whether you want to admit it or not, there is a little bit of prodigal spirit within all human beings. For some it’s the temptation of temporary pleasures, others struggle with materialism and people like me have a stubbornness that is hard to let go of. These weaknesses prevent Christians from seizing the moments in each day. Perhaps it’s time to stop wasting God’s time so that you can begin to taste the abundant life which Jesus has promised, John 10:10.

by Jay Mankus

The Connection Between Faithfulness and Fruitfulness

From the time human beings are born into this world, there is an internal desire to want satisfaction. Subsequently, infants naturally cry and eventually proclaim “I want, I want, I want.” Some adults don’t grow out of or lose this selfish behavior. Thus, many Christians go through life wondering why they aren’t as productive and successful as they think they should be. This is where the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness comes into play.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock, Deuteronomy 28:1-4.

As he was about to retire as Israel’s spiritual leader, passing the torch on to Joshua, Moses felt compelled to reveal the connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. Moses devotes an entire chapter of the Bible to blessings and curses. During his farewell address, Moses compares the choices individuals make to life and death, Deuteronomy 30:11-18. Choosing obedience by being faithful to the commands in the Bible results in blessings. Yet, if you forget God’s advice by doing what’s right in your own eyes, your life will be filled with anguish, heartache and painful remorse.

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned, John 15:4-6.

Whatever decisions you have made in life, remember the words of Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:19-23. This cry for help reveals a God of second chances. In the passage above, Jesus reveals another connection between faithfulness and fruitfulness. God is like a gardener who prunes human beings to stimulate spiritual growth. Yet, unless you remain within the Vine which is Jesus, you are unable to bear fruit. Staying connected to Jesus throughout life demonstrates faithfulness and yields spiritual fruit.

by Jay Mankus

No Roots; No Fruits

The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.  But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away, Matthew 13:20-21.

If you are like me, you may ask yourself every now and then, “what am I doing?”  This self reflective question seeks to understand why you aren’t more productive, successful or victorious in life.  Despite attempts at improving my current situation, I feel like I’m stuck in slow motion, unable to get where I want to be.  This lack of progress brought me back to examine one of Jesus’ parables.

The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful, Matthew 13:22.

After sharing the parable of the Sower to a crowd of followers, the disciples were confused.  At one point, an unidentified disciple urges Jesus to stop be so mysterious as if to demand “why don’t you just come out and say what you mean?”  Moments later, Jesus withdraws to explain the meaning of this illustration to his disciples.  If you condense the two passages above Jesus suggests that if you don’t have strong spiritual roots, you won’t be able to bear spiritual fruit.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead, James 2:26.

Sometime after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, one of Jesus’ earthly brothers provides further insight on the parable of the Sower.  The Holy Spirit is a well spring, the source for spiritual life.  Like a root system in need of nutritious soil, human souls will eventually die without an infusion of God’s Spirit.  Therefore, if you want to get back on track toward a faith in action, dig deep by implementing the advice of the apostle Paul in Colossians 2:6-7.  If you forgo this step I’m afraid you’ll end up like me, no roots and no fruits.

by Jay Mankus

 

Another Day Flushed Down the Toilet

There was a time in my life when I was highly motivated, eager to reach my full potential.  Unfortunately, I now experience periods of  apathy, not caring how productive I am on my days off.  Like a malaise, time ticks away while reclining in my chair.  Before I can snap out of it, another day is flushed down the toilet.

While watching a reality show last, Jon Taffer, host of Bar Rescue, reached out to a family owned business in Staten Island, New York.  Initially successful, three brothers let their establishment become inundated with a motley crew of bikers.  In desperate need of an intervention, Jon uses tough love to convict this family of their inadequacies.  When push comes to shove, you either need to stand up to face your fears or your dreams will be flushed down the toilet.

If you find yourself heading in the wrong direction, accountability from a co-worker or friend is essential to stay on track.  Proverbs 27:17 suggests that accountability sharpens those who engage in and practice it.  Therefore, if you don’t want another day to be lost to idle time, get involved now by meeting a friend in need.  Unless you do, there’s a good possibility that another day will be flushed down the toilet.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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