525,600 Minutes

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

A tribute to my husband, Nathan Hill, the amazing Daddy of our four treasures.

During the long, agonizing years we spent trying to conquer fertility issues, I often wondered what my husband would be like as a Daddy. I daydreamed about being pregnant and how he would be during the labor and delivery processes. Most of all, I wondered what he would do— how he would react, when the doctor placed a brand new baby into his arms for the very first time— our baby.

525,600 is the number of minutes that are in one year. As I mentioned above we had difficulty conceiving. It turns out our patience was tested and over two million minutes passed between the moment my hubby and I decided to start a family— and the moment that we held our firstborn in our arms. That is a lot of time when you are passionately waiting for something to happen.

I remember the day our son Ben entered the world, so vividly. Watching the nurse hand my husband our first little one, this little man that was a piece of each of us, was maybe the very best moment of my whole life.

Most certainly worth the long wait.

About six million minutes have passed since we began this journey called parenthood, and I can say without reservation that my husband has proven to be one of the best dads that I know. Not only does he care immeasurably for our four children, he loves them fiercely, and he extends more patience than most people are capable of.

My husband, my kids Daddy, embraces every moment he has with our children and makes every effort to be intentional with his time with them. Time is fleeting and is often the very thing we take most for granted.

A few years ago my husband purposed we set aside every Tuesday (for date night) and every Friday (for family night). Aside from the fact that he prioritized these weekly events in our budget, the greatest gift my husband has ever given myself or his children is the gift of his time. We never wonder about the next time we will get to spend with him because he is consistent and devoted to each one of us.

While so many of us are wishing time away in anticipation for something great to arrive or an event to take place, or while others are griping away that time stands still, I hope that you’ll be inspired by my husbands intentionality and simply enjoy every single minute that you have with your children. With your loved ones.

Time is truly an invaluable gift.

525,600 is the number of minutes that are in one year. How will you spend your minutes?

Open Door

Written by: Conny Varga

What comes to mind when you think of a door? What about a closed door versus an open door?

I love the metaphor of an “opened door” in the Bible. We encounter this term several times in the New Testament, and it refers to God opening a “door” for people to go through and serve Him in some capacity or another. Paul states this in both letters to the Corinthians:

But I will stay on at Ephesus until Pentecost, because a great door for effective work has opened to me” (1 Cor. 16:8-9)

I found that the Lord had opened a door for me”. (2 Cor 2:12)

In the book of Revelations, God tells the church in Philadelphia:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Rev 3:7-8)

God is inviting us to see the open doors in front of us and step through them in faith and obedience to Him. He is calling us to follow Him into whatever opportunities He gives us, to care for others, share the gospel, speak a kind word to someone, or help those in need.

So why is it that we often don’t step through the doors God places before us? Fear of the unknown, lack of confidence, fear of failure or difficulties, inconvenience, or just plain unwillingness are some very common factors we all deal with at some point or another.

On the other hand, people who willingly step forward in obedience to God, seize opportunities to benefit others, go out on a limb, and risk hardships, failure, or embarrassment, are the ones who have more fulfilled, rewarding lives. They have fewer regrets, and they are the ones who experience greater growth and see God’s power active in their lives and people’s lives around them.

Whether we cower behind a door, slam the door in God’s face, or step out and through a given door will impact our character, identity, and who we will become as a person. We can stay in our safe little bubble, our comfort zone, never attempting anything new or risky, and remain the same until death. Or we can find adventure, greater trust and dependence on God, and much growth as we impact this world for the better and the glory of God.

Is your life marked by safe, same-old, boring day-to-day routine? Or do you seize opportunities to make a difference, break out of the mold of the daily grind, make friends with strangers across the room, give a word of comfort or encouragement to someone, or share the love of God with others by meeting their needs or telling them about Jesus?

Do you see the world around you through the lens of your own small little life and your own small little problems? Or do you see massive problems and therefore massive opportunities to make a difference in this world, to change the plight of the oppressed, the lonely, and hungry, to free the trafficked slaves, to fight for the life of the unborn and orphan, to give respect and love to the outcast and forgotten, to bring light and hope to those in darkness?

God is placing open doors in front of all of us. Some look small and seemingly insignificant but will have long-lasting effects, and some are great big wide-open doors that will radically change our world and the world around us forever. No matter which door, whether great or small, God invites us to go through them, out into the world where He is at work, to bring His Kingdom to all who would receive it.

Let’s train our eyes to see the open doors, our ears to hear the invitation to step through them, and our hearts to trust and obey God as we follow Him wherever He chooses to lead us.

Love Languages

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Many of you have heard of the famous book titled, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  There are various versions for couples, singles, men, women, teenagers and children.  All great books in their own right, all pointing to the sacrificial love we are to have towards others, just as Christ has for us.

In a nutshell, the author goes to great extents to point out that we give and receive love in five distinct ways as follows through:

  1. Words of Encouragement
  2. Quality Time
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Physical Affection
  5. Gifts

These expressions of love are like languages in which we communicate to one another.  Each of us has a dominant language, ranked 1 through 5, in which we feel most loved.  The goal is to learn how others feel appreciated and show them how much you care in their own love language.  A language they can understand best.  It takes effort to learn the love language of another and show them love in that manner.

For example, my husband and I are complete opposites.  His number one love language is Acts of Service, which is my number five.  My number one love language is Physical Affection, which ranks number five on his list.

Because we tend to love others through our own love language instead of theirs, I have spent most of our relationship reassuring him of my love with Physical Affection.  Most times he is fine with my barrage of cuddles, but there are times it quite frankly annoys him and does nothing to fill his “love tank.”  However, when I choose to surprise him by making his lunch for him the next work day, or I lay his clothes out for church, he feels more appreciated than a pat on the back.

Conversely, my husband is the most thoughtful man I know, constantly blessing me with his Acts of Service.  He has done so much for me from housework to bringing me lunch at work unannounced; caring for our children to painting and repainting our house at my whim; going for midnight drug store runs to cooking countless dinners.  However, with Acts of Service being number five on my list it is very easy for me to take all that for granted and complain that I am not getting my needed quota of hugs and snuggles.

We have both had to learn each other’s love language and sacrificially extend that language to one another in an effort to keep our “love tanks” full to overflowing.  And, daughters, it works!  We both feel more loved than when we first began.

This principle of Love Languages is true in all our interactions with others; in marriage, at home, with our kids, in the workplace, at church, with extended family and friends.  We can learn to love them the way they receive it best!

Jesus’ command to us in John 15:12 is this, “My command is this; Love each other as I have loved you.”  And this is how Jesus loved:

Through Words of Encouragement

“As the Father has love Me, so have I loved you.” John 15:9

Through Quality Time

“Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place.” Mark 6:31

Through Acts of Service

“He poured some water into a basin and began to wash His disciples feet.” John 13:5

Through Physical Affection

“Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man.” Luke 5:13

Through Gifts

“Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.” John 6:11

Let’s begin to love like Christ and love others in a way they will feel most loved, appreciated and accepted.

All She Had

Written by: Jody Mugford

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury.  Many rich people threw in large amounts.  But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.  Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasure than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”  Mark 12:41-44

What a story!  This woman gave everything she had to God; the last two cents to her name.  When I read about her, my heart aches.  My mind’s eye imagines an elderly, frail lady obediently giving away her last means of supporting herself.  But this is a picture I’ve conjured up from years of seeing pictures in Sunday School or children’s bibles.  Really, we don’t know anything about this woman!  Why was she poor?  What happened to her husband?  Did she have children to support?  I find myself wanting to know her story!  How has she come to this place of complete trust and surrender to God?  What happens to her after she offers up her last bit of wealth?  The scriptures don’t tell us much however, we must trust that God is giving us what we need to learn from this extraordinary woman.

So, what do we know?  We know that Jesus sat and intentionally watched the crowd as they came with their offerings.  We know that the woman gave humbly without drawing attention to herself.  We know that Jesus took the time to teach His disciples a lesson based on her example.  We know that Jesus states that she has given more with her two cents than all of the others put together!

What can we learn?

  1. God notices. Jesus sat and watched the people.  He wasn’t doing this to simply pass the time.  He was interested in how people gave of something so valuable to them.  When this woman came and gave, it was in contrast to the prideful giving of many others.  Jesus noticed.
  2. It’s not just about the money. Money is near and dear to all of us and very revealing of our hearts.  Have you ever heard the expression “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” (James W. Frick)?  God isn’t as concerned with the amount of money we bring as He is concerned with the sentiment of our hearts towards Him when we give.  God doesn’t need our money.  If the amount was more important than the attitude behind it, Jesus would have praised those that gave much.  But He didn’t because He knew their hearts were full of pride and desire for recognition.  He was moved by the trusting heart of this widow.
  3. Jesus wants us to take note. He brought His disciples over and took the opportunity to bring the value of this event to their attention.  As small as the offering may have appeared, it was big enough to touch the heart of Jesus and He used her as an example for all eternity in His Word.
  4. Jesus didn’t publicly praise her. We aren’t given any indication that this woman had any idea what was being said about her.  Jesus didn’t speak with her or revere her publicly.  We can trust, based on the promises in God’s Word, that she was eventually rewarded greatly, but for the time being, she received no accolades (Matthew 6:3-4, Luke 6:38).  Sometimes we feel that our sacrifices go unnoticed but we must remember that God sees and rewards in His perfect timing and way.  He is good and can be trusted to meet our needs.

The woman had two coins and gave them both away – all she had.  Logic would say to give away one coin and keep the other for your own needs.  This amazing servant put her desire to give generously, to please God with her offering above all else.  She didn’t do it for attention, although she certainly has received it over the last two thousand years.  She could never have predicted the impact her little offering would have on the future of the Gospel or the Kingdom.  She gave what she had to God out of love and trust.  He took care of the rest.

This doesn’t apply to money alone, friends.  Yes, we should be a sacrificial giver with our finances and want to give generously, trusting God to meet our physical needs.  But we are also to give all of ourselves – our lives, our hearts, our wills and plans.  We give these to God – our two coins, instead of holding one back for ourselves – and He blesses it!  He multiplies it!  He uses it to dramatically impact others in sharing the Good News of Jesus.  We don’t need to have much to offer, but we need to offer all we have.

Let’s learn to live in that place of sacrifice and giving of ourselves to God – our hopes and plans, our finances, our lives.  Each day is a new opportunity to say, “I’m here Lord.  All of me.  What can I do for you today?”.  Let’s position ourselves like this each day and watch Him do wonders.  He will surely take our few cents and use them mightily for His Kingdom!

Love and blessings,

Jody

HAPPY WITH WHAT WE HAVE

Written by: Christianne Williams

Philippians 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Everyone loves a bargain.  Whether it be clothes, books, or household items, it makes me feel like I’m doing something good.  I recently scored a pair of almost new, brand name sneakers for my daughter, and they made her so happy she abandoned her want for an expensive pair at a shoe store.  Given my love for a deal, I was over the moon when I was hired at a local second hand store.

Putting out new items, seeing people get excited over the things they are finding, makes me happy.  I also get excited about some things that are donated, really it’s tough not to when something matches the color scheme in your kitchen or would fit you perfectly.  The catch is, I can’t shop while I’m working, and there’s only one day that the store is open that I’m not working.  My day off is at the end of the week so usually by the time I have a chance to purchase anything, the things I like are gone.

This last week I was really excited about something that came in, not for me but for my husband and as it was still there late in the day on my last shift I was planning how to be back at opening the next day to buy it.  Well as it happened, shortly before closing, it went home with someone else.  I was deflated.  I began to complain to God, have you ever been there?  When you start to tell him how unfair it is, how much you’re hurt, how utterly let down you feel.  As I stood there, reminding me very much of my seven or ten year old complaining about how the other was being treated far better, it occurred to me.  I didn’t need any of the things my eyes had spied, I could live very well without each and every one.  I also realized that the money I was saving by not buying things I don’t expressly need could go toward a more robust grocery budget.  And groceries are needed regularly  with a family of six, half being growing boys.

I know that thought came from the Father because it surely didn’t come from own mind that was quite bent on self pity.  It made me stop and think, how many times have I allowed my quest for more come before being content with what I already have?  And being discontent leads us into all kinds of trouble, financially, relationally, and spiritually.

When Paul writes to the Philippians and tells them that he’s learned to be content in all things, he knew what it was like to have plenty or be in need. It’s because he’s learned to trust that God knows his needs and will meet them, even if it means he waits a bit longer than he’s expecting.  In fact, Paul continues on in 4:14 to 20, that it was through the generosity of the believers at Philippi who became aware of his “troubles” that God, through them, met his needs.  But regardless of his circumstances, Paul could “do all things”, including being content. When we can stop looking at what we could gain that would make us happier, and it ultimately won’t, and start being happy with what we have, we’ll be less stressed in all areas of our lives.  In fact, Paul tells us that we are not to worry about any situation, but when we pray and are thankful, God’s peace will guard our hearts and minds. Maturing in our faith means allowing ‘things’ we think we need to slip through our hands so that God can put the things into our hands we actually need!

Thankful for Unanswered Prayers

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I couldn’t have said this a few weeks ago; that I was thankful for an unanswered prayer.

We had been praying long and hard for provision.

We’ve heard the many stories of how our God provides.  The manna and quail that fell from heaven.  The water that poured out of a rock.

And we too prayed that provision would fall from the sky.  When that didn’t happen, we prayed that someone would be the hands and feet of Jesus and provide for us. When that didn’t happen, we continued to pray.

We’d experienced answered prayers before.  Some immediate like the manna and water.  Some by the grace of others.

But these prayers went unanswered…….at least not yet; at least not in a way we anticipated.

Instead, a greater answer came.

Like the Chinese proverb; “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The answer to this prayer for us was not in the answer but in the process.

God had so much more for us, than the answer.  He had a way to show us that we could apply to any and all of our problems.

Here is what we learned:

To be humble and recognize that we can’t do this on our own; we need help. We need God’s help.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

To seek God above seeking an answer.  Drawing nearer to Him; deeper to Him, He will reveal Himself in mighty ways and the answers will come and as we wait for them to come there will be Peace.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Trust His timing. Don’t give up.  Don’t believe in hopelessness.  Do not become discouraged.  God has this.  God has you!!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

He will give us awe-inspiring solutions that are not only for us but to share with others in need.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8&9

Praying blessing to you and yours as you journey to answered prayer.

Thoughts On Aging

Written by: Carolyn Ruttan

A few weeks ago I was at a conference in Victoria BC and I went for a walk downtown one afternoon. I stopped in at the Bulk Barn looking for a treat or something that we are not able to find in Honduras. Not wanting to pack on the pounds while in Canada, I purchased just a small sampling of a few candies.  Enough to have a taste of things I have missed.

Then the cashier spoke to me. ”Did you want the seniors discount today?” Wait. What did she just say? Seniors discount?  I replied in the negative, and honestly, I was slightly offended. I am not even fifty let alone a senior. Did I really look that old!?

It’s happened to me here in Honduras too where I’ve been given the seniors discount.  And I get put in the tercera edad line all the time.

The truth is that whether we want to admit or not, we are all going to get old someday. Maybe you are already there. Or maybe you feel like you are.  Aging is just a normal part of life. Grey hair and wrinkles, aches and pains…to name just a few.

I remember one time a number of years back when my son Jake innocently asked my mom why she had so many stripes on her face.  My mom took it well and just laughed about it while explaining that they were not stripes as Jake supposed, but  wrinkles!

Life is short. Time passes so fast. I only have to look at my children to see the truth in that. Especially now as we are in the throes of empty nesting and the time they moved into our homes as toddlers doesn’t seem all that long ago.

James 4:14 But you don’t have a clue what tomorrow will bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes.

Psalm 144:4 For we are like a breath of air; our days are like a passing shadow.

Ecclesiastes 12:6,7  MSG “Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.  Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends. The body is put back in the same ground it came from. The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to make the most of this life God has given me. We are only given one life. I don’t want to waste it.  I want it to count for something. I don’t want to have any more moments where I wish I would have done or said something that I knew that the Lord was laying on my heart.  I want to continue to grow, change and flourish. I don’t want to sit back while life happens all around me.  I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to stay in the same place spiritually, or grow stagnant…because I don’t know everything there is to know. I want to grow more in knowledge of the Lord and his goodness and pursue whatever dreams he places in my heart.  Even as I age. Until I breathe my last breath.

Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green. They will declare, “The Lord is just! He is my rock! There is no evil in him!”

C.S Lewis once said, You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

When we were at the conference I mentioned at the start of this post, I was speaking with one of my pastors from my childhood, Abe Kudra.  He is still pastoring at 91 years of age. He looks the same as I remember him from more than thirty plus years ago and God is still using him.

Acts 2:17 “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my spirit upon all people. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams.”

So if you are feeling like you are too old to go after your dreams, I encourage you to take steps in that direction. Trust that He will make it come to pass. You are never too old to be used by God. You are never too old to dream.

Hurts Hurt

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Relationships and hurt oftentimes go hand in hand, wouldn’t you agree? Relationships, while important and wonderful, carry with them the potential of causing us grief and pain at some point during their existence.  

We all know this to be true, however, the blessings we receive far surpass the risk we take when we choose with whom we invest our time and love. We simply can not allow the possibility of hurts to defer us from investing love into our relationships. Furthermore, we can not allow the potential of hurts or the memories from past hurts sour our spirit. Instead, let’s deal with our hurts head-on by recognizing some truths.

I believe it is safe to conclude that the hurt you experienced from that friend or family member would not be experienced had the same circumstances taken place by an acquaintance or stranger.

Think about that for a moment. Hurt is the result when an expectation you placed on someone you’ve invested both time and love in, is unmet. It could be as simple as the expectation to be kind and supportive, when instead your loved one met your need to be affirmed, with criticism and frankness. Something was said…or not said. Something was done….or not done. Whatever the case, you had an expectation that was not met and you walked away hurt because of it.

It’s so important to realize just how important our relationships are and be prepared to hear things that may hurt— but are speaking truth into our heart. Though hard words to hear, recognizing they are words that need to be said and appreciate that someone who loves us very much cares enough to speak them.

I believe it is safe to conclude that oftentimes our interpretation of a loved ones words or actions do not equal their realistic intentions. My husband and I often run into this dilemma. I have learned over our dozen + years of marriage that timing is terribly important! To exaggerate my point— if I ask my husband a question that requires thought and sensitivity while he is in the middle of processing the thoughts of a sermon, I should not be surprised when his response is quick and surface. Choosing to wait until he is better able to respond with a clear head and time to focus gives the expectation I have on my hubby’s response a more realistic platform. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Finally, I believe it is also safe to conclude…that God can be in the relationship to heal and restore brokennessNothing is impossible with God. (Matthew 19:26) You might be thinking that the hurt you have held onto so tightly, for so long, is unforgivable and impossible to forget. But, I want to remind you of the biblical truth that no hurt is too big for God to restore. No “I’m sorry” will be said without His comforting peace or blessing. Not one single “I forgive you” will He leave you on your own to speak. We must be prepared to say both “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you” in every one of our relationships or they are doomed to fail. God is with us always and He is rooting for our reconciliation and restoration.

Nothing is impossible with God.

So friend, I urge you to take an inventory of those hurts you have stock-piled within the depths of your heart. Perhaps you have a few fresh wounds, or perhaps you’re nursing aging hurts that have caused bitterness towards others. Whatever the case, can we agree today that God desires for us, if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, to live at peace with everyone? (Romans 12:18)

So what now?

How can you pursue peace with everyone? Is there a conversation or two that you need to have with your people? Is there an apology or wrong that needs to be right, that you can care for? Ask God to reveal to you (if He hasn’t already) how you can pursue peace with all and then walk in boldness and confidence to achieve it.

Yes. Hurts hurt. But, Love is greater.

Rejoice And Be Glad In The Lord

Written by: Conny Varga

This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Neh. 8:10)

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!” (Ps. 40:16)

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Phlp. 4:4)

From cover to cover, the Bible is filled with instructions to rejoice and be glad in the Lord. One might think that those words were spoken in times of celebration, victory, answer to prayer, or any other mountaintop experience. And yes, sometimes that was the case. But more often than not, the exhortation to be glad and rejoice was given when there was great grief, fear, remorse, agony, strife, and persecution. This might initially seem like an odd thing to say to someone who is going through a rough time.

But when you think about it, it begins to make sense. Life inevitably will get tough, things will happen that throw us off, we will mess up and make mistakes that are impossible to correct. And before we know it, we are sad, mad, scared, and everything in between. This is when God wants to remind us that He is still in control. He knows exactly what we’re going through, and He sees our future clearly. He knew before we were even born that we were going to encounter these difficulties. He is never surprised. Just like a parent can often foresee when their child will run into trouble, our Heavenly Father knows what we are getting ourselves into. And just like any good parent who will be there for their child to run back to and find a strong and loving shoulder to cry on, our Father in heaven says to us: “Cast all your anxiety on Me because I care for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7, paraphrased).

Will He immediately pull us out of all trouble, bail us out, and make all our problems disappear? No. But He promised us something even better. Something the world cannot understand. Something that goes completely against human nature:

He promised us peace amidst the storm, and joy in our relationship with Him. When we take our eyes off our own little world, and fix our eyes on Him who is infinitely greater and wiser, we will discover that He is the anchor who holds us steady when everything around us falls apart. He will fill our hearts with joy and peace if we only choose to trust in Him and depend on His strength. He wants to carry our burdens for us.

This is how God can be glorified. When people around us see that we are at peace, joyful and thankful no matter what we go through, they take notice. We can rise above the worst of circumstances and point to God Who is the source of all our joy and strength!

This is easier said than done. It can be extremely difficult to be joyful when all we feel like doing is cry, fret, scream, or hide. But in the end, it comes down to a choice. If we want to rise above our circumstances, we must choose to trust God and His care for us, and ask Him to change our heart and mind to find His joy and His peace that will sustain us. We must choose to allow Him to give us an attitude of praise and worship toward Him.

Are you going through something right now that is dragging you down, stressing you out, or causing you to feel overwhelmed? Choose to look at your Father Who wants to comfort you, and Who wants to give you the strength to be joyful in Him, no matter how dark the road ahead of you is. Trust in Him, and He will be your Joy!

Time is Short

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

I once heard my absolute favourite preacher, my very own husband, say in a sermon on love the following statements:

“All the trials, temptations and outside forces we face are simply a device of the enemy to distract us from the sole purpose of our fleeting lives; that is to love God, love others and bring the lost to Christ.  Time is short, so don’t give in to the stress of life, and the garbage it throws us, but rather focus on the cross and save souls!”

As I sit and reflect on my husband’s words to us that Sunday morning, I am reminded again of two very clear directives from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ found in His Word.

The first directive is found in Mark 12:29-31 and was Jesus’ response when asked what the greatest commandment was.  He said, “The most important one is this…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this; love your neighbour as yourself; there is no commandment greater than these.”

His second directive, otherwise known as the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20, says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Further, when I ponder the speed at which my life has flown James 4:14 comes to mind.  “What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  It only seems like yesterday that I graduated from University, got married and somehow now my boys are young men!  I remember songs and television shows from my childhood with fondness and when I reference them individuals less than 30 years old have no idea what I am talking about.  Time flies!

Life is short, filled with joys and hardships, ups and downs, twists and turns.  Distractions and pleasures are a plenty.  But, we can simplify our time on earth and fulfil the “sole purpose of our fleeting lives” by simply loving God, loving others and bringing the lost into relationship with our Saviour.  Time is short!