Thursday, February 12, 2009

1 Peter 4:7-11 "The Time is Short"

Read 1 Peter 4:7-11.

"The end of all things is near." NIV

For hundreds of years these same words have been read by so many -- the end is near. And still the Lord hasn't returned. But the truth remains -- both for the world and for our individual lives. What is near for God? He is outside of time and space. So the end could be very near. "No man knows the day or time" so we should be living each day as if it is the end. But lately, the Lord has been impressing on my heart the shortness of time - time with those I love, time to do the right things, time to help someone in need, even my lifetime on this earth. (Maybe my mother passing away has something to do with this.) But parallel to the shortness of time, I am experiencing the vastness of God. He is huger than we ever think of Him. Too often we want to place Him in a little box and tie it up with a ribbon as if He is something we can know and control. But He is bigger than words or imagination can describe.

So with those two thoughts - the shortness of our time here and the vastness of our God -- look at the following verses.

" clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray." Most of the time if I am not clear minded or self-controlled, I will try to do everything on my own OR open myself to fall into sin. But if I keep my focus - on the shortness of time and the Almighty Creator that I serve -- I will stop to pray for His guidance in every circumstance; I will recognize temptation for what it is and run from the sin to follow.

"love each other deeply...." I need to do this so much better. I am such an introvert and can be drained by being with people so much that I tend to withdraw from spending time with others and giving them the love I need to give. It's all selfishness; I know that. But I am trying to do better and continue to ask the Lord to give me the same love for others that He has. I want to see others with the heart of Christ and not as my energy drainers. I'm thankful that others have shown me love and want to give back.

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." This one kind of hits into the introvert problem again. (I'm not bemoaning how God created me; just learning to be a better citizen of the world in the midst of it.) I'm trying to open my home up to others more. I love having people over and want to do it more. As my husband always says, "It's all about relationships."

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others...." We don't have time to dink around. God made us each unique and special, and we need to learn what those areas of specialness are that God wants to use to "administer His grace." Whether we take gifts tests or just jump into different areas of ministry to "try on," we can serve Him and others. I believe God opens doors all the time - in small ways and large - to be His servants. It's our responsibility to "faithfully" step through those doors. And if we feel inadequate to fill those positions or duties, just remember, we serve a huge God who gives generously. He will not ask us to do anything that He will not also provide the ability to do it.

All we do for the Lord, we need to do it quickly and reverently. Our time is running out. The clocks ticking. What will my contribution to the ministry of Jesus Christ and the plan of the Almighty be? 

Further Thoughts:
  1. From each of the points above, match an Old Testament person to them. How did they live it out?
  2. Which area is God calling you to work on? Or maybe surrender to Him? If you are fighting Him on that, why?
  3. How does God make us able to accomplish what He calls us to do? What is our responsibility and what is His? Support with Scripture.
  4. Track your day and/or week. How much time is wasted? Doing what? What could you be doing instead?
  5. Do you see our God as too small? Spend a day this week contemplating the vastness of God. Start with observing His creation - large and small. Then move on to His demonstration of His love, grace, mercy, etc. Now how big is He?

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