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Juggling Act (a Timeless Truths blog post)

juggling

Have you ever tried to juggle? Perhaps you went to a circus and were amazed at the objects the performer could juggle seemingly effortlessly and you went home and tried to recreate the performance yourself only to discover it wasn’t as easy as it looked.  You may have been motivated to keep trying and eventually discovered that with a lot of practice you got better … not perfect, but certainly better than your initial attempt.  As in all of life, it takes time to get good at something worthwhile.  Oftentimes, we get discouraged too soon.  However, if we continue to make an effort, most likely we will improve.  Has your life gotten really busy?  Have you felt like you were trying to perform a juggling act?  Have you made an attempt to prioritize what’s most important so that particular ball doesn’t get dropped accidentally?  Matthew 6:33 (ICB) says, “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants …”  So, this timeless truth reveals what our number one priority should be in our lives … putting God first … putting our personal relationship with Him first, making an effort to juggle our lives in such a way that this most important relationship is prioritized, nurtured, and protected from all of the other events going on that would try to distract and detract from what should be the foundation of our lives.  When we choose to put God first we are acknowledging His place in our lives; we are acknowledging He is most important; we are acknowledging our need and our desire for Him to be involved in every area of our lives.  But how do I do that? you may ask.  I work nights, or, I have to sleep when I can … I have a new baby, or, my family responsibilities make it hard if not impossible to put God ahead of everything else.  The answer lies in your heart, not the particular time of day or particular location you choose to spend time alone with God one-on-one in a personal relationship with Him.  It doesn’t have to be difficult.  Very busy people can learn the act of juggling if they put their mind to it, and, perhaps, get creative.  For example, don’t worry about the amount of time as much as the quality of time you spend with God in your personal relationship with Him.  This may mean you only have a few minutes at the beginning of the day (or ending if you so choose) to intently focus on God in prayer and tell Him whatever is on your heart as you simply talk to Him about whatever may be in your heart to say.  It could be just talking to Him about your day and getting his feedback as you stay quiet for a few minutes to listen to hear the Holy Spirit respond … perhaps by giving you the idea of what to do in that situation, perhaps by giving you a sense that He has heard you and He cares about whatever it is you’re going through (good or bad) and He’s just glad you took the time to share it with Him and get His direction of what He would like you to do in that situation.  As your life gets pulled in many different directions, and as you practice your juggling act, don’t worry if you drop the ball now and then … just keep practicing until it gets easier and easier and before you know it you will improve until you don’t even have to think about it … God will naturally be first in your life!

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Freedom (a Timeless Truths blog post)

man jumping

How many of you would like to be free just about now? With all the regulations in place it seems that rebellion against authority is a given (regardless of whether or not that rebellion is actually carried out). We were not meant to live under the tyranny of rules and regulations that cause us to forfeit our freedom. We were not meant to live without a means to express ourselves in an appropriate way … that’s why so many people have fought for so long and for so hard so that we could enjoy the freedom that is meant to be ours. Did you know that Jesus was one of those people? Did you know that Jesus came to set you and me free? For too long religious leaders would have you believe otherwise. For too long people have been led to believe they had to follow a long list of do’s and don’ts in order to receive favor with God … but that’s not true. The truth is found in scripture. The truth says in Galatians 2:15,16 (NIV) “We … know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” This is good news for you and for me. It means we don’t have to be perfect. It means we can choose to trust in Jesus’ perfection that is credited to us on our behalf when we accept his free gift of salvation. It means we can enjoy freedom in a personal relationship with God knowing, by faith, He accepts us, approves us, and loves us unconditionally … all because of what Jesus did for each and every one of us when he died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and to justify us before God as we put our faith and trust in him alone to make us righteousness. Galatians 5:1 (NIV) is also an encouragement to us as it says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Of course this doesn’t mean we should just go out and commit every kind of sin imaginable though because we’re trusting in Jesus. No, on the contrary, because of what Jesus has already done for us we should have an attitude of gratitude … and that gratitude should motivate us to want to live in a way that is honoring to him. So, as you ponder the timeless truth of the freedom Christ has already made available to you, check yourself to see if you’re actually living in that freedom. See if you are trusting in Jesus alone to make you right with God. And don’t be afraid to exercise that freedom as you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you and guide you in how you live your life because the Holy Spirit will never lead you in a way that is contrary to scripture and to honoring God. Be thankful, therefore, for the freedom you can enjoy today … no matter where you live … for John 8:31, 32 (NIV) says, “ … Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Also, 2 Corinthians 3:17 (NIV) tells us, “ … where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

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Don’t Give Up! (a Timeless Truths blog post)

tractor trailer pic

Have you ever started a home renovation project, thinking it would only take approximately 2 weeks to complete and it ended up taking 2 years? How did you feel when it was finally completed? Did you have a sense of accomplishment, glad you didn’t give up? What about exercise? Have you ever started out with the best of intentions, ready to tackle hiking the biggest mountain you could find only to discover half way up that you were far more out of shape than you realized … and then, dejected, you had to go home and face reality … the reality that it would take a commitment to exercising regularly … on a consistent basis … for you to be able to make it all the way to the summit … and not be in pain for days afterward. Then, did you make that commitment? Did you make the choice to continue? Did you make the choice to not give up? If so, you know what it means to persevere. James 1: 2-4 (NIV) says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” So, spiritually speaking, if you face a trial (or a difficulty) that requires making a commitment to continue exercising faith (faith to believe that God will help you and will continuously give you the strength to keep doing whatever it is He’s put in your heart to do, for example) you can be encouraged to know that this “exercise” will produce perseverance … and once you’ve persevered you will mature in your faith (and in your relationship with God too) … so the next time you face a trial or difficulty, you will be better equipped to handle it having already experienced God’s faithfulness in the past in helping and enabling you not to give up. Hebrews 13: 5-6 (NIV) declares, “… God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” So, today, no matter what trial or difficulty you may be facing, you can remember the timeless truth of scripture that perseverance helps you to get through whatever you may need to go through as you continuously and consistently put your faith and trust in God … the only One who can and will be there for you to fully rely on … through it all. And if you happen to be someone who is new to the faith (or has renewed your faith in God) since this pandemic started, when it’s over and all the regulations and bans have been lifted remember that since God never leaves us, we should never leave Him either … not even when things get better. God is committed to having a relationship with each and every one of us for the long haul … and we need to be just as committed to never give up our relationship with Him either … then, and only then, will we have a testimony that we can share with others to encourage them in their faith as well … and, in that way, more and more people will learn to persevere in their faith and will learn how to overcome whatever obstacles come their way. Perhaps you … yes, you, the one reading this, have a testimony you would like to share with others to encourage them in their faith …perhaps you have experienced trials and difficulties and have learned first-hand that God is to be trusted … through it all. If so, I invite you to post a brief testimony of a time when you trusted God and didn’t give up … a time when you persevered … and saw positive things happen in the end. As you share a few words of encouragement in the Comments of this blog post, I believe you and others will be blessed. So, comment away … I look forward to hearing from you!

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Storms (a Timeless Truths blog post)

branches pic 2020

So much destruction after the latest snowstorm. So many branches broken off the trees… having fallen to the ground … only good for firewood now. Even the branches that had started to bud with the promise of spring just around the corner are now lying … useless … on the ground after the storm ripped them away from the tree. And, as such, the branches are no longer able to bear fruit … for their “life” was in the nourishment of the tree … on their own, the branches lying on the ground can do nothing. In the same way, we, as humans have been going through various storms of life … some little and some big … most recently with COVID-19… a storm that is beyond our control … a storm that we all need to wait out … whether we like it or not. In this storm we are all like the branches – each one of us. Some of us are connected to the “tree” and some of us are not. Some of us are firm in our position in our relationship with Jesus Christ, some of us are “hanging” off like a branch ready to snap off the tree if yet another stormy wind blows through, and some of us have already fallen away and are lying on the ground feeling useless without any nourishment feeding our souls. John 15:5 says, “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. (NIV) The “timeless truth” of this verse lets us know that we need a relationship with Jesus Christ … for He, alone, gives us the “sap” we need to be nourished so we can live. John 10:10 tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have come that they (you) may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV) So, if you recognize you are feeling like a “lifeless branch” today, know that there is HOPE. No matter what storm you find yourself in, no matter what your current position is in a relationship with Jesus Christ, know that He desires to give you life … in a greater measure than ever before… and that life begins now… even in the middle of the storm… as you call out to Him in prayer and simply ask Him to provide you with whatever it is you need. Whether you’ve drifted away from the close relationship you once had, whether you’re really, really far away or just a little bit “away” – or even if you know, in your heart of hearts you could be closer but the storms of life have distracted you from being as “connected” to the “vine” as you know you could be… today’s your day to come back to Jesus and get reconnected to the only One who can give you LIFE to the full… even in the middle of the storm. So call on Jesus today … be honest and simply tell Him what’s in your heart … simply tell Him of your desire to be connected to Him …tell Him your need for strength to withstand the storms of life … no matter how long they last … tell Him whatever it is you need … whatever it is you know only He can give you … and, as you believe and exercise faith, watch and see God provide whatever it is you need in the way He knows is best.

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