Friday, June 27, 2008

Making the most of the time

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don't be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. And don't get drunk with wine, which [leads to] reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit:
speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,
singing and making music to the Lord in your heart,
giving thanks always for everything
to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
submitting to one another in the fear of Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-21, CSB

FellowElder today reminded me of a passage from Don Whitney’s advice, which he wrote in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, based on Paul’s words in Ephesians. So, if you followed that, I am blogging about what FellowElder blogged about, what Whitney wrote about, what Paul wrote about using our time wisely.

Anyway, I started a new summer job recently and I have moved to a new community recently. So, how I use my time, professionally and socially, has been on my mind. Of course, to use time wisely, I need to use every moment of every day to bring glory to God. And, as John Piper would put it, I can accomplish that goal of bringing glory to God by being “most satisfied in him.” In addition, my satisfaction in God should overflow in such a way that others see my joy is from him, not from earthly possessions or even happy relationships with other people—although God made us to be relational. If such joy overflows for others to see, that can accomplish the goal of being a witness—a lamp placed on a stand, or a city on a hill. Further, bringing God glory means doing the things with my time that God would have me do; that means, building relationships, studying his word, etc. “Do everything for God's glory (1 Cor 10:31).


Father, I praise your wonderful and glorious name.
God, you are my God and I eagerly seek you.
I look to you for your strength and glory.
May my words and actions glorify you,
for your faithful love is greater than life.
May I always praise you as you satisfy me.
When I lie in bed at night, let me think of you,
because you are my strength.
Let me live each moment you give me to your glory.
I am not guaranteed another moment on this earth,
but I am promised that you will always be there,
and that you make all things work for the good of those you’ve called.
You are in control;
you set the world in place and sustain everything that exists.
Through Jesus, your Word, you created the universe;
let everything that has breath praise your glorious name.
In my work, let me bring your praise.
In my relationships, let me show your glory.
As a father and husband, let me show your love, faithfulness and protection.
As a friend, let me show your compassion and care.
As a teacher, let me show your wisdom and truth.
As a neighbor, let me show your hospitality and generosity.
As your child, adopted through your love shown in Jesus’ death and resurrection, let me live every moment with my eyes focused on you.
Let me love you with all my heart, all my strength, all my soul and all my mind,
and it will follow, as the night follows the day, that I will then love my neighbor as myself.
In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

our kindness and His kindness - fruit of the Spirit series

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness....
Galatians 5:22

Well, it's been a while since I've posted and I want to continue my series of praying through the fruit of the Spirit. While studying what the Bible has to say about kindness, I found something interesting; the Greek word translated kindness [chrestotes] in Gal 5:22 means moral integrity and kindness and is used 10 times in the NT. One of those uses occurs in Romans 3:12:

All have turned away,
together they have become useless;
there is no one who does good [chrestotes],
there is not even one.

So, Paul tells us in Romans 3, quoting from Psalm 14, that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, there is no one who does what is right, no one who does good [chrestotes] in the eyes of God. And yet, the fruit of the Spirit is kindness [chrestotes]. In other words, it is the Spirit in us that allows us to do what we could not do on our own. And moreover, it is only through the Spirit that we can do what God expects of us; without the Spirit, we are lost in our sinful natures.

Amazing grace!
How sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost,
but now am found,
was blind but now I see.

But, wait; there's more.

While chrestotes is used to describe our innate sin and later our fruit, it is most often used to describe the kindness God showed us through our salvation. Romans 2:4 tells us about "the riches of His kindness [chrestotes], restraint, and patience, [that is] intended to lead you to repentance." And Ephesians 2:4-9 states:
But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in [His] kindness [chrestotes] to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.


Father, I am a sinner, who by nature, does not show kindness.
I am selfish and prideful.
My natural desire is to turn away from you.
But, you are the creator of the universe;
you are the one who truly is independent.
There have been so many times I knew the right thing to do,
but yet I didn't do it.
I cannot be good on my own.
But, because of your Spirit, I am now growing in the image of your Son.
It is through your kindness, in pouring your Spirit out on me,
that I am able to be kind in return.
When I deserved nothing but your wrath, you saved me.
And you saved me as a way to demonstrate your goodness.
In all those times I sinned against you, you were kind, restrained and patient.
And your kindness, your restraint, your patience allowed me to come to know you.
You brought me to repentance.
Help me always remember the kindness you have shown and help me show that kindness to others.
Continue the good work in me as you bring me to know you more deeply.
And may I live in constant praise of you because of the grace you have shown to me.
I praise you in the name of Jesus, your Son and my savior. Amen.