Today Passes By Too Quickly

It’s Saturday, but it’s still a busy day.  Wake up early, wake up the teenager, get him ready for his soccer game, search his room for a long sleeve shirt (and clean up a month’s worth of dirty clothes along the way), drive the shirt down to him before his game, cheer him on at the soccer game, do two loads of laundry when we get back home and try to figure out what we are going to do for dinner.

Time to sit down and open the Bible, before the day gets away from me (again):

Take care, brothers, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God.  Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.  We have become partners of Christ if only we hold the beginning of the reality firm until the end, for it is said:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts as at the rebellion.’”

Hebrews 3:12-15

As I read this, one sentence kept jumping out at me:  Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin.

I am trying to make the Bible part of my daily encouragement, but I do not always succeed.  It is so easy to let the day slip away, so easy to get caught up in living, so easy to focus on doing what the world says we need to do, instead of focusing on God.  And when I fail — I can feel it.  I need daily encouragement.  The more we get away from God, the more we open ourselves up to the deceit of sin.  Sin is sometimes easier and we can convince ourselves, deceive ourselves, that it is ok, even when we know it is not.  We need the daily encouragement so that we do not become hardened or numb to the lure of sin, to the lure of living selfishly and satisfying our current wants, rather than living for God.

In this sentence, one phrase jumps out even more: “while it is still ‘today'”.  We do not know when today will end, when our time on earth will end.  Will we be with God?  Or will it come when we have pulled away?  I have heard many times the saying: “don’t go to bed angry.”  We don’t want the sun  to go down on our relationship with our spouse while we are angry with each other because we know that the longer we allow those feelings to fester the harder it is to pull back together, to keep the relationship strong.  Yet, how often do we let the sun go down on our relationship with God?

Lord,

It is not always easy to follow you.  Sometimes, like any relationship, it is hard work.  I need your encouragement.  I need it  daily.  Sometimes I need it hourly.  Help me to live every day like it is my last.  Help me to do the good  “today” and not put it off for a tomorrow that may never come.

O Lord, Give Me Rest

Today the Bible opened in two places.

First:

The pronouncement of mortal man: “I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and I am exhausted.

I am more brute than human being, without even human intelligence; Neither have I learned wisdom, nor have I the knowledge of the Holy One.

Proverbs 30:1-3

And then:

Therefore, let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his rest remains, that none of you seem to have failed.  For in fact we have received the good news just as they did. But the word that they heard did not profit them, for they were not united in faith with those who listened.  For we who believed enter into [that] rest, just as he has said:

“As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter into my rest,’”

and yet his works were accomplished at the foundation of the world.  For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this manner, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works”; and again, in the previously mentioned place, “They shall not enter into my rest.” Therefore, since it remains that some will enter into it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience, he once more set a day, “today,” when long afterwards he spoke through David, as already quoted:

“Oh, that today you would hear his voice: ‘Harden not your hearts.’”

Now if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterwards of another day.  Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God.  And whoever enters into God’s rest, rests from his own works as God did from his.  Therefore, let us strive to enter into that rest, so that no one may fall after the same example of disobedience. Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.

Hebrews 4:1-13

I often feel like I need rest.  A few more hours of sleep.  A few hours to sit down and just breathe in and out, enjoying the day.  Just a little rest.  Just a few minutes.  I am weary.  I am exhausted.  Weary from the stress of life.  Exhausted from the fast pace of today’s electronic, mobile phone, everything at out fingertips, I-want-it-now life.  When I ask God for rest, I often think in terms of sleep.

Today, the Bible reminds me of the real rest that I am seeking.  God’s rest.  The peace and rest that comes from knowing God.  Proverbs talks about mortal man being weary — because he does not have wisdom, he does not know God.  Hebrews reminds us that we have been promised rest — through God.  It is not something we can achieve without Him.  True rest comes through faith in God, listening to His word and being obedient.  Without that faith the weight of the world can be overwhelming.

Lord,

Let me hear your voice.  Harden not my heart.  Help me to be open to your words and your plans.  I want to find rest in you.

Send me your Spirit!

Tonight I attended a friend’s confirmation and when I arrived home, the Bible opened here:

Therefore, brothers, since through the blood of Jesus we have confidence of entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living way he opened for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, and since we have “a great priest over the house of God,” let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water.  Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy.  We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works.  We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:19-25

I can feel the Spirit rushing around us!

Tonight I watched 40 teenagers enter into the church, become adults in the church.  Let us rouse them to love and do good works.

I used to think I did not need the church or other people to find God.  Maybe not.  But it sure helps to have others encouraging us, praying with us, strengthening us.  “We should not stay away from our assembly” but “encourage one another.”  Oh, you teenagers who are just entering the church, I pray that you find comfort, encouragement, and strength in the assembly that God has gathered in His church.  Consider it not an obligation, but a home,  a family, God’s family.  Your role in it is so important!  Do not stay away!

Lord, help me to encourage others as those you have sent around me, encourage me.  Give me a sincere heart — a clean heart — wiped clean from my sins! My hope and my trust is in you! Send me your spirit, oh Lord!