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Making the Most of Your Time

April 21, 2013

This past Saturday I was blessed to be able to share the following message with a group of ladies at the First Church of God Women’s conference. I am posting it today for those ladies who would like to revisit this message and for all of you who I hope will read it today for the first time and be inspired.
At this conference we watched a video by Anne Graham Lotz; the daughter of Billy Graham. Her message was, “What time is it?” It was a powerful message about the signs of the times and that the hour of the return of Jesus is near; much nearer than many of us may realize.
My assigned title and topic were, “Half Time – Making the Most of Your Time in a Busy World.” God had me on the right track as I prepared, as my message was right in line with the message of Anne Graham Lotz.
This blog entry is longer than my standard posts, but I hope you can take the time to read it all.

Half Time – Making the Most of Your Time in a Busy World

Half time – the point in the game when the team leaves the playing field and evaluates how the game has been going. They analyze the mistakes they have been making and adjust their plan so they can win the game.
Ladies, it is half time.
The bad news is that the game is not going as well as we thought.
The good news is that we have time to make some adjustments
I’m going to be honest; the other team is kicking our hinnies. I think some of you came into this game unprepared. We haven’t been training, we’ve been on the wrong diet and we did not do our homework on the other team. But it is not too late to come back and turn the tables for the next half.
So the title of this session is “Making the most of your time in a busy world”
First I’m going to tell you what this session is NOT about. It is not about time management and It is not about how to reorganize your time to accomplish more in less time .
Let’s start with the fact that we do live in a busy world. We could do an entire session on how it got that way and the pros and cons of our current society and the direction it is heading.
This is what I’m going to say to sum up what I feel about our busy world. AAAAAAHHHHH!
Seriously, things are out of control. The pace we live at is already at breakneck speed and it is increasing. We are driven by the media – mostly advertising, by societal standards – which are for the most part not based on God’s word, our desires- which may be out of whack and fear – fear of failing, fear of the future and actually this list goes on and on.
The enemy has enjoyed sucking well-meaning women and mothers into his web of lies and he is winning on many levels. The devil is the other team. He is alive and his plans are real. He is not here to give us a hard time; he does not just want us to lose a game. He is here to KILL, STEAL and DESTROY. And he is roaming and looking for who he can devour. We have been easy prey. He laid the net and we jumped WILLINGLY right into it. He lays it out over and over and over and over we jump into it. It starts with deceptive lies. Sometimes his lies look very good, That is why they are deceptive.
Some of his lies include the following; do you recognize any of these. Have you believed any of these?
• You can do it all
• You can have it all
• Every opportunity that is presented must be taken to advance our, or our family’s lives
• This is just a season to get through, it will be better down the road
• There will be time to rest when I’ve — raised my kids – accomplished my goals in my career –when the house is perfect —when I finish my to-do list —when I_________ you fill in the blank
• Church activity equals spiritually
• Ministry to others is what gives me purpose
• I can give my kids every opportunity I never had
Have any of you recognized these as lies? They sound good on the surface. By the end of this message, you will know why they are lies.
Magazines, commercials and TV shows and movies all present an unattainable life that many strive to attain.
So when we hear a title like “Making the Most of your time” our perception is maybe different than where it should be.
We think of ‘most’ in terms such as getting more, doing more, achieving more
Well I’m here today to tweak your perception of MOST

Here are my suggestions for making the most of your time.
Step one – we all need to stop and whatever it takes, find some time alone with God. Make no excuses to me or to God or to yourself of why you cannot do this. Remember I said “whatever it takes” It truly is half time and you are losing the game.
This is not an option this is life or death.
I am not being overly dramatic here. Our focus has been off. The point we are heading toward is not the correct finish point. If we stay on the same path we are currently on, there are many grave consequences.
Let’s start by reading Matt 25:1-13
Matt 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise however, took oil in jars song with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out, “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet Him!” Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise. Give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out. No they replied, there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves. But while they were gone on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came, “Sir Sir! They said Open the door for us!” But he replied I tell you the truth, I don’t know you. Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour.
It is my fear that the church is not prepared for the return of Jesus. We are very distracted and because of the busyness of our lives we have left our first love without realizing it. We have taken advantage of His grace by putting Him on hold while we pursue our own will. We have pursued our own plans and just asked God to tag along and slap His seal of approval on it.
In verse 12 He says “I don’t know you” do you know Him or do you just know ABOUT Him?
Revelation 3:1-3
To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds, you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead. Wake up strengthen what remains and what is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember therefore what you have received and head; obey it and repent. But if you do not wake upI will come like a thief and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
My concern is that we have a “reputation” of being alive but we really are not. In these verses we are warned to WAKE UP and strengthen what remains and is about to die. We need to search our hearts and be willing to accept the truth if we really fall into this category. Do not be deceived and think “Oh I’m ok, it is always the other guy” I think that each of us would find; if we were completely honest that we DO fall into this category, in some way or another.
God says he has not found our deeds complete. What deeds is He talking about?
We are loaded with deeds. Deeds; we got deeds. We have busied ourselves with plenty of deeds. We work hard to support our families; we may school our children at home, teach Sunday school, serve within countless ministries and pursue our “calling”. What more deeds does He expect from us?
In Revelation2:1-5
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of Him who hold the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. I know your deeds your hard work and your perseverance. I know you cannot tolerate wicked men, men that you have tested; those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardship for my name and have not grown weary. YET I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. REPENT and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Here it is clear He sees the deeds that we’ve been busy with. But he holds this one thing against us – we have forsaken our first love.
But how??? “I love God!!”
The church has been a bit confused as to her purpose.
I believe God is calling us back to the bottom line.
Let’s look at Matt 6:25-33
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. The so not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon with all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear? For the pagans run after all these things and your heavenly father knows that you need them. BUT seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Do not disregard this scripture as one you know well. There are much deeper truths hidden in it than what appears on the surface. It is not just about having faith for His provision. This is a 21st century scripture. Just think of the amount of time we spend on the health and material aspects of our lives. We make sure we have time to exercise and know the right ways to eat to help ourselves or to give ourselves pleasure. We spend plenty of time posting the latest recipe on Facebook. Do I even have to address the clothes thing and the time and financial commitment we give to this?
Priorities – What comes first in OUR lives?
And Matt 22:35-40
One of the Pharisees and expert in the law tested Jesus with this question: Teacher which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind. This is the 1st and great commandment and the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”
To me these scriptures clearly point at the bottom line. EVERYTHING in our lives: (and l like words that express completeness) – EVERYTHING starts and is finished with seeking Him first and loving Him with ALL our hearts, minds, souls and strength. The word ALL means everything, completeness, nothing left out and the all He wants is every part of who we are our hearts our minds our souls and our strength.
Right here I want to make a strong caution. Do not think you need to earn something. This is not about working up a “self” righteousness and holiness, it is about seeking relationship. Not pursuing “change” and godliness in our own strength, but coming to Him and allowing His spirit to change us. AS we return to the 1st commandment, we complete what he requires, because His spirit fills us and changes us, NOT by our own strength and determination but by His Spirit.
Remember the word in Rev. about the church in Ephesus, they had hard work and they had perseverance, they had tested their teachers. We too have done a lot of what WE THOUGHT was required. Jesus said ALL the law and the prophets hang on loving Him with ALL and loving others.
The problem is that we’ve given our strength to other things. We are too darn tired and spent to pursue God with ALL of anything. Jesus desires the fullness of who we are but we have given so many parts of ourselves away. He wants us to come to him intentionally not haphazardly.
We are spent and depleted with the strength we have spent on everything BUT loving Him.
Our hearts are confused. Our love and devotion is spread to countless things. Searching and serving and giving all of our time to so many things we love, that God gets only a very small portion of our love, never mind ALL of it. And the sad thing is that all the things we are chasing to love and receive love from; the longings that we pursue, they were placed there by God himself so that He could fulfill those longings.
Motherhood is a noble position it brings an incredible amount of joy and satisfaction but it is not what we were created for, it is not our ultimate purpose.
Our careers can be fulfilling; they can make us feel value beyond what we may have felt JUST staying home; BUT it is not what gives you value.
Serving in the church is very much needed; the needs in our churches and the world are overwhelming and mindboggling. But the service that you provide will really not fulfill your deep desire to make a difference.
Our life preoccupation should be to understand and comprehend what it means to love Him with ALL. We must be fully engaged in our pursuit, we cannot be passive about this love we cannot cut corners. It will take our attention and we will need to reach to be more interactive.
Our purpose is to love Him to find our meaning and purpose IN Him
Notice I said IN Him, not by doings things FOR Him.
God is the one who places the desires in our hearts to be loved and to love, to be fascinated and to make a difference. But we have either by choice or by just going with the flow have allowed the longings that God placed in us to be filled by Him, to be filled with amazing counterfeits.
It is time to be honest and look at the things we are chasing and spending our time on. They are counterfeits. Hold them up next to God, how do they compare? Over the past 2 years I have been taking a long hard look at my life. I am still in the process. At times I still fight tooth and nail to hold on to a worthless pursuit.
Let’s look at the well-known story of Mary and Martha in
Luke 10:38-41
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked “Lord don’t you care that my sister had left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. “Martha, Martha” the lord answered, “You’re worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed, Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
How many times have you heard this story? BUT how many times have you truly LISTENED? Notice it was Martha who opened her home to him. Notice Mary sat at his feet and LISTENED, she did not go on and on with her own thoughts and prayer list. Jesus told Martha that she was worried and upset about many things. Are YOU worried and upset about many things? Did Jesus say ONE THING was suggested? Or that one thing would be great to add to your to-do list? He said it was NEEDED!!
Then when Mary did ,choose, notice it was her choice, Jesus said it will not be taken from her.
I am very aware that there are things that we MUST do. I am a mother of 5 who has homeschooled for 18 years. I am very aware that this all sounds well and good but how oh how do we put Jesus first and choose the “ONE THING” when so much else screams for our time and attention?
Like I said step one is to get to a quiet place and sit at the feet of Jesus. He has the plan for your life. He came to set the captive free. He will reveal to you the true motives and longings of your heart IF you will allow him. He will not force you, but he will woo you because of His incredible love toward you.
He is a bridegroom returning for a spotless bride. We are spotless only by His blood, but we are a bride too busy to love our bridegroom or make time for the upcoming wedding? Remember the foolish virgins.
The Wedding will happen, the time is already set, the bridegroom Will return for his bride. Will you be ready? Will you be a wise or foolish virgin? Do not be deceived by Satan or your own lazy flesh into thinking you can do it later. He is not coming soon.
Or perhaps you have been so busy doing your own thing and also spending so much time striving to be a “good” Christian that you forgot that he is not just your father but he is a bridegroom returning for his bride and that he IS returning.
SOONER than any of us may know.
Read Matt 24:36-46
This scripture clearly shows us that his return will come right in the middle of everyday life. But he warns us to KEEP WATCH.
Do not be the one saying, my master has stayed away too long but instead be the one that the master finds him doing the ONE THING when he returns.
It is time to fill our lamps with oil. The oil is the presence of the Lord. We must sit at his feet to be in his presence. We will need to wait upon the lord, and be still and know that he is God.
Waiting and being still are Not qualities many of us possess but I will tell you THE TRUTH IS that the things we have given all of our time to has not brought us any closer to God, it has not fulfilled any longing within us – if anything it has left us feeling more empty than ever. We want so BADLY for peace in our hearts and minds, joy, contentment and a knowing that we are here for a purpose besides taking up space. We long to be loved, have intimate fellowship and to matter!
But by filling our time with everything else we have been left empty with pain, mourning and dissatisfaction.
God said, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS for they shall be filled. When we hunger for Him then and only then will we be filled. Motherhood will not fill us on the very deepest level, success in ANY field will not fill us no matter how great the success, our children’s success will not fill us no matter how great an impact they make in this world.
The gnawing hunger we carry inside is only satisfied by God’s touch. Having the merest taste of this satisfaction is to truly live and having the faintest revelation of that future fulfillment is the pinnacle of what it means to be alive.
Those who expend all their energies in their jobs, ministries, the raising of their children and in pursuit of entertainment and recreation quickly find themselves depleted, overwhelmed, depressed and even hopeless.
I ask each of you here to ask yourself are you depleted? Have you been struggling with pain mourning or dissatisfaction?
Do you realize that the issue you are really facing is not how can I manage my time better or how can I accomplish it all? The question is, Have you left your first love? Do you seek first the Kingdom of God? Dear bride are you preparing for your bridegroom? Have you so filled your life with false fulfilling pursuits, that there is no room for Jesus in your heart, your mind, your soul and you have no strength left.
I do not know what it is that YOU need to remove from your life but God does. I do not know how you are to go about removing it, but God does.
The truth is that some of you here will heed this advice and seek him with ALL that you have for an answer. He promises that when you “diligently” seek Him you will find Him, when you seek Him with all your heart you will find him. That if you ask seek and knock He will answer
Matt 7:7-8
Ask, and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and he who seeks, finds and to him who knocks the door will be opened.
He will not force you, He is waiting for you to begin the conversation.
Others will continue to be swept away by their own lives. Please listen, please grab the hand that Jesus is holding out to snatch you from the rapids and are speeding you toward destruction. There is a waterfall ahead.
It will take some effort on our part. The effort that it is going to take is to stop and submit to time at his feet. The world will be screaming at you to come back from that quiet place. It will take sometimes Herculean effort to quiet your mind and shut out the clamoring of the world but as you submit He will draw you into that quiet place, He will wrap you in His arms and take you to that secret place. But He will not drag you there He will only invite you, YOU must accept the invitation.
Then this is just the beginning. You will need to CHOOSE to enter this secret place again and again. Our minds will need to be renewed by His word. We have been on the wrong path. Our transformation will come as our thoughts line up with His truth. I’m talking about spending time in his word NOT as a function of duty, but to truly replace your thoughts with His thoughts, your way of thinking with His way of thinking.
In this place there will be some pain;
pain when we realize where we have been lost in a crazy wilderness far from Him,
pain when He begins to reveal the motives that are really at the source of our busyness.
We may not like what we see, but He will comfort us and restore us. He restores our soul.
We may find out that SELF is at the source of all our busyness. SELF that wants to feel important and of value. We are all looking for that pat on the head or that pat on the Back, that love, acceptance and high opinion of man not knowing that MAN and this includes husbands, boyfriends, children, jobs, ministries; will ever fill this void and longing.
We must understand that there is someone who desires us beyond our imagination. Someone who loves us enough to die for us. Someone who can truly give us the gift of intimacy and acceptance. Someone whose affections are never changed based on who we are or what we’ve done. I am not talking about a one time revelation of God’s love for us as we accept salvation, I am talking about an ongoing relationship where we really truly seek HIM.
It is not easy to lay down our own plans and purposes. The commandment to love Him with everything in us is one that includes loving him more than who we think we are, who we want to become and what we want to do. It really is all encompassing.
We have plans and ideas that are FIRMLY engrained in us. Submitting over and over brings us to the very core of who we are and what motivates us and as that is revealed a huge tug of war may be ahead. I don’t know why we do it, but we fight God desperately to hold on to the so many lesser things that when on that day when we see Him face to face they will be nothing, they will be less than nothing, we will be amazed and ashamed that we ever fought to hold on to them when we stand in His glorious presence.
And another amazing thing is that even when we know the truth in our minds, even when we acknowledge that that pursuit is worthless, we still hang on for dear life.
Our soul is the human nature, our flesh, that is “being saved”. It is our soul that wars against The Spirit. We are made up of spirit, soul and mind. Our spirit is saved by the blood of Jesus, but our soul must be conformed to His image.
Our soul must be crucified daily, our soul must be sanctified.
Our soul is the old man who fights against our spirit which is a new creation. That is why God commands us to love Him with all of our soul. We must choose almost moment by moment to love Him above our own desires, above our own thoughts, above our own motives.
We may be involved in many things that seem important but as we spend time at his feet we may find we have been involved in a lesser pleasure, a good thing but not an excellent thing, a thing that puffs us up but not fills our greatest longing – which is HIM.
It is time to pre-set our primary life vision; making the 1st commandment our highest life goal. It will take decluttering our schedules our lives our minds and our hearts because a cluttered soul does not love well.
Do not become discouraged if at first your time at his feet is a struggle; even a battle. The enemy does not want to give you up and we have established a firm stronghold in our minds. We have not set our minds but our lives have carried away our thoughts to focus on everything But God.
The fight may seem difficult because our emotions will get stirred up by what we set our minds on. Well, our minds have not been set on him, but that can change and our emotions can be stirred up with Love for Him.
We must purposefully Set our affections on Him. From this comes everything else.
So to address the lies I stated at the beginning of this session –
So can you DO it all and can you have it ALL? NO because our ALL belongs to God and the price the world seeks is far too great. The price of having it all is our completely committed life with Christ. The price of doing it all is true peace joy love, acceptance and meaning that we can only find In Him, not by doing or having it all. We will chase these things but we will not find them.
Every opportunity, no matter how attractive, is not from God. Always remember the “ONE THING” Jesus requires, It is to be at His feet not too take advantage of every opportunity.
I can do it later, there is no way to change now there is too much on my plate, is a lie that will always keep you waiting until later. It is a trap. Do not get caught in that trap.
Ministry apart from God is dead works. Seek First the kingdom of God! Yes there is work to be done, but so much of what we are doing is self seeking and done in our own strength and aprt from seeking God first.
And the opportunities we seek to give our children do not compare with the 1st commandment in our lives or teaching them it for their lives. Do not set in motion a lifestyle for them that will keep them trapped in an endless cycle of busyness and searching that will cause them to be unprepared for the return of Christ.
So there is no step 2 or 3 , there is only one step. If you were looking for another solution to your over busy life, there are none. There is one way. There is one road. Do not waste your time with HOW TO books and time management classes, I’m telling you the ONE THING that is required and it is to seek FIRST the kingdom of God.
The TRUE pursuit of him; not things OF him but HIM is the answer that you seek. Straying off the one true path will only bring you frustration and heart ache.
So step one is the end of your steps. You now know how to make the most of your time in a busy world. Love the Lord your god with all your heart soul, mind and strength. Start today!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2013 11:29 pm

    Awesome job Debbie!! 🙂 this would also be good for a hand out for our bible study! 🙂 I would love a printed copy if you have one so I can go over it and highlight.

  2. Peachy permalink
    April 22, 2013 7:37 am

    Thank you Debbie. I am so happy you posted your talk. I love it. I think this topic is a MUST for the woman of our society today who want to encounter Christ. Sad to say ”worldly” is the choice of topics for most, even in many of our churches. I have felt like screaming this message from the roof tops to woman who think they need to do it all. It is a lie straight from hell. Thank you for the reminder. May our Lord bless you for speaking the truth.

    Peace in Christ,
    Joanie

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