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I Trust You with My Time

My times are in Your hand. (Psalm 31:15, NASB)

Creator of all eternity,
Lender of my life,
I trust You with my time.
Help me relax and listen,
letting You be the Master of my moments,
accepting each one from Your hand
as I receive each borrowed breath,
each meal,
each joy,
with appreciation and anticipation.

Teach me to walk in all the freedom Your love provides.
Thank You, my Father.

Calmly, quietly attend to what
God has assigned you today.
You can accomplish far more by
calm, thoughtful work
done in God’s sight
than by hurried human busy-ness.
(paraphrased from Francois Fenelon)

Hymn: Content in You

Time

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27, NIV)

When we consider the natural world, we begin to realize that time hides from us many of the Creator’s most spectacular miracles. Some are too split-second for us to perceive; others are too gradual to appreciate.

For instance, on one hand, consider a single beat of a hummingbird’s wing (up to 80 per second!). On the other hand, ponder the sculpting of the Grand Canyon.

Or think of the human body. Each simple function is a chain of interworkings, incredibly complex, yet almost instantaneous. But just as marvelous is the transformation of a microscopic egg into an adult human being, capable of reason, imagination, love, work, and worship. (Growth seems to be God’s favorite miracle. Up close, it’s invisible. From a distance, it’s breathtaking . . . too beautiful to rush.)

We are locked into the present, with narrow notions of fast and slow. We are caught in the blindness of time, space, and self. The Everlasting One blesses us, and we do not see Him coming or going. We fail to trace all the wonders of Him who is unhurried and unhindered by time, reigning in eternity. To the Overlord of all the ages, the Master of each moment, nothing is fast or slow. Time is not a barrier or a restraint, but a tool wielded by His wisdom.

How foolish, then, for us to pretend to be masters of our time. We frantically try to control what we cannot control. Rigid, rushed schedules are our attempts to bring productivity, consistency, and balance into our confusion and fatigue.

But the Lord reminded me years ago that time anxiety is as foolish and unproductive as all other anxieties. Anxiety blocks our free and open response to God’s moment-by-moment leadership. Worry produces only tension, selfishness, and insensitivity. It chokes out love, gentleness, and joy.

Turn to one of the Gospels in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and read about Jesus. Notice that while He had so much to accomplish in so little time, He never rushed. He was busy, but He never seemed tense or hurried.

That’s because He focused on only one priority: following His Father’s leadership step by step. Each moment was in His Father’s hands, so Jesus simply did as He was directed to do and worked as He was enabled to work.

Our Creator, our Father gives us the same privilege. We don’t need to juggle our priorities and obligations in our own wisdom. God wants us to lead and balance our lives by his wisdom. He calls us to listen and respond to His leadership regarding time. We are to use our self-discipline there rather than toward our own arbitrary schedules. As we do, He breathes natural balance and joy, a peace and productivity into each moment, of both labor and rest. He slips accomplishments into our schedules that surprise and delight us.

He is personally with you always. He would be delighted to guide and provide for your time needs. This is just one more area in which He calls us into a closer, more constant fellowship with himself.

God’s gifts are practical. They are more satisfying than we have tasted or imagined. He invites us to discover them all.

God is never in a hurry.
He is the master of time,

not its slave.
Walk with Him in His peace.

Hymn: I Leave It in Your Hands

Humility

From Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever. (Romans 11:36, NASB)

Humility is seeing God.
Humility is worshiping Him.
Humility is loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Humility is loving others fully and joyfully.

Humility is truth.
It is seeing the world and ourselves as we really are.

Humility is sweet freedom from life’s
most constant and most crushing burden:
the burden of self-concern.
Humility is the freedom to release selfish anxiety and
embrace Christ for all He is.

Father, humility is knowing You.
It is one of the gifts of knowing You are with me.
Thank You, my Lord!

Don’t despise your own
weakness and smallness.
They glorify God.
He uses them to display
His power and greatness.

Hymn: Meekness

New & Free

Are you looking for looking for a FREE resource to help you celebrate Advent, Christmas, or Epiphany? Check out Christ Carols. It is suitable for worship services or personal devotions.

Justice

His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
(Deuteronomy 32:4, NASB)

How do we know what is just and right in any particular situation? What is justice after all?

We usually think of justice as a certain standard of fairness, of right and wrong. We say that God is just because He consistently adheres to that standard.

But God is the creator and source of all. There is no separate standard of justice to which we compare Him. There is no outside set of rules by which He must abide in order to be “just”. He Himself is the standard of justice. Justice flows from His character and is seen in all His actions. We say that He is just because we see that He is always consistent with Himself. His actions are always consistent with His perfect wisdom and perfect love.

So how can we understand justice and live just lives?

We are just when we are like Him. Our actions are just when we act like Him.

We often think of justice and mercy as opposites…or at least as two competing values that must be balanced. We see justice as absolute rightness, and mercy as a kindly compromise with justice. But when we realize that justice and mercy are both descriptions of God’s nature, we see them not as opposites to be balanced. They are two facets of the same jewel. God is always completely merciful and always completely just.

Thus when we are called to seek justice in this unjust world, we are not called to a specific social agenda. We are called to think and live and be like God. We are called to be holy as He is holy, to live and speak the truth as He is the truth, to love as He loves. We are called to be His children, His ambassadors, His servants, His hands.

The Old Testament beautifully pictures our just and loving God, reporting His words and actions over many centuries. But He is most completely revealed in Jesus Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and the exact representation of His being (Hebrews 1:3). What is more, Christ enables us not only to see and know God, but to live in Him, and He in us. He gives us the Spirit of God so that by simple faith, we can live just and loving lives in this present world. Through His people, and above His people, God is creating the just world that He has promised.

Father, Your goodness, justice, and mercy
are such a comfort to us!
We depend on them,
appreciate them, and
praise You for them.
So help us to be good, just, and merciful with
everyone we touch.

Hymn: Justice Hymn

Psalm 127

“Unless the Lord builds the house,
they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1, NASB).
Using a familiar tune, this hymn expresses
the comfort and rest of
complete dependence on God.
It is part of the Psalms of Ascents series on Psalms 120 – 134.
To download a pdf of the entire “Psalms of Ascents” series,
complete with companion devotional readings,
click here.

Recording
Printed Music

Only in You, eternal All-in-all,
Only in You our efforts stand or fall.
All that we do, the simple and the grand,
Withers or blossoms in Your sovereign hand.

Worry and struggle, sleeplessness and strain –
Outside of You our work is all in vain.
All our ambitions, all that we pursue,
Can’t match the fruitfulness of life in You.

You are the Giver, You Yourself the prize.
You are the wealth that fully satisfies.
Fullness of joy, our source and rich reward,
How all our being longs for You, our Lord!

by Ken Bible, © 2019 LNWhymns.com.

Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

For the next two weeks, reflect on The Allness of God with this free pdf download. God is the Source, Sustainer, and Goal of all that is – every place, every time, every person, every circumstance. The Allness of God will help you weave that glorious truth into your heart, mind, and life.

It is part of a brand-new series, Fresh Views of Timeless Truth. Each volume provides readings, prayers, scripture, and recorded hymns on a focused topic.

Links:
Free pdf of The Allness of God
Complete list of available volumes in Fresh Views of Timeless Truths

A Detail to Ponder

Here’s an intriguing detail I came across this morning in Genesis 18:14.

God had sent three angels to tell Abraham that, at long last, Sarah would bear him a son within a year. Sarah was listening at the tent door and laughed at the news. She couldn’t believe that she would have such “pleasure,” since both she and Abraham were past 90. In v.14, God (apparently through the angel) answered her,

“Is there anything too difficult for the LORD?” (NASB; NIV, “too hard”).

But another translation, and perhaps a more literal one, is

“Is there anything too wonderful for Yahweh?”

That translation makes my heart smile. It brings to mind a flood of marvelous blessings the Lord has poured out over the years. Truly, is there anything too wonderful for our God?

FREE BOOK: A Deeper Christmas

I am beginning to make my unpublished books available as free downloads in pdf format. The first one is available now:

A Deeper Christmas
Thought-provoking reflections, prayers, and new hymns
for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany

Enrich your celebration of Christ’s coming with this treasury of devotional resources. Go beyond angels, shepherds, and wise men. See Christ and worship Christ in the light of Old Testament prophecy, New Testament fulfillment, and promises of His coming again. Fill your heart, mind, and imagination with all He is. Included are hymn links that provide free recordings and printed music. The book’s sections include: Introducing Jesus Christ; Promises of Christ’s Coming; Christ Has Come!; Epiphany: The Light of the World; Promises of His Coming Again

TO GET THE FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD:
Go to the Free Book Downloads page at KenBible.com.
Click the book title to bring up the book pdf.
Click the download icon (downward arrow) in the upper right-hand corner.

Special Thursday Blog Post

What Do You Want from Your Music?

This is simply a personal testimony.

As a lifelong evangelical with an eye on history, I see nothing new in our current struggles over praise and worship music. As I observe its emotional appeal, I am reminded of much of the music I’ve heard in the church over my 69+ years. It reminds me of the big “anthems” of Sandi Patti, Larnelle Harris, and others. Before that was the “Jesus Music” movement of the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s. Consider southern gospel music. And before that was the traditional gospel hymn, largely popularized by the Moody-Sankey revivals of the 1870’s.

All were highly emotional expressions of song within the evangelical movement. All had roots in popular culture. All were highly controversial in their day, being vehemently criticized by more conservative sectors of the church. And honestly, not without reason. None of our music is perfect. Even our most meaningful music has its limitations and flaws. In the case of these emotional styles, perhaps…just perhaps…all were too exclusively and too uncritically practiced by their proponents. But isn’t that the nature of such new movements? Objective reflection and thoughtful editing usually come later.

But the issue is broader than music. During my brief lifetime, I have observed that with both individuals and institutions, our stronger qualities also tend to be our weaker qualities – or at least our more troublesome ones.

For the evangelical church, one of those strong-but-troublesome qualities is the place of emotion. Read back through church history, and the issue never seems to go away. It just continues to resurface with different names and different faces. During my lifetime, the strained relationship between two theological siblings, the Wesleyans and the charismatics, is just one example.

Our problems with emotion are not a surprise. Emotion is inherent in our marvelous, thrilling relationship with our Magnificent God. But like all stimulations, emotional stimulation easily becomes habit forming. It feels good. We want more. We begin seeking more.

I grew up in a church culture where too often, the quality of our religion seemed to be measured by its emotionalism. A good service was one that stimulated our emotions. A good song was one that stimulated our emotions.

Please understand me: I’m not belittling emotion in religion. But I came to realize that if the transcendent God we preached was real, our religion had to be more than emotion. My religion had to be more than emotion.

Speaking for myself, I have found what I was seeking. I have found a God who is very real, very personal, and marvelously constant, moment-by-moment; One who is both transcendent and immanent, One who has planned a beautiful destiny for His people as well as for each of His children. I live and move and breathe in Him.

He is the One I worship. He is the One I trust. He is the One I seek – through music and through silence, through thought and through action, through the everyday and in profound crises. He is completely real, all-encompassing, and the source of all meaning and satisfaction.

I want music that draws me to Him. I want music that helps me know Him and serve Him and glorify Him, not just through singing but through every breath I take; not just for one hour on Sunday morning, but for all 168 hours of the week. I want music that helps me love God, not just with my mouth and my music, but with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength – and my neighbor as myself. It is good and vital that we tell God how great He is. But I want music that also fosters faith, love, and self-sacrifice, learning, growing, repentance, and holy living. I want music that helps me live like Jesus, worship like Jesus, love like Jesus, and die like Jesus.

Our music is good as far as it goes, but I hunger for more.

Hymn: The Reason We Sing

Ken Bible