Use Every Moment

One week ago, the year Two Thousand and Nineteen began. It is hard to wrap my mind around how quickly time flies and yet how slowly it can crawl.

It seems as though just yesterday we were ringing in a new decade. At the same time, 2015 seems like an eternity ago.

Everything happens, and nothing changes as time marches on. Ok. Maybe I am being too deep for a blog, but I am blasting an epic Hans Zimmer playlist while I write this so maybe that has something to do with it. But the point remains, time moves forward whether we are ready for it to or not.

And as I sit and think about this new year that is already a week old I can’t help but think about Ephesians 5:15-16. It says, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time because the days are evil.”

The days in which we live, and the days that Paul lived as well since he wrote that, are evil. Therefore, we cannot afford to waste any time doing the things that do not matter. We must live and act wisely with the time that we do have.

In Psalm 90, the Psalmist asks God to “teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” And Psalm 39 reminds us that our time here on earth is small and limited but that our hope is still in the Lord. Colossians 4:5 reminds us to wisely use every opportunity we have when encountering those who do not know Jesus.

Each moment that we have here, in this life, is precious.

  • The moment when you welcome your spouse home and ask about their day.
  • The moment when you greet an old friend.
  • The moment when a family member reminds you of their love for you.
  • The moment when you look at the sky and appreciate God’s incredibly beautiful creation.
  • The moment when God reveals an exciting truth to you in His Word.
  • The moment where you thank God for your stressful job.
  • The moment when a coworker asks you about your faith.
  • The moment when you show kindness to a stranger.
  • The moment that you realize that God has faithfully been with you through every single one of your life’s moments.

We have so many opportunities in life to do something that matters. We can encourage, bless, love, pray, share, act justly, and so on. But as much as we have an almost uncountable amount of opportunities, we must also realize that today we have fewer opportunities than we did yesterday.

We must make each day count.

We must live each day for Jesus.

We must refuse to waste our lives.

Warning. Warning. Warning.

Thankfully, tornados don’t touch down on Tuesdays. That’s what I grew up thinking at least.

Let me explain. For as long as I can remember the first Tuesday of every month was the day that our local tornado sirens were tested. Like clockwork, the sirens went off in the morning of each month’s first Tuesday. If you are from the Midwest, chances are that you too have a tornado siren testing day.

The practice makes perfect sense. We need to be warned if there ever is an approaching tornado, and a siren is no good if it doesn’t function. Therefore, regular testing to ensure the functionality of the siren is a wise and appropriate practice.

As a kid, I remember asking my dad, “what if a tornado comes on the first Tuesday of the month?”

My dad replied without missing a beat, “that’s easy. We just don’t schedule tornados on Tuesdays.”

Regrettably, I admit that I was satisfied with his answer for way too many years. Come to find out, tornados aren’t something that you can schedule at all!

Fast forward a bunch of years to today. It’s the first Tuesday of the month, as you well know. And I was walking outside when I received a phone call. I answered and was in the midst of a good conversation when the person on the other end of the line interrupted me.

“What is that noise?” They asked.

“Umm…what noise.” Was my response.

It took me a full 10 seconds to realize they were asking about the blaring tornado siren.

I had gone deaf to the warning I had heard all my life.

It’s actually a fairly terrifying thought if I’m honest. Warnings are there for us to keep us from harm and if we go deaf or blind to them what is to keep us from the coming danger? Now, I would like to give myself a bit more credit and assume that if there really was a tornado threat coming my way I wouldn’t need a siren to tell me to get to shelter. But the point is still valid.

We need to pay attention to the warning sirens in our life so that we don’t ignore them when we need them most.

The Bible gives us plenty of warnings.

Warnings…

  • about being careful how we talk. (James 1:19)
  • about not worrying or being anxious. (Matthew 6:25-34)
  • about avoiding unhealthy sexual temptations (Proverbs 5)
  • about the need to repent i.e. turn away from our sins. (Acts 3:19)
  • about not getting distracted by present suffering. (Romans 8:18)
  • about the need for humility. (Philippians 2:3)
  • about false “gospels” that creep into our thinking. (Galatians 1:6-10)

And many, many more.

The only problem? Many of us have heard these warnings before. We probably have heard the blaring sirens of these warning from our parents, Sunday School teachers, Pastors, friends, awesome online blogs, etc. But maybe we have heard them so often that we have, eventually, become deaf to them. I hope not. I pray not. But it is possible.

So, what do we do? We become even more familiar with the warning. Or better yet, we become even more familiar with the source of the warnings.

Read your Bible.

We need to be careful not to treat the Bible, or the awesome instruction and warnings in it, as background noise. God’s Word is living and active, (Hebrews 4:12) and its message needs to be loud, clear, and primary in our lives.

God’s warnings are there for our well-being, let’s pay attention.

Secured

Can a Christian lose their salvation?

Chances are this is a question that you have heard before. Maybe you have even pondered this subject yourself.

Well, in order to answer this question, we first need to define two terms, Christian, and salvation. Once we understand what those two words truly mean the answer to our question will hopefully be plainly clear. Just a heads up, there are a lot of Bible verses referenced in this post. I didn’t put them in here to make myself look smart, instead, I put this in here because I want you to check them out for yourselves. Digging into the Bible for yourself is the coolest thing you could ever do!

So, what is a Christian? A Christian is someone who, by faith, have put their trust in Jesus, and Him alone, for their salvation. A true Christian would affirm that: they are a sinner in need of a savior, (Rom. 3:23, 6:23) Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for their sins, (Rom. 5:6-8) Jesus rose again from the dead, (Rom. 6:9) and that they are saved as a result of God’s free gift of grace, not their own good works. (Eph. 2:8-9)

A true Christian is also made distinct because at the moment that they place their trust in Jesus they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (Eph. 1:13-14, Rom. 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) The Holy Spirit seals believers and guides them in righteousness. (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1: 13-14) Once a believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit they are guaranteed a permanent inheritance as a child of God. (Ephesians 1:13-14) This promise of the Holy Spirit living inside of believers, guiding, directing, empowering, and gifting them, is a permanent promise. Believers do not need to worry about the Holy Spirit leaving, He never will.

Now, to define salvation. Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” Salvation is the free gift of God of eternal life and forgiveness of sins that is extended from God to sinful mankind. (Ephesians 2:8, John 3:16)

This salvation is only found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. (Acts 4:11-12)

Jesus came to earth and died as a substitute (2 Corinth. 5:9, 1 Peter 3:18) in order to bring life that never ends. (Romans 6:10, John 10:10) This life that Jesus brings to those who believe is freely given, guarded, and guaranteed. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Another promise given by God is that true believers after they have been saved, will one day be glorified. (Romans 8:30) This Glorification means that one day believers will be perfectly free from sin, pain, fear, and death, and will forever be with God.

Now, since we have an understanding of who a Christian is and what salvation means we can now come to the realization that a person who is a true follower of Jesus Christ cannot lose their salvation.

The true believer’s salvation cannot be lost because:

  • The Holy Spirit is indwelling them
  • The promise of the Holy Spirit is permanent
  • The promise of the life that Jesus gives to believers is permanent
  • The promise of Glorification is still yet to be completed

A true believer of Jesus can rest assured that God fulfills His promises to them and that their salvation is secure. (John 10:28, Philippians 1:6)

With that being said, security of our salvation is not a license to keep on sinning. We cannot just simply pray a prayer and then continue living our lives however we want to.

True faith results in true life-change.

Romans 6:1-2 Paul addresses this very thing. “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

When we become a true Christian, we have died to sin and become completely new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Therefore, we cannot continue to live unrepentantly in our old sinful lives.

The security of salvation that we have in Jesus is not an excuse to keep sinning “because I prayed a prayer that one time,” rather it should motivate us to more fully love and obey Jesus in every aspect of our lives.

And Then There Were Monkeys

There we were, roasting in the Caribbean sun, covered in sunscreen and looking for adventure.

A few years ago, my wife and I went on a family cruise. It was an extremely fun time. We ate food, walked on beaches, ate food, went to shows, ate food, visited a volcano, ate food, went parasailing, ate food, snorkeled, and oh…ate food.

As we were making our way into one of the island’s ports I remember we were immediately hit with a barrage of people looking to sell us something…anything really. There was no point in trying to hide the fact that we were tourists, so we decided to just smile, nod, and try to make our way through the crowd.

Now, I honestly can say that I have no clue how it actually happened, but before I knew what was going on there was a monkey on my back….literally.

My wife was laughing as a monkey suddenly appeared on her as well. Our smiles grew as the monkeys increased. There was a local man smiling and laughing with us as he egged our furry little friends on. Then he asked me if I wanted him to take our picture.

I should have known better.

After he snapped a couple of photos of us his smiled faded, the primates jumped from our shoulders to his, and he held his hand out.

He got me.

Now, I want to be clear, I don’t begrudge this man for trying to make a living. My wife and I certainly aren’t missing the few “American dollars” our monkey pictures cost us. But I think what irritates me (only a little bit honestly) these years later is that fact that I had been “gotten.”

I should have seen it coming. I should have been ready. I should have just kept walking.

It could have been the scorching sun, the fresh air, my wits dimmed from the all-you-can-eat buffet, or just simply the excitement of the day. Whatever the reason, the reality was that I had been suckered into paying for something I didn’t need.

My defenses were down and it happened so fast.

We need to be careful how we live our lives, because the monkeys on our back can be crazy dangerous.

It’s frustrating, but this is usually how sin works in our lives. It jumps on to us (or we willingly put it on) and before we realize what is going on, payment is due. There is a quote from Ravi Zaccharias (although it has been attributed to several people) that goes like this,

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”

That quote is, unfortunately, so terrifyingly true. We can get caught up in something, and before we even realize it, we are neck deep in the consequences of our actions.

James 1:14 reminds us that, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” Those words “lured” and “enticed” could even be translated as “dragged away by.” That’s an unpleasant thought.

So what do we do when we are faced with temptation?

We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

We remember the truth of who we are in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

We put on the protective armor that He has supplied us. (Ephesians 6:13)

Run away from those monkeys. They may be fun, cute, and cuddly at first…but they will always end up costing you.

“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9