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.

New Year, Old Words

Today marks the beginning of a new year and a fresh start.

I don’t want to come across as too corny here, but I truly love to take a few moments each New Year’s Day to pause and reflect on the events, memories, feelings, and lessons from the last year.

I have found that writing things down helps me to recall lessons and memories that are important and necessary. In the Old Testament, we can find many examples of God’s people writing things down, setting up memorials, or passing stories along all for the purpose of remembering. Not forgetting is so important because we humans are so bad at remembering.

It is a good thing to remember the lessons that God has taught us, the pain that He has brought us through, and the blessings that He gives.

I have been blogging for a bit over a year now and have found that going back and re-reading my past posts has been incredibly beneficial. I can remember the things that prompted me to write that particular post. I can relive the events that occurred during the week that I wrote. I can relearn the lessons that God has taught and is teaching me.

So, to start the new year I wanted to re-share some of my favorite and most meaningful (to me, and hopefully you as well) blog posts. I truly hope that as you read this you do not see this as self-promotion. Rather, my prayer is that God would use these words to encourage, challenge, and bless.

Why I am doing all of this: What’s In A Name?

Reflecting on the beauty of creation: All Of Creation.

When I need to trust in God and Not myself: Own Worst Enemy

When life is really hard: When You Just “Can’t Even”

When life isn’t always awesome: The Way Life Should Be

Remembering the importance of Fact-Checking: I Ate All the Blueberries

The value of EVERY life: Priceless

Something that gives me goosebumps: Overwhelmed

The importance of “getting back up” again: When You Bump Your Head

Fun Memories, Good Lesson: And Then There Were Monkeys

One of my favorites to write: The Lion, The T-Rex, and The Movie Theater

Better than anything I could ever write myself: The Bible

Happy New Year everyone. Go, make memories, learn lessons, be a blessing, and live for Jesus.

Own Worst Enemy

I somewhat recently went to the theater and enjoyed a new movie that didn’t include Jedi in the title (although that one was great too.) As I walked out of the movie theater two things happened. First, I picked a few rogue pieces of popcorn out of my jacket, and second, I began reflecting on what I had just watched. Perhaps my favorite part of the movie was how conflict developed in the story. I walked out of the theater realizing that the story’s biggest antagonist was also the biggest protagonist. For those of us who have forgotten our 6th-grade literature class, this basically means that our hero’s biggest enemy was himself.

The concept of a man vs. self conflict is certainly not a new one, but it did get me thinking about my own Josh vs. Self-narrative. Here we are on the second day of a brand new year. Many of us have set goals for ourselves in the new year. A few years back my new year’s goal was to get six pack abs, I would have accomplished that goal easily if it weren’t for my love of donuts, but I digress.

Many of us have either resolved ourselves to do something more or resolved to do something less. These goals, or resolutions, are often good and very well-meaning, unfortunately, many people find themselves at the beginning of February frustrated and ready to give up. So how do we make sure that our goals for the new year don’t go unrealized? Well, I think we need to first understand that often times our own worst enemy is ourselves.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I know that the Bible depicts the Devil is the enemy of our souls. He is a liar who seeks to discourage, kill, accuse,  and make us as ineffective in this life as possible. However, I do think that sometimes we give him a bit too much credit. Saying, “I didn’t read my Bible today because the Devil stopped me,” is as silly of a statement as, “I didn’t go to the gym today because it was cold outside.” No, we choose not to go to the gym for the same reason we choose not to read our bibles, we are lazy and don’t feel like it.

Is the Devil happy that you didn’t read your bible? Sure, of course. But he cannot make you do anything that didn’t already chose to do.

We are our own worst enemy. But God is our biggest ally…and all He does is win.

Where does this come from? Why are we this way? And what can we do about it? Thankfully the Bible answers these questions.

Romans 5:12 says, “sin came into the world through one man, [Adam] and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” We are sinners by nature and by choice and so, therefore, our default setting is to love the things that hurt us the most.

The letter of James tells us in chapter 1, “each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”  Did you catch that? The temptations we face are our own sinful desires luring and enticing us. Even Paul struggled with this in Romans 7 and we are just like him, we do what we should despise. We love what we ought to hate.

Thankfully, as always, there is hope. Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and heart may fail, but God is my strength.” You may be your own worst enemy, but your biggest ally is far greater and far stronger.

And 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away, behold the new has come.” If you are in Christ Jesus the old is gone and the new has come. Don’t listen to your own lies, God has made you new.

The start of a new year is a wonderful time to start fresh, be disciplined, and set a precedent for how we will live for the next 12 months. In order to do these things, we need to get out of our own way and allow God to transform us by His Holy Spirit.

Let’s allow God to work in us so that when we look in the mirror we don’t see our own worst enemy, but instead we see a person who is continually being transformed into the image of the Son. When people look at us, they should see a reflection of Jesus.

The goals that we set for the year will only be accomplished if we choose to rely on God rather than ourselves. A great place to start learning how to rely on God is by digging into the Bible. I would highly recommend finding a Bible reading plan for 2018! If you need help finding one or even just need a friendly reminder to stay on track I would love to help, just shoot me a message.

Happy New Year.