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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Running out of Time, Part 3

I’ve been sharing some thoughts on the shortage of time we all have, this is the third post so far…  The last one suggested that there are some other considerations other than how much time we may have left that inform our actions…
Running out of Time, Part 3
In one of my weekly studies we are studying the Thessalonian epistles as a unit.  One of the observations, or better, things that challenged me in that study in the last weeks was the emphasis that Paul placed on the second coming of Christ.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway), Paul states that he knows that the Thessalonian believers already know the truth about the second coming of Christ.  There are several important implications of that statement, but for my purpose here I want to focus on one in particular. 

Paul, as one of the first things that he shared with new believers was the reality of Christ’s return.  We know that because of the record in Acts 17:1 – 10 (here @ Bible Gateway).  Paul was only in Thessalonica for about three weeks, possibly only two.  Yet in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway) he states that he knows they already are aware of Christ’s return.  Thus, he must have covered that topic with them.

This is important, probably for several reasons, primarily because of what Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway), we are to be diligent to live in light of Christ’s return.  Here, in the western church, we do not normally live with that in mind.  The ease of our lifestyle, the benefits our economy, insulates us from the difficulties that many, if not most, of our brothers and sisters face on a daily basis.  As a result we do not hunger for His return.  We are comfortable in this world as it is.  Peter, though, tells us we are to be diligent to be found by Him prepared for His return. 

If you knew He was coming today, how would that change what you do, your attitudes, your choices?  In Matthew 25:1 – 13 (here @ Bible Gateway), Jesus uses the parable of the 10 virgins to emphasize that we are to be always alert, always ready for His return.  In this culture, we are concerned about many things.  We are terminally busy.  We are caught up in living a comfortable life and all that entails.  We are concerned about politics, national, local, school, and church politics.  We are working to get the best life we can for our families.

I have heard, read, and know people who have focused on really getting down to the business of the Lord in the second half of their life.  Two thoughts, first, that seems to be counter to Christ’s explicit instructions in Matthew 6:25 – 34 (here @ Bible Gateway), we are to seek His Kingdom – first.  Second, we do not know when He is returning, the Scripture tells us that we will never know.  Should He return before we have decided we are ready to seek His Kingdom first, how then will He respond?

There may be one more of these before I summarize… We’ll see…

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Running out of Time, Part 2

Yesterday I shared some of my thoughts since our last trip to MD Anderson.  In the next however many posts, I want to explore some of the implications of the realities that we all face.
Running out of Time, Part 2

Psalm 90:12 (here @ Bible Gateway) tells us that we are to number our days so that we can present to Him a heart of wisdom.  For most of us, it is difficult to consider or think through how much time we have left.

Earlier in the same Psalm we are told that we will live for 70 years or if we are strong, 80 (verse 10 (here @ Bible Gateway)).  In about a week and a half, I will be 68.  Now if I were to go by the Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (the type of cancer I have) I have about 11 years after diagnosis which was 2015, so based on that metric I have 8 years left, 76.  There may be more time, they are making strides every day.  Further that is an average, could be more or less and it is the type of cancer that some never know they have.

When I consider those numbers several things come to mind.  The first is how can I maximize the utilization of my gifts in the tasks that the Lord has given me in the time that it seems I have left?  Isn’t that the implication of Psalm 90 (here @ Bible Gateway)?  That we are to intentionally follow Him with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength to the end of our days?

However, there are other considerations should color our responses to these exhortations in Psalm 90 (here @ Bible Gateway).  On that, next post.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Running out of Time

This week I had a checkup at MD Anderson.  The typical stuff was the 24-hour urine collection, always a hit, and blood work.  The new thing was a PET Scan.  The purpose of all this was to see how or if the cancer had progressed to the point that treatment was appropriate.
Running out of Time
Wednesday my wife and I met with the doctor to hear and review the results.  We discovered that yes, the cancer had grown, but not enough to warrant treatment.  The new thing that was a surprise, there was a spot on my left lung that had lit up.  It is too small to biopsy and it did not light up much but it seems to be there.

Yesterday I was chatting with a friend in another country.  He asked how things were going and I shared all of this with him.  His response caught me off guard, “Oooh my, your courage is one of the things I admire about you.”

What shocked me about that response was his attributing courage to this situation.  I don’t see it that way.  I think that I shared earlier that when I first heard about having cancer my initial response was, “Hmm, that changes things.”  Followed closely by, “No, Psalm 139:3 (here @ Bible Gateway) was true yesterday, it still is today, this is just another part of the path.  This just changes the logistics.”  As it has turned out thus far, the logistics have changed but are not too difficult.

Further Psalm 139:16 (here @ Bible Gateway), informs me that all my days were set before I started this journey.  Matthew 6:27 (here @ Bible Gateway) and Luke 12:25 (here @ Bible Gateway) inform me that there is nothing that I can do to extend that time by even an hour.  Psalm 49:8 – 13 (here @ Bible Gateway) tells me that it is foolish to try.

So it is not so much courage as trust.  It is my conviction that the Word of God is accurate, reflecting the thoughts, nature, and character of the Lord.  It was committed to us in its current form by the Holy Spirit inspiring men to write the words that we read.  Yes, I know that applies to the original autographs which we no longer have.  However, I have studied enough Hebrew and Greek as well as text criticism to know that what we do have is very close to those autographs. 

So, I trust it.  I trust Him.  So, what do we do with all of that?  ...More on that tomorrow...