Never Enough Time

 “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—”

‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬

As a toddler mom it feels like there is never enough time. Children, or even just a single child, are a full time job. Add to that taking care of the day to day chores, and it can be difficult to carve out time to spend in God’s Word.

I joined a Bible study community called Momstrong because the book and corresponding study I bought by the founder were very mom friendly. The author knew that I wouldn’t have a whole lot of time and while she still had me looking up verses and digging into God’s Word, the amount of study wasn’t overwhelming.

Unfortunately, she has other writers working for her in the online community and whoever wrote October’s study on prayer has no clue how little time I have to get these studies into my day.

That’s the reason I didn’t post Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

I opened to my study for the day and was faced with “Read Daniel chapters 1 through 5″…

Chapters?!

That’s the Old Testament! Chapters there are so long!

By the time I was able to answer the questions I was rushed and had no time for writing out my thoughts (which I feel is where I’m able to actually think over what I learned).

By this morning I was beginning to feel stressed, which is the exact opposite of what’s supposed to happen when I study God’s Word. That’s when I remembered that it isn’t supposed to be about how much I read or how deeply I study, it’s about taking what time I have and seeking God every day.

“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“It is good to give thanks to the LORD And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night,”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭92:1-2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:32‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Glory in His holy name; Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:10-11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

 “I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭119:50‬ ‭NASB‬‬

There is power in God’s Word. The Bible is where I can find God’s commands and His promises. I can find God’s comfort and hope in His Word. Maybe I don’t always have time to read five chapters in Daniel, but even if I only have time to read one verse out of Psalms, seeking God in this Word is important. That one verse is still enough for me to reflect on God and hide His Word in my heart.

Maybe you feel you don’t have time to study your Bible every day. Trust me, I know how life gets busy. Even if all you can do is reflect on one verse, that verse will help you focus on what is important.

Not every study of mine is complex. Often they are just me trying to seek God and setting the right tone for the day ahead.

If Only I Could Bubblewrap You

““Man, who is born of woman, Is short-lived and full of turmoil. Like a flower he comes forth and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain. You also open Your eyes on him And bring him into judgment with Yourself. Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one! Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭14:1-5‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Lately, on social media, I’ve read about a few tragic deaths of little toddlers. They were Baby C’s age! Every time I read about the loss of another sweet baby I cry and hold C just a little bit tighter.

I want to protect him. I want to keep him safe and sound and watch him grow into a kind Christian man. I’m sure that’s exactly what all of those other parents wanted as well. But even if I could wrap the kid in bubble wrap and hide him away like I do with the crystal champagne glasses, there is no guarantee he’d be safe.

As much as I want to protect my son I’m am completely incapable of knowing the future. I don’t know what will come next and I can’t even catch him every time he trips. That knowledge would be completely devastating if I didn’t have God to lean on.

“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”

Matthew 6:27 NASB

I can’t add a single hour to my own life, much less to my son’s. That doesn’t mean I don’t do everything in my power to protect him. I’d give up my life to protect my son. I never fully understood that love until I met him.

When I read posts from sweet moms and dads who have lost their children my heart aches for them, and fills with worry for my own child.

My only hope is in the Lord:

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God knows the number of my days. Before Baby C was born, God knew the days ordained for him. He was the one who wove him. I’m only borrowing my sweet baby for as long as God allows. I pray that it’s for a very, very, very, very long time, but even if it isn’t I thank God so much every day for the abundant blessing my baby has been for me.

I never know what to say to someone who has lost a child. Just imagining their pain is overwhelming, and it has to be a thousand times worse to endure. The best I can do is assure them that this world is not our home and that they will see their baby again.

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:20-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.””

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:3-4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:13-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I know this post seems rather macabre for a Saturday morning, but what I’m trying to say is that we aren’t hopeless. In fact, we are hopeful! We are hopeful that God is watching over our children, that He has ordained their days and knows their steps. We are also hopeful that no matter what, that death isn’t the end and that every believer we love who we’ve lost we will be able to see again. If I didn’t have this hope, every time I think about how insanely fragile life is I’d be incapacitated with worry for my son. That’s not so say I don’t still struggle with worry, but at least when I feel it coming on I have God’s Word to help me. That also means that when I hear someone is grieving the loss of a child I also have God’s Word to help comfort them and give them hope.

Sorry about two big posts in one day! I kind of needed this second study for myself, as a reminder to just trust in God.

What Have You Done

“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭4:35‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I think sometimes we forget that we are dealing with an all powerful God, creator of heaven and earth. We forget that He’s the one who fixed each star in the sky and commands the thunder when to rumble and the lightning when to strike.

“He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky. He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭9:9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

““Look, God is greater than we can understand. His years cannot be counted. He draws up the water vapor and then distills it into rain. The rain pours down from the clouds, and everyone benefits. Who can understand the spreading of the clouds and the thunder that rolls forth from heaven? See how he spreads the lightning around him and how it lights up the depths of the sea. By these mighty acts he nourishes the people, giving them food in abundance. He fills his hands with lightning bolts and hurls each at its target. The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭36:26-33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

““Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves by, I do not see him go. If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him? Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’”

‭‭Job‬ ‭9:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One of the first things I’m asked when someone learns that I’m a Christian is “Why does God allow bad things to happen?”

Folks seem to like diving into the deep end.

Many churches like to show the loving side of God. They talk about how God is love and how He wants to be your friend and how you can call out to Him for anything you need, but they tend to forget God’s sovereignty. They forget His power and might. They forget He is a righteous and just God and they most certainly forget that we are sinners who deserve His wrath not His love.

Why do bad things happen? Well, there are a few reasons.

We are living in a world tainted by sin.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. “But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭13:8-9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Bad things happen because we are not automatons. We’ve been given free will and we are all fallen humans in a fallen world. One person’s actions can’t help but cause ripples and affect more than just themselves.

Sometimes bad things are allowed to happen in order to build us up. In the verse that started this study it was Nebuchadnezzar praising God after spending seven years (?) thinking he was a cow. God warned him that this would happen if he didn’t set aside his pride, but the king thought he was untouchable. If God shielded us from every struggle, how would we ever learn?

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver,…”

‭‭Malachi‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Want to know how you purify silver? You have to hold the silver in the hottest spot in the fire to burn away the impurities. Even better, the silversmith has to watch the silver the entire time to make sure it isn’t in the fire for too long. The smith must never take his eyes off the silver while it’s being purified.

Finally, why do bad things happen? Because this world is temporary.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭NASB

““Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:19-21‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:42-44‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When bad things happen our first impulse is to blame God, to ask “What have You done?” or “Why has this happened?” We forget that we are talking to the almighty God. It is not our place to ask why. God in His Word has told us why. It is our place to accept what He has told us in His Word. It also makes the fact that God does care for us even more amazing.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:28-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NASB‬‬

I know today’s study notes are kind of rambling, but this is what stuck out to me while reading through Daniel chapter 4. That verse, “No one can ward off His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?”” stuck in my head this morning. Who am I to question God’s plan? When things don’t go the way I wanted, or when tragedy happens, “Why” is the first thought in my mind. I have to remember that there are a few reasons why, and that it’s also not my place to ask. It is my place to consider every trial joy and to remember that God promises to work all things out for me good, even the bad things.

But if He doesn’t

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.””

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This won’t be a long post today, I just wanted to quickly talk about something I noticed this morning.

My study had me reading through Daniel to see an example of how we are called to live outside of the culture surrounding us. Daniel, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Much of Daniel is made up of these four living for God even when the current culture threatens them with death.

The verse above is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego telling the king that they will not bow down to his idol. What stood out for me is the part where they say, “But even if He does not [save us from a fiery death] we will not serve your gods.”

They knew God could preserve them, He had already saved them from death in Daniel chapters 1 and 2. However, they also weren’t going to test God. They knew their fate was in God’s hands and they accepted whatever He had decided for them. That’s real faith. To say hey, God can save me, but even if that’s not His plan I’ll never now down to false gods.

Paul said:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:21-24‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Paul’s point is that whether he lives or dies, it’s all to God’s glory and of his life is glorifying God then it’s all gain to him. This is faith, to be able to say I am joyful no matter what. Just think about what early Christians went through.

“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated ( men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:37-40‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Men of whom the world was not worthy.”

That gets me every time.

My Christian walk has been pretty luxurious. I’ve never been threatened, my life has never been I danger because of my faith. Sure I’ve lost a friend or two, but that’s nothing. Still, I struggled for a long time about being open about my faith. I didn’t want to offend anyone or make anyone feel like I’m trying to preach at them.

The saints mentions in Hebrews 11 faced death and lived their faith boldly for all to see. I face losing a few friends and I hesitate. How shameful!

I want to be like the men and women of whom the world was not worthy. I want to live my faith boldly and be able to say that no matter what God has planned for me, so long as my life glorifies God then for me it’s all joy.

That was it, that was my observation this morning. I have to stop conforming to the present culture and live within God’s revealed will.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Whatever Happens…

“May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’m finally able to print the Momstrong Bible studies from the site I joined and go through them in the morning while Baby C plays. October was about prayer. Since I’m a toddler mom and life is total chaos, why not do the October study in November.

Today’s study was talking about this portion of the Lord’s Prayer, specifically talking about praying in line with God’s will.

At first glance it feels like this verse is saying “let whatever happens happen” which feels kind of passive. The study points out that asking for God’s will to be done doesn’t mean just following a set track of preordained events.

We are told to pray, and told that there is comfort in prayer:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NASB‬‬

We are also told that the prayer of a faithful person accomplishes much:

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭5:15‬ ‭NASB‬‬

However, we have to ask in faith.

“But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When we are asking for God’s will to be done, how do we know what God wills?

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.”

‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.”

‭‭2 Peter‬ ‭1:20-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Even Jesus quoted the scriptures to show what God’s will is for us as His children. God’s will leaves a lot of wiggle room when it comes to our lives and how we serve Him. When we pray, if what we want to ask for is within what we understand of God’s revealed will in the Bible, if it brings glory to God, then there is no reason NOT to make our requests known to God through prayer (with a thankful heart knowing that He will work anything out for our good).

This isn’t an excuse to make prayer similar to a Christmas Santa letter, that’s not the point, but God says that He hears ours prayers:

“The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:29‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:14‬ ‭NASB‬‬

God knows the desires of our hearts.

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice! You have given him his heart’s desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭21:1-2‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Not only does God know the desires of your heart, but if those desires bring glory to God, He probably put them there Himself.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t ever think that prayers are empty, or that all you can ask for is that whatever will happen, happens. God hears our prayers, and He answers them. We can pray and make requests according to what we know of God’s will, and He will always take care of us.

“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:13‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭7:9‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”

‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭NASB‬‬

This is why we can pray with confidence.

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Just knowing this gives me peace, no matter what happens.