Dare to Stand…

Watch your wordsThis week, while subbing in a public high school, I sat and listened to two seniors exclaiming over a senior project. It was a slideshow of all the seniors, showing their lives throughout their school years—quite a project, and well done, I might add.

However, as I heard the Lord’s name over and over again, a phrase of exclamation with no thought to God, I prayed for wisdom.  We “just happened” to be in the same room; I wasn’t teaching them. Finally, I went to them, sat and looked at the project with them, exclaiming what a great job she had done.  Then I asked them if they realized how many times they had used that God-dishonoring phrase.  They sheepishly said, “No,” and then asked me how many times.  (As though I was counting!) I said that I didn’t know, but then read Exodus 20: 7 and briefly talked to them about it, hoping for an open door.  Amazingly or not so amazingly, the phone rang just at that time! Curse the god of this world!!!

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;

for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

I talked with them a little bit afterwards but didn’t sense an open door.

What would you have done? I don’t really know these girls. I’m thankful for the rapport that I have with the students, but it seems to be more and more difficult to speak to them about spiritual matters. So many thoughts went through my mind:

  1. Just leave it alone. They don’t even know you, and you don’t want to push them away from God.
  2. They’ll think you’re some sort of religious freak.
  3. Just pray for someone else to enter their lives and challenge them—someone they know.
  4. Coward!
  5. If you don’t tell them, who will?

The last argument won out, and here’s why:

At times, when I’m teaching piano lessons, a student will play something incorrectly.  It may be just a little thing and I’m tempted to overlook it; but this thought goes through my mind: How will they learn if you don’t tell them that it’s wrong?  Seems like a no-brainer.

How much more serious is taking the Lord’s name in vain! Not learning how a phrase of music should sound will not affect that student’s eternal soul, but vainly using God’s name will!  Take another look at the verse, especially the second line:

Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain;

for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

GUILTY IN THE FACE OF GOD! That’s pretty serious.  Satan laughs as EVERYONE, even professing Christians, vainly spew forth this phrase or its abbreviation. (This is another of my pet peeves.  If I write PA on an envelope, everyone knows it stands for Pennsylvania.  It’s not weaker, not even a substitute—IT MEANS THE SAME AS ‘PENNSYLVANIA!’ So, isn’t the same true for THAT God-dishonoring phrase?)  Students are never corrected about this phrase.  They will be rebuked for the “four letter words,” but glibly using God’s name goes unchecked.  Even the teachers interject God’s name into their comments. It’s just another word, but is it? I think the little clue that is given for kids to remember the Commandment Number Three, is pretty effective.  Hold up three fingers, trace the ‘W’ you see, and remind yourself to WATCH YOUR WORDS!

When will l learn?

“Do it now, don’t delay,

Don’t put it for another day.IMG_7886

Go ahead begin it, right this very minute,

You better DO IT NOW!!”

For you wonderfully blessed people who grew up with Patch the Pirate singing words of wisdom in the background, you will recognize that little ditty.  So much truth!!  Are you a procrastinator? Some of the best advice I ever received was this:

If it takes less than two minutes to do, do it now!

BECAUSE, if you do then…

  • You don’t have to use up precious brain power to remember to do it later
  • It’s done!
  • You won’t have to suffer the possible consequences of putting it off until later.

As you can see by the photo, my procrastination involved my bird feeders. I know a lot of bird feeders (people :)) stop feeding the little fellas once spring is here. Once the flowers appear and the snow is gone, there’s food for them to eat.  But spring is also the time when a lot of migrating birds pass through.  It’s the season when I have the most variety of birds, so I choose to bring my feeders in at night; and for the past few weeks, I’ve been telling myself to do just that!  Facebook even reminded me by showing the same scenario two years ago almost to the date!  Even last night’s conversation was a reminder:

“Do you really have a lot of bears in this area?” asked Ivy.

“Oh, yes.  I don’t always see them, but I see the results of their prowling!”

Now, I’m out a feeder. What is the cost of your procrastination? You can get a finch feeder for under $10, and believe me, I get the cheapest one I can find! But what if my procrastination is of a more serious sort: I keep putting off building the habit of daily Bible reading. I keep meaning to build the habit of prayer, but there are so many demands on my time.  I would really like to be faithful to church, but… I know I shouldn’t use that language, but the kids drive me to it! I know I should discipline my children, but I’m so tired.

What does it cost us when procrastination invades our spiritual walk? God is eternal and we are as well, but there will be a day when this life is over. DONE! Then, as I stand before my Lord and Savior, all my lame excuses will crumble into meaningless dust.

Is procrastination keeping you from becoming the wife, mother, sister, daughter, child of God that you long to be? What can you do about it? One thing…

Once again, writing this post has been a blessing to my heart!  When I searched for the phrase “one thing,” seventeen verses came up.  Some were unrelated, but look at the following sweet nuggets:

And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof. Joshua 23:14

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4

Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Mark 10:21

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2Peter 3:8

There’s so many blessing in these verses, but we’re trying to focus on fixing our procrastination problem.  Philippians 3:13,14 are the verses that I go to for help. Choose that one area, habit, character trait that you really need to fix.  One thing!  Make it a priority! Do it NOW! Ask for the Lord’s help.  Now, beware: if your problem is impatience, He may send you a “patience-building” exercise which may seem like the opposite of what you think you need! But remember, God is the Master builder.Believe me, I am struggling myself with some of God’s learning building-blocks, but, once again, I fall back on His Word which reminds me that His way is perfect.  Psalm 18:30

And then, be encouraged by the other verses: Joshua reminds us that God keeps everyIMG_7887 one of his promises. David tells us that his “one thing” was to be in God’s house (a worthy goal!); Jesus puts his finger right on the pulse of the rich young ruler and said, “Your ‘one thing’ which stands in the way of truly worshipping me, is your money.” Paul urges us to press on, and Peter gives us an eternal perspective!

Look at your schedule. How did you spend your time? Did “filthy lucre” come in the way of worship? Did self precede family? Did perfection trump precious moments with a child?  Consider the cost of procrastination!

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Proverbs 31:28