Beth Armstrong

Christian wife, mom, & author. Doing life with my eyes fixed on Jesus. I walk, I stumble, I fall. But God is big. And this is what I write about… Thanks for stopping by!

Archive for the tag “Peter”

DON’T LOSE A MINUTE

I spent about 10-15 minutes fixing an older gentleman’s watch recently. It wasn’t a simple, ordinary watch. It was a Casio LCD World Time Watch. I didn’t even begin to understand all of its features. It had several different abbreviations on it that I had no idea how to interpret. All I could figure out was that the straight-forward things like time and date were incorrect. After pushing lots of buttons and scrolling through many time zones, I finally got it to function correctly. When I sat there for a moment, I thought of the irony that I had spent so much time on fixing time. I invested so many minutes on the minutes that just tick away on a man’s wrist.

Time. It’s a given. It happens whether we give it permission or not. It passes whether we waste it or invest it in the process. It’s a constant. It’s endlessly moving forward…and forward again…and forward some more.

As I look back over the last year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I waste a lot of time. If I were to calculate the hours spent in doing productive things versus wasted things, I’d be embarrassed to say that wasted wins.

What about you? Do you cherish time? Do you invest in it wisely?

Peter gives us an interesting challenge in the first chapter of his second book. Here’s what he says, “So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus” (2 Peter 1:5-8, MSG).

dont-lose-a-minute

Immediately Peter says, “don’t lose a minute…” You see, we’ll never be able to get time to stand still or go in reverse. We’ll never be able to get back the time that’s already passed us by. Peter, without a watch on his wrist, evidently understood something about time. Perhaps he grasped a little something about investing time versus wasting it.

The best invitation we’ve ever received is to personally and intimately get to know the God of the universe through His Son Jesus. We’ve been given the privilege to participate in God’s amazing, all-encompassing plan to redeem the world. Peter says we should build on this very invitation we’ve been given. We should complement this “basic faith” of ours with things like good character, understanding, discipline, patience, wonder, friendliness, and love. And guess what…all of these qualities take time.

Even though it feels like wasted wins sometimes, if we have these qualities existing and growing in us, then it means that knowing Jesus hasn’t made our lives complacent or unproductive.

So don’t lose a minute. Grow. Learn. Bless someone. Love bigger. Give generously. Be free. Let go. Make the change. Do something. Be full of grace. Speak the words. Live out loud. Don’t miss the opportunity to build on what you’ve been given.

(*Note: This post originally appeared on the Clutter Interrupted website on January 11, 2015)

 

EVERYBODY IS A “SCRATCH-AND-DENT” MODEL

Several years ago, when we were remodeling one of our bathrooms, we looked all over for new vanity tops. The prices were a little more than what we wanted to spend. In one particular store, however, they had a “scratch-and-dent” section that had various items you could purchase “as-is.” Some items were really broken, others had slight flaws. We ended up buying one of these “as-is” vanity tops that had two tiny, minor chips in it. And you know what? We were totally okay with our “as-is,” scratch-and-dent, slightly flawed purchase.

The “scratch-and-dent” section is where all of us belong, don’t you think? Don’t we all have flaws, and scars, and quirks? Don’t we all screw up and make huge mistakes and have moments of weakness?

Think about it…going clear back to the book of Genesis, people were messed up:

  • Adam and Eve broke the cardinal rule of fruit-eating.
  • Cain killed his brother Adam.
  • Noah got drunk.
  • Abraham lied about his wife being his sister.
  • David committed adultery.
  • Elijah was depressed and wanted to die.
  • Peter chopped a guy’s ear off.

While it’s true that each of us would agree that we are “as is” people, it’s also true that it’s really hard to accept that others are as well. While I may be quite flawed, I expect you to be quite flawless. While I may have many imperfections, I expect other people in my life to be perfect. And when your flaws and weaknesses show—more precisely, when you let me down or make me angry because of them—let the judgment begin.

John Ortberg once said, “One of the great marks of maturity is to accept the fact that everybody comes ‘as-is.’” Everybody is a “scratch-and-dent” model. All of us. Every…last…one. “There’s not one totally good person on earth, not one who is truly pure and sinless” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, MSG).

Knowing this truth helps us understand a couple of things. First, we figure out pretty quickly that I’m not better than you, and you’re not better than me. We’re equally messed up. Second, we understand that because of our sinful selves, we will blow it with each other. We will let each other down. We will make each other angry. And last, but certainly not least, is the truth that though we all come “as is,” God loves us anyway.

I agree with the great country singer Kenny Chesney who sang, we are “a little messed up, but we’re all alright.” And I think he’d agree that we all come “as-is.”

I guess part of me wants to say, “I wear my ‘as-is’ sign proudly.” But the other part of me wants to say, “I don’t want to use my ‘as-is’ sign as an excuse to let you down or make you angry.”

So, here’s the deal…I will work at rising up in my maturity to embrace the “as-is” parts of you, if you’ll work at embracing the “as-is” parts of me. After all, Peter–the guy who cut someone’s ear off on a whim–later wrote, “Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly…” (1 Peter 4:8, The VOICE).

Love…
Steadily…
Unselfishly…
That includes all “scratch-and-dent” models…

PRESSING YOUR “SEEK” BUTTON

When I first saw this button in my friend’s new car, I had to laugh. Notice the one in the middle which reads “Seek Cat.” Really? Seek cat? Which cat? Where? (Actually, I’m pretty sure this button allows you to seek a specific category of music, not seek out felines on the freeway.) 🙂

Pressing Your Seek Button

I gotta admit it’s a pretty cool feature. With one touch of a button, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. I love the convenience of that, don’t you? Wouldn’t you love to have a command center in your home filled with buttons we could push to seek out the things we want? Think of the possibilities: “seek money”, “seek chocolate”, “seek the missing sock that the dryer ate.”

Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way. The things we really want, we must seek out, we must put effort into, we must pursue with a certain amount of diligence.

In the book of Amos, the prophet records God’s words: This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.” Seek the LORD and live… (Amos 5:4-6a).

Right here in these verses is the key that unlocks the door of right living. God says, “Seek me and live.” He goes on to say, “do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba.” You see, these places—Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba—were once places of spiritual significance, but had become places of idolatry. Those places had become empty, hollow, temporary, and would amount to nothing—much like the places, people, and things we seek out to make us feel alive.

You see, we can’t fully seek the Lord unless we do not seek places of disobedience and self-indulgence. It’s not enough just to seek God…we must stop seeking other things. It’s not enough to walk in the light…we must stop walking in darkness. This is the essence of the word “repent.” It’s turning away from one thing in order to turn toward something else.

Here’s the thing…if we want to truly seek God, we’ve got to pursue Him where He is, not dabble where He isn’t. The fact is we’re really good at dabbling where God isn’t, yet hoping to somehow connect with Him. That’s not quite how it works. Check this out:

  • When Jesus was at the home of Mary and Martha, Martha was in the kitchen hustling and bustling about, worried and upset over lots of stuff. And there was Mary in the other room at the feet of Jesus. Why wasn’t Mary in the kitchen? She’s a woman, and it was probably expected that she be in the kitchen. So why wasn’t she in the kitchen helping? Because Jesus wasn’t in the kitchen!
  • Peter was with the other disciples in the boat on the stormy sea. Winds were raging, waves were crashing. And in the midst of the storm, Peter stepped out of the safety of the boat and he walked (ever so briefly) on the water toward Jesus. Why did he do such a crazy thing? Because Jesus wasn’t in the boat!
  • Then there’s the woman in Scripture who was subject to bleeding for 12 years.  According to the laws of that society, she was unclean. She’d been to doctors, and spent all kinds of money all to no avail. So, this woman risked the ridicule and public scorn of the crowd. Why did she put herself and all the others in the crowd at such great risk? Because Jesus was in the crowd!

For Mary, Peter, and the bleeding woman, they sought Jesus out. They didn’t dabble where Jesus wasn’t. They pursued Him. They weren’t satisfied with anything short of one-on-one, face-to-face, real-life time with Jesus.

God says, “Seek me and live.”

Jeremiah says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Maybe it’s time for you to push the button “SEEK JESUS”!

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: