Getting it set

A moment of panic was beginning to set in as I frantically began to enter my email and passwords over and over again. The results were the same. The login was just spinning about like a tornado, albeit a slow tornado. It can be mesmerizing at times to watch those little circles spin. But, it didn’t help to watch for long. The situation was not going to change. All of my digital content had disappeared, ie. no digital books in my online library. I was panicked because this was the first day of classes and without books I could be in trouble. The link from my school showed just the basic Bible versions that had been set up originally, but all the other books were gone. No content. Even when I called the service number the results were the same. They had no name or listing. It was as if I didn’t exist. How is this possible?

I frantically searched for answers as to why this could have happened. Had my school switched vendors? Had I missed an important e-mail about it? Had I done something to delete my library? I was put on hold while being transferred to a nice tech support person. To be honest, I had almost hung up on the call because it was taking too long. But then, like a voice from Heaven, a voice said hello. I explained my problem and then the tech guy asked me something quite simple. What time do you have on your computer? Wait, what? Yes, he repeated, what time zone is your computer in? Hmmm, this sounds crazy but ok. I told him the time on the screen and he said, oh you have the wrong time. You need to change the time on your settings and turn off the auto zone option. I explained that I had recently done an update, well, windows had, but he said yes that was it. When I checked, the hour was correct but the minutes were off by ten minutes. He told me the correct time and I changed it. I went to login and as if by magic, all my books appeared once again. Whew! Crazy stuff. Ten minutes.

Now for all of you techy people, you’re probably finding this amusing, but for those of us who are not so technology gifted, maybe I just saved you from calling for support. It’s all about the timing. It seems like it is always about timing. I have been in the right place at the right time and have seen how God has protected me from accidents. Only at the time, it didn’t seem like the right time. I had been held up or delayed, kept from driving on for whatever reason. I would get back on track down the road, only to see  the remnants of an accident that had occurred before I reached that section of road.

We never fully understand why the timing in our lives is what it is. The corona virus has changed the timing for many of us. We have been forced to slow our speed, change our plans and now are slowly moving back up to our regular rhythms of life. Timing has changed. We have realized through all of this, that it is not our timing that matters, only God’s. I have realized that I cannot control my world as much as I thought I could. If I try to control everything, I might suddenly realize it is my timing that is off. I can presume my timing is correct, but just like my laptop, when its off, it has huge consequences. I can try to log on, try to do new things, force my way, but when I try to do it my way, by my strength, in my name, ironically, like using my e-mail log in, it just isn’t going to work. It’s all about setting myself to God’s timing. Trusting Him.

Last time, I mentioned my plan to keep media from crowding out God. Now today, let me suggest that in addition to quieting ourselves from the crazy anxiety producing news feeds and social media, we all, that is me too, set our minds on God.

Just like needing the correct time on my laptop, we need the correct mindset. Just like the word implies, a mind set, is what you have your mind set on. What are you thinking about? What are you basing your thoughts and actions upon? Yourself? Your desires? Your timing? A favorite verse of mine is Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (New International Version).

     It’s something I need to remind myself of often. Too often I set my mind on me or on stuff that doesn’t matter much, the earthly things. And then I worry, or get frustrated. Or get angry when stuff doesn’t go my way. The way I want it to go. In the timing I want it to happen. Then I realize, my mind is not on God and His timing. When I stop and turnaround and refocus on God, my mind begins to be set on the things above. The things that matter to God. A great place to start is to read Gods’ word.

     Doing this is much like going into the settings on our computers and changing our thoughts, our mindsets, and our timing, so that it is in sync with God’s. In the time you have freed up from being tethered to socials, that is if you followed me in my last blog, by limiting your social media addictions, you now have time to read God’s promises, thoughts, and words to us. And if you don’t have a Bible or like to use technology as a benefit rather than an intrusion on our lives, there are many Bibles available as apps. Some Bible apps even offer daily verses or reading plans and reminders. Time to get set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing

The server worked efficiently and silently as she placed the large platter on the table. As I focused on the newly placed plate, other platters followed, each one more joyous and amazing than the one before. I have to be honest, it was the largest most decadent piece of chocolate cake I have seen. The chocolate cake looked like a mountain of chocolate goodness. It was extra chocolate. As I stared at the huge dessert, that was the equivalent of two normal sized full sized cakes, my mind started to panic. After several different desserts had been placed in the center of the large round table, the server announced  that they were all a gift from the chef who’s child was a student in my daughter’s class. He appreciated her as a teacher and wanted to show it through offering this generous gift.

It was very unexpected and after the server left, those of us at the table began to share our thoughts. We all had had feelings of panic and concern before the server told us it was a gift. We all had wondered who had ordered dessert and who was going to pay for it. None of us at the table were used to such extravagance. We are not fancy people who regularly dine at pricey restaurants. It was not a usual place for us to go out for dinner, but my daughter had received a gift card that she wanted to share with us. The gift card would not cover all seven of us in the party, so we had all decided before how we would split the bill when it came, and now there was going to be this add- on charge for dessert. Needless to say we were all very relieved when the server said it was a gift. We would wash dishes if we had too, but we were glad we didn’t need to.

Have you ever had a moment like that? A moment of panic, when you wondered how you would pay for something? Something you had not planned for. You are unprepared and do not have a means to pay. A similar experienced happened to my husband and I many years ago while driving through Pennsylvania. We had made a wrong turn and ended up on the ramp to a toll road and could not turn around. The toll required was change only, no cards, no bills, just coins. It did not have an attendant. It was a large basket to catch the toll coins. We did not have any. We had not planned on being on this road. We could not move forward because of the bar across the highway and we now could not back up because a car was tight behind us. Then it happened. The person behind us got out of their car and put coins in the basket. The barrier arm raised and we were free to proceed. We thanked them and were on our way. Someone paid for our travel on that road, so we would be free to travel, that is to be allowed to travel on that road.

It is nice when someone else pays. It is even nicer when we really need them to pay because we can’t pay. I have been reminded lately of just how much Christ’s payment on the cross means. It means I don’t have to keep on trying to pay for something I could never fully pay. Paid in full means just that, in full. There is nothing more I can do to pay for something (my sin) because it is already paid for. Once for all time. Hebrews 10:14 says, “ For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

Yet, at times I  see so many people, myself, included, who feel bad and allow guilt to push them to keep trying to do better. Now, doing better and improving our actions and attitudes is a part of growing in our Christian walk, but trying to change in order to earn a right standing before God is fruitless, rather than fruitful. It is what religion is, trying to reach god or perfection, or nirvana or doing good karma. But, that is not Christianity. Christianity is Christ coming down to save us, not us trying to reach Him.

     There are little habits we all have that we wish we didn’t. I worry and stress too much and the more I worry and stress the more I start to feel guilty for worrying and stressing. And then it leads to a feeling of failure, like I can’t change and will never change. My mind reminds me of sermons I have heard before “that anything that isn’t by faith is sin”  and then the guilt piles higher and higher like that over sized  piece of chocolate cake at the restaurant. Now, I could try to fix myself, get busy trying to do more good and trying to make myself look good, hoping I will replace guilt with contentment with my accomplishments. But, it will be short- lived. It is only when I acknowledge Christ paid for all of it, once, for all, that I can relax and allow God to work on me in His timing and in His way. He will make the changes in my attitude and help me grow in my Christian walk. As the writer of the Book of Hebrews adds;  ” This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.I will put my laws in their hearts,  and I will write them on their minds. Then he adds: Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” (v.15-17, NIV).   Writing the law in our hearts and minds refers to the Holy Spirit living within the believer. He enables us to live out this Christian walk. Allow Him to lead you and heal you of those things you are trying to deal with on your own. Christ paid the toll so to speak, we need only to receive it as the gift it is. We are free to travel on the journey before us. But first we must acknowledge that we can never earn it, trying to reach God through good works or religious duties, nor do we need to let guilt overwhelm us and force us to keep on trying to earn it even after its been paid in full. Paid in full, let that sink in for minute. Nothing else will be able to add or subtract from that. God Bless -Nancy