What Will You Do with the Time You’ve Been Given?

Parents are standing on their feet, screaming, yelling, willing their kids to push down the court. The boys run, wiping sweat as they go, remembering everything they’ve been taught. The score is 20 – 20. Each team just one goal away from victory.

The coaches stand on the sidelines, leaning over the court, praying for no missteps or trip-ups. The seconds count down from 10. 9. 8. One team breaks away with the ball. 7. 6. 5. The smallest player is the surest dribbler, but he passes to the tall, lanky one in the middle. 4. 3. 2. He turns to shoot. 1. And the buzzer sounds right before the ball even leaves his hands. The perfect swoosh wasn’t counted – the time was up.

If only they’d been given extra time.

Extra time would have won the game. Have you ever wondered what you’d do with extra time? It was 45 B.C. when Julius Caesar instituted leap year – adding one day to the calendar in February. Since the year was a bit less than 365.25 days long, it made sense to add a day only every four years.

And today is leap day. So…what will you do with the extra time you’ve been given? Will you use it to win the game?

Here’s one suggestion.

See how you can get involved with Children’s HopeChest. It’s the featured service organization for Sheep to the Right this month. Here is some information about them straight from their website:

Our purpose…

Children’s HopeChest connects Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada with impoverished communities of orphans overseas. This unique “community-to-community” sponsorship leverages the power of one community of Christians making a long-term, transformational impact on a community of orphans and vulnerable children.

Ultimately, these relationships and resources empower orphans to survive, thrive, and succeed within their home culture.

Our countries…

HopeChest has over 100 active partnerships in Russia, Swaziland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, Guatemala, Moldova, and India. Partnering with an international community allows you to experience deep levels of compassion.  You will learn joy beyond circumstance and greater dependence and faith in God.  This real relationship will transform your community as you transform theirs.

Our partners…

Children’s HopeChest works with hundreds of communities across the United States and Canada each year. HopeChest partners primarily with churches, businesses and Christian communities such as blogs, online groups, book clubs, and small groups. These sponsoring communities are providing help, training, and discipleship for over 10,000 orphans.

You may choose to sponsor an orphan through Children’s HopeChest, or perhaps you are interested in getting your church or other group involved in sponsoring a specific orphanage overseas. Or maybe this leap day, you want to make a difference by making a one-time donation. You can do that, too. Click HERE to make a secure donation.

However God leads you today, make a difference with the time you’ve been given.

‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40 NIV

Carol

Lifetime of Leaning

Do you think President Obama ever gets tired? If so, where does he lean? Join me today at the Presidential Prayer Team where I’m talking about a lifetime of leaning. Click HERE to read my devotion.

*Reminder: This link is only direct today, 2/28/12. If you click this link another day, you will have to choose 2/28 from the drop down menu.

Carol

What to Do When You Are Distracted

Pages flipped behind me as I tried to listen to the preacher.

Flip. Flip. Flip.

It was rhythmic. My concentration paused as I waited for it to stop. A second of silence and then…

Join me today at 5 Minutes for Faith to find out what happened next. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

Carol

When You Can’t Place the Voice on the Other End of the Line

“Hey, its’ me…”

I paused after playing my answering machine message to listen closely. The voice on the other end sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on which of my friends was “me”.

Preoccupied with the mail, I hadn’t focused on the message the first time. So, I replayed the message, and listened carefully to the mystery caller…

Join me today as I post at the Internet Cafe. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

 

Carol

Why Does God Test us if He Already Knows the Answers?

“I think I’m going to fail,” my son mumbled about his upcoming standardized test at school.  “You can’t fail,” I explained.  “It’s just a test to let the teacher know where you stand. She needs to know your level, so she can plan for the third grade.”

I recalled my years of training to become a teacher. I knew the importance of testing, but I also knew how nervous it could make the children. I tried to encourage my son to do his best, so that he could let the teacher know what things he mastered and where he needed help.

The conversation led me to think of some of the tests in my life lately. If God already knows everything, I wondered, then why does He test us at all? He knows the outcome before it even happens. I spent some time in prayer and in God’s Word looking for the answers.  I’d love to share with you what I found.

 

1.  The one who learns from the test is you.

While our children are tested for the benefit of the teacher, we are tested for our own benefit.  When we go through trials, it brings us to a place where we learn more about ourselves.

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.  Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about.” Genesis 22:1-2 NIV

God used this test to teach Abraham that he truly could depend on Him to provide. Abraham was willing to give his long-awaited child back to God, and God instead provided a ram for the sacrifice.

Often we don’t know how much our faith can be stretched until it’s tested.

 

2. Testing is a catalyst that brings us to change.

When we are riding the fence of faith, God can use a test to push us to the other side. We become who God wants us to be only through the trials of the test.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. Exodus 16:4 NIV

The Israelites weren’t completely dependent on God at this point. They knew He was powerful and He was the God of Moses, but it wasn’t until they were tested that they learned to fully depend on Him.  God wanted His people to trust Him to meet their needs daily. Through the test, their relationship with Him changed from one of distance to one of intimacy. He became their personal God.

 

3.  Testing makes us stronger.

To discuss this, I must talk about heating steel.  The hardness of steel is created by the degree at which it is heated and cooled. When it has been heated to cherry hot and then plunged into freezing water (Ever been in a test that felt like this?), the steel becomes stronger. Steel that has been slowly heated and slowly cooled is much softer.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV

Paul had this one figured out. He tells us, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.” (2 Cor. 11:24-26 NIV) And I would venture to say Paul had one strong faith.

God already knows the answers, but more importantly He knows the person you are going to become. So next time you find yourself in the midst of a trial, stop and remember God is just bringing you to become the person He created you to be. And in that, find peace.

This is a post originally from June of 2009. It speaks to me again today. Are you being tested right now? Stand firm and cling to God.

 

Carol