Seems like time is really flying, isn’t it?  A couple newsletters back I spoke about distractions.  We all have them, and mine are just as bothersome as yours, probably.  But when I get to feeling like an octopus being pulled a half dozen directions at the same time, I know what to do. That puts me in a better position than some people.  We can spend time analyzing how to use our time more efficiently, and read books on time management and all that is well and good.  But for every good idea of how to make time work better, there comes twice as many distractions, such as computer problems or vehicle repairs that just can’t wait.  Each of us has our particular hot button.  Knowing I’m not the only one who has to deal with this issue doesn’t make it any easier.  But there’s a cure…..

    Just knowing the cause of the problem is not enough.  We have to know how to effectively combat it.  Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  So, there’s a thief stealing our time, eh?  Apparently so.  He’s been at work trying to steal mine, too.  Well, at this point we have two choices; let the thief continue to think up ways to keep us running around in circles, or we can do something about it.  I prefer the latter. 

    The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:15-21, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

    Right about now, some of you are saying, With the way things are going right now in my life, I’m already talking to myself, but it isn’t in psalms and hymns and spiritual stuff.   Yes, that may be true, but that isn’t how God intends your life to be, and I propose to you, my friend, there is a better way to live.  Remember, Jesus said He came that we might have life, and life more abundantly.  If you find yourself stretching to make ends meet and then someone moves one of them, that isn’t life more abundant.  If you’re stressed out, like a beloved friend of mine is, that for SURE isn’t life more abundant.  And of course, if you’re sick and tired, that isn’t life more abundant, either.  So God obviously has a better plan than the rat race for us.  I find there’s one thing every person who is stressed out suffers from,  and that is mismanagement of time.  Not to say I haven’t had my share of stress.  I certainly have.  But it taught me something that I’m going to pass on to YOU!

    Like I said earlier, there’s a thief out there, trying to steal everything from you that isn’t bolted down to the floor.  Given enough time, he will not only steal what you have bolted to the floor, but he will steal both the bolt AND the floor.  That is, unless you stop him.  And there is a way to do it, and it’s literally right under our nose. Paul told us the answer, and we often look right over the simple solution, as we search diligently for the hard solution.  Of course, we know the part he said about not being drunk with wine is a no-brainer.  That leaves you with less money, and a headache.  So let’s move on.  Could it really be that the solution is really as simple as speaking to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord? 

    Could it be, that in the midst of trials and things that distract you and steal your time that giving thanks unto the Lord in all that mess could somehow just yank that thief out of your life?  Yup!  I’m here to tell ya, it works! Been there, done that!

    Now, if God told you some hard thing to do that would straighten out your life, you’d bend over backwards to get it done, just so you could feel like you accomplished something.

 It reminds me of the story of Naaman the leper. Long story short, in 2 Kings 5, Naaman came to the house of Elisha to be healed of leprosy, but Elisha wouldn’t even come out and lay hands on him, but sent his messenger to tell Naaman to dip seven times in the Jordan river, and his flesh would come again to him, and he would be clean. Naaman got all upset, complaining that Elisha should have come out and called upon his God and struck his hand over the place and recovered him, and that all the rivers of Damascus were better than all the waters of Israel.  Could not he go dip in them and be clean? and he went away in a rage.  But Naaman’s servant said, If the prophet would have told you do some great thing, would you not have done it?  How much rather then when he said to you, wash and be clean?  Well, Naaman listened to his servant (are YOU listening?) and did so, and came back healed.

     You see, God gives us the simple way, but you and I tend to want to do it the hard way.  Notice I said you and I, because I used to do that too, until God finally got it through my thick head that He has a better way. 

    When life starts getting tangled up, STOP whatever you’re doing and just start doing what Paul said; start praising God, thanking Him in all things, speaking to yourself in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord.  There’s nothing that rattles the devil’s cage more than hearing you praising God after he’s just emptied his arsenal on you.  After the smoke clears, you’re just standing there singing to God as if nothing in the world could be wrong.  That HAS to be unnerving to the devil and his bunch.

    You want to please God?  Then do things His way, and your life will get a lot simpler and more peaceful.  You really CAN redeem the time.  Yes, the days are evil.  But your days don’t have to be.  Some of you have so many demands on your life that you have no life of your own, and feel trapped.  By following Paul’s directions, the Holy Spirit will have opportunity to speak to you and tell you what things you should do, and what things to say NO to.

     It may surprise you, but sometimes the Holy Spirit will tell you to say NO to people who want to control your time and resources and make you an extension of their confused life.  Once you get free from the time stealers, you’ll have more time to seek God.  Remember, right now you’re saying “I don’t have enough time with God.”  Now you can.  And the more time you spend with God,  the more you’ll actually start enjoying life.  Yes, you really can do it!  You’ve tried it your way and it isn’t working, and it’s wearing you out, so why not do it the way Paul said.  What do you have to lose?  It may take a lot of effort on your part at first, because old habits die hard.  The devil is counting on you resisting making a change, because that’s how he keeps you bound up, running around in those little circles. No, the mountain is not getting higher, your rut is just getting deeper.  Many people see it easier to keep on trudging on, rather than change their daily routine.  But you really can get a handle on things and start living life to the full, in abundance, till it overflows.  Paul told you how.  I’m just reminding you.

    The question now is not can you, but will you?  Will you keep doing the same old things with the same old results, like Naaman was about to do?  Or will you be like Naaman’s servant who had enough sense to see there is an easy way?