Archive | 10:33 PM

Lessons from the Microwave

6 Sep

Think of all the things you could learn about yourself if you examine your behaviour while standing at the microwave. I know, it seems silly, but give me a chance.

“The Last Ten Seconds Test”

It’s incredible when you think of how quickly your meal can be prepared. 2.5 minutes is all you need to deliver a dinner plate that is piping hot. You’d think that would be satisfying enough, right? But have you ever been guilty of standing at the microwave, staring at the numbers as they make their way down to zero, and decide that you just can’t wait out the last ten seconds? I’ve done it several times. With only ten seconds left to go, I tell myself “I’m sure it’s hot enough. What’s another ten seconds going to do anyways?” And so I pull my food out of the microwave, prematurely of course, satisfied that I’ve saved myself ten seconds of my life!  If you think you’re a patient person, stand at the microwave and watch your meal being warmed. See if you pass the “Last 10 Seconds Test”.

Drifting Thoughts

As you stand at the microwave, see if you can pinpoint exactly what it is that you’re thinking about. You can tell a lot about someone by what they think about when there’s really nothing to think about. The microwave is not unique in offering us this window into our thoughts. Sitting in traffic, waiting in line, lying in bed trying to fall asleep. These are all moments when our thoughts tend to drift…and their final destination reveals much about the condition of our hearts and the cares on our minds. It’s been said that the average person spends 60 minutes a day just “waiting”. Okay fine, I made that statistic up…but the amount of time we spend waiting is probably close to that…What do we do with that time? What thoughts are we entertaining and what can we learn about our hearts as a result?

The All Important To Do List

Maybe you’ve read the last point and thought “Stand at the microwave?” There’s no time to just stand there…do you know how much I have to do? That’s 2.5 minutes that I can actually use to cross things off my list. Load the laundry, empty the dishwasher, take out the garbage…I could go on.” I have to admit, this is me. Sometimes I am so driven to cross each item off my to do list, that I’ll drive myself crazy using every minute of the day to get it all done. I need the reminder that if I can’t even afford a couple of minutes to stand and wait for my food to be prepared, then perhaps I’m placing unnecessary expectations on myself. God has given us 24 hours in a day, not so that we can whine about how there aren’t enough hours in our day, but because that is the sufficient amount of time we need to accomplish all that He would have us do. If we’re running ourselves dry, could it be that we need a lesson in simplifying our lives and reorganizing our priorities based on God’s principles?

What we Eat

I put a lot of  thought into my food. What should eat? When will I prepare it? When will I buy it? How can I make it more creative? All this just for physical food. But what about spiritual food? As we stand at the microwave waiting for our physical food, is this not an opportunity to reflect on our spiritual diet, so to speak, of God’s word.  Do I put the same effort into ensuring that I receive spiritual nourishment? Am I receiving my daily portion of God’s word? Am I drinking from the living water and feasting on Christ on a consistent basis? If not, what in my life needs to change so that the answer can be a resounding yes?

So….what do you learn about yourself if you examine your microwave habits? Are you as patient as you thought? What is the content of your thoughts? Have you filled your life with too many responsibilities that leave you running frantically through life with little time to slow down? Are you placing the right importance on your spiritual nutrition, rather than just your physical nourishment?

It’s only 2.5 minutes, but it can reveal so much.

 

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My Peace I Give To You; Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled

6 Sep

As a Christian, there is a kind of peace I experience that is far above and beyond what this world can offer. It is “a peace that passes understanding,” as the apostle Paul would say…and it is mine in Christ. It is the kind of peace that remains even when things aren’t going my way. Ironically, it’s the kind of peace that holds up in the most chaotic of circumstances. It’s a personal peace with God and others that I enjoy because of the Gospel, and I am eternally indebted to God for that.

But what bearing does my personal peace have for your life? Does it matter that I enjoy this very intimate and personal peace? Are there any consequences to not having this person peace?

Piper wrestled with this question in a sermon he recently preached on John 14: 25-31 entitled “My Peace I Give To You; Let Not Your Hearts Be Troubled,” and touched on it again in this sermon. Essentially the answer is this, my personal peace with God affects your life. And so it follows that your personal peace with God affects my life and the lives of those around you.

We see numerous examples of this in Scripture. Think of the Thessalonians. News of their faith in Christ (which subsequently means peace with God) sounded forth and was an encouragement to an entire region of believers. Imagine that. An entire region of Christians simply heard about the faith these other Christians had, and they were encouraged. Even the apostle Paul himself was encouraged by the faith of these believers. And think about young Timothy and how the sincere faith of his mother and grandmother affected his life. Little did these two women know that their personal peace with God would affect generations of Christians to come!

Now, this means that the opposite must be true as well. If we lack personal peace with God we are still going to have an effect on the world around us, only it won’t encourage – rather it will tear down and destroy. You see this clearly in the world around us – terrorism, mass murders, broken families, immorality. All of it is rooted in hearts that do not know the peace of God. People like to pretend that what goes on in a person’s heart really doesn’t matter. But it does. Remember what Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt. 15:19).

Our personal peace matters, and I would challenge you in particular Christian to strive to enjoy that personal peace with God on a daily basis. Think of how the Lord used the faith of the Thessalonians and of Timothy’s mother and grandmother and be encouraged. Be encouraged to think that God uses us in ways that we can’t even imagine. And at the same time be sobered by the reality of what our lack of peace can accomplish in the lives of those around us.