How Time ‘Flies’ [v97]

MARCH 2007

HOW TIME “FLIES”—Have you ever noticed how often we are surprised by the passing of time? How often do you catch yourself with the familiar maxim on your mind, “Time flies!” or perhaps another version of the same: “Where did the semester go?” or “I can’t believe it’s already March.” Or maybe you recall the last time you noticed a child’s height or age or ‘maturity’ (with some sense of shock—at least in my case).

Isn’t it odd to be so poorly reconciled to something so familiar, to be shocked at a ‘UNIVERSAL’ EXPERIENCE? Author C.S. Lewis likened this phenomenon to a fish repeatedly astonished by the ‘wetness’ of water. He then added, “This would be strange indeed! Unless of course the fish were destined to become, one day, a land animal.”

As I consider the idea of time itself, seconds on the clock faithfully pass even as I ponder this. All the same, I recognize that time is NOT just a FLEETING thing. As author and speaker Ravi Zacharias notes, “[Time] never moves forward without engraving its mark upon the heart–sometimes a stab, sometimes a tender touch, sometimes a vice grip of spikes, sometimes a mortal wound. But always an imprint.”

To be sure, the most profound imprints hold in our minds, a definite place in history–the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, occasions of exceptional joy or beauty, moments of unusual pain. But isn’t there sometimes a sense that they also hold something more? In such moments, we are touched by the reality of a purpose, a meaning that is bigger than this very moment. We are taken beyond the brush strokes of time and shown a canvas that makes our usual view seem like paint-by-number. In these moments is the stirring thought that ETERNITY will be the VANTAGE POINT from which we see the big picture?

Those who challenge the notion of eternity claim that it is a human invention—like religion itself, created to soften what we do not understand, to undermine the painfulness of life, to release us from the finality of death. As scientist Carl Sagan writes, “If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I’d be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote…Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.”

Even as I give this quote some thought, my mind returns to the crematory disaster that touched the headlines across the U.S. some years ago. Few could overlook the unfathomable outrage. Over 300 bodies were carelessly discarded around the woods and lakes of the property, bodies that should have been cremated, but for whatever reason were not. Deceitfully, families were handed containers holding cement or burned wood in place of a loved one’s ashes. Across the nation, people commonly noted that they felt somehow violated by this act of sheer irreverence. In fact, at the time, laws against such matters did not even exist. Who would have thought them necessary? Yet few denied that these were crimes against both the living and the dead.

But why? If we are destined for nothing more, if this life is all there is, if we are merely a collocation of matter and chance, why would we sense that something sacred had been desecrated? Why would we be astonished at such a treatment of the dead if life itself is nothing permanent? On the contrary, I think we are outraged because quite certainly, something was ‘TRAMPLED’ on indeed.

In a lifetime, we see countless glimpses of eternity; we remember sacred moments in time, and we understand human life to have intrinsic dignity and worth, even when our philosophies say otherwise. Note that no one asked the names, occupations, race, or accomplishments of any of the victims. Our dignity is not assigned because of who we are, nor is our worth due to something we have accomplished. But humankind is significant because God is significant.

There is a ‘sacredness’ about life and death because there is One who lives in eternity. Our surprise at time’s passing and our outrage at life’s violation are thoroughly strange, unless God is involved in both our origin and our DESTINY.

A few years ago “Forbes Magazine” published an issue that dealt entirely with what they called the biggest concern of our age. The articles began boldly, “We have beaten or at least stymied most of humanity’s monsters: disease, climate, geography, and memory. But time still ‘defeats’ us. Lately its victories seem more complete than ever. Those time-saving inventions of the last half-century have somehow turned on us. We now hold cell phone meetings in traffic jams, and ’24/7′ has become the most terrifying phrase in modern life.”

Certainly this statement is a telling look at some of our modern assumptions. Particularly fascinating is the categorizing of time as a ‘monster’. Time is limiting, and no doubt the greatest modern monster of all is to find ourselves ‘limited’ in any way.

I was reminded of this article and its fearful expressions of limitation while reading through the Bible in the Book of Psalms. Like the candid passage above, the Psalms are known for their sincere expressions of troubling ailments and enemies. And yet, the gigantic differences in worldview are not only evident but helpful in uncovering logical perspective. It is easy to be blinded by progress and convenience such that we find “humanity’s monsters” the problem that needs correcting—and not humanity itself. Limitation is far from what ails us. Yet it is often what brings us to the physician.

Significantly, the psalmist presents his list of the various monsters that limit and block his way before the Lord. “Be merciful to me, O Lord,” writes the psalmist, “for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief” [Psalm 31:9]. Standing before the one who is limitless casts limitation in a wholly different light. The psalmist powerfully concludes, “But I trust in you, O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands… Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.” Gazing at the trustworthy hands that hold our fleeting days, the psalmist recognizes that like time itself, all that limits and weakens us will also eventually fade—but God’s unfailing love will not.

The Christian perception of “weakness” is steeped in the person and character of the God of the Bible. In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul speaks of something he calls the “thorn in his flesh.” No doubt a striking expression of limitation, scholars have debated for centuries what this thorn might have been–a physical ailment, a burdensome opponent, a disability of some sort. No one can be sure. But what is certain is that Paul was powerfully used by God in spite of this limiting thorn. He writes, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'” “Therefore,” says Paul, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” [2 Corinthians 12:8-10].

What God can do with us through hardship, through limitation, even through seeming failure, is a testimony to His grace and His authority, His sovereignty and His care.

What is in the time you hold before you this very moment? Do you see limits and fear? Or do you see as the Apostle Paul saw, limitations and impossibilities made approachable by the God who is near? In our gazing at the One who has given us this moment—even in our weakness—He can accomplish much.

God has given you this day; He will give you what you need to walk in it mightily with Him—in this ‘MOMENTARY’ time here on earth. And, if you ‘accept’ His Son, Jesus, and what He did for your “sin debt” to God, you will be ‘ushered’ into a TIMELESS ETERNITY when your ‘time’ here on earth is done.

[Excerpts from: Jill Carattini]

(If you would like to investigate the concept of “heaven” and “eternal life”, click the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q9_d5_1of10.html )

Blessings…Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v97) for MARCH 2007
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

Thanks to:
Richard Bachman
Susan Jones
Darlene Wassman

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME
A young man learns what’s most important in life from the guy next door.

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important…Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture….Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. “Mr. Harold Belser” it read. Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

“Jack, Thanks for your time! – Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most was… my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. “Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.

“Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”
[Received from Susan Jones]

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CHOOSING AND USING TIME

In 2004, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Americans worked 7.6 hours per day on the days they worked. Persons 65+ years old spent 7.3 hours in leisure and sports activities; 35 to 44-year-olds spent the least time, 4.2 hours per day. The “average American” age 15 or older spent 3.0 hours in leisure and sports activities and another 3.4 hours in miscellaneous activities.

In spite of how rushed and stressed everyone claims to be, it seems Americans have quite a bit of discretionary time on their hands each day. The question is, What do we choose to do with it? Once when king David was not occupied with kingly duties, we find him hanging out with Nathan the prophet spending time in godly pursuits (2 Samuel 7:1-2). Later in his reign, when he had time on his hands, he ended up being guilty of adultery and murder.

Time, once it passes or is used in ungodly pursuits, can never be regained. Why not keep track of your time this week and see how much of it is spent with the Lord?

Everyone has the same amount of time. The difference is that some choose to use it more wisely than others.

[Dr. David Jeremiah]
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IT’S ABOUT TIME

A woman wrote a postcard while vacationing in New Jersey and mailed it to her mother in Pennsylvania. Some 37 years later, the card arrived. The mother called her daughter to say thanks. “What card?” the daughter asked. The card had been postmarked in Asbury Park, N.J. and the daughter remembered that she had sent her mother a postcard from there in 1967. It seems that shortly after its arrival at the post office, the postcard fell behind a sorting machine and was discovered recently when the machine was moved. The good folks at the post office added a new stamp and sent it on its way. Talk about snail mail!

This story prompted me to reflect about how our contemporary culture views time—and just how much change we’ve experienced in my own lifetime when it comes to those views. Today, we live in a culture that is focused on the here and now—and particularly this very moment. A lot of this has to do with technology, of course. The popularity of new communication technologies in recent years has really had a huge influence! The methods of communication that were once a regular part of life—like letter writing— are close to passing off the scene altogether.

But, a major downside to our instant society is that it gives an illusion that anything and everything should be ours instantly. Our sense of timing has become skewed in this generation. We expect quick resolution to problems that have developed over time and become depressed when things aren’t better in the morning! We simply cannot maintain balanced lives if we expect everything instantly!

Often our impatience over timing spills over into our spirituality. When problems aren’t quickly resolved we get angry at God. When we don’t see growth in our lives as quickly as we desire – we become depressed. We hear about (and some have experienced) God’s ability to change lives and fix problems instantly, but when we don’t see these miracles happening in our lives, we wonder why God doesn’t act on our behalf! But the simple truth is:

Following Christ takes time.
 Growing in maturity takes time.
 Character building takes time.
 Resolving most problems takes time.
 Building strong families and relationships takes time.
I encourage you to take the longer view of time. I assure you that God is still on His throne. He is still at work in your life. Understand that God has His own timing (and ours is often different!). Trust that His timing is perfect when it comes to your life.

[Jim Burns]
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LOOKING PAST THE NOW

Life’s not fair.  I’ve heard that phrase since I was a kid.  Honestly, I don’t like it anymore now than I did then.  Truth be told, the phrase is legitimate.  Life, flat-out stinks some times.  It’s not fair and it’s not easy.

A painful breakup, a lost loved one, a phone call reporting cancer, losing a job or not getting a promotion at work, difficulty with the kids, financial strain…you name it, we have all struggled.  Life isn’t easy for any of us.  In college, I watched two friends on the football team struggle with injuries.  One of them had chronic problems with his feet, wincing in pain with each step he took.  The other blew out both of his knees within a year of each other.  The difference between them:  one is a Christian and one was not.  One had hope, and one did not.  One knew that football was temporary and not his only identity, that his identity and hope was in Christ; the other did not.

As Christians, we can look past the now. God sent His Son, Jesus, as the Servant who, by His death and resurrection, makes all of the difference for us.   It is He Who will bring justice and mercy.  It is He Who is the hope of the world.  What a gift we have in Jesus!  Through Him, hope motivates us to store up treasure in heaven, not treasures on earth.  Through Him, we have the promise that God works for the good of those who believe. (Romans 8:28)  Through Him, we have the hope that this life – with all of its struggles – is just our temporary home before moving onto the glorious eternity with our Father in heaven.

I’ve never understood how nonbelievers make it through struggles without the hope God gives to those who love Him.  It will always be hard when the bad news and difficult times come, but as a Christian, you can rely on heavenly hope. This is the hope that helps us look past the now and focus on treasures in heaven.
[Jim Burns]

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SONS
(Send me some about daughters for next month – Mark)
For those who have sons and those of us who are happy that we don’t—and for those who will always be…

1.  A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2,000 sq. ft. house four inches deep.
2.  If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
3.  A 3-year old boy’s voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
4.  If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20×20 ft. room.
5.  You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.
6.  The glass in windows (even double-pane) doesn’t stop a baseball hit by a ceiling fan.
7.  When you hear the toilet flush and the words “uh oh”, it’s already too late.
8.  Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.
9.  A six-year old boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old man says they can only do it in the movies.
10. Certain Lego’s will pass through the digestive tract of a 4-year old boy.
11. Play Dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
12. Super glue is forever.
13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool you still can’t walk on water.
14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.
15. VCR’s do not eject “PB&J” sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.
18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that odor is.
19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
20. The fire department in Austin, TX has a 5-minute response time.
21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.
23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
24. 80% of women will pass this on to almost all of their friends, with or without kids.
25. 80% of men who read this will try mixing the Clorox and brake fluid (Yep, I’m going to try this! – Mark)
[Received from Darlene Wassman-Author Unknown]

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THE 2006 “STELLA” AWARDS

Time once again to review the winners of the Annual “Stella Awards.” The Stella Awards are named after 81 year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonald’s (in NM).  That case inspired the “Stella Awards” for the most frivolous, ridiculous, successful lawsuits in the United States.

Here are this year’s winners:

5TH PLACE (tie):
Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $80,000 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering the misbehaving little toddler was Ms. Robertson’s son.

5TH PLACE (tie):
19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord.   Mr. Truman apparently didn’t notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor’s hubcaps.

5TH PLACE (tie):
Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up since the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn’t re-enter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found, and a large bag of dry dog foo d. He sued the homeowner’s insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed, to the tune of $500,000. (In my opinion, this is so outrageous that it should have been 2nd Place! – Mark)

4TH PLACE:
Jerry Williams of Little Rock, Arkansas, was awarded $14,500 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next-door neighbor’s beagle. The beagle was on a chain in its owner’s fenced yard.  The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog might have been just a little provoked at the time by Mr. Williams who had climbed over the fence into the yard and was shooting it repeatedly with a pellet gun.

3RD PLACE:
A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, $113,500. after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx (tailbone). The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson had thrown it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2ND PLACE:
Kara Walton of Claymont, Delaware, successfully sued the owner of a night club in a neighboring city when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth.  This occurred while Ms.Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000 and dental expenses!

1ST PLACE:
This year’s runaway winner was Mrs. Merv Grazinski of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mrs. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32-foot Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home, (from an OU football game), having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the driver’s seat to go into the back to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the RV left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising her in the owner’s manual that she couldn’t actually do this. The jury awarded her $1,750,000—plus a new motor home. The company actually changed their manuals on the basis of this suit, just in case there were any other COMPLETE MORONS around.
[Received from Richard Bachman-Presented by “Friends of Jeffery Feiger” and “1-800-call sam”]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!”
[Author unknown]

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I hope you enjoyed some of these insights. Share them with your friends and colleagues, so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from—and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” especially if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons [Galatians 4:4-5].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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