Tag: time

What Do You Do Now?

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” 

Ephesians 5:15-17

I wrote a devotional in March called “Time, a Precious Resource.” This blog post is a repeat of that idea, but I am writing this in September of 2020. For most of this year, much of the world has been on lockdown at some stage or another because of the COVID-19 pandemic. What was going to be a two week shutdown in the United States has grown into something that no one could have possibly predicted – closing of schools, churches and businesses for months. There still is no end in sight – for Americans and for many others worldwide.

Everyone was caught by surprise by this pandemic, but all of us have still had the same amount of time that we would have had even if the pandemic had not occurred. Along with some of my friends who commented that they wish they had used this time to…write, work on a project or learn a new skill, I know I could have used this time more wisely. Understandably, because the virus may have affected someone you know or you lost a job or a business, you may simply feel that time has frozen for you. All of us continue to look for an end to these unusual and dire circumstances.

God never encouraged us to put life on hold. Have no fear of sudden disaster…for the Lord will be your confidence… (Proverbs 3:25a, 26a).He who began a good work in you will complete it …(Philippians 1:6). As Christians, we know that 2020 has not been a surprise to God. He knew what was coming. He is with us in it and He will get us through it. He has not promised tomorrow but He has promised His presence, His guidance and His comfort for today.…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

Each of us may be sure that if God sends us on stony paths He will provide us with strong shoes, and He will not send us out on any journey for which He does not equip us well.

Alexander Maclaren

Nothing enters your life accidentally – remember that. Behind our every experience is our loving, sovereign God.

Charles Swindoll

Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrows; never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.

Benjamin Franklin

Time Economics

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16).

“A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” was a saying characteristic of people living during the Depression. With no money for replacement items, repair and maintenance were done out of necessity. The origin of “a stitch in time saves nine” literally dealt with sewing. A small tear repaired at once prevents a larger tear from forming in the future – thus saving nine more stitches. The idea, of course, has come to mean that you will do yourself a favor by taking care of small problems when they appear. If you wait, repairs will be more time consuming and expensive.

An example of this would be car maintenance. Stay on top of engine tune-ups in order to guarantee that your engine will last as long as possible. Check your tires periodically for wear and make sure they have the proper amount of air and they will last longer.

Routine maintenance can prevent damage and save you time and money. If you clean out the gutters on your house each year, potential expensive repairs to your home can be avoided; removing lint from the dryer every time not only keeps your dryer running more efficiently, thus saving electricity, but potentially prevent a dangerous fire caused by excessive lint build up; vacuuming the coils of your refrigerator can prolong the life of that appliance; pulling weeds as soon as they appear can prevent you from having to do a widespread spraying or spending days removing overgrown patches; backing up files on your computer can save you enormous headache in redoing projects and losing some important information forever. When traveling, calling ahead for information or printing your boarding pass at home can save unpleasant surprises or a long wait in line. Repairing small leaks when you first notice them can save you a lot of time and money later. Carrying a small tool kit when traveling by car can make the difference between being able to fix a minor problem or having to call a repairman. Packing a mending kit when traveling can prevent you from having to buy a new item of clothing if something happens while you are on the road. Packing essential prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines can keep you from having to go to the emergency room.

Often maintenance is a matter of cleanliness. Metal items, such as automobiles, barbeque grills, iron fences and farm equipment last longer if cleaned regularly and checked for rust. Once rust sets in, the repair job is lengthy. When it is first noticed (like on the fender of a car) and taken care of, that “stitch in time” saves not only nine more stitches, but expensive repairs. It is more than a dollar saved.

If you don’t know how to repair certain items, there are more resources available than ever before. An online search will usually turn up a “how to” article that will walk you through it. Even when you can’t repair an item yourself, you can often extend its life by having it repaired by a professional.

After the Crisis of 2008 hit, there were many news reports on how people were coping. Sales in stores were down because people were making what they had last longer, repairing those items rather than buying new ones. This actually resulted in an increase of revenue for some businesses such as shoe repair shops, auto repair shops and home improvement stores. Some items need to be fixed by professionals, but even that cost is cheaper than replacing it – most of the time. There are some notable exceptions, such as computers and other electronic items.

In addition to saving money, your “stitch in time” can save your time. The less complicated the repair, the quicker it is done, the more time is left for other things.

Time really does have value. Somewhere, someone else is employed for services as an accountant, an auto mechanic, a bookkeeper, a cook, a driver (chauffeur), electrician, gardener, housekeeper, nurse, etc. As you balance your checkbook, change the oil in your car, prepare meals for your family, drive your children to and from activities, repair the wiring in your garage, maintain and adorn your yard and garden, clean your house, take care of your family members when they are sick, you are performing tasks routinely that someone else might be paid for.

Procrastination in maintenance and repairs leads to the “nine other stitches.” Procrastination also makes your “to do” list longer than it needs to be.

In many ways, time is of much more worth than money is.

In every area of life, it is better to take action on issues as they come up. For instance, a misunderstanding between family members, friends and neighbors can fester if not dealt with immediately.

Even if you don’t have money or a job, it is good to remember that you have the same amount of time as everyone else. What you do with that time will help you move forward or allow you to stagnate.

During the Great Recession, many people were forced to seek employment in areas they had never imagined they would work in. Sometimes this involved schooling. Sometimes it meant doing manual labor instead of office work.

In a few cases, the forced adjustment led to a happier lifestyle. Their time was now allocated more towards family or church or their community.

These changes involved spending time learning a new skill, competing in a job market that was new to them, and not giving in to the temptation to give up.

It is understandable to be disappointed with unforeseen negative circumstances, but what you do with those circumstances is up to you. Procrastination is not a good thing, but having such a full schedule that you cannot enjoy family or life is not either. There must be a balance.

Only you can determine the proper balance of time in your life. Many who have had money, though, and made it their priority, have regretted it in the end. Prioritize according to what really matters and your time will be of more value to you than money.

“Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost part of your life.” – Michael LeBoueuf

God expects us to be good stewards of every gift He gives. How we spend our resources and how we spend our time are indicators of how we view His gifts. Jesus made that point very clear in His parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). The lazy servant wasted his time and his master’s money.

© Stephanie B. Blake

July 2015

(This devotional was adapted from a chapter of “Money, How to be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today”)

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One Day At A Time

Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34 NAS).

One of my dearest friends died in 2006.  She learned of her brain tumor in June 2005 and died the following March. Of the many things that I learned from Carolyn, the most lasting was her strength of faith in the face of death.  When she heard the diagnosis, she knew that God would soon be calling her home.  Instead of “why me?” her question was “why not me?”

During her last months, Carolyn taught me a lot about living one day at a time. Refusing to be sad because she would be unable to see her grandchildren grow up, she decided to enjoy every minute she had left with her beloved family. Primary in Carolyn’s heart and mind was that she would spend her last days praising God and letting others know that no matter what the circumstances, “He is faithful.” Her last solo in church was His Anchor Holds. Even though she did not see those grandchildren reach adulthood, her legacy of faith will always be with them.

The tumor progressively affected Carolyn’s ability to communicate.  Her words were jumbled and unintelligible to many. Since we were “soul mates,” during the times that we were able to visit, she was relaxed because she knew that I could complete her sentences for her.

I asked Carolyn’s permission to tell her story as I traveled and taught. With tears in her eyes, she said she would be honored if I told others how her trust in God’s faithfulness never wavered.  I truly miss my friend, but her example in how to treat each moment as precious is indelibly printed on my heart.

I believe that Carolyn would have agreed with the 19th century evangelist, Dwight L. Moody, who said, “Someday you will read in the papers that D.L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead.  Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now, I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal-a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born in the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856.  That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”

What does the Bible say about how we spend our time here on earth?  Throughout Scripture, it is clear that God intended for us to focus on today.  His word gives us instruction on how we can learn from the past and look to the future, but we must live in the now.

Paul said, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17 NAS emphasis mine).


. . . one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13b-14).

Many have become Christians because of the witness of a believer. That testimony cannot be denied.  Sharing what your life was like before you met Christ, how you came to trust in Him and the difference He has made in your life can often make someone understand his own need for a relationship with Him.

The apostle Paul certainly had not forgotten what he was like before he met Christ. He often gave testimony of how he persecuted the Christians. However, God’s forgiveness was so real to him that his focus was on walking daily with Him and fulfilling His calling in his life.  Paul learned from his past.  Once he understood that Jesus was truly the prophesied Messiah, he turned from his old life and never looked back.

Those who refuse to learn lessons from their past often spend time in resentment (of what was done to them) or regret (of what they have done to others or what they neglected to do).  Growth comes in obtaining forgiveness from God, learning not to repeat the sins and mistakes of the past, and living each day with a focus on how to fulfill God’s purpose in your life.

Questions for reflection:

  • How often have you wasted today in regrets of yesterday or bitterness toward someone? The remedy is given in Philippians 4:8-9.  If your mind dwells on bad things of the past, good things of the present may be crowded out.
  • Do you realize you are where you are today because God put you there?  In Paul’s address to the Athenians, he said that God has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord (Acts 17:26-27a). How should that affect your attitude toward your life, your neighbors?
  • Some cannot leave the past behind because those were “the good old days.”  Today never seems to measure up to the past.  What is the error of that thinking?
  • Do you spend time complaining because of where you live . . . you have not become “successful”. . . you do not have the wealth you desire. . . your talents are going unseen?  If so, what do you need to change? Notice that Paul’s focus, “one thing I do,” was fulfilling the call of God on his life.
  • What are some lessons you have learned from your past?  Paul did not repeat the sinful acts of his past.  Have you made the same determination?
  • Can you help prevent someone else from making the same mistakes that you made?  Do you invest your time in mentoring young believers?


The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 devastated many lives. Some lost their entire life’s savings: not only those who made bad judgments and overspent but also those who saved, invested, and planned so that they would not be a burden on their families during their retirement years. They planned but the unexpected happened. They were not even guilty of greediness as in the case of the parable of the rich man in Luke 12:16-21.  The Lord concluded His teaching on this parable by telling His disciples, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). You may lose earthly treasures, but if you have given your heart to Christ, you cannot lose the treasure of your eternal relationship with Him.

The Bible does not tell us that we should never plan.  God’s word tells us that our plans should be directed by Him and that when the unforeseen comes, continue to trust in Him, His promises and His provision.

Nehemiah, an incredible example in this area, planned according to his prayers.  Having learned of the distress of his fellow Jews and the ruined condition of Jerusalem, Nehemiah’s heart was broken. He asked God to allow him to be part of the solution, planned what he would do when God granted his request and then waited on God’s timing.  Read his story and observe how he prayed, planned and trusted God.

Examine the following scriptures about God’s involvement in our plans.

  • Proverbs 16:9 and Proverbs 3:5-6 – How much better would your life be if your plans started with God’s plans for you?
  • Proverbs 21:5 – Contrast steadfastness, faithfulness and diligence with hastiness, impulsiveness and being unprepared.
  • Isaiah 30:1 – What does God say about those who plan without consulting Him?
  • Matthew 25:1-13.  Compare the wise and the foolish virgins in light of their planning or lack thereof.
  • Acts 16:6-10, Romans 1:13, 2 Corinthians 1:17 – Notice that even though Paul made plans for ministry, God often had something better. 

The man or woman of God will work hard, be diligent, be prepared and plan for the future, but will stand ready to do God’s bidding even when it is different than you initially thought He wanted you to do.

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of the two days is YESTERDAY, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.  All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. We cannot erase a single word we said.  Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW, with its possible adversities, its burden, its large promise and poor performance.  Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds-but it will rise.  Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

This leaves only one day –TODAY-anyone can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities-yesterday and tomorrow-that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives us mad-it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time. –

Source unknown


. . . Behold, now the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).

There is always the possibility that someone reading this has not trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. If that is you, know that you are not reading this by mistake.  Jesus Christ is God.  He chose to leave Heaven, live a perfect, sinless life here on earth and die a sacrificial death so you could have a relationship with Him and live forever with Him.  Trust Him now.  Don’t put that decision off. You are not promised tomorrow.

Tomorrow may be too late.

Reflect on those you have known who did not have any warning about their impending death, such as my friend Carolyn did.  Anything could happen to any of us at any time.  In the parable of the rich man, God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke 12:20).

Today is the day of salvation.  If you need to make your life right with God, do it today. If He has been asking you to spend more time with Him, start today. If He prompts you today to talk to someone about His offer of grace, don’t put it off. If He impresses you to do something for someone, do it today.

Using the following scriptures, examine how “living in the now” would change your life.

Psalm 50:15 – Do you try to handle your “day of trouble” by yourself, or do you turn to God for help?

  • Psalm 71:15, Psalm 96:2 – Are you aware that today might be the last day that you have to tell someone about God’s working in your life?
  • Psalm 90:12, Psalm 103:15 – Your days “are numbered.”  How do you deal with that reality?
  • Psalm 118:24 – What changes would you need to make in order to spend your day rejoicing?
  • Psalm 139:16 – What difference does it make to you that God planned your life long before you were born? See also Jeremiah 29:11.
  • Proverbs 23:17 – Does envy occupy your thoughts? What is the remedy?
  • Proverbs 24:10 – Adversity can be a testing ground for the believer.  What does this verse and James 1:2-5 have in common?
  • Proverbs 27:1 – Does the uncertainty of the future motivate you to be as productive today as you can be?
  • Habakkuk 2:4 – This verse is repeated three times in the New Testament (Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, Hebrews 10:38). How should “living by faith” make a difference in your daily life?
  • Matthew 6:11 – Reflect on Jesus’ instruction to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • Matthew 24:42 – Jesus is coming back.  What do you want to be doing when He does?
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16 – What do you think is the significance of your “inner man . . . being renewed day by day?”
  • James 4:13-17 – In the context of reminding us that our plans are determined by the Lord’s will, James concludes this section with Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. Since time is short and tomorrow is uncertain, the Lord expects us to do acts of mercy today.

“Waste your money and you’re only out of money, but waste your time and you’ve lost part of your life.” Michael LeBoueuf, Working Smart: How to Accomplish More in Half the Time

Benjamin Franklin said, “Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow.  One today is worth two tomorrows; never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.”

Learn from the Past, Look to the Future, Live in the Now 

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

© Stephanie B. Blake

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Time, Trains and the Total Picture

In Europe, I often travel by train. One day, I waited for a train – and waited – and waited – and waited some more. Over an hour after my arriving at the platform, the train finally showed up.

Although during that time there had been announcements over a loudspeaker, I couldn’t understand them. I don’t speak the local language. A friend showed up a few minutes before the train came and said she heard that there might be a strike on that day. That would explain the delay, of course, but if she had not said something, I still wouldn’t have any idea what had delayed the train. The problem was not only do I not speak the language. I was missing other essential facts. I didn’t have the big picture.

Only God has all the facts. In His wisdom, He knows what has led me to a point in my life. He knows where I am going. He is also aware of what is going on with those around me and how their lives intersect with mine.

He may give me clues along the way (like the public announcement on the platform), but He knows I will understand only so much. What He asks is that I trust Him to do what is right because He does have the big picture.

I am confident of God’s love. I love Him and I know He loves me. I don’t totally understand His ways but I trust Him. His perspective is based on His unlimited knowledge and His eternal plan.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).