What Takes Less Than a Moment?

 

stopwatch

Just how long is a moment? Does it translate into roughly a minute? Is there any definite period of time assigned to this word? After duly researching this, I concluded that the ‘moment’ known today does not have a definite fixed duration, other than being very brief. But the original use of the word put it at around ninety seconds. This led me to consider how many common things one could do in a moment (in its original use) or less. While this list is hardly exhaustive, it does demonstrate how much can be done in one or several moments of time (pun intended).

  1. Drink a glass of water. (Unless you are one of those types who likes to extensively ponder over the best arrangement all of the contents in your living room or the origin of chicken noodle soup, while drinking a beverage, this is a relatively simple task.)
    bedroom
  2. Make your bed. For the average person who actually does make his bed regularly, this can be done, surprisingly, in no more than a moment.
    recycle bin
  3. Empty a trash can. Another simple and quick task for those in an average single-family home. (Of course, if you have a small apartment or motorhome, you could easily empty all of your trashcans, with maybe a few seconds to spare!)
    shoes
  4. Tie your shoes. At least, for those who do have shoelaces in their shoes to tie (which isn’t as common anymore), this is, or at least should be, only a moment’s effort.
    plants on windowsill
  5. Water a plant. This is one moment that your plant will thank you for, especially if you are not a born horticulturalist.
    vitamins
  6. Take your vitamins. A very good idea. Possibly an even better idea if you combine it with the first item on this list. That’s two accomplishments in one moment!
    signature
  7. Sign or write your name. (Now if you majored in calligraphy or something similar, this one may be a challenge for you to do in a mere moment.)
    woman walking
  8. Take a short walk. Since you are only going for a moment, this is a beneficial effort that could even be done indoors. Stop reading this blog entry and do this now. (It will be waiting for you when you get back).
    woodpecker on tree
  9. Watch a woodpecker peck for 1,800 times. If it were pecking continuously for a moment’s time, and you actually counted each peck, that is roughly how much it would total up to.
    man jumping into air
  10. Sing a national anthem. Something, again, that you could do while you are taking that short walk mentioned earlier. (That is, if you read on and did not stop immediately, like you were told to do.)
    sunscreen lotions
  11. Put on sunblock. This also might have been a good idea to do before you went on a short walk. Of course, you could have done this while taking a short walk and singing a national anthem. (Hey, that would be three things that could be done in one moment’s time!).
    automatic car wash
  12. Go through an automatic car wash. OK—this is something you probably shouldn’t be doing while taking that short walk earlier, (although, with all of the extras now being added on to a car wash, this might not fit entirely in a moment anyway. So hold off on those nasty emails—I know I’m pushing it with this suggestion.)
    soapy hands
  13. Wash your hands. (A good idea after putting on all of that sunblock earlier, and definitely not a bad habit to be practicing, considering how short a time it takes to do this.) Now, if you just rebuilt the engine of your car or truck, this might very well take a little longer than a moment.
    waffle cookies
  14. Bake cookies on a sandwich grill or waffle iron. A rather novel idea that really could take only a moment (provided the cookies are already made, and the grill or iron is already hot. But, hey, those are just trivial little details that will only take a few more moments of your day).
    woman balancing
  15. Stand on one foot. Now here’s a relatively easy one, provided you stay on that foot and don’t fall over. If you really want to utilize this particular moment to the max, try hopping at the same time. (Just don’t forget, and go ride your bike with just one foot!) Extra credit: Stand on no feet.
    man holding baby
  16. Hug someone you love. This probably will be the best moment of your day. After the previous item, this might not only be welcome, but quite necessary in order to stand again on both feet!
    toothbrush with toothpaste
  17. Brush your teeth. This may be at the end of the list, but it’s still just as important as item thirteen. (Just don’t get them mixed up—not everyone appreciates breath that is hand-soapy fresh!)

There is something else not on this list that will set your life on the right course for eternity, and it can easily take just a moment, too. That is, to give your heart and life to Jesus Christ. There is no multi-step list or long grueling pilgrimage you must make. You don’t need to repeat a mantra, or take an extensive series of classes. You don’t even have to jump up and down and scream at some devil a dozen times. All that is required is a simple prayer of faith. In fact, you can’t do anything else but pray, and then believe in faith that He has accepted you. Whatever you try to do to make yourself right with God beforehand will only be rejected by Him. He doesn’t desire your good works or any of these other ‘efforts.’ He only wants you.

There will never be any real lasting peace and happiness in your life without Jesus Christ. You might feel happy and satisfied right now, but deep down inside of you, there is a longing and emptiness that can only be satisfied by a real relationship with Him. If you let Him operate in your life, you will find stability, even when others around you are falling apart. The best part is that He will never fail you. Others around you, even your own family, may turn on you or desert you, but He never will. What He says in His Word will happen. “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

To reject God and His Son Jesus is to put your life and future totally into your own hands. Even worse is the fact that you are putting your death and the eternity that lies afterward into your own hands as well. This is a feat that becomes an impossibility, because you no longer have any control over your future once you have died. A life without God results in an eternity with the Devil in Hell. So why not take less than a moment and pray this simple prayer. Believe in faith that He will take care of your future on Earth and throughout eternity.

****

Dear God, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and have violated your laws. I realize that my wrongdoings have separated me from you. I want You to know that I am sorry, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe in faith that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died for me, was resurrected, and is alive today, and He that hears my prayers. I would like to open my heart and allow Jesus to come inside to become my Lord and my Savior. I want Him to control my life and I ask that He would rule and reign in my heart, so that His perfect will would be done me. I ask all of this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

****

If you just prayed this prayer and accepted Jesus into your heart, congratulations and welcome into the family of God. If you are wondering now just what to do next please don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking here.

If you are still unsure and want to read more about the path to God, please click here.

What’s Next?

“So now that you have graduated from high school, what are you going to do next?”

“Well, if my scholarship goes through, then I’ll be going to medical school; otherwise, I’m going to scale back my plans and go to the state university and pursue a degree in dentistry.”

“That’ll be quite a challenge, but I’m sure you’ll make it. What’s next?”

“After graduating and fulfilling the necessary internships, I hope to be moving into a career as a dentist. Of course, if the money becomes available in one form or another for med school, then I’d gladly continue on there to become a pediatrician.”

“Good for you! Now after you are established as either a dentist or a pediatrician, what will be next in your pursuits?”

“Naturally as I become set in my career, I’ll most likely get married to someone who’s just as well off as I am and have a bunch of kids, you know, the usual routine.”

“Wow! I’m sure that will keep you extra busy. So what’ll be next?”

“I’ll probably make sure that my kids are all set in life and get them into some big time sports program, or, if possible, maybe an Ivy League university, like Yale or Harvard.”

“Sounds like only the best for them. What’s next after that?”

“Well, I’ve been thinking about maybe following through on the rest of the music lessons I began a few years ago. I’m really good on the piano and guitar, you know.”

“Music, too? You really will be living your life to the fullest by that point. So, then what’s next on the list?”

“Oh, what most do at this point—I’ll move on from my dental or medical practice and probably captivate audiences with my musical ability during the rest of my life. I’m sure by that time I’ll be living in a relaxing cottage near the ocean, and maybe even have a second home that will overlook a gorgeous mountain vista.”

“Well, you certainly have your whole life planned out. I don’t foresee any boring moments in it. So, after all of that, what’s next?”

“After that? Why I will just pass away peacefully in my sleep and give mostly everything to my children and spouse.”

“Sounds like a kind and generous plan, but what is next?”

“What’s next? What more is there? Why I’ll have a memorial service and be placed deep into the earth in a beautiful secluded spot at a cemetery, that’s what’s next!”

“OK, so you are nicely taken care of; now what happens next?”

“Look, I don’t know what you are insinuating now with these ‘what nexts,’ but I die—that is it! Life is over. How should I know what happens next? I’m dead, right? It’s done. Kaput. The end. You may exit the auditorium now. The program has finished.”

****

So is it really over when we die? Does life just quit in the grave? Are we destined to just become a collection of bones buried several feet down in the earth, or a pile of ashes that are either scattered through the air or sitting on someone’s mantle in an urn? Can we really plan our whole life, possibly to the tiniest detail, decades in advance?

Let’s address that last question first. Do we really know what our next year will be like? How about next month, or even tonight? We plan much of our future based on what has already happened to us, or on the present, as if we could see the whole picture ahead of our life in advance. Yet we really don’t know what may happen to us even a few hours from now. The doctor may conclude that everything is fine in our health, and yet we could contract a severe case of food poisoning from a meal on that same afternoon and die several days later.

On the other hand, how certain is it that we will get that job or establish that career we were planning for several weeks or years from now? Suppose that ‘perfect’ job turns out to be a nightmare, or someone on that job becomes jealous and gets us terminated for something we never did? What if a parent or family member dies, and we are forced to leave school to take care of the family? What about a car accident on the way to class that forces us to permanently leave college? Or our grades weren’t anywhere near as good as we planned, and we fail to get our degree or degrees? Do we really know that we will find the right person to marry? What happens if our children turn out the total opposite of the way we raised them, causing us much grief, detriment, and ruin?

We may conclude, based on current trends, that the world is getting better and better—only to have a financial market crash, or a disaster, like a severe flood or a major terrorist attack, occur, sending shockwaves across the global economy. What about those ‘unforeseen events’ that happen to everyone? We make all of these extensive travel plans to some relaxing vista and end up not going because of some ‘unforeseen event’ that occurred at our job or at home.

God already knows our future here, and more importantly, He knows what our ultimate end will be after our death. He mentions this in the Bible: “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27).

For many, the idea of judgment of their life may come as a surprise. Sadly, we were born in sin, and carrying it out became inevitable in our lives. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). As long as we reject God, and plan out our life without any regard to the possible consequences, while continuing to live in sin, we leave Him no choice but to bring us to judgment after we leave this life. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth [remains] on him” (John 3:36).

The good news is, that we don’t have to be destined to this judgment. In fact, God never wanted or intended for us to be in, or controlled by, sin, and thereby judged in the first place. God loves us more than we could ever imagine. “But God commendeth [presents or shows] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God is holy and can never allow any sin in His presence ever. That is why he sent Jesus, His only Son, to this Earth, who willfully came to fulfill all of the necessary requirements laid out in the Old Testament of the Bible for the permanent covering of our sins. Only Jesus was fully qualified to do this. We, in our naturally sinful state, could only fulfill these laws on our own to cover our sins temporarily.

He wants us to come before Him, and love Him in return, not reject Him. God has gone to great lengths to make it possible for us to trust in Him for our life. He does not expect or want us to plan and work out our life on our own. This only results in sin, and ultimately, judgment after death.

We need to “believe on the Son.” In other words, we must accept His death and sacrifice on the cross as if they were our own. We need to leave our sinful ways and trust in Him for our future. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten [born] Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). When we die, our natural, physical life comes to an end, whether we end up in the grave or by some other means, but our spiritual life continues on into eternity. Whether it will be eternal life in Heaven, or eternal death in Hell depends on whom we place our trust in: Jesus or our self. Only Jesus can bring real satisfaction and freedom. “If the Son [Jesus] therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). We can’t plan our whole life without God. Our next reply to the question “What’s next?” needs to be “God‘s next.”

For even more information about what’s next, please click here.

The Dark Manger

dark manger

I walked down a street one evening recently where many homes were decorated for Christmas. Some had elaborate displays with a lot of lights; others displayed a simple arrangement and very few lights, or anything else that would really grab your attention. What caught my eye among all of these displays was a simple little manger scene with just the basics: Mary, Joseph, an animal and a shepherd. It was more meaningful than all of the others, because no light was shining on the manger scene, and baby Jesus was not present.* Only a distant streetlight made the display visible in the darkness, since it had no light of its own to illuminate it. Whether the darkened scene was intentional or just an oversight remains a mystery, but its current state of darkness gives it much more prominence than all of the brightest and most elaborate displays on the street combined.

Over two thousand years ago, the real manger scene in Bethlehem was in just as much darkness as this little representation is now. There was some type of light there, naturally, maybe a torch or small fire, but the type of darkness I’m talking about goes far beyond physical light. It is known as spiritual darkness, the absence of God in the heart. True joy and happiness only come when Jesus reigns in our hearts and lives. Jesus said, “…I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

When Jesus was born, then the true light from heaven shone upon the world. He was God in human flesh, or Emmanuel, meaning “God with us.”

God the Father loves us more than we could ever comprehend, even to the point that He would send His innocent, sinless Son to this earth to pay the ultimate penalty for the sins of every person on this earth—eternal death. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). The more sin there is in this world, the more spiritual darkness is present as well. Evil loves darkness, and when the world is full of darkness, evil freely abounds. If the world had no real means of redemption (being free from the consequences of sin), it would be hopelessly lost to evil and sin.

When Jesus came to live in this world, He broke the stronghold of darkness. He fulfilled all the requirements of the laws God set out in the Old Testament of the Bible. He never sinned Himself, but He took upon Himself all of the sins of every person in the world (those who had previously died, those currently alive, and all yet to be born) when He died on the cross. Then, when He declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30), sin and darkness no longer reigned—they were forever defeated! But this victory is not automatic for us. We have to accept by faith that He died for us, and believe that His victory over sin is our victory over sin. We must, as well, make Him the lord or ruler over our life, and no longer let our own self remain in command. We must admit to God and ourselves that we are sinners (wrong-doers) and repent (turn completely) from our sinful ways. When we surrender our lives to Him, we become the light of the world as well as His Spirit enters into us.

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

This Christmas season, are you going to continue to remain in the darkness, or are you going to let the Light of the World (Jesus) be the light of your life? Will you be ashamed to have His light shine on you because of the sins you cling onto in your life? He came to this earth and overcame the darkness forever. Now is the time to let Him overcome the darkness in your life too. For more information about the way to God, click here.

–James Pangburn

*(Ed. note: Baby Jesus was not stolen from this display, nor was His absence an oversight. Many feel that the manger display is more accurate if baby Jesus is placed in the manger on Christmas Eve, since He had not been born until then.)

Exit Signs

overhead exit sign

Have you ever thought about the “EXIT” signs that many buildings have placed inside rooms over the doors that lead out of the building? On the ones I’ve seen, the word EXIT is most often in red letters, lit from behind. They are readily recognizable this way, and we’ll be able to find them easily in an emergency. Then we’ll know how to find our way out—especially if the lights go out and the room is in darkness. A room may have other doors without these signs, but not all of them necessarily lead outside where we will be safe. Some could even lead us into a more dangerous area than the one we are already in! It’s easy to get disoriented when everything is dark, when we can’t see which way to go.

An “EXIT” sign reassures us that we will be able to find the way out, no matter how dark the room may be, if we will only make our way over to leave by the door under it.

This world we live in is going more and more into an emergency mode, getting increasingly dark. When Jesus hung on the cross and died, it could be said that He became a ‘living’ exit sign for us. His body, drenched in His own red blood, wasnot an exit sign hung there to show us the way out of the darkness of this world. There are other ‘doors’ that we could try, but Jesus is the only door that leads us out of this world and into the safety of our Heavenly Father’s arms, where no harm can ever reach us. There are many other doors, but none of them can lead us to Heaven. They do not have the right sign over them showing us the way to exit this dark world to safety.

Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (John 10:9, italics mine). There is only one door to Heaven. That door is Jesus Christ and there is no other.

Jesus also said “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6, italics mine). As things get darker and darker in this world, will you be looking for the ‘red’ exit sign so you can find your way out? Be sure you are ready.
For information about finding your way out click here.

–Alana Pangburn

A Convenient Season

I remember times that I had to take a lengthy test at school when I was growing up, which had to be completed within a short time-limit. I also remember multi-part exams with a set time-limit for each part. I did not really hate them; I just never liked those limited-time tests. Sure, there were easy parts that I could quickly move through when I knew the material very well. But I never had a test that I could totally complete which did not have some area that seemed to take more time than was allotted!

I attribute a lot of my resistance to time-limits to being something of an artistic thinker. It is not that I constantly visualize painted masterpieces or objects I could sculpt, but rather that I drift into what some call daydreaming.

When taking tests, my mind likes to wander off quite often to ideas that are totally unrelated and obscure, usually at the most important moments of the test. For example, I could be taking a test on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, and right at the question about Lee surrendering to Grant, the intricacies of how the eraser is attached to the pencil I am writing with suddenly become of foremost importance in my mind. Within ten minutes, I’ve mentally dismantled and rebuilt my pencil from the eraser down to the tip (which, by the way, really needs to be sharpened!). The next thing I know, I am facing the question about Lincoln’s assassination and John Wilkes Booth being on the lam. I would be forced to reread the material several times, and then I become aware of several matters of utmost importance:

  • Pencils are sometimes made of plastic and can bend without much effort.
  • The eraser can easily be removed in some pencils but not in others.
  • John Wilkes Booth was an actor.
  • Appomattox is an interesting place name and can easily be misspelled.
  • Many events occurred between the end of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination.

I think you can see that this mode of thinking really makes taking a test difficult, much less passing it! Even right in the middle of taking an exam, my mind wants to wander around the classroom, through the air ducts, out the window, or sometimes into a completely different school subject. I might think of a song I heard that morning or a week before, and then proceed to write the words to a new song with a completely different melody in my head.

If it was all up to me, I would gladly take, perhaps, several days on an exam, with a nap break in between the hard questions. I would schedule exams for when I am fully ready to take them—being whenever it is convenient for me. Then I would no longer procrastinate, because the exams would now be totally at my convenience. But here’s the problem with that: exams or tests are not given for our personal benefit, or at our convenience. They are given to measure our understanding of a given subject or topic. If we were to take exams when convenient for us, there is a good possibility we would never take them at all!

A Roman official long ago felt that things could be done at his convenience if he so chose. The Jews of that day did not like what a certain man named Paul was preaching to them. This resulted in an uproar which was leading to a near riot. The Romans would never permit any disturbance even close to a riot, so they ultimately had Paul removed from the crowd and detained. This eventually led Paul to make several appeals before Felix, the procurator over that territory, who liked to hear him speak. Some believe Felix was really hoping for a bribe from Paul. But on one of Paul’s last proclamations to him, Felix got more than he desired.

“And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25).

God was speaking through Paul, and He began to convict Felix of his wrongdoings, or sins. This brought great fear to the heart of Felix. He promptly sent Paul away until a more “convenient time.” Felix was later replaced by another procurator named Festus, and his opportunity to learn the way to eternal life ended. The point is: when God gives us an opportunity to accept a way out of Hell, a way to spend eternity in Heaven with Him, we can’t just put it off until we “have a convenient season.” Felix had a golden opportunity, but he pushed it aside and the Bible never mentioned him again.

Paul referred to Isaiah 49:8 in one of his letters to the Corinthians when he wrote “…I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [assisted or aided] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). Now is the day of salvation, God says. We can’t wait until next week or next year or when it is convenient for us. God knows the bigger picture. He knows what lies ahead in our lives, which is one reason why He provides these opportunities for us. He loves us so much that He provides every available means for our escape from Hell.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering [patient] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

God does not want anyone to die lost. His love for us is greater than we could ever understand. It is so great that He sent His only Son to die on the cross on our behalf. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). It is not so much a situation of Him rejecting us, but rather, of us rejecting Him.

We don’t know what tomorrow will hold; in fact, we don’t really know what will happen in the next hour. Why wait then, for a “convenient” season? Call upon Him now, while your opportunity still exists. Don’t be like Felix. Your date with eternity is not set at your convenience, and you may never get another chance. Many souls are in Hell for eternity because they procrastinated and never got another opportunity. Don’t be part of that number. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Click here to learn more about the way to God.

 –James Pangburn

The Key That Fits

Ever heard of the promotions where a brand-new car will be given away free? Many keys are handed out, but only one key is the right one that fits the lock of the free car. 2,000 keys might be given out, and then presented at the car dealership and tried in the lock. 1,999 of those keys will not work. Out of all those keys, there is only one key made that will fit the lock. The person holding it will be the only one to win a free car.

“The Cross” is a term used to represent the place where Jesus Christ gave up His human life to save us from sin and bondage to the devil.

If there could have possibly been another ‘key’ that could have saved us and set us free, then Jesus would not have had to hang on the Cross and die in our place. God the Father is all-knowing. He would not have overlooked any possibility of another way to set man free.

Even Jesus Himself asked His Heavenly Father, when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, if there could possibly be some other way besides going to the Cross and taking the sins of all mankind upon Himself to set men free. The Heavenly Father replied, “There is no other way. You will have to personally go through with death on the Cross to set man free.” Surely, in His immense love for His beloved only Son born of a human woman, God the Father would have found another way to spare Him, if any existed. But it had been decided before man was ever created that this would have to be the way to set man free, after he believed the lie of the devil and turned from God to follow sin.

We try many ways to get free from situations that enslave us, but none of the ways we try have the right key. We can try every way under the sun, and maybe get relief for a little while, but nothing will ultimately work except the right key—the Cross.

The Heavenly Father made this opportunity to be set free from sin available to everyone. It is not just for ‘good’ people, or the rich, or for a certain special group. It is not just for the people of a certain century, and then the offer expired. God has handed out billions of keys, and in this ‘promotion’, they all fit! They all fit because they are the same key being turned in the same lock. The Cross is the ‘key’ that fits the ‘lock’ to free us from bondage. It is the only key that will work. But the good news is that we can all have one! Bring yours in and try it!

–Alana Pangburn