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← Prioritizing in the Busy Seasons of Our Lives - Ask Pastor Tim

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Showing Revision 3 created 03/04/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. This comes from Leah.
  2. She says, "I don't have
    one specific question for you.
  3. It's more of a situation
    that my husband and I
  4. are just really becoming
    very discouraged by."
  5. Now, you've got to follow this one.
  6. "We've been Christians for about 7 years.
  7. We've seen God work
    so much in our lives
  8. and has brought us
    through many difficulties.
  9. We made many financial
    mistakes in our early 20's
  10. that we are now paying for.
  11. My husband works 50 plus hours per week
  12. and we are paycheck to paycheck.
  13. I stay at home with our three boys,
  14. ages 2 and 7 month old twins
  15. who were born 11 weeks premature
  16. and have some extra needs.
  17. We're struggling both with time and money.
  18. Soon my husband may need to
  19. get a second job.
  20. I spend the entire day
    bouncing back and forth
  21. between different kids' needs,
  22. trying and often failing
    at minimally keeping up
  23. with the house, laundry, and cooking.
  24. But the biggest problem here is that
  25. we have less and less time for prayer,
  26. reading the Word,
  27. going to Bible studies,
  28. evangelism, our marriage, etc.
  29. We've cut out all
    luxuries like television,
  30. going out to dinner,
  31. and other things for both time and money.
  32. We've been praying for a very long time
  33. for help in paying off debt
  34. and for an income source
  35. for my husband that doesn't require
  36. quite so much time away from home
  37. at both the job and the drive time.
  38. While in all other areas
    that we've prayed for
  39. we have felt His presence
  40. and have seen answers in
    one way or another,
  41. this is one area that
    we just feel He is quiet.
  42. I struggle with praying for issues
  43. related to money because I spent years
  44. in a megachurch that focused
    too much on money,
  45. in addition to other major flaws,
  46. so I am very apprehensive in praying
  47. for this area of our lives.
  48. We don't want our prayers answered
  49. so we can add luxuries
    back into our lives.
  50. We see how God is using this time
  51. to strip us of things that have brought
  52. sin into our lives and
    hindered our walk with Him.
  53. We just want more time to spend with God
  54. to grow spiritually,
  55. to grow in our marriage
  56. and to be able to pour into our children.
  57. Right now, I just feel like
    we are simply existing.
  58. We use the time we have to put
  59. a sermon on in the background
  60. while taking care of the kids,
  61. and my husband uses his drive time
  62. and his lunch hour to pray.
  63. But we don't have the time to
  64. cry out to Him for all
    that we need to pray for:
  65. for our family, for church needs,
  66. for this nation, for missionaries,
  67. for our children's salvation,
  68. and to be spending uninterrupted time
  69. learning and memorizing His Word.
  70. We just need some encouragement,
  71. direction and prayer.
  72. I want to be sure that I
    understand the difference
  73. in His Word about
    praying for spiritual things
  74. versus supernatural things.
  75. I've listened to sermons and read
    about prayer many times,
  76. but I want to be sure to be praying
    for these things in a way
  77. that is honoring to God.
  78. Thank you, Leah."
  79. So, you kind of get the gist?

  80. Anything jump out at you?
  81. (from the room)
  82. Maybe experientially, it sounds like
  83. listening to sermons,
  84. or maybe even reading books -
  85. it can be very hard,
  86. especially for a mother
  87. to be hearing a pastor
    talking about praying
  88. and long times of praying,
  89. and then a mother trying
    to assimilate that
  90. into her life with three children
  91. and kind of feel like I'm not doing it.
  92. I can't do what they're saying,
  93. and feel like she's not doing enough,
  94. which sort of sounds
    like that's the problem.
  95. It sounds like she's pressing on,
  96. but she has this high standard
  97. that maybe has been created by
  98. hearing of great missionaries in the past
  99. or some sermon.
  100. Tim: Yeah, it's interesting.

  101. She says that her husband
    uses his drive time.
  102. Now, she first said that her husband
  103. is working 50 plus hours
  104. plus the drive time,
  105. which makes you think that
    the drive time is fairly significant.
  106. And then she says he's using
    his drive time for prayer
  107. and his lunch hours,
  108. but she says that she lacks -
  109. "we don't have the time to cry out to Him
  110. for all that we need to pray for:
  111. for family, church needs, nation,
  112. missionaries, children's salvation..."
  113. And you know the reality is,
  114. (incomplete thought)
  115. if you use - I don't know how
    much of the lunch hour,
  116. but if you use the majority of
    an hour at lunch for prayer -
  117. let's say you bring your lunch;
  118. you pack it, you bring it with you,
  119. you take some time to eat it.
  120. You could easily give a half
    hour to devoted prayer.
  121. And let's assume he's driving
    a half hour each way.
  122. I suspect that Christian men
  123. who give an hour and a half
  124. to dedicated prayer is
    probably the exception.
  125. And so, yeah, I think you're right.
  126. I think her standard -
  127. she may desire something
  128. that she feels like she's
    not able to accomplish,
  129. but the truth is we do often
    get into certain chapters
  130. of our life where there are needs -
  131. especially when there's children.
  132. What we all have to do is prioritize.

  133. And life is changing all the time.
  134. You talk to R.L.
  135. R.L. getting a mechanical
    engineering degree.
  136. This portion of his life looks different.
  137. You talk to my wife.
  138. From about the time that
    we had the four children
  139. until the youngest child
    got to five or six years old
  140. where the oldest was actually
  141. significantly able to
    start really helping out,
  142. that time in her life is far different
  143. from this time in her life.
  144. The thing is, there was a time

  145. when I was seeking to plant a church
  146. down in Stockdale, TX,
  147. and I was the primary guy down there.
  148. I was doing the preaching.
  149. I was leading the prayer meeting.
  150. I was leading the evangelism.
  151. I had a full time secular position.
  152. And I had a full time family.
  153. And so life looks different
  154. in different chapters of our life.
  155. That's just the way it is.
  156. And what you have to do is prioritize.
  157. Many of you know about Susannah Wesley
  158. and all the children she had.
  159. What? Upwards of 20?
  160. And this lady has three.
  161. And I'm not diminishing the
    difficulty of having three -
  162. especially twins, but when you have 20...
  163. There are ladies historically
  164. who have walked with Christ
  165. and what would she do?
  166. She would put her apron over her head.
  167. She would choose those choice times.
  168. One of the godliest men
    you could read about

  169. is John G. Paton's father.
  170. He would go into an inner
    room in the house.
  171. He had a business right there
  172. in his home,
  173. and at lunch time he would go in there
  174. and he would pray.
  175. And they would hear him just crying out
  176. on behalf of their souls.
  177. You know, we have to prioritize.
  178. The Lord doesn't expect us
  179. to do what we can't do.
  180. But He does expect us to do
  181. everything we're supposed to do.
  182. And you need to capture that thought.
  183. If God has given you ten responsibilities
  184. in your life, He expects you to take care
  185. of those ten responsibilities
    in your life.
  186. But the thing is,
  187. prayer may be one aspect of that.
  188. The time you spend in the Word
  189. may be one aspect of that.
  190. But at that certain time in your life,
  191. you also have to balance
    the other 8 things.
  192. He doesn't expect you
    to pray 24 hours a day.
  193. He doesn't expect you to
    pray all your waking hours.
  194. In fact, there is a time
  195. when praying would be wrong.
  196. You can go to work for somebody.
  197. This very man, if he thought,
  198. I need to pray more,
  199. and so you know what I'm going to do?
  200. Aside from my lunch break,
  201. I'm going to sneak away at different times
  202. and find a secluded closet somewhere
  203. that I can go pray,
  204. and his boss would not
    think that's a good thing.
  205. And I don't believe God would
    think that's a good thing.
  206. You say, he needs to pray.
  207. We need more prayer.
  208. No, not at that time you don't.
  209. If you do need more prayer,
  210. then there needs to be
    proper prioritization.
  211. One thing is you need to sleep too,
  212. and if you're not well slept,
  213. you're not going to
    give your employer
  214. the kind of time that you need
    to be able to give to him.
  215. So, I would also say this.

  216. There seemed like this woman
  217. had a hesitation to pray
  218. because of some experience
    she had at a megachurch.
  219. She had a hesitation to pray for money.
  220. It's almost like, we
    pray for spiritual things,
  221. and God answers us,
  222. but we're kind of hesitant
    to pray about this.
  223. It's kind of like coming
    out of a background
  224. where you have this
    mindset that sex is dirty.
  225. And now suddenly you're saved,
  226. and you want to cast that off.
  227. God created that.
  228. Or you have this idea, you know,
  229. miracles or whatever - that's charismatic.
  230. But wait a second, what we have to do
  231. is we have to look again at Scripture.
  232. Scripture has to guide us.
  233. Would Scripture ever indicate to us
  234. that praying for financial things;
  235. asking God to supply our needs
  236. is carnal or secular or unspiritual?
  237. It's interesting this lady's saying
  238. we know lots of answers to our prayer,
  239. but it just seems like this area -
  240. she's admitting we don't really pray.
  241. We're not getting the kind of answers
  242. that we want, but we're
    not really even asking.
  243. And I would say to somebody like that,
  244. well, you need to ask.
  245. Why would you not ask?
  246. Especially when she's emphasizing,
  247. well, look, it's not that
    we want luxuries.
  248. It's that we don't want my husband
  249. to be working 50 plus hours
  250. and now maybe even have
    to find a second job
  251. for us to make ends meet.
  252. I would say this,
  253. you definitely want to pray.
  254. I think they ought to be praying about -
  255. she didn't say anything
    about their giving,
  256. but I do know that Scripturally,
  257. I'm often drawn to the text
  258. that says there's one who
    gives more than he ought,
  259. and the thing is it seems that he only
  260. becomes all the more richer.
  261. Then you have somebody that withholds
  262. what they shouldn't withhold.
  263. And it tends only to their penury
  264. as the KJV says - poverty.
  265. And so I would say this,
  266. give sacrificially and then pray.
  267. Here's the reality.
  268. In fact, I would encourage this woman.
  269. I've found great help and I know many have
  270. in our church, especially
    in the early days,
  271. often quoted from Isaiah 53.
  272. But in Isaiah 53, there are promises there
  273. about you pouring yourself
    out for the hungry;
  274. you giving to the needy,
  275. (chapter 58, not 53)
  276. Isaiah 58.
  277. And the promise there is this:
  278. that when you cry,
  279. God's going to say, "Here I am."
  280. And I have always found that to be
  281. a great argument in prayer.
  282. Lord, we've given.
  283. Lord, we've given. We've
    sought to be sacrificial.
  284. We've sought to pay our debts.
  285. We've sought to help the needy.
  286. We've sought to support the family.
  287. After all, if you don't
    support your family, what?
  288. Worse than an infidel.
  289. So, God wants you to support your family.
  290. God wants you to give to
    the needs of the needy.
  291. God wants you to pay your debt.
  292. I can show you texts that
    say all three of those.
  293. And so if you're doing what God
  294. wants you to do with the money
  295. and now you're running out,
  296. you have every reason to come and say,
  297. Lord, You promised to supply all my need.
  298. You've promised.
  299. And You've promised
    that if I would be merciful,
  300. that when I cry, You'll say, "Here I am."
  301. And Jesus talking about storing up
  302. treasure in heaven.
  303. And see, I don't want to stretch this
  304. where it ought not to go, but listen.
  305. I think because of texts like Isaiah 58,
  306. I have reason to believe that this fits
  307. into the words that Jesus said.
  308. When He talks about storing
    up treasure in heaven -
  309. not storing up here.
  310. So my mindset is this.
  311. I'm going to strive to
    not build empires here.
  312. I'm going to strive not to
    build up huge savings here.
  313. I'm going to strive not to build
    up huge retirement here,
  314. but rather I'm going to store it there.
  315. And then when I come to have needs here,
  316. I'm going to look and say,
  317. Lord, I stored it all there.
  318. I don't have anything here
  319. and I have a need over here.
  320. When I'm thinking about storing up
  321. treasure in heaven, I'm not just
  322. thinking about when I die,
  323. I'm going to go to heaven
  324. and there's going to be treasure there.
  325. Now, obviously, that is a primary emphasis
  326. of what Jesus is saying there
  327. in the Sermon on the Mount.
  328. But, I also believe that storing up
  329. treasure in heaven carries the reality
  330. that that's where my surplus is.
  331. That's where my supply is.
  332. And I'm storing it up there
  333. just kind of like putting it in the bank,
  334. but I'm storing it there.
  335. I'm giving it to the Lord.
  336. I'm trusting Him.
  337. Not just that there's going to be
  338. treasure there when I die and get there,
  339. but that there's treasure there
  340. to be drawn on anytime
    that I need it here.
  341. And like I say, I take that from promises
  342. like, "You'll call and
    I'll say, 'Here I am.'"
  343. I take it from the promises of God
  344. concerning finances,
  345. that both are a reality.
  346. That what I'm doing is
  347. I'm storing up and there's a promise
  348. in my storing up there that when I
  349. come to have need here,
  350. God's going to meet it.
  351. When it's a need,
  352. and He sees it as a need -
  353. not just when I want my
    standard of living increased.
  354. Not when it's something that
    He doesn't think I need,
  355. but I think I need.
  356. See, that's one of the problems.

  357. We like to put it in the bank
  358. because see, then I can tap that
  359. when I think I have a need.
  360. Sometimes it has to do
    with trusting the Lord.
  361. If we give it all to Him,
  362. well, what if I'm in need
    and He doesn't give me.
  363. But you know what I have found
  364. is He always does.
  365. He always does.
  366. (incomplete thought)
  367. I have typically found,
  368. even when it's things that seem
  369. really practical - like
    that just makes sense
  370. that we should have that -
  371. He provides for it.
  372. Even though I had no
    funds there before that
  373. or very little.
  374. I mean, yes, I'm 52 years old
  375. and I live paycheck to paycheck.
  376. But, we are seeking to store up
  377. treasure in heaven,
  378. and I really have confidence
  379. that the Lord is going to provide
  380. whenever there's need,
  381. even if that's retirement.
  382. And the thing is, I can tell you this,
  383. that I've walked with
    the Lord for 26 years
  384. and He hasn't let me down once.
  385. He hasn't failed me.
  386. So I would say that to this lady.
  387. One of the things that
    you don't want to do

  388. when you're in financial difficulty
  389. is stop giving.
  390. Now, look, I'm not saying,
  391. well how much did they give?
  392. I would just say this.
  393. Let the highly praised,
  394. highly commended Macedonians
  395. be your example when you're in straits.
  396. They gave liberally.
  397. They amazed even an apostle.
  398. I would say that.
  399. Go to 2 Corinthians 8-9.
  400. Right there in 8, you've got the example
  401. of the Macedonians.
  402. Let them be an example.
  403. Give something in the spirit of that.
  404. Take care of your family.
  405. Take care of your debt.
  406. And look to the Lord
  407. and call upon the Lord
  408. and ask the Lord to provide.
  409. She's admitting that she hasn't prayed
  410. because of this megachurch mindset
  411. that's been pressed upon her -
  412. something like the love of money
  413. is the root of all evil,
  414. and sometimes we get it in our heads
  415. that money is the root of all evil.
  416. Well, we need money.
  417. There's a place for money
  418. so that dad can be with the family more.
  419. There is a place for that.
  420. Any other thoughts on that?

  421. (from the room)
  422. I think one thing that stood out as well
  423. is that she said that through this time
  424. and season in their life,
  425. that it's made her more like Christ;
  426. or at least, it's shown
    her and her husband
  427. their sin in their lives.
  428. And I think there's a certain aspect
  429. of thinking about just
    embracing the suffering.
  430. And I hope I don't sound
    apathetic in any way,
  431. but I think there's room
    to embrace it in some way
  432. where texts such as James and 1 Peter,
  433. and just seeing that our suffering
  434. makes us more like Christ.
  435. And it helps us not to
    settle in here on earth.
  436. And it really just fixes our
    mind on heaven, basically.
  437. That's just my thought.
  438. Tim: Right. Embrace it.
  439. And there may be a place for that.
  440. Because the reality is working 50 hours -
  441. even though that might
    not be what you want,
  442. and you might want more time with dad
  443. being with the children,
  444. especially when they're at a certain age
  445. and you know having
    devotions and everything.
  446. But you know what?
  447. Working 50 or 60 hours a week is not bad.
  448. And it sounds to me like they are
  449. giving up some of the non-essentials
  450. in their life, and that they do
  451. actually have reasonable time.
  452. She said it feels like
    they're just existing,
  453. but perhaps that's because certain things,
  454. certain endeavors that
    they would like to have
  455. in their life that God's just
    now allowing them right now.
  456. Maybe they're putting too much
  457. of a high priority on.
  458. And very often, we do get into situations
  459. where things are tight.
  460. When our children were small,
  461. the amount Ruby had to spend on food
  462. was extremely tight.
  463. But you know, there are seasons like that.
  464. And certain Christians
    in certain countries,
  465. we might say there's lives like that.