For a Time: A Poem

For a Time

Words of Encouragement for a Season of Grief

Gregory E. Lang

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,

that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

 

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity

under Heaven.

The sun rises and sets,

and the moon increases

and decreases;

the day gives way to night,

and in its turn,

night yields back to the day.

Nothing in this world is without end;

all things endure only for a time.

 

There are powers far beyond us,

 plans far beyond what we could

have ever thought of,

visions far more vast than what

we can ever see with our own eyes.

C. JoyBell C.

 

Everything, in time,

gives way to something else.

There is a time to embrace

and a time to refrain,

a time to keep

and a time to give away;

there is a season of abundance,

and a season of hunger and need.

For every person, in every place,

in every circumstance,

anything we have,

we have but for a time.

Everything we enjoy,

we enjoy but for a time.

And now and then

we may have no joy at all.

 

God cannot give us a happiness

and peace apart from Himself,

because it is not there.

There is no such thing.

C. S. Lewis

 

Our mouths may thirst,

our hearts may yearn or be broken,

and our very lives may seem unsure.

We cannot have everything

according to our desires,

nor enjoy them as long as we might wish;

the evidence of this is all around us.

 

Earth has no sorrow that

Heaven cannot heal.

Thomas Moore

 

There is a constant ebbing

and flowing,

waxing and waning,

from one season to another.

Everything in this world changes,

it has from the beginning,

and will until the end.

There is a time when all strength is gone,

and a time when one is made even stronger still.

 

The most beautiful people I’ve known

are those who have known trials,

have known struggles, have known loss,

and have found their way out of the depths.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

 

There is a time for action

and a time for rest,

a time for doubt

and a time for trust.

And though we desire control of our world,

that we might determine

the length of each season

or stop the flow of one to another,

we can never alter the plan of God.

 

Anything under God’s control

is never out of control.

Charles R. Swindoll

 

God has a purpose in all that He does,

even if we cannot fathom what His purpose is.

 

Patience with others is love,

patience with self is hope,

patience with God is faith.

Adel Bestavros

 

We cannot know what was before us,

nor what shall be after us.

It is not ours to know the

rhythm of this world,

nor to believe it would

yield for us.

 

Faith is deliberate confidence

in the character of God

whose ways you may not

understand at the time.

Oswald Chambers

 

We must make the most

of our present circumstances

and trust that what we have

is what we need,

and while it lasts,

for the duration of its season,

find peace with what has been given us.

 

The will of God is never exactly

what you expect it to be.

It may seem to be much worse,

but in the end it’s going to be

a lot better and a lot bigger.

Elisabeth Elliot

 

We should strive to content ourselves with,

and make good use of,

what God has determined.

We must take all things as they come,

understanding it or not,

for the time it is upon us.

It is not ours to change what God has done.

In accordance with His design,

all things will have their turn

and come to pass.

 

There is no pit so deep

but that His love is deeper still.

Corrie Ten Boom

 

The valleys join the highest mountains,

and gentle streams join raging rivers;

the clearest sky becomes clouded,

and the most clouded sky becomes clear.

There is a time for everything,

everything under the sun,

including a time for heartache.

 

What we have once enjoyed

and deeply loved we can never lose,

for all that we love deeply

becomes a part of us.

Helen Keller

 

Even pain is designed by God.

There is a time to mourn

and a time to dance,

a time to weep

and a time to laugh,

a time to be silent

and a time to speak,

and a time to love

and share ourselves freely.

Yet even love cannot last

on this side of the everlasting.

 

Love is stronger than death even though

it can’t stop death from happening.

Unknown Author

 

We are created to live,

yet set before us is a time to die.

We will lose, in time,

many of whom we love,

just as others

will surely one day lose us.

 

If God were small enough

to be understood,

He would not be big enough

to be worshiped.

Evelyn Underhill

 

And though death may

never be welcomed,

each life has a season

that must reach its end.

We are of this world only for a time.

 

Seeing death as the end of a life is like

seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.

David Searles

 

And our grief is natural,

so it too must have its season.

It may seem to linger without end,

or come and go as the wind.

It may carve at our heart

as waves against the shore,

or dull our senses

so that nothing brings pleasure.

And in such times,

God may seem far,

near,

or somewhere

in between.

But He is indeed with you,

now and always.

 

As cold as everything looks in winter,

the sun has not forsaken us.

He has only drawn away for a little,

for good reasons,

one of which is that we may learn

that we cannot do without Him.

George MacDonald

 

Our heartache and suffering

endure for a time,

and yet our memories

last even longer still,

a sweet blessing God has given us.

 

Death leaves a heartache

no one can heal,

love leaves a memory

no one can steal.

Irish proverb

 

We live in a world of change.

Everything changes according to plan,

though we may not yet understand why.

The finite cannot grasp the infinite,

but what reason cannot comprehend,

faith believes.

 

Philosophers can debate

the meaning of life,

but you need a Lord

who can declare

the meaning of life.

Max Lucado

 

And in faith alone

we must wait with patience

for a full understanding

of God’s mysterious but glorious ways.

We will always have disappointment in this world;

we must not expect this life

to be all God has meant for us.

 

Because God has made us

for Himself,

our hearts are restless

until they rest in Him.

St. Augustine

 

This world was never intended for our rest.

Eventually we will become weary of this season,

And long for of the only everlasting time,

the season of never-ending.

 

By Heaven we understand

a state of happiness

infinite in degree,

and endless in duration.

Benjamin Franklin

 

Everything is beautiful

in its own time.

Our life on earth

is lived for the meantime,

Our life in Heaven

will be lived for all time.

Death, though seemingly an enemy,

is but a portal through which we must pass

to enter an eternity of favor.

 

Difficult times have helped me

to understand better than before,

how infinitely rich and beautiful

life is in every way.

Baroness Karen Blixen

 

There is rest and sweet refreshment

in eternity, where grace waits

to turn our afflictions into mercies.

There is a wonderful harmony

in the seasons yet to come,

beautiful and comforting

to those who wait.

Every man’s life is his opportunity

for doing what prepares him for eternity.

 

The only significance of life

consists in helping

to establish the kingdom of God.

Leo Tolstoy

 

We must be pleased with our place in this world

and readily yield to the will of God.

Remain humble in your dependence on God,

neither lifted up with pride,

nor cast down with fears,

and believe everything

will soon appear to have been accomplished

in the most proper time,

in the most wonderful way,

for all the best reasons.

 

Death is nothing else but going home to God,

the bond of love will be unbroken for all eternity.

Mother Teresa

 

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every circumstance

under Heaven.

As we are born,

so we must die

at the appointed time.

But just as there is a time

to be born,

and a time to die,

there is also a time to rise again.

Death has always been at work in us,

but so too has life;

God will lift up what has fallen down.

 

Blessings alone do not open our eyes.

Indeed, blessings by themselves

tend to close our eyes.

We do not come to know Him

in the blessing,

but in the breaking.

Chip Brogden

 

So live in light of eternity,

comply with God’s call

to laugh or weep,

or mourn or dance,

for the duration He has determined,

always holding fast

to the hope set before us.

We have this life but for a time,

and death is no more than

a farewell to this season,

so look forward to another time,

a season for all time,

the promised victory over death

to all who believe.

 

And when my days run out,

I will have lived just a blink of time

and the rest will be eternal joy.

Abby Danielle Burlbaugh

 

Let us live in that hope for the future,

that in eternity

will be those we have loved,

there waiting for us,

to share in the glory

and abundance

of eternal blessings

that will, at last,

endure forever.

 

Grieve not,

nor speak of me with tears,

but laugh and talk of me

as if I were beside you there.

Isla Paschal Richardson

 

Weeping may remain for a night,

But rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5

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Love the Lord

After all, he, the manifestation of God in the flesh, loved you first. And when you love him in return, and walk faithfully with him, obeying from the heart all his commandments, good things do indeed come to you. Love God, your Father, your Christ, with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. Love the Lord. Love the Lord. Love the Lord

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. Mark 12:30

I tell you the truth, whoever believes in me will do the same things that I do. Those who believe will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And if you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son. John 14:12-13

You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father. I loved you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commands, and I remain in his love. In the same way, if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy. John 15:8-11

The Spirit we received does not make us slaves again to fear; it makes us children of God. With that Spirit we cry out, Father. Romans 8:15

We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan. Romans 8:28

Every good action and every perfect gift is from God. These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows. God decided to give us life through the word of truth so we might be the most important of all the things he made. James 1:17-18

Nothing gives me greater joy than to hear that my children are following the way of truth. 3 John 1:4

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Pray For Others

Love will repay cursing with blessing, hate with good will, evil treatment and persecution with prayers. While on the cross Jesus prayed for his enemies; he was clear about his desire and command that we too should pray for others. What greater display of love for your neighbor and brother is there than to bow and pray for him? Please the Lord; pray for others.

But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. Matthew 5:44  

But I say to you who are listening, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are cruel to you. Luke 6:27-28

I always remember you in my prayers, asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better. I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people. Ephesians 1:16-18

I thank my God every time I remember you, always praying with joy for all of you. Philippians 1:3-4 

Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:25

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Christian Leadership Part II

Jesus charges us to take up his mission in our generation to bring glory to God so that his kingdom may continue to come through the work of his people. This means putting into action what Jesus has commissioned us to do, and that is to make the Gospel known to all people by demonstrating the love of God through our words, deeds and motives. We should do this as every opportunity arises, even if such opportunities arise when servanthood conduct is counterintuitive, as when interacting with someone who expects you to be operating from a position of authority.

For many leaders, this posture can be rather challenging. Indeed, living like Jesus in any capacity presents challenges, not the least of which is visualizing just what Jesus would have us do in every circumstance in relation to others. Lead Serve Love: 100 Three-Word Ways to Be Like Jesus was written expressly to offer concise, actionable statements about how to be more like Jesus.

Let’s look at a few threeologies, rephrased here slightly to focus specifically on servant leadership.

Love your neighbor.

You may commit acts of charity and kindness, but unless your acts are motivated by love, your good deeds mean nothing in the eyes of the Lord. By loving your neighbor, and we know that means everyone, you continue Christ’s work of spreading the hope of salvation and everlasting life. Be a disciple as well as a leader; love others so well that there will be mutual regard and affection, all for God’s greater glory.

I give you a new command: Love each other. You must love each other as I have loved you. All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other. John 13:34–35

Swallow your pride.

Although he was from most high, Jesus spent time with the lowest of the low, showing that his mercy and grace are for all, even kneeling down to wash dirty feet. Let there be harmony and a spirit of agreement wherever you go, for the way to secure grace more abundantly is to be humble before the Lord. Let not your position set you apart, just as Jesus is not apart from you.

When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves. Philippians 2:3

Serve each other.

Christ demonstrated his love by serving others, even offering his life to save yours. Greatness in the kingdom of heaven consists in doing rather than in being and in doing for others rather than for yourself. Great leadership rises out of service. Only those who are the servants of mankind are truly great. Serve others not only to honor Christ but also to continue his work of spreading the Word.

Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave. Matthew 20:26–27

Lead by example.

The business of the church is not only to save but also to enlighten. Christ is the light, and his disciples must also be light. To be a leader is to have a unique opportunity to be an example of Jesus and show his goodness and mercy to those accountable to you. Always reveal Christ by your words and deeds. Be a beacon; shine like stars so that others can see what you do for your Lord.

People who do not believe are living all around you and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again. 1 Peter 2:12

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Christian Leadership, Part 1

In John 13:1-17, we read of Jesus, Son of God and Savior of the world, kneeling down on the very last night of his life to wash the dust from the feet of his disciples. What does this story tell us about the greatest leader the world has ever known?

In the first verse, John writes, “…he (Jesus) now showed them the full extent of his love.” This tells us at the root of Jesus’ gesture was an act of love. He deeply loved the men who helped him to make the Good News known and he wasn’t the least bit reluctant to demonstrate that love.

Foot washing was a task a servant would have been required to do, and it certainly would have been appropriate for one of the disciples to have washed Jesus’ feet. But it was the Messiah who condescended himself to perform the duty of a servant.

After he finished washing their feet, Jesus returned to his place at the table. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher,” he said, “have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” Jesus did not simply tell the disciples what he expected of them, he used himself as an example of what he expected.

Taking these points together, the demonstration of love, serving others, and being an example for others to follow, we arrive at the profound lesson Jesus taught in his act of foot washing. His lesson was that the love of God is revealed through the unselfish serving of one another with no trace of pride or position. We can take from this lesson that even
though there are positions of leadership within the family, church, workplace, and
community, the exercise of true leadership is to follow Jesus’ model of servanthood.

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Pray Every Day

Pray continually, on all occasions with all kinds of prayers, thanksgiving and requests, for the Lord is faithful, and as you draw nearer to him he will strengthen and protect you, growing you in righteousness and enriching you with blessings. Daily prayer strengthens your walk with Christ, increasing your endurance for his sake. Pray every day.

Pray in the Spirit at all times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people. Ephesians 6:18

Continue praying, keeping alert, and always thanking God. Colossians 4:2

Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

So, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up their hands in a holy manner, without anger and arguments. 1 Timothy 2:8

Anyone who is having troubles should pray. Anyone who is happy should sing praises. Anyone who is sick should call the church’s elders. They should pray for and pour oil on the person in the name of the Lord. And the prayer that is said with faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will heal that person. And if the person has sinned, the sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so God can heal you. When a believing person prays, great things happen. James 5:13-16

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Count to Three – Again

Make counting to three a habit.

Counting to three implies self-control; it leaves enough time between a stimulus and a response to change your mind. Self-control refers not only to abstinence from self indulgence, but control of the temper, the tongue, and the lust for money or power. Be careful not to act or speak rashly, especially in anger. Under the influence of anger you are not in your best state of mind; an angry person will show forth something very different from what a peaceful state of mind would.

Your To Do: Take stock of your hot buttons; know what topics, events or situations trigger your fight response. Analyze how you react in the face of those triggers, and when you feel those sensations swelling inside of your chest or hear those sirens wailing in your ears, take a step back and count to three. Count to ten if you have to. When you do respond, pay attention to how you do. If necessary, count again. Oh, and pray while counting.

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Forgive and Be Forgiven

You cannot be forgiven without also being one who can
forgive.

It seems natural to remember the trespass one has committed against you, and to then steer clear of that person, avoiding future negative encounters. But keeping score and holding grudges are exhausting exercises that ultimately harden your heart, and the real results are you have one less person in your circle of friends, and you have dishonored God.

Have you ever been excluded from someone’s circle because you were not forgiven? Would you like to be invited back into that person’s life? What would it take for that to happen? Is there anyone you’ve excluded from your life but with whom you wish you were friends
again? Try forgiving, not just in your mind and heart but in a face to face
conversation. Forgiving is easy to do once you’ve tried it, and can be done often. The more you forgive, the more you will be forgiven. Try it, you’ll see. And on top of that, you will greatly please the Lord!

Your To Do: Identify one person you are angry with, and carefully think about what upset you. Weigh that trespass against all the positives you enjoyed when on good terms with the offender. Go and tell that person you value those positives more than your grudge, and offer your forgiveness. Pray before you speak, and good words will flow from your mouth!

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Strengthen Your Foundation

Do more than just read the Bible, do what it says. Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, patience; and to patience, service for God; and to service for God, kindness to your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to your kindness, love. If you seek these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of your Lord Jesus Christ. Be an effective and productive child of God, refusing to let anyone lead you astray. Strengthen your foundation.

We live by what we believe, not by what we can see. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Do what God’s teaching says; when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. James 1:22

Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness. Through these he gave us the very great and precious promises. With these gifts you can share in being like God, and the world will not ruin you with its evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you the wrong way. Christ is all that is right. So to be like Christ a person must do what is right. The devil has been sinning since the beginning, so anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work. Those who are God’s children do not continue sinning, because the new life from God remains in them. They are not able to go on sinning, because they have become children of God. 1 John 3:7-9

But dear friends, use your most holy faith to build yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with his mercy to give you life forever. Jude 20-21

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A New Ending

You cannot start a life over, but you can change the way it may end.
You have (or certainly will) hit many potholes in your life; you may even have already driven into a ditch. But you survived. Today when you get back behind the wheel you must choose between two beliefs – the fact that you once drove your life into a ditch dooms you to do it again, or, you have the freedom to choose a new road, one with guardrails in case you become weak at the wheel. You cannot erase your past, but you can separate yourself from it. Change your life by envisioning a new ending to your journey, and steer yourself in that direction. With God’s grace, you’ll get there.

Your To Do: Make a list of the bad decisions which prevent you from being the person you want to be, and one at a time, working from easiest to most difficult, conquer those bad habits. It is best to do this with the encouragement of friends, your guardrails, and the company of Jesus, your navigator.

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