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Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, Step 5, Step...

Two years ago today, Wendell Stark passed away. A husband to me for 30 years. The father to my four children, a loyal friend to a few, and the favorite grandpa to even fewer.

Wendell Stark was a force to be reckoned with in his day. He was a strong, stubborn, hard-working man, but cancer caused him to become a mere shadow of the man he once was.

We met on January 13, 1984. I had begun writing to him a few months prior and we decided we liked each other enough and wanted to take it further. Further we did!

He moved to Grants Pass in late June of that year and within 2 weeks had a job building fences.

I had two little boys, ages 2 and 4 and we went on to have a daughter in 1986 and a son in 1988. And there was a courthouse wedding in there somewhere. Needless to say, there is a lot of history there. A lot of memories; good and not so good, and so much time. Years and years of time.

But the thing that strikes me hard is not so much how much time has passed, but rather how very quickly it did so!

How can it be two years since Wendell went to his rest? How can it possibly be 39 years since that January in 1984 when we first laid eyes on each other?? I just shake my head.

Time can be so very cruel, but not always. It can be so very deceiving, but it can also be kind. The one thing that is sure: Time, as we know it now, is fast! It is faster than we can comprehend, until it’s too late.

If we know time is fleeting, should we not cherish it? treasure it? live in the moment of it? every second of every day? And more than anything else, should we use our precious time to worry?

Ephesians 5 tells us to make the best use of our time. In fact, the English Standard Version puts it this way:

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17

What is the will of God? Can we know it? That is answer is a resounding YES. Romans 12:2 tell us the first steps to take in knowing God’s will.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” NIV

Step #1 do not conform to the world.

Step #2 renew your mind and be transformed

1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us it is God’s will that we abstain from sexual immorality.

1 Corinthians 6:9 takes it a step further: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,” ESV

Step #3 live a moral life

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV

Step #4 Don’t worry about ANYTHING

Step #5 seek the kingdom of God first, before anything else.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything, but Acts 1:7 tells us is not for us to know times or seasons. Our job is to trust Him.

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” NKJV

Step #6 trust God

1 John 2:17 tells us the world is passing away along with its desires. But whoever does the will of God will live forever!

God’s will for your life can be found in the pages of the Holy Bible. And James 1:5 tells us that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God, who will give generously to us. It’s a win-win.

So, what is God’s will for us? What is He looking for in the faithful men and women on planet earth? He has already made it plain. We know what to do. It’s quite simple.

“…Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.” Micah 6:8 The Message

Let’s march strong into 2023. Let us recognize we are that much closer to Jesus second coming! And that much closer to being reunited with loved ones that have passed away!

Days change into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. There is so much change. Time changes us. It changes our desires, our needs and wants, our looks and our body. But our God never changes! He never waivers. He never turns His back.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 ESV

And time is nothing to Him. Moses wrote in Psalm 90, that a thousand years is like a day to God.

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

“You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”

“A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death— they are like the new grass of the morning: in the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered.

“…we finish our years with a moan. Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away…

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

“Relent, Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days…

“May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” Psalm 90 NIV

“Happy New Year!”

by Jeanette Stark – Monday, January 2, 2023

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