Rev. John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’ column

by Rev. John Howard Farmer

Visit the Irvington Baptist Church website

Planning an orderly Life

Preaching to the preacher today.

Always pray. There is nothing with which to compare a life that is prayer driven. Why settle for a life prayer deprived? Putting God first avoids God coming to our repetitive rescue.

Get sufficient daily rest. Plan for around 7-8 hours rest a day, not on how much, or how little, you might cram into a schedule. Stay on a rest schedule. There was a time when the whole world arose at dawn to greet each new day: A time with no alarm clocks, no preset coffee pots, no phone wake-up calls. Now, having said that: Get up on time so you can start the day fresh, unrushed.

Laugh. Now laugh some more! Laugh at yourself. Faith and work are serious, self is not.

Learn to say “No” to projects that won’t fit into your time schedule that will compromise your faith stance or your mental health. Here’s a hint learned from another Northern Necker when being asked to sit on another committee, adopt another civic or church chore: “I just can’t say yes right now.”

Whoa! Slow down. We are not the boss of the Universe. Delegate tasks to capable others. This means we have to let go and let God.

Simplify and un-clutter our lives. Less is more. If something has value, give it to our best friends. We must wean ourselves from our lust of possessions. Here we have more rental storage spaces per capita of any place of God’s green earth. Why do we spend hundreds of dollars a month to store items we won’t ever use again, or can’t bring ourselves to throw or give away? Why?

Remember the lines from a Broadway show tune: “Get me to the church on time?” Allow extra time to do things, to get to places. Don’t always show up late. Allow enough time — pace yourself. Spread out big changes and difficult projects over time; don’t herd all the hard things together.

Take one day at a time. The Bible suggests that days ahead are trouble enough and will arrive. Deal with today. Give God today. Who promised us a tomorrow?

If you can’t do anything about a situation, forget it. Separate concerns from worries. If a situation is a concern, find out what God would have you do and let go of the anxiety.

Establish a budget and live within it; don’t use credit cards for ordinary purchases. Put in some incentive such as when we…, then we will award ourselves some…

Figure on the unavoidables; keep an extra car key in your wallet, locate an extra house key on your property and purchase extra stamps. Tell someone you trust when you are going to be away.

This one single piece of advice can prevent an enormous amount of trouble in your family, church or civic organization: K.M.S. (Keep Mouth Shut). What we know about another should die with us. To tell it is to wound another. Read it again: K.M.S. Don’t listen when another pours out secrets. Tell them you don’t want to hear it. Suggest that you just might not remain friendly if they persist in defaming another of God’s children. Help stamp out gossip.

The Bible, all the way through, refers to us as children of God. Adopt a playful self-image. Do something for the kid in you every day. This doesn’t mean juvenile. Kids have a spirit of enthusiasm, discovery, hope and trust.

Carry a Bible with you to read while waiting in line or for an appointment. Expect comments. Expect questions.

Eat right. We’ve all heard the admonishment “If it tastes good, spit it out.” What we need to realize is that our bodies function best when we don’t eat processed food. Start small. Pick a single food from your favorite list and deal with it. Next, add another.

Recite this: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Did I say that? Don’t tell Hazel.

Use our driving time to improve our quality of life. Keep Bible tapes in our car. Memorize favorite scriptures.

Be alone with God at some time every day. Keep a journal. Jot down thoughts and inspirations. Re-read them later. Find God in the collection.

God is always available to deal with weighty issues. Nip small problems in the bud: pray right then. Bedtime is sometimes too late time.

God’s people make the best friends.

Remember the verse “Forgive us as we forgive others who’ve…?” Most people are doing the best they can. Be kind to unkind people.

Assassinate ego. If our conversation or prayers begin with “I” we’ve taken God off the throne. Again, the operative word in the Bible is “Others.”

The same letters spell silent and listen. Choose listen. Be silent.

Someone said, “Never borrow from the future. If you worry about what may happen tomorrow and it doesn’t happen, you have worried in vain. If it does happen, we’ve worried twice.”

Every night, before bed, think of one thing for which we’re grateful, something we’ve never been grateful for before. The shortest bridge between despair and hope is often a good “Thank you to Jesus.”

God has a way of turning things around for us. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)