Archives For priorities

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Every new morning is a new beginning of our life. Every day is a completed whole. The present day should be the boundary of our care and striving (Matthew 6:34; James 4:14). It is long enough for us to find or lose God, to keep the faith or fall into sin and shame.” I find his words to be at once both inspiring and motivating.

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In the American culture in which I live, there is much emphasis on long-term planning. We plan for retirement and financial independence. We make 5, 10, even 20-year plans for our lives, all the while knowing Jesus called it foolishness as none of us has a guarantee of even tomorrow (Luke 12:13-21). It leads me to believe we as disciples of Jesus are getting it all wrong.

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How do you begin your day? Starting your day in prayer and studying Scripture is rocket fuel for your day and for your life. If you want to know Jesus better, there is no better way than to spend time with Him. If you want Jesus to be first in your life, there is no better way to demonstrate this than meeting with Him first thing every day. Forget your cell phone, forget your email; how you begin your day says much about what is most important to you.

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So many teachers say to make certain you spend time with God each day, but let people off the hook by saying it doesn’t matter when this occurs, so long as it does.  I think this is ridiculous. Being a Jesus person doesn’t depend on you being a morning or night person; it depends on you saying, “I will give Jesus the first of my time, every day.”

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How might your life look different if you knew you had only thirty days to live? Pastor Craig Groeschel says you would do three things differently. First, you would turn your “when” into “now”. Second, you would trade your intentions for actions. Last, and certainly this applies only to those who are determined to be Christ’s disciples, you would devote your whole heart to Jesus.

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I agree with Mr. Groeschel. I think we recognize all these points to be worthwhile changes in our lives. If time were winding down, we’d want to make the most of it. I have news for you: time is winding down for all of us. The question then begs to be answered, “Why wouldn’t we alter our lives to affect those changes now?”

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Until we make tomorrow today, I am convinced we will die the same (or worse) as we are right now. As a people, we are notorious procrastinators. Some are worse than others, but we all have an uncanny tendency to put off those things we deem uncomfortable or difficult. It’s true in all areas of our lives, but nowhere are the results more devastating than in our walk with Christ. How many times have we resolved to read through the Bible… next year.

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Perhaps you committed to getting up 30 minutes earlier for some quiet time with God, but since it was already Wednesday, it seemed wise to wait until Monday to kick off the new habit. Or maybe you determined praying with your spouse or best friend would be a great idea, so you promise you’ll begin doing this tomorrow. The trouble is, tomorrow never comes. Until we make tomorrow today, we will forever be adrift in our wishes, dreams, and best-laid plans.

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Jim Rohn was and is one of the great mentors in my life. One of the things he taught was to never be content to just get through the day, but rather see what you can take from the day. I’d take it one step further and ask, once you’ve taken everything you can from the day, what is it you can pour back into the day? Another way to think about this would be to determine how you can take what you gained from today and use it to help others tomorrow.

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I believe this aligns very well with the way Jesus lived. He didn’t get cheated on any day. He took every opportunity to share His message and glorify His Father. I think it’s the perfect example of taking what the day offers and pouring it back out into the lives of others. How can we do the same in our own lives?

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Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, safe and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” Our entire lives as followers of Christ is based on this hope. The resurrection of Jesus gives us hope there is something beyond this life. Indeed, Paul said if our hope is only in this life, then we should be pitied beyond all men (1 Corinthians 15:19).

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Our hope is not things will get better for us here and now, but all things will be restored to perfection in the future. God created a perfect world and designed everything in it to worship and glorify Him. Our great hope is a return to this state, to live in complete harmony with God and nature. When we have this hope, life becomes worth living.

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Right now is happening directly in front of you, but you probably don’t even recognize it. We’re constantly being caught unprepared to deal with the moment before us. Instead of proactively approaching each day looking for opportunities to build God’s Kingdom, we spend our time reacting to whatever may come. “Right now” occurs over and over each moment we live.

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Each of those moments is an opportunity to either build or tear down God’s Kingdom. Each of those moments is an opportunity to do the things God has told you to do, to be the person He created you to be or to forever be wasted. Right now, we get to choose which it will be.

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What does it mean to be a spiritual success? To some degree, we understand what success in the business world means. Financial success is somewhat obvious. We even know what successful parenting looks like. But what about spiritual success? A.W. Tozer said, “The laws of success operate also in the higher field of the soul— spiritual greatness has its price. Eminence in the things of the Spirit demands a devotion to these things more complete than most of us are willing to give.”

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I believe spiritual success is measured by our devotion to God. The trouble, as Tozer points out, is few are willing to put in the effort required to become what we would term a “spiritual success”.

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Satan knows his time is short (Revelation 12:12). He gets more desperate each passing day. It’s one reason this world continues to fall ever deeper into evil and depravity. In the midst of the chaos, it’s easy to become discouraged. We wonder if things will ever get better. Some even question where God is in the midst of all this.

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Followers of Jesus should, while fighting against the dark forces prevalent in our world today, also be encouraged. If Satan knows his time is short, it means ours is too. The difference is our time ends in victory, while the devil’s dissolves into defeat. If Satan’s time is short, then Christ’s return is near.

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We should all want to be fierce followers of Christ. As a people, it seems Christians have lost a lot of the aggressiveness of those who came before us. For whatever reason, it has become fashionable for Christ followers to cower into passivity, doing whatever necessary to keep from offending anyone. This isn’t the life we saw modeled by Jesus. He wasn’t afraid to step on some toes when necessary. While he was the most gentle, caring, and loving person to ever walk this planet, He also possessed a sharp tongue and an intense passion for the truth.

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He didn’t let those who were perverting the truth slide by unnoticed; He called them out. Jesus pointed out what was wrong with the world and rebuked demonic influences in it. He was as quick to chastise those teaching false standards of living as He was to gently heal a person trapped in a life they did not want to live.

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