Archives For Psalms

I don’t know if it’s the fact I’m approaching 50, or a matter of what I’ve been learning, but I keep getting smacked in the face with the importance of being aware of how we spend our time. Nothing is so valuable as time, because we cannot ever get back what we spend, we can’t borrow more when we need it, and we can never acquire more once it’s gone.

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Yet it appears time is the resource with which we are least responsible. We count our pennies, mind our career, and nurture relationships, but time is an afterthought. We’ve gotten this backwards. Nothing is more important to steward than the time God has given us on earth.

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God’s love and mercy for us comes free of charge. We can’t do anything to deserve it any more or any less. The fact is we don’t deserve it at all. Still, the love of God is such He gives it to us anyway. We cannot work harder to be more deserving or earn more favor. He has already given everything on our behalf. Regardless of what we do or don’t do, He sees us as having unsurpassable worth and loves us unconditionally.

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No matter how much we may want it to be otherwise, none of our efforts will change these facts. However, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, we have a very direct influence on how close we are and how much our lives look like Jesus to those on the outside looking in.

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At least in the Western world, we tend to allow our lives to be defined by what we produce or consume. We measure our success in comparison to our friends and neighbors, whether it’s by how far up the corporate ladder we’ve climbed or how many toys we’ve collected. If our neighbor buys a new car, chances are good we’ll suddenly feel compelled to do the same.

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If our friend and coworker receives a promotion, we’ll likely tell someone else the reasons we deserved it more than they did. When our identity is defined in relation to someone else, it’s easy to let these kinds of ugly reactions occur in our lives.

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Jesus is a personal savior. This isn’t news for any who grew up in church. We’ve heard all our lives how we need to accept Jesus as our personal savior. But how often do we take the time to marvel at what that actually means? Why is a personal savior better than any other kind of savior? As long as we’re saved, who cares, right? The difference comes down to love. Jesus is a personal savior because of how much love He has for you, for me, and for every single other soul on this planet.

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This means while Jesus died for the entire race of humanity – past, present, and future – He would have died for you alone. That’s pretty crazy. Even if no one else mattered, you would have mattered enough for Jesus to give up His life. That definitely puts the personal in Him being a personal Savior for us.

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It’s Thanksgiving day in America. While I recognize a good number of readers are not Americans, being thankful is something to which we can all relate. So whether you celebrate Thanksgiving in your culture or not, I suggest we all take some time today to reflect on all our blessings. Even if you are struggling in this season of life, I am confident you can find some things for which to be grateful.

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Something amazing happens when we pray prayers of gratitude. Our attitude changes. Our physical countenance improves. Most of us forget how truly blessed we are and take much of our lives for granted. But today, just for a little while, let’s reorient our focus on simply being thankful for everything God has done for us.

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As someone who has longed to meet Jesus for a long time now, I was particularly struck by a quote I read from one of the early church fathers named Irenaeus. He said, “The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death”.  The statement also reminded me of Francis Chan’s latest book, “You and Me Forever”, in which he espouses the primary role of the husband is to make certain his wife is well prepared for Heaven.

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Our entire lives should be spent preparing ourselves and others to meet Christ. This profoundly impacts the decisions we make and activities we engage in every day of our lives.
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In Part I of “Your Best Year Ever” we discussed how the most important thing you can do in the coming year is to spend consistent time in God’s presence each day. Most have probably heard this advice before, but many struggle in determining what to do during the time they set aside. I want to share a few of my own habits (and new commitments) in hopes they will be helpful for you or at least inspire some new ideas for your own time with God.

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Remember the time set aside for Christ should be all about Him. It’s easy to consume the time praying for all your needs and desires, but that means it’s all about you. You are the follower, not the followed. When you become God, it can become all about you. Until then, let’s focus on Jesus.
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How can I serve God best today? It’s a question each of us should ask at the beginning of each day. The way we frame our days determines how we live our lives. If we wait for life to just happen to us, we will constantly be in a reactionary mode, and this is not the optimal way to live. Reacting results in circumstances dictating our own actions. A better way to live is to proactively and intentionally influence what circumstances will actually occur in our life. Remember the old saying that the best defense is a good offense? That sports analogy works well in life. We want to make our lives happen rather than wait for things to happen to us. As followers of Jesus, the absolute best way we can do this is to determine ahead of time how we will impact our world for Christ each day.

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A great many of us spend the majority of our lives pursuing money. It’s not that we necessarily are ruled by it (though many are), but it is accepted as one of the basic needs of life. We need money to purchase the things we need to survive. Life is so much more than money and the endless pursuit of it can easily cause you to trust it, rather than God, to provide for your needs. There is a higher currency with which we should be far more obsessed. That is the currency of time. Time is far more finite, and infinitely more valuable, than money. How we spend our time reveals where our true treasure lies.

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Psalm 90:12 instructs us to number our days. When we understand that our time on this planet is limited, we can begin to live with a greater sense of urgency and purpose. All of us realize that we will die someday, but few of us live like we believe it. We spend our days engaged in trivial pursuits and sleepwalking through our nights as if there will always be another. Many have resigned themselves to the mediocrity of conformity and accept the notion that as long as they are comfortable and able to “get by”, then life is good and they are doing enough. This isn’t the “abundant” life promised by Jesus, so why are we so willing to settle for it?

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