Ever had to realize just how quickly your life can get "out of kilter?" You think everything is rocking along just fine; you go to work, come home at the end of your shift, take care of errands, hang out with the family, pursue a favorite hobby, chase after the kids, etc. And all seems to be just as it should be.
But then you begin to realize there's a bump, or a wobble in the way things feel. Kinda like tires on your truck that get out of balance. Things just don't feel exactly right anymore.
You spend too much time at work.
Or you've ignored your spouse lately.
Or haven't actually listened to what the kids are wanting to
Or could be that you suddenly find that it's been a long time since you have taken time out to play or relax.
It's very easy to overlook one area of your life or go too gung-ho on another area. Now I know, there are times in our life that some crisis creates a need to spend more time taking of one specific area. But if we are not careful, we do not always realize when that "crisis" is over - and out of habit, that area of our life takes over more than it should and crowds out time we need for other parts of life.
Keeping things in balance is a never ending goal for all of us. And it is an absolute necessity for you to be vigilant to watch for imbalances in family, job, personal time and all the other pieces of you.
Scripture says,"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these (other) things will be added unto you."
God knows how important it is for your life and mine for us to remain balanced. His solution? To keep Him and His big picture in mind in all things. It makes it a lot harder to overload one area of life when you keep Jesus as the focus of all you do.
Okay, fair warning, I'm gonna rant.
Most of our churches strongly believed in scriptural inerrancy when that battle was raging, and still stand openly for scriptural integrity. But sadly, although most of our churches publicly stand firm as a bunch of Bible believers, we members fail to practice that in our private lives. We don't practice what we preach.
Here is what I mean.
We ministers preach, and faithful church members teach, Sunday School lessons on stories "from" the Bible; but are we living "by" the lessons those same stories teach?
For example, we preach the story of the widow and her oil that never ran out. But...we can't trust God to bless His children to go to church camp unless we sell fireworks, or candy, or whatever else that can be a convenient fundraiser?
We love the part in the Bible about the early church being "in one accord,"... but we continue to fuss over style and flavor of our worship preferences? (Or any of a dozen other items that really do not matter.)
Oh yes, we Christians proudly proclaim our stance on the Bible, but at the same time, we refuse to live as men and women who are godly brothers and sisters, intent on serving the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are only giving lip service to Scripture when we claim to love the Bible, but do not live according to the verses that admonish us to love one another, to build up one another, to seek first His kingdom.
When we live like we want, we will never be pleasing to Him as He wants. We need to commit ourselves to not only stand for the Word, but actually walk in the ways that it teaches. After all, we are God's people.
I have a hobby in the summer, I enjoy planting and tending my vegetable garden. Not only do I take pleasure from the outdoor work, but Renie and I both enjoy the fresh tomatoes and other vegetables that we grow.
Before I started, I took the time to plan it all out according to plants that I wanted to grow, garden size needed, and its location, as I wanted it close to my water source. Good thinking, so far, huh? I also knew that I wanted it to be protected from Oklahoma's scorching afternoon sun, so I carefully placed it in a spot that is covered by trees after about 2:00 PM. Building a form, I raised it off the rocky ground, placed a plastic barrier underneath and up the sides to keep out all unwanted weeds and baby trees, and thenfilled it with excellent soil.
So now, I have a protected garden spot that is built in a way that I do not struggle with weeds, and this spring I have even built a permanent net covering to keep the deer out, as that is a common problem for us in this area.
But...I overlooked one important thing. I didn't allow for enough sunlight, because of a tree on the east side of my garden that has grown each year and is now creating shade problems for this carefully constructed garden of mine. My plants are struggling to get enough sunlight, because of a few branches that are blocking the sun.
So, a few days ago, I cut back some of those branches that are in the way of my precious garden. After cutting away a couple, I noticed immediately that the tomatoes plants were already basking in more sunshine. I am sure they are 'happier' and will produce more and better fruit for me this year. Then it dawned on me - it's the same with a lot of believers.
We think we are doing a good job living our lives; we would tell anyone who asks, "I am doing the best that I can." But sometimes, there are things that have grown up in our life that have reached the point of blocking the very thing we need most. These distractions, or barriers, are not necessarily "bad", but they are overshadowing our walk with Him. Oh, we can produce some fruit occasionally, but truthfully, we are far from where we could be.
Could you be one of those who needs to trim out a few things from your life, in order to become healthier and more productive for your own sake and for the Kingdom?
It's an annual event. Every year the U.S. President gives a speech supposedly informing the populace of where our country stands. It's a time of evaluation and reflection on successes, and a time of ideas and promises on needs.
Our politicians can often make grandiose reflections that don't even remotely resemble the same events that others recall. Promises are sometimes broken or ignored.
Just a thought...shouldn't you and I do regular "State of the Person?" Not a speech or presentation, but a time to realize what we've done, positively or negatively. A chance to evaluate our walk with Christ and our passions in life.
But if we hope to improve in our Christian lives, we must be honest enough to correctly evaluate ourselves. Face failures and seek the future. Repent when necessary and rejoice in all things. Ask God to inform you of needed changes and to remind you of His promises.
Yeah, it's a "State of the Person" time. I want to be better than I've been, and become all He has for me to be. Thanks for the Holy Spirit that convicts and challenges and confirms me.
We're hearing all kinds of ideas about "New Years Resolutions." Promises we make to God, or to ourselves or to others about habits we want to start or stop in this next new year. But I heard on the radio again today that 80% of all resolutions will be broken in January---30 days.
We can plan, promise, resolve, or vow all types of things but uness we carry them out to fruition they are vain and empty. It's like someone once said, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."
Could I just offer one piece of counsel? From all the teachings I've read in the Bible, there is only one thing God really wants and expects from His children. It is not prayer, it is not praise, and it is not working harder for Him. It's is not even giving or loving.
The one thing God wants is...OBEDIENCE! To obey is greater than sacrifice, the Scripture says. Jesus stated that "You are my disciples if you do my commandments."
Resolutions - nah.
Promises - probably not.
Obedience - everything!!
As you come to the New Year, just do what He says to do. That will cover prayer, praise, loving, giving, and all the rest. 2012, another chance to obey your Father!!
Have you had your laugh today? Have you even smiled a little bit? It’s good for you, you know. The Bible says, “Laughter doeth good like a medicine.”
Some folks just seem to be a grump most of the time. At a church’s testimony service, one gentleman arose and the pastor stated, “Brother John will now share with us a word of criticism.”
Is that you? Does everybody see you as a negative and critical person? What do you do with Scripture that says, “Rejoice in the Lord alway and again I say rejoice”?
Deliberately smile every day...pass on a little laugh. Share a little joy with someone. Who knows, you will probably feel better and they will too.
You’ve made your decision. The indecisiveness and procrastination is over. Great!! You chose what you wanted for your life. Alright!! But all too often there is a rub. What if you chose wrong?
Yes, you have the absolute right to choose how you wish to live. You can choose to attempt to fulfill your every whim and flaunt God’s laws, but there are always consequences to every choice. There are always results to your decisions. The old preacher used to say, “We often like to sow wild oats and pray for crop failure.” The Scriptures say it like this: “Whatsoever a man sows, that is what he will reap.”
Drive drunk...real possibility of wrecking your car, being arrested, going to jail, and even losing your license. Don’t curse the judge or the police. Your choice – your consequence.
Deny God’s Word in your life...make bad decisions, get hurt in relationships, or destroy your family. Do not blame God, your choice – your consequence.
God only wants the best for all of us. He gave us His Word, His Spirit, and His Son. If you choose Christ, and choose to your life by the Word, you will have chosen consequences that will be so much better for you and your family.
With a cup in my hand, my Bible on my desk, and God in my heart…it’s a good day! After all, “This is the day He has made and I will rejoice in it!”
We can always complain about what is not, or worry about what might be, but in the process we miss out on what is. That is why we need to focus on what God is doing in our lives, one day at a time.
The Israelites were told by God to collect manna each day. Jesus taught us to pray saying, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Psalms say to us that God renews His blessings and presence to us each morning.
One day…today… is all you can handle or do anything about anyway. As my spiritual Daddy says, “Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; but today… today is cash money.”
How are you going to live today? Wasting His gift of the day? Worrying about what was or what may never be? Remember, today is cash money…so spend it wisely! Rejoice, relate, renew, revel in the day and in what God sends your way. Talk to you again after while!