Good Morning and happy Monday to you! I always look forward to January...not the bills from Christmas, but the time to reorganize....a time to start fresh. I like to open the pages of a crisp, new calendar, and anticipate all that the Lord and I will do together in the new year. I haven't quite accomplished all of the fresh starts that I wanted to do in the month of January...because it is already February! Seriously?
Anyway, I'm trying to get into better shape physically and spiritually and time always seems to be an issue. Can you relate? Yesterday, my dad preached on Success in the Christian Life and I wanted to share some timely advice with you.
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Dad encouraged that if God has given us a good work to do, He will provide time enough for us to do it. If you don't have the time, then you need to ask yourself three questions:
*Am I doing too much?
*Are we doing the wrong things? (We do the "good" things but we should be doing the "best" things...the ones God has called us to do)
*Is our objective activity or accomplishments?
Ephesians 5:15-17 says, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is." We need to use the time God has given us wisely. Most of us know this already, but it is hard to do, isn't it?
Dad explained 5 principles for use of our time:
1. Priorities not Pressure-Jesus did rush around to simply check off all that God had for Him to do, He knew His purpose, His objective, and He lived according to that purpose. Ouch! I rush around quite a lot to get it all done and checked off my list. I need to learn to not respond to the pressure but to take it all in stride remembering that God will provide the time I need to do what He has called me to do.
2. Plug the Leaks-be aware of our time and what is taking up so much of our time. Hmmm...the TV is a big time stealer.
3. Learn to say "No"-ouch! Dad explained that pride often keeps us from saying no. Often, I don't want to hurt someone's feelings or let someone down. I struggle with saying no. Just last week a precious man in our church, one that I greatly admire, asked me to come back to the youth search committee that I resigned from last November (this was right before Rachel's surgery and I felt the Lord leading me to resign in order to care for her and to not have the pressure of having to miss too many meetings). I loved his heart so I prayed about it for a week. My husband thought that it was a no-brainer decision and that I needed to say yes, but I just wasn't sure. I didn't want to disappoint my husband or the committee chairman but I just didn't feel like it was what I needed to do. So, before church I tried to graciously explain that I was thankful for th opportunity but I just felt like I needed to say, "no thank you!" I am so thankful for the timeliness of the message. God was confirming to my heart that I did what He wanted me to do....even though it wasn't easy.
4. Relaxation is time not wasted. Dr. Howard Hendricks once visited a church where the pastor worked so many hours in a day, that he only had time to sleep 4 hours a night and had not taken a vacation with his family in 7 years. The pastor's wife asked Dr. Hendricks to please talk to her husband. Dr. Hendricks watched the preacher most of the weekend and finally asked him why he didn't smoke? The pastor replied that his body was a living temple for the Lord and that is why he didn't smoke. To which Dr. Hendricks replied, "Then why are you denying your body the rest God wants it to have?"
5. We are the maker of our daily schedules. We need to live our lives based on what God tells us not to be like someone else's life. Psalm 90 asks the Lord to teach us to number our days.
Look to God, find out why you are here and say "no" to anything that would divert you from doing what He would have you to do for His Kingdom and for His great purpose.