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Living Intentionally 


When it comes to getting things done, my son can be slow at times. I’ve tried hurrying him up by using words, clapping, and singing. Sometimes they work, but usually it’s only for a short time. Ive learned to use a timer with him. When he sees the clock and how much time he has left, he focuses and gets the job done. All of a sudden, he gets an urgency to make things happen. By the way, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I often need something like that to give me an urgency to get things done.

My middle initial is “P”. When people ask what it stands for, my go to response is, “Procrastinator”. If something isn’t urgent and important to me, it can fall into my “I’ll get it done later” list. That just means I’ll keep putting it off until it becomes urgent and important. That’s not the best way to do things though. If we constantly focus only on what’s urgent and important, we are failing to live our lives with intentionality. We do need an urgency to get things done, but if we are intentional about doing the right things, our lives won’t be a constant fire drill.

The writer of Psalm 90:12 wrote a prayer to God that says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). He was praying, “God, give me a timer to help me get things done. Help me to grow in wisdom so I can be intentional about getting the right things done.” He was probably a lot like many of us who struggles with procrastination and focusing on what’s important. He wanted God to remind him how short life is and to help him grow in wisdom so he could be intentional.

What is it that we pray for? Is it more time to get things done? We could be praying for wisdom to get the right things done on time. God doesn’t need us to be in a constant fire drill. That only burns people out and doesn’t guarantee that the right things get done. He wants us to have wisdom so we can be urgent about the things that matter. If you’ve been praying the first prayer above, let me encourage you to change that prayer. Ask God for wisdom and to help you live intentionally. Watch what a difference that makes in your life. 

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Living by Faith

I grew up in a family with a modest income. Early on as a child I learned what it was like to live by faith. I watched as God supplied our needs daily. When we needed a car, someone gave us one. When we needed food, someone brought us food. When we needed money to pay the bills, someone gave money. Each time a need presented itself, God spoke to someone to provide for it. I know there was a lot more that was provided for than I ever saw, but what I did see, showed me that God was our provider.

Now, as an adult, I can appreciate more what God did for us through others. I understand the stress that living by faith can bring. I also understand the depth of faith you get when you solely rely on God. Growing up, I would pray that God would someday allow me to be on the giving end to where I could help provide for others in need. God has definitely answered that prayer and continues to answer it.

Somewhere along the way, my mind started equating being poor with living by faith. I’ve learned that when you don’t have much, you have a greater opportunity to live by faith. When all you have is a prayer, you don’t have a choice except to trust God. That doesn’t mean that when God blesses us monetarily we can’t live by faith though. It just becomes more difficult to. We begin to trust in our abilities and in the blessing rather than the Provider.

In Mark 10:17-27, there is a story of a man who approaches Jesus and asks what he needs to do to get to Heaven. Jesus lists off the Ten Commandments and the guy’s face lights up. “I’ve done that ever since I was a kid”, he replied. Jesus said, “But there is one thing you haven’t done. Go sell everything you have, give it to the poor and come follow me.” The man’s countenance fell as he walked away unwilling to commit to that.

That young man was trusting in his possessions rather than the One who provided them to him. I believe if he had truly been living by faith, he wouldn’t have had a problem giving them up. It comes down to perspective. Do you believe that what you have is yours or God’s? Did your hard work pay for what you have or did God use your job to provide for you and you purchased those things with His money? I was always taught that what I own is not mine. It is God’s. I am merely a steward over what He has given me.

When you learn to see things this way, God will allow you to be on the blessing end of living by faith. In order for the poor who are living by faith to have their needs met, there needs to be people who have more than enough to live by faith. While God can and has used the wealth of the wicked to be laid up for the righteous, why should we pass up the blessing of giving and allow others to take care of those in need? No matter where we fall on the scale of living by faith, one principle remains: Give and it shall be given to you, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over and poured into your lap.

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God’s help and perspective for you

As a parent, I am always looking for that line between telling my son how to do things and allowing him to learn on his own. I point out dangers, but he doesn’t always listen when I point them out. From my perspective, I can see things he can’t and can predict things that might happen should he continue on a path.

I think God does that too. He looks from His perspective and tries to warn us of things ahead. Sometimes he gives us the ability to learn something by watching others. At other times, we are the ones who make mistakes so that not only we can learn, but others who are watching too.

Isaiah 48:17 gives us 3 things that God says He will do for us.

1. Teach us to live right and well

As our Heavenly Father, His goal is not to give us a bunch of do’s and don’ts as most people think. His goal is that we will be able to live and to make good choices. While He has set up boundaries for us to live within, He has also given us freedom to live within those boundaries.

We learn those boundaries by knowing His Word. Joshua 1:8 says that if we will meditate on God’s Word day and night as well as obey it, we will find success in all you do. He teaches us through His Word not only how to live right, but how to live well.

2. Show us what to do

I thought for a long time this meant that He would show me my vocation. Since He is my provider and my job is the tool with which He uses to provide my resources, He is more concerned what we do for Him while we are at work. Most of us spend more hours a day with our co-workers than our families. We have the ability to forge relationships that would otherwise be impossible.

Sharing the love of Christ is more impactful and easier to do with people we have built relationships than with total strangers. I’m not saying we shouldn’t show His love to strangers because we are. We just need to be listening to Him to look for others to share His love with and to do things for. He will show you what to do.

3. Show us where to go

Many people wander this world aimlessly. Some take the path of least resistance while others seems to travel a long, difficult road. Psalm 37:23 tells us that the Lord directs the steps of the righteous. He delights in the details of their lives. He wants to show us where to go so we can be His feet to carry the Gospel to others.

In going where He wants us to go and in following the paths He has laid out for us, we will find true happiness. When we do what we want, we have a long, uphill road to travel. We don’t know the way or what lies in our path. Only God has the perspective needed to guide us on the road of life.

Are you one who is wandering aimlessly and without hope? Are you wanting to learn how to live life better? Where ever you are in that spectrum, God has the answers for you in His Word. He wants to show you how to live well, what to do and where to go. Are you listening?

Here is a prayer to help you with this today. It is provided by Michael Moak. You can follow him on Twitter @Moakster.

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for your patience with me as I fumble and falter in my constant struggle to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow You! Thank you for giving me health, strength, mental stability and the ability to be productive and to make a difference in this world.

Thank you for being my provider and for always giving me more than I deserve. So, today, I ask you to help me share my blessings with someone else. Help me to be sensitive to the voice of your Holy Spirit within my heart that is looking for the opportunity to use me to be your hands and feet to just one person that is at the edge of their rope! Show me something about your character that I need to adopt into my life today and grant me the grace to mess up a few times before I get it right.

I ask you to use my life for Your glory today, Jesus. Push me beyond my comfort zone that I might see your love in a special, new way for the first time. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

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Living set apart

As a Christian, I have always wanted to please God with my life. I think that is the goal of most Christians. Just like any goal, it is difficult to accomplish. We cannot seclude ourselves from the world to accomplish this goal because Scripture tells us to be in the world not of it. By being in the world, we get exposed to things that are against what we believe. We get exposed to temptations. We are pressed on every side to change who we are into conforming to the things of this world.

We have to resist that. We are called to be salt and light. We are called to be set apart, but how do we do that? How can we effectively live a life for Christ while being pressured to live otherwise? That is the daily challenge that we face as believers. We have the Spirit of God living in us to empower us to live a life worthy of the call. Do we access that power daily though? For me, it’s a struggle some days.

In Romans 12, Paul gives us some insight into what we can do to live in the world, yet set apart at the same time.

1. Be a living sacrifice

This is one of the hardest things to do. I once heard that the problem with a living sacrifice is that it keeps climbing off the altar. God has given us that free choice daily to lay down our lives, wants and desires for His. A living sacrifice means just that. Each day, I give up my agenda for His. I give up my wants for His. I give up what I desire most for what He wants.

Paul said that this living sacrifice should be devoted, consecrated and well pleasing to God. It is a form of spiritual worship that is deeper than singing songs on a Sunday in church. It is true worship when I live a life that is devoted and consecrated to what He wants me to be and do.

2. Don’t conform to this world

Daily we are pushed to conform to what others want. We are asked to go along with the flow, to be tolerant and open minded. We are told that what we believe is archaic and not in step with where the world is now. Christianity is considered outdated and should be changed to reflect our culture. That is not what God intended for us though.

If no one around you can tell that you are a Christian and that your life is different, you may have conformed to this world without even knowing. Scripture is very clear on how we are to live. We are to take up our cross daily for Christ, crucify our fleshly desires and follow after God.

3. Be transformed

We are to be changed by the entire renewal of our mind. It should have a new set of ideals and a new attitude according to Paul. He understood that to make a permanent outward change, it starts with the mind. We cannot live how God intends for us to live without having our minds changed.

We have our minds renewed daily by spending time alone with God and by reading His word. We must take that time daily to renew our mind and our spirit. We get covered with dirt and junk from being in the world day in and day out. We need that daily cleansing to keep our minds fresh for God.

Paul says if we do these three things, we will prove what is the good, perfect and acceptable will of God. We can live for Him in a world that does not know Him if we know how to. Which of these three steps can you start to work on today in order to live the life you were called to?

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