"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Does your job overtake so much of your time you “can’t” have daily time with God, quality time with your family, or fellowship time with your church family (Hebrews 10:24-25)? Are you so focused on what you will do in the future that you neglect what God has called you to do for Him today (James 4:13-17)? Is your daily routine so routine that you never share your faith, praise God, or encourage others to live for the Lord (Philippians 1:5)? Are your possessions, assets, or titles more important than people in your life or than God?
Our days are numbered and short (Psalm 90:12). Every day is our bank account. Time is our currency. We must spend it and use it appropriately. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. This should be our motivation to make the most of every opportunity (Colossians 4:15; Ephesians 5:15-17). God sees the end—the matters, the circumstances, and the timing of everything, including our death. To wisely live for Christ, then, we must live as if we have seen the end and act accordingly.
Father, remind me this day of how fleeting this life is. I am but a breath and my life is but a mist. My eyes too often go to the things of this world instead of the things that are eternal. Lord, thank you give me this day to be used for your glory. Thank you for the regular things like getting ready, eating, and even sleeping. Lord, you reminded us that you will take care of the birds of the air and you will take care of us. Lord, give me wisdom like the book of James talks about to plan this day and the days ahead. Thank you give us enjoyment and recreation, but allow me to see your hand in my life today, if you be pleased, Lord. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
No matter what your age or situation, service must become the center of your life in Jesus Christ. No obstacle or problem should hinder you from the work God has called you to do for Him. What matters most is a faithful attitude in spite of persecution, hard times, or discouragement.
This is part of standing firm and letting nothing move you. As you give yourself fully to the Lord, you find strength only God can provide. Let’s serve the resurrected Lord Jesus with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Father, I can only pray that I am as steadfast and unmovable in my own walk with the Lord as Paul was. I may never receive the praise of men for our work in the Lord, but that is part of the blessing. I will receive a reward for my steadfast, unmovable faith when I get to heaven--all by your grace. And, then, Lord, I look forward to casting that down at your feet. All praise to you, O God, who does whatever you please in the heavens. All praise to you for your wondrous works! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Luke 9:62 Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’
Has God told you to wait for His timing? Did you make mistakes in the past you can’t seem to let go of? Do you wish you would have said something or done something differently?
Then don’t look back! Jesus has forgiven it all!
As He said, “Remember Lot’s wife!” (Luke 17:32). Her heart was still in Sodom and said, “Must I say good-bye?” Move forward! God’s promises in the future are worth eternally more than worrying about the past. God’s plan is of far greater value than anything.
Won’t you look to Him today instead of your past?
Father, I thank you that you are the God of the past, the God of the present, and the God of the future. You are the timeless one that knows no bounds or ends. I praise you that you see time as one great eternal moment. You aren’t surprised or taken aback by anything that occurs in this world. Lord, knowing this, I trust my past to you and my present and my future. I know that you hold my tomorrow, so remind me of that today. Thank you that you saw me that you are the greatest One ever by the gift and Gospel of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
"But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."
Throughout Scripture, God’s people are told to remember His covenant and commands. We do this because God remembers His covenants with mankind. Despite what some teach, God doesn’t magically “forget” what He has promised. We have confidence and trust in God that when He says He will do something, He will.
By nature, God has all people of earth “in mind” at all times. However, as Christians, we should remember that God remembers those whom He has chosen. He remembered Noah and delivered him from the flood (Gen. 8:1). He remembered Abraham and saved Lot from judgment (Gen 19:29). He remembered Rachel and opened her womb (Gen. 30:22). When Moses pleaded with God on Israel’s behalf, the LORD remembered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; that is, He remembered the promises to the patriarchs (Exo. 32:13).
Has God told you to wait for His timing? Did you make mistakes in the past you can't seem to let go of? Do you wish you would have said something or done something differently? Then don't look back! Jesus has forgiven it all! As He said, ""Remember Lot's wife!"" (Luke 17:32). Her heart was still in Sodom and said, ""Must I say good-bye?"" Move forward! God's promises in the future are worth eternally more than worrying about the past.
God's plan is of far greater value than anything. Won't you look to Him today instead of your past?
Father, thank you for teaching me that any Christian who is trying to look back at his past and forward at your will at the same time in the future can only expect defeat. His interests are divided. He is not running the race you have set before him. While his heart should be on serving you now, the mistakes and thrills of the past swirl through his mind instead. Lord, may it never be for me! May I never relish in my past successes as much as I wallow in my past mistakes. You are to be feared because you have forgiven me as far as the east is from the west. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. "
Being super-busy is making us sick. We must slow down. And we must dedicate genuine time, arranged and deliberate and main time, to God.
Over the years of life and ministry, I have come full circle on this. I used to reason that maintaining a “quiet time” of prayer was legalistic and taxing at best. And I still believe it is if we make it a rule and propose no one can have a healthy spiritual life without one. However, I do believe now that it is extremely important in our progressively thoughtless and increasingly agitated modern life.
Friends, Jesus did it. Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, and Matt. 14:23 tells us that our Savior often withdrew to isolated places to pray. And, trust me, Jesus, the God-man, was a very, very busy dude. Busier than you or I would ever be on our busiest days! But Jesus made time to be still, quiet, alone, to get out of the hustle-bustle and into the tempo of intentional prayer.
I think pledging to intentional prayer is a wonderful way to realign our values and concerns on a daily basis. Intentional prayer recognizes that the day is God’s alone, and we ought to fit ourselves in it, not the other way around. Intentional prayer lays a foundation for us, centers us, teaches us to turn off the things, noise, and hustle of the world. Intentional prayer is as important to the any Christian’s day as corporate worship on Sunday is to the Christian’s week. Will you do this today?
Father, I realize trying to fit the glory of Jesus into the margins of our busy lives is not Christianity. May our lives break down, open up, Lord, for your glory. Father, every day we are busy building our own Babel Towers, but in prayer we set the bricks and trowels down, trusting you, Lord, to knock the towers over. Will you do that in my life, Lord? Will you help me to schedule my time that puts you first, family second, and all else next? Lord, thank you for my work, my church, and all things. Let me not drown in the pool of busyness and miss you and your work and your kingdom. I pray in Jesus' name.
Psalm 40:1 "I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry."
Have you ever noticed how long it takes some construction projects to finish? It may take only a year for a construction crew to put up a tall building, but it also may take nearly a century to grow a sturdy tree in a park.
So too, God may seem to be working slowly to accomplish His purposes and will in our lives, but His grand plans take time to accomplish.
The Bible is filled with people who had to wait patiently on the Lord's plans to be fulfilled. For instance, Noah had to wait almost 120 years while building the ark before the word of the Lord would be fulfilled. Ruth had to wait patiently for the Lord to provide Boaz to marry her. David, even though the prophet Samuel anointed him king during the reign of Saul, had to wait until after Saul's death to become king. Finally, Jesus had to grow and wait until about the age of 30 before he could begin His ministry and fulfill the divine plan of His Father.
Have you been praying for something for an extended period? Are you anxious for this prayer to be answered? Have you been waiting for a chapter in your life to be complete? Then take the advice of the psalmist and wait patiently for the Lord (Psalm 37:7). If you do, you will find that He will give you what is best—in His time!
Father, thank you that it is not my faithfulness but your incredible patience with and toward me that is my right now hope. Where would any of us be without your patience? Father, as the persistent widow did in Luke 18, I come to you again this day lifting up the prayers that I have so often come to you about. I know you hear them. I know you have them in your hands. Help me to be patient. Help me to trust. Remind me that you gave me my greatest need in Jesus Christ—salvation for my sin-filled soul. And you continue to pour on blessing on blessing to me. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Judges 8:27 "Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family."
Gideon, it appears, tried to do a good thing for his countrymen. But the result was tragic. Impressed by his military might, the people of Israel asked Gideon to be their king, but, to his credit, he refused (8:22-23). However, he then asked them to donate a load of gold earrings, one from each person, which he made into an ephod.
The ironic part to this story is that an ephod was either a sacred garment worn by the high priest or some type of image, an idol.
Why did he do this?
We don't know for sure, but Gideon may have been trying to provide spiritual leadership. He may have thought that he was gifted in military and spiritual matters. Whatever his motive was, God hadn't told him to do this. The result of Gideon's action was instant. When he set up the ephod in Ophrah, it immediately drew the people's attention away from worship of the Lord and led them into sin (8:27). And as soon as Gideon died, the people found it easy to go back to worshiping the Baals, because their leader had led them that way (8:33).
Though we may have good intentions in a situation, we need to use our heads and submit our hearts to the Lord. He should be the first One we consult on anything. He will guide us as we live close to Him, ask for His direction, heed the guidelines in His Word, listen to good counsel, and then make wise choices. If we are living by what we already know is God's will, we can be sure He will lead us to make good decisions.
Our best intentions are no match for Spirit-led obedience in every situation.
Father, the best intentions of my heart are not always what you would have in every situation. Whether it is a word ill-spoken, a moment of anger, or just doing my own thing, nothing can replace waiting on and resting in your promises for me. I love you because you keep me going even when I do these things. I repent now and confess you are mighty and worthy. Take this shallow mind of mine and do all for your glory. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.