Wednesday, December 31, 2014

To Waste Your Life Part II

This is the LORD'S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalms 118:23-24

As we approach the New Year it is possibly a good time to review our lives to see what has been draining the energy and joy out of our daily experience.  We continue our look at five suggestions for how to waste our lives and some options to use our time, focus and energy in a better way

To Waste Your Life…

1.    Live Every Day Worried About What Others Think.
This can be a huge time waster.  Always checking to see what someone or some group thinks about your behavior is a rough way to live.  It can keep people trapped for years in their own minds, unable to take action and do what they really want.  There is only one Lord and worrying about others creates multiple “lords” to please in your life.

What to do instead: Don’t spend too much time thinking and worrying about what people may say or think if you try something.  Just try it instead.  You may be surprised by the positive or just indifferent response you get from the people around you.  Remember that we live to please God, not others.

2.    Let Resentment and Bitterness Capture Your Thoughts and Attitude.
People often replay old arguments over and over in their heads and get hooked on these mental reruns. A few other popular ways to have endless discussions in your head are:

·      “Should I do it? Or not do it? And what may happen if I do it?”.  You can waste a lot of energy by not making decisions.  Over-thinking will seldom reveal a new solution but can certainly cause worry.  Be confident that you know what to do when you need to make a decision.

·      “I wonder if I did the right thing?”  This leads to constant “checking” and keeps you from moving on.  People buy something and then run to their computers to see if they could have gotten it cheaper, analyze their past decisions and beat themselves up when they feel they could have done better.

What to do instead: Realize that the past is the past and that you cannot change it by replaying it in your mind over and over.  When an old argument pops up in your mind accept that it is in the past and let go of it.  When you bring your past into your present, you can ruin your future.  Do like the princess in Frozen and “Let it Go”.

Realize that over-thinking seldom helps you find superb solutions, but instead traps you in analysis paralysis and just pumps up your fear and negative expectations so that taking action becomes even harder.  Use your mind to find a solution but when that is done take action instead doing some more thinking.

Enter the year ahead with a focus on what can happen when you turn your life over to God and let Him be responsible.  He is certainly not afraid to take responsibility when we follow.  Happy New Year!

Scripture to Claim:
“Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart..”  (Psalm 37:4, NASB)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

To Waste Your Life

I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God.  Ecclesiastes 3:10-13

As we approach the New Year it is possibly a good time to review our lives to see what has been draining the energy and joy out of our daily experience.  Focus and energy each day is limited. If you use it on the wrong stuff, you will never have enough to tackle the important and positive things you want to do.  You may not see it now but doing some of the things below a lot can really suck the energy right out of you and place your focus in places that won’t help you. 

Over the next couple of days, we will take a look at five suggestions for how to waste our lives and some options to use our time, focus and energy in a better way.

To Waste Your Life…

1.    Create Drama Out of Everyday Events
Do you create drama in your life to liven it up? Do you have a lot of conflict in your life? Are a lot of people mean to you or out to get you in some way?  You may create quite a bit of the drama and conflict you experience by how you think and behave.  Drama can be emotionally addictive and in a way feel comfortable and safe because it is what you know.  But life becomes so much smoother and easier if you let that stuff go as best you can.  Do it for your own sake, for the people around you and for your relationship with them.

What to do instead: Don’t take everything so seriously.  Stop making mountains out of molehills to get attention and sympathy from other people.  Examine your own life and see if you are perhaps under-stimulated. Does nothing much fun happen in the daily life? If not, don’t fill your life with drama. Start filling it with goals that you are really excited to work towards.

2.    Continue Poor Health Habits
Don’t exercise and excuse yourself by stating that you are too tired.  Spend lots of time watching television or other sedentary activities.  It won’t be long until you are living an exhausted life.

What to do instead: Eating and sleeping right and working out even a few times a week are three great fundamentals that will improve your energy levels.  Obvious? Yeah. But so is much of the most useful advice. The trick is to actually use the advice consistently in your own life. 

3.    Be Judgmental and Critical
Faultfinding is an All-American pastime.  It is so easy to reinforce our own low self-worth by being critical of others.  Being judgmental about people can make us feel powerful.  But being judgmental makes you less attractive to most people since openness and positivity are two things that people like.  It’s a great way to never be able to raise your own self-esteem.  It’s a temporary high with a hangover of negativity that can take over large parts of your everyday life.

What to do instead: Focus on the positive in people a bit more and discuss that instead. Focus on being kinder and on giving people genuine compliments. This will make both you and the people around you feel good without those negative effects that I mentioned above.

Here is a start.  We’ll look at some additional ways to not waste our lives tomorrow.

Scripture to Claim:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.  Philippians 4:4-5 

Monday, December 29, 2014

In Communication

(submitted by Kerry Patton)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3

Electronic Isolation
Recently, we had a technology crisis in the Patton household: Our AT&T U-Verse service crashed.  Television, internet, telephone…all of it, is provided by that one digital signal.  And when it goes down…ALL of it goes down. Judging by the evidence at hand, it seems that a mole in our front yard had found the digital feeder line to the house and damaged it.  We were cut off!  It took three days to get the services restored, and although it was a relatively benign interruption of routine life, it felt very strange to have those services inactive in our home.  The television was silent, the phone never rang, and we couldn't simply pull up a web browser to check our email or read the news.  Movie and music streaming services were no longer at our whim.  It was a little humorous in the moment to see how 'lost' we seemed to be without these technologies.

But we weren't lost.  Not in any real or even affecting sense.  We still had our cell phones which provided communication with the outside world, web access, and even streaming of video and music had we so desired. Still, the loss of the home services did provide a window into how dependent we had become to relatively unimportant service.  Life continued on as it had before…we just had to find OTHER things to do with our free time.  So we reminded the kids that they had rooms full of toys to play with, musical instruments to play, books to read, and the good old OUTDOORS that they could explore…NONE of which required access to a digital information connection.  They were going to be just fine…although it was rather cute to hear Sydney praying one evening of the black-out: "…and Lord, PLEASE help get our internet turned back on!..."

Spiritual Disconnection
One afternoon during the three-day technology down season, it occurred to me how easy (albeit strange) it really was to not have our phone, television, or internet services.  But how vastly different the consequence when I fall out of connection with life spiritually! When my Bible reading has grown stale…when my prayer life is dry…when my heart fires are not stoked hot with the pursuit of my relationship with my Lord…I become disconnected from my sources of spiritual strength and growth.  When the disciplines of daily Christian living dry up I do not cease being a Christian.  My salvation is not in jeopardy, but neither do I thrive.  I become disconnected from everything that keeps me growing and going as a follower of Jesus.  I am reminded that very little about Christian living is accidental. 

Spiritual Reconnection
Ours is a faith that is intentionally lived.  As Joshua 24:15 instructs, I must "choose this day whom I will serve."  Consider the following as means of intentional faith: 

Love God fervently.  Deuteronomy 6:5 commands: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might."

Love others as yourself: John 15:12 instructs: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."

Read the Bible.  The word of God is referred to as the Bread of Life in the scriptures.  Is your spirit hungry? Feed it!  King David wrote in Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

Pray.  I Thessalonians 5:17 instructs very simply: "pray without ceasing." Isaiah 55:6 teaches: "Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." Much of our time spent in prayer is asking God for what we desire or perceive to need.  While our supplications are a vital part of our prayer lives, we remember that prayer also seeks to minister praises to God; it seeks to hear from him, and fellowship in that spiritual conversation.

Live your faith!  James 1:22 encourages us to: "… be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." Intentional faith is not only lived in the quietness of the heart, but out loud in the world.  Be Jesus.  Live your Christian faith…not in self-righteousness, but humility and service.

Almighty God, How distracted and disconnected I can become.  Reconnect me daily and focus me in my faith walk.  Help me to live intentionally as my Lord lived…and lives.  Awaken and renew me this day, I pray.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Seven Laws of the Harvest - Law 1

We Reap Much We did not Sow 
Galatians 6:7-10

There are physical laws in this world you just have to live with.  It does not matter who you are or what you know, you still have to deal with them.  Just as there are physical laws that stand so there are spiritual laws every man must deal with.  Of all of these laws, the Seven Laws of the Harvest are among the most significant and impacting on our lives.
God is a God of order, and everything He does is orderly according to fixed laws of operation.

I. We Reap Much Good We Did Not Sow

Let us do what we can while we can and leave the results with God. 

As long as you depend on others for your basic needs you will never be free.

II. We Reap Much Sorrow We Did Not Sow

We all reap the sin of Adam.  Romans 5:12

We impact and influence the lives of others with all that we say or do not say, do or don’t do and by the way we speak and act in our lives.

Doing the right thing the wrong way is doing the wrong thing.

Actions create Consequence - Relationships affect Character .

III. Sow the Right Things

Do Good Things - Galatians 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Love Others - Matthew 5:43-46
Act Wisely - James 1:5; Ephesians 5:15-18, 19-21


·  Give thanks to parents and others for the rich gifts of heritage and support.
·  Give thanks to God for His gift of salvation and daily grace.
·  Forgive others who have hurt us and planted bad into our lives.

·  Begin to sow today for tomorrow.

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