Find the time

I recently had my father and two of my nephews in the car. We were heading out to watch another of my nephews (I have seven nephews) play football. We’d barely pulled off the street when I looked back to see the older of the two pull a video game out of his pocket. I asked my dad if he was supposed to have it. He’d been told to leave it at home.

“Hey, Kiddo,” I said reaching back. “You’re not supposed to have that. Hand it over.”

“Well, I guess I forgot I had it in my pocket.” (The flaw in this story was the speed in which he pulled it out of his pocket once we started driving.) He handed it over and I put in the console of the car. When it slipped out, I had my dad put it in his pocket.

When we got home later that evening, my nephew wouldn’t get out of the car. He was squishing himself between the front seats reaching for the console—where he’d last seen his video game. In a matter of minutes, he forgot that it was in his pocket, but over several hours, he didn’t forget where he’d seen me put it…

Those who are wise will find a time and a way to do what is right.

Ecclesiastes 8:5b (NLT)

My nephew is eight years old. And he’s smart. Really smart. But still largely lacking in the wisdom department. He had a desired outcome—to have his game with him when we left the house. In order to get to that outcome, the cost was willful disobedience and a lie to try to cover it up.

Most of us would look at this situation and shake our heads. Yet, we’ve probably done something similar in our adult lives. There is an outcome we desire and we make some decisions to get there. A few people may get hurt or shunned along the way, but we plow ahead on the most direct route to get what we want. But what if there was a less direct way to get there? What if we didn’t have to hurt someone to get it? The wisest course of action isn’t always the most direct and, sometimes, it’s taking no action at all.

Wisdom takes the time looks at the outcome, determines whether it is necessary or not, then determines the best way to either go after it or avoid it altogether.

We must all make choices on a daily basis. It is wisdom that will lead us to do what is right. Wisdom finds right the time and the right way to do it.

Daily Bible reading: Ecclesiastes 7-9, 2 Corinthians 11:1-15

Aim higher

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God. And other people will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.

Romans 14:17-19 (NLT)

Inclusion is the chant, but division is the outcome. We see it in the news every day. One side yelling at another side, each one believing they’re right. But if you would ask the individuals, most everyone says they want the same thing—peace and harmony. So why are the results the opposite? Why are we tearing each other down instead of building each other up?

I believe it all begins with the individual. Luke said that, whatever is in your heart determines what you say (Luke 6:45b). When one side is screaming at another, one must wonder what is really in their hearts? Is it the peace and justice they claim to want or is it hate and division?

Our aim, like Paul tells us, should be for harmony in the church and [to] try to build each other up. So how do we do that? I think David’s thoughts can start us down the right track.

Praise the Lord, I tell myself;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, I tell myself,
and never forget the good things he does for me.

Psalm 103:1-2 (NLT)

If what is in our hearts will determine what we say, let’s get good things in our hearts. Here in Psalm 103, David speaks to himself, reminding his spirit of the good things God has done. He’s putting good things into his heart so that good things will come out of his mouth.

Getting the good stuff to stick is hard when we’re constantly being bombarded with noise and negativity, but if David could do it, if Paul could do it, we can, too.

For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:7-8 (NLT)

Start with reminding yourself who you belong to, whom you serve. Then remind yourself of all He has done for you and for those who have gone before you. Fill your heart and your mind with goodness and peace and joy. Then your aim for harmony won’t seem to lofty.

Try a daily confession. Write your own from verses that speak to you or find one (like this) that lines up with the Word of God. Speak to yourself like David did. Tell yourself who you are and what God has done for you. You may be surprised by what you start to say. When those good things start to pour out from your spirit, the natural effect will be the building up of those around you.

Let us, as the Church, aim higher.

Daily Bible reading: Psalm 103-104, Romans 14

Catching up

I’ve been back at home for a couple of days now getting back into the groove of normal life after an eye-opening missionary journey to Ensenada, Mexico. The team schedule was so full I didn’t get the time to get through all my daily reading let alone find a chance to post my thoughts.

Please bear with me over the next week or so as I endeavor to catch up on the days I missed posting while I was gone. It’s no use going through a daily Bible reading program if you skip a bunch! I’ll get back on track and we can continue on this journey together!

300!

Post #300 just so happens to coincide with me receiving my very first copies of Daily: A Year in the Word of God. The first three books of this year-long series are out there and available to the masses. I’m thrilled with how they came back from the printer! If you enjoy reading the little things God has been showing me, I hope you’ll take the time to get a copy of the books so you can record your own thoughts, too!

Daily

Available now on Amazon!

Daily: A Year in the Word of God

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t do so well reading off a screen, I’m going to make things easy for you. Everything I’ve been working on this year is now available in printed book format. Not only does Daily:A Year in the Word of God contain a devotional to go along with your daily Bible reading, but it’s set up like a journal so you can record your own thoughts and ideas.

Each volume contains four weeks worth of devotionals. Volumes 1 and 2 are available now with 3 on the way soon. Click on the image below to get to Amazon.com and order your copy now!

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Daily

How are you with reading the Bible daily? I’m almost there. If you read this blog, you’ll know that some days I cheat. I’ll miss a day posting and then catch up the next day (or week). On the positive side of things, I have been making up the missed days—something I failed to do last year.

Reading the Bible every day isn’t meant to be a tedious chore. When you’re reading through Leviticus, it may seem that way. But there’s nothing that says you must follow the read-your-entire-Bible-in-a-year program. Just read something from the Word every day. This shouldn’t be a tedious thing, but rather a joy. An opportunity to get God’s heart into your heart.

When he sits on the throne as King, he must copy for himself this body of instruction on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. He must always keep that copy with him and read it daily as long as he lives. That way he will learn to fear the Lord his God by obeying all the terms of these instructions and decrees. This regular reading will prevent him from becoming proud and acting as if he is above his fellow citizens. It will also prevent him from turning away from these commands in the smallest way. And it will ensure that he and his descendants will reign for many generations in Israel.

Deuteronomy 17:18-20 (NLT)

Not only did the king have to read the law, he had to write it down. Did you know that there are benefits to actually writing something down? I’m not talking about tapping it into a note on your phone or tablet or sitting in front of a computer screen. I’m talking pen and paper. Old school.

Writing things down:

  • increases learning comprehension
  • fully engages your brain
  • calms the body and nerves
  • slows down mental ageing
  • unleashes creativity
  • eases depression and anxiety
  • enhances focus
  • stimulates the brain

Every day before I sit down to write my post, I sit in the quietest corner of my house with a really big cup of coffee, a cozy blanket, my big leather bound Bible, and my favourite notebook (Moleskine all the way!). I read and I write the points that jump out at me. Some days it isn’t much and other days, I put the pen to paper to jot down a few words and suddenly a whole paragraph comes pouring out. My brain is stimulated! Imagine that. God actually knew what He was doing when He gave the instruction for things to be written down.

Next time you sit down to read your Bible, put the electronics away. Read from a paper Bible. Grab a notebook and a writing utensil. Record the words God speaks to you. You may be surprised at what comes out—and also at what stays in.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 17-19, Mark 14:1-25