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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Quiet Time: First Things First

Click the pic to see Baily Boy
First Things First
Packing for the journey #1

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. - Matthew 6:33

I have a coworker who loves to stay at home. He shared with me the other day that whenever he has a weekend off from work, he pretty much just hangs around the house. He tends the garden, swims in the pool, cooks burgers on the grill and basically just chills. He said, "You know Doug, I just don't like going out as much as I like staying in." Frankly, I can relate.

Right now, I'm sitting beside the pool in my back yard, a golden sunrise peaking over the corner of my roof warms my face and causes my photo grey glasses to darken. I have a cup of coffee with a spot of honey, and I'm watching my dog attempt to get my attention to toss the ball with him. I love having nothing to do and nowhere to go, don't you?

As a bi-vocational worship leader who often works six days a week at my secular job (if there is such a thing), I don't have many times with nothing to do. I recently listened to a sermon from a local  pastor that encouraged me to find one day a week for sabbath rest as part of seeking first God's kingdom. Now, I know I'm not under the law. Jesus fulfilled the law for me; and, I also know that when "you have an ox in a hole you've got to get him out" (Luke 14:5) So, I don't feel guilty when I do work; duty calls. However, I do want to seek first God's kingdom, and that means  my top priority in life is to seek what is eternal.

This will be the first item on my list of things to pack for my journey with Jesus:

1. A heart for heaven.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Quiet Time: Tangle Free Living; Unencumbered

Tangle Free Living


Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1

I recently finished reading "Awol on the Appalachian Trail" a book by David Miller who through hiked the 2000+ mile trail from Georgia to Maine. He began the trail with heavy pack of provisions and miscellaneous camping gear but pared it down to the bare essentials before he was half way through his journey. Every unessential ounce was considered a needless burden, an encumbrance, that would slow his progress from reaching the ultimate goal of finishing the hike before winter.

That's kind of a funny word, isn't it? "Encumbrance" You don't hear much about  encumbrances or sins these days; much less setting anything aside. It seems like only pro athletes and master artists are expected to lay something aside to pursue a prize, which is usually an abundance of money, fame, or  stuff. 

Yet, here I am; a common everyday man, being challenged to “lay aside encumbrances and sins”. That is astonishing! My life and the way I live it actually matter to God. It's as if He knows that too much of a good thing can be bad for me. Imagine that.

Since I like making lists and checking things off, I thought it might help me better understand the meaning of Hebrews 12:1 if I listed the biblical cross references that seem to shed more light on the subject. So, here’s my “Things to Toss” list:

Get rid of:

  • Unhealthy relationships (codependent) (Matthew 10:37-38)
  • Worries, riches and pleasures. (Luke 8:14)
  • Abundance and superfluous possessions. (Luke 12:15)
  • Worldly lusts (Romans 13:13-14)
  • Defilement (2 Cor. 7:1)
  • Wanting riches (1 Timothy 6:9)
  • Malice (a desire to harm another) deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander (malicious rumors) (1 Peter 2:1)
  • Loving the world: an intense desire for having what the world has to offer and a “look at me” attitude. (1 John 2:15-16)

Well, that’s a fairly straight forward list of things not to pack on this journey with Jesus; the “Don’ts” if you will. But, being the kind of Christ follower who likes to have some “Do’s”, I suppose the next step is to make a list of things to insure are included in my daily walk with God. 

Quiet Time: Why Be Good

Why Be Good?

15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. – 1 Corinthians 5:15

A Jehovah’s Witness once asked me at the end of a long conversation about being saved by grace, “Doug, if you really believe in grace, what’s your motivation for right living?” In other words, “Why be good?” I replied with my life’s verse (2 Cor. 5:15) and followed up with, “Randy, Jesus is my reason, not just for being good, but for a life worth living.” 

Why be good? 

Be good for Him who gave His life and lived again that we might live through Him.