The Importance of Developing a Schedule for Your Life.

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Over the past few weeks I have been muling over what to do with this up coming semester. I was not sure as to how I am going to handle it. What I decided to do was sit down and try and schedule out my days in a general format on how I would like them to look if possible. My day will look like this

Wake up- 7-7:30 except for Thursdays be up by 5:15-5:30 for Bible study
Eat Breakfast by 8:30
Pray and read the Bible before 9am
Study for classes from 9am-12pm
Eat lunch anytime between 12-1pm
Possibly resume study or take a break from 1-3
Kids return home 3:30ish
Cook dinner anywhere between 4-5:30pm
Eat dinner between 5-6pm
Monday and Weds (Men’s Bible studies) 6-9pm
Help with Boys as necessary 6-8:30
Put Boys to bed 8:30
Spend time either studying more or with Lory as possible.
Go to bed no later than 11:30 most nights.
Do laundry on Wednesday mornings.

It is not an exact science on how my days are going to always look, because I did not include Drs. appointments and other things which may arise. I have come to realize the importance of having a more detailed schedule for my life. If I don’t try to put order to things, certain projects will not be completed.

I need to make God a priority so it is the main reason why I have time for Bible reading and prayer scheduled in, it may go longer than the 30 minutes I have allotted for it, it may not. At least I have it down. Like Michael Hyatt has said, and I have quoted before “If it gets on the calendar it gets done.”

So I needed a daily calendar to keep track of what I should be doing when. The reason I am not getting straight to being with God in the morning is because my boys can be a bit rambunctious in the mornings so it is better for me to wait until they are at school. That’s time I can use on email and social media stuff which is not important and doesn’t require my full attention.

I wish I was able to schedule every minute of my day so I knew who everything was going to turn out. The truth is none of us can. We can only attempt to set up our days and hope God will allow us to follow the path we have laid out.

The Lord has his own plans for how our lives are going to turn out. We just have to trust in his sovereignty. I think it is prudent of us to make a schedule and try and keep it. It shows how we are trying to be good stewards of our time. Instead of letting time manage us we control it.

This is just an overview of what my days look like not in full detail.

Why do you think you may need to create a schedule for your life? It doesn’t have to be similar to mine, in fact it probably won’t be. But the question is can you create a schedule to make some positive changes in your life so that way you are mastering time and not the other way around.

I am not sharing this with you to show how I have it all together. I am sharing this with you to encourage you to think of ways you can make your life more efficient. So you can get more accomplished with the time we have been given. I want to be faithful with what I have been given so when the time comes I can be given more. How about you?

Question: What can you do to make your life more well managed?

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Why Is Prayer Such a Challenge?

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Have you ever felt prayer is hard to do? If yes, then you aren’t alone. I can name a ton of benefits of the reasons to pray. I bet you can too. So why is it so challenging to take the time to pray? I have one professor who would argue, we don’t trust God to be God.

He would go on to say our faith is to small. Not saying it in a condescending way, but in a matter of fact type of way. We don’t trust God so we don’t grow our faith. We feel that when we pray God doesn’t hear us. And to be completely honest there are times I wonder “God, are you really there?” I would love for Him to respond in some majestical way.

I think we don’t make prayer the priority in life it should be. We don’t put it on our schedule. Michael Hyatt has said, “What gets on the schedule is what gets done.” in several different things I have seen/heard him do. I have to agree with this point. If it is important enough to make the schedule than it means it needs to be taken care of.

The sad thing for me is I have and app on my phone for prayer it even alerts me to when its time to pray. There are many times lately I have just blown it off to keep doing what I am doing. I need to be better about it, maybe change the timer he app wants my attention.

There is another aspect we need to consider also, spiritual warfare. Satan does not want you and I to pray. He would much rather us to stay unconnected from God. It is easier for him to pull us away from the things of God when we are not connected to him. Satan knows that when we are in real relationship with the Father, life for him is much more difficult.

We are in a battle let us never forget that and the only way to win is to be in constant communication with the leader of the troops. The man who has oversight and can see the whole battlefield. He may not give us all the details,but he will let us know our next move. I’m not saying he will show us everything, he does reveal things a piece at a time sometimes.

If we feel our prayers are not being heard we have to ask ourselves what are we doing to keep them from being heard. Are we asking for the wrong things? Are we being selfish? Husbands, Are you loving your wife well? The book of James speaks about several of these issues. I would suggest you check it out.

I know writing this post has been more for me than you. I hope it has been a blessing to you and encouragement to you to more than a discouragement.

Question: Do you struggle with prayer? How do you get back into the habit when you fall out of it?

Some Help for Doing Family Devotions

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What can I say about family devotions? Depends really, on what you are looking for. Are you looking for a how to guide? I can offer you that. Or maybe you want to hear the truth about family devotions. They aren’t always easy or glamorous like TV, movies and books can make them out to be.

For instance in our house trying to get our boys to sit down for a quick (supposed to take 10minutes) study, turns into a 45 minute ordeal. But when these boys are into it, it is a sight to behold. They start asking questions and giving answers to other questions. It really is quite marvelous.

We have chosen to use a book called Old Story New it is a family devotional book that lays everything out there for you so you are not having to just read the Bible and try and explain everything. It gives you things to ask the kids. It also suggest things to pray for after you have done the study. I would recommend this book or its sibling Long Story Short; if you are like me pressed for time or just want the help to lead family devotions.

There are plenty of places in the Bible where we are told to instruct our children in the ways of the Lord. I am thinking right now of the proverb “Train up a child in the ways in which he should go and when he gets older he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

There are countless OT passages speaking to the same thing, about teaching your children as you go and as you come. Teach them while you walk in the day. The list goes on and on. So there has to be some importance to what is being said for it to be repeated. So if you are not doing it which we have not been the best at. Give it try. They offer both of these books on kindle, and you don’t have to buy the book you can get a sample before you buy it to see if it’s a fit.

Just start something with your family, especially dad, get involved show the kids your faith it will pay dividends in the end. I am not perfect we have tried in the past and given up. One of our goals this year is to have family devotions 4x a week. We will strive to meet that goal, even if we fall short at least we are spending time in God’s word as a family.

Question: What do you do for family devotions?

Put Your Hands To Work

oftersheim-140589_640Are you like me sometimes, who starts something only to leave it unfinished? I’m not sure why I do that. Maybe it just gets boring, but for whatever reason I tend to lose interest in certain projects. That is one reason why I love to write. I am talking about a different subject each day while still looking for Jesus in the midst of the everyday. I am glad the Lord has given me things to discuss over this last month. One thing that scares me though has to do with Jesus’ saying: “Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.(Luke 9:62)
Have you started on the journey of faith and started to have doubts? That is okay just trust in the Lord to answer those doubts. Because Christ is clear that once you start on the path, you shouldn’t look back. If you look back you are unfit for the kingdom of God. That should make every believer take their commitment to Christ that much more serious. 
That means we cannot allow apathy, lethargy or any other -gy take root. We have to work and pay attention to where we are going. If you are plowing a field and not looking ahead to a mark you won’t plow a straight line. If you keep looking back to see how you are doing you are going to start veering off course.
The same is true in our walk with Jesus. If we keep looking back at where we have come from we lose focus to where we are headed. I want to encourage you that if you are seeking God through reading the Bible, prayer, and fellowship with other believers you are on a good trajectory.  It is okay to stop and remember where you started. Just don’t make it your sole focus. 
Do you struggle with looking backward too often?

Gratefulness

     What comes to mind when you hear the word gratefulness? There are several different things that jump out at me when hearing that word, they are more concepts than things. I think of humility. I also think of generosity. Both of those things seem to play a role some way or another in gratefulness. It takes humility to receive something with a grateful attitude, while it takes some one being generous to give making it possible to be grateful. 
     The best picture we have of this combination comes from God to us. God is gracious enough to come down to this world in the form of a man to take on a burden that is rightfully ours. That is generously giving of ones’ self. This gift requires humility on our part because a proud person will not accept what has been shown to him in his need of forgiveness. (1 Cor 1:18).  I know for me I thought all Christians were crazy hypocrites. It wasn’t until I came to know Christ personally that my view changed. It takes a change of heart to begin to  understand the riches that are found in the kingdom of God.
     We can learn great lessons from our relationship with Jesus on how to be grateful. While Jesus walked this world he often appreciated all that was done for him, such as the women who took care of him. One instance that comes to mind is when a woman anointed His feet with nard, washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. (Luke 7:36-50).  This section of Scripture show that both Jesus and the woman were appreciative of the actions the other took. There are many people in the world who need some assistance and will be eternally grateful. 
Q: What are somethings you are grateful for from this last year?

Beating a Dead Horse

     Have you ever done a task and felt like you were beating a dead horse? Well that is how I started to feel after this last eight weeks of class. I was working on a homiletics class on preparing a sermon. The sermon was on Philippians 1:12:18, and almost all of my course work for the last eight weeks has centered around this one portion of Scripture. I have had to do a lot of praying in the last week to get the needed motivation to finish this sermon. There were a few faithful FaceBook friends who offered up prayers alongside of me, and the words just started to flow. 
     I am not sure why it was so hard to write this sermon compared to others I have written in just a few days. Like I said I think it was because I was beating a dead horse. While I am positive some of my contemporaries have a different take on this set of verses I had exhausted my knowledge and understanding of them. I will more than likely post the sermon here on the blog in a few days. There are several verses that help me realize that the work I do is not just for men but for God and they are 1 Cor 10:31, and Col 3:23-24. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the preparation of writing and never actually sit down and write the sermon. I must say that I enjoy all of the work that goes into it and learning how to come up with better illustrations has been helpful. This class has taught me some things I can use in  my own ministry here with you all(my readers) and with the world at large such as those I preach to on occasion. 
     I know that it is not easy to do something that at times can feel like a drudgery, but let me encourage you to finish the work that is set before you. In the end you will be proud that you set your mind to something and finished it and it did not beat you. There will be times you just can’t do somethings and that is okay too, give yourself permission to know when those times are. But, don’t give up just because something gets hard, if you need to ask for help. For instance my oldest son is one of the smartest kids I have ever met (I’m not just saying that because he is my son.) He is in the fifth grade reading at and eleventh grade level. But lately he has been struggling with his math homework and needing more help. He wants to quit because it is hard and everything has always come easy to him, at least pertaining to school work. We won’t let him quit we encourage and help as necessary. I know right now you are asking yourself “What does that have to do with anything?” The answer is simple, if we let him quit he would never learn how to persist in life, and deal with those dead horses that will arise. Have you ever heard the saying,”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!” That is the process I had to use in writing this sermon heck even writing this post. 
It’s your turn now, what dead horses are you struggling with? How can I help?

Struggle to understand

I don’t know about you but there are just somethings in the Bible that I just don’ t get. Do you ever feel that way? When it comes down to the book of Revelation I have a really hard time. Reading commentaries and the usual study helps don’t really help because this is probably the hardest book for scholars to agree upon what it actually means. You get so many different stances on the interpretation that it makes it feel muddled and hard to get through. The best thing I know to do is pray your way through this book and others you are struggling to understand. 
     Ask the Lord for insights into His word, James 1:5 tells us that if we ask for wisdom God will grant it to us. So be bold in your asking of the Lord and see that he will not be bold in answering you! This is not a guarantee that you ask God for just any old thing he is going to give it to you were are specifically referring to seeking wisdom to understand His Word. In the book of Isaiah we are told that God’s  ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. Isa 55:8. This verse helps bring me comfort at moments like this when I have been struggling to understand what Jesus is trying to teach me through His Word. It is not always easy studying the Bible or being the guys people look to for the answers when it comes to Scripture. I hate to admit it but I have not settled on an eschatological view. I am stuck between pre-mil and a-mil. I am not sure if I believe in the rapture because there just doesn’t seem to be enough scriptural support for it in my opinion, so I guess that does mean I have a view huh?
     It is not easy studying to be a pastor and not having answers to the tough questions people want to ask. However, I am always willing to try my best and give a balanced answer. IF you have any questions you would like to ask, please leave a comment down in the comments section and I WILL RESPOND. 
What do you struggle with? Where can I help?

Consistency is Key!

     

How many times have you heard that in your life? Whether it is in child-rearing, work, hobbies, or whatever. Consistency is key! That rings true as a bell through the air when it comes to journaling and/or praying. I have found that the more often I do something the more I want to do it. If you look at the life of Jesus he spent a lot of time in prayer. It did not have to always been long periods of time he was praying like when he asked the disciples to keep watch for him. (Matt 26:38-46). Then there are the times he had what Dave Earley in his book Prayer: The Timeless Secret of High Impact Leaders calls arrow prayers. These are prayers that get right to the heart of God. A great example of an arrow prayer is when Jesus blesses the five loaves and two fish, or another time when he teaches the disciples to pray the Lord’s prayer (Matt 6:5-15). 

     I have recently been trying to write for my blog more than before. In just the last week I have posted something at least once a day. I believe on Friday I had several post, along with today. I am trusting that this is what the Lord would have me do to bring glory to HIs name. While it is easier for me to journal than it is to blog I hope to do both on a regular basis for the rest of my life. At the advice of Michael Hyatt I have been using Evernote, as my new journaling program. It has been rather helpful instead of using Pages on my Macbook Pro. With Evernote it is searchable, by date keywords, tags, all kinds of cool stuff. I can easily add pictures to it. I mention this because the level of comfort you have with something will also help determine how well you stay with it. I mention in another post how I engrave glass. If I started with the hardest piece and failed I probably would not have kept up with it. I have had to slow down because I have run out of room to store my pieces and there hasn’t been too many more people willing to buy them. ( I have however sold several pieces in the past.)
     All of that to say don’t become discouraged if you are starting something new take it easy at first, don’t think you have to do what everyone else is doing in order to feel like you are doing it right. If it is something the Lord has laid on your heart, you will get through it because he wants you to. 

I would love to hear what you are doing to be consistent. What are some things you could work on, and what are you doing well with?


P.S.
     It is my hope that you all have been enjoying reading the material that is being produced. If you are would you mind signing up to any of our means of keeping you up-to-date on what we are producing. If you look down the right side of your screen there is a plethora of options on how you can keep in touch with us. We would also love to hear from you, your ideas and opinions. So we have added Disqus as our new commenting system. If you would like for your comment to be more discrete we have a contact us form at the bottom of the page. We look forward to a great month as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and a blessed New Year. 
Life is hard, but God is good,
Preach