First Things First

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning it’s shame and sat down at the right hand of  the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

As I have been adjusting to the new autumn schedule, I realized in order to exercise, I need to arise at 5:30.  Although a morning person, I am finding the whole thing a bit tiring!

Why do I do it?  I have tried other times of the day, but success has always been a bit erratic.  And not doing it is not an option.  For me, exercise is so much more than building or maintaining physical strength.  It is a time for me to focus on God, uninterrupted.

As I hit the pavement or hop on my exercise bike, I listen to Christian rock music blaring through my earphones.  My heart soars as my soul and mind rest on the Heavenly Father.  The concerns of my day are temporarily far away, and for maybe just that singular moment that day, my  entire focus is on God.

Have you found that time each day when you can solely focus on God?  Maybe you also need to rise early (or even earlier!  The Lord bless you!) Or, maybe it’s late at night after the house quiets down.  Or maybe, it is during your commute or lunch break.  The point is that you find one.

Ephesians 5:15-16 tells us “Be very careful then, how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil.”

Seizing those predawn moments alone with God are vital to my spiritual well-being.  First, my first thoughts are toward God.  What better way to begin my day than with a conversation with my Creator? I am doing something positive for my physical health and I am boosting my mental mood with all those endorphins!  But the best benefit is taking my eyes off of me and fixing them on Jesus, as Hebrews 12 commands.

In order to stay Kingdom focused, I must have great discipline.  Discipline which needs to come from God.  If I rely on myself I am sure to fail.

If we are careful how we live, we must be disciplined ourselves.  I recently read a poster which said: Character is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.” God is always looking.  And, more often than not, other people are watching too.  While we are not called to turn perfection into a god, we are called to “make the most of every opportunity.”  Do we do our best with those little everyday moments to glorify God?  Or do we let those maddening moments make us mad, aggravating us to anger and unholy actions?

One of the easiest ways for Satan to distract us from God and His commands is to distract our eyes from Jesus.  Too little time to read the Bible, too exhausted to pray.  While we are distracted, Satan likes to then use us to distract others.

Horrifying I know, especially when you can see the evidence in your own life.  But, very common.

So as believers we need to:

1) read the Bible and know Christ’s commands. We also need to know the promises He has made to us.

2) We need to claim these promises.

3) We need to be self-disciplined and self-controlled so that we may bring glory to God.

Pray about how you spend your time. God has a to-do list waiting for you. He knows you need to do the laundry and prepare your meals.  He also knows how He wants to use you to bring others to Him.

It has never ceased to amaze me that when a ministry moment is seized, and I spend time on an unforeseen opportunity, everything which is important does get done!

Reflections:

1 )How can I ascertain I regularly spend time with God?

2)  Am I a drill sergeant when it comes to my agenda?

3) How can I be more open to opportunities which infringe on my time?

4) Pray about how God wants you to spend your time.

5) Note the surprise opportunities and watch how they do fit into your day.  Thank God for caring for your needs and allowing you an opportunity to serve Him.

As summer turns into autumn, I think it is once again time to focus on a book of the Bible.  If you have any suggestions, please be sure to let me know! Please return by Monday, August 27 for the next post.

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