Posts Tagged busy

Choked

Mark 4: 19

[A]nd the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Most people would probably say that they are not enjoying all of the victory in life that they would like. Jesus tells us here why some of their work is unfruitful. The Word is getting choked out. It is so easy to start out right where you need to be and then the next thing you know, something is spinning out of control. What happened? Usually it is one of the above. I would add one other item to the list.

Sometimes busyness is the thing that chokes out the Word. We get too tied up in the things of this world and with running around trying our very best to get everything done only to realize that we have neglected the most important thing.

Look, you have seen plenty of wealthy celebrities with their lives in complete shambles. They were deceived into thinking that wealth and fame would make them happy. Striving for the money and the toys has left us all empty. When our desire for the things of this world outweighs our desire for the things of God, it is inevitably going to go badly for us. And as children of the most high, we should know that we do not even have to pursue those things like the world does. We seek the Lord and he gives us the desires of our hearts including some toys and other things that enrich life.

If we do not want the Word to be unfruitful, then we must guard ourselves against getting our eyes on the things of this world, including our jobs and other activities to the detriment of having our attention stayed on God, His son, His spirit and His Word. If we keep our priorities in line and keep our desire fixed on the Lord, then all these other things will be added to us.

Targeted

2 Samuel 17: 2

And I will come upon him while he is weary and exhausted and will terrify him so that all the people who are with him will flee. Then I will strike down the king alone.

What does this have to do with our present day existence, you may ask. I have found this to be an instructive verse for daily life.

Many of us live in cultures that are rushed and hectic. That can pose a problem. First, it is hard to hear the leading of God when hurried and stressed. God speaks to our inner quiet. He does not shout into the chaos. That is why He told us to be still and experience Him as God (Psalm 46: 10).

The other issue, of course, is that our chaotic lifestyle paints bull’s eye targets on our foreheads and hearts. I noticed many years ago that when I was tired, weary and exhausted I was susceptible to attacks. If you don’t think your enemy is looking for opportunities to bother you, you are deceived. The enemy is always looking for someone he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, don’t volunteer to be his chow. When you are exhausted, you look like prey. And, you probably actually are. Your defenses go down.

The answer, of course, is to take time to rest your spirit, especially. Take that quiet walk with Jesus and let him give you the refreshing waters that he offered the Samaritan woman. Let him rejuvenate you in body, mind and spirit. He can restore you but only you can set the appointment with him. If “busy” is a word you use often to describe yourself, then you need a check-up from the neck up, as a friend of mine says. Change your priorities. Say no to some events or even to some people. Let’s be honest, as uncomfortable as that can be, we have none the less, grown very adept at saying “No,” to Christ. It makes me wonder, sometimes, why we call ourselves Christians since he seems to be rather low on our priority list. If you will put him back in first position, he will guide you in setting your priorities and he will give you strength for the things you need to do.

Please hear this with your heart. If you are too busy to slow down and spend some time with Jesus in the resting and restoration of your soul, then you are too busy, period. Shall we go so far as to say that busyness is a sin? I know it is a problem in my life and one I have to battle constantly. Sometimes I need to just kick back. Other times I have to get up an hour earlier so that I have time for things that need doing.

Don’t weary yourself with much doing and don’t train your children to do the same thing. Your spirit, your soul and your body need rest. Go to a yoga class, spend time sitting in your garden or take a walk along the water and pray. Make it a priority to care for your triune self. Guard against busyness and overworking yourself. Word hard when you work but then take time to allow Jesus to restore you. It is really important that you do. Otherwise, you become a target.

TV Bomb

Joshua 1: 8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Joshua was about to take over the leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses. How would you like to follow in those footsteps? Yahweh God went to Joshua. This is the advice the Father gave him. If you were about to take over the leadership of an entire nation of people, the nation of God’s people, wouldn’t you expect the advice God gives will be the most critical piece of advice available. Perspective on the situation Joshua found himself in when God gave him this instruction gives great insight into its importance.

Should we expect God’s guidance to us to be any different? Of all the things God could tell us, this is the one bit of wisdom He chooses for us. Keep this Word in your mouth; meditate on it day and night. Well, one would easily conclude that to keep the Word on our lips constantly, we will have to read it and meditate on it continually. How else will we know enough of it? We have major impediments in modern life, though. Joshua didn’t have television or the internet. He didn’t have a video console or an electronic tablet. He didn’t run his kids to soccer practice or any of the many other distractions we have.

We are busy people, over busy really. Somehow we have to learn to control the chaos so that we do as Mary, Martha’s sister did, put first things first. If we don’t have time for prayer, mediation and time in the Word, then we are too busy. Most of us, I find, have time for TV and few of us miss many meals. If I had a red button that, when pressed, would blow up every television, I bet many of us would find more time for contemplation and our Bibles. There are just too many things demanding our attention and who doesn’t enjoy sitting in front of the TV to relax? Perhaps we could have our time with our beloved and then turn on the TV. I know that I am much more productive if I don’t turn it on. Once on, it is hard to pick up my book and read or to pray.

God gave Joshua the secret to success and prosperity. In truth, He has revealed this key to us as well. What do we have to do in order to find the time necessary to engage this all important principle? Each of us must decide for ourselves but I would suggest we each have that button which will disable the television, at least for a while. Push the button. Go ahead. You will find some time you didn’t have before. Here’s to your success and prosperity.

Rewarder

Hebrews 11: 6

He is a rewarder.

Who is a rewarder? God! Did you know that? So, what does He reward? Well, maybe He rewards our good works. Maybe rewards come from sowing good seed. Perhaps He rewards those who pray a lot. What do you think? For the answer let us again turn to the Amplified Version, “He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].” Do you want to know why some Christians are doing better than others when God is no respecter of persons? My guess is they are seekers.

Would you agree with me that our Western form of Christianity has lost some of its zeal? Most of us don’t earnestly seek the Father. We sit on a pew on Sundays, maybe. We say a few prayers through the week but let us be honest. We are busy people and most of us just don’t set aside the time to diligently seek God. I remember when I was first filled with the Spirit. Goodness, I became zealous. I studied my Bible and prayed. I got together with other Christians to seek God. We all wanted more of God and were never satisfied. We continually sought more of Him. I guess you would call that earnest diligence. We were on fire for God.

Now, I’m busy working for God. It seems my calendar is always full. I don’t sit in my chair hour upon hour reading my Bible but as I read this scripture and listen to the heart of God, I think, “There is nothing better to do with my time.” I will just have to make seeking Him an absolute priority. You know, it is easy to fill your calendar. I can always find plenty of things which vie for my time but I am choosing today to put aside those things so that I can earnestly and diligently seek the Lord.

Today’s date is June 13, 2017. Will you pull out your journal and write this date in it along with this same decision, to seek the Lord with sincere devotion? Will you join me? Let’s make a 30 day commitment together and see where we are thirty days from now. Let’s see how our lives change in just thirty days. Email me, reply to this email or post a message. Let me know you are running with me and let’s encourage one another in this adventure.

Busy is a Four Letter Word

Luke 5: 16

But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

This topic just keeps popping back up. I think the reason is because we do lead very busy lives. Because of that, we have to carefully manage our lives. It seems to me that in simpler times this might not have been such a big issue but then when I think of Jesus I have to reconsider. Jesus was the busiest guy ever. He knew that he only had a short time in which to completely and radically change the world. He had a lot of work to do and just a short time to do it. Worse, he had to walk everywhere he went which took up a lot of his time. Still, he always managed to slip away to be with his Father. His ministry depended on that time with the Father. Could he have done the things he did if he didn’t go to the well himself and fill up?

I think this quiet time away must have been important because he taught his disciples this strategy. Look what he told them in Mark 6: 31, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” The passage said that there were so many people coming to them and they were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat. Well, if they were that busy and had that many demands on their time, how could they afford to go away by themselves? How could they afford the time off?

Jesus taught them by his example as well and through the recorded history of the Bible, he is teaching us this lesson today. We see him living his advice in Mark 6: 46 where it says, “And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray.” He led by example showing his disciples that if they were going to do anything great in life, they must prioritize their prayer time.

I have noticed that even ministers have this problem. We can get so busy doing the work of God that we forget that our time with Him is the most important. Everyone has deadlines. Everyone has pressure and stress. Yet some people learn how to get this piece into their schedule every day. Is it simply a matter of setting it as a priority? Maybe we don’t love God enough. Maybe we need to meditate on our feelings about God. The best thing is to do it for a period of time and see how much smoother life is.

We have worn our busyness like a badge for years. People brag about how busy they are. Well, I am a recovering busy person. Yes, I am still busy but I am being healed of the obsession of it. The excuses I used to use to justify my out of balance lifestyle just don’t work anymore. Now when I hear other people talking about how busy they are and how they just can’t do something, in the back of my mind I hear, “There is healing for that.” The solution to this problem may be different for different folks but ultimately I think we just have to do whatever is necessary to unburden our lives so that there is time for God in our daily schedule.

What do you think? Are you stressed and overburdened? Jesus said that he came to take our heavy burdens. When we walk with him daily, he takes the weight and makes our burden light. If you are really that busy, then you need Jesus. You need a whole bunch more of him than you are getting right now. Take some time. Honestly, you can find a moment if you are intentional about it. Go talk with Jesus and ask him to help you with your load. Make a deal with him that you will give him some of your tasks and you will spend time in prayer. I promise you will be glad if you do.

No Shame

Romans 1: 16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Paul was definitely a good evangelist. He did share the good news everywhere he went. I wonder why lots of us don’t tell the good news any more than we do. I think in a sense we are ashamed. Perhaps we are not ashamed of the gospel per se but we are embarrassed or ashamed of sounding like a Jesus freak. Maybe were are afraid of rejection. Paul certainly wasn’t, though, and life could be pretty dangerous for his exhortation of the gospel.

Paul had a revelation of the power of the gospel. Maybe that is what made him so bold and me so timid. Or do we get so caught up in the busyness of our life that we don’t take a moment to be concerned over anyone else. Looming on my horizon is my next twenty to do items and the three big projects sitting on my desk. What will happen in eternity if I get none of that done? I mean, how important are they really? Are my deadlines arbitrary? Does any of it matter that much? When I think of this in light of the eternity of someone’s soul I feel a bit embarrassed. Is it really too much for me to take five minutes to ask my banker if he knows the saving power of the gospel?

You know, I heard a good story the other day about a woman who took the time to notice someone else and when she did she saw that other person suffering. She offered to pray for the woman who’s countenance was forlorn. You know what? Her bravery afforded her the opportunity to meet someone’s need. But I am too busy. Maybe I walked right by that same woman and never even looked at her.

Lord God, give us all the courage of our convictions. Give us joy bubbling up out of us that begs to be shared. Help us to be like Paul and see not the consequences to ourselves but the significance to others. Help us to share the power of the gospel with those who are in need.

Busy, Busy Bee

Psalm 46: 10

Cease striving and know that I am God. 

Well, I’ve done it again. I’ve allowed myself to get busy. Now to some of you that might sound good. Well, I do like to be busy and to have a lot on my plate. I like having a lot going on. But here is the thing, sometimes I get out of balance and get so busy that in the end I find myself not very effective, certainly not efficient. Always I look around and find that I am trying to do everything in my own strength again. Then, as now, I have to stop and put the pieces back in place. For me that means pulling out my calendar and scheduling my time. It means analyzing my work time to determine what I am doing with my time and it almost always means I have to clean up my diet and workout schedule too.

In the United States these days we wear our busyness like a badge of honor. Well, not me, not any longer anyway. In my life, “busyness” invariably means I have stopped living in grace in favor of living in effort. In fact, being “busy” has become a bit of a profanity to me because our Father has already corrected me in this and loudly. When I find I am beginning to feel the stress of too much to do and not enough time, then I know it is time for a checkup. You see, it always means that I have stopped leaning on Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit to be the work horses in my life and have put all of that heavy load back onto my shoulders. 

What did I find this time? My devotional life is nowhere as strong as it was, my Bible time is weak, prayer time limited, my workouts have fallen to almost nothing and my diet stinks. I have more and more to do so I am drawing further and further into myself instead of reaching out to the source of all strength, power and helpfulness. I am no longer yoked with Jesus. Heck, I am not even including Him in the emails. What?! I am working hard at getting little done. So, I repent – turn and go in a different direction.

I have personally experienced and also witnessed in others that we can actually get more done when we first connect with God. So instead of going straight to my computer, I must first go to my Bible. Time with the trinity must supersede work if I wish to be as effective as possible. Jesus really will do the heavy lifting if I will let him. Let’s make “busy” a bad word by devoting our hearts and time first and foremost to our Lord and savior. Let’s put the entirety of our lives in his loving hands, even our work, even our busyness. When we begin to tell people that we are busy, when we begin to think it and when we first begin to feel the stress of too much to do and not enough time, let us run, not walk, to the throne room of God and lay down our heavy burdens in humble repentance. Let’s turn our busyness into worship instead of it being a source of pride. Let’s get more done in less time while spending all of that time with the Lord. Now that sounds good, doesn’t it?