Thursday, August 15, 2013

UGH! Where did the summer go?

I looked up and it is the middle of August and I am thinking, WAIT, where did the summer go? I haven't had the chance to get to the beach! I haven't played as much golf as I wanted to play! I haven't been able to take that vacation with the wife OR the grandkids I would like to take! It seems as if the busyness of life has stolen away my summer... OH WHERE DID YOU GO SUMMER?

How many of you can relate to that thought? I also know that this sentiment is NOT limited to the losing of our 'summers' due to busyness! As believers, we can come to the realization, where has the time gone? Why haven't I done what I promised God I was going to do? Why haven't I started that bible study with my neighbors? Why haven't I shared my testimony with my co-workers? Why haven't I organized a ministry outreach with my small group? Why haven't I started going to small group? Why? Why? Why? Where did the time go?

So often the busyness of life is a monumental distraction for believers! We get caught up in the daily routine of 'things' and we lose sight of anything God is directing us to do. This often happens because of a lack of vision on our part... a lack of intentionality... or a lack of focus! I don't believe most Christians are lazy, although if the shoe fits... BUT my thoughts are that most Christians are unfocused and unintentional in their actions for Christ. They believe they will eventually get around to doing those things God has laid on their heart, but they never seem to get there. As Paul would say, "I am chief of all sinners..." I find myself losing focus and my intentionality waning at times, but there are ways to help us stay focused and remained intentional in our walk in Christ. These things are NOT anything new, but they are things we should all be doing on a regular basis.

1. Read your bible everyday! Don't allow the busyness of life to rob you of God's word in your life. Set aside time in the morning, mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, evening or night to read your bible. If you allow it, the busyness of your life will steal this time away from bible reading, you must be intentional in making it happen!

2. Meditate on what you read in the bible! This means that you can't just read your bible and 'check the box' and feel as if you have had a quality time in God's word. As a believer, our goal must be to have the Holy Spirit speak to us through the Word of God. Meditating on what you read is a great way for us to 'hear the voice of God in what we read'. To meditate on your scripture it helps to journal. Journaling is simply writing down your own thoughts after reading a passage and meditating on that Scripture. Write down what God is speaking to your heart! Write down the questions that you have about the passage or about a situation in your life that pertains to that passage. Meditating on Scripture leads us to application of Scripture IN our lives! It is not enough for us to read and know Scripture, we must live out Scripture in our daily lives!

3. Pray always! Paul instructs us to pray without ceasing, meaning to be in an attitude and a state of mind that is prayerful and attuned to God. When we have our minds attuned to God, our focus is much sharper and clearer and we can truly know the direction God has for our lives. Having a prayerful heart and a mind attuned to God's direction will help the believer to not lay aside the things God has laid on their heart.

4. Pray for and seek out opportunities to serve and live out your walk in Christ. Our focus should be on service to God. So often our focus is on our daily lives with our service to God as an afterthought. For us to be intentional and focused and for the believer to NOT allow God's direction to be unattended in our lives, we must seek out the opportunities already present in our lives and we must prayerfully seek after the opportunities God desires to provide. This is an intentional action on our part and must be at the center of our thoughts, it cannot be an afterthought in our lives!

5. Have an accountability partner to keep you focused and attuned to God's leading in our lives. Jesus never intended the Christian life to be a life of solitude. Having someone to talk to and pray with about being focused and remaining intentional in our walk with Christ is a huge advantage to any believer! An accountability partner is there to gently remind us of what we have already prayed for and are seeking after. They are there to prod us out of inactivity and slothful action. They are there to encourage us when God seems to be silent. They are there to lift us up when the world seems to be overwhelming and crashes down upon us. Having someone to walk with you is a great help to staying focused and intentional in living out your faith.

6. Fellowship with other believers! Join a small group. If you are already a part of a small group, become active within that small group. It may be that you are being called to lead a small group. Going to church in the the corporate worship experience of your church is a good thing, but it will NOT connect you to the opportunities that present themselves when you belong to a small group within your fellowship. Fellowship with other believers is encouragement for you as you seek to be the Christian God has called you to become!

Our lives do NOT have to be a series of  "I wish I would have's" but instead it can be a focused and intentional walk with our Savior doing His bidding for His kingdom! Let's not allow life to pass us by! Take that vacation when you need to, but also let's not allow our life as believers to be one of missed opportunities and us wishing we had done more! Let's focus, let's become intentional... are you ready?

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