"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
What an awesome time of the year! All around the country kids are headed back to school. Many parents are shouting and jumping for joy, while others are shedding tears of sadness that their little ones are now all grown up. It won’t be long before all this hustle and bustle of the new schedule becomes the dull routines of our seemingly eternal weeks. Remember that as God keeps track of all these activities and things going on in this world, He is never too busy for his child. After the newness of this new schedule has faded and our days seem full of the same old crazy monotonous habits, don’t forget to keep God at the forefront of your day. As long as we incorporate God into our schedules, we are reminded that everything we do is for the glory of the one who created us in His own image. Keep your eyes on God while your hands complete the tasks necessary for the care of our families and the building up of His Kingdom.
It is really easy to feel small in such a large world. This can happen especially when we have millions of people simultaneously all shouting for attention all at the same time. It is easy to think how God must be overwhelmed not just with the wickedness of this world, but also at the rate at which we request (more like demand) His help. When the thought crosses my mind, I imagine a kindergarten teacher with 30 five year old kids all with questions at the same time. It makes me want to pull my hair out just thinking about it. The good news is, we don’t serve a flesh created God. We serve a master who isn’t controlled, but controls all things (Isaiah 41:10). He is only bound by His Word and He is the author of that Word. He doesn’t just hear and see, He sees and hears all things (Hebrews 4:13). Never feel like God is too busy to listen to your prayers, needs, and requests. God is good all the time, so God also cares all the time (1 John 5:14). God is always thrilled to hear from His people and like a parent, He encourages our communication with Him. Never allow the noise of the world to drown out your conviction to talk with the savior of the world. Speaking of drowning noise, this brings me to the subject of priorities.
Keeping God number one in your schedule is the key to managing your life. Balance is a vital key to spiritual health and the longevity of your relationship with God (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). With God as your number one priority, many of life’s basic needs are already in place (Matthew 6:33-34). God knows our needs and wouldn’t have us go without those basic needs (Matthew 10:29-31). I have a family member that has for most of their life, put alcohol first in their life. This includes taking priority over God, family, housing, food, protection, and anything else you can imagine. The consequences have been nothing short of frightening. Just in the last 12 years, this person has lost their family including a spouse and kids. They have managed to destroy a small business which at one time created a six figure income. Did I mention they also lost their home, their ability to work, and even drive? Sounds like they lacked some serious priorities in their life and were living a lifestyle of destruction. In contrast, I know countless couples who have made the conscious decision to put God first in their life. This includes putting God first over their spouses, children, homes, jobs, and anything else you could plug in that list. The consequences of this have also been nothing short of shocking. Most are flourishing at their jobs, their spouses love them dearly, their children are doing well, and they never go without somewhere to stay and food in their stomachs. Being a Christian will not in any way make your life perfect with no stress, but it does give you someone to turn to when it does get crazy (John 16:33). As the responsibilities pile up and the calculus homework can’t get any harder, remind your family who we are to worship. Remind the family that Jesus remains the number one priority in your life. I won’t forget that while I was in Seminary, our professors were always quick to let us know that we were allowed to do average in their classes. We were allowed to get B or C averages if we could maintain the priorities of God and family. If we had an “A” in attendance at church and home, we could afford to do average in the classrooms. This was an early lesson on maintaining balance in our lives both spiritually and professionally.
No matter who you are or what you do for a living, you’re God’s child (Isaiah 43:1). It doesn’t matter to God if you’re the pastor, the choir leader, the person who doesn’t have time to even volunteer every week, a school teacher, or the nursery teacher; God still cares. It doesn’t matter how big you feel your job is or how small, all things done in the name of Christ are big (Colossians 3:17). The battle going on in the spiritual dimensions are one we will not understand until the coming of Christ. Even the small actions in this world creates ripple effects in the heavens (Ephesians 6:12 & Matthew 18:18-19). Yes, it matters how you build that little child’s image up by telling them God loves them. Yes, it matters how well you operate your local business because people can see Christ in you. Yes, it matters that Hillary Clinton lies about emails and Donald Trump speaks roughly about others. It matters to God that parents will take them to T-ball practice, but won’t take the time to teach them about their heavenly Father. I believe you get the idea that everything matters to God now, but remembering it in the moment is a hard task sometimes. It’s hard when the little one spits up on his school uniform as you’re running late already, the first voice mail you receive is from a teacher saying Johnny put gum in some girls hair today, and the daycare calls to tell you the youngest child can’t stay because he has a fever of 99F. I get it, life is a huge trial. Maybe you’ve passed the age of children and after work errands. Regardless, you have a place building the kingdom of God. You are never too old or young to be a light in a dark world (Proverbs 20:29 & Psalms 92:12-14). That kid at school that always seems down, the guy next to you at the gas pump, the business man coming out of the local bar, they all have the need of Jesus in common. We are all called to be a witness for Christ and can all make a difference daily impacting God’s Kingdom forever (Matthew 28:16-20).
Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Hebrews 4:13 (KJV)
13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
1 John 5:14 (KJV)
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (KJV)
3 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV)
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[a] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
John 16:33 (ESV)
33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Isaiah 43:1 (ESV)
43 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Matthew 18:18-19 (KJV)
18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Proverbs 20:29 (KJV)
29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
Psalm 92:12-14 (KJV)
12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV)
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.