Paying Attention to Today

13 09 2010

Where do you spend most of your time? I’m not asking for a copy of your to-do list or a sneak peek into your day planner. This is a question about your eyes, your attention. Where are you going to spend today? Some of us spend our todays looking back over our shoulders. The past is more real to us than the present. Sometimes we look back with joy and longing. For others, regret and guilt are magnets that pull our eyes backwards. Most of us spend our days in the future. We are thinking ahead, planning what comes next, getting ready for the next thing. Sometimes it is just a few minutes ahead that holds our attention. Other times our focus is fixed on someday….

There is nothing wrong with memories or organization. Memories help us remember who we are and how God has worked in our lives so we can see Him more clearly today. Planning ahead should help us embrace the moment with confidence and joy. I’m afraid, however, that often we miss today because our eyes are locked on yesterday or searching tomorrow’s horizons. We are so focused on getting to our destination that we miss the beauty of the journey. We can’t wait to get there, so we miss here. Our hearts are so focused on back then, that we miss now.

My Jesus Resolution today is to pay attention to the details of today. I don’t want to miss this minute because my mind is already on the next one. I commit to embracing the fullness, depth, richness, and joy that God has poured into today. I am going to look deeply into the faces of the people God brings through my day today. I will walk through my house and count my blessings, literally. I am going to pay attention to the colors I see and absorb the textures and tastes I experience, and marvel. I don’t want to waste a moment of His presence by not being fully present.

The Most Important Thing

10 09 2010

What is the most important thing about you?

Don’t read past that question too quickly. Stop and consider for a moment. What is the most important thing about you?

A.W. Tozer said, “What I believe about God is the most important thing about me.” I believe he is absolutely right. How I see God impacts how I see everything else. My view of God defines my perspective about my life, work, relationships, value, purpose, and joy. It shapes how I see my past, my present, and my future. It molds how I respond, react, and relate to the people around me.

If this really is the most important thing about me, how does belief in God grow? It flows from knowing God. God is constantly speaking to us, calling to our hearts, and inviting us to know Him. He wants us to know Him. He wired us to believe in Him and provides the best pathway for moving closer to His heart.

Here are two ways God has given us for getting to know Him better.

We get to know God through His Word. The Bible is the primary way that we learn about the heart of God, His plan for us, His work on our behalf, and His call to our hearts. Bible study is critically important if we want to have a deep, lasting, surrendered relationship with the Lord.

We get to know God through His people. God uses the people around us to teach us, encourage us, hold us accountable, and model Christlikeness for us. He created us to be in community so that we might know Him better which is why it so important to be connected to a group of Christians striving to look like Jesus.

My Jesus Resolution today is to let Jesus be the most important thing about me. It is easy to let my relationships, my work, or my desires define who I am. Today I am going to look at each moment through the heart of God. I am going to let His goodness, faithfulness, compassion, and purity shape how I see what happens today. I am going to read His Word so I can get to know Him better. I am going to connect with someone who looks like Jesus so I can learn how to walk better in His steps. I am not going to let the world tell me what is most important. All along the way today, I am going to live in such a way that proclaims that the most important thing about me is Jesus.

Something Good

8 09 2010

I saw the neatest sign yesterday. It said, “God is up to something good.” Our society seems increasingly entrenched in the negative. Politicians throw mud at each other. Wall Street spins dire reports. Environmentalists declare that the world is falling apart. Medical experts warn about the latest diseases. The news is a ranking of worst stories of the day. It is enough to make you want to crawl back into bed, pull up the covers, and never open your eyes again. Instead of listening to the news pundits and experts today, listen for the One who is truly in control of it all. God is up to something good. Watch the change in seasons and smile. God is up to something good. Sing ‘Jesus Loves Me’ at the top of your lungs. God is up to something good. Laugh with a friend, pay attention to something beautiful, stop and count your blessings. God is up to something good. There will always be bad news. But our God is always up to something good.

My Jesus Resolution today is to keep my heart open for the something good God wants to work in me. I am going to focus on the positive, count my blessings, and be thankful at least once every hour of this day. It is easy to get pulled into negative thinking. Remembering that God is up to something good makes my heart beat a little faster and my eyes open a little wider. So turn off the news and remember – God is up to something good – in you!

Calling Home

6 09 2010

I just got off the phone with my daughter. I love talking to her. She is away at school and doing well. She calls every day and we talk. Sometimes it is just for a few minutes. Just a moment to touch base and connect with home. Other days find us on the phone for a long time. There are struggles to talk about, heartache to pray over, encouragement to be given, and laughter to be shared. I look forward to hearing her voice every time.

I am thankful for the way we talk and how it binds our hearts together. Sometimes she calls to say something silly. This last week, there was a call to share deep sorrow. Some days she is down and needs encouragement, a pep talk, or a cheerleader. Other times, she just needs a hug or a laugh or a reminder that home is not as far away as it seems.

Prayer is a lot like calling home. It opens the door and allows us to connect to God. In prayer, we pour out our hearts and allow God to pour Himself into us. We share our thoughts, hurts, desires, and struggles and ask God to shape how we see our days. We can talk to Him about what we find discouraging, disheartening, and dismaying. Prayer can be filled with laughter, thanksgiving, and joy. In prayer, God reminds us that home is not as far away as it sometimes seems.

My Jesus Resolution today is to “call home.” I am going to be intentional about talking to my Father, sharing my heart, and delighting in the connection that prayer provides. It is okay if I want to call about something silly. I can go to Him if I need to share heartbreak and tears. What my daughter has taught me is to see that time on the phone through God’s eyes. I delight in the conversation, whatever it may be. God delights in the time you spend talking together as well. Call home today. Someone is waiting to hear your voice.

Ten Things God is Doing Today

3 09 2010

Sometimes it is hard to see God at work. Circumstances, fear, frustration, or other people can make it difficult to find His fingerprints on our days. Rest assured – He is there. He is moving for your good right this minute. He is at work all around you, drawing your heart to His heart. Here is a list of ten things you can be sure God is doing for you this very day.

  1. Loving you

  2. Washing away your sins

  3. Delighting in calling you His child

  4. Blessing you

  5. Holding you close

  6. Inviting you closer

  7. Igniting beauty just for you

  8. Working out His purpose for you in this world

  9. Protecting you from the evil one

10. Transforming you to look like Jesus

My Jesus Resolution today is open my heart and my eyes to the way God is at work around me. I am going to rejoice in the fact that He loves me, calls me His own, and is working out His good purpose in my life. Today I am going to look for five more things that I can add to my ‘What God is Doing’ list. I am excited to discover how He will touch my day. What is God doing in your day today?

No Complaining Zone

1 09 2010

I am always amazed at the Israelites. After months of watching the Lord overpower the gods of Egypt, the people of God walk on dry ground through a sea parted by His hand. They stand on the other side, watching as their enemy is washed away. They march in freedom, led by the cloud and pillar of His presence, toward the land of promise. They are a free people, a redeemed people, a people with a hope and a future.

Three days later, they start complaining. As their thirst grows, so do their doubts about God’s good intentions toward them. They wonder out loud about God’s wisdom, question His power, and begin to look longingly back at Egypt. They stand in the presence of the One who turned the Nile into blood and parted the waters of the Red Sea, unsure if He can provide water in the desert.

Of course, He does. He brings water from a rock. He sends manna and quail to feed their hunger. He guides them by day, provides light in the darkness, protects them from enemies, and offers them His heart. And over and over again, instead of praise and surrender, their response is arguing and complaining.

How many times do I stand in their shoes? I want to believe that if I experienced what they did, I would be a pillar of faith, resolute in my desire to serve the Lord. In reality, I am too much like them. God works in my life every day. He answers prayers, provides for my needs, guides my feet, creates a path through difficulties, and offers me His heart. Each exercise of His goodness should cement my heart in His faithfulness and secure my soul in His love. Too often, I complain. I argue about timing, demand answers to my questions, am impatient when called to wait, and grumble about not getting what I want.

Philippians 2:14 says, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” Everything is a big word. God calls me to be content instead of complaining. He offers opportunities for adoration in moments when I tend to argue. He wants me to take His hand, knowing that wherever I walk today, He will be with me, provide for me, and show me the best path to His heart.

My Jesus Resolution today is to go through the whole day without complaining. I am going to watch my tongue and put a guard around my heart. I am going to refocus my eyes and look for the ways God is already at work around me. I am going to wait with joy, pray with persistence, and be thankful in everything. Today I am going to enter the No Complaining Zone. Will you walk with me?