1. Dream! In a recent talk, one of the sisters shared how she keeps a dream journal, and writes in it all the things she would like to do, and see God do. This is a great idea. I want to start doing this. Dreams give us a reason for living. We need something to look forward to, something that makes us excited about the future.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you; who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage. Passing through the valley of Weeping, they make it a place of springs. Ps 84:5-6
2. The basics are universal. I was talking to an elderly man who has been a part of Alcoholics Anonymous for years, and he told me he is sponsoring a new person who is trying to become sober. Here is what he told this person to do in order to succeed: “Read the book, come to meetings, and call me every day.” That is the same advice I give people when I study the Bible with them!
An article inspired by Tim Ferris, an expert in being productive in the work place, says the best thing to do is to start the day with a routine of being quiet. “If you start the day calm, it’s easy to get the right things done and focus.” We all need the same thing — a time to get centered on what is really important.
3. Teach others to care for others. “Some church leaders wrongly assume that all of the responsibility for discipleship and spiritual growth falls on them as the main vision caster and leader in the church. But this line of thinking will only frustrate them, exhaust them, and burn them out. Why? Because one person cannot do all that it takes to disciple everyone in the church. If he spreads himself out too thin, he will end up spiritually and physically unhealthy, and the people will not get the spiritual care and investment that it will take to help them grow to maturity as well. It will leave the congregation in a perpetual state of spiritual childhood. Because they are not taught, disciplined, and encouraged, they will end up demanding to be fed and cared for and never grow to the point that they can take care of others.” – Jim Putman
4. I am on call. I am God’s vehicle for reaching out to others. I can’t see my time as mine. I have to be prepared to address whatever need comes up.
So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ Luke 18:10
Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? Luke 12:42
5. Quality over quantity. It becomes increasingly clear to me that loving people well is more important than achieving a large number of things during the day.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,b but do not have love, I gain nothing. I Cor 13:1-3
6. Be Spirit led! No, that picture above isn’t a holy roller service, it’s a wedding. But we’re all having a great time, and I think it’s because three years ago, following the Spirit, Tre and Ketera were invited to church. They became disciples, and their whole life changed! This is a scene from their wedding, and all of us celebrating what God has done, and will do.
Mike has been touting the importance of letting the Spirit us more, and not restricting God, or ourselves, to routines. He referenced a book called, “Wild Good Chase,” by Mark Batterson. This book relates that walking with the Spirit should be like, “another day, another adventure.” “Take the Spirit out of the equation and it would spell one word, b-o-r-i-n-g,” says Batterson.
Here’s a little side note to this: If the Spirit is to lead us, pride is the worst enemy.
Which leads me to —
7. Maybe aging is God’s plan to purify me. Is it possible that God has us get old and feeble, with our mind and body breaking down, because this humbling will prepare us for heaven?
I am finding that the process of aging is bringing my sin to the surface. My mind drifts more, and as this happens, veins of conceit become more apparent.
When I am irritable, the pride is like a red light alarm that goes off over and over again, because I experience it so much.
I have to believe that God loves me and in his adoration allows me to go through these trials to help me get rid of the toxins in me.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16
God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Heb 12:10
8. PRAY to change impossible character traits. This has come up so much recently. A friend said he had longtime weaknesses he couldn’t do anything about. Someone asked him, “Are you praying every day for God to change this?” Since then I have encountered others in similar situations. As I wrote in the last point, I myself am in a similar situation. I want to be loving and giving, but sometimes I am hitting a wall.
Our best hope is to pray daily that God will show us how to break down that wall!
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” Mark 9:29
9. Believe in others more than they believe in themselves. This great advice was given to me to help me deal with a bad attitude I have towards someone. It is just what I needed to hear! I am going to put it into practice.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. I Cor 13:7
Jesus believed the best in others. Look at his attitude when he called Peter and Nathanial:
- Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter.) John 1:40
- Jesus asked him, “Do you believe this just because I told you I had seen you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” John 1:50
10. My job is to thank and praise, NOT micromanage God. I walk around burdened, my shoulders heavy with so many people I think I need to help, so many chores I need to keep up with, so many expectations for myself.
It puts it all into perspective when I focus instead on praising and thanking God. Then I can see the miracle of how He’s working, instead of what still needs to be done.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. I Cor 3:7