Archive

Archive for June, 2009

The Matters at Hand

June 27th, 2009

Know well the condition of your flock, and pay attention to your herds.

Proverbs 27:23

 

It is easy for any of us to be distracted from the matters at hand, from the chief responsibilities we have been entrusted with. Character is revealed, however, in the capacity to continually concentrate on central concerns of our lives, among which are: marriage and family, key relationships in life, work responsibilities, and church connections.

 

Any number of things may divert our focus – a sense of frustration of not being able to accomplish what we desire, a simple loss of interest in matters, the seeming romance of another venture, personality conflicts – but “drudgery is the touchstone of character.”

 

Some ideas for rediscovering the joy and sense of responsibility in handling your responsibilities:

·        Thank God for the key relationships and opportunities He has entrusted into your hands. Lay aside, if only briefly, the unpleasant aspects of these things, take off the whiner’s mask, and just spend time thanking God for them each. You will be surprised how often this act alone changes your perspective.

·        Consider the people your responsibilities protect and help. Life is not just about you. We work together as family, as society, and as Christians. Some ones are counting and depending on you performing your duty, just as you are depending on others.

·        Re-discover the sense of adventure in your marriage, in your parenting, in your job, in your relationships, and in your church. Work as unto the Lord in all areas of your life.

·        Take Christ with you into each and every situation. No challenge is too big for Him, even the challenge of dealing with the routine details of life. You will find God’s strength there if you lean upon Him.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, let us become experts at happily taking care of the matters at hand, the people and responsibilities you have entrusted to our care. Amen

Evening Devotionals

Don’t Be a Slacker!

June 26th, 2009

The slacker says, “There is a lion in the road – a lion in the public square!” A door turns on its hinge, and a slacker, on his bed.

Proverbs 26:13-14

 

The classic under-achiever finds excuses for every failure. Solomon likens him to a rusty door hinge that groans and moans while others are coming and going. He panics at the slightest hint of danger and makes huge issues out of little ones. A kitten can become a lion, an inconvenience an impenetrable obstacle, and thirty minutes of simple work a laborious task from which there is no respite.

 

How can we overcome this attitude, because to some degree or another it exists in each of us? Those who learn to overcome obstacles, to face danger, to rise to challenges, must first learn to face this attitude in their own minds.

 

Fear can be paralyzing, and there are a variety of fears in people’s hearts. Some fear failure and embarrassment, some fear loss of control, others fear lack of recognition, while still others fear danger and harm, and many others abound. Fear is countered and conquered by the love of God in Christ. 1 John 4:18 says, “Perfect love drives our fear,” and “the one who fears is not reached perfection in love.” Knowing that the love of Christ will never be taken from me increases my confidence and helps me face and overcome my fears. Courage, after all, is not the absence of fear but the conquest over it.

 

One of the signs of the slacker is a constant negativism, that stereo-types others, that spends tremendous energy explaining why something won’t work, when only a portion of that amount of energy spent in the right direction could fix the problem. When we seem to be dragged down by our fears, we need to stop the negative thinking and talking, look to God and pray, evaluate the problem, and go to work on it. We will be better for it and the world will also be a better place.

 

The wise man, instead of whining about lions in the street, will put that energy to use building cages, taking lion-taming lessons, and perhaps even promoting a circus. Every challenge gives an opportunity to the one who is built up in the love of Christ.

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, without You we can do nothing but through You we can do all things. Build us up in our confidence. Forgive us for whining, even if it is whining about whiners, and let us move confidently forward under Your Lordship. Amen.

 

Evening Devotionals