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Monday, June 14, 2021

My Heart Is Where My Time and Money Are

In Matthew 6:21 I read, Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NIV)


The Bible says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 NIV).


Where is my heart today? It’s simple, really. My heart is wherever I put my money and time. Wherever I put my money is where my heart is going to go. Where I spend my time also reveals my priorities. I say I love grandson’s, but do I spend time with them? If I don’t, then I don’t really love them the way I think I do. You can say I’d love to be in shape, but do I exercise? If I don’t then I really don’t love being in shape.


I can say I love Jesus, but if I don’t spend any time with him, then I don’t love him as much as I think I do.


Here’s how to know what’s really important to someone: Look at their calendar, and look at their bank statement. The way we spend their time and money shows what’s really important.


I can say, “This is really important to me.” But what I say in this case doesn’t really matter. If I don’t spend time on it and I don’t spend money on it, then my heart isn’t really there.


When I give to God, guess where my heart goes? It turns toward him and the things he loves. When I spend time with God, I become closer to him as I know him more. Giving God my time and money is an act of worship, it’s a way I align my heart with his.


Where is my heart today? Where do yoIu want it to be? Decide where I want my heart to be and start investing my time and money there. Soon I’ll find my heart there too.


In summary, where my treasure is, is where my heart will be. Where is my heart today? My heart is wherever I put my money and time. Wherever I put my money is where my heart is going to go. Where I spend my time also reveals my priorities. I can say I love Jesus, but if I don’t spend any time with him, then I don’t love him as much as I think I do. To determine what’s really important: Look at their calendar, and look at their bank statement. The way they spend their time and money shows what’s really important. So, If I don’t spend time on it and I don’t spend money on it, then my heart isn’t really there. When I give to God, my heart turns toward him and the things he loves. When I spend time with God, I become closer to him as I know him more. Giving God my time and money is an act of worship, it’s a way I align my heart with his. Where is my heart today and where do I want it to be? I need to decide where I want my heart to be and then start investing my time and money there. When I do so, I’ll soon find my heart there as well.


Jesus makes it clear that having the wrong treasure leads to my heart being in the wrong place. What I treasure the most controls me, whether I want to admit it or not. If possessions or money become too important to me, then I must re-establish control or get rid of items. Jesus calls for a decision that allows me to live contentedly with whatever I have because I have chosen eternal values over temporary, earthly treasures.


Father, thank you for wanting me. I need you in my life. Please give me Your strength for today and remind me in little ways that I can always believe in, have faith in and can trust you in everything. This includes being the authority for my life, the source of my self-worth and my hope for the future. You have my best interests in mind. So I ask you to help me to embrace the way you’ve made me; my gifting and passions. Help me to serve and fulfill the mission you have in mind for me. Father, help me to consider my heart and priority today as I use my time and money.


I ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, my interactions with others, doing well and making a difference in my new job.  I pray these things through you Son Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Friday, June 11, 2021

Paying Attention Fans the Flame of Romance

In James 1:19 I read, Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (NIV)


Good marriages don’t just happen. Marriage is what I make it. If I put in the effort, I can learn the skills and wisdom to build a great relationship, regardless of what my marriage has been like up until now.


There are some practical ways that myself and my spouse can grow closer together and closer to God. Many of these principles can also be applied to any close relationship, at any stage of my life.


One skill that anyone can learn to help make their relationships better, whether in marriage or in friendship, is how to pay attention.


When I give someone my attention and focus, it’s like I give them a piece of my life.


My time is my life because I’ll never get it back. That’s why the most loving act I can show my spouse is to pay attention to them. Those focused moments of intimate sharing are one of the most important ways I say, “I love you.”


The truth is, I fell in love by paying attention. I started paying attention to someone, and that person started paying attention to me. I spent my free time together.


But gradually my attention shifted. Today I may be more focused on paying the bills, taking care of kids, pursuing hobbies, or building a career. My spouse isn’t the center of my attention anymore. A shift of focus happens naturally, but if I don’t bring my attention back, my marriage will eventually crumble.


One of the ways I let my attention fade in marriage is when I stop listening. Pride makes me assume I know what my spouse has said, because I think I’ve heard them say it over and over again through the years.


If I’ve stopped listening, start listening again today. Why? First, I love her. And when I give my attention by listening, I’m showing love. Next, sometimes God speaks through my spouse. In fact, next to the Bible, it’s God’s favorite way to speak to me.


God gives a great recipe in his Word for the kind of focused attention through listening that makes a marriage grow. James 1:19 says, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV). When I do the first two parts of that verse, the third one will be automatic. As I do this, I’ll keep my marriage growing and going.


To fan the flames of romance in marriage, start bringing back some of that focused attention. Show I care by staying aware. As I pay attention, I’ll find myself growing closer even as we go about life.


In summary, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. A good marriage doesn't just happen. If I put in the effort, I can learn the skills and wisdom to build a great relationship, regardless of what it’s been like up until now. One skill to help make their relationships better, is how to pay attention. When I give someone my attention and focus, it’s like I give them a piece of my life. My time is my life because I’ll never get it back. So the most loving act I can show is to pay attention to them. Those focused moments of intimate sharing are one of the most important ways I say, “I love you.” The truth is, I fell in love with my spouse by paying attention. But gradually my attention shifted and my spouse isn’t the center of my attention anymore. One of the ways I let my attention fade in marriage, is when I stop listening. Pride makes me assume I know what my spouse has said. So If I’ve stopped listening, start listening again. When I give my attention by listening, I’m showing love. God gives a great recipe in his Word for the kind of focused attention through listening. “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”, When I do the first two parts, the third one will be automatic. To fan the flames of romance in marriage, start bringing back some of that focused attention. Show I care by staying aware. As I pay attention, I’ll find myself growing closer even as we go about life.


When I talk too much and listen too little, I communicate to others that I think my ideas are much more important than theirs. James wisely advises to reverse this process. Place a mental stopwatch on my conversations, and keep track of how much I take and how much I listen. When people talk with me, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value?


Father, thank you for wanting me. I need you in my life. Please give me Your strength for today and remind me in little ways that I can always believe in, have faith in and can trust you in everything. This includes being the authority for my life, the source of my self-worth and my hope for the future. You have my best interests in mind. So I ask you to help me to embrace the way you’ve made me; my gifting and passions. Help me to serve and fulfill the mission you have in mind for me. Father, as I go about my day, help me to focus on paying attention and giving my time. I ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, my interactions with others, doing well and making a difference in my new job.  I pray these things through you Son Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Adjustments That Make Marriage Work

In 1 John 3:18 I read, Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action.” (GNT)


Every marriage, and really, every relationship, offers many opportunities for adjustments. Life together will change. Children / grandchildren will grow up. I’ll change jobs. we’ll move. I’ll get sick. Life will force me to make adjustments.


And to make these adjustments successfully, I’ll need to become unselfish. In fact, learning to be unselfish may be the greatest lesson God wants to teach me through my marriage.


Unselfishness is at the core of what the Bible teaches in 1 John 3:18: “Our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (GNT).


Here are three ways to make unselfish, loving adjustments:


1. Think about what my wife needs. The Bible says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:4 NLT). Unfortunately, often the longer I’m married, the less I think about my spouse’s needs. The Bible urges me to look out for everyone’s needs, but especially the needs of those in my own home.


2. Submit to each other. The Bible calls spouses to submit to each other, to give up what I really want in order to meet my wife’s needs. Ephesians 5:21 says, “Honor Christ by submitting to each other” (TLB). Never think my spouse should do all of the adjusting in marriage. As the leader of our home, I, the husband, is called to lead the way in sacrificing and in making adjustments, just as Jesus did. Paul writes, “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her” (Ephesians 5:25 NLT).


3. Make adjustments in the little things. Maybe it means arriving a little bit later or leaving a little bit earlier. Maybe it means going to bed at a different time. Maybe it means going to the restaurant or watching the movie my wife prefers. Maybe it means listening when my wife needs me to listen and not just when I feel like it. Real love is expressed through those small, daily decisions to adjust and meet each other’s needs.


The test of real love isn’t in what I say. It’s in how I act.


When my love is mature, I’ll treat my mate like Jesus would. 1 John 3:16 says, “This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us” (GNT).


So I need to make the adjustments to love my spouse like Christ does. That decision will change everything.


In summary, my love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Marriage and every relationship, offers opportunities for adjustments. Life together will change and will force us to make adjustments. To make these adjustments successfully, I’ll need to become unselfish. Learning to be unselfish may be the greatest lesson God wants to teach me through my marriage. Unselfishness is at the core of what the Bible teaches. Three ways to make unselfish, loving adjustments are: First, to think about what my wife needs. The Bible urges me to look out for everyone’s needs, but especially the needs of those in my own home. Second, to submit to each other. The Bible calls spouses to submit to each other, to give up what I really want in order to meet my wife’s needs. As the leader of our home, I’m called to lead the way in sacrificing and in making adjustments, just as Jesus did. Lastly, to make adjustments in the little things. Real love is expressed through those small, daily decisions to adjust and meet each other’s needs. The test of real love isn’t in what I say. It’s in how I act. When my love is mature, I’ll treat my mate like Jesus would. So I need to make the adjustments to love my spouse like Christ does.


Real love is an action, not a feeling. The greatest act of love is the giving of myself for others. I do this by serving with no thought of receiving anything in return. I need to put others' desires first. How clearly do my actions say I am really loving others?  Am I generous as I should be with my money, possessions and time?


Father, thank you for wanting me. I need you in my life. Please give me Your strength for today and remind me in little ways that I can always believe in, have faith in and can trust you in everything. This includes being the authority for my life, the source of my self-worth and my hope for the future. You have my best interests in mind. So I ask you to help me to embrace the way you’ve made me; my gifting and passions. Help me to serve and fulfill the mission you have in mind for me. Father, as I go about my day, help remind me that real love is an action and a sacrifice to serve others interests above my own, reflected in how I act.


I ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, my interactions with others, doing well and making a difference in my new job.  I pray these things through you Son Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Fear Rejection? Keep Eternity in Mind

In Isaiah 51:12 I read, The LORD says, ‘I am the one who strengthens you. Why should you fear mortals, who are no more enduring than grass?’” (GNT)


One way to overcome the fear of rejection is by keeping the right perspective. I can listen to the opinions of others, but never overvalue what they say.


In Isaiah 51:12, God says, “I am the one who strengthens you. Why should you fear mortals, who are no more enduring than grass?” (GNT). My life here on Earth is temporary, so why be afraid of other people’s opinions?


Other people are not God, and their opinions aren’t going to last. The secret to success is to outlast my critics, to realize that it’s the really long game, eternity, that matters. In Isaiah, God reminds me he’s the one who counts.


When people put me down, don’t assume their judgments are the same as God’s. Don’t automatically accept someone’s criticism; instead, judge it for what it’s worth.


Why does this matter? Because when people’s approval becomes all-important to me, I set myself up to live in fear of rejection.


The Bible says, “In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 GNT). If I recognize how much God is for me, it gives me the ability to withstand tremendous rejection from others.


For some, all that matters is popularity, fame, or applause. They think: “What do others think of me? How do I look to everybody else? Image is everything!”


If I live this way, I am at the mercy of everyone else’s judgments. If someone thinks I’m a loser, I must be a loser! If someone thinks I’m a dork, I must be a dork! I should not want to live that way.


The good news is God never intended for me to live this way. It’s as if he’s saying, “Why are you listening to them? They’re just mortal men and women. I’m the one that counts. They are no more enduring than grass.”


The apostle Paul said his goal in life was to please God, not others: “Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval! Am I trying to be popular with people? If I were still trying to do so, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 GNT).


Paul says I have a choice. I can choose to live for the applause of God or for the applause of others.


Who am I more interested in pleasing? The crowd or God? I can’t seek the approval of both at the same time. I have to decide who I want to impress. Just remember who is “no more enduring than grass” and who is “the one who strengthens you.”


God is for me, and he wants to see me succeed! I need to choose to live for him today.


In summary, God is the one who strengthens me. I should not fear others who won’t last. To overcome the fear of rejection is by keeping the right perspective. I can listen to the opinions of others, but never overvalue what they say. My life here on Earth is temporary, so why be afraid of the opinions of others? Other people are not God, and their opinions aren’t going to last. To outlast my critics, realize that it’s the really long game, eternity, that matters. In the book of Isaiah, God reminds me he’s the one who counts. When people put me down, don’t assume their judgments are the same as God’s. Don’t automatically accept someone’s criticism; instead, judge it for what it’s worth. If I allow others' approvals to be all-important to me, I set myself up to live in fear of rejection. If I recognize how much God is for me, it gives me the ability to withstand tremendous rejection from others. For some, all that matters is popularity, fame, or applause. Image is everything!” If I live this way, I am at the mercy of everyone else’s judgments. I should not want to live that way. The good news is God never intended for me to live this way. It’s as if God says, “Why are you listening to them? I’m the one that counts. The apostle Paul said his goal in life was to please God, not others, Paul says I have a choice. I can choose to live for the applause of God or for the applause of others. So who am I more interested in pleasing? I can’t seek the approval of both at the same time. I have to decide who I want to impress. God is for me, and he wants to see me succeed! I need to choose to live for him today.


Father, thank you for wanting me. I need you in my life. Please give me Your strength for today and remind me in little ways that I can always believe in, have faith in and can trust you in everything. This includes being the authority for my life, the source of my self-worth and my hope for the future. You have my best interests in mind. So I ask you to help me to embrace the way you’ve made me; my gifting and passions. I want to serve and fulfill the mission you have in mind for me. Father, you are more interested in setting me free. I should not misplace my fear and love. I need to take your power and opinion seriously, above others. I ask for wisdom and guidance for my day, my work, my leadership, my interactions with others, doing well and making a difference in my new job.  I pray these things through you Son Jesus’ name, Amen.