Archives For Priorities

A simple Christmas

December 6, 2014 — Leave a comment

a simple ChristmasThe older I get, the more I appreciate the simple things in life.

We live in a complicated world, full of chaos, tension, and stresses of every kind. And with our always-on, constantly-connected technology, we are bombarded by news, text messages, emails, and alerts all day every day. It’s easy to feel dazed and overwhelmed by the relentless noise that has come to characterize so much of life.

This Christmas season I’m striving to focus more on the simple things, the simple joys of time spent with family and friends.

Simple conversations.

Simple family games.

Simple meals.

Simple memories.

Isn’t it fascinating how cluttered and complicated we’ve made Christmas. It’s not supposed to be about stuff, no matter what the endless commercials suggest. Do we really need bigger and better? Do we really have to have the latest update? Do we really feel more special, important, (insert your own adjective here) — because of the amount and quality of stuff we accumulate? Do we even remember what stuff we received as gifts last Christmas?

I’m reminded of the wise and true words of Jesus as recorded in Acts 20:35: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So, let me encourage you to join me in seeking ways to give — not just money and material things — but your time, talents, love, compassion, and grace, wherever you find the opportunity.

If you have children and grandchildren, are you teaching them through your own actions and priorities what is most important in life?

This Christmas season, I hope you’ll be drawn anew to a simple baby in a simple manger in a simple town.

His name is Jesus. And He was — and is — the hope of all the world.

How do you keep a focus on the simple things that make Christmas so special?

Making time for God

January 8, 2014 — Leave a comment

will-you-make-time-for-God“Be still and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10a

This is a verse that most Christians know, and yet it seems that everything in our modern world works against us.

Phone calls, emails, text messages, social media, television, kids, pets, traffic. The list of distractions is seemingly endless. In a culture that rewards and even demands constant juggling and multitasking, it is incumbent upon each of us to make the effort to focus on spending uninterrupted time with God.

I know, I know. You’re good with juggling tasks. And God understands how busy you are, right?

Actually, I think the level of chaos, clutter, and noise in our lives creates a kind of mental environment in which whatever and whoever is the loudest gets our attention. How many times have you failed to finish — or even begin — focused time in Scripture and prayer, in spite of your best intentions, all because you got interrupted?

If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer that to be a rhetorical question. The truth is that we all fight this ongoing battle to carve out time. And while God, of course, knows the intimate details of our schedules, He also knows how many non-essential, superfluous things win our time and attention. We understand that God is always available to us, and perhaps unconsciously, we actually take advantage of that fact.

Let me put it this way: How many of your real-life friends would still be your friends if you treated them as casually as you treat God? As hours become days, and days become weeks, would you expect your friends to just camp out in his or her designated spot until you found time to visit? Of course not!

One of the greatest lies in our culture is that we’ll somehow ‘find time.’ How often do you hear people use that expression? How often do you find yourself saying it — maybe not verbally but within your own private thoughts?

The reality is that we make the time to do those things that are most important to us. [Tweet That!] And if we’re really honest with ourselves, it’s hard to deny the fact that we carve out time for things that are far less important than our relationship with God — things that drain us and rob us of valuable resources and energy that are necessary to engage in a personal relationship with Him.

I often wonder how healthy we’d be if we treated our bodies with the same level of importance as we treat our spiritual selves. I know people who claim to be believers but who have acknowledged to me that they almost never attend church, rarely open their Bibles, and kneel before the Lord in prayer only when tragedy strikes or all other alternatives have been exhausted.

Does that sound like a friend to you? Continue Reading…