My Motivation for 2018

You won’t find things like bringing a child into your family as your own, spending time with a lonely widow or homeless man, or visiting someone in prison on too many 2018 resolution or goal lists.

I don’t know many people who wake up in the morning saying, “Today, I am going to leave my comfort zone and hang out with someone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than I do”.

Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves just isn’t how we are hard-wired. Instead we think of ourselves and our own family and close friends.

We need a motivation that prompts us to do things outside of ourselves. For many that is a sense of justice. Maybe some do it out of obligation or guilt. For others it is for the recognition that it brings.

So what is my motivation for 2018?

I am like many of you, I set some business goals for my writing, blogging, podcasting, and a couple of new things for this year.

I also set a couple of personal goals too. They are quite simple. One is to avoid complaining and criticizing. I do this in my mind more than I vocalize it, except around home. The flip side to that is to use words of kindness and encouragement.

My wife is doing the happy dance about that goal.

The other is one that I know will impact every area of my life, especially when it comes to successfully living a life sent. It doesn’t have anything to do with the external motivations listed above.

My one other goal is to spend scheduled, intimate time with God.

On our property, down the hill from our house we have a large oak tree with two benches under it. I have spent a lot of time clearing cedar and brush on our property, and I will often take a break sitting on one of those benches. I find peace in the beauty, and it directs my thoughts and heart toward God.

But what happens far too often is that I don’t prioritize times to spend with God. Yes, I will read some scripture in the morning. Some days I will journal some thoughts or prayers.

So I decided that I will spend 2-3 mornings by going down the hill without my phone. Just my Bible, journal, and a pen. And spend time with God in what has become a sacred place for me.

Our church called us to a time of prayer and fasting this week. That is how I am beginning 2018. Praying and fasting as I seek God. He is who makes it a priority to place a child into a family, who cares for the widow and the one who doesn’t have a place to call home. God doesn’t forget the one who is in prison, and yes, He set the example of leaving His place of comfort, not just comfort, perfection, and entering our world.

As I spend time with Him…as we spend time with Him, His nature becomes our nature.

If that is the one and only goal that I accomplish this year, it will be the best year ever.

Greatest Challenge to Hearing God?

I know he didn’t hear me. I asked him, “Son, what did I just ask you to do?” He looks up at me with his big, brown eyes, “Umm, I don’t know. Can you tell me again?”

Photo Credit: ashlibean via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: ashlibean via Compfight cc

We all have done it. Whether we are a four-year-old boy busy playing and talking, a 14 year-old teenager plugged into their own world, or a 53 year-old man watching his favorite sporting event on TV.

Someone can stand right in front of us talking directly to us, and we won’t hear a word they say.

I usually get frustrated when my son does this. It seems that the only thing that works is for me to patiently get down on my knees, take his face gently in my hands and ask for his eyes.

Then he hears me.

Greatest challenge we have to hearing God?

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What Could Happen if We Said “Yes God” Instead of “How God?”

How God? How exactly are you going to do it? How can you use me? How are you going to fix this? Mankind has been asking these kinds of questions of God for a long time.

Trouble with the How questions is that it reveals a lack of faith and a need for control.

When we show faith, we trust God at His word—whether it is His written Word or the word He impresses on our heart. When He speaks to us and we respond, “How?”, do we reflect someone who follows Him? Do we demonstrate that He is our Lord who is all Powerful and all Knowing?

When I ask God how, I am really saying that I want some control in the matter. I want God to explain to me how He plans to fulfill His promises. Does He owe me an explanation? Do I deserve to know how He will do what He says He will do?

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Have We Found a Better Way?

Several years ago I had a guy speak a word of prophecy to me. He didn’t know me nor I him. I don’t even remember his name. He described me as being like a maverick horse running around and around a pen of tame horses. A rebellious and adventurous heart yet desiring to belong to a loving and caring master.

Sadly, that does describe me all too often. Like I blogged in We Have a Runner!, I tend to wander too easily from the God I love.

I look at my life and it’s no wonder that I don’t experience more of His power and peace. I lean on my own understanding, I rely on my own wisdom. I am self-reliant. If I seek counsel at all it is from others before Him. The paradox is that I want to be a godly man without submitting to the God who I want to be like. The result is not pretty. I am prideful, arrogant, covetous, lustful and quarrelsome. I am sinful.

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