I was almost finished with a briefing when I stumbled across this holiday piece which was so apropos with just a few tweaks; see what you think . . .
to maintain such a thing, even right now with the craziness that is going on all around us? Even now when many of us are also feeling so isolated?
The writer of Proverbs has a lot to say on right living, such as:
~>Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4.23
Guarding our heart takes intentionality. Augustine suggested that to have a well ordered heart is to
love the right thing, to the right degree, in the right way, with the right kind of love, to which I might add at the right time.
Could it be that Augustine was commenting on what King Solomon wrote a thousand years before him? Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.1
Intentionality will call for an action plan on our parts, with the seminal thought that without daily connecting with God – that is, being in his Word and in personal communication with him (prayer) – our hearts and minds go into the world unguarded. I mean, has there ever been a time such as this in our lifetime?
Here’s my covid-19 challenge: give God the first fifteen minutes of your day. Meditate on his Word and pray. ‘But, but …‘I’m too distracted to pray!’ Consider this: the more that pulls at you, the more you need to pray. The less time you think you have, the more time you need to spend with God.
Here’s what I’m promising: ~>If you’ll first take time to pray, you’ll actually have more time, more peace and more wisdom for everything that comes your way – it’s a matter of priorities and a matter of trust.
When you put God first and rely upon the strength of God’s grace to get things done, you become more effective and more efficient.2
And perhaps most importantly, you realize it’s not all up to you. If you ask him, God will be up ahead, clearing the path and guiding the way. Plus, you have an opportunity to bless another who happens across your path. Case in point: I ran into Walmart today to get a quick something and was going through the self-check lane, when the attendant came by and commented on her mask wearing. ‘I have asthma and I’m 65, my kids want me to wear this.’ I turned and smiled and said, ‘that makes so much sense; I’m glad you are wearing it.’ Once my receipt came out of the little slot, I turned around, put my hand on her back and prayed that God would keep her well, keep her free from the virus. She was so grateful. So was I.
I have often wondered if it is possible for me to live a life without regret. I think it is – but I will have to intentionally choose to be in the presence of God, to think his thoughts after him, to speak what he gives me to say, to listen in the way he listens, to do what he gives me to do. Without a doubt, the only way to do any of these things – the only way to live a life without regret - is starting each morning with a set apart time with God.
Here’s how I set my mind on God and conversely endeavor to get his mind in me every morning. With my Bible and a simple lined (Moleskine) notebook, I go to my regular meeting place with coffee in hand and work a schema that helps order my thinking and guard against distraction.
Set Apart time with God
>Scripture Meditation: Choose a verse or verses, ask God to help you understand, apply
>Adoration: Our Father who art in Heaven . . . hallowed be Thy name.
Appreciate God in your own words:
>Confession: Forgive me of my sins
>Asking: Pray for others’ needs, specifically.
Pray for yourself; be sure to ask God for wisdom, for favor
>Thanksgiving: I thank you, God, for __________ , ___________,
>Listening: “Speak to me, Lord. I’m listening . . .”
Give God some quiet in which to speak. Be still. Write down what you sense he is telling you:
Paul said that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds3; friends, this is it.
This is how we renew our minds ~ with a set apart time to start the day.
Then no matter what press conference happens, we are ready.
No matter the duress, we can know and walk in the peace of God.
A Set Apart daily time with God leads to a well-ordered heart and yes,
peace is possible.
1 – another take of Prov. 4.23
2 - Inspired by Too Busy Not to Pray, Bill Hybels.
3 – Romans 12.2