Tag Archives: intentional living

Running the Race

Lord, time truly flies. I know that it won’t be long before I am standing in your presence. That is why I cannot grieve long over those who have gone ahead of me. I miss them, but know that they are free from the struggles of this earth and would never want them back here. I will see them in the blink of an eye, and I know that all that counts on this side of eternity are the eternal things—loving You and loving people. Yet, I feel that I am not consistent in anything. Life gets in the way of my best intentions, and though I desire to put You first, the constant demands of life tend to drown out the eternal. I know that much of the problem is just me. Scripture tells me to love You with all of my heart, soul, and strength. That last word hits home as I think about my weak attempts at physical strength training. I may get to the gym once or twice a week, and when I do there’s really no plan. I run back and forth in the water, and use the resistance weights on and off, but there’s no real strategy to achieve my goal. In fact, I don’t even set goals. I see the same problem across the board—from physical exercise, to work, to personal life, to spiritual life. I build no strength, because I lack the self-discipline and consistency needed to build it.

Athletes are consistent. I am consistent with nothing. It takes so little to get me off track. It doesn’t help that my schedule changes from day to day, but that was my choice—a choice that fits my impulsive personality. I hate routine, but it’s quite apparent I need it. Paul often compared the Christian life to competing in an athletic competition. “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:25-27). Every day of my life feels like an exercise in futility—like beating the air. I call it spinning my wheels. Lord, please help me overcome myself! Help me run with endurance the race set before me, and help me to see the goal! Actually, Hebrews 12:2 tells me I should run it by keeping my eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of my faith. I must look at his example of endurance, and his determination to finish the work the Father sent him to accomplish. Make me resolute Lord. Strengthen me in this weakness of mine, and teach me how to overcome my inconsistent nature. I surrender it to You now. I am desperate for your help! Amen

My child, you did get some athletic training when you were growing up. Remember how you couldn’t wait for baseball season? You practiced every chance you could, because you loved it. The same was true of tennis. Yes, it required self-discipline, but it was born out of a love for the games. Keep that in mind, or you will quickly become legalistic. Everything you do must be born out of love. You must run towards Me, and I will give you the strength you need. I did not make you a “type A” personality, and I intend to use you with the gifts and strengths I have given you. Yes, you must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God,” but in order to do that you must have Me in your sights. You need only make yourself available to Me consistently. I do not ask for more than that. Do not turn this into a list of requirements, or you will fail very quickly. Run the race because you love Me, and because you love people. Set your goals with that love in mind. Even your physical exercise should be born out of love for Me, and a desire to honor Me in all you do. Make the time and I will do the rest. This means you cannot give in to every demand life throws your way. You must make choices, but that is easy when your priorities are correct. The real battle is choosing what is most important. Put Me first, and everything else will fall in place. I will bring order as you run towards Me. 

Lord, Give Me Eyes to See

Lord, speak to my heart today. Some days I just get so fed up with this world, and long for the Day when you will wipe every tear from our eyes, and live in our midst. Looking at people can sure be cause for discouragement. Actually, looking at myself can be cause for discouragement, and I desire to honor You with my life. So many in this world don’t know You—don’t have any desire to know You. Even worse, sometimes, I think they are led astray by people who claim to know You. I know I was for many years. Bottom line is that You seem to have a small remnant of followers in the world, there are many wolves among your sheep, and the world system is dark and lost. John was right when he said that this world system consists of “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn. 1:25).  Nearly every day I see people tying their value to possessions and achievements with no regard for spiritual things. Others seek approval from people and end up wallowing in depression, because people can never give them what they seek. We were made for You, and yet reject You to go our own selfish ways. I am so amazed at your patience. You are the potter and we are the clay. You certainly have every right to destroy it all and start all over again, but in your love and mercy You have chosen to work in our brokenness. In fact, You chose to enter it and become broken yourself in order to redeem those who would receive You. You shine in the midst of the darkness, and put your Spirit in your children as instruments of your grace. It constantly amazes me. I remember how impressed I was at the level of service offered by the churches after Hurricane Katrina versus the Red Cross and the government. People came by the thousands and sacrificed to help. Your light penetrated the darkness, and many were able to see your goodness in the midst of horrific tragedy. I saw so many cases where lives were positively changed forever, because of your church. Those little glimpses of light must be occurring all over the world, and You are in the midst of them all. I need to look at your grand design, and stop worrying about the darkness. Let me shine for You today. Amen

 Little one, my eyes are constantly looking throughout the whole earth (Zec. 4:10), and my purposes will stand. To your eyes the work may seem small, but it will be accomplished—not by might or power, but by my Spirit (Zec. 4:6).  Call to Me and I will answer, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know (Jer. 33:3). I can give you eyes to see. You are looking at things from a human perspective, and are missing the eternal purposes I am accomplishing. Trust that I have a good plan, and simply be obedient to the call I have on your life. I know that right now you are unsure of the direction to take, but continue to seek my face. Do not let shallow substitutes obscure your view; that is, do not allow anything to distract your gaze from Me. If you do,  you will sink, just as Peter began to sink when he started looking at the wind and waves (Mt. 14:30). The waves will continue to crash, and the wind will continue to blow until I bring you into my presence, but walking by faith will hold you up through the storms. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen—the things that are unseen are eternal (Heb. 11:1, 2 Cor. 4:18). Learn to live for the eternal unseen kingdom, and the waves will become as phantoms with no power to move you. If you are discouraged, it means your eyesight is faulty. Let Me give you new eyes to see beyond the fading shadows. For now you see dimly and you only know in part, but one day you will understand it all (1 Cor. 13:12). Until that day, let me lead you, and walk in my Spirit. All things are possible for those who believe. 

eyes elightened

The Road to Victory is Paved with Intentional Living

Lord, here I am– one foot in victory, and the other in defeat. Unless I am intentional, I know which way the day will go. I long to walk in a way that pleases You—that is where I find peace and joy beyond human comprehension. So why in the world do I ever allow myself to drift off onto the path of least resistance? I constantly disappoint myself, yet I sense your grace and mercy over my weaknesses. You are so much more patient than I am, and though You have the right to condemn, You choose to encourage instead. Thank You for meeting me here and enabling me to find victory over myself. Thank You so much for your willingness to use imperfect and needy vessels. I stay amazed by that. Right now, I yield myself, and ask You to help me stay yielded. Gently remind me of the power that is mine when I get overwhelmed by life today. Help me rest in You in the midst of turmoil. Thank You so much for your incredible love!

 The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet when planted it becomes the largest plant in the garden (Mk. 4:31). Give me what little you have, and let Me cause the growth. I am working in ways you cannot see, and you must always remember leave the outcome to Me. My grace is sufficient, and I am infinitely merciful, yet I call you to be holy. That means you are to be set apart from the madness of this world, even though you are in the world you are not of it (Jn. 15:19). I know how easy it is for your mind to dwell on the temporary, earthly things rather than the eternal, unseen things (2 Cor. 4:17), and I am telling you that you must make every effort to resist that tendency. Freedom comes from discipline, so discipline your mind and heart. Cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take your thoughts captive to be obedient to Me (2 Cor. 10:5). Right now, you are allowing worry to take root, as if you don’t think I will take care of that situation. Let go of it. Give it to Me, for as long as you hold on, I will not take it by force. I see the one you see as hopeless, and I am here to tell you that there is always hope in Me. Put that loved one in my hands. You have no power to change anything, and any efforts you make to help will not be helpful. Your best course of action is prayer and surrender. Leave this child in my hands, and trust Me for the outcome. Do I need to remind you of all the miracles you have seen firsthand in your own life and in the lives of others you used to worry about? Surrender this one to Me my child. I am in control. I am able, and I see. Let your burdens become my burdens, and find rest for your weary soul. Refuse to meditate on worrisome thoughts, and choose to praise Me instead. I inhabit the praises of my children (Ps. 22:3), and miracles happen in my presence. Praise instead of worrying, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf (2 Ch. 20:17). I am mighty and this battle is mine, so do not try to take my place by carrying a burden that is too heavy for you. Let go. I have it in my competent hands.