Tag Archives: Priorities

1 Kings 19-21; 2 Chronicles 17; Matthew 24

I listened to a podcast where the host remembered an interview with a businessman about priorities, and he said that taking care of health was the single most important thing one could do for his business. I wonder if business classes teach the importance of self care?

Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!” He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

Then the angel of the Lord came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. There he came to a cave, where he spent the night.

But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:3-13, NLT)”

I looked up an image of a broom tree, and imagined Elijah there. I emphasized words in this reading that resonated with me–about feeling afraid and alone, weary and despaired. Stress and worry and hustle are killers, consuming from the inside out.

Rest, nutrition, finding quiet before the mountain amidst the storm and chaos, listening for the Lord–are these things so seemingly simple that they get neglected in the flurry and fury of flight/fight mode? These things have become the top of my tending list, not an afterthought behind a lengthy to-do, and not my last resort when I have exhausted myself. Not anymore.

Father God, I am so grateful for your tender care. Your Word often reminds me of your sovereignty and strength–especially when I feel so small and insignificant. Thank you for meeting me daily in my walks. You are my source of life.

Courtney (66books365)

2 Comments

Filed under 1 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan

2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

One of the things I love most about fall is the smell of a wood smoke coming from the fireplace. The warm colors from changing tree leaves, a crisp air and a long-sleeve shirt, a hot mug of something sweet and soothing, these are things that make me feel wrapped and grounded.

This fall, I’ve had to institute some strict personal boundaries for time. This calendar year has taught me many things, and one is that things come at a price. What was the cost I’ve been paying? Cost to my core responsibilities, cost to time with my husband, cost to my health, cost to a sense of presence with my family … and oddly, while some activities were service for the Lord, my relationship with God seemed lost in the noise of all the busy.

24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it, for I will not present burnt offerings to the Lord my God that have cost me nothing.” So David paid him fifty pieces of silver for the threshing floor and the oxen. (2 Samuel 24:24, NLT)

My relationship with God was slowly shifting from intention to convenience. The mindfulness of his presence was being muted and obscured by the din of busyness and obligation and overwhelm. I lost grasp of Peace and the One who grounds me–even while I was trying to serve him.

In a season where everything jockeys for first place (isn’t that every day?) … when I evaluate and reevaluate how I spend my time, talent, treasure … when I see a plate that’s heaping and heavy … oh, what is the cost?

“That girl with the cape is cheating somewhere.” (p 147, The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst, Thomas Nelson Books)

It is a discipline. Learning and discerning when to say no and when to say yes.

I welcome the cooler temps creeping into the forecast, the wood stacked along the driveway anticipating a season’s first burn, the pumpkin spice everything–but nothing will ground me more than intentional time with the One who knows and loves me best.

Lord, thank you for reminding me of first things, for redirecting my heart towards you. Please help me to order things in my life. Help me to be a better steward of the time, talent, and treasure you’ve give me.

Courtney (66books365)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

1 Samuel 3; Romans 3; Jeremiah 41; Luke 10

While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (NCV)

I’ve always been like Martha, responsible, given to hospitality, with an understanding that life happens and certain duties need to be done. But, I’ve always wanted to be more like Mary, one who sits at Jesus’ feet, focused only on Him, blinded to the ‘things’ of life.

When I went to ministry school, it was one of the hardest struggles I had to work through, especially since, as a student, I was part of the team that cleaned up after church and after conferences. More often than not, my responsible side took over and while many of the other students were still spending time with God, I was cleaning up urine off of the toilets in the bathrooms, seething with jealousy.

When I came to India as a long-term missionary, it was still a problem I struggled with. My (now) husband worshipped the Lord all the time, serving the people by bringing the Word to them, introducing them to Jesus or presenting them with a new teaching, all in Tamil, a foreign language I still don’t fully understand. Meanwhile, I was ‘stuck’ doing house work, administration for his ministry outreaches, and sitting for 3-4 hours on Sunday not being able to understand anything that was being said during the church service, not being able to experience corporate prayer or worship in a way that moved my heart.

As a mother, I am experiencing this issue yet again. When all I want to be doing is entering into His presence, praying, worshipping, reading the Word, there are so many duties to be done. And this time, there are two little lives that are depending on my actions for their survival, two little beings who don’t understand Mommy’s need to get away with the Lord, to drink Living Water to quench my thirst.

Obviously still in process with this whole Martha/Mary battle waging war within me, I have come to some realizations that have helped me relax in the midst of my progression:

1)      Sometimes listening to God is more about learning to recognize His voice calling me in the midst. More often than not, His voice is the still, small voice I am not quite sure I even heard (1 Kings 19:11-13). Samuel didn’t even understand that it was God speaking to him. Only when Eli explained who was calling him in the night, did he know how to respond. Only when he identified God’s voice was he able to listen to what God had to say to him.

So Samuel went and lay down in bed. The Lord came and stood there and called as he had before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak, Lord. I am your servant and I am listening.” 1 Samuel 3:10 (NCV)

2)       In life there are certain things that have to be done – even the Bible says there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) The key is remembering that everything I do, whether it be feeding my family or washing mountains of laundry, even changing diapers and cleaning the bathroom, is able to be done as if I am doing it for the Lord Himself, doing those things as an act of worship to Him (Colossians 3:23-24; 1 Corinthians 10:31).

3)      There are only so many hours in a day, days in a year, years in a life. When it comes down to it, evaluating my priorities every day, accomplishing what really needs to be done and releasing the unrealistic pressures of trying to be a Wonder Woman, is crucial. Letting go of the ‘to do’ list allows me to be free from the burden and the worry. Seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness enables me to achieve more in the day than I thought was even possible (Matthew 6:25-34).

I’ve come to the conclusion that really it boils down to my attitude. I can choose to be like Martha, a woman who has a chip on her shoulder, only seeing the overwhelming amount of work she ‘has’ to do all by herself; a woman who writes things on her list just so she can cross them off. I can choose to be like Mary, a woman who spends all of her time in front of the Lord, basking in His Glory and His Love, but accomplishing nothing of the tasks required for life, oblivious to everything and everyone else around her. Or, I can choose to be myself, a woman who has a full duty roster and yet seeks to offer my whole life as a living sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord (Romans12:1-2), not looking to the right or to the left in comparison or in envy.

It is this new way of thinking that I strive for…even more than a cleaned kitchen or ironed clothes or bathed, fully dressed children.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 1 Samuel, 66 Books, Jeremiah, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Romans