As I stated earlier this week, I first did this exercise in 2006 when I started college. It was supposed to help me figure out where my time was spent and how to appropriately plan for everything that I wanted to accomplish in my educational journey. Well, once I did the exercise, God gave some wisdom for my spiritual journey by reminding me of a conversation that we had in 2005. It went something like this:
God said, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and you will see miracles unfold in your life.’ It made sense but I was already doing that and more. So my response was, ‘I am bringing the whole tithe.’
Then God said, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and you will see miracles unfold in your life.’ And I responded, ‘I do bring the whole tithe?!’
And God said again, ‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse and you will see miracles unfold in your life.’ And I responded, ‘I do … bring the whole tithe … and offerings too!!!!!’ Honestly, I was taken aback and a bit offended.
However, and needless to say, it is never a good idea to argue with the LORD. If you and God are having a discussion about a matter, there is a 100%
Back to the discussion, and God's final response ...
‘I give you 24-hours per day. Two hours and twenty-four minutes are mine straight off the top. Time with Me – not serving in ministry, speaking at conferences, preparing for lessons or doing things – Time with Me. Anything you would like to do above and beyond that, I will gladly accept as an offering.’
OUCH! Now I don’t know how God speaks to you, but He speaks to me plain and direct. He knows exactly what I need to hear and how I need to hear it. PLEASE NOTE: I am not saying that a tithe of time is a requirement of God for everyone. I can only take what He said to me and do my very best to follow His instruction for me – a matter of priorities.
HOWEVER, I will ask you this one question in light of the exercise that we did this week. It is the same question that was asked of me – the same question that I asked my Bible study group when I did this exercise with them back in 2006.
Where is God in your day?
It is hard to journey with God if we will not spend time with God. It is impossible to journey into all that God has prepared and leave Him out of the process, for He alone knows the destination. And He will never provide something - a dream, a home, a ministry, a mate, a child - that will make Him unneccesary in your life.
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP reminds us of God’s promise, ‘For I know the thoughts and plans [my emphasis] that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.’ This verse gets quoted all the time.
However, quoted far less often are two verses which immediately follow that verse: ‘Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart [my emphais].’ Jer. 29:12-13 AMP
Our relationship with God must have an overwhelming presence in our day – if we are to know Him, to become like Christ and experience all that He has prepared. And our relationship with Him goes beyond religious practices, ministry obligations, Christian television, preparing lessons and endless conferences. It is about spending quality time with Him, making Him the priority in our lives.
And we must be intentional about it – not religious or robotic – INTENTIONAL. Whether it is two minutes, twenty minutes or two hours – we must ensure that the time we spend with God is priority and quality time.
• When we fast – do we take time to pray?
• When we pray – do we take time to listen?
• Are we interested in what is in His hand and what comes by His hand?
• Or are we fulfilled with the pleasure of simply holding His hand?
• Do we read His Word to check a spiritual practices 'to-do box' ?
• Or do we study and meditate upon His Word in order to know Him?
• Are we more focused on the destination than we are in the journey with Him?
There are dozens of questions. Some will be the same for all of us. Some will be unique to areas that we need to work on individually. Whatever the case, take the time to consider where God is in your schedule and where you would like for Him to be.
‘Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom! Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!’ Proverbs 4:5 MSG
In all of the planning and purposing [even what we deem kingdom work], let’s not lose God. Rather, let us get understanding that no God-journey can be experienced without God. It is difficult indeed to be in the center of His will without Him being in the center of your day, in the center of your life.
No condemnation – there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ (Rom. 8:1)
If we are honest, we can all develop in the area of keeping our relationship with God the number one priority in our lives. I know I can. But I also know that I have come a long way from where I was. I am seeing miracles unfold daily – just like He promised. However, most important of all, I know Him … more than I’ve ever known Him … and I have a desire to know Him more, to become like Him and to make Him known.
'What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving.' Mt. 6:33 MSG
And what is He giving?
He is giving what He has always been giving – Himself
‘This is how much God loved the world: He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life [my emphasis]. ’ Jn. 3:16 MSG
He did all this so we could experience this journey called life, with Him, as He purposed it in the beginning. And the most important thing in planning our daily and lifelong journey with the LORD ... Seeking Him!
‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,
and live righteously …’