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Tithing is a biblical principle of bringing God the first fruits, the best of labors. One of the ladies in my Bible study group mentioned about tithing our time as a way of making sure God is our priority.

 

Although, “tithing of our time” is not an actually in the Bible, being stewards of the things He has given us is.  I think it’s safe to say that God has given us time.  In my case, sixteen waking hours.

 

I was excited about the concept and was challenged to try it.  How many hours does our culture spend on Facebook, watching a marathon of our favorite shows, reading book after book of our favorite series or, genre? Yet when it comes spending time with God we do a quick ten minutes because it’s what good Christians do.

 

Ten percent for me is approximately two hours of my day.  At first I thought “Whoa, that’s a lot”; however, I can sit for three hours reading a great mystery book.  I can spend two hours watching my shows and then I complain I don’t have time for the things God has for me to do.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, the mystery books are okay, TV is okay even Facebook is okay, but when it’s stopping me from God and what He has for me, then it becomes a problem.

 

I don’t necessarily have a schedule that allows two hours straight.  But a half hour here, fifteen minutes here and there and another half hour later, I have accomplished two hours focusing on God and what He has for me.

 

It’s being intentional and giving God the priority throughout the day not just when we have devotional times.

 

Let me show you some things I’m starting to do to make God the priority though out my day:

  • When I walk in the morning this is the time I have started using to pray. Evening walk now are times of praise and worship through music
  • Instead of watching my favorite show, I’m choosing to watch instructional video’s to improve my writing skill. Or writing more on what God is teaching me.
  • I also now keep a book like When the Enemy Strikes by Charles Stanley in the car so I can read while I wait for my children to get out of school.
  • I also leave out one or two devotionals so that during the day, I take fifteen minutes to read and mediate.

 

These are just a few of the adjustments I’m making.  I’m busy with my children, chores etc.  But just making these little changes help me keep focus on who I am in Christ and what He has called me to do.

 

However, It’s more than just reading and praying, but giving God our best in everything including ministry, and fellowship.  Do you have a ministry you are involved with?  If not, pray about it.  There is nothing like serving the Lord and others to keep our focus on Him.  I‘m scheduling coffee dates with other woman so I can encourage and fellowship more.

 

Some may say, “You’re a stay – at- homer you have all the time in the world. I work 40 to 50 hours a week.”  How do you use your lunch breaks?  Maybe take a prayer walk, read a devotional, or take time to encourage a co-worker.  We all have twenty-four hours in a day.  It not about quantity but quality.

 

I have been following this principle for a week and I have been amazed at how God has used it.  There has been peace, even energy during the hardest parts of the day (afternoons).  I have also been “responding” rather than “reacting”.  I missed one day I could tell there was a difference.

 

Warning:  There is a risk that the “tithe” becomes a ritual or legalistic. I will not become a slave to the clock.  The heart and motives are important too.  It’s all about the relationship.

 

Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk-not as unwise people but as wise- making the most of the time, because the days are evil.  So don’t be foolish, but                                                    understand what the Lord’s will is.                                                                                                                                   Ephesians 5:15-17 (HCSB)

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Lately, my life has been a blur. Not because of going too fast but because there is no motivation just a desire to do mind numbing things. This is not a fulfilling way to live.

One day I was working on a writing project, when something popped out at me on the computer screen. I found a title of a piece I had no memory of writing. Even worse , I discovered that it was listed in a book proposal that was submitted almost two months ago. The problem? I never wrote it.

I panicked and called my prayer partner. Her response was not what I expected.

She said, “Christine, when I prayed for you this morning, I felt God was telling me, ‘Pray for her to focus on Me.’ So that’s what I did.”

I was going to argue that I did focus on God, until I stopped to think about it. That’s what He had been telling me for the past month and a half and I chose not to listen. My focus had not been on Him, and because of that there was no direction for my days. So I took her words to heart.

It’s been three weeks since that conversation and it’s been a struggle. However, as I have refocused and genuinely sought Him out for direction, I’m slowly getting back on track. It will take time to catch up to where I was, but that’s ok, because it will be worth it. My house will be in order, and all the accomplishments (big and small) will be celebrated and God will receive the glory.

Are you days lacking direction and in disarray? Have you lost motivation to get things done? Maybe you have just taken your focus off of God.

Ask God to show you the source of the problem. But before you do, check your heart and make sure you’re ready to hear what He has to say.

“Unless the LORD builds the house (the day*), its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”
Psalm 127:1 (NIV1984)

*added for emphasis

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Fear be Gone

My stomach is turning like my dryer tumbles the clothes. “What if this publishing house accepts my manuscript? Then what? How am I going to do this? It means getting out of my comfort zone. It might mean Facebook which I’ve been fighting against or seeking well-known authors for endorsements, not to mention what affect this may have on my family.

My pastor has been teaching on Elijah’s life. This week’s sermon was about when he fled from Jezebel because she threatened his life. God had just given Elijah a victory at Mount Carmel over the prophets of Baal. He then killed all them. But when the queen threatened his life he fled in fear and fell into a depression. After finding a hiding place he told God he wanted to die.

The part that really struck me was what God said to Elijah. God asked, “What are you doing here?” My pastor pointed out “It’s like he had forgotten what had just occurred and all the other miracles God worked in and through him.”

I felt God was saying the same thing to me. “Christine what are you doing in this cave of “fear” and “what ifs”? Have you not seen what I just did, this past week?”

He is right of course. I went from sending a query letter to submitting a proposal. This could not have happened without God. So what makes me think He won’t help with all the other things if this manuscript is to be published?

The sad thing is that fear doesn’t occur in the area of writing. For me it comes when my husband doesn’t sleep solidly for weeks on end. It overwhelms me when I get the phone call “Your mole is abnormal” or when one of my daughters is not immediately visible when it is pick up time at the mall.

The what if game begins. Much like “The Hunger Game” story the arrows of “should haves”, the knives of “incompetence” and the spears of “I can’t do this” tear through my body and I am rendered useless. Then the Sponsor, my Heavenly Father says, “Christine what are you doing here? Of course you can’t do this; that’s what I’m here for.” So instead of sending me a ointment He comes and fights for me. He does the work.

My job is to turn my focus back to God, take my fears to Him, let go of them and leave them there by walking away from them. I know this is easier said then done. But that is trust, which allows Him to work. Then I can praise Him whatever the result and move forward.

What fears wreak havoc in your life? Have you been obedient to God and suddenly fear shows up and your doubting, frozen dead in your tracks?

Take it to God. Seek others out to pray with you and claim this promise with me:

“For I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

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