Posts Tagged ‘Planning’


“Another Year” – Jan. 1

January 1, 2019

“And God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light.”  Genesis 1:3

Another year has passed.  Another year is upon us.  The flow of time creates natural opportunities for retrospection and planning.  The first day of a new year seems like just a division, natural or otherwise, to review the year that has been and plan for the one to come.

I enjoy the optimism of considering what I want to do and become in the coming year and then creating the goals to make that happen.  All things seem possible on January 1st even though I know that they are not.  My lists of goals are too long.  I can’t possibly achieve all that I want to accomplish within a year.  There will be some goal that have to be sacrificed.  Therefore, I have to prioritize my goals.  I have to determine what comes first.

Prioritizing goals is a wonderful sieve of desires.  What can I live without?

I live a life of abundance.  My problems are only problems in my world.  The inhabitants of the vast majority of the world will view my problems as blessings. So, I sieve.  I sieve my hopes and dreams through the screen of “what I can live without”.

This process quickly reveals the gems of my life.  It also reveals that we are not that far removed from the low tiers of a hierarchy closely resembling the construct of Abraham Maslow.  I can get a little apocalyptic when taking my thought experiment to the extreme.

However, have you ever considered what your basic physiological needs, safety, food, water, shelter, etc., are?  As in any good apocalypse movie (other than the Matrix), mankind can be very resilient until you block out the sun.  Light is a basic physiological need.  The sun might be our essential physiological need.  Without the sun, we will have no food.  Without food, we will die.

My little thought experiment brought me back to my January 1st tradition of starting a new Bible reading plan.  As with any good Bible reading plan, it starts with Genesis 1 on January 1; “In the beginning…”

backlit clouds dawn dusk

Photo by Pixabay on

Consider what God did first in his order of creation.  He created the heavens and the earth.  God then created light.  God created the essences of life – light.  However, I don’t think that it was by accident that light was created before the sun and the moon.  God created light from himself.  He is the source of light and therefore the sustainer of life.  You can take  away the sun and the moon but that does not remove the light originating from God.  By the very order of creation, God holds all the essentials of our life including light.

Therefore, I can apply the most brutal of apocalyptic sieves, even the blotting out of the sun, and the final gem revealed is God.  I cannot live without God.

I believe the sweetest aspect of the New Year is the opportunity it avails us to evaluate all the blessings we have, even to the elemental levels of light, remembering how essential God is to our very existence.

He is the one  we cannot live without.


PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for another year.  Thank you for all the blessings  you have shown me.  Forgive me for the poor priorities of last year.  Forgive me for forgetting to recognize my reliance upon you in all things.  I cannot live without you.  Lord, remind me of my need for you through this coming year.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen



March 11, 2014

“And whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.  At the command of the Lord the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the Lord they camped.”  Numbers 9:17-18

tabernacle-in-wildernessThe fire was kindled and just coming to wake, along with the rest of the inhabitants of the small tent.  The small family struggled to push away the warm embrace of sleep, lingering as long as possible under covers, allowing the fire’s heat to push away the sting of the morning breeze.  Words were mumbled between family members as the rustling of bedding intensified.  As the family comes back to life, the normal discussion of the coming day commences.

The children ask the same barrage of questions, “Father, are we traveling today?”,  “Can have something other than manna for dinner?” “How far are we going to travel today?”, “What will our next camp be like?”, “I don’t want to go to a new camp; I like this one.”

“I don’t know,” was the unsatisfying response of the half-asleep father.

“But Mother, we have not traveled in four days.  I think we are going to travel again today,” the youngest child surmises.

“Yes, you might be right, but I don’t know,” the mother says with a smile.

“But Father, how long can we stay here?  Don’t we have to start moving again?” the logical eldest child contributed.

“We will stay as long as we need to,” the father said in hopes of ending the discussion.

However, the immediate response from the eldest was “how long do we need to stay?”

“I don’t know,” was the frustrated father’s all too familiar response.

“Can I play with my friends today, Mother?  There is that large rock at the edge of the camp that we want to climb.  Can we climb it today?” the middle child pushed.

“If we don’t travel today, then you can play with your friends…after your chores,” the mother quickly added.

“Are we traveling today?” the child could not help but ask.

“I don’t’ know,” was mumbled through a bit of breakfast when the father noticed a hint of dawn in the distances.  Before his children could ask another question about the day’s plans, he sent them out of the tent with the admonition “go see if the cloud has lifted from the tabernacle.”

Printable 2014 calendar

I think this would be my family if we had been Israelites in the wilderness.  We don’t handle uncertainty well.  The days of our calendar are filled months in advance.  We have vacations, events, and commitments all occupying their designated places.  My kids start out every morning with the same question, “what are we doing today?”  There usually is an answer for us.  We don’t have a cloud over a tabernacle to consult.

When asked about our participation, our response typically involves the consultation of the sacred scroll – our calendar.

I know  there is a balance between planning and spontaneity.  However, my personal tendency is to lean toward the planning.  I like to have a plan.  I don’t like the response of “I don’t know.”  I especially don’t like to re-schedule and modify long-established plans and goals.

However, we all live in the “I don’t know” world more that we might want to acknowledge.  God is Lord of our calendars and He can change them in an instance.  The events on our calendar are all tentative no matter how hard we try to etch them in ink.  The Lord can lift His Spirit in our life at any given moment and send us in a new direction or He can keep us in the same spot even though we desperately want to move on.

All of our plans are subject to the Lord’s will – whether we acknowledge it or not.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-14)

I believe that the balance between planning and spontaneity come by acknowledging that the Lord’s will governs over all.  We must make plans; it is a fundamental part of life.  However, all of our plans are written upon our calendars in the tentative of “if the Lord wills.”  Anything can be changed; we must be willing to yield to the Lord’s will in our lives – in the spontaneous or the long established; to not yield is evil boasting (James 4:16).  It is arrogance to live as if we have the ability to set our schedules in ink.

The Lord is lord of all – even our calendars.  Therefore, every follower of Christ’s calendar should have the yielding heading – “If the Lord wills”.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for being in control of my schedule. I need you to guide me in all ways – especially in my commitments, goals and plans.  You know that I live arrogantly in my tendency to embrace my self-imposed plans.  Lord, change my mindset.  Teach me to check your will in all things.  Take my calendar; enable me to yield my schedule to the changes that you have prescribed.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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November 5, 2013

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

Tomorrow plays an enticing melody.  It is a melody that every person cannot help but hum during the day.  We plan in a chant of tomorrow.  We daydream in the croon of the future.  We fix goals in a serenade to what might become.  The necessity of tomorrow brings us all into the choir.  However, the allure of what is just around the corner can grasp our attention like acrophobia can steal a view.  Tomorrow has a perpetual rhythm whose powerful grasp is difficult to escape.

mendhak / / CC BY-SA

My plans, goals, hopes and dreams, all inhabit tomorrow.  A goal intersects with the presence for a preciously short instant where it is either accomplished or not.  A plan evaporates upon implementation.  Hopes and dreams are recast once they are realized.  Tomorrow provides an escape from the physical bounds of the presence to the ethereal possibility of what may come.

It is easy for the promise of tomorrow to eclipse the duty of today.

Waiting for tomorrow is how I have spent the majority of my life.  I have lived preoccupied by planning to make tomorrow better.  I daily make investments of time, money, and energy into tomorrow.  The majority of our lives are spent striving for tomorrow:

Secondary education were years spent in preparing for college or work.
College was spent in preparation for graduate school or a career.
A career was spent in preparation for advancement.
Advancement was spent in preparation of retirement.

Tomorrow provides a consistent rhythm for most of our lives.  We live for the weekend.  We live for the next holiday.  We live for the next vacation.  If we are not careful, we can end up living for tomorrow and miss duties of today.

Garry – / / CC BY-NC-SA

An unhealthy focus on tomorrow can steal our confidence and contentment in the presence.  As we study and learn all that we don’t know, our lack of qualifications can keep us sidelined.  Past failures can cause us to doubt our capabilities in the present.  Our esteem for the mature can lend to prolonged deferment.  Our investments in tomorrow can deprive the profits of today.

Thomas Hawk / / CC BY-NC

For a follower of Christ, there is an aspect of tomorrow that will never be improved from today’s reality.  For all who are in Christ, we are children of God, today.  A decade, century, millennium will not improve upon the title that we have, today.  We are children of the most High God.  We are fellow heirs with Christ, today.  The reality that we experience today allows us to cry, “ABBA! FATHER!”, through the Spirit of adoption that we have received.

Beloved, we are God’s children, now. 

The reality of who we are today should change how we view the present.  Who we are today, frees us from the enticing song of tomorrow with all of its promises for a better future that keeps us from being active in the present.

Beloved, we are God’s children.

What we will be tomorrow has not yet appeared but we know that someday we will be like Christ and we shall see Him as He is.  That will be an incredible tomorrow.  The reality of this incredible tomorrow should provide perspective to all of our planning, goals, hopes and dreams for our personal tomorrows.

Beloved, we are going to be like Christ and we shall see Him as He is.

We all have a duty to plan for tomorrow. We all are filled with hopes and dreams for the future.  Who we are should inform all of those plans.  It should shape every hope and dream.

Beloved, we are God’s children.

We are free to accomplish our Father’s business in all its varied forms, today.  No child of God has to wait for tomorrow to do our Father’s will today.

We don’t need a position or permission, degrees or pedigrees, time or dimes, acceptability or civility to:

…love the Lord your God with all of your heart and
with all your soul and with all your mind.

We do not need to wait for tomorrow to love the Lord today.  We can love God regardless of the condition of our today.

…love your neighbor as yourself.

Our neighbor’s heart can be encased with our love today.  Love does not need to wait until tomorrow.

Beloved, love does not need to wait for tomorrow
because we are God’s children today.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for allowing me to be your child now.  Thank you for allowing me into your family today.  Father, I look forward to the day when I will be like Christ.  I look forward to the day when I will see Christ as He is.  I long for that day.  Lord, you know that I get distracted by all the cares of this word.  You know that I can make an excuse not to be loving out of my addiction to my dreams of tomorrow.  Change my mind to the reality that I do not need anything from tomorrow to do your will today.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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