The Spark

Getting a Good Start to Your Day

I’m in the middle of a study of the precious resource called time. A thought from a previous post was that if you can find thirty minutes a day in your schedule that is wasted and turn it into productive time, you can add what is equivalent to twenty-two productive days to your year. In other words, you will add another month to your year giving you the opportunity to use this time for not only your own benefit but to the benefit of those around you.

The objective to better use of time is to gain benefits and avoid losses; being a self-starter as you recognize a need and take action without being told. The first step is to accept the fact that time is very precious so you want to spend your time on what brings meaning and makes an impact.

The next step is to have a “do it now attitude” with confidence because you’ve put some thought into planning for what is meaningful and you’ve made decisions to spend more time on priority activities. Now is the time to execute your plans.

The challenge faced in our sometimes chaotic world is to remain optimistic. A few ideas to try may include taking a walk in your neighborhood each day. If you have a dog, take them for a walk and as you walk, memorize scripture, think about your day; what good things did you experience and what memories did you build. There may also be bad things experienced that provided a lesson for the future and a lesson to share and help others.

Another idea is to have a daily devotional time. To receive good directions on how to live like God wants you to live, learn from examples in the Bible and document those lessons or thoughts. You can discover how to live by gaining knowledge from the Bible, from life experiences, and from others who have demonstrated the best way to live.

The Bible gives a chance to learn from the past mistakes made by others. It can help understand how God can transform from the inside out; making intangibles like faith, hope, and love into tangible blessings.

In making decisions, use the experience and lessons learned as you consider all variables. Ask questions and seek answers. Inquire of the Lord and pray with the faith that the Spirit will give you answers. Know what the priorities are and listen for a plan. If plans have not worked out so far, make adjustments if necessary and take action on doing the right thing.

Initiative Provides the Spark

Your plans never go anywhere without initiative which is the ability to see a need, figure out how to meet it, determine appropriate time for taking the right action, and to do it yourself without being told. It was the inventors of the past like Ben Franklin who experimented with electricity that started the wave of new inventions for new devices. Without their initiative, just think how things would be – no light bulbs, no washers, no dryers, no TV, or computers.

After graduating from college, I found a job and took the initiative to seek out friendships in the local community. I started attending a small group at my church that would meet not only on Sunday morning but also at least one time during the week. We would have Bible study along with social events together like eating out at a local restaurant or going to the movies. I met my wife in that group and many other marriages were the result of people meeting together and learning about life from that group. I still keep up with these friends on facebook today.

What is needed to have the “do it now attitude” is faith because this quality gives initiative similar to scenes of the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. Indiana Jones had to take leaps of faith. It’s the same with your own adventures as you go through the journey of life.  Good plans, backed with desire and Initiative have a tendency to result in success.

Remember that God has the eraser. He’s there to help you make the needed adjustments if you get off course. So go for it! If you feel a job is above your head, express your concerns in prayer and ask for the necessary skills. Ask for good helpers. Most of all, believe that God has given you a mission. He wants you to accept your lot in life. He has given you talents and ideas. It’s up to you to start using what gifts you have for His glory.

Why do people put things off until tomorrow? Is it because they want to do it themselves rather than get help? Maybe they want to put it off another day because they don’t expect anything to happen so there is no real enthusiasm toward getting it done.

Do your best each day for no one knows about tomorrow. If you have passion like in verse John 3:16, the purpose like in 1 Corinthians 10:31, or the power Like in 2 Timothy 1:7, you have reasons to choose today.

Take a look at Luke 10:1-24, Jesus told those he sent ahead of Him to pray first. Then go in confidence and assurance that the simple plan will result in great outcomes because of the power of the Father.

Passion to Finish Victoriously 

Mark Twain said one time, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore – Dream – Discover.”

From the field of physics, known is the fact that light is the fastest phenomenon in the universe. It’s produced when atoms are energized so much that all colors are being generated and mixed together forming a colorless light. For Christians, the Light of truth in Jesus Christ who is able to save all that come to Him is the greatest power. This tremendous power impacts thinking because a path has been cleared, momentum has shifted, and victory is in sight as you passionately go toward the prize.

Your opportunities on earth to do great things for God go by so quickly. That’s why it’s important to give it all you have while we can. Live each day like the song by Tim Mcgraw called Live Like You Were Dying. The song puts things in perspective. Some of the lyrics in the song go “I loved deeper, I spoke sweeter, I watched an eagle flyin, live like you were dyin”. It’s never too late. By accepting Christ, you become who you could have been all along like in Galatians 2:20.

The future is bright because every moment has significance when whatever you do is for the glory of God. Have faith in God’s instructions. Live a clean life by winning the unseen battle inside with self-discipline and hard work. There is eternal hope because Jesus is the bridge to eternity so encourage each other in brotherly love.

Life is short but your good works can be left to future generations so run the race to win. An athlete trains the body to do what it should to win a blue ribbon or silver cup and you can run the race of life with a mission so that your good works lay the foundations for the future. What would you like to be remembered for? Decide what the answer is and get involved with a passion to make it happen. Finish the race victoriously with enthusiasm.

One tool to the “do it now attitude” is the use of deadlines because they trigger your body both mentally and physically to get the job done in the most efficient way. A deadline makes you concentrate and challenges you to get it done. Think of a sporting event. In football, the two-minute warning pushes a team to score fast.

To help bring victory, the Check Yes or No tab on the Power Over Time tool at this link has a self-evaluation exercise to discover areas where initiative can be increased, responsibility can be taken, and control over your time can be enhanced. Feel free to download a copy for your own use.

The first time you go through the evaluation, simply check “Yes or No” to each question. After about three days, go back through the questions and then either check the positive (+) column or the negative (-) column depending on if you are happy with how you responded or not. Check marks in the negative (-) column are areas to work on by thinking of plans of action to take so that your time and your life are directed more efficiently.

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May the Force Be with You

Happy 4th of July!

I took a walk this early July 4th morning and captured this photo as the sun rises.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? – 1 Cor 3:16

Believers in Christ have a powerful force with them and this poem was written to explain.

Step Ahead

In everything we do
There is a great force
Giving us a purpose,
Keeping us on course.

Giving peace of mind,
Enthusiasm,
Giving meaning to life,
And making things happen.

With a bright future,
A hope that is constant
With maximum focus
On what is important.

To work as a team,
Cooperation
To proceed together
In the same direction.

To reach for the stars
And never fear it,
A force known as
The Holy Spirit.

Poem by Mark Shields – © 06-28-2018

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Action Steps

Maintain the faith because getting control of your time is now a work in progress. God has given you the momentum and the extra leverage you need.

Along the journey, you can look forward to each day with excitement because life only gets better as you continue toward your destination.

You are gaining values which are your treasure bringing meaning to life and can be passed along to future generations.

Let God direct each step you take. The world is a complex place but be thankful that the gospel message has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it that sets you free and never lets you down.

Included in the post Spend More Time on Top Priority Activities  is a spreadsheet to list Action Steps to take to increase your time spent on tasks that bring the most value and meaning to your life.

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