Archive for the ‘Making the Most of your Life’ Category

The Big Three

Posted: April 6, 2018 in Making the Most of your Life


Before I discuss The Big Three, I have to share with you the worst thing that’s ever happened. It’s not relevant to the topic. I just want to tell you about it.

Back in 1975, when my dad was 22, he and my grandmother and aunt sang in a small choir of about 50 people. The church put on an Easter concert that year, and somehow someone managed to record it (which is impressive considering the decade).

Anyway, on Easter this year, my family listened to the recording. As you can imagine, such a small church contained a mixed bag of talent (overall, they sounded great, though), and some people were given solos when they shouldn’t have. There was one solo in particular that sounded so bad that I started laughing. I couldn’t help it – the guy’s voice cracked at one point. I kept hounding him and hounding him, and every time I said something, my mom and sister laughed hysterically. I thought it was because they agreed with me. Turns out…

Well, I asked my dad how he kept a straight face while this guy sang. He said he couldn’t laugh, that he wasn’t able to. I asked him why. I figured it was because he’d have gotten into trouble or something. BUT IT WAS ACTUALLY BECAUSE THE GUY SINGING WAS HIM.

I’ve never felt so awful for something in my life. I could’ve died.

Okay, so about The Big Three – the whole reason you’re here. I’ve found that there are three things critical to leading a fulfilled life – and when you think about it, for most people in typical situations, they’re pretty easy. They are:

Get enough sleep …because nearly every aspect of your day depends on your ability to function. Running at 100% will enrich your life in ways that are surprising.

Do whatever you need to stay healthy …because a healthy body usually means a healthy soul. Don’t obsess too much about this though. Just casually make good habits (like eating modest portions of food that aren’t absurdly bad for you).

Walk closely with the Lord …because doing so will give you wisdom and peace. It goes without saying that this is the most crucial of the three. Everything hinges on it. God will bless you, guide you, love you, and tend to your needs. Nothing could be more important, and it all starts with spending time alone with Him in prayer.

Satan loves to trick us into thinking these are hard. It’s because his goal is to discourage you and steal your quality of life. Don’t let him fool you. Your life is precious, especially in the eyes of God.


All right, it’s time to get off YouTube and write this thing. I’ve been watching videos for the last hour. Not a great start for this topic, I know. It’s because my lesson for you is to demonstrate what not to do. So, uh, don’t do that.

If you’re married and raising kids, take everything written here with a grain of salt. This really isn’t meant for you because I’m not qualified to teach you about this topic. If you’ve got a family, the nature of time management is wholly different than for those of us who are single. I’m the last guy you should take advice from because, if I’m to be real with you, I have no idea. If anything, I should be taking advice from you.

Anyway, single folks, without further ado, let’s eat this thing and see what comes out the other end.

Why do we care about making the most of our time? Well, if you’re anything like me, you often wish there was more of it. Like right now. It’s Monday night, and I have to go to bed early in order to perform well at work tomorrow. You see, this phenomenon occurs because time is a precious commodity. If you don’t know how to make the most of it, you’ll go to sleep every night feeling robbed.

Life’s short, people. Sometimes it’s easy to forget, especially if you’re young. But forgetting doesn’t change the reality of that – the fact that time is a finite resource that has to be managed.

The Active Ingredients of Time Management

You may want to manage your time well, but without disciplining yourself to make it a habit, the effort is wasted. It’s hard to spend your time wisely if you are the one in control of it (as opposed to when you’re at work and your boss is in control). So, in order to make headway, you’ll have to discipline yourself to develop good time-management habits.

To do this, it’s imperative that you maintain a healthy and active mind. Do what you need to keep it sharp and maintained. A couple notes about how to do that:

Alcohol is fine, but only in moderation. Getting drunk will cloud your mind for days. And I know for a lot of people drinking is their favorite hobby. I’m not here to rain on your parade – what you do isn’t my business – but I’m telling you: Spending multiple days in a row with a clouded mind isn’t just a waste of your time, it’s also a waste of your quality of life.

But I digress. If keeping a sharp mind means taking supplements like fish oil or some weird vitamin, knock yourself out. Personally, supplements aren’t my thing. For me, having a quick brain usually just means spending time with the Lord every day and not playing video games for too long in one sitting. Something about that ruins my focus.

But the number one thing you must do to keep a sharp, healthy mind is to get enough sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stayed up too late and then performed like garbage the next day at work. It’s like walking in a haze. Sleep deprivation will make you miserable and stupid, and even worse, it’ll put you in a foul mood. Being in a foul mood isn’t fun for you or those around you, and if you’re not careful, it’ll damage your reputation – all because you stayed up too late. I don’t fancy myself a genius, you know, but in my humble opinion, not sleeping enough is a dumb reason to ruin your life. In my novel, I wrote a chapter where the main character actually got fired for that.

So, in a nutshell: Time management requires discipline. Discipline requires an active mind, and an active mind requires, at minimum, the right amount of sleep. Those are the active ingredients you’ll need to make the most of your time.

How much time do you have?


Bob threw his alarm clock out the window and decided he’d rather be unemployed. Don’t be like Bob. Finish this article and use your time wisely.

Since time is a finite resource, allocating it properly means you must recognize how much of it you have. Some people have more of it than others, obviously, so how you make the most of it will be unique to you specifically.

If you think about it, budgeting time is a lot like budgeting money. People who are wise with their money always know how much of their paycheck to put where. Some of it goes to utilities, some to savings, some to groceries, and so on. And if they’re fortunate, some of it goes to things they enjoy but don’t necessarily need.

Time is the same way. Measuring it out will give you the perspective you need to budget it effectively.

By the way, here’s another similarity time shares with money. If, when you measure out and budget your time, you find that you have little or none of it to yourself, consider setting goals that’ll allow it to happen in the future. Lots of people set financial goals so they can buy things they want. I think time works in a similar way. Granted, you can’t “save” time to spend later – sure – but you can aim your life-goals in a way that will eventually allow you to spend more of it on yourself.

Deciding what you want from your Time

I think one of the coolest things people don’t realize is that they can make time work for them instead of the other way around. If time wears the pants in your relationship with it, that’s a problem you should deal with.

I realize some of you don’t have time to spare (understandably), and I encourage you to focus on the previous section of this essay until that changes. This section doesn’t apply to you yet. Aim your life goals toward gaining free time. Then, once you have it, come back!

If you do have discretionary time, however, then your primary goal ought to be mastering it. To do that, you’ll have to decide what you want from your time. What activities do you aspire to accomplish in a typical week? Are there certain books you want to read? Perhaps a workout regimen? Maybe even a video game. It all varies, and you may not be able to do everything you want if there isn’t enough time for it. If that’s the case then, again, I urge you to set goals for yourself that’ll one day allow it.

For me, outside of work there are six primary things I like to accomplish during the week. They are: working out, fiction reading, non-fiction reading, blog-writing, fiction-writing, and spending time with my parents. On top of that, I like a certain amount of time to enjoy not being productive (because this is about what I want from my time). I’ve created a schedule that allows me to do all those things in reasonable quantities each week. It’s all divvied up in a healthy and enjoyable, yet productive way.

I force time to give me what I want. That means Monday through Thursday, I’m regimented and productive. I mostly derive satisfaction from what I do, so it doesn’t burn me out.

Friday evenings are a totally different story, though. After I get home from work, I’m disgusting. I am a pig. And most importantly, I am relaxed and having fun. All I do is watch Netflix and play video games and eat take-out Chinese food. Sometimes I feel sociable enough to stop being a reclusive loser and go out with friends. On Fridays, I don’t even go to the gym because, well, I don’t want to.

And all of that feels great because my week up to that point has been a productive one. There’s no guilt or shame in not getting anything done on Fridays because I planned it that way, and I did it for no other reason than I want to and because I can.

The bottom line is this: I make time work for me. If all goes according to plan – and it mostly does – my week has a healthy measure of both productivity and relaxation. Doing this creates a critical balance to making the most of my life. Don’t forget that Ecclesiastes elaborates on this extensively, so it’s well-worth doing.

If and when the day comes that I get a girlfriend, I’m sure this whole schedule-thing will be beautifully wrecked.

Forget I said that.

Let’s talk about being Regimented.


“Hey, Tim, my man-nipples are bleeding.”

It’s my belief that if you’re going to start being productive, you might as well be good at it. The most effective way to do that is to be regimented based on your priorities and necessities. Don’t try to cram too many things into a too small amount of time, though, or you’ll get burned out. If you can, stagger tasks across multiple days. Build a schedule that allows you to do what you like without having to feel rushed. For me, I set aside plenty of time to get each task done. My day goes smoother and is more satisfying that way.

I start each morning with the Lord and a cup of coffee, and then I get ready for work.

Once I get home, I relax for an hour before dinner, usually by watching Netflix or playing a video game. That helps transition my mind from work to evening tasks so I can better focus on them. You might not be someone who plays video games or likes Netflix – and that’s okay – but I recommend doing something you enjoy before starting everything else.

After dinner, my focus is fully directed toward fitness and reading and writing.

I also plan out my day on a notepad and put a check box next to each task. I don’t know how well that would work for you, but it usually does a pretty good job keeping me on target. It stops me from forgetting things, and my notepad stays in front of me on my desk so I always see it. Of course, you should use whatever system works best for you. It might be something totally different than what I do, and that’s fine as long as it helps.

Let’s talk about why you should sometimes not be regimented.

Being regimented is great for staying on task and maximizing productivity, but it’s also mentally tiring. I would argue that keeping up with it indefinitely is bad for your mind, and it’ll prevent you from fully relaxing when it’s time to do so. Even if you have a regimented schedule that says, “I will relax from such-and-such a time until whatever o’clock,” you’ll still be thinking about that schedule and, in my case, marking off that check box.

Take a break from it a couple days a week. For me, that’s the weekend. Even on Saturdays when there are things I want to get done, I don’t make a list. There’s no schedule I follow. I just sort of do it, and if things don’t happen perfectly the way I’d like, my attitude is such that it’s not a big deal.

When it’s time to relax, do it right.


When a macro lens is used on an awkward pants-fold.

Earlier, I touched on how I like to relax. As you saw, when I relax, I relax hard. I only have one goal in mind, and that’s to forget everything else. It’s a mental break.

Sometimes it’s impossible, of course, but if you discipline your brain to focus on things that aren’t related to work or your regimented time, you’ll be able to relax in a more complete, fulfilling way. Do whatever you can to forget about things that stress you out. Focus your energy on the things you enjoy instead, and do it in a care-free way. Don’t bother measuring out your time when you want to take things easy.

And finally, be adaptable with your schedule because life is unpredictable.

Stuff happens. Sometimes (a lot of times), you’ll have a plan, a regimented schedule, and someone will come along and mess the whole thing up. They’ll spring plans on you, and you’ll decide whether to tell them yes or no. You’ll have to weigh the value of their request. Time is something you can never get back, so is what they’re asking worth it? A lot of times it will be, and a lot of times it won’t.

The other day, my mom and sister asked if I’d get dinner with them. It was a weeknight, so if I went, it’d throw off my entire list, and I’d have to cut something out of my schedule. So, I picked out which item on my list mattered to me the least (which was video games), and decided to not play them that day. It turned out that not playing video games didn’t free up enough time. I had to cut something else out too. It ended up being the gym.

Guys, spending time with my mom and sister instead of doing what I wanted was the correct choice. A word of advice: When it comes to deciding what’s worth sacrificing your time and what isn’t, family usually is. Outside your relationship with the Lord, family should always be the next most important thing. Life’s so short it’s scary. I’d rather have mine spent with those I love than doing nothing but the things on my list. Productive tasks won’t carry into eternity, and I’m sure the Lord will give me plenty of time for them later.

People aren’t the only things that will cause sudden changes in your schedule (obviously). Sometimes there will be emergencies, or you’ll catch the flu, or whatever. The point is to make sure you can adapt. Plan how you’ll do it, which items on your list are the most valuable, and try not to get frustrated when it happens. As great as good time management is, don’t take it too seriously.

I once heard a joke. I’ve heard lots of jokes, and I’m known for making awful, stupid ones, but this joke is awesome because it holds one of life’s most important truths. You’ve probably already heard some version of it, but I’ve modified it to better apply here.

One day after work, a funny-looking IT-guy (that’s me) got alone to pray. There was a lot he wanted to get done and only a certain amount of time to do it. He had a regimented schedule all written out, and he even brought the list with him to take before the Lord.

He told God all about his plans. One item after the next, he asked God to make sure things happened just the way he wanted. Surely, he thought, the best way God could possibly bless him would be to make his plans become reality.

But God’s response was simple. He let out a chuckle of endearment and said, “What – you mean to tell me you have plans?!”

When a wrench is thrown in your schedule, be on the lookout for what God’s doing. Whatever it is, it’s for the best, so you might as well relax and let Him do His thing. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for your own time-management later. I guarantee it.


This clock can tell the future, too.

It’s important to begin with this topic because every other topic is pointless unless a relationship with God is your Number 1 priority. Without a firm connection to the Lord, you can’t hope to make the most out of life. Without this catalytic ingredient, it’s simply impossible.

I’ve found this to be true over and over, and each time it was a painfully unnecessary experience. This is a lesson best learned in a classroom and not on a field trip, because make no mistake: Whenever God wasn’t my first priority, I felt empty, and my life was rife with chaos. It never mattered whether I had a girlfriend, friends to spend time with, or social gatherings to attend. I could be in a room surrounded by people who I loved and who in turn loved me, laughing amidst what are supposed to be the best moments life can offer, and yet feel so alone and so empty. There was always an underlying sadness in my soul that tore at me. Did you see my entries written in 2012 and 2013? The cynicism should be evidence enough of what existed underneath. I was miserable back then, and I certainly wasn’t making the most out of life.

To the contrary, those seasons when God was my number one priority were the most remarkable times of my existence. It was during those times when I seemed to be the most successful, make the best decisions, and walk with the highest confidence. It was then when God granted me His precious wisdom, and He helped me develop and maintain the best relationships I’ve ever had. Indeed, He enabled me to make the most out of life.

Now, then, to the meat of this topic. This will be a list of four loosely-related subjects about how to make the most of your relationship with God: 1) Mental Priorities – the two types of Godly wisdom and the attitudes you must have in order to apply them 2) The importance of spending alone time with God, and how to make the most of it 3) How to best pursue God 4) Reconciling the consequences of your mistakes with God’s love.


Mental Priorities – the two types of Godly Wisdom and the Attitudes you must have in order to apply them.

First, there are two types of wisdom. There’s human wisdom and then there’s Godly wisdom. But then, to make things confusing, there are also two types of Godly wisdom. I won’t address human wisdom here because it’s Godly wisdom that you’ll need in order to make the most of your life.

Your first mental priority should be the pursuit of Type 1 Godly wisdom. Type 1 Godly wisdom is the bulk sayings you’ll find in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes and a handful of other places in the Bible. Things like, “If someone does this, then that will happen,” or “Something, something, something, and then something else. This I have observed.” These are important truths about life which God inspired individuals like Solomon to write down. The pursuit of Type 1 Godly wisdom is the foundation of life improvement, but it is useless without your second mental priority.

Your second mental priority should be the love and pursuit of knowledge. This means all forms of knowledge and learning. As you learn about science and history and various forms of art and so on, you’ll also gain a great deal of understanding about who God is. It was He who made these, so it should be no surprise that gaining knowledge also opens your eyes to God’s magnificence.

With science, you will observe the method to His madness. You’ll learn how unspeakably vast His brilliance is and why He created things the way He did. Perhaps you’ve become a skeptic of science, but I challenge you with this: put aside bias and seek the truth. Even atheist and agnostic scientists make discoveries that glorify God. You, as a believer, can be equipped to see this and distinguish the nonsense from the sense (so to speak).

With history, you will discover God’s handiwork throughout the ages. It’s everywhere. In every nation and every event, God’s handiwork is there. Even bad things that have happened in our fallen world are rife with God’s involvement as He makes the most out of those situations for the good of those who love Him.

With art, literature, and other elements of culture, you will see how God inspires people and how magnificently He created us. Sure, there is plenty of evil out there and art forms that are not of God, but the capacity to create is something God only gave to humans. It has everything to do with being made in His likeness, and recognizing the result of that serves to bring us closer to Him.

Ultimately, the love and pursuit of knowledge provides a yearning for Type 1 Godly wisdom. It is impossible to pursue and apply this kind of wisdom without the passion to do so.

Your third mental priority ought to be the pursuit of Type 2 Godly wisdom. Type 2 Godly wisdom is the God-inspired understanding of how to apply Type 1 Godly wisdom and other knowledge to your life. Type 1 Godly wisdom is comprised of valuable information, whereas Type 2 is the ability to make use of that information. Type 1 is useless without Type 2, and so is the love and pursuit of knowledge. What’s the point of learning all about astronomy if you can’t infer what it means about God? With Type 2 wisdom, you discover His majesty rather than knowledge alone. A good analogy is this: Knowledge and Type 1 Godly wisdom are like cars, and Type 2 Godly wisdom is like the driver. They are useless without each other. It’s also worth noting how important Type 2 Godly wisdom is when it comes to understanding the Bible. The Holy Spirit provides Type 2 Godly wisdom while we read it as a method for God to speak to us through scripture. Indeed, the Bible is called the living word because of Type 2 Godly wisdom.

Your fourth and final mental priority should be the discipline to apply all of the above to your life. We just discussed how Type 2 Godly wisdom teaches you how to apply the first two mental priorities to your life, but knowing how and actually doing it are completely different things. A valuable daily habit would be to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the discipline to apply the first three mental priorities to your life, for Godly discipline is all about putting wisdom into practice.

Each of these things must be sought after vigorously if you are to make the most of your life. I urge you, dear reader, to spend time each day reading God’s word and learning all you can from it. Ask Him to show you Type 1 Godly wisdom and to expand your overall knowledge of anything and everything. Then ask Him to provide you with Type 2 Godly wisdom and the discipline to apply those three things to your life. These mental priorities will condition you to make excellent decisions and to have fantastic relationships with other people. They are the foundation to making the most of your time here on Earth.

Further scriptural reading on this subject:

Proverbs 2

Proverbs 3:7, 13-24

Ecclesiastes 7:11-12, 19, 25

Isaiah 55:8


The importance of spending alone time with God, and how to make the most of it.

Every night I recharge my phone, and every morning I recharge my soul. Actually, that’s false. I recharge my Galaxy S5 three times a day because its battery is garbage. Anyway, so in order for me to remain aware of God’s presence and to exhibit Christ-like virtues, I need a spiritual recharge at the beginning of every day. Just as eating breakfast helps get your day started, so it is with meditating on God. I cannot emphasize enough how important this is to your spiritual walk. Without this special time, your spiritual flame will dwindle. And, ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to a relationship with the King of the universe, anything less than a bonfire simply will not do.

Now, there is no single way to spend quiet time with God. So, before I discuss how I approach it, it is important to realize my precise method might not work for you. There are some things I do which I think everyone should, and there are other things which ought to be flexible based on the individual. I will clarify which is which as I proceed with the discussion.

First, there is the matter of when I spend my quiet time and for how long. Ideally, I spend time alone with God in the mornings not long after waking up. I allow a little time for the cobwebs of sleep to clear so my thought processes are of better quality, and then I set a timer for fifteen minutes. It is during those fifteen minutes that I pray. Now, let me make myself clear. My prayer time is not limited to fifteen minutes. It’s just fifteen minutes is the minimum about of time I allow myself. A lot of times I spend over an hour talking to God. The minimum amount of time you spend with God might be different than mine. A lot of people might set it for ten minutes, or even thirty minutes or an hour. I’ve settled on fifteen.

Now, about how I pray. To get the most out of it, I speak to God out loud as casually as I would my closest companions. He is my best friend and father, after all, and He’s certainly in the room with me just as any physical person can be. Why should my relationship with Him be unrelatable? A truly close relationship is relaxed and comfortable, and I believe this is what God wants from his children.

My dad taught me the greatest thing parents want from their children is a relationship with them. I think a lot of people actually hold God at a distance, trying to have a relationship with Him through obedience. And while He certainly does want His children to obey, because He wants what is best for them, His desire above all else is to have a relationship with them. Besides, without a relationship with Him, it is impossible to grow in a lifestyle of obedience to God. It’s all meaningless without first knowing Him.

While praying, there are three distinct items I pray about.

First and foremost, I thank Him. This practice helps me see how great His mercy is and how countless His blessings in my life are. It’s easy to lose sight of the good when bad things happen, but this helps to reign in my focus on His love.

Second, I bring any and all needs and desires to him. It’s perfectly okay to ask Him for things you want but don’t need. Indeed, the Bible says to ask Him about everything (see the further scriptural reading at the bottom). Sometimes God blesses His children with things they don’t need, but simply enjoy. He merely does it because it delights Him to do so.

Third, I talk to Him about whatever is on my mind. It’s true that He already knows everything I’m thinking before I bring it up, but talking about things with Him enables a whole host of benefits. For one thing, it’s a bonding experience that brings us closer together. And another thing, while I talk to Him, He often adds His perspective to my thoughts. Seeing events and circumstances through God’s eyes brings a whole new meaning to them. It helps me make better decisions, and it motivates me to go forth in confidence. When God’s on your side, who can be against you?

Here are ten other, specific things I pray about:

– I ask God to bless the work of my hands and mind.

– I ask God to prepare and equip me for the future.

– I ask God for wisdom and knowledge.

– I ask God to encourage and motivate me to press on.

– I ask God to help me focus and be intentional about things.

– I ask God for help with any upcoming decisions.

– I ask God for a pure heart and mind.

– I ask God to place my desires where He wants them.

– I ask God to give meaning to my work.

– I ask God to give me vision for the future, and to help me see opportunities, and to get me excited about the future.

Last, but certainly not least, there exists a component of my quiet time which is just as important as the rest, and that is to listen to God’s voice. Consider Psalm 46:10a: “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;’” A lot of times, particularly in December when all the Christmas decorations are up, I spend my quiet time in the living room with coffee, the Christmas tree, and a fire. My mother has bookshelves filled floor to ceiling with Bible commentaries and scholarly works. On one of the shelves, in plain view from the couch where I sit, there rests a wooden plank with Psalm 46:10a inscribed on it. Many times I sit there and pray, and yet I feel like I’m missing something. The plank then silently reminds me to recognize who God is. When I set my mind to this verse, my problems fade into insignificance. It is while I ponder Him that He often speaks to me. It’s not in an audible voice or a bizarre stream of thoughts in my mind. No, rather it is a gentle urging in my heart. I feel His warm presence, and then, in the calm security of it, He speaks to my soul. God speaks to us in a variety of ways. He speaks to us through scripture, through Type 2 Godly wisdom, and sometimes through other people. But it is here, in the quiet, when He speaks to our hearts. I benefit more from this component of my quiet time than any other.

Next I read from my Bible and a devotional book, typically one with a devotional for each day of the year. I should probably clarify that this is a component of my quiet time whose specifics might vary from individual to individual.

Typically I read only a single chapter of the Bible every day. It is important, however, to make certain that further context isn’t needed. Some chapters shouldn’t be read individually, but ought to be included with the surrounding chapters. In my opinion, however, a single chapter of the Bible is usually fine.

Now, there is a certain action you must take when reading the Bible in order to get the most out of the experience. Before you begin, it is crucial that you ask God to guide and teach you based on what you are reading. The Holy Spirit enables us to interpret and understand scripture. We weren’t meant to read the Bible by ourselves.

When you read, recognize what the Bible is. Ponder the notion that you are reading from the living Word of God, that you are literally holding a collection of words that came from God Himself. It’s a humbling thought that will certainly help you make the most out of reading scripture.

I also recommend reading from a devotional book. While it’s certainly optional, I like to underline the high points in order to facilitate superior comprehension.

All the steps I’ve listed usually only take me about thirty minutes to complete. In my opinion, it’s the best possible way to get your day started, as it’ll help prepare you for what lies ahead.

One final word of advice before I move on to the next section. Don’t confine your relationship with God to your quiet time. Your quiet time is much like starting an engine, but in order to keep it running, it must receive a constant supply of fuel. Make a point of acknowledging God’s presence throughout the day, and don’t be shy about saying small, brief prayers in your head whenever you feel it necessary. Keeping God’s presence in mind is what it means to walk with Him throughout your day, and it will bring you peace and comfort, regardless of what circumstances you encounter.

Further scriptural reading on this subject:

Matthew 6:9-13


Mark 1:35

Ephesians 6:18

Philippians 4:6

Hebrews 5:7


How to best pursue God.

We just discussed how to spend time with God, but what about the pursuit of Him in general? The Bible says He pursues us constantly, so how might we best respond?

In short, when it comes to your relationship with God, give it all you’ve got. Consider Luke 10:27a: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.”

You might have seen in my previous entries how I had a habit of staying home from church and watching the sermon online, entirely skipping the worship portion of the service. Even when I did make it, I was often late on purpose because I didn’t want to spend too long worshiping. I resigned myself that one or two songs would suffice, that if I stayed until the end of the sermon, my time spent at church was enough. I also thought I could worship God on my own at home in my own way that didn’t involve singing. And that’s true. I can totally worship God outside church in other ways than singing. But I wasn’t devoting much time to God, and the worship experience at church often contains the most important minutes of the week because you’re experiencing God with other believers. Some of the most encouraging moments in my walk with Christ – when He spoke to my soul – happened during worship. That’s not to say all those moments happened during worship. But many certainly did, and I believe that’s because worshiping at church places your focus on the Holy Spirit and better enables you to “listen” to Him. When I came in late on purpose, I wasn’t giving God my best effort. I was lukewarm, so to speak. Such a lackadaisical approach, I am convinced, hindered much-needed spiritual growth in my life. Simply put: each withheld effort (at church or otherwise) was a missed opportunity to grow in the Lord.

So I urge you, dear reader, to be intentional in your pursuit of God. The most precious act you can do in your family life is to make sure those you love know it. The same holds true in your spiritual life – make a point of acting in ways that demonstrate your love for God.

Further scriptural reading on this subject:

Matthew 6:33

Luke 10:27a

Luke 15:1-7

Acts 17:27-28

Hebrews 10:25


Reconciling the consequences of your mistakes with God’s love.

I have found the issue many non-believers take with Christianity is the abundance of “rules.” They disagree with them and find little merit to their purposes. They believe obeying God would serve only to prohibit happiness and pleasure, and that, ironically, obedience would keep them from making the most out of life.

Believe it or not, I understand where they’re coming from. I actually used to champion this sort of thinking before God intervened in my life and changed everything. However a closer, Spirit-filled application of Godly wisdom will reveal that God’s word doesn’t provide instruction merely to test our loyalty and devotion. Rather, God, in His vast and incalculable love for us, gave us these instructions so we might live with joy and wisdom and peace. It’s not always immediately obvious when reading scripture, but every command God gave us has the sole purpose of blessing us.

Whenever we are tempted, Satan tries to convince us that disobeying scripture isn’t that big of a deal, and we’ll be fine. And the lie is so believable because if we give in, we are usually satisfied – at first. However if we disobey God, some way or another the consequences will always show up. Sometimes (and I do mean sometimes) the consequences of sin are small in the beginning. And that’s good because what a great opportunity to repent and move away before things get worse. But if sin is given time to grow and destroy, it will inevitability lead to some form of death. It could be the death of a relationship, a career, or even a person. But rest assured, it will ultimately lead to death. Consider James 1:15: “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” Disobedience, my friend, will always bring about consequences, even if you aren’t a Christian.

Of course, that’s not to confuse consequences with God’s discipline. First, God’s discipline is only for Christians. Second, God’s discipline occurs outside the ordinary consequences we might face, and it’s designed to get our attention so we don’t face worse consequences down the road. Third, God’s discipline is never spiteful. God never disciplines us and then says, “Ha, how did that feel?” No, rather He disciplines us with the expressed desire that we repent because it grieves Him when we face consequences.

Now, what if we repent but still have to face the outcomes of our sin? Consequences are nothing more than the results of our actions. That is why they occur even after a change of heart. God wants us to grow spiritually and make better choices in the future, so He allows us to reap what we sow with a precise hand on what happens.

But what if the consequences are devastating? What exactly do we trust God to do then?

The answer is both simple and reassuring. If we place our trust in the Lord, He will never allow our consequences to be too much. Now, allow me to make something clear about the last sentence. If you disagree with God about whether the consequences of your sin are bearable, consider this: You are imagining a future without God’s sovereignty over your life. You don’t know for certain how events will play out. But the truth still stands: God never leaves your side – even as you face consequences. Even though they are a result of your sin, He still faces them with you.

We all make mistakes. We all sin. But don’t forget that no matter what you do, God is in control of what lies ahead. And the Bible says God works for the good of those who love Him.

So take heart! Everything will be okay.

Further scriptural reading on this subject:

Luke 12:22-26

Galatians 6:7-8

Ephesians 3:20-21

James 1:15


In conclusion, I urge you to give life your very best effort. Make the most of every opportunity. Ask God to use you. Pursue Him with all you’ve got, and I promise your life will be enriched beyond what you can imagine.

So, dear reader, grab a Bible and study it. Satisfy your hunger for God. Learn about Him. Develop relationships with other believers so you might be encouraged. Pursue God and His plan for your life. Find out what the future holds, and experience a newfound joy that you’ve never felt.

Your relationship with God is the cornerstone of it all. Establish that foundation, and everything else will fall into place.

I have only a few precious minutes before work, and I cannot even begin to tell you how strongly I considered playing Halo until it was time to go. Because Halo is king of science fiction gaming, and I am the general of the king’s armies. You’re all space-peasants.

Anyway, I decided to do this instead because I feel like God’s been pointing things out to me lately, and it would be selfish to keep them to myself.

Before I begin, I’d like to clarify what I mean (and don’t mean) when I discuss how to make the most of your life. Making the most of your life doesn’t necessarily mean being productive as humanly possible. Society tends to think that’s good and dandy, and being productive certainly is important. However if all your efforts go into only being productive, then you are, in fact, not making the most out of your life.

If you come from a Judeo-Christian background, you ought to consider reading the book of Ecclesiastes. It was written by King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. In it, he describes how everything under the sun is ultimately meaningless because at some point we will all die, whether rich or poor, righteous or unrighteous. It’s all the same for everyone. He describes the satisfaction of being productive as God’s gift to man, that productivity is the remedy for life’s lack of meaning. He also discusses how it’s important to take the time to enjoy life and make the most of it.

I think much of Solomon’s book can be summarized as follows: There is a proper moderation between being productive and enjoying what you have produced. So, put a strong effort into your tasks, and then make sure to take pleasure in the outcome. While you’re working, put forth the best effort possible not only to do a good job, but to also have satisfaction in what you are doing.

I’m going to add a new category called “Making the Most out of your Life.” Right now my plan is to write it as a series of entries that I’ll later compile into an essay. Each item will tackle a specific suggestion toward, well, making the most of your life. Presently, I have no idea how many entries there will be or their lengths. This should be an interesting undertaking. I’ve never tried to write anything motivational before.

Allow me to direct your attention to the Categories menu on the left. If you’d like to see the entries for this category all at once, click “Making the Most of your Life.”

Wish me luck!