What are you reading today?
Lesson Objective: To discuss the need and power of reading.
Scripture: Deuteronomy 17:19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
I remember going on a trip and one of my companions asked me if I was a reader and if I enjoyed reading. I quickly answered yes as I have always enjoyed reading from an early age when I learned to read by reading the Bible in church and comic books like Superman, Batman, and Flash. He gave me a book to read which I still have today and reread from time to time. Reading the Bible is important as it allows us to hear from God and understand his will for us in our lives. Reading in our secular lives is also very important. It has been suggested that one should read an average of thirty minutes a day. If you want to be considered an expert in your field then read at minimum three books. As a writer said, be a student of what you read not a follower. After reading then write (smile) a book and then you will be an expert. Do not just read any book but read books that coincide with your passion and goals in life. Remember that you do not need to accept everything that is written as gospel but accept those which you find appropriate and throw away those that are not. Mark Twain is quoted as saying “people who do not read a good book are no better off than the people who cannot read.
Quote from a dear friend; You will be the same today as you are 5 years from now except for the people you meet and the books that you read. Choose carefully
Who are you spending your time with?
Lesson Objective: To understand that choosing one’s associates is an important decision
Scriptures: Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a man will, later on, find more favor than someone who flatters with his words
Proverbs 12:26 The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray
Yesterday’s lesson taught us that it is important to read good books that are aligned with our goals and aspirations in life. This was reflected in the quote from Charlie Tremendous that we will be the same 5 years from now except for the books we read and the people we meet with the caution of choosing carefully. Choosing friends can be difficult, especially for young people who crave being included in the in-group. However, this desire does not end when we become of age. It actually can deepen. How often do we stand around the coffee or water cooler at work gossiping or participating in other activities that are not pertinent to the job? While taking a break can be relaxing, depending on whom you are spending the time with can bring trouble. I suggest that you look around your inner circle and see if they are people who have the same goals and attitudes as you. Are they people who chide you when you are working late on a project to spend extra effort in completing a necessary task? Are they people who are constantly complaining about not getting a raise or complaining about the boss? Choose people who are willing to work late with you so you will not be alone or willing to bring you lunch when you do not have the time to go out for lunch. Choose those who are encouragers and truly rejoice with you when you are rewarded for a good job.
Thought for the day: Do not worry about being one of the crowd. Good folks will come to you if you are doing the right thing. You decide whom you associate with, not the other way around.
How are you spending your time?
Lesson Objective: To understand the importance of using our time wisely.
Scripture: Ephesians 5: 15-17 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Many of us have heard of the parable of the talents where we are encouraged to use the gifts given by God to us wisely and not to waste the gift by not using it. Quite similarly we must understand that time is a gift from God and we must use time wisely. God has a will for our lives and this is reflected by what we do every day, One of the first skills taught should be time management. We all have the same number of seconds, minutes, and hours in a day but some of us use that time more wisely than others. Time is a valuable asset that cannot be replaced. Once it is gone, it is gone never to be recovered. There is no substitute for time and we are unable to deposit it in the time bank and withdraw it at a later date. We have all heard the adage that the idle mind is the devil’s workshop. We all stand the risk of following the wrong path when we are choosing not to use our time wisely. It can be argued that just as many say that we should offer money tithe, we should also offer time tithe. Meaning quite simply that we should be going about the business of God when we have so-called free time. There actually is no such thing as free time. When we go to a football game or a movie for enjoyment we are paying for it in money and in time. We could be using that time to spend with family or those in need and following God’s will for our lives. Please do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting that one should not take some time to “relax”. What I am saying is that we must learn to manage our time so that we are using our time wisely to answer the calling of God.
Thought for the day: Make sure to make an appointment with God during your busy day.
What Is Your Heart Saying Today?
Lesson Objective: We must be careful of what we say. It may come back to haunt us.
Scripture: Luke 6:43-45 “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
When I was a child, I had a teacher who always said, “put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in motion” because if you didn’t you would not know which direction the car was headed. We can make the same analogy about our hearts and what we say. The Bible is very clear that what we say comes from the heart. The prayer that we desire a pure heart is so important because if we have a pure heart the words we say will be uplifting and not envious or hateful to those around us. There is a quote that says that after you say something you can only be forgiven but what you said cannot be forgotten. There are many more similar quotes like one from Mark Twain or Abraham Lincoln “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”. Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. Quite similar in meaning. The reality is that we must be very careful when we speak however if our heart is in the right place and we allow our heart to be a place where God resides then we are far less likely to say something that requires forgiveness.
Thought for the day: May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
How to Change
Lesson Objective: To understand some factors that must be addressed to accomplish change
Scripture: Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In order to change one must first understand that we must unlearn most of what we have been taught by the world. The world teaches us many concepts that are completely opposite to what the Bible teaches. Some examples are as follows:
- The world teaches us the importance of reading but does not tell us how to distinguish what we read from good and bad. In some countries, it is illegal to read the Bible in school. What once was seen as pornography is now acceptable. Words that were once considered to be profanity are now acceptable in everyday language
- We are now taught to be accepting of all behavior regardless of the nature of the behavior.
- We are taught that everyone has the right to say whatever they want to express their personal opinion regardless of whom it may harm and regardless of whether or not it is true or false.
- It is acceptable to spend our time in places that do not glorify God.
We must understand that we may be in the world but not of the world. Pornography and profanity are never acceptable and if we are in a place that promotes such, we should remove ourselves as quickly as possible. While we should always love the person, we must never find the behavior acceptable if it is the opposite of what is taught in the Bible. Our tongues should speak only the truth and never speak evil and falsehood.
In order to claim to love God and have a pure heart and be a servant of God, we must follow the will of God by putting off the old and replacing it with the new.
Thought for the day: Change comes about only through an intentional act.