Spend This Week For God

Joseph AlleineJoseph Alleine was very concerned about using every moment of his time to honor God. He wrote, “Give me a Christian that counts his time more precious than gold.” To help him do this, he built in reminders to his weekly journaling and prayer times.

At the beginning of each week he wrote in his journal—“Another week is now before us, let us spend this week for God.”

And each morning he wrote in his journal—“Let us live this one day well!”

The Bible instructs us to:

What can you do this week to make sure that you spend this week for God?

Confession: I Struggle With Being An Atheist

ITLWYou see, I love my day to be highly organized. I like to get to all my meetings on time, and then have them run smoothly and efficiently. I like to setup my To Do list, and then methodically check off each item as I go through my day. I like to be in charge of my day.

I am an atheist.

I’m the one calling the shots. I set my agenda. I determine my day. I decide who to see and what project to accept.

There was a guy that Jesus talked about who did the exact same thing. This guy thought to himself and talked to himself all about his plans. Seriously, in just three verses he says me/I/my a dozen times (Luke 12:17-19)!

But God said, “You fool!” The word for fool means without mind. He didn’t mind his mind. He thought the thoughts he wanted to think, without ever consulting anyone else. Not even God.

Jesus made prayer a priority every day (Mark 1:35). What do you think He prayed? Do you think He said, “Here’s what I’m going to do today, and I want You to bless it, Father”? No way!

When Jesus taught us to pray He said, Your kingdom come, Your will be done” (Matthew 6:9-13). Not only did Jesus pray this way, He lived this way too. He didn’t do a single thing unless His Father directed Him to do it (John 6:38), and He didn’t say a single word unless His Father directed Him to say it (John 12:49).

The problem is not going into my prayer closet to meet with God in the morning, the problem is thinking I can leave God in the closet as I go about my day! That is atheism!

The Apostle James gave us this sound counsel: Instead of making my plans all on my own, I should say, “If the Lord wills, this is what I will do today” (James 4:13-17). And wise King Solomon said I shouldn’t lean on my own thoughts when planning my days, but lean onto God, and then watch to see how He will direct my life in the right way (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I’ve begun writing I.T.L.W. on the top of my daily calendar. It’s my reminder to say, “If The Lord Wills” this is what I will do today. And if something else comes up, I quickly acknowledge that God is directing my path where He needs me to go.

Your Kingdom come means my kingdom has to go. Your will be done means my agenda takes a distant second.

If you’re feeling stressed about your schedule, that should be your reminder to pray: “God, what do you want to have done here.” Silence the atheistic thoughts that sound like, “I have to get my list done.” Stop and pray right there on the spot.

Here’s the full video of my message on this topic—

We will be continuing our series called Practical Prayer this Sunday. If you don’t have a home church in Cedar Springs, please come be our guest. Or you can tune into our live broadcast via Periscope.

Matthew Henry On Prayer

Matthew HenrySome great quotes from Matthew Henry on prayer…

“It is good for us to keep some account of our prayers, that we may not unsay them in our practice.” —Matthew Henry

“God’s promises are to be our pleas in prayer.” —Matthew Henry

“Prayer time must be kept up as duly as meal time.” —Matthew Henry

“A truly religious life is a life of constant joy. And we should rejoice more, if we prayed more. Prayer will help forward all lawful business, and every good work. If we pray without ceasing, we shall not want matter for thanksgiving in every thing. We shall see cause to give thanks for sparing and preventing, for common and uncommon, past and present, temporal and spiritual mercies. Not only for prosperous and pleasing, but also for afflicting providences, for chastisements and corrections; for God designs all for our good, though we at present see not how they tend to it.” —Matthew Henry

“Prayer is a salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady; and when we are afflicted with thorns in the flesh, we should give ourselves to prayer. If an answer be not given to the first prayer, nor to the second, we are to continue praying. Troubles are sent to teach us to pray; and are continued, to teach us to continue instant in prayer.” —Matthew Henry

“The best we can say to God in prayer, is what He has said to us.” —Matthew Henry

“Here is a precept in three words to the same purport, Ask, Seek, Knock (Matthew 7:7); that is, in one word, ‘Pray; pray often; pray with sincerity and seriousness; pray, and pray again; make conscience of prayer, and be constant in it; make a business of prayer, and be earnest in it.’” —Matthew Henry

Buster

Every once in a while I need to be reminded of this truth: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”

Yesterday my plans were set. They were planned down to the minute. Here was my agenda:

  • Leave home early for a meeting in Kalamazoo.
  • Swing by the office to pick up a key.
  • Head to a house in downtown Kalamazoo for a meeting.
  • Complete the meeting in about an hour.
  • Drive to my parents’ house to change into a business suit.
  • Then head to downtown Grand Rapids for another meeting with some key business and ministry leaders in the inner-city.

Instead, on my way to Kalamazoo, I had the following phone conversation:

“Sorry, but I forgot to drop the key off on Friday. Can I meet you at the house to give it to you?”

“Sure. I can meet you there.”

“I need to ask another favor. I’m running late. Can you just find a coffee shop somewhere and meet me about 30 minutes later than we had planned?”

“Okay,” I said not too assuredly since this was starting to throw off my “perfect” schedule.

I pulled into a McDonald’s in downtown Kalamazoo, right across the street from the Greyhound bus station. I sat in my car for a couple of minutes, and then felt the need for a fruit and yogurt parfait. After making my purchase I had a grand total of $7.94 left in my pocket.

I walked to the restroom.

Just as I walked in, a man motioned to me. He wanted to say something quietly to me. Given the neighborhood I was in, I was expecting the usual “Can you help me out with some loose change” plea. Instead…

“Um, can you help me out,” asked the man that would later introduce himself as Buster.

“Sure. What do you need?”

“I had an accident and I need some clothes to change into,” he said quietly.

“I saw a mission around the corner,” I said. “Do they have clothes?”

“Yea.”

“Okay, c’mon. I’ll walk over there with you.” And I turned to walk out of the restroom.

Buster grabbed my coat sleeve and pulled me back. “Um, he said looking at the floor, “I … I’m HIV-positive.”

“Really,” I said as I put my arm around his shoulders, “I’m Craig.”

Buster smiled.

We walked to the mission and he picked out some sweat pants, a sweatshirt, a pair of shoes, a pair of pants, and a winter jacket. Total: $7.42.

“I’m going to pay you back for this, Craig.”

“No, you’re not, Buster. This is my gift to you.”

As we walked toward the bus station, where Buster could use a restroom to change his clothes, he asked me,

“Do you ever think about dying?”

“I’m not afraid to die, Buster, but I’m not ready to leave just yet. Why do you ask?”

“Last night I got drunk. I was trying to get up enough courage to jump in front of a bus. I’m tired of living.”

“Buster, I think that would be the worst thing you could do.”

“Why? No one cares about me.”

“God does.”

“Really?”

“Buster, I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences. I wasn’t supposed to be at this McDonald’s today. But God rearranged my schedule just so I could meet you. God sent me here.”

Buster slowly nodded his head, “I believe that, Craig. I really do.”

Before I left Buster at the bus station, he asked for my phone number. I walked over to the ticket counter to borrow a pen. After I wrote my number down and turned around, a man was standing right in my path.

“My name’s Johnson. Buster told me what you did for him.”

I smiled and shook his hand.

“Why did you do that?” he asked.

I smiled again, “God sent me here. He loves Buster so much that He rearranged my schedule.”

“Can you help me,” Johnson asked, “but Buster said you used all of your money on him.”

“What do you need?”

He held open his hand with some loose change in it. “I need 50 cents more for my bus fare.”

I handed Johnson my last 52 cents.

King Solomon also wrote, “The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?”

I didn’t understand why my “perfect” schedule got rearranged. But I’m glad it did. I’m glad I got to meet Buster.

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