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So… It’s here!  Already! 2010 has passed like a lightning bolt, and 2011 is moving forward quickly and picking up steam.  Soon, we’ll be saying the same thing about 2011 and 2012.

Since life moves by so rapidly, we can’t afford to approach our Christian lives “shooting from the hip” (if nothing else, that sounds kind of dangerous).  We are told in Ephesians 5:16 to “redeem the time, because the days are evil.” To make the most of the time God has given us, we need to plan and live on purpose. God wants us to live for Him, and that doesn’t happen by accident.

I’m not talking about packing a schedule so tightly that your relationships can’t breathe.  In fact, I’m talking about purposefully planning so that you have time for God and your family. Men, jobs are vitally important to providing for our families, but they don’t replace the necessity for time with God and meeting the relational needs of our families. Ladies, caring for your husband and children is a high calling, but cleaning the house and feeding the children cannot replace the value of calming your heart before God in His Word and giving your children an example of a woman who passionately loves God.

The reason I’m sharing this is because I’m there with you.  I’m looking at my year, and praying and planning for a successful year in my highest priorities, and I have found in the past year that the higher the priority, the more likely it is to be crowded out of the schedule.  In trying to put God first, I have found that there will always be something else to do. If you and I are not careful, we will pass through every day and lay our heads on our pillows having done much, but having not done the most important thing… walk with God in His Word and prayer.  We will have made our contribution to the world through a vocation, but we would have hardly spoken to those people whom God has entrusted to our care.

Imagine this: At the end of 2011, you are making plans for 2012, and you review the previous year. You see several accomplishments that God allowed you to achieve.  You remember some times of enjoying your hobbies.  You have some special memories with family and friends. You have had the opportunity to impact others for Christ.  And through all this, there is not regret, but a strain of satisfaction running through it all as you think about the fact that, as a result of God’s graciousness to you, you walked with God.  You may have missed time with Him some days.  That’s not the point.  The point is that you sought the Lord.  You spent time with Him, growing in your relationship with Him.  You walked with Him during your day as you prayed without ceasing. You grew in your knowledge of His Word.  You impacted those closest to you in your family and your church as a person who loved God.  You reached others who were not in the family of God as they saw in you a satisfaction in Christ that they desperately longed for. That, my friend, is a year well spent.

This kind of year doesn’t happen accidentally.  Time has to be planned.  Time for priorities has to be protected. You will have to say, “No,” to some worthy things, but by doing that you will be affording yourself the opportunity to say, “Yes,” to the most important things.

And, in your ministry, let me say that ministry for God is vitally important.  Serving God is a calling that is both meaningful and rewarding.  Let’s not forget that ministry for God flows from a life lived with God.  Walk with God so that your ministry for God is effective.  Love God, so that your service for Him teaches others to do the same.

What are some ways you guard your time with God?