Living A Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…”Thermometer or Thermostat?”

This is part 5 of a series of posts I will be sending out every Friday,  relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference (only 5 weeks to go!!!). The posts will be short, to the point, and practical – designed to help you/your family in preparation for the conference (you will still benefit if you’re not coming to the conference!). Here goes with the fifth post…

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Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…“Thermometer or Thermostat?”.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV – 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

In the last post, we talked about the importance of “slowing down to speed up”, and why it’s not always the amount of time we spend doing something, that makes it valuable or worthwhile – but rather it’s about what we are actually doing.

As we consider the theme ENGAGE 2017, it’s important to acknowledge that a “grace-paced” life, is not an easy life, or an unbusy life, or a care-free life. There are too many misunderstandings about the grace of God such as this, that incorrectly shape the thinking of some Christians. So what is a “grace-paced” life?

Essentially, it boils down to one thing – and that is a life that is centered around Christ. By way of analogy, it’s the difference between living your life like a thermometer or living your life like a thermostat.

Think about it – a thermometer is constantly changing, according to the external conditions and influences around it. Alternatively, a thermostat is stable, and once set in place, plays a vital part in changing and influencing the external conditions around it.

So one of the ways in which we can experience “grace-paced” living, is by acknowledging God in any and every situation. Our relationship with God is not to be confined to Sunday mornings and personal devotions – God should permeate every area of our lives.

Therefore, when you next (and it probably won’t be long!) find yourself in one of those frustrating/why did this happen/inconvenient/stressful situations in daily life – take a moment to step back. Then, ask yourself if you are looking at this situation in a way that declares “God-is-nowhere”? Or – with the eyes of faith, can you look at this situation in a way that declares, “God-is-now-here”? A subtle but significant difference!

“Our relationship with God is not to be confined to Sunday mornings and personal devotions – God should permeate every area of our lives”. 

As a family, we are currently dealing with some “home maintenance” challenges – nothing life-threatening, but the kind of thing that can easily add unwanted stress and strife to daily life. We found comfort during family devotions this morning, reminding ourselves that several years ago a long-drawn out, frustrating, time-consuming issue we had with our carpet, actually gave us a really good opportunity to build a relationship with a certain tradesman and share the gospel! By God’s grace we became less changeable (thermometer), spending less time wondering why God had allowed the situation – and instead became more constant (thermostat) seeing God in the situation.

It was a good reminder that God is weaving His will into every part of our lives – and the more we center our lives around Him, the more we, and others will see Him in all situations.

For thought, prayer and application: What is your first thought when you hit one of those annoying, everyday life challenges? Do you wonder why God would allow such a thing to happen, or do you stop and consider that God may have actually orchestrated that thing to happen? Whether it’s a challenge with an appliance, a strained working-relationship, a difficulty with one of your children, or a persistent but aggravating home maintenance issue – try to pause, and acknowledge that God is in control, and that He may have divinely prepared this situation for your life, to help you become more like Christ. Bring the situation to prayer, and seek in God’s strength to be the thermostat that remains unchanged, rather than the thermometer that goes up and down. 

Click Below To Read Previous Posts in This Series…
Part 1 – “It is Finished!”
Part 2 – “Intention vs Intentions”

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Living A Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…”Slowing Down to Speed Up”

This is part 4 of a series of posts I will be sending out every Friday,  relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference. The posts will be short, to the point, and practical – designed to help you/your family in preparation for the conference (you will still benefit if you’re not coming to the conference!). Here goes with the fourth post…


Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…“Slowing Down to Speed Up”.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 NKJV – 10 If the ax is dull, And one does not sharpen the edge, Then he must use more strength; But wisdom brings success.

In the last post, we talked about the importance of recognising our “grace-position” before God, (not because of anything we have done) – so that we don’t attempt to make ourselves righteous by our own efforts, but rather serve God from a desire to please Him, knowing He has accepted us in Christ.

Today I want to focus on why “less is more” in so many areas of the Christian life. As mentioned in the first post in this series – we should be more concerned with effectiveness, rather than just efficiency. Here’s an illustration to make the point…

Let’s say someone decided to bless you with a gift – something that you really needed, something that was going to be such a benefit to you. The only catch is, you have to drive 5 hours to a certain place to pick up the gift.

So that’s a total of 10 hours driving in one day – but you’re going to do it – why? Because it’s the single most important thing you need to do that day, and it’s going to bring you the greatest blessing.

Well
, guess what – it actually isn’t the most important thing you’re going to do. The most important thing you’re going to do – is put some petrol in the car before you drive away – and that’s only going to take you about 10 minutes!

10 hours of driving – that’s a lot of time doing something – surely the most time equals the most value and importance? 
Well it doesn’t does it? It’s actually the 10 minutes you spend putting petrol in the car, that is facilitating the entire activity you will spend 10 hours doing – and will ultimately bring the greatest value and blessing. What took “less” time, actually provided “more” benefit in the big picture.

So – you may spend 8 minutes in the morning – in prayer, and reading the Scriptures – dedicated time (I’m not saying that’s all the time we should spend, I’m just making a point) – then you go to work or manage the home for 8 hours. What was the most important activity, and what will add the most value, and blessing to the day?

The 8 minutes, or the 8 hours?

The 8 minutes.

What took “less” time, actually provided “more” benefit in the big picture. 

It’s actually that 8 minutes (or whatever time you spend) that can have a profound effect on the 8 hours, because you have communed with God, committed the day to God, and so you can then continue to commune with God, as you acknowledge Him in your normal daily activity. If you want to cut down many trees for the Lord, and be productive in His kingdom – slow down, sharpen your spiritual axe, and you will speed up the process. Strange but true!

For thought, prayer and application: Do you currently have a daily, set-aside “sacred” time to read God’s Word and pray? I understand for some people, this seems impossible – hectic work schedules, the constant busyness of motherhood etc. However, the first step may simply be to implement “8 minutes” of this, rather than never make progress because you think it’s an hour of reading and praying or nothing. Don’t let an “all or nothing” mentality, rob you of the petrol you need in your car to gain the blessing God has for you. Do whatever you need to do, to carve this time into your schedule, and ask God for His grace to be consistent. Again, it’s not to gain His favour, or just do the “Christian thing”, but to spend time getting to know Him, allow His truth to shape your life, and bring everything to Him in prayer – which helps us know what to prioritise. 

Click Below To Read Previous Posts in This Series…

Part 1 – “It is Finished!”

Part 2 – “Intention vs Intentions”

Part 3 – “The Performance Trap”

Have you registered for this year’s ENGAGE 2017 Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference (Christchurch & Auckland)? Click here to find out more and register. EARLY BIRD PRICING ENDS 14 JULY!

ENGAGE 2017 REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER / MORE INFO

REGISTRATIONS NOW OPEN FOR ENGAGE 2017!

In our modern world, with the current tide of technology available in every crevice of life, our lives have become so crowded. For many people, it’s nothing short of a momentous battle to keep up, and to keep from constantly being distracted, diverted, and delayed in making progress in what really matters.

At this year’s conference, we will be addressing these issues from a biblical perspective. Why? Because unless we can each step back from our lives enough to evaluate and prioritise what is important, the weeks, months, and years will pass and we will end up overwhelmed by deep regret. More importantly, we will miss out on experiencing the life God intends us to live.

We want to provide a time for families and individuals to step aside from the race of life, and then re-enter it in better shape, and with renewed strength and passion. We want to give you the biblical, and practical tools to help get you back on track and keep you on track. Imagine if you could finish off this year feeling content about what you have achieved and devoted your time to, instead of always feeling you missed the mark or dropped the ball. That’s what we want to help you with at ENGAGE 2017.

We will be looking at why you don’t have to be living a crazy-paced life, to fulfill God’s purpose. We will be showing from the Scriptures what things God considers to be the greatest priorities in our lives, how we can build our lives around those, and yet still experience contentment and rest. This conference is not just about adding more “stuff” to your life but instead will help you to live with sharper focus, an eternal perspective, and a little less “hectic” in your days.

Designed for maximum discipleship benefit, rather than information overload, ENGAGE 2017 will allow you time to hear from God’s Word, respond to God’s Word, think, pray, discuss, and ask questions. You will also hear from other homeschool parents & students some ways in which they avoid being a slave to the unnecessary demands and expectations of life, allowing them to make significant progress in the things God has called them to do and be.

Our main Bible passage for the conference will be Hebrews 12:1-4…

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

Register yourself / your family now for ENGAGE 2017 and join us as we seek together to live a grace-paced life in this crazy-paced world!

Kris Baines
ENGAGE 2017 Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference
www.engageconference.org.nz

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER / MORE INFO
HOSTED BY ETERNAL PURPOSE MINISTRIES & REDEMPTION CHURCH.