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Daily devotion should have a mantra that reads something like this: You start with intention and seek intimacy with God.  That would pretty much summarize your objective in a nutshell.  You have to keep the objective in mind in order to identify, track and assess your progress towards reaching that objective.

Intention

For your daily devotion, you need to identify if you want to start by reading Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels or some other section or books of the Bible.  My daily devotion for 2011 consists of a daily reading from a chapter of proverbs for the corresponding date of the month as well as reading daily from a chapter from the 52 chapters of Jeremiah each week.  The Proverbs daily reading is usually reading the fifth chapter of Proverbs on the fifth of the month and so on.  I read an entire chapter from Jeremiah over the course of a week, reading parts of it daily or reading over and over again and taking notes. 

Intensity

You will see your capacity increase over time.  Your appetite for the Scriptures will develop as you take in more and more of its passages and books.  At some point, you will have to intensify your efforts in line with your original intent.

Intimacy

Ultimately, what you seek to gain out of your daily devotional time should not simply be biblical knowledge.  You should seek a deeper intimacy with God.  Whether it comes by a better understanding of who God is or how God acts, you want to draw nearer to the Lord Almighty Himself.  You should learn more about God and become drawn closer to God.

Additional Devotional Help

  • My Utmost for His Highest– Oswald Chambers
  • Day by Day– Billy Graham
  • Our Daily Bread­– RBC Ministries

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You may be one of those professional Christians who has everything scheduled for every moment of the day.  Meetings upon meetings seem to fill your calendar.  You may seem to find it hard to get in some daily devoted Bible intake due to your busy schedule.

Here are some simple strategies for taking in the Bible daily:

These are just a few ways that a busy professional can take in the Bible daily without ever turning a page.  Use your technology to help you gain Bible knowledge as you complete your daily tasks day by day.

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Daily Dabble

“To have a great day every day it helps to think great thoughts and to concentrate on at least one every day.”


Norman Vincent Peale

Have a Great Day

Daily you may find yourself bombarded with schedules and meetings.  Stop for an instance prior to 2011 and start prioritizing going beyond the norm.  Make an effort to approach each day with a new expedition to undertaken.  Seek to dive into today with dabbling.

Yes, I said dabbling.  Dabble in some of this and some of that, but dabble daily.  Set aside some part of the day to dabble into something new.  Learn Spanish.  Take up salsa or flamenco dancing.  Read biographies and autobiographies about famous business titans and politicians.  Start a new hobby.  Make your long-time hobby into a part-time business.  Make your daily dabbling deliberate.  Don’t get willy-nilly with it.  Plan it out with a month-by-month or week-by-week Day Planner.  Dabble in new things daily and see how much you grow from the experience.  Review each month’s activities and discover your daily dabble’s rewards.

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day

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Okay, folks.  The year is closing out.  We are wrapping up the third quarter and getting into the final and fourth quarter of the year, looking ahead towards 2011 with eagerness and excitement. 

Here’s my sound advice for the evangelical entrepreneur or the Bible-believing businessman or businesswoman:

“Pray constantly.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (HCSB)
My Daily Prayer & Praise Journal: Keynotes (NEW LIFE BIBLE)
You don’t have to be consumed with the latest headlines and the market conditions through the news wire and constant streams of Internet data that reveal the ebb and flow of the business world moment by moment.  Get saturated in prayer.  Let your prayer life set you apart from how others approach business.
Pray over your business and everything that is connected to your business.
How often you pray impacts how you pray, and how you pray impacts how often you pray.
Pray for your business today.  Pray with your future in mind.  Pray for guidance d strength

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The ESV Study Bible
I am captivated every single time I read it.
I crack open my Bible and thumb through cheese-cloth thin pages that crinkle like crisp dollar bills as I pass over the preliminary pages.  I bypass the pages that tell of the inerrant and infallibe of God’s Word handed down from heaven by His Holy Spirit that allowed power to work through divinely-inspired men that led to the Council of Nicea and other gatherings of rulers and rule-makers alike that led to the creation and compilation of the Bible as we know it today. 
That’s when the words hit me.
In the beginning. . .
 
They seem to linger in mid-air somewhere just above my grasp.  They don’t drift or stray.  They just hang there in some solitary space perfectly fit to between understanding and faith.  They are wedged between belief and some alternative instinct that leads me to desire to fully understand something by laying out as much as evidence and facts as possible to arrive at a solution.
In the beginning. . .
 
Was that in the beginning as far as I can remember? Or, are you talking about in the beginning in reference to some time even prior to Moses’ being born in the midst of a cruel regime of Egyptian bondage or Noah even entertained the Lord’s leading of building an ark?
In the beginning. . .
 
No matter how you look at it, “In the beginning” works for Genesis since it means “origin.”  It is the story of creation.  The family line of Adam stems from the beginning. The animal kingdom initiates in the beginning.  Everything comes out of the creation, which marks our very beginning.
Awe seems to sink into my members as I settle in for the ride of a lifetime.  I have restarted with Genesis again as many times before.  As I restart reading God’s Word again, I restart from the same famed verse and very simple prepositional phrase that says so much in three little words.
In the beginning. . .

*From Eden to Egypt is a series for Life Path Ministries by Rev. Bruce Jackson that chronicles a daily study and reading of the Book of Genesis and The Genesis Record by Henry M. Morris.

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Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility.”- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Many times we confuse activity with action.  We think of being active- simply doing something- doing what needs to be done, although doing something may not lead to accomplishing anything productive.  Activity just means that something is taking place.  Taking action is an entirely different definition.

One definition for “activity” that works here is : any specific behavior,  while “action” is  a deed; something done or accomplished.  Given those two definitions,  it is safe to say that we need to rethink our activities and actions.  They are not synonymous at all.  As we plan our daily activities, we need to ensure that we include particular actions that need to be accomplished throughout the day rather than simply taking up time doing and vegging.  

Will your actions make a difference in the lives of broken people?
Can you see yourself becoming more missional as you become more intentional?
Will you submit to His leading and your personal calling to take action?
See where he leads you and see how it feels.
Check yourself… If God thinks you are ready for the responsibility, then maybe you should stick to praying on your relationship with God, not your decision to do it or not.

Bonhoeffer spoke of responsibility, not simply thoughts.  He was a Lutheran pastor in WWII Germany.  He spoke of readiness.  He shared this openly.  Are you ready to take personal responsibility as you take action? Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s involvement in a plot to overthrow Adolf Hitler led to his imprisonment and execution. 19061945)

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And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.  -Ezekiel 3:1-3 (NIV)

We, as believers, are called to do something with the Word.  Yes, I know Ezekiel is one of those prophets who seems to border somewhere between deranged madman and dedicated messenger of God.  Yet, God calls Ezekiel to do something symbolically that He expects of all of us literally.

Take in the Word.  Take it in daily.  Take it in deliberately.  Take the Word in as much as you can each and every day.

  • Discover the Word: Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll… (v. 1). The ESV says: eat whatever you find here,  while the New King James Version reads: eat that you find.  You need to discover the Word.  I don’t mean find the thing that is sitting somewhere on the backseat from your last visit to church.  I mean find out what the Word has to offer.  Don’t rely on what others have to say about it.  Discover it for yourself.  Seek out the Word and see what it has to offer.
  • Devour the Word: So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll (v. 2, KJV). Take the Word in.  Eat it up.  Consume it.  Take it into your soul.  Allow it to feed the hunger that burns within you.  Let the Word nourish you.  Feast on the deep mysteries of God.  Open your mouth and eat of what God provides to His children as you discover His Word for yourself.
  • Digest the Word: eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it (v. 3).  Let the Word fill you.  Take it in and let it settle into your soul.  Digest it.  Absorb the richness of God’s Word.  Don’t let it just pass through you.  Absorb it.  As you consume it, let it consume you.
  • Disseminate the Word: eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel…So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth (v. 3).  The whole point of taking in the Word is not only for our own gain.  You are to share what you take in.  The ultimate purpose is that you consume it to become a connoisseur of it.  As a connoisseur, you can share about its sweetness and richness because you have tasted and seen that it is good.  If we are obedient to God in taking in His Word, we should also be obedient to God in sharing and spreading His Word to others.
Search for it.  Study it.  Stomach it.  Share it.  Spread it.

When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.Jeremiah 15:16

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I believe that every business should make a statement. Whether it is daily, weekly or more occasional, your business should make a statement that goes out to the public through various mediums. Churches, nonprofits and for-profits need a pr and marketing plan that includes raising public awareness about new services and special events, even forging new partnerships and collaborations for programs and other activities.

  • Daily: Use social media to get your daily message out to people in ways that reach people daily. Look into Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. Consider Voxox for instant messaging, IM, fax, SMS text messaging and other services including video chat.
  • Weekly: Let’s say you want to keep people buzzing about that new worship service you started last month. Upload and embed video snippets onto your Facebook or YouTube page. Let’s say your shelter hosts a special volunteer hour in partnership with the senior resource center in your community. Create weekly e-newsletter using Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Get your message into nearly everyone’s inbox.
  • Every Now & Then: You should launch a press release every other month or at least every quarter throughout the year. Your calendar of events should provide you with enough room between activities to garner support from many of the same people without wearing them out. Use services such as PR Log, Free Press Releases and PR.COM to distribute press releases beyond your circle of friends. Try out EventBrite and E-Vite for special events and fundraisers as well as posting events on Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

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To everything there is a season…- Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

 

Your calendar should not determine your actions. Use your calendar to distinguish your actions. You need to identify what time you need to plan and perform, even perfect, what you are are doing daily, weekly and monthly. Your calendar should include your quarterly and annual activities, too.

Your daily planner may work for identifying things to plan as well as things to perform. Franklin Covey and Day Runner make some great planners. As far as technology, I prefer using Google Calendar online as opposed to MS Outlook or any other program. Google Calendar interfaces with my Gmail account and offers me present reminders as well as collaboration with my contacts in Gmail or other emails. I just prefer it to other online and software alternatives.

Let your calendar help you keep up with appointments and assignments like meetings and special events. Schedule your daily and weekly activities in a monthly view. Print out copies of your next three months to get into view what are your regular meetings and activities as well as what special events and activities you have coming up on the horizon.

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He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.- Psalm 1:3 (ESV)
As believers, we are expected to be both productive and prosperous. We are to produce fruit and prosper. The same can be said for our endeavors, whether they be business or ministry. God wants us producing fruit and prospering.
Productivity is more than just sheer numbers. You can be productive by serving a small niche and spreading the love of Christ though your service quality. People will see your light. What you produce by providing quality service becomes evidence of your earnest efforts. You produce fruit and become known by your fruit.
Prosperity should not become confused with wealth and riches. That stems from a flawed and narrow view of what God offers us when we are faithful and obedient. We receive countless blessings from God based upon His grace and mercy. Yet, we prosper by growing. We are to grow closer to God and deeper in our faith for starters. As we increasing become more and more blessed, we must increase in our thankfulness and joy for being blessed with even the so-called “little” things.
Get on the path. Become productive and prosperous day by day, mediating on His Word and staying clear of the wrong path in life.

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