Friday, July 10, 2015

The "New" Bucket List

I never thought of myself as having a so called “bucket list”, after all, I didn’t even know what it meant (nor have I viewed the film or read any of the books).  Then I got to thinking … well, I have a “to do life list” of things I hope to accomplish during my days here on earth which is about the same idea. 

Some of them are merely things I want to try just to say I did them so I can check them off my list.  Climbing a mountain and riding a camel are two things I finally crossed off the list.  I've yet to pet a lion or tiger.
 
Then there are some that I really want to accomplish because they mean a great deal to me.  Lastly there are some things that made the list that are somewhere in the middle. 

No matter where an item falls on the want list, they have to be achieved during the set number of days I’ve been given.  Are these desires worth the attention I’d be giving them, knowing that each will take a big chunk of time out of my life that I’ll never get back? 
 
Will those days be counted toward my Heavenly reward or will they be lost?
 

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My Own Beat – off beat to say the least! 

One thing that I’ve always wanted to do was learn to play the drums.  I suppose you could say it’s in the middle on my life list.  None the less, it’s one of those fun things people add to their life wish list. 

When I first began my career I chose to be a full time substitute teacher, that way I could figure out where I would “land” when it came to grade level.  Subbing was a way to go for me and I absolutely loved it.  Having all the fun of meeting the kids, teaching every subject and not having the responsibility of the regular staff suited me at the time. 

The call came for me to teach a music class, something I had wanted to do but the opportunity never arose. “Yes, of course, I’ll do it.” I told the service that schedules the activities and substitutes for the day in that district. 

Classes were over and it was a most exciting day for me.  At the end of the last period I took a bold step.  The kids were gone and I was there with all those amazing instruments.  You already know what happened don’t you? 

There they were, standing on that platform all by themselves just waiting to be played. What else could I do?  Making my way up the stairs I positioned myself in the seat, picked up the sticks and began playing the drums to my own little beat.   

While in my glory, the vice-principal entered the room.  He insinuated that he heard a “ruckus and noise” so he came to find out what it was. How rude… I wasn’t asked to substitute teach for music class again!  My days for playing drums were numbered to one.   

I can still keep a pretty good beat, but the older I get the “between” beat time seems to get longer.  Learning to play drums still appeals to me as a worship leader, but not in the same way.  Now my desire is to please the One who put the rhythm of life in me. Whether or not playing this instrument is something that I should be measuring toward numbering my days on the value scale is another thing.

No Time for Games 

Even though we don’t have children, we have always had a play room in the house.  One thing the kids liked to do was shop in the pretend grocery store we had.  They learned all sorts of life skills in that room.  Numbers and counting were among them.  

I remember watching my nephews learn about numbers, especially when it came to money.  When we played Monopoly my husband had no mercy concerning their ages.  We all had one minute to make our play or our turn would be forfeited.  It wasn’t long before they learned that time was of the essence and it couldn’t be wasted on poor decision making.  

Maybe the rest of us didn’t learn this lesson from our childhood, but there was a turning point in life where we realized time and numbers make a big difference when it comes to finishing our earthly race with joy. Our time became valuable and it wasn’t a game where we had the luxury of sitting around waiting for something to happen.  No, we went after what we wanted full speed ahead. After all, days are only 20 hours long now, right? 

No, time allotted is still the same, each day is 24 hours and each individual is given the same amount of time.  What we do with it is different. 

Every day is a bank account, and time is our currency.
We each get 24 hours. – Chris Rice
 

Having Less, Doing More 

A few years back my husband came to the realization of his time on earth when he actually added up the days he has lived already.  I think that once a person hits the age of forty you start to understand that you may have reached the half way point in the number of days you have left.  

By age fifty you will have lived 18,250 days, and the hope of doubling that is not likely.  It’s no wonder fulfilling a “wish list” becomes so important and top priority.  My mom used to say, “The days flew by … where did the time go?” 

When a friend of ours retired at the age of sixty-five, he told us that he was more busy living out the remaining days he had than when he actually had a job. He began to number his days, and having less days remaining he was doing more that counted in Heaven.  How many ever reach that realization and make the changes on their “bucket list?”
 

Make Your Day Count 

Making my day count for something has not always been at the top of my list, if you know what I mean. Running a marathon or some sort of race, developing a rose or having my own car are things that I’ve always wanted in life, but if they don’t happen I won’t feel that I’ve not lived life to the fullest.   

Although I may not achieve my goals each day in crossing off things from my “bucket list”, I try to make what I do count for building the Kingdom of God and building up His people.  

In doing so, He has blessed me with life and increased His favor the more I pursue Him.  I like the way Bill Johnson writes about living out our days in his book “Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven’s Agenda.” 

“So much of the increased favor we get from God is really
according to what we’ve done with the favor we already have.”  

Isn’t that a true statement?  The Bible tells us that throughout His entire life Jesus increased (grew) in favor from God and man.  Favor increased in His life because He knew what to do with the favor He already received.  Everything Jesus did was for God, and since that was His only agenda favor was always on His life. (See Luke 2:52)

Would you say this was favor? 

It’s true that I’ve been through some extremely trying days in my life, but it’s also true that in each trial favor has surrounded me.  God will cause favor and blessings to come into my journey when my desires have been fixed on Him.  

Here’s an example of what I mean. Last week I was looking for dried flowers in Hobby Lobby for an arrangement that I’m making for a competition.  Not being familiar with the store I ventured up every aisle and came across one marked clearance.  At the end of it was a huge centerpiece marked down 90%.  The first thing that came to my thinking was, “Wow, that would look great in the church.” 

Reaching up to the display I saw the price $249.99; a bit steep even though it was pretty.  Then I flipped over the tag and saw $25.00.  Right away I tracked down my husband and had him look at the item.  Was this for real?  The heavy glass container cost more than that.  Verifying the price, we purchased it as a gift for God’s house. 

Part of making our day count for the Lord was stopping at a Christian Book store to purchase gifts for the church outreaches.  It’s an opportunity we don’t want to miss, and something we do once at mid-year so we can get items to other ministries in time for their holiday gatherings. 
“Live wisely among those who are not believers,
and make the most of every opportunity.”
 
Take a look at the same passage in the Amplified Bible.
 
“Behave yourselves wisely {living prudently and with discretion}
in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing
(buying up) the opportunity.” (Colossians 4:5 AMP)
 
We believe God’s Word in Luke 6:38 where He said “give and it will be given back to you, running over, good measure, pressed down, shaken together shall men give into your bosom.” With the budget being very, very small this year, we stood on the promises Jesus proclaimed for those who would believe in Him. 

God knew the purpose of our visit was “giving”, so He made sure supernatural favor would follow us on the journey.  Checking out the original total came to $652.98, however that was not the favored price.  There were 63 items including over 25 CD’s, Bible on DVD, hardback and softback gift books.  They weren’t clearance or out of print items either, but current top line products.  I'd give a drum roll here, but you know how that went.  The favored price we paid was $68.00. 

You may think that it was simply being in the right place at the right time, or that those things are blessings. Well, you would be correct in that thinking, but consider this also.  Those things were available to anyone and weren’t concealed; however, no one bought them!  Why is that?  I’ll tell you why.  They were set aside for God, and the person who would buy them for His work, not their use.  

There was only one flower arrangement and a certain number of items at that price in the book store.  God allowed them to be placed along our path.  I feel so blessed that He chose to reveal His plan to us. 

Now wouldn’t you agree that wasn’t a coincidence, but the hand of God on a situation?  In putting God first on your list, He also extends favor personally and rebukes the devourer.  

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my house,  we will serve the LORD.” (from Joshua 24:15 NKJV) 

Why Number the Days? 

This week during one of my devotional times the Lord led me to Psalm 90, where Moses was in prayer interceding for the children of Israel.  He spoke of the things God had done before acknowledging the sins of the people and how judgment would come.  See, the people had forgotten what God wanted and were fulfilling their own desires on their bucket lists. 

“You (God) spread out our sins before You, our secret sins, and You see them all.  We live our lives beneath Your wrath, ending our years with a groan. 
 
Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty.  But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and fly away.” (Psalm 90:8-10 NLT)

That’s exactly what I’ve heard so many say lately.  The world seems to be in such turmoil because of bad decisions in walking out their own desires. God has been left out of the lives of His people, and they’re blaming Him for things not coming together as they planned.  Instead of saying God bless our nation, we should be praying, God forgive our nation. 
 
 
Something else Moses requested of God was the plea for mankind to recognize that their life was but a vapor, and would be nothing if not counted for God.  He prayed that in this revelation they would gain wisdom in their life choices (verse 12) and that His favor would help them accomplish whatever it was they were called to do for God (verse 17). 

“And let the beauty and delightfulness and favor of the LORD our God be upon us; confirm and establish the work of our hands – yes, the work of our hands, confirm and establish it.” (Psalm 90:17 AMP) 

Why should we number or count our days?  We must wisely consider how short life is compared to eternity, and understand that believing God comes with His favor for one reason – to establish His work. 

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 

Therefore do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles (unbelievers) seek. For your Heavenly Father knows that you need these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:30-33 NKJV) 

If you want God to show you favor, scrap your bucket list for His.  In doing so, both will be accomplished. 

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and He will establish your plans.”

 

This Week’s Challenge:
Work on the “B” List 
 
Every life is a journal waiting to be written, and we are the ones who hold the pen.  What we do in life is recorded for God in Heaven or counted as nothing and credited to things of this earth.  Our actions are our record; we determine tomorrow by what we do today. 

To the world the “B” list stands for things people want to do before they leave earth or “kick the bucket”. However, to the believer the “B” list stands for something else entirely – “B” as in “Before Jesus Comes” to do list. 

Our challenge this week will have us working on our new “B” list.  It’s not something that will happen in one week though, but our converted list will be one we work at the rest of our lives.  

In prayer ask the Lord what needs to change so that your bucket list lines up with His. 

“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths.

Loving your time with the Lord should be the first thing on your list.  There are a lot of things we have in our heart we’d like to do, but it’s the Lord’s that will prevail. (see Proverbs 19:21) 

Spending quality time enjoying family and friends places high on God’s list of things to do, so it should rate up there on yours as well. This includes church family and spending time fellowshipping with people of like faith. 

Adding to the “Before Jesus Comes” list you may include these to do’s: 

Lead someone to Christ. (Most believers never do this.)

Visit Israel to further understand the gospel message.

Read through the entire Bible every year.

Volunteer to work on a foreign missions project.

Give a large amount of money to a Christian charity.

Start a Bible Study or join one.

Organize and pay for a Christian event for the community.

Financially back a missionary. 

Your “bucket list” desires are important to God. He isn’t asking you to do away with them, but to put His first over yours.   

Whatever God places on your heart always make good use of your time and be sure to follow it through.  He will make a way for you to accomplish it through blessings, grace, mercy and favor. 

“Lord, teach us what it truly means to number our days wisely,
so that our work for You will always find favor."
Favored1
 
Your life means so much to Jesus that He died for you to live it more abundantly.  Life is a precious gift with every day being numbered and worth living.  Get started with your new bucket list and make the most of the time you’ve been given before Jesus comes!  



 

Until next time, may God’s favor be on your life list! 

Check Messages throughout the week.  

“I establish My work with favor.”
Jesus Christ
 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.
Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on book or link.

http://www.christianbook.com/teach-us-to-number-our-days/david-roper/9781572931961/pd/931961?event=AFF&p=1167566&
 
by David Roper
 
Available in eBook, Hardback, Paperback, Large/Easy Print
 


Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.

Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible
Hosting the Presence: Unveiling Heaven's Agenda by Biil Johnson, Published by Destiny Image, 2015, p. 54
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Bucket List  Drumsticks  Monopoly Game  Make the Days Count Sign  Spiritual Priority
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.