Are you making the most of your life?

Are you allowing any of you life to be wasted? Are you misusing and of the time you have? Are you using your gifts to be a blessing to others? Are you using your talents to benefit others? Are you using what you have for selfish reasons? Are you using what you have for your own benefit and gains? What do you think would make your life more? What do you think would get the most of your life? What would it take for you to live a life that others admire? What would it take for you to live a life that will make a difference in the lives of others? How can you make the most of your life?

How to Make the Most of Your Life

Bible In One Year 2017 – Day 56
Devotional, Proverbs 6:1-11, Mark 8:14-38, Mark 9:1, Exodus 37, Exodus 38

1. Master self-discipline — Proverbs 6:1-11

1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2you have been trapped by what you said,ensnared by the words of your mouth. 3So do this, my son, to free yourself,since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! 4Allow no sleep to your eyes,no slumber to your eyelids. 5Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,like a bird from the snare of the fowler. 6Go to the ant, you sluggard;consider its ways and be wise! 7It has no commander,no overseer or ruler, 8yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. 9How long will you lie there, you sluggard?When will you get up from your sleep? 10A little sleep, a little slumber,a little folding of the hands to rest— 11and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. –from Proverbs 6

Have you mastered how to be manage your time? Have you mastered how to manage your finances? Don’t waste what you have! Make the most of it! Today’s devotional provides wisdom and insight for us as follows…

The book of Proverbs gives you practical wisdom on how to make the most of your life and how to avoid wasting it by falling into various traps. In the passage for today we see two examples:

Master your finances

One of the areas of life that requires self-discipline is our finances. There are always plenty of financial traps and snares – such as unmanageable debt, unwise investment and foolish pledges. The writer urges you that, if you have got yourself into a financial muddle (vv.2–5), you should do everything in your power to get out of it as soon as possible: ‘Don’t waste a minute’ (v.3, MSG).

We may have to humble ourselves (v.3b). We may have to plead our case (v.3c). We should do everything in our power to free ourselves from these snares (v.5). If we don’t get our finances sorted out it can have a very detrimental effect on our lives and on our families.

Master your time

We can waste our lives through a lack of self-discipline. Without accountability we can easily become lazy, and this can have disastrous consequences (vv.9–11). We can learn self-leadership from the ant; nobody tells it what to do. ‘It has no commander, no overseer or ruler’ (v.7), yet it works extremely hard: ‘It stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest’ (v.8).

Of course, it is important to get enough sleep. Our bodies need rest. But we need to be careful not to waste our time in unproductive activity.

–from Bible In One Year 2017 – Day 56

2. Give your life away — Mark 8:14-9:1

14The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15“Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.” 16They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.” 17Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”“Twelve,” they replied. 20 “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?”They answered, “Seven.” 21He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” 22They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 24He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” 25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t even go into the village.” 27Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” 28They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.” 30Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” 34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.

–from Mark 8

1And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.

–from Mark 9

Will you follow after Jesus? Will you take the focus off yourself and serve others for His sake? Will you share the Good News and the hope that is within you in a way that will give others something to hope for? Will you serve others? Will you put first things first? Don’t lose your soul out of selfish desires! Don’t lose your spot in eternity by chasing after things that won’t last! Make a difference! Make investments into things that will last forever – people! Don’t even allow a little of the bad in as it can ruin all of you, like yeast into dough. Money or having money isn’t evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil!

Today’s devotional shares Jesus’ advice and warning with us as follows…

Jesus warns his disciples against the ‘yeast’ (8:15) of the Pharisees and of Herod. ‘Yeast’ was a common metaphor for the evil tendency in human beings, which, although it might seem only a small thing, nevertheless corrupts the whole person. The disciples still did not understand because they were so caught up with the physical that they could not see the spiritual.

Not that there is anything wrong with physical things in themselves. The blind man wanted to touch Jesus (v.22). Jesus did something very physical – he spat on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him twice (vv.23–25). He prayed twice before the man was totally healed. This encourages us to keep on praying more than once for those who are sick.

Finally the disciples understand who Jesus is: ‘You are the Christ’ (v.29). ‘Christos’ means ‘theAnointed One, the Messiah’. In the time of Jesus the term was particularly associated with the expectation of a new Davidic King. In the Old Testament, however, kings, priests and prophets were all anointed. Jesus is the fulfilment of them all. He is the King, the Great High Priest, the Prophet.

Yet this title, ‘Messiah’, was not adequate. Jesus preferred to use the title ‘Son of Man’ (v.31). ‘Son of Man’ was an even more majestic, and therefore more suitable, title. It contained the idea of suffering (Daniel 7:21). The ‘Son of Man’ was also a representative figure identifying himself with human beings.

Then Jesus begins to speak about the cross (Mark 8:31). We can’t understand the cross unless we understand who Jesus is. His teaching is so paradoxical, counterintuitive and surprising that Peter takes him aside to rebuke him (v.32).

There is a parallel here with the healing of the blind man, which acts as a visual parable of the gradual eye-opening of the disciples. First, Peter’s eyes are opened about Jesus’ identity (v.29). However, he only half-understood. He did not yet see Jesus’ mission (vv.31–32). Peter can ‘see’, but he can’t fully ‘see’.

Jesus has to explain to his disciples the extraordinary paradox involved in making the most of our lives – of which he is to show the supreme example. He says if you want to make the most of your life, you have to give it away. You have to abandon your life to his service and the gospel – ‘whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it’ (v.35).

In contrast he then says that it is possible to ‘gain the whole world, yet forfeit [our] soul’ (v.36). The actor Jim Carrey said, ‘I think everyone should get rich and famous and do everything they dreamed of so they can see that it is not the answer.’

Even the biggest multi-billionaires only own a proportion of the world. Jesus warns us that if we are tempted to set out in that direction, even if we topped their success and gained the whole world, we could still totally waste our lives and forfeit our souls (v.36). He says the way to find life is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him (v.34).

The words ‘deny yourself’ mean saying no to yourself. The Christian life involves the challenge of daily denial. The world thinks that the way to life is to deny yourself nothing. Jesus says that the opposite is true. The way to find life is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow him.

You are called to love. You are to live for God and for other people. And as you give yourself away, God will take care of your life.

The teaching of Jesus is radical and revolutionary. It is exactly the opposite of what we would expect, yet we see how it works out in practice. Those who seek their own satisfaction end up disillusioned and dissatisfied having wasted their lives; those who follow Jesus’ teaching find life in all its fullness.

from Bible In One Year 2017 – Day 56

3. Serve God at work — Exodus 37:1-38:31

Remember how our work is supposed to be our ministry? How the priorities are supposed to line up?

  • God
  • Marriage (my primary calling)
  • Family
  • Job (my primary ministry)
  • Ministry

Yes, we may try to get work life balance, however, we aren’t supposed to compartmentalize our spiritual walk! We are to walk with God every step of every day and live out our lives in a way that will give Him the praise, the honor, and the glory! It goes beyond just doing great to doing the Good Work that God has called you to do! As such we need to serve God at work! Is there anything you can do or could do to make a difference? Is there anything you can or could do to make the most of your time with the people you work with? Is there anything you would need to change to be able to make the most of your time at work so that when you go home or move on it will have a stickiness and help others to have hope even when you aren’t there? Make the most of your life and everything that God has given you! Are you doing good work? Are you making a difference? Work as unto the Lord!

The Ark

1Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 2He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. 3He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 4Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. 5And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it.
6He made the atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 7Then he made two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 8He made one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; at the two ends he made them of one piece with the cover. 9The cherubim had their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim faced each other, looking toward the cover.

The Table

10They made the table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. 11Then they overlaid it with pure gold and made a gold molding around it. 12They also made around it a rim a handbreadth wide and put a gold molding on the rim. 13They cast four gold rings for the table and fastened them to the four corners, where the four legs were. 14The rings were put close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table. 15The poles for carrying the table were made of acacia wood and were overlaid with gold. 16And they made from pure gold the articles for the table—its plates and dishes and bowls and its pitchers for the pouring out of drink offerings.

The Lampstand

17They made the lampstand of pure gold. They hammered out its base and shaft, and made its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 18Six branches extended from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 19Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms were on one branch, three on the next branch and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 20And on the lampstand were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 21One bud was under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 22The buds and the branches were all of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
23They made its seven lamps, as well as its wick trimmers and trays, of pure gold. 24They made the lampstand and all its accessories from one talent of pure gold.

The Altar of Incense

25They made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, a cubit long and a cubit wide and two cubits high—its horns of one piece with it. 26They overlaid the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and made a gold molding around it. 27They made two gold rings below the molding—two on each of the opposite sides—to hold the poles used to carry it. 28They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.
29They also made the sacred anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense—the work of a perfumer.

Exodus 37

The Altar of Burnt Offering

1They built the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood, three cubits high; it was square, five cubits long and five cubits wide. 2They made a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar were of one piece, and they overlaid the altar with bronze. 3They made all its utensils of bronze—its pots, shovels, sprinkling bowls, meat forks and firepans. 4They made a grating for the altar, a bronze network, to be under its ledge, halfway up the altar. 5They cast bronze rings to hold the poles for the four corners of the bronze grating. 6They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with bronze. 7They inserted the poles into the rings so they would be on the sides of the altar for carrying it. They made it hollow, out of boards.

The Basin for Washing

8They made the bronze basin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

The Courtyard

9Next they made the courtyard. The south side was a hundred cubits long and had curtains of finely twisted linen, 10with twenty posts and twenty bronze bases, and with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 11The north side was also a hundred cubits long and had twenty posts and twenty bronze bases, with silver hooks and bands on the posts.
12The west end was fifty cubits wide and had curtains, with ten posts and ten bases, with silver hooks and bands on the posts. 13The east end, toward the sunrise, was also fifty cubits wide. 14Curtains fifteen cubits long were on one side of the entrance, with three posts and three bases, 15and curtains fifteen cubits long were on the other side of the entrance to the courtyard, with three posts and three bases. 16All the curtains around the courtyard were of finely twisted linen. 17The bases for the posts were bronze. The hooks and bands on the posts were silver, and their tops were overlaid with silver; so all the posts of the courtyard had silver bands.
18The curtain for the entrance to the courtyard was made of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer. It was twenty cubits long and, like the curtains of the courtyard, five cubits high, 19with four posts and four bronze bases. Their hooks and bands were silver, and their tops were overlaid with silver. 20All the tent pegs of the tabernacle and of the surrounding courtyard were bronze.

The Materials Used

21These are the amounts of the materials used for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the covenant law, which were recorded at Moses’ command by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. 22(Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, made everything the Lord commanded Moses; 23with him was Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan—an engraver and designer, and an embroiderer in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen.) 24The total amount of the gold from the wave offering used for all the work on the sanctuary was 29 talents and 730 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.
25The silver obtained from those of the community who were counted in the census was 100 talents and 1,775 shekels,according to the sanctuary shekel— 26one beka per person, that is, half a shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, from everyone who had crossed over to those counted, twenty years old or more, a total of 603,550 men. 27The 100 talents of silver were used to cast the bases for the sanctuary and for the curtain—100 bases from the 100 talents, one talent for each base. 28They used the 1,775 shekels to make the hooks for the posts, to overlay the tops of the posts, and to make their bands.
29The bronze from the wave offering was 70 talents and 2,400 shekels. 30They used it to make the bases for the entrance to the tent of meeting, the bronze altar with its bronze grating and all its utensils, 31the bases for the surrounding courtyard and those for its entrance and all the tent pegs for the tabernacle and those for the surrounding courtyard.

Exodus 38

Today’s devotional speaks to this work we are doing for God! God is our real boss so we need to work to glorify Him! How will your work today point people to Jesus?

You do not need to leave your job in order to serve God wholeheartedly. In the life of Bezalel, we see an example of someone who made the most of his life by serving God in his place of work.

God fills his people with his Spirit for the workplace: ‘I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs… he’s an all-around craftsman’ (31:3–5, MSG).

Bezalel was a sculptor. He was chosen by God to build the tabernacle (37:1; see also 31:1–5). He responded to God’s call and ‘made everything the Lord commanded Moses’ (38:22). He worked in a team, which included a designer called Oholiab (v.23) and accomplished great things for God. The key to his success was that he was a man filled ‘with the Spirit of God’ (31:3; 35:31).

It is possible to be a talented musician, writer, or artist without being filled with the Spirit. But when the Spirit of God fills people for these tasks their work often takes on a new dimension. It has a far greater spiritual impact. This can be true even where the natural ability of the musician or artist is not particularly outstanding. Hearts can be touched and lives changed. No doubt something like this happened through Bezalel.

from Bible In One Year 2017 – Day 56


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