God said to a grumpy Cain, who was jealous of his brother Abels favour, “If you DO what is right, will you not be accepted?” (Gen 4:6). He was living a sloppy life, giving God ½ hearted offerings – and was thus missing out on God’s blessings.
Many people get jealous of the blessing of God on the lives of others. But while some give their ALL to God within the Biblical principles in the Bible, others (like Cain) only give what they feel or want to at any given time.
So here’s a super practical tip I use, to help me give my all to God:
We know that Blessing and Favour comes through things like healthy giving, bible knowledge, relationships, rest, fun, prayer, forgiveness, worship, exercise, participation and service. But if you’re anything like me, life is busy and prioritizing what is truly important is hard – unless I plan it!
…I’ve learned that my diary is more important to God’s blessing on my life than my desires or my dreams.
Here’s some thoughts about planning, discipline, using your diary to help you TO DO the right things that, as sacraments (practical mechanisms of receiving grace when mixed with faith) lead to great blessing:
Desire, want, wish and dream mean little without diary, doing, planning, set times and appointments that lead to my goals. Stop wishing – just plan it daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. Try to stick to it, don’t get lost in shame when you fail, just try again next time to diary reminder appears.
Proverbs 12:11 says, that “He who chases fantasies will remain poor, but he who works his land will be rich.” I need to work my diary, and not have busyness rule me. I plan work, prayer, fun, rest, exercise, date time with my wife, giving, holidays, attendance and service. Each of these moments releases something positive into my life. I manage energy as well as my time. (Some things sap, some things energize. Plan them by understanding yourself & anticipating draining periods where possible. Be kind to yourself).
“Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Rohn. I’ve learned that feeling motivated helps little. Starting to DO because it’s in the diary is what helps creates real sustainable “feeling” and passion. (Note, doing leads to feeling and wanting, NOT the other way round. Weak people do what they feel, strong people do the right thing, and the feelings follow).
To a backslidden church Jesus didn’t say “try to feel what you used to feel”. He said “Do what you did at first”(Rev 2:5). Many marriages need to realise they stopped dong the things they did at first, that’s why the feelings changed. If more couples kept courting, there would be less couples in court. (Busy people, Book date nights!)
“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”. Stop doing what you feel (Stop waiting to feel good!). Passion follows activity and investment (Where your treasure (time, money) is, your heart will follow).
Charles Nobel said, “First we make our habits, then our habits make us.” Use your diary, (paper or phone or both!) to design a life of correct habits. Reoccurring prayer times, Sabbath rest, leisure, exercise, guests in our homes, date nights, giving reminders, reading goals or bible study – all ensure I will grow in strength and favour. If I don’t book it, the urgent, lazy or the distracting will take over.
Proverbs 15:32 says, “Those who disregard discipline despise themselves.” Undisciplined lives always feel under confident. I’m bored of that weakness. Time to design a godly life that works, allowing grace and mercy to surround it with joy! Diarising good habits helps.
If your diary isn’t a path to your dreams, you’re living in fantasy land! To reach your dreams, plan it, and ask God to do the rest! Start setting strategic appointments, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly, that ultimately are baby steps towards your dreams.
Diarised disciplines transform your world and lines you up for blessing!
Grace can enter my world because of an activity I put in my diary. I set my alarm early to pray daily. With good music on my phone, and a label of “Our Father in heaven” … it stirs me every day to my preferred lifestyle and intention.
You will be strong, not by what you desire, but by what you do.
Self Discipline brings you to your dreams NOT intention, wish, hope, love or desire. People die with unfulfilled desires all the time, because busyness, laziness, distraction or pain took over.
Parents – your church attendance teaches your children about the value of God to you, and ripples through generations. If you head off to the beach instead of church every time the sun comes out on a Sunday, you’ve modeled something about how much of a priority God is to you, and will watch the consequences in them in years to come. Diarise attendance and stick to it. Here’s a great article “How skipping church affects our children” about this.
Constantly review, adjust, improve, lessen or increase moments in your diary that lead to the life you want to live.
I Am Habit
I love this poem about the power of habit, good or bad:
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command
Half of the things you do you might as well turn over to me and I will do
them – quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed – but you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons,
I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of great people, and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine though I work with the precision of a machine plus
the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I? I am Habit.**
Can you think of any other ways to build a great life?