Today’s Reading: Acts 14:23 NIV
23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Luke 6:12-13a (NIV)
12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. 13 When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.
On the first day of class, my college professors would pass out a syllabus covering a brief outline of the course curriculum, highlighted topics of discussion, homework assignments and test dates, as well as ethical warnings as required by the University. That syllabus became my map for the semester. I often made several copies of the syllabus, just in case I might misplace it. I kept the original in my course notebook, placing a copy of the outline with each book, for ease in identifying the week’s reading assignments. I would transfer the due dates from the syllabus to my date book, highlighting the test dates in yellow. I knew when to expect the next examination, for I did not want to walk into class and be surprised with a test I had not adequately prepared for.
I learned how to organize my work by trial and error. There were times when I did not pay as close attention to the syllabus as I should have. I missed a couple of assignment deadlines, which adversely affected my overall semester grade. I walked into class one evening, not realizing a mid-term examination was going to be given. Because I had not studied the material in depth earlier that week, I was unprepared to adequately answer the questions asked. It pays to look at the syllabus in advance and come to class prepared. Why waste the time you’ve been given to complete the assignments? The one thing none of us can get back is the gift of time. How we choose to spend the time we have been given is critical to our overall learning experience.
Jesus Christ set the bar at how he chose to spend His personal time. He traveled throughout Galilee, healing the sick and preaching the Good News. At the end of the day, Jesus needed time alone with the Father to prepare for the many decisions tomorrow would bring. Jesus would often go to a secluded place spending the night alone, on His knees, yielding to His Father’s will in prayer. Jesus chose not to go anywhere or do anything without first seeking out His Father’s heart. Prayer became His life’s syllabus. Would the direction of your life change if you followed Christ’s example by seeking out the Father’s heart on every matter, spending precious time with Him on your knees in prayer?
Jesus asked for the Father’s help to discern who of His disciples should be made Apostles. Likewise, Paul and Barnabas only appointed elders of the church after seeking the Father’s will in prayer and fasting. They chose to implement Christ’s life example using their time wisely in every daily decision. They chose not to show up for the work of ministry totally unprepared. They asked the Father for His will and then chose to follow His lead.
Let this be the day you choose a different direction. Do you have important decisions to make? Are you concerned about your own life, or the life of someone you love? Make time to pray today about the work of tomorrow. Stop wasting time – choose to use the Master’s syllabus! Do not spend another minute unprepared to successfully complete your life’s work. Pray today!
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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