Give God 90; part 3


            Day 60; today all of the time you have put into prayer and study will begin to show just how much you have learned and how you have changed. Until today the suggestions on what changes to make in your life have been provided for you, now you get to decide what your next change will be. Take the next 2 days and through prayer and study ask God what change He wants to see in you. Don’t look for anything too big or you may be discouraged, begin just like you did 60 days ago, with something small. Maybe you could try something like being more honest with the people around (in a diplomatic way if you need to) or really making an effort to observe and keep the Sabbath. This is for you to work out, believe it, you have the ability to examine yourself and with God’s help, turn around a bad habit and do something that satisfies your soul. Don’t get this confused with just giving up a habit; this is far more than that because you aren’t giving up you’re changing. You have the ability to change the way you live and you get to decide what that change is.

            Just like not taking a really big jump, don’t let yourself take an easy road either, don’t decide to replace sky diving with knitting if you have never jumped out of an airplane. This is your chance to use the skills you have been practicing for the past 60 days, you probably already have been thinking about doing more so make a good decision, what is that next step that is right for you? How will you and your Creator change your life to get you even more close to what His idea for you would be? Jeramiah 29; 11 God is saying, ‘I have a really good idea of what I want you to do with your life.” You have a great start, now keep going.

            Day 63 -65; now that you are beginning to change things with only Gods help and see the world through His eyes, don’t give up on the basics. Continue with your morning and evening prayer and study time, watching your diet and exercise and respecting the people around you. Whatever change you have made you should be able to be comfortable with as well. That change may seem awkward at first, maybe like a new pair of shoes but if it is the change you needed to make you will very quickly find yourself moved into a new lifestyle that you and God picked out for you.

            Day 66; Even when we think we are doing well, we need to keep our focus; one of the best ways is to work on the basics. So now is a good time to go back to the beginning and really take a good look at the basics; let’s begin with Genesis 1. Start at the beginning, there is not a set reading schedule for you but instead of just reading, slow down. Too many people today try to speed through something just to get through it. We need to train ourselves to slow down and read what is written without the filters of tradition or denomination. Simply read what is written in your usual study time morning and night. The first five books of the Bible are the foundation; they contain the history, the struggle, the instructions God gives us to build good relationships with each other and with Him and they contain the glory of God. You are beginning to build a new lifestyle, until now you have been in the planning process, getting things ready. Now, you are ready to begin building so begin with a good foundation. When you begin to consider the characters in the Bible as real people and not just names in a book they become familiar, people you can get to know and more importantly; lean from. We can put ourselves in their place and wonder if we actually would have acted differently. So as you study, read those first five books with the same feeling and enthusiasm as you would listen to a Grandfather or uncle tell you about your family history; because for many it is family history.  If you are a descendant of Abraham or simply one of Noah’s offspring, you have a family history contained in the pages of the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible, so slow down as you read and learn what you can about your ancestors and about yourself.

            Day 70; So, you have spent the last 10 weeks making small changes to your lifestyle, has any one in your family mentioned a change in you? If you are not close to family, has anyone mentioned a change in your attitude, dress, habits or your overall appearance? If they have, did you thank them for noticing a positive change in your life? Some people might try to degrade you for making these changes but don’t let that negative energy influence the good changes you are making. People like to be a part of a group, it is our nature and when one of the group is doing something that might be different; well some might see that as you are no longer part of the group. You might want to negotiate with them but that usually doesn’t work. The best thing you can do is be the example they need to see, continue to improve your life and be a positive influence on the negative people around you. Believe it or not you have had 10 weeks of training now, you are up to it. Try to not be discouraged when other people want to knock you down, they see something different in you now and that is a good thing because chances are they are not happy with where they are in their life either but they have not yet made a decision to change. They might think they are comfortable with their life but you are now living a positive lifestyle and there is a clear difference. Some might take offense to this and tell you that you’re trying to be something you are not. They are almost right, you are trying to be the person God wants you to be and you are not there yet. You are getting closer to it every day now, and you still have a long way to go so don’t give up, you will get there.

            Answering questions about why you chose to change something in your life can be difficult to explain and even more difficult for others to understand. You know why you needed to make the changes but can’t find the right words to say it. Usually when we want to improve our life it is a feeling that comes from our soul, we just know that what we are doing isn’t working and we need to connect to the only thing that never changes and that is God. You have had 70 days making small changes that will continue to connect your soul to the Spirit of your Creator. Are there words to express that? Maybe, peace, joy, comfort, understanding and the list could be very long. Even King David, repeats throughout the Psalms that he could not be who he is without God and his instructions. If you know the story, David certainly wasn’t perfect but God even used David’s mistakes to build a nation. Remember Daniel? He was put into the lion’s den because he refused to even appear to worship a false god. Daniel stayed faithful to the God of Abraham and God was faithful to Daniel. Today we might not have a lion’s den but we do have the lunch room, cubical gossip, construction crew practical jokes and even family taunting, if Daniel could remain faithful so can you. If you allow yourself to follow the Creators instructions He will be faithful and those instructions will guide you through the questions and the negative remarks of others.

            For the next 10 days, think about some other aspects of your life other than people or finances. Look at the rest of the world around you, until now you have been concentrating on relationships with people and with God. Now it’s time to look at the really big picture, the rest of the world. There are places close to where you live that are naturally scenic and often peaceful. Yes it is time to stop and smell the roses; no matter how old you are or how young you are, you have memories. Take some time and remember a place you really enjoyed that is close to where you live and if it is possible stop by there for a few minutes. You don’t need to spend all day or even an hour, just a few minutes to recharge your batteries and let your senses remember how to connect to the world around you. Maybe a deep breath and a minute to recall a memory after all of this time changing your lifestyle you deserve a few minutes to relax in a nice place. You will probably look at it differently now, see things through the eyes of the new you and hopefully form even better memories of that place.

            There are people who visit art museums to look at paintings of trees and grass but they never take the time to look through a window at the picture that the greatest artist in the universe has painted. These people have been trained to believe they are too busy to go outside and sense the natural trees and grass even if it is just in a small park or on a rooftop garden. Tuning out the manmade things and looking at God’s creation even for a few minutes each day can have a positive effect on your emotional outlook. Don’t overlook the natural world around you that all began with a single breath of our Creator and we should take the time to say thank you and appreciate the things He has given for us to enjoy.  So take a few minutes and allow your senses of sight, smell, hearing and maybe even touch to reconnect with His creation. If a short walk in the park is all you truly have time for, then take even a few short minutes and refresh and recharge and be thankful while you’re there to the one who is giving you the chance to be there to enjoy it.

            Day 80; did you think you would make it this long? The 90 days are almost finished, time to consider if you are willing to continue to follow God’s instructions or are you going back to the way things were? Before you commit either way, take the next 10 days to study these questions; am I doing enough? Am I making an honest effort to follow God’s instructions and to be where He is asking me to go? Am I able to do more? Should I do more? How far am I willing to go?

            The suggestion here is not to convert to anything but instead to connect to your Creator with a commitment to meet Him on His terms and at the times He chose to meet with you; to become the person He wants you to be and to live your life as an example for others to follow. You won’t get it perfect but you have the ability to give your best. The saying “it’s the least I can do” are the most negative words in any sentence. If you’re only going to do the “Least” the smallest amount possible, why do anything? We should do what we are able to do the best we know how all of the time.

            Day 90; now it’s time to write down where you are right now, how you see yourself at this moment. Take a minute and do that right now.  When you began you should have written down where you were then, 90 days ago. Now it’s time to read that paper. Here is the big question; is there any improvement from where I was to where I am??? Only you can answer that question for yourself. If you have been serious about this challenge you should notice a big improvement in your attitude and in your emotional and possibly physical health. So what now, are you going back to where you were or are you stepping up to be the best you that you and God can make?

            When you decide to follow the Creators instructions you should look and feel different than the people around you who don’t. You are set apart because you are connected to God but don’t think that you won’t have problems. The way you handle whatever problem you have will be your example to the people around you. Remember it is easy to thank God for the good things we get but it is hard to thank Him for giving us a problem to solve as an example for someone else. So thank Him for everything because what you think is trouble is you showing the people around you how to apply God’s instructions to a problem and get more blessings than you could dream of.

            Hopefully, you have decided to continue to follow God’s instructions and the more you do the more you will improve your life. While I will not recommend any special diet because I’m not a nutritionist, God is. Look at His instructions for what to eat and try to not get caught in the argument traps that distract from the point. If you are choosing to follow God’s instructions, then follow them. If you want to argue, then go ahead and argue with God, they are His instructions. Begin with eating Biblically, there are cultures in the world that consider dog and cat as much a delicacy as Americans do Lobster. Every animal has a purpose but not every animal’s purpose is food. Your Creator designed food to keep you healthy so do your part and eat healthy food.

            The Bible often mentions keeping the Sabbath; if you follow the language back the word actually means “guard” the Sabbath. So how do we guard the Sabbath? Again that is going to be slightly different for everyone. Some people have children; they have different ways of guarding the day than someone who lives alone. Others might have a job that requires they work on the Sabbath, God thought of that as well and made provisions in His instructions for that and as you get more familiar with those instructions you will see He planned for everything. Some might get caught in the trap of what day the Sabbath is, now is a good time for you to learn how to do your own research but don’t rely on the traditions of any single religion or the writing of a single person. The truth is not hiding it is plain sight and now you have the ability to see it. You have learned how to recognize the Creators work in His words and you should be able to recognize that the God who will never change didn’t change anything.

            You will find many traps in the arguments of people; avoid them by learning a lesson from Eve. Adam and Eve had 1 single instruction from God which was “don’t eat the fruit from that tree.” While the serpent spoke to Eve he tricked her into adding to that and she said “we shouldn’t touch it.”   If you need to speak to an argument find in Scripture where what you need is written and allow the word of God to stand on its own merit. We should give God enough credit that what He has already said should be good enough without us trying to add to it. Sadly you will find too many people who think they could have done a better job at creation than God. These people try to convince everyone that what is in the Bible should be changed or removed or interpreted differently to suit their agenda. While there are some mistakes in the translations and many of them have either been changed or acknowledged by now, the original is based on one manuscript that all the Jewish scholars agree is correct. When we take the time to dig through the language, culture and the history we get a picture of the purest context of Scripture. When we know what the original intent was we can better apply it to our lives today. As you study morning and night, you will begin to see more that something you used to think the Bible meant might change slightly. Many people think David was a small child when he killed Goliath, David had already killed a lion and a bear while he was guarding his sheep and that is not the actions of a small child. Be ready for surprises when you study; God does have a sense of humor that likes to catch you off your guard.

            Congratulations on completing the 90 day challenge, may God bless you as you continue to study and follow His instructions for you. May you find peace, health and a firm foundation in His words. The next question; is where will you be 90 days from now?