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Be Intentional

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Lindsey Pintar | December 1st, 2017

God is so good all of the time!  As I’ve been praying about this blog series and what God would have me put down on paper, He has already been speaking to me over the last month preparing my heart as I’ve been in His Word.  He has given me the words “be intentional”, and I simply can’t get them out of my head.  It first stemmed from a study on Romans 13 we did with our Home Group that we co-lead with the Urlachers, but this “phrase” is also exceptionally relevant to my life right now as I transition into a new routine of being a stay-at-home mom after being a full-time working mom for the past 6 years.  In addition, it’s that time of year we all start thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in 2018, as 2017 comes to a close.

Romans 13:8-14 reads, “8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not bear false witness," "You shall not covet," and if [there is] any other commandment, are [all] summed up in this saying, namely, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love [is] the fulfillment of the law. 11 And [do] this, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation [is] nearer than when we [first] believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to [fulfill its] lusts.”

When the disciples asked Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40 what is the greatest commandment of all, Jesus basically answered LOVE.  “37 Jesus said to him, 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is [the] first and great commandment. 39 And [the] second [is] like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

If these are the two most important things we can do as believers, HOW do we love God and love each other?  Well, we need a lot of help from Jesus for sure!  If you’re anything like me, it’s natural to think of myself first and how I feel and what I want and how people are treating me.  God always helps us practically apply His Word to our life and the “how” is found right there in Romans 13:12-14 - “cast of the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light”, “walk properly”, and to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to {fulfill its} lusts.”.

Practically speaking, this is where God calls us to “be intentional” and we must be the ones that choose to “walk” and “put on”.  Galatians 5:12-16 takes it further: “13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not [use] liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

We need to intentionally Walk in the Spirit and leave no provision for our flesh!  When we read on in Galatians through verse 25, we understand the fruit of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit which will tell us, in any situation, if we are walking in the Spirit or in the flesh.  What really stands out to me here is how we need to be intentional about fighting our flesh and walking in the Spirit. The things our body and minds naturally want are the things which make us feel comfortable, important, successful, and respected, but that’s not putting God or others first and serving our neighbors in love.  How do we put ourselves aside to “love our neighbor as ourselves”?  It’s a constant practice of being intentional throughout our normal, every day lives.

My former boss would ask me about my plan for success and would regularly say that “hope is not a strategy”.  Biblically speaking, God gives us hope through Jesus Christ and we should absolutely rejoice in that hope daily as He is our joy in any circumstance, but it’s not a strategy of how to Walk in the Spirit and grow in our relationships with the Lord.  We need to be intentional. We need to fight our sinful natures daily and put on the armor of light, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Bottomline is, we can’t be in the Spirit without being in the Word of God and spending time in prayer, and we choose how and when to do these things. They don’t just happen. We have to be intentional. When David Urlacher spoke about tithing a few weeks ago, he said “do you tip God or do you tithe?”  Wow!  It’s the same philosophy with our time.  Do we give God our leftover time or hope that we have time to spend with him once everything else on our to-do lists are done?  Or are we intentionally giving him quality time when we are awake, focused, and not rushed?  The Bible is God’s Word that’s alive to help guide us through life.  Remember, God knows what we need before we know we need it, and He knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.  There’s no other life coach I would want!  If you want to hear from God, you need to be in His Word.  Prayer helps us talk to God about our struggles, submit to His will in reverence, and put our minds and souls and flesh in line with His character to become more like Him.  You must be intentional.  Don’t live your life in a way that gives your flesh the advantage, because our flesh is sinful.  Live your life to give the Holy Spirit room to work in your life.

Pastor Matt recently said during a sermon that “the future is simply a collection of nows”.  What’s on your plate today may seem like a bunch of little things and the future may seem overwhelming, but what can you be intentional in today to take baby steps towards who God wants you to be in the future?  Get up 30 minutes earlier to spend time in His Word, start reading one Proverb every day (there are 31 chapters), start reading the gospel of John, read and study ahead of Sunday/Wednesday sermons, listen to GraceFM on your way to work, download some sermons to listen to at the gym, start coming to Wednesday night service, commit to joining a Bible study and put it on your calendar, email someone on staff about questions you have, start praying with your husband or wife every night, fill out a ministry application, listen to praise music while cooking dinner, go to U-Turn, go to prayer night, etc...  Every one of these things can progress you in your relationship with the Lord and will start helping you learn to walk in the Spirit and will align your heart more and more with God’s.

I am not perfect by any means and battle my flesh each and every day, but it is amazing to look back and see how God changed has my heart over time, after being intentional in the seemingly little things one at a time.  When I rededicated my life to the Lord 4 years ago, it simply started with attending church on Sunday and starting to read the Bible for 15 minutes every day.  Now, after being intentional in many of the things listed above over time, God has poured out His Spirit on me (Proverbs 1:23), and I’ve found that walking with Him through the trials and circumstances of life truly brings wisdom and peace (Proverbs 1:7, 33).  The God of the universe is available and waiting 24/7 for me and you to spend time with Him.  Why wouldn’t any of us want that?  I pray this blog has blessed you, and I’m so excited to share my personal journey with you!

Posted by Lindsey Pintar with
in Family

Letters to my son - Introduction

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O' my son! 

This year has been a crazy one...you've really stirred the waters! I was beginning to wonder if being a father was in God's plan for me. I mean, I have to admit, the thought of changing another human being's poopy diapers was exactly bucket list material for me. You're too young to know, but the hard rock wall between your grandpa and I, that definitely made me wonder... What if? What if I do have a son and he grows up to want nothing to do with me to live a totally different life, could I take that? I believe that little by little God was preparing me for the responsibility of leading you and Mom, of guiding you both spiritually, and of loving you both sacrificially. I have to say, though, that once you "made your entrance," a lot of those questions kind of faded away. 

 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.


Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.

 

- Psalm 127:3-4

I guess I never really saw having children as a reward, but I totally do now! I look at the above verse and think of arrows in a warrior's hand, how they must give Him purpose, envigorate Him, and propel Him forward in being a warrior. Son, you have given me more purpose to persevere in my walk with Jesus. It hasn't all been roses these last seven months! Oh boy, I thought I knew what exhaustion was, but I had no idea. Never have I seen someone so demanding over for milk! I mean, milk isn't THAT great is it? The only other person I know who seems to love soft things as much as you is your mother... waking both of you up in the climax of your nap is a BAD IDEA!!! 

Oh, but there are so many awesome things about you! You love to giggle when I make goofy sounds and faces... and I'm pretty stoked that only I can make you laugh that way. You don't give up easily! Watching you trying to master crawling is like watching a fish flop around on dry land! You got it down, eventually, but I love that you didn't give up. 

 I want to start writing you through these blogs with the hopes that, as God teaches me new and exciting things through being a parent, you will one day grow to know His heart AND my heart through them. I KNOW, I KNOW I can be an overly sentimental dude! You will just have to get used to it. Sorry, I am now stuck with you...the good and the stinky... so I guess that means for the next 18 years you are also stuck with me.

I guess the first thing God's taught me and I want to leave with you is this. It may be difficult to be a parent, but not hard to love you. It may be taxing when you won't be still and let me put a fresh diaper on you, but I enjoy each second. I have come to see a parallel these last seven months between being a parent, and my relationship with the Lord. How come the Lord's mercies fail not? We can be such boneheads!! How can God be so gracious? I know that God's purpose, at least in part, in allowing couples to have children is to give us a window into His own heart towards us. We may be able to vicariously look into other's lives and imagine God's fatherly heart towards His beloved children when we see them love their own children so deeply, but we will never know fully until we experience it ourselves. 

In short, you are a gift as the verse above said...a demanding one, but just the one I needed to draw nearer to God and understand His heart in a new and fresh way. 

 

Love your Father,

James Stroud

 

 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

 

- James 1:17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by James Stroud with

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