Daily Checklist

To do lists never end.

As much pleasure as it gives me to cross out every item on my task list, there will always be more. It’s like laundry: I could do a load every day and there will still be more that needs to be done.

Some items on the list, I get done right away. Others I need to schedule for the optimal time to do them, whether that day or a future date.

There are some tasks that continue to get pushed back further and further, until I choose to just take them off the list so I don’t feel bad about the perpetual postponement.

After reading Acts chapter 5 today, I want to become more intentional about keeping myself accountable, not with my daily chores but in sharing the Gospel.

For those coming to know Christ and forming the church in those days after Jesus ascended to heaven and the Holy Spirit came, sharing with others about how Jesus was transforming their lives was not just another item on their daily checklist. It was the entire list. Instead of fitting Jesus in, He was everything. He received priority over everything else.

Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Acts 5:42

Every single day, the apostles continued to tell how Jesus changed their lives. They would not stop, no matter the increasing persecution. They went to where people gathered in the temple, and proclaimed Jesus to the crowds. They spent time in their own homes and from house to house, leading people to find real life and hope and peace in Jesus. When they woke up, their aim that day was to share Jesus.

What if my focus was the same? What if instead of allowing my daily checklist to consume me, I allow Christ to consume me? How would my day be different if my one focus was doing everything for the opportunity to share Jesus’ love and message? The day would no longer be about what I could accomplish, but rather on what Jesus has already accomplished.

For many, this sounds great, but they are so buried by the responsibilities and commitments in their daily lives, there is no room to breathe. Jesus was buried three days to give you a new life and freedom. Turn to Him, and give Him control of all of those things you really don’t have control of but have been clinging to anyway. Cry out to Jesus in prayer, and ask Him to reprioritize your life. Reach out to a Christian friend, and ask them to pray with you. Jesus wants you to live, not just survive. And the only way you will truly live is to live in Christ.

To do lists never end. Neither does Christ’s love for me and for you. When I shift my focus to Him and Him alone, the purpose for my day takes shape: to share Jesus.

Savor

There are places in Scripture where I get tinges of excitement and my heart surges in anticipation when I read it, where I can clearly see the kind of relationship I am meant to have with God. For each of us, there should be passages that leap off the page and burn deep within. There are two places in the Bible where my wonder and passion and absolute adoration for the Lord are rekindled every time I read them. The first, for me, is in Exodus chapter 33 and the record of a breathtaking conversation between God and Moses, my all-time Biblical hero.

This week, as I continue my track through God’s Word, I had the privilege of reading Acts chapter 4, my other favorite passage I return to again and again for strength, instruction and courage to be bold in action.

In Acts 4, Peter and John are called before the religious leaders to account for their healing a crippled man. It is no coincidence that these were the two men God had used miraculously and now who had an audience with Annas, Caiaphas and others of the high priest’s family. Peter and John are the only disciples recorded in Scripture, about two months before, who followed Jesus to witness the illegal trials led by these same religious leaders the night before Jesus was crucified.

Instead of hiding in the shadows and even denying their association with Christ, they stood boldly, filled with the Holy Spirit. They had been equipped by their Risen Savior, steadied by their absolute and complete salvation in Jesus, who had commanded them to go and make disciples.

When questioned by what power or what name they performed this miracle, here is Peter’s awe-inspiring response:

Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is

“the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the cornerstone.

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

What a powerful summary of the gospel! Scripture says that the religious leaders were “astonished” by the courage of Peter and John and that they were just ordinary guys without a formal education. They took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Later when they were released and reported back to the exponentially growing group of Jesus followers, the new church began to cry out together to the Lord in prayer. Their first and only response to what had happened was to pray. As they raised their voices in unity, they worshiped their Creator God, reflected on the Holy Word and shared with their Heavenly Father the persecution against Jesus and now them. As they prayed, they make an amazing request:

Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

My first reaction may have been to ask God to intervene and bind the power of those who sought to persecute them. I may have asked God to protect and go on the offensive against those intending harm to the new believers. They didn’t. They asked God to consider the threats and give the Christians the ability to proclaim the Good News of Jesus with courage. They begged God to make the name of Jesus great through signs and wonders.

God immediately answered their heart cries by literally shaking the place where they met. God poured out His Spirit and each one began speaking the Word boldly.

The believers continued to be “one in heart and mind.” They shared everything and cared for everyone. God’s grace was upon them and they continued to testify with great power.

Scripture is meant to be savored, to be poured over and acted upon. This chapter in Acts is one that challenges me, that compels me on in my journey to know God and follow Him wholeheartedly.

I know that I will never become what God intends apart from His Word. Neither will you. I want to encourage you to become a consistent student of the Bible. Read it, study it, memorize it and meditate on it. Savor it. There is nothing sweeter than to hear God’s voice call to you through His Word.