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Beyond the Packing List

Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be, then do this: Put some of the best products of the land in your bags and take them down to the man as a gift—a little balm and a little honey, some spices and myrrh, some pistachio nuts and almonds. Take double the amount of silver with you, for you must return the silver that was put back into the mouths of your sacks. Perhaps it was a mistake. Take your brother also and go back to the man at once. And may God Almighty grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 43:11-14

 

I loved reading these verses in Genesis 43 this week, as I plan for a vacation. How appropriate!  These verses describe Jacob (Israel) telling his sons how to prepare for a dangerous trip to Egypt.

And why did these verses resonate with me so much? Because they are my trip-organizing philosophy in a Bible passage. This is what Jacob is basically advising:

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The Shoe-Lover’s Guide to Organizing

“…and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

From the Armor of God verses, Ephesians 6:10-18

I love shoes.

“Shoe” was my first word. The story goes that I didn’t talk for a long time and my parents were starting to get a bit nervous. Then one day on the changing table, my mom was putting shoes on my little feet. I pointed at one and said, clear as a bell, “shoe.” Seeing Mom’s delight, I went on to point out “sock,” and then “foot”… and basically they haven’t gotten me to stop talking since.

Note that “shoe” started the avalanche.

I do love shoes, but when I clean out my wardrobe, they’re often a neglected section. By the time I’m done with the clothes, I don’t have much energy for the shoes…. and then they all start looking like keepers. Been there?

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Exactly HOW long?

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,

making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

 

I’ve been in a season where I’ve been giving my Time Management Talk, “Where is Your Time Going?” I dearly love the “ah-ha!” looks I see out in the audience as women realize they can manage their time with Jesus and for Him. Time management has to be my favorite kind of organization!

But as I was speaking, something was niggling at me… an idea that’s been in the back of my mind for a while. As I try to manage my time, am I working with all of the facts? Do we know how long it really takes to do the things that we regularly do?

We all constantly, and without truly thinking about it, estimate the time it will take to our daily tasks and plan accordingly. Estimation is a great tool and often a time saver.

Here’s the problem: We can guess wrong.

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6 Ways to Organize Your Devotional Space

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5:16

One of the top New Year’s resolutions on every Christian’s list is to spend more time with God. We want to improve the quantity or the quality of our devotional time—or both!

I know it’s one of my top resolutions every year… and it will be until I die. We can never spend too much time with God, or focus on Him too closely! But we can (and should) feel satisfied after our devotional time with Him. We should feel full of His peace and presence, and ready to tackle what’s next.

Of course, our enemy wants to pull us away from any close time with God. He throws anything he can in our way… especially those whirling negative thoughts that I call Spiritual Clutter. Unfortunately for him, we can use a little organization to clear out the mess in our heads and make room for God’s peace.

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Why Not to Trust My Planner Pages

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
    but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 20:7

 

OK, the New Year is right around the corner and I’m super, duper excited to be able to offer you the official Organizing You Planner Pages—for free! (You can learn all about how awesome they are right here.) Basically, with the help of my wonderful publisher, I was able to create a unique planner system for those of us who are asking God to make the true plans.

Which is exactly why you can’t fully put your trust in them.

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Don’t Underestimate Your Phone Alarm

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.

Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming.

It is close at hand…

Joel 2:1

This summer, my teen son wanted to pursue a goal. He made a great plan and decided to work on it for 15 minutes each day.

I wanted to encourage him, so I offered to help him set up some reminders. “Do you want me to print out a calendar so you can mark off each day?” I asked hopefully. “Or would you like me to buy you a little planner so you can keep track of what you’ve done? Do you want to start the process today?”

“Mom, it’s done,” he said.

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I Will Obey.

Read it! Psalm 119

I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

(vs. 8)

Think it through

So now that we’re reading and loving the law, it’s time to actually do what it says.

I’ve written posts on obeying God’s laws before (this one springs to mind), and I mean what I write! So why, like Paul, do I clutter my own spirit with disobedience?  Why do I do what I don’t want to do?

There are many answers to that question, but the one I want to focus on today is this: sometimes I’m not set up for it. I haven’t made decisions before go-time is upon me, and I’m making a (bad) decision in the moment.

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I Will Love the Law.

Read it! Psalm 119

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

(vs. 93)

Think it through

It took me an embarrassingly long time to read every word of the Bible. I started in elementary school with Genesis 1:1, gung-ho and ready to go, only to lose it in Numbers. In middle school, I started again and was out by Judges; in High School, by II Chronicles. In college I started a “Read the Bible in One Year” plan and fell hopelessly behind by the end of March.

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It’s Not Easy Being Queen

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Ephesians 5:33

 

I hate to admit it, but I’m a bigger fan of historical fiction than I am of actual history books. I love to read about Tudor-era women fighting for better marriages and higher positions and more power… even the chance to be queen. But when they get to be queen, they’re still not happy: they know they’re not the king.

We Christian women are the queens of our households, and we love it—but we know we’re not the kings. Although our homes are our dominions, the Bible clearly says that our husbands are the leaders of them.

It’s a challenge to be in charge of the home and yet not be the leader of the family. (Even if you’re feeling skeptical here, please keep reading… it will be worth it.)

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Organizing Your Summer

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 2:24

 

Every summer for the last several years, I’ve organized a “summer initiative” for my kids. My kids look forward to these ideas every year (mostly because they involve fun treats). This year, I want to share my idea with you.

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