Monthly Archives: January 2019

Monday Motivator – January 28

I was visiting a friend years ago in Florida and we were enjoying juicy mangoes from his parent’s orchard. It was a hot, sunny day, and we were discussing how some of the mangoes tasted sweeter than others.

I asked why a mango may look delicious on the outside but some of them tasted sour. I mean, what did I know being from Michigan?

Just then his mom walked by and she told me, “If we cut the mango before its ripe, it will taste sour. If it’s been on the ground for some time, it’s rotten and cannot be eaten. But we love to eat mangoes that just fell off of the tree because they are the best and tastiest!”

My friend added, “So it is a matter of timing, like you are able to hit a baseball thrown by a pitcher. You’ve learned how to read a baseball and hit it at different speeds.”

Many things are like that. The right timing is essential. I asked the right question at the wrong time once and learned from that experience that it led to a wrong thing. I drove half way through a stop light at an intersection once due to being distracted by friends in the car. Fortunately, no one was hurt and I did not cause an accident. Plenty of folks were honking their horns at me, though. It took me while to learn the fundamentals of playing chess as opposed to checkers.

We live in a time of instant gratification, drive-through options, and one click on-line purchases where waiting is difficult. Some of us find ourselves praying to God, “Lord, I need patience and I need/want/expect it now!”

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Solomon, the son of King David in the Older Testament of the Bible, authored a book of Wisdom called Ecclesiastes. In it, he stated that, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun” (3:1).

Our timing often differs from the timing of God. We regularly face confusion, pain, anger, disappointment, and even discouragement when our expectations are not met according to our schedule. We have a set way of doing things and assume God is at our beck and call. I struggled why a girl was not interested in me yet I had not even approached her for a date. Why can’t she read my mind and be friendly toward me, God? How immature, naïve, and unrealistic I was.

Stories from the lives of Abraham, Esther, Daniel, and Jonah reveal that God is neither early or late. He is always on time. Like Solomon wrote in 3:11, “God has made everything beautiful in its time.”

How can you apply Ecclesiastes 3:1 to your life and context this week? How can you develop patience and learn to trust God for His perfect timing? How can you use waiting to your benefit?

You may be praying for something and the Lord seems silent. You may need perspective that relational things take different amounts of time than homework. Walk wisely. Remember, His timing is always perfect. By trusting God, you will develop patience as you wait for His time.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – January 21

Would Martin survive the university in Boston?

His parents raised him to know and serve Jesus Christ since he was a little boy. He attended Sunday school and church on a regular basis. He knew the stories about Abraham, Moses, David and Goliath, Samson, Daniel and the lion’s den, Jonah and the whale, the prophets, Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist, the struggling apostle Peter and the fiery apostle Paul.

Martin’s parents regularly talked about the integration of faith, prayer, witness, justice and missions in their home. Their lone son was prepared to stand on his own, link faith in God with daily life, and be a responsible follower of King Jesus.

Martin’s parents knew the University would be stressful. They knew that living far away from home and missing the safety and security of his parents, friends, and home church was a concern for their son. Making friends who were a good influence on him was another concern. Would he have time to hang out with friends while he kept up with homework and a part-time job? How would he stand up to a professor who ridiculed and slammed his Biblically based beliefs? Would he attend church on his own without being reminded by his mom and dad to get up and go? How would he handle his meager financial resources?

By nature, parents worry about their kid(s). The transition from high school to college can be, but does not have to be that stressful. Yet from choosing a major to navigating dorm life, determining your values (and living them), finding a career path, staying out of debt, and even meeting a possible spouse, life in college is demanding.

Like a lot of students, Martin soon realized that the decisions he made in those few short years would impact the rest of his life. Here are ten of the decisions he made that helped him not just survive, but ultimately thrive as a college student:

First, he worked on good, healthy habits like sleep, good nutrition, and staying in shape.

Second, he was developing a God-centered dream for his future that would serve other people.

Third, he developed a working schedule that balanced work and play and stuck to it.

Fourth, he went to church on his own to stay connected to the faith of his parents, and more importantly, develop a faith in Jesus on his own, and connect with the wider community of faith.

Fifth, he got the facts and planned an academic schedule that helped him graduate.

Sixth, he thought and acted missionally. He knew King Jesus wasn’t safe, but He was good.

Seventh, he lived a simple life in college.

Eight, he worked hard learning to learn.

Nine, he asked the big questions of life. God. Purpose and meaning. Right and wrong. Love and forgiveness.

Ten: he left college after nurturing his faith journey and integrated faith in Jesus and his larger purpose.

Read Acts 13:36.

Live communally. Martin Luther King’s parents prayed for, modeled, and instructed their son about being prepared for life after high school. Martin listened to his parents and lived a life of faith and good works. We celebrate his example today (and each year) as a life well lived.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – January 14

How would you expect to change if someone prayed Ephesians 1:15-23 for you?

Read Ephesians 1:15-23.

Faith in Jesus ultimately leads to love for other people who have been transformed by the grace of God. The apostle Paul heard of the Ephesians faith (v 15) and love (v 15) and prays they may know hope (v 18). That Paul does not stop praying for them (v 16) means he cares for them.

Q: What did Paul ask God to do for the Ephesians? (v 17).

A: Give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.That the Holy Spirit would continually reveal to the Ephesians more knowledge about God.

Q: Why did Paul ask for wisdom and revelation? (v 17).

A: So they would know who they are and what they have in Christ.

Q: How does Paul describe God?

A: The Glorious Father…the Father of Glory who shows his glory…the Father who reveals himself. God is viewed as a giver, who makes himself, as well as his character and plan, known.

Q: Why did he pray that the hearts of the Ephesians be enlightened? (v 18).

A: Paul prayed that the Holy Spirit would continually give his reader’s wisdom and understanding for life. That “lights” would go on inside people so they would know God and understand the benefit of the gospel.

Q: What three things did Paul want the Ephesians to know about God? (v 18-19)

A: The hope of their calling, the riches of their inheritance in the saints, and the incomparable greatness of His power for them.

Q: Describe the influence of God’s power (v 21).

A: The five categories of powers mentioned in v 21 are to emphasize Christ’s victory over them.

The way God has worked to accomplish salvation motivates Paul’s praise (1:3-14) and prayer (1:15-23). The goal of his prayer is that people will recognize the blessings mentioned in v 3-14.

Based on Ephesians 1:15-23, what kind of Christian community should we be today? First, a caring community that develops a depth of relationship with other believers who also belong to God. Second, a praying community that develops a practice of prayer because we all belong to God and must participate in a common God-given mission. Third, a thinking community that develops in wisdom and our understanding of life, God, and the importance of faith. Thinking is the basis for action. Use your mind to understand the implications of the gospel. The goal is to know God and understand His purposes for His people. Last, a powerful community that utilizes the power that comes from God, defined by the resurrection of Jesus and his exaltation as Lord over all. What we need is in Christ – relational power – that comes from being related to the One in whom power resides.

Think theologically. Paul says God blesses us to be a blessing to others. Pray it and live it.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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Monday Motivator – January 7

What do you pray for others? What informs and motivates your prayers?

Read Ephesians 1:15-23.

The apostle Paul founded the church in Ephesus in the first century. After being imprisoned, he wrote the letter of Ephesians to them. “For this reason” points back to v 3-14, which motivates everything else in the letter and should be read with these verses. V 15-23 contains the author’s (Paul) prayer for the continuing work of God in his readers, which grows out of his thanks for what God has already accomplished in them. Summary: A) Paul has received a report of their faith and love (v 15). B) Because of their actions, he gives thanks and prays for them (v 16). C) Paul prays for the gift of revelation to know God better (v 17-23).

Five Implications for Us

First, Paul’s prayer in 1:15-23 reveals a conviction of prayer and a commitment to other believers. It reveals a depth of relationship he felt with people who were important to him and his faith – his example encouraged the Ephesians to pray continually for all of God’s people (6:18).

Second, Paul’s understanding of God’s actions formed the basis of his prayer and was reflected in his prayer. It means he knows the kind of God to whom he was praying.

Third, Paul’s request that God give the Spirit of wisdom and understanding means Christian living requires a continual openness to the Holy Spirit so we can better know God. One of the tasks of the Spirit is to help Christians know what God has given us (1 Cor 2:12).

Fourth, Paul’s prayer offers a basis for hope. We know meaninglessness, and not hope. We have a sense that we cannot solve our problems – individually or as a culture. Hope is as rare today as it was in the first century. The truth is that all humans live oppressed by meaninglessness and evil. We are taught to insulate ourselves from despair with social media and other forms of entertainment. We believe that “all will live happily ever after.” While life and God’s creation are good and to be enjoyed, we must always remember the truth that there are no happy endings – at least not in this life. We must all deal with meaninglessness, evil, sickness, and death.

God’s work in Christ addresses our meaninglessness, the problem of evil, and even death. Christianity really helps those who are desperate because death is not the end. Paul’s prayer points to God’s power to bring life from death – a power available both now so we can deal with the death in which we live and for the future when the dead are raised. This hope is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus and in Pentecost. Christians need to live “from the future” God has established – a change from meaninglessness to an awareness that God’s new age has begun and hope is given to us.

Fifth, Paul’s prayer reveals a need to emphasize the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus to the highest place. He is Lord and all is and must be submitted to him.

Grow devotionally. Would you be willing to pray Ephesians 1:15-23 for your friends each day for a week? Using Paul’s prayer, what could your answered prayers look like? Imitate Paul’s example and pray a prayer that Christians may realize God’s purpose and power.

Love is a verb,

Mike Olejarz

©2019 by Mike Olejarz

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