• Tony Birkhead

Simplify Week - 3

If you don’t control your calendar your calendar will control you!


As I’ve grown time and schedules and calendars seem to control a lot of my life. And I want to manage my time rather than my time managing me. I want to control my calendar instead of my calendar controlling me. Our calendars are powerful tools to either negatively control our lives or positively free us up to honor Jesus with our time!

What is the most difficult thing for you to control when it comes to your time and calendar?


Psalm 90:10,12

Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Romans 13:8-14

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “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, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.


Read Psalm 90:10,12.

How quickly does it seem like your life is passing? Give an example.

What is David asking when he says, “teach us to number our days”?

Read Ephesians 5:15-17

What does it mean to “be careful” or “look carefully” when it comes to time and living?

What’s the difference between living carefully and living fearfully?

The verb rendered “making the most of” is literally, “redeem” or “buy back.” Once gone, wasted opportunities can never be recovered. Thus, we are called to take advantage of the moments as we are given them. Foolish persons have no strategy for a disciplined use of time. Believers are to take care to use opportunities to the full because the days are evil.

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Paul says it’s God’s will for us to be Joyful, Prayerful and Thankful. Which one of the 3 is most difficult for you? Why?

Read Romans 13:8-14

What point is Paul trying to make about importance of love in verses 8-10?

Pastor Tony gave us 3 things to do in order to control our calendars:

1. Recognize the power of your calendar. (v11)

2. Identify your top 5 values. (v12)

3. Learn where to cheat. (vv13-14)

What did you take away from those three things?


  • Take some time to identify your top 5 values

  • Get out your calendar and place on there the things that matter the most to you and your family.


God, help us to learn to set our values towards you and others. Help us to schedule time with you and hold to it. Give us wisdom to leave somethings out of our schedules. Amen.


Ephesians 5:15-17

5:15-17. The world in which we live is filled with dangers and deceptions. It is not always easy to live an enlightened life even when we want to. We can get tripped up or ambushed by events and people without even being aware of the danger. We must be very careful to live our life rooted in wisdom, using our time wisely. Not to do so would be foolish. The will of the Lord is that we live carefully, cautiously, always matching our lifestyle with the teachings of Scripture.

Romans 13:11-14

13:11. It is understanding the present time, much as the men of Issachar were gifted with doing (1 Chr. 12:32), that is the key to Paul’s words. The present time is the age of salvation that has come in the person of Jesus Christ. One of Paul’s key themes in all his writing is the line drawn between “this age” and the “age to come” (which was inaugurated with Christ; see 1 Cor. 1:20; 2:6, 8; 3:18; 2 Cor. 4:4; Gal. 1:4, 14; Eph. 1:21; 1 Tim. 6:19; Titus 2:12; see also Matt. 12:32; Heb. 6:5). Salvation for Paul and his readers was much more tangible than it is to the contemporary church. Salvation was the equivalent of being rescued from darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13). Certainly this was positional, but it was also a rescue that was going to take place in the future—“he [Christ] will appear a second time…to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28). And that salvation draws nearer with each passing day—it is nearer now than when we first believed. The image of waking from slumber to welcome the dawning of the glory of God is probably derived from Isaiah 60:2. That eschatological glimpse into the future by Isaiah is now being refined by Paul as he tells the Romans that the glory of God (the second advent of Christ) is growing nearer day by day. But what are the implications of the fast-approaching day of salvation?

13:12-13. These two verses are paralleled thematically in Paul’s writing in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11 and Ephesians 5:1-20. The need to come out of the darkness and into the light behaviorally is what every believer must do in light of the imminent Day of the Lord. Positionally, the believer has been justified and declared holy by God, as Paul has clearly shown. But when Christ returns, when salvation is at hand, He will not come for His own in the realm of darkness on this earth. He will come looking for His own in the light.

What did Paul mean by “the night is nearly over; the day is almost here”? Was his reference to time literal or metaphorical—or both? Without question, it was, at the very least, metaphorical. To Paul had been revealed things that the prophets of old had not seen or understood, and he was in a position to know that the light destined to shine on the Gentiles was now shining (Isa. 42:6; 49:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; 26:23). Even Matthew realized that “the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Matt. 4:16, quoting Isa. 9:2). Matthew was, of course, writing after the death and resurrection of Christ, which all recognized as being the watershed event between the testaments—that display of power and light which separated the ages.

13:14. To put something on, or to “clothe oneself,” is to display it outwardly. Christians are clothing themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and displaying the glory of God to the world. And because Paul is talking about spiritual cloth, how do we tell who is clothed with the Lord Jesus and who is not? Those clothed in Christ are the ones who do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. They are the ones moving out of the darkness and putting on the armor of light (v. 12). They are the ones baptized into Christ and clothing themselves with Him (Gal. 3:27). They are the ones who are putting on a new self, a self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24) in the image of their Creator (Col. 3:10). Our highest priority is to witness to the glorious love of God that has been made known to us in Christ Jesus. If you can endure these limitations for the sake of the gospel, you will be rewarded with the salvation Christ is preparing, at this moment, for you.



The QT Guide is designed to help you MOVE with God through Bible Reading, reflection and prayer. It can be completed in about 9 minutes.

UPWARD: 1⁄2 Minute Preparing Your Heart:Invest the first 30 seconds preparing your heart. You might pray, “Lord, cleanse my heart so You can speak to me through the Scriptures. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive. Surround me with Your presence during this time.

FORWARD: 4 Minutes Listening To God:Take the next four minutes to read the Bible. Your greatest need is to hear a word from God. Allow the Word to strike fire in your heart. Meet the Author!

INWARD: 2 1/2 Minutes Talking To God (Prayer):After God has spoken through His Book, then speak to Him in prayer.

OUTWARD: 2 Minutes Preparing your Action:Ask yourself this question: How can I take today’s Quiet Time and put it into action throughout my day?


Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.

1 Peter 5:7

We will make time for those who are important to us. While this is not a hard and set fast rule, it’s true for most people. I have at times tried to plan on spending time with someone who continually put me off, but I would see them doing things with others. They would proclaim “I’m busy” when in truth they were too busy for me.

Ever felt like you were unimportant to someone? I know Someone who thinks you are important. You are the apple of His eye. His mind is always on you. He is continually aware of your wants, needs and desires. He watches over you when you are hurting, suffering and in trouble. He plans for your success. His thoughts toward you are immeasurable and unfathomable.

So with that in mind, how IMPORTANT is He to you? Are you planning your day around Him or trying to plan Him into your day? Are you hanging out with another during the time you set aside for Him?

It hurts Jesus when He is cast aside. He longs to commune with you. He longs to just sit and chat. Invite Him over today for some coffee. He is waiting to spend some time with just you.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com


“May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy…”

Colossians 1:11

Paul wrote this letter to the church in Colossae from prison in Rome. (Go figure!) They were facing a threat from the inside. It was likely that a shaman-like leader had emerged in their church, and was distorting the gospel, leading people astray with his “sensuous mind” (Col 2:18). There is historical evidence for teaching that invokes the power of angels as spiritual guides and protectors. With amulets being found that were supposed to be magical. One such amulet had the inscription: “Michael, Gabriel, Ouriel, Raphael, protect the one who wears this…”

THE NATURE OF THEIR “HARD TIMES” So, why were these hard times for the church? Simply put, they were losing the true picture of Jesus, his place as supreme above all things, and the power of God in their lives. Often, when we hear about struggles, or hard times, we imagine persecution… We think about crises in our families…We think about struggling to pay our bills… These are absolutely hard times Scripture addresses over and over again. But there are also trials and struggles of faith believers face—just like they did in Colossae.

WHO TO BELIEVE- Who’s telling the truth? What voice should we believe? These questions are poignant for us today, as well. There is a battle on for our minds and our hearts. The spirit of the world is seductive and deceitful. And the enemy constantly tries to take our eyes off of Jesus.

HOW TO PRAY IN HARD TIMES- In today’s verse, Paul shows us how we should pray.

Pray for God’s power. Our strength alone will never be enough to fight the battles we’re up against. We need God’s power to radically invade our circumstances and our culture. How does this power flood our lives? Prayer!

Pray for endurance and patience. Our first inclination is usually to pray for deliverance from hard situations. But Paul tells the Colossians to pray for endurance and patience to weather the storms. What if, instead of praying for God to take us out of trials we prayed for endurance and patience within them? This is where character is forged (Rom 5:4).

Pray for joy. Did you know we can have joy right now, even when things are confusing and hard? Even when there are a thousand voices telling us lies, when we press into God’s presence and ask for his wisdom, we can hear the voice of truth through the static. Joy isn’t something available to us only on the other side of hard times—it’s available now! Pray for it.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com


As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

Luke 8:15

The parable of the sower and the seed is ever popular, and it’s likely you’ve heard it before. After telling the parable, Jesus proceeded to explain it’s meaning to the disciples. It is the last sentence in his explanation that we will focus on today: the seed that falls on the good soil is the seed that bears fruit in accordance with the Gospel. It is the seed that decides to follow Jesus during thick and thin.

What we learn through is that this seed takes time to bear fruit. This seed “bears fruit with patience”. We don’t like to read this. Aren’t we supposed to die to ourselves and be new creatures right away (Romans 6:6-7)? Doesn’t the Gospel produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24)? The answer to these is “Yes”! But, it takes time.

Often, we want to produce the good fruit in our lives immediately, and we get discouraged when we feel we are falling short. Jesus knows this about us, and in that we must realize that we don’t have to fake perfection for those around us. In fact, lack of honesty and humility in our journey can lead to sinful pride that separates us from God. How much better is it for us to be honest in our journey, and realize that with patience we will bear all the fruit that accompanies the Gospel.

As followers of Jesus, we all have different struggles and vices. Some we can overcome right away, while others may take years or even a lifetime. Be encouraged today that Jesus doesn’t expect you to bear all your fruit in one day, but take it day by day, as you put your faith in Him.

Adapted From: http://shortdailydevotions.com


Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

The way we use our time reveals our values and priorities. Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to make the most of our time. Here are ways to do this:

Receive Christ as Savior. The only way you can live a life of truth, meaning, and abundance is by personally knowing Jesus Christ.

Pray. The greatest timesaver is prayer. Jesus recognized that His most valuable and productive use of time occurred when He was alone with the Father. As you seek God’s will, prayer acts as a compass in your life.

Discover God’s plan for you, and live accordingly. A believer who knowingly sins or walks outside of God’s will can expect to be unproductive and unfulfilled. You can’t maximize your effectiveness if you’re struggling against God or have become hardened to His voice.

Write a mission statement for your life. Ask the Lord about His desires for you, and think about how you can use the rest of your earthly life to bring Him glory. If you pray for God’s guidance and for ears to hear His voice, you’ll find He will make the most of your time.

Adapted From: http://intouch.org


Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine.

Isaiah 43:1

After a close-call episode involving a plunge into a freezing lake, psychiatrist Dr. Winston gently but firmly laid it on the line to Johnny: “I’ve never known of anyone as far gone as you are to really whip it. Only you can do it, and it would be a lot easier if you let God help you.”

Cash knew he was right. God had been waiting all this time for him to come back. June and Dr. Winston would do all they could for him, but unless Cash himself summoned the fortitude and discipline required, the battle would never be won. For that he needed God’s help more than ever. He had to ask for and depend on it.

The time had come for the redemption of Johnny Cash. But one cannot redeem themselves. Only God can do it. The word redeem literally means, “to buy out of a slave market.” Cash was a slave to drugs, among other things. Only Jesus Christ could redeem him, and the singer knew that.

After ten days of intense withdrawals and detox, Johnny emerged a healthier man. Johnny played his first clean performance in years, and felt God’s presence, ending the show with an old hymn. Johnny was getting back to his gospel roots, but, more importantly, back to God Himself. The redemption had started.

Scripture Reading:

1. In [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. . . . In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:7, 13–14) How is Jesus Christ able to redeem us? What do we need to do to be redeemed?

2. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:5–6) What sins have you been a slave to in the past?

3. But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:1–2)

Adapted From: http://harvest.org


One of the best ways to fight temptation and grow in your daily walk with Jesus is to memorize His Word. Begin to commit His words to your memory this week.

Memorizing may be as simple as repeating the passage aloud 10 times each day or writing it 5 times each day. It may be that you place a 3x5 card on your mirror to remind you each day. Whatever it takes you won’t be let down with His Word in your mind and heart. Consider this…

Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

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