Jan 17 2020

All night long

As I read about Jesus’ lifestyle while he was on earth, especially the accounts in the book of Luke, I find that Jesus spent a lot of time praying. I suppose that isn’t a big surprise but I do think it is something that is often overlooked. We mention the 40 day fast at the beginning of his ministry often enough but there usually isn’t much discussion about the other mentions of him often sneaking away to the wilderness to pray. Luke 6:12 shows us one private prayer meeting where Jesus spent “the whole night in prayer.” The whole night! That’s a long prayer meeting. And when you look at the powerful results of Jesus’ earthly ministry it seems pretty clear that the miracles were a reflection of these private prayer times. I often get up early in the morning to spend a few hours in prayer and it is not uncommon for me to set aside a full day for prayer on a regular basis. I do this because I want to be closer to my Abba. I do this because I know that in the secret place with God we are given revelation about what he wants to do on the earth. These close relationships make us more effective in ministry. Show me a dead church and I’ll show you a ministry team that doesn’t spend enough time in prayer. If it was good enough for Jesus it is good enough for me. And if it’s something Jesus modeled then maybe it is something we should pursue for our own lives.

Jan 10 2020

The Power of Agreement

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You empower what you agree with”? This phrase may seem like a foreign perspective if you don’t understand what happens in the spiritual realm, but when we learn how powerful agreement can be, we can turn around many of the negative cycles we encounter in life. Life has plenty of difficult situations, and sometimes we get thrown a curve ball that has the potential to knock us off of our feet if we allow ourselves to agree with the negative situation instead of agreeing with God.

The concept is simple: when we agree with a thought, idea, or perspective, we give it power in our lives.

If we agree with fear, fear is given a little bit of control, and we become more and more afraid as we go through life. If we agree with anger, anger is given a little bit of control, and we become more and more angry as we go through life. And the opposite is also true. If we agree with love, love flows out of us to everyone we meet. I could continue with many more examples here, but I’m sure you get the point. The second part to this is that, if we agree with something long enough, we will eventually see it as truth.

What we believe to be true will determine how we respond in any situation.

If we believe that God is good, and we come into a difficult season of life, we can view that season through the lens of the truth that God is good and have hope that he will bring us through it. But if we think that God is out to get us, or that he doesn’t really care about us, difficult seasons will be full of despair instead of hope, and we will have trouble finding our way through to a better place. So how do we empower the reality of who God is and what he says about us instead of empowering perspectives that can keep us from achieving everything God has for us?  

This concept is also simple: we believe that what he says is true. No matter what. OK, maybe that doesn’t sound so simple. So, think about this: God is truth. Everything he says is truth. Everything he does represents his truth. Anything that disagrees with him is automatically a lie! Everything he speaks to us in the bible is truth. If we get that truth inside of us by regularly studying what he said, it will ground us in the truth, and make it SO, SO, SO, much more difficult to get sucked into empowering a lie.

The church has had a tendency in the past to make the gospel seem difficult. It’s actually quite simple. Believe that what God says is true, no matter what, and watch how quickly your faith will soar to new heights.

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Jan 3 2020

Be Resolved

Many people create a New Year’s resolution at the beginning of each year with a desire to start doing something new, change a lifestyle habit, or to refocus their attention in a way that is more beneficial to their lives. There are a lot of great reasons to do this, and I would like to suggest that there is one thing all of us can do better that will benefit every area of our lives. Something I often find among followers of Jesus is a compartmentalization of faith where following Jesus is in a separate category of life instead of allowing our relationship with Jesus to infuse every area of our lives. It’s the idea of private faith vs public faith, and it’s a practice that I think keeps many believers from ever fulfilling their full potential. But there is an easy way to correct this problem.

There’s a great piece of advice in Colossians 3:2 that instructs us to focus on things above (what is happening in the kingdom of heaven) instead of focusing on what is happening around us. When we intentionally and regularly focus on what God is up to, it shifts our perspective to see everything from his perspective. This was the regular practice of Jesus. On at least two different occasions, Jesus shared a revelation that he only did what he saw his Father doing and only spoke what he heard his Father speaking (see John 5:19 & John 12:49). When we have God’s perspective, every other perspective becomes irrelevant.  

I came across an idea several years ago that has helped me tremendously with maintaining a focus on things above and it is a simple practice anyone start right away. Here’s how it works: Set an alarm on your watch, phone, computer, or whatever device you choose to use that will prompt you at regular intervals to pause everything you are doing and spend a few seconds focusing on God. Make this time about praise, thankfulness, and asking God to give you his perspective. You might think this will be a distraction from what you need to accomplish, but it is actually the exact opposite, because you are actively inviting God to spend time with you all day long. I have my alarm set for every 15 minutes and I have found that I am able to consistently focus on the things of God throughout the day which gives the enemy no room to distract me.

Give it a try and let me know how it works out for you!

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