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We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness.
Your level of preparation determines your level of outpouring. It’s not someone elses responsibility to take care of what’s inside of you.
Paul instructed Timothy to fan into flame the gift that was inside him. (2 Timothy 1:6)
“Your life from seed to full-grown tree is a process. We all like the idea of fruit, but rarely do we allow ourselves to build a root system.” Banning Liebscher
As leaders we need to have a strong, consistent inflow to balance our outflow. As leaders were are giving out all the time. Energy, time, emotions. In order to GROW as a leader we need to stretch our capacity and ability to lead. Read the rest of this entry »
Portions of God’s redemptive plan might be a mystery for us, but there’s really no confusion*about how we fit into that plan. The Apostle Paul writes, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20).
An ambassador only does one thing – represent. A good ambassador will represent the will, desire, work, and agenda of the leader and nation that sent them. For Christians, our only calling is to represent, or reflect, the character of God here on earth.
Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated.
When I was an athlete, I loved going to practice the week after a big win. Who wouldn’t? Your coach is happy, your teammates are pumped up, and you feel like you can beat anyone. As an entrepreneur, I love working when customers are rolling in and things are going well. Getting results has a way of propelling you forward.
But what about when you’re bored? What about when the work isn’t easy? What about when it feels like nobody is paying attention or you’re not getting the results you want?
Are you willing to work through 10 years of silence?
Who we are in private much more accurately represents who we really are than what is seen in public does. Poor decisions made in private almost always lead to lack of favor in public. Are the sinful choices to gossip, cheat, or steal made publicly or privately? Such choices begin in the privacy of our thought lives.
The adverse is also true: we have the ability to cultivate our lives in private. Through right relationship with God, our thought lives can be purified. Our motives are weighed and revealed when we spend alone time with Him.
When we don’t spend time with God, we will try to fill the lack inside with other things that do not satisfy, like the approval of others. Only God can satisfy our deepest longings and heal our most painful hurts. When we take the time to embrace His presence, all of our unmet expectations and failures can be laid to rest.
"God is more concerned about who you become as you spend time alone with Him than He is about anything you might accomplish before men."
Awakened Ones. Consumed by the Presence of Jesus. Passionate in the place of prayer. Consistent in the Word. This is the life of a Disciple of Jesus, but this is not the whole story. There is another element to every believer’s life on earth that is often sadly overlooked.
The ones yet to be awakened. The less fortunate, hungry, downcast, nameless, faceless sea of broken people before us. They are waiting for us.
So you need to write a message, talk, blog post or even a weekly email to your team. But you’re stuck.
And you fear too many people are going to tune you out or simply hit delete when they see what you managed to generate.
How do you solve writer’s block and consistently write content people want to hear or read?
1. Identify the biggest problems/issues/fears people face
2. Address the issues you personally struggle with, but from the listener’s point of view
3. Read widely, and figure out how what you’ve read helped you solve a problem
4. Be helpful.
5. Keep a running list of possible subjects with you at all times
“It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. The faith that changes the life and connects to God is best conveyed by the word “trust”. Imagine you are on a high cliff and you lose your footing and begin to fall. Just beside you as you fall is a branch sticking out of the very edge of the cliff. It is your only hope and it is more than strong enough to support your weight. How can it save you? If your mind is filled with intellectual certainty that the branch can support you, but you don’t actually reach out and grab it, you are lost. If your mind is instead filled with doubts and uncertainty that the branch can hold you, but you reach out and grab it anyway, you will be saved. Why? It is not the strength of your faith but the object of your faith that actually saves you. Strong faith in a weak branch is fatally inferior to weak faith in a strong branch” — Timothy Keller
Because of Jesus we need never question God’s desire for intimacy. Does God really want close contact with us? Jesus gave up Heaven for it. In person he re-established the original link between God and human beings, between seen and unseen worlds.
“There are four principles we need to maintain:
First, read the Word of God.
Second, consume the Word of God until it consumes you.
Third believe the Word of God.
Fourth, act on the Word.” Smith Wigglesworth
Before you get started, think through the following:
- When will you read? Do you have a consistent time?
- Where will you read? Do you have a consistent place?
- What will you read? Do you have a plan?
- What do you need? Do you have a Bible, journal, pen and highlighter?
You should always approach the Scriptures in a posture of prayerful humility and longing. Ask God to:
- Incline you entirely to His Word.
- Open your eyes to see the beautiful wonders of Christ and the glories of the gospel.
- Unite your heart to fear His name, knowing that your desires are ever divided.
- Satisfy you with His steadfast and unfailing love.
The first step of study is to simply read the passage a few times to get an idea of the content, context and flow. Highlight particular sections that stand out so that you can come back to them later.
What do you see?
Observation lays the groundwork for all subsequent study. Cutting corners in this step can cause the entire process to unravel.
What are you observing? Everything. Your goal is not to determine what is and is not significant. Everything is significant. Observation is kind of like panning for gold. Your goal is to dig up as much as possible and allow the later processes to sift the gold.
- Mark up the passage. Don’t be afraid to write in your Bible. Circle, underline and highlight. Write in the margins. Get creative.
- List 2-3 overarching themes you see in the passage.
- List at least two observations per verse. The more the merrier.
- Write down questions to think through in the step of interpretation.
What does it mean?
Your observations will most likely lead to interesting and challenging questions about the text. The step of interpretation allows you to sift through the various observations in order to provide answers.
…accomplishing the action?
…the action taking place?
What is the…
…meaning of this word?
…significance of this phrase?
…implication of this statement?
Why did the author…
…choose this word?
…include this phrase?
…use this command?
…connect these ideas?
…not say ____?
- Consider the context.
- Compare multiple translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, HCSB).
- Look up key words.
- Check out cross-references to see how this passage relates to others.
- When stumped, list out all the various options and pros and cons of each. After due consideration, use supplemental resources such as the ESV Study Bible or commentaries for helpful insights and background information.
- Don’t stop until you have considered how this passage fits into the overarching redemptive plan of God – the gospel. How does this passage relate to the person and work of Christ?
- Make sure to discuss insights and questions with your spouse and gospel-centered community.
What do I do with it?
Bible study is incomplete until you have thought through how to apply the particular passage to your life. Some passages will be more readily applicable than others, but all Scripture is useful and helpful (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
- List out a number of potential applications. To get started, here are a few questions to consider:
- Is there an example for you to follow?
- Is there a sin to repent of and/or avoid?
- Is there a promise to trust?
- Is there a prayer to repeat?
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a condition to meet?
- Is there a verse to memorize?
- Is there an erroneous view exposed?
- What else is the Lord pressing upon you?
- Choose one or two particular applications and prayerfully consider how you might pursue greater faithfulness in them. Be specific about what you will do (or not do) and whom you will ask (in addition to the Lord) to help you.
from The Village Church HERE
also check out:
"its hard to fight for something you’re not passionate about." Kim walker-smith (Jesus Culture)
get a revelation of God’s love for you and get passionate about Him and living for Him and then fight against all the crud trying to distract and diswade you from following Him…
what keeps us on the narrow road and obeying jesus? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
what keeps us choosing to follow Him every day? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
what keeps us pursuing holiness instead of satisfying the desires of our flesh? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
what keeps us pure? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
what keeps us wanting to know Him more? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
what keeps us pushing and transforming? knowing His love and grace and loving Him in return.
Jesus says “if you love me you’ll obey me” john 14:23
what keeps us fighting and choosing Him and His ways above the world and ourselves is that passion fueled by the revelation that He loves us and saves us and gave His life for us, dying on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.
make knowing God your priority.
make it your passion.
be so in love with Him that nothing can shake you.
"in the future you will walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness" kim walker smith
finding your devo time hard, stuck in Leviticus?
KEEP GOING and KEEP COMING BEFORE GOD – keep being faithful and storing His Word in your spirit – because one day you’ll walk out in the fruit of your faithfulness…..
as we draw near to God, he draws near to us, this is his promise – James 4:8
sometimes we can feel our quiet times, our personal devotional time, that it doesn’t have any significance. we come and read the Word, we come and pray and worship and talk to God but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re connecting much. sometimes we really feel His presence and encounter Him and He speaks, but other times it can seem like He is silent and that we’re just reading and not being transformed spiritually.
We live by faith though, not feelings, not by sight.
each time we come and spend time with God matters, for us and to Him.
as we are faithful our relationship with Him grows.
one day we will walk and live out the fruit of our faithfulness. we will live in the fruit that comes from spending time in the Word, in spending time in prayer, in spending time in worship.
our quiet times are not waste times, they’re not dead space.
when He speaks something comes alive in us – His Words bring life to our spirit. They water our soul. They satisfy our heart. They bring strength and hope to our lives. They guide us and help us to navigate temptation and the war waging in our flesh.
God is speaking always in our quiet times, and in a way – its like our spirit IS receiving His word in even the “dull times” and the times when He seems quiet and there is no great revelation and no great power.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
don’t give up.
the time you spend with God matters.
and it matters because HE loves to have that time with YOU.
you are His beloved child.
He delights in YOUR presence, as a Father delights in their child.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12
“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.” ~ Tim Keller
Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the LORD would go out to the tent of meeting which was outside the camp. And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the LORD would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. Exodus 33:7-11
i want to be a face to face friend of God.
As i read about Moses and Joshua meeting with God in the tent of meeting, my heart is stirred and moved that Moses SAW the form of God and spoke face to face with Him. God says (in Numbers 12, see below) that Moses was faithful in all His house – and the reward of his faithfulness was intimacy.
In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). Ephesians 3:12
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. Hebrews 4:16
i want my life to lean always towards knowing God. i press in for this purpose, to be His child, to be His friend.
any sacrifice, any bowing of my knee and will, any refinement, any transformation, is worth it to feel His embrace and pleasure.
to walk with Him on this earth as friend is a great reward!
and i love love love that joshua stayed after Moses left… i wonder if that heart was one of the things that were credited to him as a qualification for leading the people into the promised land, a man after God’s heart, a man of God’s presence, a man of prayer and faith….
ps: its interesting to note, that in Exodus 3 Moses freaks out in his first encounter with God and hides his face, yet here 30 chapters later he has face to face encounters and regular relational connection. don’t stay in the place of first encounter but develop a relationship with God!
“Listen to my words:
“When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face,
clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the LORD. Numbers 12:6-8
read more HERE