5 Ways to Wake-up Spiritually

1. Set an alarm. With all our modern-day gadgets it’s easily to set a unique alarm on your phone, once a day, once a week, to remind yourself of your new season. Or it can be to remind you to stick with your goal of reading the Bible each day, or whatever. [Joel 2:1]

2. Flush, purge, and clean it out. Spiritually awake people are always scanning their life to make sure that garbage doesn’t pile up. They take a few hours on a Saturday and delete old music and files off their computer. They clean their room or redecorate so their environment is conducive to growth. [2 Chron. 34:8, Acts 19:19]

3. Create a “Prayer-Time” playlist on iTunes. This one has helped me alot. When you’re getting ready to spend time with the Lord it’s good to have some worship music on. (One of my playlists is 1.1 hours long, and I devote that whole hour to prayer). [Psalm 108:2-3]

4. Start a Bible reading plan. My wife and I have been doing this for years. Everyday you know exactly what you’re doing to read. It’s amazing how God can speak to you, even while going thru an obscure book like, Obadiah or Jude. [Matt. 24:35, Heb. 4:12]

5. Memorize scripture. Ok, ok… I know this sounds childish, or “Sunday-school-ish”. But if you’re wanting to really be awake spiritually, at some point you’ll need to renew your mind, (Rom. 12:2). Next time you’re at Walgreens pick you up some 3×5 index cards. Write-out the verse on one side, and the scripture address on the other. [Ps. 19:7-8, Ps. 119:11]

Hiding: Our Built-in Defense Mechanism

Birds are by far the best at hiding their sickness. It’s actually a built-in defense mechanism within them, because sick birds are easy prey. When I was on the mission field in the Kingdom of Tonga, one of our congregants who worked for a wild bird sanctuary, knew I had a love for parrots, and asked me if I would take a look at one of her birds who was sick. Now, this little guy was in bad shape, and was obvious that this bird had been hiding his sickness for quite a while. Isolated in a dingy shed that was cold and drafty, it was only now that his sickness was beginning to manifest and could be hidden no longer.

Jesus said something to the man with a withered hand, “Step forward.” (Mark 3:3)

Now, this is a little like when you get pointed out by by security just before you go through the metal detector at the airport. “You there – step on over here.” “Ah, man.” Because, think of it, if you had a withered hand you wouldn’t be using it to wave at people, or give your friends a high-five. No, you’d be hiding that ugly thing. Nevertheless Jesus called him out by saying, “Step forward”.

I took that little parrot and brought him out of the cold, and into the house. Then I had a warming lamp placed right by his cage. This is exactly what Jesus was wanting to do with this man; and it’s what He’s wanting to do with each of us that is struggling with secret sin.

Jesus was trying to get him to…

1. Stop being isolated.
2. Stop hiding the problem.
3. Start receiving help in His arms, (and in His House, the Church).
4. Start warming-up to the idea that healing could be a reality.

Hiding your problem only prolongs the agony that you’re experiencing. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, and maybe even down-right embarrassing to ‘step forward’ and expose your problem to someone who can help. You might be hiding it well now, but deep down you know you’re sick. If something isn’t done soon, you know you could go down.

Yes, you are naturally acting on your built-in mechanism to hide, but won’t you show your pain to Jesus today? He’s not going to say, “Oohhh? Gross!?!!” No. He’s going to show you mercy, unconditional love, and begin to heal you, and bring about total restoration in your life.

May you step forward today.

Still Not Changed?

On the one hand, it’s amazing that God would speak from Heaven to man, and that he wouldn’t just fry like a battered chicken tossed into boiling oil. But on the other hand, it’s sad that God would speak to man, and yet he would still remain the same.

“…We have seen this day that God speaks with man; yet he still lives.” [Deu. 5:24]

Just a few verses later, the Lord says,

“Oh that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (v. 29).

So, in effect He’s saying, “I’m speaking to you, and it seems like you’re receiving it, but when push comes to shove, your heart isn’t really in it; and I know you’re not going to obey me; and thus you’re disqualifying yourself to the blessing that I’m wanting to give, both you, and your children.”

I think of how many times I’ve heard God speak to me — at church, in my quiet-time, etc., but it still doesn’t change me. The Word came to slay my flesh, yet I walked away unscathed. Like Jeremiah says, “his scent has not changed.” [48:11]