Top 10 Ways to Not Space-Out in Your Quiet-Time

Kings DevosIt was said of George Whitefield, that he woke-up every morning at 4:00am for personal prayer-time. As 10:00pm approached he would say to everyone in his home, “Come, gentleman, it’s time for all good folks to be at home.” Doesn’t that sound a little rude? Why would he say something like that? Because if he stays up too late he wouldn’t be able to wake up early to seek God, (nor would he have been a fire brand to kindle The Great Awakening). According to Deuteronomy 4:24…

God is a “jealous God”.

And if He’s jealous to have your heart, then you and I ought to be jealous about guarding that time, and not letting anyone, (or anything), steal that time with our First Love, who’s name is, Jesus.

Below are some points that I’ve developed for an effective Prayer-Time/Quiet-Time. Avoid the tendency to check e-mail, or Facebook, etc. Get a plan and watch how much your relationship with God will grow.

1. Make a “Prayer Time” CD.

2. Plan ahead & find a “Prayer Closet” where you can be alone.

3. Know in advance where you’re going to read in the Word.

4. Get a Prayer Journal and write down what the Holy Spirit is giving you.

5. Use Rhema Cards to get your prayer time started with faith.

6. Then move into a time of Thanksgiving.

7. Lift your hands in praise & adoration to the Lord.

8. Then begin to pray The Lord’s Prayer.

9. Avoid sleepiness by pacing & praying.

10. Take the last 5 minutes of your Quiet Time to thank, worship, and praise God.

Do have struggles in your Quiet-Time, or secrets that have helped you? Leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, come check out my brand new blog: Today I Can Change: http://www.todayicanchange.com

5 Temper-Tantrum Busters

Have you ever seen those children in Walmart that you just wish would… SHUT UP!!? Just the other day I saw a red-faced, screaming little kid sitting in a shopping cart. It seemed to get everyone’s attention. Surprise, surprise. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Here’s the thing though. I wonder if our attitudes, can be like to God at times. (Things that make you go, “hmmm”.) But it need not be.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” Gen. 1:26 [kjv]

I’m seeing in a fresh new way the absolute dignity of mankind that God has bestowed upon us, humanoids. Not only are we created in His image, but also after His likeness. Some say, “No one knows what God looks like, because God is Spirit” (John 4).” But right here it says, “Let us make man… after our likeness.” We basically look like God! Does that sound blasphemous? I don’t think so. But herein lies the deeper meaning. If people would just realize the privilege of being alive, and knowing that God has clothed us with majesty, we wouldn’t get so depressed and down on ourselves so quickly.

“God spoke to Cain: “Why this tantrum? Why the sulking? If you do well, won’t you be accepted? And if you don’t do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.” Genesis 4:6-7 [msg]

Can’t you just see the grace and mercy of God being extended – even in the midst of our immature, crybaby, temper-tantrum outbursts, that tend to leak-out every once in a while?

Real quick, here’s 5 TEMPER-TANTRUM BUSTERS:

1. Ask yourself, “Why the Tantrum?” (Don’t just accept it.)

2. Determine why you’re depressed. “Why the Sulking?” (You have to break the cycle.)

3. Do Well. (Don’t just “think” about doing better in the future – Do something now.)

4. Beware of Sin. (It’s crouching, it’s lion-like, it’s ready to devour. Better to keep your eyes open.)

5. Master Sin. (Don’t just be an “apprentice”. Be a “Master Disciple”; and for sure Master your sins, lest they master you!)

You can change! And may you, personally, experience greater victory today in your walk with the Lord Jesus!

Ending the Rat Race Mentality

You wouldn’t think that islanders would have a problem with being still. Most people think of us, living in Hawaii, as just hanging loose, going to the beach, sipping drinks with those little umbrellas, and working on our tans all day; but nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the things that the Lord has been speaking to me lately is that of not being anxious, being stress-free, being still and learning to wait on on the Lord. The more cognizant I am of this “Rat Race Mentality” – I see it everywhere I go. It’s not just in Chicago, New York, or L.A. – it’s everywhere. And in most people’s head! Hurry to work, hurry to finish, hurry to go home – hurry, hurry, hurry!! O to hear the Word of the Lord:

“Be still, ye inhabitants of the isle…” Isaiah 23:2

Be still”= literally means: grow dumb and motionless. You might say, “Wow, that sounds attractive, where do I sign-up?” But, “dumb” is simply an old english term for: not talking. This phrase, “Be still” is progressive, i.e. You develop in it and seek to advance in it day-by-day.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

The world may think it’s a dumb to pray, but it’s God’s secret to giving His people strength, peace, and power.

How often have you said to yourself, “Yeah, I know I need to slow down and take a break, but it’s pretty hard right now because of my job, family, and…” And the list goes on and on. I was reminded a couple days ago, while I was riding my Harley-Davidson, and having a wonderful prayer time by-the-way, as I heard the Holy Spirit say to me…

“I could put you on your back anytime I want. Guard your time and look up, so that I don’t have to make you.”

As I was up in Olinda I was reminded of the relationship between the sheep and the shepherd. When a sheep would continually go wayward, in extreme circumstances, the shepherd would take his rod and break it’s leg. It sounds cruel and impractical, but the newfound relationship that would form between the sheep and the shepherd, from being together all the time, would change the way the lamb sees his shepherd. Sometimes… “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

If you would really like to end this Rat Race routine – The next time you’re getting ready for work, leave a half hour early, and intentionally drive the speed limit in the slow lane. Notice how the people are in such a hurry, passing cars, stressed. Who are these people? Those people are you! You’ve just ended the rat race. It’s not final, it’s something you’re growing into, and need to advance in. It’s something you need to practice each day.

How about this one: Next time you go into the grocery store, take five minutes before you do your shopping and notice how stressed people are. Take a deep breath and walk slow, and see if the Holy Spirit doesn’t speak to you, and pour-out a blessing of peace on you that you haven’t experienced in a long time. These are just a couple of practical ways that you can end the Rat Race Mentality.

Prayer-2-Pray
“Lord, I pray you would forgive me for being so busy. I take time today to be still, and to wait on you. May You give me wisdom to know how to end the Rat Race Mentality in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen!”

Freebird

If you grew up in the 70’s, (or if you watched Forrest Gump), you know the song, “Freebird”, by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Part of the song says,

“I’m as free as a bird now, and this bird you cannot change, Lord knows I cannot change.”

Many times we try to escape our problems by simply running away from them. “Lord knows I can’t change.” Actually… He does. In fact, He can set a person free in a different way that’s not necessarily by your own doing.

“…let the living bird loose in the open field .” [Lev. 14:2]

It’s amazing that God revealed in the Old Testament what to do when an incurable disease was healed, (Lev. 14:2). To God, doing the impossible, is just everyday, ordinary stuff that He does. Even when we were still partying it up, and sinning like there was no tomorrow, Jesus had already made provision for our Salvation (Rom. 5:8). The very fact that He included this in His Word ought to cause everyone to know that whatever mountain of difficulty is before us, whatever sickness or disease – God is able to make provision to heal, and set us free!

Digging a little deeper in Leviticus 14, what do each of these things mean? The priest was to take two birds (remember this, it’s important for later), a piece of cedar wood, a piece of scarlet material, and some hyssop. Then he was to put one of these in an earthen vessel, and then kill it over running water. Then he would take the living bird, and the other things, and dip them all in the bird’s blood, (…I know this sounds heavy, but hold on it’s gets easier to understand, I promise). The the blood would then be sprinkled on the leper seven times; and then the living bird would be set free in an open field.

Bird Killed in an Earthen Vessel: This represents Christ, leaving Heaven, inhabiting a human body, then dying for our sins. (2 Cor. 4:7)
Bird Killed over Running Water: This represents how Jesus acted in obedience to the Word of God in actually going to the Cross. It also represents the Holy Spirit, who alone empowers us to lay down our lives like Jesus did. (Zech. 4:6)
The Cedar Wood: This represents the Cross of Christ. (John 19:17)
The Scarlet: This represents the Blood of Christ, and the deliverance that it brings. (Josh. 2:18)
The Hyssop: This represents the passing-over of our sins by the Blood of the Lamb. (Ex. 12:22)
The Living Bird Loosed in the Open Field: This represents 1) the Resurrection of Christ, but also 2) it’s symbolic of us being set free by the death of another – namely Christ. (Rom. 8:2)

Can’t you just see that living bird, covered with blood and water, flapping vigorously, thinking: “Whoa? I almost DIED!! I can’t believe I’m flying away now! ‘O thank You, Jesus!” If you’re thinking, “Lord knows I can’t change” then maybe you need to know that Jesus was was that other “bird” that was killed, instead of you and I. Think of it! The Lord knew you couldn’t change on your own, that’s why He left Heaven 2000 years ago to become a human – just like you and me, to take our place.

‘O that you would soar in life, because of what Christ did on the Cross for you. Then you can truly sing, “…and I’m as free as a bird now…”

“Buyer’s Remorse?”

This Devotional takes about half-hour to do. It works individually or in a small group setting. What are we waiting for? Let’s get it started in here!!

Open-up your Bible to: Luke 10:38-42

“But Martha was distracted…” — Luke 10:40a

One of the most incredible privileges that we’ve all received from God is the ability to choose. Have you ever walked into a department store looking for just the perfect outfit? [Us, guys might just pick out a shirt, but definitely not an “outfit”.] But have you ever experienced something that’s called, “Buyers Remorse”? Buyers Remorse is when you spend so much time deciding what to buy, but once you brought it home you realized that it’s not really what you wanted, and you feel miserable. Believe it or not – it’s the same way in the spiritual realm. Many times we find ourselves going through this same exact experience when we choose the wrong thing. Ever been there? I know I have.

:: Pastor Robb’s Thought-Provoking Questions ::

1. Have you ever experienced “Buyers Remorse”? If so, what did you buy?

2. Pastor Ray Berryhill said, “Busy is not better, choosing better is better.” Why is being busy sometimes not such a good thing?

3. What are some of the patterns of busyness that sometimes we find ourselves in?

4.Practically speaking – What are some of the things you do to refuel, relax, and get re-energized?

“God, I Love My Goads!”

Some people are great team players, while others are great at bucking against any, and everything. “What in the world are goads?” Goads are used to keep oxen from backing up. They have little spikes on them, and once an ox bumps into them he usually never does it again, because they give a pretty good wake-up call. Frank Damazio, in his book, “Successful Leadership” said, in regards to the “foot-dragger” types, “If you kick, be sure you kick towards the goal.” When I read it I though to myself… “…and don’t kick against the goads!” Saul of Taursus, who of course became the great Apostle Paul, was confronted by the Risen Christ on the Road to Damascus. As he heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul… it’s hard for thee to kick against the pricks, (goads)”[Acts 9:5] If you don’t like what you’re doing, just do everybody a great big favor, and get out! But if you realize that there is some sort of reason why you are at that job, church, relationship, then why not accept the goads? In fact, you ought to be thankful for the goads in your lives, especially God’s goads!

“Are you serious?” Of course! Think of it this way. As long as we buck against the Word and think it’s too hard, or somehow think “God isn’t fair”, then you’re going to find yourself fighting against the very blessing that God is trying to bring into your life. That situation that you’re in – they’re your “goads”. God has placed them in your life so that you can grow, and move forward. As long as you and I kick against the goads we’re going to find ourselves getting angry and resentful. This is going backwards! God is calling you to go forward, and only forward! So, why not say, “God, I love my goads!!” It will make a difference in your life today.

How to Get Ready for a New Year!

Have you got some New Years’ goals, but aren’t quite sure how to implement them? Join the club. I’ve got a great podcast episode for you:: “How to Get Ready for a New Year. It’s in the iTunes Store, and… it’s FREE!!

UNITED YOUTH CHURCH CHICAGO

If you would listen and review that would be totally awesome!

Pastor Robb