Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to keep focused on Jesus


We all have drives, and the flesh to deal with. This is normal, this is good. However, when we give into these drives in a way that causes us to "dethrone" Jesus in our hearts, this is not good, it is bad, evil. It is to quit following and to head away from following Jesus.
The issue of frustration, therefore, is not our hormones, or drives, or physical "needs" but in our volition, will, choice. When we choose to give into the desires of our bodies (flesh, sarx), instead of following Jesus, it is then that we sin, error, go off the train, cease to follow Jesus, remove Him from being our Lord.
Paul addresses how to get control over our hormones & desires. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, he says, "I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have taught others, I myself will not be disqualified."
Which explains why I have a picture of Rocky here. The word "discipline" is a Greek word (in the original), that means literally, "below the eye" or to punch below the eye. It is a boxing term meaning to give someone a black eye. Paul is literally saying, "I beat my body" or subject it to discipline/punishment.
Some people take this to mean, like Martin Luther, self-flagellation. However, this doesn't stop anything, seeing that my body cannot be disciplined because it doesn't have a mind. The arm doesn't stop and think, "If I do this again, Jeff will beat me." Instead, what it means is that Paul willingly allowed his body to suffer hardship in order to follow Jesus. He denied his body's drives in order to honor Jesus & follow after Him.
Example- running a marathon. There is a thing called "the wall". It is then where the body says, "that's it. I've had it. I am not going any further, I can't do it." Some people quit when they hit this, but marathon finishers push through "the wall". When our hormones are high, when our different drives kick in, we need to push through those things rather than turning aside from honoring Jesus. We should tell our body, "no, we're not going there", thus giving it a "black eye". And push on through that momentary conflict...until it subsides.

Go read 1 Corinthians 9:27 & consider these rich word pictures from God's word. You can do it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A couple of thoughts on the advantages of Time Alone With God (TAWG)

(Print & Circle a few that grab your attention.)

  1. We follow our Rabbi today by reading His word, talking to, and doing what He says.
  2. To hide Jesus’ word in our heart so we don’t sin against Him.
  3. We allow the Spirit to be our counselor, we can share our problems, then listen for direction.
  4. It allows us to quiet ourselves & remember that God is God.
  5. It allows us to release our weights to the one who hears & loves us.
  6. God wants to hear from His children.
  7. God gives us the right to come to Him.
  8. God gives us the grace to help us in our time of need.
  9. Draw near to God & He will draw near to you.
  10. Abide in Jesus, and Him in you. Apart from Him, you can do nothing.
  11. People need us to stand in pray with them.
  12. God answers prayer.
  13. The effective prayer of the righteous is powerful & accomplishes much.
  14. God is quick to hear the prayers of His godly ones.
  15. The Spirit helps us pray, for often we don’t know what to say. ..so just pray.
  16. Jesus prayed.
  17. The disiciples use to talk to Jesus face to face. We can still talk to Jesus today, and He is right in our midst.
  18. Life is heavy, talking to God, the one who loves us, helps us with our burdens.
  19. The prayer of the godly is like an arrow to Heaven.
  20. God will not reject those who seek Him.
  21. It is a time to help us realize our station in life.
  22. It helps us clarify who we are, what we are about.
  23. It helps remind us that we are dependent on God.
  24. Not doing TAWG, is like having a girlfriend without spending time with her.
  25. Jesus is our vine, we get our nourishment from Him.
  26. Prayer is a conversation, time to talk to Jesus, and also listen to Jesus.
  27. Prayer works.
  28. Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.
  29. Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you.
  30. It is a time to read & meditate on wisdom from One much wiser than our own mind.
  31. It is a time to read & meditate on wisdom from One much wiser than all the noise around us.
  32. Jesus read Scripture.
  33. The disciples use to hang out with Jesus, today we have His very words written down for us.
  34. It helps us to stay grounded on the Rock.
  35. It teaches us submission.
  36. It teaches us dependence.
  37. It can keep us from puffing ourselves up.
  38. Reading & trusting God’s words can save us from a lot of bad decisions.
  39. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
  40. When we do this, we start living eternity with God, now.
  41. Many people have said, “I wish Jesus was here so I could ask Him…” Well, He is, and His words are right here, available to you in book format, so you can go back again and again to read it.
  42. Disciples naturally spend time learning from their Rabbi.
  43. Disciples enjoy sitting at the feet of the Rabbi.
  44. Disciples model the life of the Rabbi.
  45. There is an unseen world that we do not understand and need God’s help to succeed.
  46. God’s children are saints, holy ones. We have direct fellowship with God.
  47. To live on the Rock, Jesus we listen to His words and then do what He taught.
  48. If you love Jesus, you will obey what He commands.
  49. We are called to love God & love people.
  50. Faith is command in action.
  51. Peter at least got out of the boat, when Jesus called Him too.
  52. Christians are known by their fruit.
  53. How can you know what to do if you don’t seek the one you follow?
  54. Applying God’s word accurately = wise living.
  55. What if a sheep remains distant from the Shepherd?
  56. What if a tree branch cuts itself off & decides to live next to the Tree? Christ is the Tree.
  57. Trees near the river are always stronger and healthier than the ones far away.
  58. We need God’s strength to make it through the day.
  59. We need God’s wisdom so that we can reach others for Jesus.
  60. Judas didn’t follow Jesus, look what happened to him.
  61. To obey is better than sacrifice. We can’t obey if we don’t know what Jesus says.
  62. Many people are emotion/mood driven. Setting a time for TAWG helps us control that.
  63. People in the flesh can never please God.
  64. Come as you are.
  65. You don’t need to be trained in prayer to pray. It is merely talking to the God.
  66. “Lord I want to believe, help me in my unbelief.” May be a great starting point for you.
  67. TAWG doesn’t have a time requirement.
  68. You do what is important to you.
  69. TAWG helps us to listen, learn, and be challenged from the Creator.
  70. Cry out, listen, do is a great way to enjoy following Jesus.
  71. We are to follow in the dust of our Rabbi, Jesus.
  72. A Christian is a follower of Christ.
  73. How can we follow if we refuse to listen?
  74. Obedience is faith in action. It is hearing what Jesus says, then actually doing it. It is not mere thought.
  75. We can never dry out the living stream of God’s word. There is always more to learn, always another level to go.
  76. God’s word is like COD, you never conquer it’s depth.
  77. I have read the Bible several times, some verses several hundred times, yet often I learn another surprising angle.
  78. God’s word cannot be exhausted, there is always something new to be discovered.
  79. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life.
  80. Where else shall we go? Jesus has the words of life!
  81. We live from the overflow of our time with God.
  82. God is the King, we are His servants.
  83. Jesus is our good shepherd, we are his sheep.
  84. Life is like follow the leader. Jesus leads, we follow.
  85. It is not a religious duty, though that may be a good place to start.
  86. It is not a mere religious duty, it is a relationship with God.
  87. God want a relationship with us.
  88. God loves to listen to us.
  89. Jesus loves to hang out with us.
  90. We see through a dim reflection now, but then face to face.
  91. TAWG is the closest we get to heaven here on earth. It is active fellowship with God.
  92. TAWG- I start the morning getting perspective, which seems to help with the day as a whole...call it a pre-emptive strike.
  93. Prayer helps me to distress, without adding to it.
  94. Reading the Bible before bed helps me go to bed thinking of higher thoughts.
  95. My ways are higher than your way, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.
  96. Whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good reputation, excellent, worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
  97. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in Jesus, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
  98. In everything give thanks.
  99. Rejoice in the Lord always.
  100. Pray without ceasing.
  101. Reading what is pure & good helps us to grow a distaste for what is vile and bad.
  102. Go from “Just do it.” To “Doing it.” Living.
  103. You are God’s son, enjoy a relationship with a dad who loves you.
  104. You are God’s daughter, enjoy a relationship with a dad who loves you.
  105. God knows you & your secrets, yet He still loves you very much.
  106. You need God.
  107. God is a crutch.
  108. Better to know how to seek God when doing well, so that when things go badly you can turn to Him without that guilt also.
  109. Sin is turning away from God to follow our own path. Coming back always requires carrying that bag of regret, guilt, and shame.
  110. You think you are smart enough to do life on your own? What are you God or something?
  111. Don’t call yourself a Christian (follower of Christ) and then not follow.
  112. Thinking about diets don’t work. Neither does thinking about doing God’s word. Do it.
  113. Jesus is a valuable treasure.
  114. God really does know what He is talking about…after all He is God.
  115. You are too busy not to pray. Read that one again.
  116. The busier life is, the more you need to pause to pray and let God direct the ordering of your day.
  117. Prayer is relaxing.
  118. Prayer is intense.
  119. Prayer is powerful.
  120. Prayer is reflective.
  121. Prayer is passionate.
  122. Pray when you are tired.
  123. Talk to Jesus until you fall asleep.
  124. Read the Bible until you fall asleep…better than not reading it to fall asleep.
  125. There is a lot of garbage out there, Jesus may be the only pure thing we enjoy each day.
  126. Commit your plans to the Lord, and they will be established.
  127. Plans fall from lack of counsel.
  128. Jesus is your friend.
  129. God is your father.
  130. The Spirit is your helper.
  131. God is an ever present help in times of trouble.
  132. Jesus is with us always, to the very end of time.
  133. Prayer can last 3 silent seconds, or several loud hours.
  134. Pray, read in the bathroom. It is not sacrilegious.
  135. Make TAWG energizing.
  136. Make TAWG relaxing.
  137. Make TAWG motivating.
  138. Make TAWG challenging.
  139. Make TAWG an intellectual pursuit.
  140. Make TAWG a conversation.
  141. It is okay to get distracted, just bring it back to you and Jesus.
  142. Better to fall asleep while praying than not pray at all.
  143. Make prayer conversational.
  144. Make prayer formal.
  145. Write down your prayers.
  146. Be like David and write songs to God.
  147. Draw pictures that describe the Scripture you are reading, or how it will look like when Scripture is applied to your life.
  148. Write a challenge statement a “To Do” after you finish reading Scripture.
  149. Use a psalm as your prayer template.
  150. Pray through the Psalms.
  151. Read a Proverb a day-there are 31.
  152. Read through the Old Testament in a year.
  153. Read a chapter of Scripture a day.
  154. Read a paragraph of Scripture before you begin your day.
  155. Read a chapter of Proverbs every time you…spend time in the bathroom.
  156. Ten minutes before bed: pray or read Scripture.
  157. Don’t forget application.
  158. Never read Scripture without thanking God for it, and asking God to help you see it.
  159. We are blind and need Jesus to restore our sight.
  160. Great people of the faith enjoy time with Jesus.
  161. A lot of problems are abated by simply spending time in prayer, reading, and applying God’s word.
  162. Use a prayer journal, and don’t make a lot of rules for it.
  163. Pray what is on your heart.
  164. As MCHammer said, “We’ve got to pray just to make it today”.
  165. God delights in you.
  166. You delight in God.
  167. You want to TAWG, so why not do what you want to do.
  168. TAWG is communion with God, your Heavenly Father.
  169. Light a candle during prayer time.
  170. Pray during Yoga.
  171. Pray while you are jogging.
  172. Bring your Bible to work, school.
  173. Bring your Bible on vacation.
  174. You don’t need a bunch of equipment to pray.
  175. Put a prayer time playlist on your iPod.
  176. Pray & commit your work to the Lord before you start it.
  177. Don’t be a slacker.
  178. If you have decided to follow Jesus, then follow Him. No mere talk please.
  179. Be extreme or be spit.
  180. Make war on the floor.
  181. Prayer is the work of the Christian, the rest is just follow up.
  182. A refrigerator unplugged will not work. A Christian unplugged will not work.
  183. A follower who refuses to follow is an oxymoron.
  184. There is no such thing as a non-practicing Christian.
  185. TAWG is a feast, eat until you are full.
  186. Man cannot live on bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.
  187. Do TAWG while commuting to work.
  188. Turn off the radio in the morning and pray.

188 thoughts

Now that you got it, go for it. Start today. Heck, start right now.