Saturday, September 29, 2012

Prayer for Personal Revival
Scripture for Reflection and Preparation

Psalm 63:1-3
“1 God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. 2 So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory. 3 My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life.”

John 4:13-14
“13 Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again.
14 But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again—ever!
In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up within him for eternal life.’”

Matthew 5:6
“6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, because they will be filled.”

Thirst for God
Revival begins when Christians long for a closer walk with God.

• Praise God for who He is
• Confess your sinfulness and need for cleansing
• Allow His Spirit to draw you near
• Listen as He speaks to you

Ask God to...
• Give you a deeper longing to walk with Him
• Reveal Himself to you
• Help you put your relationship with Him before all things
• Remind you of His great love for you
• Draw you close to Himself
• Refresh your spirit
• Renew your spiritual joy

• Thank God for hearing you
• Trust that God is at work to accomplish His will

From “Pray and ACT 40/40”, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

Friday, September 28, 2012

Time Well Spent...Getting the most from the Word of God

I don't know about you, but when I try to do something important, I want to do it well. I don't want to waste time or miss out on what 'could have been'.

Time in the Word of God is like that.

I know it's important, but I have to admit that there are times that I read it, pray about it, and walk away without getting a 'whole lot' out of it. I'm glad I did it, but I feel as though I've missed something.

I wonder if you can relate...?

If you can, I want to give you some 'tips' for reading the Word of God, which will (I hope) enable you to have more productive times.

Especially as many of us are on a '40 day spiritual adventure' sort of thingy as we head up to the election, this may help you grow more. (Some of you, who are well schooled at this might think of this as a waste of your you have my official permission to skip this post!) :)

So, here goes:

FIRST, when you're going to read the Word of God, and you want to get something out of it, you can't do it 'on the fly'. You can't read it as you're running out the door in the morning of in the 2 minutes you have in bed at night before falling to sleep and hope to let it have IMPACT in your Bible Reading Tip #1 is: Find a Quiet Place!

, you have to approach the Word in the right way...remember, the Bible is not 'just a book'. It is a Spiritual book, and the revelation of the God of the universe to us! We can't read it the same way we read our favorite novel. We have to start with prayer. After all...
"The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.[c] 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

16 “For who has known the mind of the Lord
that he may instruct him?”[d]
But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:10-13)

THIRD, choose a section...could be anything, but if you're just starting out, I always suggest starting out with the Gospels (the books that record Jesus' life, teachings, miracles, etc.)

FOURTH, have a pad of paper or your favorite word processing program open. Make the following notations:

Section Read (ie, Matthew 1) NOTE, you wont always read a whole chapter, just depends on the section.

The Things I learned about God... (sometimes very obvious, other times, not so much)
The Things I learned about History... (sometimes this is all it seems to be about)
The Things I learned about myself... (almost always something you can learn)

Practical impact: (If the above stuff is true, what difference should it make?)

FIFTH: Close in prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to help 'cement' this into your mind and heart. Ask Him to prompt you to remember it.

...and that's it! Really, when you get right down to it, it's not that complicated a process. Remember that, if you're a Christian, the Spirit lives within you and wants to help you discern these truths.

God will help you, and you will grow!

As you look back over your journal and the things you've learned, you will be amazed at what God does when we simply give Him the opportunity!

Word of God, SPEAK!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Expectation..."What If..." (with video by Casting Crowns)

You know that feeling you got as a kid on Christmas Eve...or the night before your birtday?

That feeling of excitement and anticipation?

I've got that feeling today!

Why? Because I, along with several of my friends are starting a 40 day spiritual journey tomorrow. It's going to involve different things for different people, but I'm sure many will include a renewed emphasis on prayer and study of the Word of God, more time for meditation and reflection, more time dedicated to worship. For some, it will involve fasting in some way.

I'll be honest: It may be hard!

I can anticipate that there will be times that I am wanting to watch a movie, or spend time on my computer when God's Spirit will call out to me to turn it off and read and pray. There may be other times when some of us will want to have our favorite meal or snack, but we will be committed to a fast.

So, if this is true, why am I excited?

'Cuz I think God's going to MOVE!

I think He is going to move in my life, in our family, in our church, and in our community--as more people listen for His voice and step out to follow, I think some pretty cool "God Moves" are going to happen!

Each one enters this time with something different in mind. For many of us, we're praying about the upcoming elections and the direction of our country. For others, we're also praying, reading, and fasting for personal reasons: a clearer picture of what God has in store for our future; a spiritual revival of passion in our faith; answer to prayer regarding some issue, problem or disease...the list could go on.

Each day, we will send out a text (@kalamazoochurch on Twitter) and a facebook update (for those who are participating)to keep us on 'the same page'. There will be encouragement, growth, and inspiration.

Let's watch what God does in our lives, our church, our community, and our nation!

2 Chronicles 7:14: "If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land..."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hunger and Thirst--A prayer and video

"As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God..." (Psalm 42:1)

You ever just feel it, deep down?

That hunger, that thirst, that 'ache' for more...
A closer relationship with God....
More sensitivity to His Spirit...
A hunger for Him, and desire to have Him direct your every step?

I do...I feel it all the time!

I ache to know Him more, and to follow Him closely.
I long to know His will for me, and to step in complete faith and confidence.
I want to be known, like David, as "a man after (God's) own heart"--and to have HIM think of me this way.

I want to be His hands and His feet, to represent Him to a world that is dying, blind, and deluded into thinking they're 'enlightened'.

I want to have such confidence in His leading that, no matter what it means, I step up and step out, convinced that He's going to take care of my family and myself.

...but I'm still not there yet.

I still struggle with faith, doubt, and fear.

I know, I should've successfully and once-and-for-all put this behind me.
After all, I've seen Him work in so many ways in my past!

He has shown Himself faithful every single time I've stepped out in faith.
He knows my needs and my future.

I know the truth. I know He's there. I know I should "have no fear for what the future holds, for I know Who holds the future" (whoever said that was pretty smart)!

But I still struggle.

Father, I love you. I want to be closer to You. I want to follow your will, without fail. I want to make you smile, to please you with my worshipful life.

Forgive me for the times I shrink back. Keep me close. Inspire me and lead me.
Increase my sensitivity to your Spirit, so that I may KNOW your call and step out into it.

In Jesus Name...