Archive for April 2013

Jesus Did It. Shouldn’t We?

Solitay confinement“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place…” Luke 4:42

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.” Luke 6:12

Jesus knew how to take timely breaks to replenish his soul. He was the master at balance. He purposefully took time off, not based upon the calendar but for the condition of his soul.

From the above passages in the Book of Luke I see a pattern of health for the Christian believer.

Withdraw…in Preparation for…in the Process of…and Prior to!

First, notice the context in which Jesus withdrew in preparation for ministry to people (Luke 4:42).  This happened to be a time when his popularity was growing and his name was catching on. People wanted to be around Jesus – therefore he knew the value of first being with his Father.

Secondly, see how Jesus got away in the process of intense ministry (Luke 5:16).  Crowds, sick people, and draining ministry situations are all reasons to step back and quietly connect with God.  What are the pressing issues that you are facing right now?  Before going any further – go be with God! It will make all the difference.

Lastly:  Jesus took extra time with his Father prior to making a large decision (Luke 6:12).  Before he chose the twelve disciples he went away for an extended time to get the “mind of God” on that significant issue.  He ended up spending the entire night in prayer.  Do you have a large decision to make?  If so, follow the model of Jesus by getting away to pray prior to making that decision.

I encourage you to take some time to carve out a solitary place with the Lord.  It is a great way to prepare you for a season of ministry or hard work to come in the future. If you’ve been in the middle of a trying time, then perhaps a time away to pray and be refreshed is in order. Or maybe you have a large decision that needs to be made and you need wisdom from the Lord…find a solitary place to get his heart for your next steps.

Jesus did it. Shouldn’t we?

Kick Me

18.1n003.kickme2--300x300Do you remember those crazy kick-me signs. Perhaps you were the bully that  put them on other people’s backs unaware. Worse yet, like myself, you may have be the recipient of one of those not-so-gentle reminders. (I’m not bitter or anything)!

The Bibles says this in Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Have you ever noticed how much Jesus hangs out with people? As I read through the Gospels, I’ve been struck with the value Jesus places upon significant relationships.

Simply being together.

Oh sure, he needed to get away once in a while like all of us do, but for the most part those were brief times of prayer and rejuvenation with the Father. Even the Son of God found it valuable to ‘steal away’ to a secret place, but those times were brief and served as ‘fuel’ for the journey of relationship.

Don’t we tend to function just the opposite? Heavy on the isolation and light on the fellowship?

Dear ones, Christian community is not forged by osmosis! It doesn’t just happen, but rather, it is harvested. One must tend and nurture relationships for them to be healthy. Before Jesus ever performed any miracles, his first desire was to get a group of guys around him.

Relationships before responsibilities.

People before programs.

Jesus didn’t die for an organization, he laid his life down for his friends and family.

Do you have friends and family…really? Or are you living in isolation? That’s not God’s purpose for you.

So…who are you spurring on to love and good deeds?

Next question is: Who is doing that for you?

We all need a “kick-me” every once and a while!

 

Be Kind

be-kind-ribbonThere is an ancient legend about a monk who found a very precious jewel. Later the monk met a traveler, who said he was hungry and asked if he would share some of his provisions. When the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the precious stone and, on an impulse, asked if he could have it. Amazingly, the monk gave the traveler the jewel. Overjoyed, the traveler departed quickly. However, a few days later, he came back, searching for the monk. He returned the stone and made this request:

“Please give me something more valuable, more precious than this stone. Please give me that which enabled you to give me this precious stone!”

As Christians, we know that this valuable commodity is called “kindness” and it is a natural by-product of a Spirit-filled life.

 

Godly Kindness will:

  • Preserve unity and community
  • Protect one another’s interests
  • Provide a safe environment for growth

Do you have a reputation for being a kind and loving person? That reputation does not come easily but it can be easily taken away and replaced with something much more unbecoming.

 

We can continue to develop this byproduct of the Spirit by:

  • Establishing a no-cut zone. “Instead, speaking the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:15)
  • Establishing a no-gossip zone. “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” (Matt. 18:15)
  • Establishing a no-throw zone. “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone…” (John 8:7)