Summary: In our busy, noisy culture, it is important that we learn how to quiet down our hearts and get alone with God, so we can hear His "still small voice."
Illustration-video, Michael Phelps-winning Olympics
I have been talking about the importance of living our lives w/purpose, thoughtfully, not haphazardly.
Eph 5:15 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), AMP
2009 is a year when we are going to
experience an increase in God’s presence and
will be many opportunities- hear God speak.
In Lk 8, Jesus- speaking to the crowds in parables.
Parable- story designed to communicate-spiritual truth
Disciples- ask for- explanation- Jesus says to them …
He goes on, explains the parable- and then says …
Take care- look at w/intent, contemplate
take heed KJV
pay attention NLT
consider carefully NIV
God- calling us into deeper spiritual maturity/stability.
Just before the inauguration- called, then President-elect, Barak Obama, and asked him if he could reinforce the message concerning the importance of growing spiritually. He was very obliging and in his inaugural address quoted 1 Cor 13:11 … when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
There you have it … in the mouth of two witnesses.
Difficult Days Ahead
We may be living on- edge of the end of the end times
Many- under spiritual attack today- enemy- trying to- invalidate, marginalize, and destroy God’s people..
It plays itself out in many ways in the natural, but it is the enemy trying to take us out of the game.
Last week- Men’s meeting- talked about courage.
This is a season when we need spiritual courage.
Courage- mental/moral strength to resist danger.
Everywhere you go- I am going to give you the land-
but you are going to have to go there to get it.
Everywhere you go there will be an enemy …
who wants to stop you from being all God has called you to be.
It is going to take courage to allow God to work in us His cross and to stand against temptations/enemy.
One of the primary vehicles through which God speaks to His people is His Word.
Key to success- knowing/holding onto God’s Word.
We cannot ignore the seriousness of the spiritual climate in which we are living today.
We must step into a …
greater understanding of God and His ways,
what He is doing in the earth today, and
how that affects you/I and how we live.
Run the Race To Win
During last Olympics- we saw some pretty amazing feats as athletes competed for gold medals.
Many people got excited over Michael Phelps as he took 8 gold medals in last Olympics.
How does a man/woman get to that point where they can compete in the Olympics?
It takes …
self-control in eating,
diligence in studying technique and strategy,
and hours of practice.
Why would anyone exert this kind of effort?
Because they love the thrill of the competition
and the opportunity to be number one.
For every man/woman that made it to the Olympics, there is a 100 sitting around watching on TV
that have comparable gifts and talents but never made the effort to use them.
Joshua- ordinary man called to an extraordinary task.
If we are going to be fully successful in our walk with God, it is going to take effort.
We cannot always live our life by feelings.
Sometimes it takes discipline.
Not talking about effort to earn God’s approval, we have already been approved.
I am talking about effort to …
resist the temptation of the flesh,
stand against the attacks of the enemy, and
fulfill God’s call on our lives.
Why should we want exert effort to grow spiritually?
God spoke to Abraham after recued Lot …
Ge 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward." NKJV
Why do we practice spiritual disciplines- to enjoy God, His presence/blessings- He is our reward.
When we talk about spiritual disciplines we can talk about reading/studying the Word, prayer, fasting.
All those are important for Christians and must be pursued if we are going to mature spiritually.
No more Noise Now!
One significant discipline- that is seriously lacking in our culture/in the church today,
is learning to wait quietly before the Lord.
If you want to hear what someone has to say, you must be quiet and listen.
I am not talking about emptying our minds, but shutting out the ever present noise that interrupts
and drums out what God is saying to us.
Last week I went out to lunch with someone from the church. I knew about the lunch for a week or more, and during that time I felt like I knew what the lunch was about. Maybe it would not take rocket science to figure out what it was about, but I felt that God let me know so I would be prepared for the lunch. As we were getting ready to go to lunch, I suggested that we go to a particular restaurant. Now this was one of the coldest days of the year. Just as I said the name of the restaurant I had this impression that they did not have heat. Well, I let it go by and we went to the restaurant. One of the first things we noticed, and one of the first things we talked to the waitress about, was the lack of heat. If I had paused to listen I could have avoided a cold lunch.