The Kings’ Command–Word Up Wednesday

wayne

Soooo, if you haven’t heard, (it’s all over my fb and twitter feeds) I’m at the North American Christian Convention this week. It’s a gathering of the folks from the brotherhood of churches that I am a part of. The main sessions are from the book of Revelation and they have been excellent–full of hope, promise and encouragement to stay the course until the very end.

Today was a great day–a day full of privilege. I was privileged to get to attend a session with my boss, eat lunch with a couple of my favorite 20-something girls, listen to a young woman who had shared in our church at a children’s revival over 10 years ago bless our socks off in song, meet my friend Sara’s newly adopted son for the first time, have breakfast with some fellow kidminners, have supper with some fellow kidminners, and attend a marriage session with Drs Les and Leslie Parrot.

I also was fortunate enough to sit through a leadership session with Wayne Cordeiro, pastor and author. He has written several books. The one I’m most interested in right now is The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior. He had some powerful things to say about guarding our hearts and ministries and protecting ourselves from burnout.

One of the things that I absolutely loved about his session was that he shared a simple little scripture with us–a command to the kings–from Deuteronomy that I had never seen before. I just love when that happens. I firmly believe that it’s those little obscure verses that God uses to change our lives in powerful ways.

So to get to the point here (sorry, it’s been a long day), here’s the kings’ command.

“When the king takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his brothers and turn from the law to the right or to the left.” Deuteronomy 17:18-20a

I know we aren’t kings. But we are leaders, whether it is in our jobs, or in our churches or in our homes, and the premise still holds true: we need to know the Word of God and we need to follow it–carefully and humbly.

And even though I know it, and I am pretty careful to do it, for some reason today it just meant a lot to me to be reminded of how important it is to God. And I think for some of you reading this, it’s going to be important to you.

It will be an encouragement to stay in the Word, or to get into the Word or to get back into the Word. At least I hope so, because I know that of the kings who should have read this, very few did it, and the people they were leading suffered because of it.

Maybe it’s time you decided to live like a king, feasting on God’s Word.

Brother Cordeiro recommended to us to check out the site http://www.lifejournal.cc as a way to get started if you didn’t already have a plan in place. You may want to check it out.

Word up!

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. . . Or Can I?????

Almost two years ago I began reading through the Old Testament–in reverse. Somehow or other I meant to start rereading the New Testament, but found myself caught up in Malachi. From there, I moved on to Zechariah and then just got it in my head to start at the end and work my way to the Genesis!!

My method, desribed in a previous post, 20 minutes with Jesus, explains my slow trek. Every day I read a passage from Old Testament, one from the New and a Psalm. However, when I read, I read just until I sense God stopping me for something I need to see, see again, think over, etc. At that point, I write down what it is I believe God wants me to see and work to apply these things to my life, teaching and leadership. It’s a slow ride for sure, but well worth the time.

This May, I’ve found myself in Ecclesiastes. A book I know I have skimmed through before, but have never really settled down and spent any quality time in. So the things that I’m seeing this time are pretty eye opening to me. Hats off to any of you who are Ecclesiastical scholars, because I have to say, this book has some real treasures in it. Which of course, you who are scholars already know!

Pretty much the author, some say it’s Solomon, some say it’s not. . . .can’t get no satisfaction. Everything is a “meaningless” or a “chasing after the wind.” And he’s tried, and he’s tried, and he’s tried. . . .but he can’t get no . . .satisfaction.

Seriously, it’s so fitting for today. How many people do you know who are just never satisfied? We evaluate and evaluate and evaluate. We measure our successes by the guy next store’s successes, by the size of our bank accounts, our jobs, styles of our vehicles, and BMI. But Solomon (or not) brings us back to the truth that we can indeed get satisfaction when God is the center of our lives.

I love chapter 3, verses 12-14 where it says,

“I know that there is nothing etter for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaciton in all his toil–this is a gift from God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him.”

Can’t get no satisfaction? Yes, you can. Look to Jesus. It’s a simple as that. Whatever He does will last. Finding satisfaction is a gift from Him. Whether it’s work, or laundry, or traffic, or finances, or health, or whatever, you can find satisfaction when you begin to acknowledge and understand that we live and move and breathe and have our being because of Christ’s rule and reign, power and control, salvation and deliverance in our lives. To know that we have been given each day as a gift of life, when if fact, we deserve death and that we can live each one for Him so that men will revere Him is satisfaction guaranteed. Anything else is like, well, like a rolling stone.

Today’s Post Is Brought to You By The Letter “F”

As I was jotting some things down in my “Twenty Minutes with Jesus” time today, I got to my personal prayer list and realized several of the the things I am praying for begin with the letter “F”. (Yeah, not much gets past me–LOL!) One of the things didn’t start with “F” so I decided to take that one and find a synonym that did and Voila! a slightly easier way for my brain to really remember the things I want to be praying for. Just in case your inquiring mind wants to know what they are, here ya go:

Disclaimer: Words are listed are in no particular order. Well, except for the first one, because it is the word “first.” On second thought I think I will put it last in accordance with the whole, “first will be last and last will be first” scripture (Matthew 20:16). Of course, last doesn’t start with “F” so it won’t be first here–or on the list at all for that matter. But anyway, to the list.

Faithfulness–I’m praying to be faithful, for my family to be faithful, the church to be faithful and my HiSKidZ, leaders and families to be faithful. I was reading in Isaiah today (chapter 57) and was reminded again that faithfulness is a big deal.

Family–I’m praying for families. For our church families, the families of our communities, my family, and my family’s family to be. I’m praying for our families to be strong, committed, and to keep trusting in God NO MATTER WHAT. (252 shout out) As our boys get older, I find myself praying more and more about the women who may become part of our extended family one day, and the generations that will come behind us. And, yeah, I’m praying that they will be faithful. Again, in Isaiah, I saw how easily families were deceived and left the truth.

Focus–I’m praying for focus. I’m praying that we will focus on Jesus, His Word, His truth. Psalm 119 is filled to the brim with encouragement and direction for staying focused on God’s word, statutes, precepts and direction for our life. His Word is truly “a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.” We need to keep focused on that path and the One who lights it for us.

Future–I’m praying for the future. Not just our future here on earth, but the certain hope of our future in heaven. We are reminded again and again (and I was reminded again today in Isaiah) that this world is not our home–we are just passing through. It serves us well to keep our eyes on the prize at the end of this race. I’m praying that we will live for the future as we live in the present.

Faith–I’m praying that my faith will increase. The disciples once said to Jesus, “Lord increase our faith.” What a request! Oh that we would have our faith increased each and every day and then share and live out that faith with the people around us. That’s what I’m talking about!! and. . .

First–I’m praying to keep Christ first. First place, all the time, every day. My son Trevor used to say something like, “If you didn’t get first, you lost.” Of course I would tell him that it’s not all about winning. It’s how you played and what you learned and the attitude you did it with. But in this case, I think 1st is it!!! If He doesn’t get 1st in my life, I lose. There is no other place I want Christ to be. There is no other place He deserves to be, and ultimately, there is no other place He will be, cuz He is God and there is no one like Him.

So thank you, letter “F”, for some inspiration, motivation and the chance for some exclamation to be going out to the Faithful God who has brought me into His Family, taken First place in my life, is growing my Faith and giving me a Future.

Amen!

Twenty Minutes With Jesus

20 minutes

It’s funny how one thing leads to another. . . since beginning this blog, several people have asked me where the ideas are coming from. Pretty much from the time of my day I call “Twenty Minutes With Jesus.” I understand that to many people twenty minutes with Jesus doesn’t sound very spiritual, I mean, why not thirty minutes? Why not an hour? Really, Dawn, all you’re going to give Jesus is 20 minutes a day? Well, kind of. I mean it’s my goal to give Him every minute, every second, every thought, action, motive and prayer. But I need some time in my day to just sit with Him and listen and learn from Him, and so several years ago I adapted a journaling and personal Bible reading plan from Dean Trune of Intentional Impact Ministries. It has become my “Twenty Minutes with Jesus” journal.

In my last post I talked about the whole being versus doing thing. I certainly battle that (most of us do, I think). I have to be very careful to make time to remember to cling to the sitting at Jesus’ feet Mary, while still embracing the passion and energy of my Martha personality.Yes, I tend to lean a bit towards the Martha side of the scale. (And yes, by a bit I mean try imagining Martha with a giant magnet and me wearing a metal suit!!)

But how does balance happen? How do we really overcome? We all know it needs to happen, but how does the “extreme spiritual home makeover” really happen? As I began to write this post, I wound up chatting with a friend on Facebook about this very topic. In regard to my life, I found myself typing out these words, “I finally figured out that I just wanted to be: to be the woman He wanted me to be, the wife He wanted me to be, the mom He wanted me to be. Once I got that down, the rest started falling into place.”

And I think that really sums it up. I finally saw what I needed, and just wanted it. When I wanted it, then God honored it by providing me this little method which took just twenty minutes. I think He knew that’s all I was ready for! In its simplicity, I still rarely allow myself to spend more than twenty minutes. I found that for my basic time with the Lord, if I didn’t limit it, I became the Martha of Bible study to the point where I wouldn’t or felt I couldn’t continue on. Since getting my twenty minute time down, I’ve added things like blogs, books, podcasts, conferences, my recent date with God, etc. at other times to draw me near and to build and enhance my relationship with the God I love and who loves me in return.

Basically for me, Twenty Minutes with Jesus works something like this.

1–Each day I begin by reading a Psalm. From that Psalm I write down any character qualities of God I see. For example, I may write, “You are faithful, you are king, your love is unfailing. . . .”

2–When I finish that I move on to Prayer Requests Usually these requests are personal, (I keep a separate prayer journal for other needs) based on the character qualities of God I desire to have built into my life or my family and for other specific needs as God leads. I usually limit this to four or five requests.

3–Then, I head into my Bible reading for the day. Currently, I’m in Isaiah. I’ve been here for a while–quite a while!! I’m good with that. I’ve learned spiritual transformation isn’t a race. I never set a particular amount of scripture to read each day, I just read until I feel God stops me by showing me something I’ve never seen before or something I need to consider, something that challenges me, or something I need to repent of.

4–After reading, I jot down what the Scripture is saying and what I need to learn from that. Again, I don’t write a ton, I just write enough so that I don’t forget what God is teaching me.

5–I’m almost done when I consider areas of spiritual warfare and repentance. These are most often in areas of character like impatience, pride, worry or self control.

6–I finish up with a quick reading from the New Testament and some notes on what I need to do as a result of all God has shown me. It may be to make a call, send a note, follow up with someone, work to make something right, or do some extra study.

On Sunday, my biggest working/teaching day at church, I will try to take time to look over the past week to see what God has been saying to me, or teaching me or where He may be leading me. Since the Mary thing isn’t always natural to me, I still have to take care that I don’t allow myself to have been so busy doing for God that I forgot what I learned sitting at His feet.

And as the years are going by, I find these twenty minutes a day to be the moments I crave most, I long for, and I cling to because it’s been during this time that He has shown me, clearly, not only who He is but who He wants me to be. And everyday, as I come to know more and more who I am in Christ, I come to know with confidence what it is He wants me to do. And all that in just Twenty Minutes a Day. . . .with Jesus!!

My Desire IS Your Will

This morning as I was jotting away in my “20 minutes with Jesus” journal, I wrote down a prayer request concering a struggle I was having and I wrote, ” My Desire vs Your Will.” And I prayed that my desire would be His will–always. I’m always thankful for journaling because I know that whenever I take time to sit down and look with my two little eyes at what I’m really thinking or feeling or struggling with, it becomes clear what the answer is and what I really want. And what I really want is to do what He wants. Nonetheless, there it was in print, “My Desire vs Your Will.”  Or was it?  Apparantly my lack of handwriting skills prevailed today because when I looked back down it surely looked like I had written. “My Desire is Your Will.”  And it was. Answer to prayer. Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun. I’m lovin it!