The very first time that God asks man a question is found in Genesis 3:9. Genesis 3:9 reads But the Lord God called to the man “Where are you?”
The reason the Genesis question is so notable and beautiful is because this question is regarding the broken fellowship that has occurred between God and humanity. This question occurred immediately after the fall when Adam and Eve chose to take a different route apart from the path God had chosen for them. Adam and Eve decided to separate themselves from the Lord.
It wasn’t just a physical distance that had occurred, but a spiritual one. Their sin had distanced them from God, and God in His mercy and intense love for Adam and Eve called out “Where are you?”
This question in Genesis is a question that confirms that God wants fellowship with us. God loves us, He cares about us, and He wants to know where we are. Yeshua reiterated an identical question to His disciples in Matthew 18:12 which states:
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?
If you are far from God, He is asking the question “Where are you?”
Fasting is not an option. If you are a Christian, fasting should be part of your Christian walk. If you have never fasted, I highly suggest you do it. However, before your fast, there a few things you should know.
1. Not everyone is ready for 25 days on water.
When I was in my early 20’s, I could fast for three days (water only) with relative ease. But, my diet was also a wreck so I had extra fat reserves. Now that I’m healthier, older, thinner and have a child, I’m ready to fall on the floor the second day of water fasting. My husband, on the other hand, could fast 25 days on water with ease, but he’s also a superhero which is another story. I felt guilt about my inability to fast for long periods until I watched Marilyn Hickey speak on fasting. She explained that three day water fasts don’t work out well for her either, so she lives a fasted life. Each day she foregoes a meal or two. I made a commitment to live a fasted life.
2. A fast from television is NOT a Biblical fast.
With that said, everyone should fast from tv and technology because many people (including Christians) are addicted. However, Biblical fasts always involves food – it never involves entertainment.
3. When you fast you should avoid tv commercials.
The only thing that you’ll see on television during fasts are burgers and pizza. Also, people will invite you to birthday parties and dinner parties. A million people will call you at once to invite you to eat. This happens to me every time I fast. Don’t fall for it. Be socially prepared for fasting and prepare to turn invitations down because whatever you are doing for God is more important than what you were going to do with friends or family.
4. The devil will throw the kitchen sink at you when you fast.
My husband and I went on a forty day fast together several months ago, and the spiritual warfare was intense from day one!! It’s not uncommon to encounter spiritual warfare during a fast – be prepared – wear the armor of God. God knows you are fasting for His glory and He will help you.
5. Fasting breaks chains, demolishes strongholds, and it sets people free.
Fasting provides revelation – fasting can give you answers. Fasting is one of the most beautiful and powerful weapons God has given us. Use fasting to your advantage.
I know that a lot of people don’t like the idea of Catholics and Protestants hanging out with each other. Apparently, there’s supposed to be a huge fight between us. But the rift doesn’t end there. Even between different denominations there is a battle raging. Baptists don’t like Methodist; Methodist don’t like Anglicans and so on, and so on.
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
When it all comes down to it: here is the question we must ask each other: Do you believe that Yeshua is the Christ? Do you serve God? Is the Holy Spirit living in you?
It’s easy to get caught up in different interpretations, but we don’t have time for dissension. There isn’t time for strife. There’s an African proverb that states: “Two men in a burning hut don’t have time to argue.” Church: THE HUT IS ON FIRE! And when I refer to the hut, I’m speaking metaphorically of the world. The world is dying. People are dying around us.
Christians don’t have time to argue about whether a passage means this or that. When we allow disunity in the body through scriptural confusion, we are allowing the enemy in – God is not the author of confusion or chaos.
I understand that the word ‘ecumenical’ raises red flags because sometimes this means that non-Christian doctrines are in a “Christian” church. I understand. I care about sound doctrine – and I think that every believer should often pray, “God if there is any doctrine in my life that is NOT sound, expose and remove it.” If you ask, God will remove false teaching from your life.
With that said, let’s not spend precious time fighting brothers and sisters in the faith. Let’s walk in love and focus more effort on reaching the lost.
You need to be able to recognize God’s voice so that you don’t confuse it with the enemy’s voice. When you don’t know God’s voice, the possibility for deception is there. You might think that what you hear in your heart, mind, or from other people is from God, when it’s not. Being able to hear and recognize His voice and distinguish between His voice and Satan’s is imperative.
God’s voice has distinct characteristics based on His nature. God is a God of love, order, clarity, encouragement – these are all characteristics of God portrayed in His voice. So, while Satan condemns, God convicts. The enemy discourages, God encourages – the enemy confuses, God clarifies. When you understand the character of God and the Word of God, you’ll recognize His voice. His voice is gentle, beautiful, confirming and brings about peace in your spirit. God doesn’t bring anxiety and fear.
Some people think that hearing God’s voice means hearing the audible voice of God. There are plenty of people waiting to hear God’s voice, assuming that it will thunder from heaven (and it can) – but because it hasn’t, they assume that God has never spoken to them. But God speaks in more than one way.
God can speak to us through other people.
He often speaks to us through His word.
He speaks to us in a still, small voice – sometimes it’s just a whisper in the heart.
God can even speak through music. I once asked God a question when I was a little kid and He immediately answered me through a song that was playing on the radio. I was so surprised and delighted I never forgot that moment. God speaks to us in numerous ways, so listen for His Voice.
God loves you where you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay there. He doesn’t want you to stand still, stuck in time – He wants you to be better, know better, and choose better. God wants us to become more and more like Him. Below are just three things we need to do if we want to look more like Christ, and less like ourselves.
Pray – Christians without prayer are like fish without water. Prayer isn’t an option on the Christian journey – it’s a necessity. Prayer brings us closer to God and His Will for our lives.
Trust – This sounds so simple, and yet it’s so hard, and it’s so necessary. Peace comes when we remove trust in others, ourselves, and the things around us, and trust in Him. God has asked us repeatedly throughout scripture to trust Him.
CHOOSE to be faithful, Godly, and filled with love – Life is full of choices. We can choose blessings or cursings, and God wants us to choose blessings! Make the right choice, daily.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in my 30’s is the importance of routine. As a certified bohemian, I’ve always rejected routines and rituals. For years, I thought that routines were for ‘boring’ people who had lost their sense of spontaneity and wonder. Now, I relish routines and rituals. Below are three daily rituals that bring me immense peace.
My Morning Routine
My morning routine is quite simplistic – I wake up before my son gets up so that I can work on client projects, write, think, have a cup of tea, eat breakfast, but the most vital part of this routine is prayer. I pray every morning because If I don’t, my day doesn’t feel right. I don’t just pray in the mornings – I read scripture aloud – I think and meditate on Scripture, and I’m a better person because of it. Once my son awakes, I’m ready to face the day with peace in heart and mind. I still haven’t perfected my night time routine, but at least I know how to start my day and anchor it so that it’s a peaceful and productive one.
Spending Time in Worship
One evening, I felt odd, like something was off, or missing. It suddenly dawned on me that the feeling of unease was the absence of God’s presence. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand that God is omnipresent – I understand that He is always there – but there is a difference in God’s omniscience and God’s glory resting in your heart and home. When God is present, there is a peace that permeates the soul. I didn’t feel the peace in my soul. As I lay in bed that night, I wondered why God felt so far, when I heard the Holy Spirit say one word… “Worship!” That morning the first thing that I did as soon as I got up was worship. I danced and sang around my living room. The moment I began to worship I could immediately feel the presence of God. When the Psalmist said that God inhabits the praise of His people, this stanza wasn’t just figurative, but literal. Worship changes the atmosphere of a home and heart. Worship brings a Philippians 4:7 peace into a place.
Making Time for My Family
Writing, teaching, and coaching is my ‘second’ ministry. My family is my first ministry. Before we go into the world to help and love others, we must first help and love our family. Hugging my son and smooching my husband bring me peace. We were created to love each other – love, time and affection with others bring too many physical and mental benefits to count. However, there is also a spiritual benefit to loving those who God has placed under the same roof as you – the benefit of immense peace.
Not many people like change. Change is hard. But change is good. Change is inevitable. It is through change that we grow, and learn, and evolve. So we need change, and the best way to cultivate change in our lives is to break out of our comfort zone… at least, every once a while.
For many, the simple thought of breaking out of the comfort zone might provoke feelings of unease.
Asking someone to step outside of their comfort zone is essentially asking them to (voluntarily) place themselves somewhere they’ll feel insecure and vulnerable. Most of us have been wired to fear vulnerability and any other situation that makes us feel exposed.
The comfort zone is the place a person feels in control. When a person is outside of their comfort zone, they lose a sense of control over their lives, and this is particularly hard for people who suffer from perfectionism or just general insecurity.
However, people don’t operate at their best when they are within a comfort zone. The comfort zone breeds complacency, which breeds familiarity and begets mediocrity. People are at their best when they are ‘just’ outside of their comfort zones.
Throughout Scripture there’s a consistent theme – men and women of God who are pushed outside of their comfort zones.
Spiritually and psychologically very subtle things occur when a person is pushed out of their comfort zones. When a person is pushed out of their comfort zone, they quickly realize that they can’t rely on themselves. Being in unfamiliar territory is a reminder that we need God. It’s a reminder that we cannot trust in ourselves. It’s easy to forget these things when everything is stable. But then we are pushed outside of our comfort zones we are reminded that we need a higher power to help us.
Being pushed out of a comfort zone helps us grow. It stretches who we are and broadens our perspective of the world.
Being thrown completely out of your comfort zone quickly dismantles pride. The “need to be in control” and pride are linked… but pride quickly diminishes and is replaced by humility when a person no longer feels in control.
Below are two things you can do to break out of your comfort zone.
First, start to pray radical prayers. Instead of asking for the things that you normally ask for, start praying and asking for more. Pray big prayers. Big prayers require big faith – so stretch your faith by beginning to pray big prayers.
Second, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and lead you into new things. Perhaps there are areas of your life where you feel at ease, but you are yearning for more. Ask God to open the doors so that you can experience more – and when the doors open step through them fearlessly – in faith.
God desires to spend time with us. He wants us to live in His Presence. Many Christians are too busy for God – too busy with work obligations, family obligations, chores, errands, and entertainment. They are too busy to spend time with Him. Yet, time with the Father is so crucial to our spiritual well-being that throughout Scripture we are told to pray (communicate with Him), fast (draw closer to Him), and worship and fellowship both alone and with other believers (simply spend time with Him).
If you don’t make daily appointments with God, 2016 is a great year to start. Below is a simple How-to guide for spending more time in the Father’s presence.
– Make an appointment. Treat this appointment with respect and consistency. You aren’t just meeting with your Heavenly Father – You are meeting with the King of Kings. If the president wanted a meeting with you, you wouldn’t tell him you’re too busy to talk; instead, you’d rush to the meeting. When you make an appointment with the Creator of the Universe, keep it.
– Cancel and block out any distractions. You would never meet with a friend for coffee and then stare at your phone the entire time. Instead, you would be focused on your friend if you wanted the relationship to grow. If you want your relationship with God to grow, you need to focus on Him. I once heard Robert Morris illustrate just how important his time with the Father is. After one of Morris’ church members had given a very large donation, he requested a morning meeting with Pastor Morris. Robert explained that he was not going to meet with him because mornings was his daily appointment with God. Pastor Morris couldn’t be bought. Don’t let anything or anyone buy your time.
– Look forward to your time with Him. If you treat your appointments with God like a religious obligation, rather than a blessed, beautiful event, you’ll quickly burn out. It is an honor to sit in His Presence. If there is any part of you that dreads the thought of spending time with Him, pray that God would give you a longing and strong desire to spend time with Him. God CAN change the desires of your heart.
Making daily appointments with God will strengthen you spiritually. They will help you grow in faith. Your daily appointments are sources of joy and renewal. And remember that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Be blessed for 2016!