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Archive for April, 2013

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Last week I met with one of my key leaders about growing in understanding of Scripture. I mentioned that there are three main ways of studying the Bible: the micro, the medium, and the Big Picture methods.

The “micro” method is where we look at a key verse or verses and memorize them. Psalm 119 speaks of “hiding God’s law” (word) within our hearts. I’ve memorized many key verses in the Bible over the course of my life, and it has been extremely helpful to recall them in the heat of life situations. For example, when my heart gets overwhelmed or anxious I remember Philippians 4: 6 which reminds me: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to God.” The Navigators’ organization has some great tools to help with memorizing short passages of Scripture.

The medium method is looking at larger portions of Scripture in its context. The problem with only using the micro method is that it is easy to take verses out of context, and therefore lose the true meaning of the text. In the medium method, I will read a book of the Bible one section at a time – usually a chapter or a couple of paragraphs (depending where the natural break occurs). In this method, I use the Observation-Interpretation-Application sequence where I seek to understand what the author is trying to say before I start coming to conclusions. There is more to discuss about this method, but suffice it to say that this has been my “bread and butter” in getting the Word into my life.

The Big Picture method is what I want to discuss in greater detail. While it is helpful to gain the meaning of the individual verses and books of the Bible, it is in looking at the Big Picture that gives best perspective of God’s story through Scripture. Unfortunately, I think this is where Christians are lacking the most in their Biblical growth. However, when we understand the Big Picture, the Big Story, of the Bible it makes the other methods of Scripture study come alive.

One of my younger friends, Robbie (who is pretty new in the faith) started reading the Bible cover to cover in January. He finished reading it just after Easter! As he shared about this with our small group, the other members (who have been Christians for years) were astonished at this young man’s faith and perseverance. Most of them had never read the Bible cover to cover.

We shy away from the task of reading the entire Bible because of its’ immensity: 66 books, over 1,000 pages (in tiny print). One would have to read several chapters a day to read the Bible in a year. Robbie said that he read the Bible for 1-2 hours each day. For most of us, in our busy schedules, that is a daunting task.

Sometimes it is helpful to get some inspiration, guidance and context from someone who understands the Big Picture. One of the best books I’ve ever read that gives the Big Picture story of the Bible in a condensed form is “The Divine Rescue” by Edward Fudge (2010, Leafwood Publishers). Fudge communicates the story of Scripture in compelling and dramatic language (like a good novel, I found it hard to put the book down!), yet with excellent scholarship (it’s definitely not “watered down” – his background information was insightful, profound, and “spot on” to what I learned in seminary). He covers Genesis to Revelation, and all with the Big Picture story in mind. He explains the different genres (literary styles) of the Bible and how they fit into the Big Picture in brilliant fashion. You don’t have to be a seminary student to understand it. But after reading it, you might have a deeper perspective on the Bible that most seminary grads do not have. Most of all, you will fall deeper in love with the Creator God and His amazing rescue of us from sin, death and darkness.

If you read this book, I guarantee that you will be more inspired and informed the next time you read the Bible. You may even be so inspired to read the whole thing, cover to cover!

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Today is tax day. We remember Jesus’ immortal response when asked by the religious leaders whether it was right for them to pay taxes to the Roman government. He said, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and render unto God that which is God’s.”

This is not just a clever statement. Jesus really meant that. Many years ago, I learned that the hard way.

It was in the 80’s and I was doing my taxes by hand. This was before Turbo Tax (and before I was in ministry). It was the evening of April 14th and I just completed my 1040 Federal Tax Return. I put it in an envelope and stuck it in the mailbox. It was then I realized that I did not report some income I had made teaching private music lessons that year. It was not a large sum of money (a few hundred dollars) and people paid me cash, so I did not think it was a big deal. Plus, I had already filled out my tax form (in pen) and sealed it in the envelope.

Then I noticed something happening to me. I felt myself trembling and shaking. My skin started breaking out in welts and rashes all over my body! I realized that the Lord’s disciplining hand was upon me. I knew He was not happy with my decision to be dishonest with the government. At first I was stubborn, lazy and rationalizing. What is a couple hundred dollars of income to a government that is so fiscally irresponsible that we are trillions of dollars in debt? But the rashes were not going away.

Finally, I went to the mailbox, got out my return, opened the sealed envelope, got out a bottle of “White-Out,” and whited-out every line of my 1040 form. After it dried, I added my income from teaching private lessons, re-worked my taxes to reflect that gain of income, got a new envelope, put a new stamp on it, and stuck it in the mailbox.

The moment I closed the door on my mailbox, the rash, the welts and the shaking went away!

I learned a lesson about integrity, honesty, and the hand of God on those He loves.

Hebrews 12:5-6 says:

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.

I’m convinced that the Lord was not that concerned about the $15 of extra tax I needed to pay to the government. But he was very concerned about the cost to my heart if I felt I could get away with something less than honesty. It also showed a lack of faith. Allowing dishonest actions – whether it is evading taxes, lying to a person, or trying to put a disingenuous “spin” on a situation – demonstrates a lack of faith in the God who provides, who is Truth, and who redeemed us to live free, righteous lives. Out of his love, God chastised me for my own good. Yes, he gave me a good slap on the hand, but it moved me back into the right direction. I guess that’s what it means when the Psalmist says, “His rod and his staff ‘comfort’ me.”

So happy tax day! Do right today. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s (whether you think he deserves it or not). And render unto God that which is God’s – your heart, your life … your whole life worship.

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Bread or Band-Aid?

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From time to time, I experience spiritual dryness; going through seasons where I struggle. But today, while going through my daily discipline of Scripture reading, I came across a passage that totally ministered to me. It was as if God had inspired that Scripture to speak to my particular situation for that particular moment!

Now there are reasons why I came across that Scripture today. One is that God loves me and wanted to deliver to me a personal message. Another reason is that there are a lot of people praying for me and asking God to refresh my life. But the most important reason (important, because it has to do with my response) is because I was following a daily discipline of reading God’s Word. If I didn’t read God’s Word on a regular basis, my finding that passage would have been delayed. And if I don’t read God’s Word at all, there would be no way I would have found that passage. Regular, disciplined Scripture reading puts us in the position to hear from God.

Too many of us look at Scripture reading as a “band aid”: only when we are in times of trouble do we crack open the dusty pages of our Bible, frantically trying to find words of wisdom and direction that can soothe our souls. But, save a miracle from God that leads us mysteriously to the appropriate verse, we don’t find our “magic verse” and it often leaves us frustrated and disillusioned, leading us to the false conclusion that the Bible is irrelevant and outdated.

You may have heard the story of the man who needed direction from God, so he closed his eyes, opened his Bible to a random page and pointed blindly at a verse that said: “Judas went and hung himself.” Sometimes that happens when we try to use the Bible as a “band aid”!

But Jesus tells us that Scripture is not a band aid, it is daily bread for our soul. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God!” Jesus declared as He was tempted by Satan. We need to be in the Word daily in order to hear the voice of the Lord.

I can tell you that I have had many a dull, uneventful reading of Scriptures. For every epiphany (a fancy name for “God moment”) I have experienced through a Scripture reading, I have had a thousand ordinary, plain old “manna” type readings. But the effect of all those Scripture readings has helped me to recognize God’s voice when it comes, as well as renewing my mind.

So how can we get a steady diet of Scripture? Here are a couple of practical steps:

1. Set apart a time and a place to read the Bible. You don’t need a lot of time, but you need to establish it. Find a quiet place to read where TV, radio, newspaper or people cannot distract.

2. Choose a book of the Bible to read through. Start with a book that’s easy, like a Gospel or Psalms. Don’t start with Revelation or Ezekiel or Leviticus (perhaps later on).

3. Be accountable with someone. Ask a friend to ask you each week how your Bible reading is going. They don’t have to be a Christian; in fact, it might be better if they weren’t!

4. Jot down questions that come from your reading. If there’s something confusing, don’t let that bog you down. Write out your question and ask a Christian mentor about it.

Is Scripture reflection a struggle for you or a delight?

What helps you in getting into the Word on a regular basis?

How have you moved from Scripture reading being a “band-aid” to “bread”?

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The other day I was having breakfast with my good friend, Felix – a fellow Whole Life Worshiper of Jesus. Felix has seen many spiritual doors open up with clients and associates (he’s both an amazing contractor and an accomplished jazz musician) who constantly ask him about his sunny disposition and cheerful outlook on life. He tells them, “I begin each day making a choice to live it for God. God has done everything to make this a wonderful day. He set everything in motion while I was asleep and now it’s my turn to live it out. It’s up to me to approach it selfishly or selflessly. It’s like a baseball pitcher with a ten run lead going into the 9th inning, and God is giving me the ball. The only way I can lose is to not play His way. This day is my day to win by following God or lose by following my way or the world’s way.  So I choose to win.”

Now it’s important to understand that Felix is not exhibiting a “Pollyanna” perspective. This is not an overdose of positivity. He understands that life is not always easy or positive (and he’s been through his share of rough spots). Rather, this is an expression of faith in God’s sovereignty, intentions, and power in the midst of our reality.

This perspective is described in one of the great promises of Scripture in Romans 8:28 –

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

Underlying this amazing promise is the intention of God toward you and me: that God is good – all the time. He desires the best for us. God is not malicious. Nor is He forgetful or careless. And He sovereignly works all things in our lives for our best possible interests. It is imperative that we believe this with all our hearts.

However, this promise does not mean that everything will always turn out the way we want. Sometimes what we want is not the best thing for us. Sometimes we want bad things and that is not good. Sometimes we want to get our way (maybe like, all the time). But if God gave us that we would become spoiled, impatient people. In light of that, we need to approach our day with the expectation that not everything will go according to how we want or what we want.  And that is good, because it’s for our best.

Also, this promise does not mean that bad things or trials will not come our way. God wants us to become strong, loving, and faith-filled people. The only way we can become “good” people is to face trials and hardships with the presence of Christ. So we need to approach our day with the expectation that bad things and trials may come our way. But as we face these trials, we have Christ. And that is good, because being good is the ultimate goal of God for us.

The key operative phrase in this verse is “those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” As the things of life come our way, we approach them with the presence and the purpose of our loving God. If we see our day as lived for His purposes (Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done) and lived out of a trusting love for God, how can we lose? As Paul later states, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

This is the perspective that my friend Felix and other Whole Life Worshipers of Jesus have. God has set up this day for us to win, and we choose to live it out His way. It is our day to win or lose.

As for me, I choose to win!

How about you?

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Retreat with Ruth

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(note: this was supposed to go out Monday, but I messed up! So here it is. I’m back from my Retreat and it was amazing! More to follow – Doug)

As you are reading this blog, I am at a spiritual formation retreat led by author, Ruth Haley Barton, in the greater Chicago area. This is the second of nine quarterly retreats I am taking over the next three years (my first retreat was in January) to deepen my spiritual walk with God and to learn how I can help others in their spiritual journey. One of these days I’ll write about my Retreat experiences with you – I strongly believe that taking time for spiritual retreat is a necessary rhythm for our lives as Christ followers. But this blog entry is to “introduce” you to Ruth Haley Barton and to some of her books that have profoundly touched my life.

Ruth is one of the best Christian spiritual formation writers I have read in recent days – and I’ve read many (kind of a necessity while studying for your doctorate in spiritual formation!) What separates Ruth from the others is her ability to effectively communicate how spiritual practices or disciplines are used to develop our inner being (soul) towards Christ-likeness. She is also very transparent, using stories from her own experiences (including her failures) as a way to explain how spiritual practices help connect us to God and bring forth transformation. Her writing is engaging and relevant, yet deep and profound. I have often called her the “Richard Foster” of the 21st century – which is a very high compliment, as I had the privilege to study under Richard at APU in the 1990’s.

Here are a couple of her books that I highly recommend to my Whole Life Worship blog-mates:

“Sacred Rhythms” – this is a book about spiritual disciplines/practices. However unlike most books about spiritual disciplines, Ruth does not simply list the disciplines and tell us how to do them. Rather, she starts with our need and predicament as people who are enslaved to the “rat race” of life. We have been marching to the beat of the wrong drummer which produces a life of anxiety, frustration, and purposelessness. The key, of course, is finding a lasting connection with God. This connection is facilitated by entering into a new rhythm of life (hence, the title). Richard Foster taught me the profound truth that spiritual disciplines position me to receive grace from God. Ruth Barton teaches me the additional perspective that it is the rhythm of spiritual practices that proactively facilitates a life-giving flow of grace into and out of my life. If spiritual disciplines seem challenging or unpleasant to you, this is the book that will change that perspective forever. Ruth’s explanation of Sacred Rhythms gave me a deep desire and motivation to engage in the disciplines more fully and with greater clarity.

“Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership” – yes, I know the title seems a little quirky but this is one of the best books I’ve ever read. If you are a Christian leader (pastor, ministry leader, small group leader, youth leader, etc.) this is a must read. The premise of this book focuses on where we, as leaders, lead from. Many leaders lead from the wrong place: their dysfunctional upbringing, expectations of others, need to be wanted, ego. But God desires his leaders to lead from their soul. Ruth uses the life of Moses as a backdrop to teach us how soul-care and soul-development produces the most effective, powerful and Christ-like leaders. As a former church staff leader and current CEO of her own organization, Ruth also weaves in very poignant stories with God that have helped her heal and grow as a leader who operates from the “strength of soul.” I use this book with my seminary students at APU as well as my leadership team at CBC.

What books have helped you in understanding spiritual formation and spiritual disciplines?

Have you read any of Ruth Haley Barton’s books? Any comments?

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Ambushed by God!

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I have a confession to make: there are days when I don’t spend time with God. I don’t like it and I try to keep this from happening, but sometimes it just does.

Last Friday was one of those days. After my morning workout at the gym, I had to take a quick shower and rush to an early morning breakfast meeting with a friend. So my Personal Worship Time with Jesus got skipped. I did have a few moments later that morning and I could have spent time with the Lord, but my mind was so preoccupied with other things that I didn’t get around to it. I thought about it. I intended to do it. But I didn’t.

Later that day, I was practicing a new worship song we are introducing to the church next week: None but Jesus (Hillsong). I was at the piano, while listening to the song on my laptop. I would listen to a section, learn it, and then try to sing and play it on the piano. Finally, I got the whole song down. And as I played and sang the song, I got ambushed … by God!

Something, rather Someone touched my heart and my soul at that very moment and I started to weep tears of joy. I felt warmth all over my body. I couldn’t sing any more. Something more important was happening to me.

Total connection with Jesus.

It was as if He came up behind me and gave me a big hug. It reminded of the times when I periodically did that to Letty: wait until she was unaware of my presence, sneak up behind her, and just grab her from behind and hug her – and not let go! Those were times when the “total” love I have for her was so overwhelming I couldn’t contain it.

Well, that’s what I felt with God at that moment: Total love. And with a little mischief behind it!

Sometimes I forget that love is a two-way street with God. Yes, I need to seek after God. Yes, I need to spend time with Him. But I forget that He seeks after me and that He desires to spend time with me. So every now and then, when I am unaware of His presence, He’ll sneak up behind me and ambush me with His love.

Isn’t that like our God?

Have you ever been “ambushed by God”?

How did it happen? How did you feel?

There is no one else for me, none but Jesus

Crucified to set me free, now I live to bring Him praise

All my delight is in You, Lord – all of my hope, all of my strength

All my delight is in You, Lord – forevermore

 “None but Jesus” by Brooke Fraser

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Do you remember the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11)? It is a very profound story in many ways. First, it is a sign of Jesus’ divine nature – only God can bring a dead man back to life. Second, it shows the compassion of Jesus – before He raised Lazarus, He mourned over him and the loss to his sisters (“Jesus wept”). But one really neat item is HOW Jesus performed the miracle!

Before Jesus raised Lazarus, he asked several men move the stone… Did you catch that? Jesus did not move the stone; the men did. It took several people to perform this miracle: the men who moved the stone AND Jesus who raised the dead man. The men did what was POSSIBLE and Jesus did the IMPOSSIBLE. But both were needed.

We face situations in life that seem hard or, sometimes, impossible. But what do we do in those situations? It is human nature to fall into four traps when we face the impossible:

1) We try to overcome it ourselves. Then when we get beaten down, we blame God for putting us in this situation.

2) We give up. We say, “What’s the use?” Or we try to escape or avoid the situation. Or we deny that the problem exists. Or we just shrivel up in a corner somewhere.

3) We don’t give God a chance. We face a hard situation and we totally leave God out of it. Or our prayers are half-hearted. It is a good thing that God’s grace surrounds us, even when we don’t ask for it! But when we ask for God to work on our behalf it helps us to realize that it is HE who is helping us when help comes. When we don’t ask, and God helps us out of the goodness of His grace, we often don’t recognize the hand of God in it. And sometimes, “we have not, because we ask not.”

4) We ask God to help, but we don’t do what is possible for us. We ask God for healing, but we don’t go to the doctor. We ask God for provision, but we don’t give or tithe. We ask God to change our difficult relational situation, but we don’t humble ourselves to look in the mirror and to change the person we can change.

We might not be able to raise the dead, but there are stones we can move out of the way. We are not able to feed the 5,000, but we can offer our lunch to Jesus. We are not be able to heal ourselves from leprosy, but we can wash in the lake seven times (like Namaan did, under Elijah’s instructions in 1 Kings). All these Biblical miracles involved both God and human beings working together.

The take-away from John 11 is to:

1) Ask God to do the impossible, and

2) Make ourselves available to the possible thing He is calling us to do.

Being in the flow of Jesus’ life and love means to be in tandem with God through prayer and action. Both are expressions of faith…

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God has called us to live a “large” life for Him. He wants to give us His blessings, His power, His love, His forgiveness, His joy, His hope, His peace, His transformation. These are all things that make life LARGER. They, if we will receive them, enable us to live ABUNDANT lives (see John 10:10, and John 15); more than that, we will also be able to live INFLUENCING lives – where others look and take notice (see Matt. 5:14-16).

But there are parasites within our soul that want to keep the seed of God’s largeness from bearing fruit. I call them “life-shrinkers”, they are the thoughts, attitudes and actions that make our lives “smaller” than they need to be. These life-shrinkers are in direct opposition to following the life of faith, of walking with Jesus 24/7. I am reminded of when Jesus could not do any miracles in a particular Galilean village because of their lack of faith – they were living lives dominated by life-shrinkers!

Although life-shinkers are common to all, everyone has their own set of life-shrinkers that specialize in short circuiting the life of Christ in their particular life. Mine are: impatience with others, critical spirit, greed, envy, guilt and fear. We are confronted constantly to choose between God’s “life increasing” things or my life-shrinking things. Here’s how they work in some not-so-hypothetical situations:

I notice that someone else is flourishing (ministry, financial, relational). I have a choice of rejoicing in their blessing or becoming envious. If I choose the envy route it leads me down a life-shrinking path: discrediting them, becoming resentful, joining others who are also envious, passing on juicy gossip, etc. In the process I become a much smaller, limited person.

A supervisor at work has the gall to reprimand me about something that he/she is always guilty of doing. What nerve! I have the choice to either look at the reprimand objectively and prayerfully or to harbor bitter feelings toward my supervisor. If I choose to harbor bitterness and its “life shrinking” powers go immediately into effect. I spend my hours at work watching for their every mistake, stacking up my case against them, and looking for the opportunity to get even.

The world calls Christians “a bunch of hypocrites.” Many Christians suffer a credibility gap – what they say about themselves does not match how they live. I believe this is due to the fact that, although we have the BIGNESS of God in our lives, our day to day decisions are still being decided by the “life-shrinkers” within us. The Apostle Paul tells us to put to death those things that “shrink” our lives (see Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 4:17-5:21).

What has helped me put these life-shinkers to death is to recognize them for what they are when they come to me. When a thought or attitude wants me to take action or to react in speech, I’ll say to myself, “That is such a small way of thinking. C’mon, Doug, you were called to bigger things than to react in that way.” Then I will pray, “God, I rest my case in You. Please lead me in Your path of right thought, speech and action.” And every time I do this, the thought or attitude dies. Every time! I must say that it is a lot easier to do this when you nip these things at the bud. It much harder (but not impossible) to overcome the “life-shinkers” when you’re already on the path of the flesh.

I hope this encourages you to gain victory in Jesus and to live the LARGE life He has for you!

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There’s a internal radio station that the world seems to be dialed into: WIIFM, which stands for “What’s In It For Me?” It’s the whole attitude that we don’t do anything except that which benefits ourselves. Unfortunately, that mindset has thoroughly infiltrated the Christian community. People worship in order to get spiritually moved. People pray in order to receive answers. People go to church in order to get “fed.” People turn to God to get blessed.  For many, Christianity is a spiritual “WalMart”; spiritual consumers looking to get their needs met (at the best possible price – in terms of money, time and commitment!).

While it is entirely true that we look to God to meet all our needs, the Lord wants us to move on from being just spiritual consumers. There’s so much more to the abundant life than just “getting.” There is the blessing of “being”, of “becoming” and of “bestowing.”

BEING is the aspect of enjoying who we are in Christ. It is also enjoying the Supreme BEING – God, Himself. There are three aspects of being: understanding, thanksgiving and praising. We understand who we are in Christ through the Word. We remember to thank God for what He has done for us. We reflect and praise God for who He is. It sounds so simple, but are we really taking the time to DO these things? Or are we so worried about “getting mine” that all we have time for are “gimme prayers?” When you come to church or small group, do you come to “get” or to “give”? I guarantee that the Spirit will really flow in our gatherings if we come with the mindset to give a sacrifice of praise and worship to the Lord!

BECOMING is allowing God’s will to be done in our lives. It is allowing Jesus to have the final word in our decision making; even if it goes against our own desires. It is dying to ourselves and living for Christ. Too often we call Jesus “Lord”, but we do not do what He tells us! An indication that you are on the road to BECOMING (instead of getting) is that you are choosing to do God’s will over your own. When was the last time you made a decision based on God’s Word over your own desires? If it was more than a week or two ago, you are probably more dialed into WIIFM than you realize.

BESTOWING is being a blessing to others. It is an attitude that says, “I am God’s vessel; who can I bless today?” It is not seeking to do good to others in order to be recognized (Jesus speaks out against this type of spiritual manipulation in Matthew 7); rather, it is one of those things we do simply because we love God. In fact, the best type of bestowing is done anonymously.

We need to tune into the right station. Move the dial from WIIFM and sing the song of WCIDFY (What can I do for You?)

Look what You’ve done for me. Your blood has set me free… Free at last, I’m free! I owe You my life completely… What can I do for you, my Lord? I want you to know my heart is Yours. It’s not a question of what you can do for me, but what can I do for You, my Lord? (“Look What You’ve Done” by Tree  63)

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I had just finished doing my elliptical workout in record time (don’t ask me how slow it was!) As I lay on the ab bench, staring at the gym rafters, I was laboring to find my wind again! How thankful I was for God’s gift of air!! It was then I had one of those “aha” moments about life. “What will I be ‘breathing’ in heaven?” came to my mind. Then the next obvious questions came into being: what will I drink in heaven, what will I eat in heaven? Followed by the logical application question: how can I start exercising eternal life while still in my mortal body?

Here are three simple concepts of how we eat, drink, and breathe eternal life now:

The “air” we breathe in the Kingdom of God is prayer – communication with God. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 to “pray without ceasing.” Physically, we breathe without ceasing; the spiritual parallel to breathing is prayer.

The “water” we drink in God’s Kingdom is worship – our praise and thanksgiving to God. Worship allows us to drink of the living waters of Christ. His love and power come to us as we draw near in worship Him.

The “food” we eat in God’s Kingdom is the intaking and following the Word of God. Jesus told Satan, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Jesus also says in John 4, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.” Getting the Word of God into our lives is so important, and doing the Word of God is equally as important. Jesus never separates “hearing” and “doing” when it comes to God’s Word.

Prayer, worship, taking in and obeying the Word of God – these are the elements that help nurture our eternal life, NOW. So how are we doing in nurturing eternal life now?

Are we “suffocating”? Dying of “thirst”? “Starving” to death? Or are we spiritually fruitful because we are breathing prayer, drinking through worship, and feasting on God’s Word and God’s will? Hear are a couple of ideas we can get ourselves back to the fundamentals of spiritual living:

Prayer – put the penny in the shoe (every time you feel the penny, you pray). If you eat alone, say a quick prayer in between the bites of your food.

Worship – do you remember the old teen movie, “The Ten Things I Hate About You”? Well, in the opposite spirit write out “The Ten Things I Love About God!’ Listen and sing with a worship CD or mp3.

Word – before you eat breakfast, read a paragraph of Scripture. Write out a favorite verse on an index card and put it on the dash of your car. Memorize it. As you read God’s Word, ask yourself, “How can I apply this to my life?” and then do it.

One day our mortal bodies will cease breathing air, drinking water (or Diet Coke), and eating food. How well will we adjust to the important things that we will be eating, drinking and breathing for eternity? I say, let’s start exercising for eternity NOW. For eternal life does not begin when we die, but it begins when we live for God.

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