Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?
When I was a boy, in the early seventies (alright, you, you'll get old as well...), there was a band called Chicago that released a wonderful song about life and where things are headed called, "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" That song came to mind this morning as I was reflecting in my Life Journal reading. Here's is what caught my heart this morning.
"...and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:44 - NKJV)
Those words, "...because you did not know the time of your visitation...", speaks to whether we possess a discerning and wise heart related to the activity of the Lord, not to the activity of the world, the cosmos, and its activity.
It seems that recently there have been many who have been trying to discern what the Lord is doing by what the enemy is doing, or what man is trying to do. We will never see the work of God by studying the work of man. Now, I don't mean that we should stick our heads in the sand and ignore everything in world, but the legend of our maps and our way to discern must always come from hearing from God, seeing God in the situation and understanding what God is doing.
Hearing From God
We develop our ears as we spend time with God through a variety of means:
Worship and intimacy: through reverent and intimate worship, we begin to know His heart and character. It is the flow of life in hearing.
Working from His impressions: for many of us, learning to hear His voice begins with acting on simple impressions: pray for that person, say hello to that one, slow down and ask questions of another.
The objective word of God: reading and meditating on scripture, creating a steady diet of intake of the word and seeking to put it into practice. This provides the safety net of experimenting in hearing His voice and deepens our worship experience and vocabulary of His character. For more info about how I do this and have done it for over twenty years, see the end of the article in the "More Fun Stuff" section.
We will never see the work of God by studying the work of man.
Developing our sight requires insight into the character and nature of God. Here are a few ways to do that.
Lean into the goodness of God's nature. This will require that you capture thoughts. When something comes up that is contrary, don't entertain it, subdue it and replace it with the truth. Another way to do this is through reading the Bible (make sure your lens is clean and there are no "Law" filters still engaged), and books which will reinforce this basic truth about God. (I recommend, "God Is Good" by Pastor Bill Johnson.)
Practice the Presence - Brother Lawrence, a culinary monk, practiced the presence of God so much that people came from all over Europe and the near east just to be in His kitchen. Many of us are trained in the art of practicing the absence of God, a functional atheism that because of fear of loss of control (an illusion), or because of pain, sees God as more deistic, out there, but not really involved day to day. Instead, begin an appreciative inquiry, or a God hunt as Dr. Henry Blackaby called it. Look for everywhere God is. Focus on the prayers God is answering and don't focus on the ones which have been delayed. Recount your blessings, you know, "if you have troubles and you can't sleep. Then count your blessings instead of sheep"...
Hang out with wise people who see God's move: you know, the unshakable, dependable ones who see God at work when everyone else are rubbing their eyes. It's worth a cup of coffee to spend time with folks that know how to do and possess something you don't. (See the Fun Section for more on this!)
Understanding What God is Doing
This is high level discernment, but is really so simple a child can figure it out. Once you know Him, once you have been with Him and have develop in looking for Him in all the right places, then you begin to understand when He is manifesting in your world and when He is calling you to manifest in His. You begin to understand that of "the increase of His government, there will be no end", and that the Kingdom of God is His and our highest priority, then everything begins to take shape. You see, God is always about His kingdom and the redemption of man in respect to that. He is always about the exaltation of His Son and making His glory known on the earth. He is always about His purpose!
So, how do we pray in light of this. Easy, try what Jesus had us pray on for size. "Our Father, who is in heaven. Holy and sacred is Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven...." Even if we can't fully discern what God is up to in the particulars, we can still partner with His plan to see His ultimate goal, one that is done by His hand and for His purpose.
So, in light of the next season we are entering in, know the time you are in, a season of His visitation. Adjust everything you have towards that end and watch God move!
MORE FUN STUFF
Speaking of time, change the way you say that, "What time is it?" to, "Time, what is it?" for an interesting thought. And while you are thinking, here is one of my favorite Phil Keaggy songs on the Time (the guitar solo is amazing and blows my mind every time...)
And just because I really like this song...
2. As you, or at least many of you know. John Wimber was my pastor for a while and probably one of the greatest influences on my life, especially in pursuing the kingdom. Many of you don't know that he was one of the best leadership and training developers in our time. He was able to take thousands of non-practicing Christians and turn them into practitioners of healing and spiritual gifts all over the world. Many of you don't know that he did the same for small group leaders and pastors. His philosophy and practice was the same in every area and here is the link to the classic motif he exercised - I do it, you watch; you do it, I watch; We both do it. It is well worth the read.
Oh, and while we are at it, for fun. Here was one of my first encounters with John and his training, before Janice and I attended the Anaheim Vineyard. (You can see me at 2:15 on the video to the left of the gentleman who is receiving prayer...if you squint real hard.
3. Just for fun, I love the Life Journal reading system. I have been doing it for over twenty years, which has allowed me to read through the Bible many times in its entirety. Here are some sources for engaging in this wonderful, deeply orthodox and historically life giving practice. (Yeah, I really do like it!)
How To Lead a Soap Small Group
About the Soap System - Two Part Interview
Here are some basic tips for doing SOAP....
S.O.A.P. is an easy to use devotional guide which helps you read, understand and apply what God is saying through His Word, the Bible.
Scripture • Observation • Application • Prayer
How to Use the Life Journal:
Step 1 : Find the Scriptures for today in the Bible Reading Plan.
Step 2 : Read the passages. Read with an open heart and Jesus will give you words of encouragement, direction and correction. Underline, highlight words, phrases, or verses that the Holy Spirit is using to catch your attention.
Step 3: When Jesus gives you a lesson, begin to journal using S.O.A.P.
● Scripture - Open your Bible to the reading found under today's date of your Bible bookmark. Take time reading and allow God to speak to you. When you are done, look for a verse that particularly spoke to you that day, and write it in your journal.
● Observation - What do you think God is saying to you in this scripture? Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you and reveal Jesus to you. Paraphrase and write this Scripture down in your own words in your journal.
● Application - Personalize what you have read, by asking yourself how it applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or corrections for a particular area of your life. Write how this Scripture can apply to you today.
● Prayer - This can be as simple as asking God to help you use this Scripture, or it may be a greater insight on what He may be revealing to you. Remember, prayer is a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say! Now, write it out.
Step 4: Give your journal entry a title and write it at the top of the the page.
Step 5: Turn to the Table of Contents and record the date, Scripture, title and page number.
Step 6: Share with others what God is saying to you through His Word. Be sure to take time for others to share their entries as well.
□ 1 Genesis 1-2; Luke 1 □ 2 Genesis 3-5; Luke 2 □ 3 Genesis 6-8; Luke 3 □ 4 Genesis 9-11; Luke 4
□ 5 Genesis 12-14; Luke 5 □ 6 Genesis 15-17; Luke 6 □ 7 Genesis 18-19; Psalms 3; Luke 7
□ 8 Genesis 20-22; Luke 8 □ 9 Genesis 23-24; Luke 9 □ 10 Genesis 25-26; Psalms 6; Luke 10 □ 11 Genesis 27-28; Psalms 4, Luke 11 □ 12 Genesis 29-30; Luke 12 □ 13 Genesis 31-33; Luke 13 □ 14 Genesis 34-36; Luke 14 □ 15 Genesis 37-38; Psalms 7; Luke 15 □ 16 Genesis 39-41; Luke 16 □ 17 Genesis 42-43; Psalms 5; Luke 17 □ 18 Genesis 44-46; Luke 18 □ 19 Genesis 47-48; Psalms 10; Luke 19 □ 20 Genesis 49-50; Psalms 8; Luke 20 □ 21 Exodus 1-2; Ps 88; Luke 21 □ 22 Exodus 3-5; Luke 22 □ 23 Exodus 6-8; Luke 23 □ 24 Exodus 9-11; Luke 24 □ 25 Exodus 12-13; Ps 21; Acts 1 □ 26 Exodus 14-16; Acts 2 □ 27 Exodus 17-20; Acts 3 □ 28 Exodus 21-22; Psalms 12; Acts 4 □ 29 Exodus 23-24; Psalms 14; Acts 5 □ 30 Exodus 25-27; Acts 6 □ 31 Exodus 28-29; Acts 7
□ 1 Exodus 30-32; Acts 8 □ 2 Exodus 33-34; Psalms 16; Acts 9 □ 3 Exodus 35-36; Acts 10 □ 4 Ex 37-38; Psalms 19; Acts 11 □ 5 Ex 39-40; Psalms 15; Acts 12 □ 6 Leviticus 1-3; Acts 13 □ 7 Leviticus 4-6; Acts 14 □ 8 Leviticus 7-9; Acts 15 □ 9 Leviticus 10-12; Acts 16 □ 10 Leviticus 13,14; Acts 17 □ 11 Leviticus 15-17; Acts 18 □ 12 Leviticus 18-19; Ps 13; Acts 19 □ 13 Leviticus 20-22; Acts 20 □ 14 Leviticus 23-24; Psalms 24; Acts 21 □ 15 Leviticus 25; Psalms 25-26; Acts 22 □ 16 Leviticus 26-27; Acts 23 □ 17 Numbers 1-2; Acts 24 □ 18 Numbers 3-4; Acts 25 □ 19 Numbers 5-6; Psalms 22; Acts 26 □ 20 Numbers 7; Psalms 23; Acts 27 □ 21 Numbers 8-9; Acts 28 □ 22 Numbers 10-11; Psalms 2 7; Mark 1 □ 23 Numbers 12-13; Psalms 90; Mark 2 □ 24 Numbers 14-16; Mark 3 □ 25 Numbers 17-18; Psalms 29; Mark 4 □ 26 Numbers 19-20; Psalms 28; Mark 5 □ 27 Numbers 21-23; Mark 6,7 □ 28 Numbers 24-27; 1 Corinthians 13
As you complete the day’s reading check the box to the left. This will help keep you on track.