The other night, I sat down to have what I assumed was going to be 20-30 minutes of prayer and reading in one of my devotionals.
Then, God showed up and decided to join me! What a novel concept.
I read one random page in my devotional book containing one particular scripture verse. Next, I felt prompted to check out the verse of the day in YouVersion. This was a different passage, but same theme. Huh?
I then decided I would pop my earbuds in and experience some worship music. You want to know something? The bridge of the song I chose relayed the exact same message as those two scripture passages! What the heck? You know God’s trying to get your attention when he puts the same thing in front of you 3 different times.
When God takes you down this sort of path, it goes without saying that it would be wise to pay attention more than usual. I would suggest, however, 3 things to avoid when he starts speaking this clearly.
- Avoid DISTRACTIONS – Remain in that moment as long as possible. But sometimes God catches us just as we are on our way out the door to work or an important engagement. In these times, it is critical that we come back to this moment and word with God as early as possible to allow him to continue speaking.
- Avoid HURRY – Don’t jump to conclusions trying to quickly decipher what is being said. The things of God are often quite large and can take time for us to truly gain a grasp on the specifics of what he is either telling us or asking of us. Be patient. Meditate calmly on his voice.
- Avoid PRIVACY – Shortly after you’ve had a bit of time to process what you are experiencing with God, go ahead and share it with 1-3 people. These should be individuals who you know love Jesus and who honestly care about you and your future. Ask them for their thoughts on what God might be saying. Then, look for a common theme.
What have your experiences been when God starts communicating in such a bold way that your mind and heart are simply taken captive? I’d love for you to leave a comment below.
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All leaders require rest……but all don’t realize it!
Sabbatical: Similar to the purpose in our weekly Sabbath, a Sabbatical (at least in church terms) is a number of days or weeks set aside for Prayer, Bible intake, reflection, and physical rest.
Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. – Ezekiel 20:12
I’m fortunate to be serving on staff at a church that sees the benefit in it’s pastoral staff taking regular Sabbaticals. Recently, I returned from a 3-day Sabbatical. Here are three reflections I came away with after comparing this one with others I’ve had in past years.
They are always different | These times away are spiritual journeys. And since the Holy Spirit leads the way, it’s a good idea to not over-plan. Enter it with a focus, but leave enough margin open for God to reveal his intentions for you.
They always have value | Sometimes we simply need tons of physical rest. Other times fresh vision and insight is needed from reading the Word and listening to other teachers/preachers. And then there are those times when we are desperately searching God’s will in a heavy decision. No matter the ‘why,’ this time alone with God is always valuable.
They are never what you expected | This one was no exception. As usual, I began this most recent one with a handful of specific expectations. Things I wanted gain insight on from God. In keeping with how he usually does things, God provided just what I ‘needed’ and nothing more. And you know what? What he spoke was better than what I had asked for.
What have been your experiences with Sabbaticals? What challenges come to mind for when contemplating experiencing something like this for yourself?
Comments and questions are always appreciated.
I just love it when The Lord speaks to us outside of the ordinary. Don’t you? In the first day of my Sabbatical it took basically the entire day to simply unplug and transition. I began reading a book titled ‘No Other Gods’ which paved the way for me to really begin hearing His voice a lot today.
So here’s the gist of what I’ve been hearing Him speak into my life so far.
It’s personal… incredibly direct. He’s lovingly reminding me of who He is. He is MY GOD! Mine. His ear is all mine day or night. BUT He’s also reminding me that this is a two-way relationship. He needs access to my ear day and night as well.
“Brent, I want you to be available to hear me when I need to share the deepest things in my heart with you. I need to know that you care as much about yourself and my Church as I do.” – God
MY GOD is so full of grace and patience. Can you relate?
I’m loving this sweet time with Him. My wife has many friends and church family praying for me this week. It’s working! Thank you, I can feel the effects of your prayers.
What has The Lord been speaking to you ABOUT YOU recently? Leave a comment below.
The woman was scrolling through her Facebook feed while driving.
And she wasn’t just sitting at a red light either. It was after dark so I could clearly see what was on her oversized smart phone. It’s not like she was dialing 911 to report an accident, or was using GPS because she was lost. It was Facebook, people….FACEBOOK.
This isn’t a personal rant against phone use while driving. This incident did, however, remind me of the dozens of ridiculous distractions we face every day.
For followers of Jesus, distractions can be quite costly.
Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. – Proverbs 4:25
I’ve experienced this in my own life just this past week. I love my early morning habit of reading God’s Word and meditating in prayer. It just creates a solid kickstart to my day. It frames my thought life. Well, that didn’t happen for 3 consecutive days this week (insert pouty face).
I’ll give you one guess. Distractions! Gmail…Evernote…social media…my task list…incoming texts and random thoughts. Why did these things keep me from the most important habit of my day? Because I allowed them to. I could have (and usually do) taken measures to guarantee this didn’t happen, but I didn’t. Call it being lazy or losing focus. The fact is I didn’t make it a priority on those days.
Where are you losing focus?
- Your marriage
- Personal goals
Recognize what is distracting you.
- Screen time (internet and T.V.)
- Voices around you
- Unhealthy habits
- Negative influences
- Lack of sleep
Once we have figured these things out we can start making appropriate changes. This might involve better time management, reading a book on a specific subject, or limiting the time we spend around certain people.
What does this look like for you? Join the discussion below. I’d love to hear from you.