Monday, July 30, 2012

Joshua Part 3 - Possessing the promises


Joshua Part 3 Possessing the promises

This message was preached at Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the  29th of July 2012. You can listen or download  to the Audio recording  of the message by clicking here



Rom15:4  tells us why the Old Testament was written.  To teach us so that we might have hope. How many are aware that the Olympics are on? Imagine If you got a call from our Olympic committee asking you to represent our boxer because he is unable to participate for some reason. How would you feel? Would you be game to go?



 When we go to the book of Joshua we see this situation. Moses was the man of God who met with God face to face and had amazing encounters with God. Joshua was only Moses’ assistant. And now in Josh1, Moses has died and God is speaking to Joshua and charging him with the responsibility of leading these 2 million people into the promise Land. It’s an overwhelming situation for him.

We will look at Joshua’s life and how it applies to us. He had an overwhelming situation, overwhelming promises and overwhelming challenges. How does he handle it?

1 Moses is dead – but God’s promises continue. God appoints Joshua. What do we learn from this? No one is indispensible – God’s purpose will go on with or without you. Moses was preparing God’s people to enter the Promise Land. God is now reminding Joshua of an old promise. This promise was not just given to Moses. Let’s look at Deut 34:4 – IT began with Abraham. See Gen13:14. This promise has been passed on from one generation to another. What are the other promises besides the land?
Verse5 – Joshua is promised victory – God has promised success to Joshua
V4. This was a huge portion of land but the sad thing is that they actually possessed very little.
They were promised God’s presence – Not just land, victory but God’s very presence. God promised to be with them.

“Be strong and courageous” was repeated many times. There must have been something out there for God to repeat is so many times. There were challenges, no doubt.
Numbers 13 tells us what the land was like. Two men had to carry a single cluster of grapes. This must have been a massive cluster. This land was prosperous and fruitful and the people were huge as well!

V7-8 Joshua was instructed to obey the Word of the Lord and meditate on it. This is what Joshua did – they battled 28 Kings and took over the land. What does Joshua’s battle have to do with me?

Rom 6:20 We were slaves to sin.  There is so much sin in the world because of this sinful tendency of mankind. The Israelites were saved by the blood on the doorpost of their houses . The angel of death passed them by. Then they passed through the Red Sea. They were saved out of Egypt to go into the Promise Land. God has saved us through the sacrifice of Jesus and the shedding of His blood. We have been saved from hell to heaven but before that there are promises that we have to possess.

God has given us amazing promises for those who have been saved. The Bible is full of promises. Joshua had promises. Many times God said “I am going to give you this land” If Joshua just sat there he would have to nothing. He had to possess it.

As Christian we are saved , we have heard of the promise but we don’t know how to possess it. IT s not about heaven – it’s about an inheritance. Many of us have received prophetic words of over our lives, we have received prophetic words as a church – what you do with it is important. WE have to act upon it. There is a battle to inherit it – it will come with sweat, blood and tears like it did for Joshua.

First of all you have to believe. The first generation of Israelites had fear, not faith, therefore they lost out. We have an inheritance here and in heaven.

There are promises for us to possess corporately as a church. Here are some of the prophetic words we received as a church at our 10 th year celebration.
  • ·       Ps 103 - Expect God to use us for healing.( Nigel Pereira)
  • ·       Is 40:4-5 God will go before us and smoothen our path.( Vinu Paul)
  • ·       There is a shift in gears - things are going to move at a much faster pace , so get ready. Desiree Pereira)
  • ·       Saw Colin blowing a whistle and people from all over Pune gathering to him ( Pas. Raju Thomas)
  • ·       Saw Colin writing a list on a blank slate. Felt God saying make a list of things you want, and I will grant it. ( Steve Oliver)
  • ·       The past 10 years you (Colin) did what God wanted of you, now ask me and I will do what you desire. ( Pravin Darole)
  • ·       Is 54:14-15 In righteousness your throne will be established.. (Jaya P)
  • ·       God is taking us to a new level of faith. ( Austin)
  • ·       New books are being opened. The old has gone. It's a new beginning . Deut 1:6-8 has fresh application. ( Navaz)


V10 – We have to get ready. It will require preparation – single mindedness, putting aside distractions. The promises are limitless and as flowers of Christ there are all ours to possess. Don’t spend your time wandering in the wilderness. The Israelites wandered for 40 years and died without inheriting the promises. Through faith and perseverance we will inherit.

What are the giants?
The biggest giant is your self – we are our own greatest weakness. Ask God to help you. 2 Cor 12:9 when we are weak , He is strong. Remember God is for you. What are some of the tests? Health, finance etc. When you read your Bible read the promises God has given you. Jn14:13, Matt21:22. God is for you. Look at the number of time God said to them I am with you, every where you put your feet I will give it to you.

God could have just given them the land but they had to fight a battle. To build them up. Abraham was tested with the challenge of sacrificing his son. We will face opposition. Jesus reminds us that when we are persecuted, great is our reward in heaven.

 So remember all the promises in scripture. God has a great plan for your life, he has given you many promises, let’s take hold of the promises as we remember that God’s presence is with us. Let’s obey God’s commands.

Colin D Cruz
July2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Joshua Part 2 From Slave to Supreme Commander


Part 2 - From Slave to Supreme Commander.


This message was preached at Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the 15th of July 2012. You can listen or download  to the Audio recording  of the message by clicking here


Part 2 – From Slave to Supreme Commander!
We have all heard of many Rags to Riches stories and many names come to mind like the Ambanis etc. Today we are going to look at the life of one man that underwent amazing transformation where he became God’s Supreme Commander – from a slave in Egypt to the supreme Commander who led 2 million people into the Promise land. His name is Joshua.


What was in his life that made him into what he was? He started his life as a slave in Egypt, he fought against the Amalakites. How do we know this?  He was a young man.
We know that from Exodus 17:9. Joshua was asked to lead the battle. He was a fighter and he was Moses assistant as a young man. Read Numbers 11:28 :- “ since his youth…”
Joshua also has the honour of having the first book of the Bible named after an individual. 

 We think of Moses as a great leader. Moses led a few battles.  But Joshua had 31 victories in Canaan besides the ones he fought along with Moses
Joshua was selected to lead the people into the promise land, conquer it, to divide it among the Israelite s.

There are great lessons of leadership to be learned from the life of Joshua.
Joshua’s service to God for many years transformed him into a capable leader.
In Numbers chapters 12 and 13 – we read that twelve spies were sent to spy the land but only two came back with a good report and one of them was Joshua. So he was truly 1 in a million! Out of 2 1/2 million who came out of slavery only Josh and Caleb entered the Promise Land.

We are going to look at 6 qualities in the life of Joshua and see what we can learn from it.
What can we learn from his life?

1.   1. He was a Captain not a consultant. He got his hands and feet wet. He actually did the job. He knew about stuff because he actually did it.

 Joshua had seen all the miracles and he had been part of the men that crossed from Egypt through the Red Sea. Now they face the first challenge the Amalekites. Moses told him to go and fightwhile Moses prayed. Amazing strategy. Ex17:9, 12:37.13,16, 17:9-10 – Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses ordered and he overcame them with the sword. It was a unique battle. As long as Moses’ hands were lifted, Joshua won the battle.
We see that victory come s from the Lord and not an individual’s courage, strength or ingenuity. It’s God. Ps127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house the laborers labor in vain.
This is an important lesson to learn to be dependent on the Lord.

You may have heard of arm chair critics. In a church we can have arm chair critics consultants who tell you how to get the job done. The question is have you got your hands dirty and are you speaking from live experience? Joshua was a captain not a consultant.

2.   2. Joshua was an assistant before he was a leader. Ex24:13 Moses, set out with his aide i.e Joshua. Today people like titles – everyone is an Executive, a Manager, a CEO.
How would you like to be known as someone’s aide/assistant/helper. Four times he is referred to as Moses aide and he was happy and content to serve Moses. Ex31:18 Joshua was there when God gave Moses the 2 Tablets with the Ten Commandments.

We see many such example of serving aides in the Bible that God used powerfully for His glory. Elijah/Elisha. Paul/Timothy, Jesus had his disciples.  We see that these great men of God started off by serving another man, yes they served God , but they also served another 2 Kings 3:1.

In the Christian life we should be ones willing and eager to serve, not looking for a title and a position but asking “how can I serve”. Some serve with the agenda of wanting a promotion. Joshua served for 40 years before he was promoted.

Are you serving somebody? I remember when I left my jet set job with as an international computer trainer and consultant to be David Fernandes “aide”. I often had to the airport at 2 or 3 am in the morning to received our people. There was a time people would come to receive me at the airport now the roles were reversed. I would be standing amongst taxi drivers with a sign board waiting to receive our foreign guest. Remember Serving God is always a privilege. Serving builds character, tests motives, but most importantly we are following Jesus our Saviour.

While everything we do is as unto the Lord the question also arises “Whom are you serving?”  Recognition may or may not come  but in His time He will do it. Our job is to be faithful.


3.   3.Joshua was a man of prayer and desired the presence of God.
Ex24:13 Joshua went with Moses to God’s mountain
Ex 33:7-11 – Joshua did not leave the tent. What a place to be at, God’s presence coming down and the only person with Moses at that time was Joshua.
Numbers 27:18 – He was full of the Holy Spirit. The time came for Joshua to be commissioned, not because he was he was a good fighter but because he was a man “in whom was the Spirit”
Deut 34:9 He was filled with the Spirit because Moses laid his hand son them. In the Old Testament very few received this but in the New Testament this is for all of us. Joel says “In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”. We need to be a people filled with the Holy Spirit . Are you a person who yearns for the Holy Spirit? We need to spend time in God’s presence and being filled with the Spirit.

Joshua was filled with the Spirit because Moses laid his hands o him. Desire the ministry of the laying on of hands. Desire, for someone to lay hand s on you so that the Spirit of God may come upon you. Timothy received his gift when the body of elders laid hands on him. Throughout the New Testament Paul would lay his hands on people and the Sprit of God would come upon them.

4.   4. He was loyal to Moses.
Numbers 11: 14,28 . Moses has to sort out 2 2/1 million‘s people’s problems. It was too much for him. The Spirit came upon the 70 elders. Two who were not among them also prophesied. Joshua is upset for Moses’ sake. He got it wrong here but he was loyal to Moses.
 Are you committed to your pastor, leader, Life Group Leaders, Serving Team Leader, Boss at work? We need to develop the quality of loyalty. That’s what God wants of us.

5.   5. Joshua was faith filled, obedient and courageous.
Numbers 13:16   The Is have just come out of Egypt ,Moses is at Mt. Sinai, they have received the laws. This is just a pit stop not the destination. They sent 12 spies to explore the land. Ten spies did not have faith. Joshua and Caleb were full of faith. The other 10 turned the hearts of the people.  So Joshua and Caleb were sent to explain and convince people that they could do it. They stood up and followed the Lord whole heartedly. As a result of the people disbelief (those 20 years and older) they wandered for 40 years in the dessert till every one of them died. Only Joshua and Caleb from that generation saw the Promise Land.

 The majority are not always right. Whom are you listening to? The result of all this is that Joshua got the privilege of leading the people into the Promise Land. A whole generation died in the dessert, only two got a chance to enter the promise land.

6.    6. He was Word based.

 Josh 1:8. Joshua had to use the written word. Moses heard God.  Four things here.
He did not allow the Word to depart from his mouth, He meditated on it, he obeyed it and the fruit of it was he saw much success and prosperity in his lifetime.

At the end we see Joshua was victorious. That same truth holds for us. Joshua had giants to face, battles to fight but he was victorious because he had these 6 qualities in him. God will use us in amazing ways no matter how big the obstacles are and we will enter into the promises God has for us.

Colin D Cruz

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joshua - Two in a million!


Introduction - 2 in a million!

This message was preached at Word of Grace church  by Colin D Cruz on the 8th of July 2012. You can listen or download  to the Audio recording  of the message by clicking here

Introduction.

Many Christian are very familiar with the New Testament and not so much with the Old. Today, I am going to start a new series from a book in the Old Testament, the book of Joshua.  God is speaking to us prophetically from this book.



Why is the Old Testament important? I Cor.10:11- These things happened to them as examples for us to follow, and warnings for us to avoid. Examples of lives we need to study and follow. Warnings: We see a “warning “on every cigarette packet today. The Bible also records the failings of God’s people and the bad situations they came into as a result of not obeying God’s laws, as warnings fro us to heed.

Some say I can’t understand all these killings, conquering etc. I only like the Psalms! The other books are too tedious. Let’s see what Jesus has to say. Luke 24:27- Jesus meets the disciples on the Road to Emmaus and opened up the scriptures and explained everything from the time of Moses,  and what it had to say about him. The Old Testament was a shadow of Jesus – e.g. the Passover. It was made clear in the New Testament. Hebrews tells us this.


 Who is Joshua? Have you heard the phrase 1 in a million? Well he was 2 in a million! Joshua began his life in Egypt.  God delivered them from Egypt, performed great signs and wonders, miraculously provided food for them, but then they disobeyed God and God said that they would perish in the dessert. All  those 20 years and above would die in the dessert. 

Now Moses has commissioned Joshua to be is aide and Moses dies and its up to Joshua to take the people onto the Promise Land. So it’s not a new book, but a new beginning.
So that takes us to Joshua Chapter 1.

Josh1:1 -After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them —to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates —all the Hittitecountry—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against youall the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 In these few verses God does 4 things.

1.   Reminds Joshua of the Promises. Right in Gen 12 God had Called Abraham and promised him the land of Canaan. Hundreds of years later Joshua was to be the unique leader that would take this generation of Israelites in to the Promise Land. That promise was repeated several times since Abraham. In Numbers 13:1 the promise is repeated before the disaster of the 12 spies.

God has promises – for you as an individual, for us as a Church, for us as a movement of Churches. This is a prophetic book of promises. The promises made to Abraham are your promises. Gen 12:2-3 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation, 
    and I will bless you; 
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse; 
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you. 

It’s our job to claim the promises. Some may say “Am I worthy?” Friends it’s not about whether you are worthy or not. These promises given to Abraham are your inheritance. You can do and have nothing to deserve it. It is  because of what Jesus has done for you.
The reason God wants to bless you is because he wants you to be a blessing. We are like Pipes, not a vessel. A Vessel can only contain a certain amount of water. Whereas, a Pipe can have millions of gallons of water flow through it. How much blessing do you want? If you are willing to be a Pipe and allow blessing to flow through you , you will be blessed. But if you choose to be a vessel, you will be able to contain only a limited amount of blessing.

So here is a great promise and anointing. God is saying “If anyone messes with you they are messing with me”

What is your vision for your life? God’s purpose is that all nations will be blessed through you. Joshua must have been thinking “ I am a slave in Egypt, how can the nations  be blessed through me?”. God took him from being a slave in Egypt to becoming the leader of a few million people and he took them into the Promise Land.

Joshua was 2 in a million, and he believed in the promises of God. Get hold of all the promises of God, not just material,  but blessings for Pune and the nations of the world.

Colin D Cruz
July 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Make, Mark Mature #2- Public Worship


Discipleship Goal #2 -Public Worship

We have started  a new series of Blogposts based on sermons preached at Word of Grace Church. 

People often ask or are seeking for the next great method/strategy to grow church or reach the lost. 
I believe that strategy was given to us a long time ago and has not changed in content or its ability to produce fruit and be effective. Jesus said "I will build MY church" and He told us to" go and make disciples" . 

I have always been passionate and convinced about this one thing : the way to reach the world  is Jesus' last commandment. We need to make it our first commission i.e we need to be disciples who make disciples who will change the world. 


Introduction:

Each week on a Sunday, millions of people around the world gather as churches to worship Jesus, just as we are doing, this morning. Christianity is a personal faith but it is not a private faith. The moment we receive Jesus and God becomes our Father, we are joined to a family of believers with brothers and sisters. There is no solitary Christianity . This morning we are going to look at the biblical basis of Public Worship of Jesus.


Types of Church Goers

-          Don’t come at all
-          There are some Christians who believe it’s just me and God TV. They are not part of a local church.
-        The highest form of punishment that the State imposes on murderers in the rarest of rare cases is the death penalty – and in India it is death by hanging. Imagine a Christian buying a piece of strong rope, going to his home, tying it to the ceiling and hanging himself. That’s exactly what Christians that are not part of a local church are doing. They are punishing themselves with the highest form of punishment that the church reserves for unrepentant believers – not death by hanging but separation and excommunication. Yet many Christians routinely chose to do this. See Mt 18:15-20

-          Come occasionally – once in a while (also called CEO Christians – Christmas and Easter and Other Occasions).
-          Come regularly but regularly late. You can see them tiptoeing thru the hallway halfway through the worship.
-          Come on time
-          Come before time
-          Come much before time to serve

What the is Biblical command and Example of public worship each Sunday?

Practice of the first church Acts 2:42

The early church in the book of Acts met not just weekly but daily in the temple courts  and devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, prayer and hospitality.

Custom of Jesus – Luke 4:16

Jesus went to the Synagogue each Sabbath. … “as was his custom”

It’s commanded in Scripture – Heb 10:24-25

Do not neglect meeting together as some of you are in the habit of doing…. But encourage one another, and spur one another to love and good deeds

It’s modeled by the apostles – 1 Cor 5:4

… When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus …

-          God promises his presence – Mt 18:20, Mt 28:18-20

What is the purpose of our gathering?

  • -          Declare his praises 1 Pet 2:5,9
  • -          Build the church through spiritual gifts & encouragement
  • -          All given gifts to be used 1  Cor 12:7

-          1 Cor 14:12 try to excel in gifts that build up the church
-          1 Cor 14:25 … God is really among you
  • -          Confession of Sin Jas 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
  • -          Encourage one another Heb 3:13
  • -          Practice “one anothers” of Scripture.

-          Acts 2:42 – apostles teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer
-          Mt 18:20 – Jesus promises his presence
-          Heb 10:24-25 Spur one another to love and good deeds
  • -          Fulfill our hearts  longing to be together with other believers –
  • -          Thanksgiving 1 Thess 5:18
  • -          Intercession 1 Tim 2:1

What is your Participation Level ?

Just as there are different levels of attendace, there are differing levels of participation.

Un-involved, disinterested, bordering on hostile

They have been probably dragged to the meeting or have come there to fulfill a religious obligation

Neutral

Just observing what is happening.

Quietly Participating

Receiving from the Lord through the worship, Word, the testimonies, etc.

Occasionally Participating

Once in a while they will bring a contribution – either a testimony, or a prayer or read a scripture .

Actively Participating

These are engaged and are into what is happening. They would regularly testify, pray, read scripture, prophesy, etc.

Owning the meeting

Finally you have people who carry ownership of the meeting. Not only do they pray, and sing  and prophesy, but they are concerned when other’s don’t!  They see a lack and try to remedy it. They come well prepared for the meeting.

What can you do?

  • -          Pray for the meeting and come with your heart prepared to receive and to share
  • -          Show up early to serve

-          1 Cor 14:26
-          Eph 5:19 Being filled with the Holy Spirit
  • -          Using our Spiritual Gifts – tongues, prophecy, gifts of healing, message of wisdom, words of knowledge, visions, …
  • -          Public Participation – Pray, Praise, Thanksgiving, Testimony, Bring a Word, Prophecy, Spiritual Gifts, Giving
  • -          Praise Ps 22:22  22 I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.
  • -          Prayer – Acts 4:22-31
  • -          Thanksgiving –
  • -          Intercession
  • -          Caring for people (helping visitors navigate the service and the facilities)
  • -          Singing, clapping, raised hands, dancing, jumping, shouting, …

In addition to Public Participation, there is also Private Participation.
-          Private Participation – Greet, Converse, Share, Pray, Thank, Encourage, Practice Hospitality, Ask, Teach and Admonish, Inviting the unsaved to the meeting, Loving one another

Conclusion

Public participation when the church is gathered is a very important part of the life of a Christian. We all come on a Sunday morning with different parts of a jigsaw puzzle. If we don’t put use our piece and place it at the right place, the picture will be incomplete. You are holding a piece of the puzzle in your hand. You have an important contribution to make. 

"The true Church is not an institution to be kept apart from the world because the world "is common and unclean," but a vital heart of truth and love, beating with the life of Jesus, and sending abroad its sanctifying pulsations until nothing shall be common and unclean."
E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words



Colin D Cruz

July2012



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Being a Servant Is Unannounced

This is a simply superb article by  a favorite author, Charles Swindoll. Read on, be challenged, be encouraged, be blessed.



Being a Servant Is Unannounced

As Jesus prepared to wash His disciples’ feet, He did not say, “Men, I am now going to demonstrate servanthood—watch my humility.”
No way.
That kind of pride-on-parade was the trademark of the Pharisees. If you wondered whether they were humble, all you had to do was hang around them awhile. Sooner or later they would announce it . . . which explains why Jesus came down so hard on them (take a quick look at Matthew 23!).
Unlike those pious frauds, the Messiah slipped away from the table without saying a word. He quietly pulled off His outer tunic, and with towel, pitcher, and pan in hand, He moved silently from one man to the next. Of course, they weren’t sitting as they are portrayed in Leonardo da Vinci’s work The Last Supper. All due respect for that genius, but he missed it when he portrayed the biblical scene through Renaissance eyes. Those men were not sitting in ladderback, dining room chairs all on one side of a long table!
In those days, people reclined at a meal, actually leaning on one elbow as they lay on their side on a small, thin pad or on a larger rug covering the floor. The table was a low, rectangular block of wood upon which the food was placed. And they ate with their hands, not utensils. This position meant that if your feet were not clean, your neighbor was very much aware of it. It would be impossible to ignore a face full of dirty feet.
By the time Jesus reached Peter, I am sure most of the small talk had dwindled. The men now realized their wrong. Guilt had begun to push its way into their hearts. Peter must have drawn his feet up close to him when he shook his head and said, in effect, “No! Not my feet. Never, ever, ever will you wash my feet, from now ‘til eternity!” This reveals a second principle about having a gentle and humble heart: being a servant includes receiving graciously as well as giving graciously.
Peter wasn’t about to be that vulnerable. After all, Jesus was the Master. No way was He going to wash the dirt off Peter’s feet! I ask you, is that humility? You know it’s not.
Being willing to receive usually takes more grace than giving to others. And our reluctance to do so really exposes our pride, doesn’t it?
—Chuck

This article has been re-posted from the link below.


The Pastor's Soul, Role, and Home.: Being a Servant Is Unannounced

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Make Mark Mature - Discipleship Goals #1

Goal # 1 - Quiet Time

 We are starting a new series of Blogposts based on sermons preached at Word of Grace Church. 

People often ask or are seeking for the next great method/strategy to grow church or reach the lost. 
I believe that strategy was given to us a long time ago and has not changed in content or its ability to produce fruit and be effective. Jesus said "I will build MY church" and He told us to" go and make disciples" . 

I have always been passionate and convinced about this one thing : the way to reach the world  is Jesus' last commandment. We need to make it our first commission i.e we need to be disciples who make disciples who will change the world. Here is the first step in being those disciples and in making them.

Colin.

Disciple’s Goal #1 – Daily Personal Worship (Quiet Time)


Becoming a follower of Jesus starts with a relationship with the Living God through Jesus Christ his Son. For any relationship to develop two ingredients must be present: time and communicaton
Time – not leftover, throwaway time, but quality time in His presence and in the Word. Communication – where we hear God’s voice and in turn speak to him.
Our Lord himself modeled this in Mk 1:35 …”Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed”.
In Matt 6:5,6  “And when you pray … v6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then, your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Jesus assumes we would spend time communicating with the Father in prayer! There are rewards of to be obtained – of a growing relationship with the Lord and answered prayer.

Quiet Time Success

Regular – 15 minutes spent each day is more beneficial than 1 hour once a week.
Privacy – For best results, have this time away from distractions such as a TV running in the background, or the phone ringing or people interrupting. Jesus got up early and went off to a solitary place where distractions were minimum.
Preparedness – The previous night make sure all that you need for a quality Quiet Time are in place. (Bible, journal, devotional book, pen, highlighter, color pencils etc).
Consistency – As you daily spend time with the Word and in Prayer, and do this over a period of time – 1 week, 2 months, 6 months … you will see amazing growth into Christlikeness and fruitfulness in ministry.
Accountability – As with dieting, going to the gym, practicing the piano, there is a daily ongoing battle between our flesh and the Spirit (Gal 5:17). One way to have victory is to link up with another believer and commit to having a regular Quiet Time and sharing with one another daily by phone or sms.

The Nuts and Bolts - What should I do?

4 essential elements can make up a good quiet time.

1.       Read the Bible Systematically. At least a chapter each day. Additionally you could read a Psalms and Proverbs.  It’s helpful to use a Bible Reading plan. Reading is the exposure to Scripture. Before you begin reading pray to the Lord to open your heart and mind by His Spirit.
1 Pet2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow up in your salvation.
A helpful tool is the use of a Devotional like Our Daily Bread  or Getting Started Daily (PJ Smyth)

2.       Meditate on a verse or two. Meditation means thinking deeply on what the verse says. What does it mean? How can I apply it? Meditation is the absorption of Scripture. Absorption leads to life transformation. Seek to apply what you have received.

Ps 1:1-2 Blessed is the man …. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3.       Journal (Write) what you have meditated upon. Write down your impressions. Put down any questions you might have. Copy out a verse or two. Share what you have received with a friend later in the day.
"Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through your fingertips." Dawson Trotman

4.       Pray using the ACTS model.
A - Adoration : Praise God for his attributes and qualities
C – Confession: Seek forgiveness from the Lord for sins you have committed.  1Jn 1:9
T- Thanksgiving: Acknowledge God’s goodness to you by thanking him for a few things. 1 Thess 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

S- Supplication: Spend time laying your needs before him. Mt 21:22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Pray for:
1.       Your family, yourself (All kinds of needs)
2.       Your Church (Get a prayer bulletin from your church leader. Pray for Maturity of the Saints, Multiplication of people and people’s involvement in Mission)
3.       The Lost (Who in your circle of relationships – family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, etc. do you want to see saved. Pray for them.
4.       The World (Pray for events taking place in your city, nation and the world, pray for God’s kingdom to come).
The above is a basic minimum. As you grow in your walk with the Lord your Quiet Time will also grow in quality and quantity and you will begin to experience fruitfulness and will grow in Christlikeness.

Putting it Together

1.       When will you meet with the Lord each day? Time - _______________
2.       Where will you meet with Him? Place - __________________________
3.       How long will you spend ? Duration - _______________
4.       Are the following materials in place:
a.       Bible
b.      Journal
c.       Pen
d.      Highlighter (optional – to mark your journal)
e.       Color pencils (optional -  to mark your Bible)
5.       Which friend will be your accountability partner? Name - ____________________________

"PPaul did not regard prayer as supplemental, but fundamental-not something to be added to his work, but the very matrix out of which his work was born. He was a man of action because he was a man of prayer. "J. Oswald Sanders 

As we do this we will find that our roots go down deep and they will grow strong. Great men and women of God have all attributed their "success" to this one discipline that they have maintained throughout their lives. Lets be people who are rooted in the Word and in prayer.

Colin D Cruz
June 2012