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The Spiritual Health Revolution! Maria #432 CM/FM 3184 4/98
1. Have you ever made a commitment to spend more time with the Lord and in His Word, only to find that your conviction fizzles out later on down the line? There's so much to do and so many things to take care of, that unfortunately our Word time is often the thing we push to the bottom of the list in favor of getting our other work done.
2.I'm sure you're going to be very encouraged with the wonderful, clear word pictures the Lord has for you in this GN, as well as convicted to see how the Lord and Dad feel about the dangers of not taking the time you need in His Word. Dad has a hot message on the subject, but that's because the Lord and Dad know how vital our personal connection with Him is--so important that Dad's willing to sock it to us in no uncertain terms!--Which we all need and should benefit greatly from. I think you'll be very thankful for the clear guidance and solutions.
Spiritual Nutrition Lesson!
3.(Jesus speaking:) You, My Family, are learning, and you're growing in taking more time to hear from Me, to listen to My voice in prophecy, and to receive My counsel and direction on what to do. But I call on you now to look and see what I've put in your hands. I put the help, the manpower and enough hours in the day. I provide the time, the means and the tools. Yet it is given to you to put to proper use all that I supply--to not lean too far to one in an improper balance, and thus leave the other undone.
4.I give you a picture of the master chef who knows all his ingredients welland is able to skillfully blend the herbs and spices in exact proportion, in order to turn out a savory dish. Diversity of spices provides for diversity of cuisine. You may add oregano to tonight's meal, yet the following night you omit the Italian spice and add the Oriental spice to your dish; therefore you have the difference between Italian Bolognese sauce and curried beef. Both are made with the same meat, yet the spices and preparation and the sauce you prepare vary the dish.
5.For all your meals you must have enough protein on a daily basis in order to stay strong and healthy and properly nourished. Likewise you must have enough of My Word and communion with Me on a daily basis, in order to stay nourished and strengthened in spirit. Spices change according to the recipe, but the protein is essential for proper functioning of the body, proper growth, and for repair of damaged tissues.
6.Your Word time, prayer time, and praise time is like the protein of My Spirit. When you ask Me how, in practical terms, you are to do all that I put before you, I say that daily protein intake is imperative.
7.When you wonder how you can cut corners, you must not consider cutting down that vital time with Me each day! You must not try to cut down too much on your protein intake. If you try to cut corners on this too much, you'll find that you'll soon run out of strength to continue on; you'll soon weaken your muscle tone and run the risk of greater injury and sickness due to impaired health.
8.My children are sadly lacking in their daily spiritual diets. Many don't have well-balanced diets. Yet it is not for My lack of supply. Often it is due to how they prepare and eat the food that I set before them, that they are not able to properly absorb and therefore fully utilize the nourishment that I give.
9.The secret is in the balance. Just as proper preparation and how you choose to eat your physical food will either help preserve or destroy the nutrients, so the way you choose to feed on My Word, under what conditions and circumstances you read and feed and spend time in the bed of love with Me, will determine how much you are able to really drink in, absorb, and benefit from the good nutrition that I supply.
10.Ideally, I would that My children eat and feast from My elegant banquet table on a daily basis--sitting down to relax and enjoy a nice, hot, full-course meal. There will be times, though, when this is not possible, due to pressing affairs of the Kingdom that you must tend to.
11.If you are going to be able to cope with a busy schedule and the stress and strain of your jobs, it is imperative that your diet is well-planned so that you will have strength to fight the battles at hand. The danger here is in skipping meals altogether. Once you start down this road, you'll find before long that your performance will be seriously hindered.
12.Another temptation is to fill your diet with junk food, compromising good nutritional value for a diet filled with empty calories and harmful additives, like weak Christian music, doctrines or theories, or the worldly wisdom of man--books, games, movies, music, the Internet. You must take great care to chart a good diet and meal plan that will enable you to get the proper nutrition that is so vital to top performance in your tasks.
13.Relaxing and sitting down to eat a good, well-balanced meal will provide good nourishment, and I delight to see you eating these good meals as often as possible. But should there be times when more formal dining is not possible, I would that you plan on taking in a quicker, yet good, nourishing meal rather than skipping out on a meal altogether or filling up on junk food. You don't necessarily have to forfeit good nutrition for lack of time to eat the full-course meal. This is where careful meal planning is imperative if you are to stay strong and healthy and not get run down, tired and sickly due to poor eating habits.
14.The more relaxing sit-down dinner is likened to one and a half hours, occasionally more, of time in the bed of love, praising, reading and absorbing My Word, topped with a dessert of hearing My direct counsel in the form of prophecy as I whisper in your ear.
15.The packed lunch is likened to a shorter, yet concentrated time with Me, either filling up on some power-packed, concentrated Word, in the form of DB Letters and/or choice Letters and prophecies and such, or a time of praise and prayer and hearing My direct, personal counsel for the day--one of these, or a combination of all, but in a shorter amount of time.
16. You must not live on packed lunches day after day, nor will you always be able to afford to sit down on a daily basis to enjoy the more appetizingfull-course meal. But I would that you find the proper balance. Balance in your diet is imperative to good health.
17.The secret is in the organization and planning so that you're able to stop frequently for those full-course meals when and where necessary, even if you have to invite others to dine along with you. This will teach others the importance of getting a good, balanced meal.
18.Many of My children are in need of a health revolution in spirit! Many are famished and undernourished for lack of proper meal planning, for lack of properly charting out their menus, and for lack of sitting down to relax and enjoy a good, well-balanced meal, forfeiting this necessity for eating on the run.
19.You ask, "But Lord, in practical terms, how can we afford this time to enjoy sit-down dinners, when we have so much to do? Eating on the run is so much more convenient and enables us to get out the door and be about our business."
20.On occasion I wink at this,but as a habit, you must keep in mind that it's not how much you're able to stuff down your throat that provides for good nutrition, but how much you're able to properly digest, assimilate, and absorb into your system that will do you good. Relaxed eating is imperative to good digestion and proper distribution of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids that all contribute to good health.
21.Be not deceived, thinking you're saving time and energy by eating on the run. In the long run, you may be tearing down your resistance and doing damage to yourself that will show up in the future in a far more grave way than what you think you might be failing to accomplish today in your work. Would you be penny-wise and pound-foolish? For bad eating habits and lack of good nutrition today, you may well have to pay the price tomorrow.
22.I give you this physical illustration as a picture of the importance of your spiritual feeding and the daily food intake of feasting on My Word. Good health is a way of life that comes from building good, strong, faithful habits. I would that My shepherds be a sample of this in their daily living--not only for their own benefit and good health, but also because this is what My children need to see.
23.My children are tired, even to the point of exhaustion. Many are on a go, go, go, do, do, do merry-go-round, and they're finding it difficult--nearly impossible--to get off. But I don't put this pressure on My children, nor on My shepherds. It's because you've acquired bad eating habits and are eating on the run most of the time. Therefore you're not able to absorb your food properly, which all too often results in indigestion of the spirit.
24.The practical solution you seek lies in striking a proper balance in all that I have instructed you to do. There's a time and a place for everything, and it's up to each Home, each teamwork, and each individual to find what works best, according to their particular needs.
25.The ideal is for all My children to have at least one nourishing, well-balanced meal a day. Many cultures around the world accomplish this in various ways. There are those who major on a good hearty breakfast; others eat their main full-course meal at midday; and yet in many countries, people take in a nice full-course dinner in the evening. This does not mean that you do not also eat at other times of the day. Growing bodies and spirits, especially young ones, need nourishment throughout the day.
26.Although breakfast is one of your most important meals, especially for those whose jobs require great physical activity, dealing with outsiders, deadlines and so forth, such as My front-line soldiers, if you're not able to take in a good solid chunk of Word time and feasting in the morning, lest you miss your other appointments, then you might consider having your main meal later in the day, either at midday or in the evening. You can still eat a hearty, convenient breakfast, fortified with extra-strength nutrients in the form of condensed Word, powerful heartfelt prayers, and singing and praise to Me.
27.Some might want to consider a mixed schedule and diet, alternating more elaborate breakfasts some days with more elaborate dinners on other days. Whatever you do, however you organize, don't skip meals!
28.There are infinite ways to plan and organize your daily meal plan. You have only to pray and ask Me, and I'll make it clear in each case what plan suits you best. Busy Homes with busy schedules might consider rotation of personnel within the Home on a regular basis, where all can take turns getting those nice relaxing full-course meals, if it is not always possible to eat them at the same time on a daily basis. If someone has been eating a packed lunch for three days straight, it might be time to alternate duties, so that he or she can partake of a nice sit-down meal. Take shifts, if you must; rotate. But whatever you do, make sure that everyone is getting a good, nutritious diet!
29.Through lack of unity and proper organization in My Homes, many times the diet is found lacking. For lack of pulling together and bearing the burdens of another, being mindful of the need, and making it possible for each one to have the good, nutritious diet that they so desperately need, the diet is found lacking.
30.As My Family becomes more united and strives to live together in unity, each will then become more mindful and respectful of others' needs and diet. And as you walk more hand in hand, you will all be able to get on the health-diet bandwagon together.
31.Many are tired and weak unnecessarily, simply for a lack of proper organization in their personal lives, and the discipline of maintaining a good healthful diet. For though the days be busy and there is much work to be done in the fields, I do not leave My children comfortless, nor without the means to carry out My work--but proper utilization of time is of the essence.
32.If you will not neglect this vital time with Me, if you will not neglect the proper diet that I put at your disposal, you will find in the long run that I am able to help you be more efficient in the tasks I call you to do. You'll make fewer mistakes, be able to avoid pitfalls, and things will run far more smoothly as you put first things first.
33.There is yet much junk food in the diets of My children in the form of other input--be it unnecessary vain babble, unfruitful conversations full of idle talk, unfruitful times on the Information Highway [Internet], or other things and activities of lesser importance that rob them of their time with Me. Some are often tempted to get caught up with a little here and a little there, to where the hours dwindle away in trivia--involvement in unedifying games and movies that fill up the hours, rather than spending time with Me in the bed of love, or in prayer and praise.
34.I allow these within reason, and I give My children many liberties and options. I allow you to read information necessary to your ministries, so that you can stay in tune and abreast of the times. I also allow times of fun and relaxation, even times where you may have periods "away from thinking," for I am not a God that forgets that your frame is but dust. But the practical solution to the answers you seek lies in keeping a proper balance.
35.Don't be discouraged, thinking it can't be done, for I say it can be done! I give you the simple solution--it's in the balance, it's in the planning, it's in the careful charting of your nutritional needs and diet. It's in trusting Me that if I put you on a certain diet or suggest that you eat a certain food simply because it's good for you, you will go ahead and eat it and ask Me to help you acquire a taste for good, healthful food.
36.You must develop good long-term habits and stick to them as much as possible, to where indulging in the less nutritious foods is the exception and not the rule. Only then will you begin to see and reap the results of regular good healthful living in your body--that of a rosy complexion, soft skin, a strong healthy heart, good blood pressure, a hearty pulse rate, a clear mind, and good strong muscles, supple and ready to perform the most difficult tasks with the utmost of grace and skill.
37.The secret is in letting Me plan your schedule to the nth degree--every part, holding nothing back. The secret is in continuing to seek Me to know how to fully utilize what I've given you. This is done by seeking the balance, by spending that vital time with Me, by keeping your focus and concentration so that you can get My signals and cues.
38.As you begin to make Me a part of every area of your lives, as I have instructed, this will greatly help to strengthen you. And then as you each begin to stay faithful and true to good healthful eating habits, by taking this vital time to eat a well-balanced diet on a daily basis, you'll see that it will reap lasting results in your overall health and well-being. (End of message from Jesus.)
Word Diets and Word Plans!
39.(Jesus speaking:) I love to be involved in all that you do. I love to be involved in every little detail, because I love you, and I love to be with you. I love to sit down and discuss things, whatever they are--business, personal, casual, whatever. I just love to be with you and love you and speak with you.
40.So when it comes to that time of day that you have set aside to be alone with Me, I very much look forward to it. It's one of the few times in the day that I can speak to you and show you things that I want to show you.
The Lord Speaks Through Both His Word and Prophecy!
41.Reading My Word is so important, because My Word is Me. When you take time to read the Word, whether it's a Letter in a GN, or Word condos such as Daily Breads, Daily Mights, To Jesus--With Love, From Jesus--With Love, or a Zine, or the Bible, HOPE TKs, KIDZ, MLKs, the FSM, the END, the Grapevine, or an issue from Heaven's Library--all these things are as important to your spiritual life and walk with Me as it is to spend time listening to Me personally in prophecy.
42.These things are My voice, some more directly than others. These different publications are as important to your complete, well-rounded spiritual health as listening to My voice in prophecy is important to your specific spiritual strength and connection with Me. These publications are as important as spending time listening to My voice in prophecy in the sense that you need to take advantage of these publications during these times of peace and plenty and do all that you can to learn and grow and strengthen your spirit.
43.You need not only the specific spiritual nourishment, comfort, encouragement, guidance, direction, correction and feeding of hearing My direct voice in prophecy, but also the other waysto meet your other spiritual needs for variety, relaxation, challenge, strengthening, pleasure, building your faith and vision, etc. You have many needs, and My written Word in the GNs and other publications is as important as hearing My living Word in prophecy.
44.This statement is relative to the needs of My children. It doesn't mean that the Grapevine or the Zine in itself, for example, could replace spending time with Me listening to My voice in prophecy, because this is not true. And it doesn't mean that the Zine by itself is as important as hearing My voice in prophecy, but rather that it plays a part in the full picture and has a place in the spiritual feeding of My young people.
45.It was through My voice of prophecy that the seed was planted and theZine was born. Through prophecy I helped you to see the need and find the solution to that need. It's important in the sense that it helps to meet some of the important spiritual needs of My young people for variety, challenge, fellowship, feeding, inspiration, heart sharing, My Word and My Spirit. But it's as a supplement, an addition to the main course of their diet in spending personal time with Me listening to My voice, My Word, and My Spirit.
46.I am all things and am in all things, and in partaking of the spirit of the Word, the spirit of the Letters, the spirit of the stories, and even the spirit of the Zine, you are partaking of the wonders, the miracles, the mysteries and the principles of the great realm of the Spirit, and the realm of the Spirit is Me. It is My Spirit, My love, My Words that formed the Earth and that formed the spirit, so all these things of the Spirit are Me. They are manifestations of Me, representations of Me. They are Me.
47.So whatever you read that brings you in touch with these things of the Spirit brings you in touch with Me, whether it's through My direct Word in prophecy in a GN, or through the wonders of hearing from departed spirits or spirit writers, or through reading of the miracles that My Spirit is performing all around you on Earth, in the FSM,Grapevine and Zine testimonies that are sent in from your brothers and sisters around the world. All these things can bring you in touch with the Spirit, and in touch with Me.
There's Lots to Explore in the Realm of the Spirit!
48.The realm of the Spirit is so vast! There's so much to be discovered, so many mysteries to be revealed, so many regions to explore, that it would be foolish to limit your time in the Spirit to only one or two regions! If the only time you enter the realm of the Spirit is through receiving prophecy, or the only time you take in the temple is when you read a Letter, you could be sadly missing many other exciting regions of the Spirit that are there for you to discover.
49.And the more you know, the more I can show you. It's like taking a journey to a foreign country. If you only know about a few noteworthy sights and those are the only ones you visit, and then you leave, you don't know what you may have missed simply because you didn't know about others, or care to ask or research. And in the vast realm of the Spirit--which is so full of things to see and learn and discover that you can't even fathom it all, which are enough to fill an eternity of learning--there are still so many regions that you could be tapping into!
50.Now that you know that I can pour out stories and that there is a great library of books Here, you can ask to visit the library. Now that you know that you can ask and receive messages from famous personalities who have passed on into the spirit world, you can ask and receive messages from them.
51.All these realms of the Spirit had to be pioneered. There was always a first time when some brave soul, seeking answers, may have hesitated, but then went forward into those regions to receive that message, to give that story, so that all would know that there was more out there to be discovered, more sources to be tapped into, more Spirit web sites to visit, where you can pick up messages, stories, power, and guidance from a great variety of sources.
52.But if you didn't know about them, if you didn't take time to read those messages from beyond, or those stories of the spirit, or those miracles of My supply and testimonies of My deliverance, just think of what you would miss! By the same token, if you only read these stories and testimonies but pass over My more direct messages in the Letters and GNs, you'll also be missing much.
53.I give all these things to you for your good, for your guidance, for your direction, and for your pleasure. I wish for you to partake of them all--not just your Father David's Letters, not just the stories, not just the prophecies, not just the testimonies, but all of them--each in their turn, each in their time, each in their place. The Word--new and old! The Word--revelatory and entertaining! The Word--direct and indirect; direct when it comes from Me, and indirect when you hear testimonies of the wonders that My Word has accomplished in the Family, in the heart of a special sheep, in the life of another! All these are sent from My hand and are given for you to enjoy, for you to feed on and to feast on, and to be strengthened by.
54.It's quite a banquet! There are apéritifs, hors d'oeuvres, soups, main courses, wines and drinks, and desserts. There are breakfast menus, lunch menus, dinner menus, and even party menus to choose from. There's such a great variety of ways to enjoy the foods of the spirit.
55.Some foods are more nutritious than others. Some contain more iron, others more carbohydrates, and others more minerals or vitamins or protein. But with a good and varied diet, your spirit should get all the nutrition it needs. Others are more just for the taste and for enjoyment, like the pastries and desserts, and they may not have as high a nutritional value as the main course. But there's no junk food in what I've given you--they're all good, and you may freely partake of them all.
Planning Your Spiritual Meals!
56.Sometimes it can be good to have a plan to read all these things,to make sure that you're getting a well-balanced diet of spiritual food. You should, of course, plan to have at least one solid main course every day, a good helping of some solid meat of the Word--a new GN, an old Letter, a prophecy, a lesson-filled FSM, getting updated on the New Wine, catching up on the latest moves of the Spirit, or even hearing from Me personally for a situation that may be on your heart. Your "main course" could also be supplemented with some other reading, such as catching up on the latest Grapevine or Zine, or the last END that you didn't have a chance to read yet.
57.Although this would be your "main meal" of the day, you can still enjoy a variety of other foods. You could have a small "breakfast" of reading a short message from Me in the From Jesus With Love books, or a few Daily Mights, or a Psalm or a Proverb right after you wake up. You can also have a few snack-times during the day when you take time to praise Me. If you have it handy, you can take a few moments to read a few sections from the To Jesus With Love books, or to give Me a few Praise Kisses. If you're alone, or even with others, you could sing a song of praise to Me. These things not only delight Me, but they also serve to feed and strengthen and edify your own spirit, and are as much for your benefit as Mine.
58.Then, for a smaller meal, you could take the last half hour of your day before you go to sleep to read a DB Letter or a Daily Might, or a spirit story, or a section from the Good Thots or the Mop, or a Bible story straight from the Gospels or even the Old Testament. You can read these alone, or gather some others--the JETTs in the Home, or your family, or your roommates--for a short time of reading together.
59.There are endless possibilities, and these are just a few. The important thing is that you get a well-balanced diet, and that your times in the Word are feeding, inspiring, relaxing and invigorating times in the spirit.
60.When it comes to making a planner, this is good, and I can lead and guide you in doing so, whether it's for a week or for two weeks. Planners are good, and help you to have a goal to shoot for, an outline to follow in case I don't show you something else specific to read on that day. For example, you could make an outline whenever a new mailing comes in. If it contains a new GN, then plan to read that as early as possible in your week. Then, for the next few days after that, you could plan on doing some follow-up reading on that topic (or finishing the GN, if it's a long one). You could put together a Bible study on that topic for the Home, or to share with the children, JETTs or teens for their next Word class or devotions. Or you could do a HomeARC study on the subject to post on the bulletin board, or place in the library for everyone's reference.
61.On the same schedule, you could outline a plan to read some of the other pubs, either on your own or in a group with others--pubs such as the Zine, Heaven's Library, the END, or one chapter of a new Word book every evening, or every other evening.
Planning Your Home's Spiritual Meals!
62.You could have the "Word worm" of your Home put together such a plan for the entire Home, which could be posted--a sort of "Recommended Reading List" of Letters, articles, etc., to read on the topic of the New Wine; or if there's nothing recent, just a topic that your Home decides to make a push on.
63.For example, if your Home decides to make a push on unity, someone in the Home could research the Letters, both new and old, on the topic, and make up a suggested reading schedule for the Home. You could then either read these Letters unitedly for your devotions, or privately during your Word/quiet times. But this way you'll have an idea of what you can read; you can follow some plan, some purpose, some goal. You'll all be "speaking the same thing," which means you can then share parts that spoke to you, or share lessons, or even choose to memorize key portions together as a Home. You can collect key quotes and make posters out of them to hang up in the bathrooms, or by your bedside. There are all kinds of things you can do to make the Word come alive to you personally, and for your Home, your children, your young people, your adults, your new disciples, your sheep, your contacts, your friends, even your landlord!
64.You could schedule one devotions a week where everyone can bring a quote or something from what they read that week that spoke to them, and share it with everyone. Or you could have a devotions where everyone pulls key quotes or promises from what you've read, so that they can be compiled to form a "Word Topic Sheet" that can be added to your library for quick and easy reference.
65.You could also do any of these things on a personal level with what you read. You could dedicate one of your days of Word time to compiling all the most pertinent quotes of that week, or copying a feeding prophecy section into your quote book or diary or computer, or you could do this on a day-to-day basis as you come across these things.
66.Then, of course, there are other things that can be factored into the equation. What you read could be determined by circumstances in your Home, such as having a special visitor come over, for example. In such a case, you could plan a study--either personally or as a Home--on topics such as "Use It," "Kings," or "Wise Witnessing." Or if an unexpected situation arises, such as an emergency, an accident, or a knock on the door, if you come before Me about these things, I can lead you to things to read about them as well. That way they can be lessons for everyone in the Home on the importance of staying close to Me, of prayerfulness, or whatever it is that I may be trying to speak to you about, whether as a Home or as an individual.
He Can Show You What to Read and When to Read It
67.But if you don't ask, I can't show you. If you're not seeking, you won't find. If you don't knock, the windows of Heaven won't be opened, and the blessings, answers, and solutions which are there for the taking won't be able to go anywhere or do you any good. But if you ask and seek and knock, I will answer and open the door to the realm of the Spirit and show you great and mighty things that you know not!
68.I can show you what to read and when to read it. I can give you a plan and tell you what to read on a day-to-day basis, as the Spirit leads, as the situation warrants, as I direct. But in either case, the key to all these things--your life, your love, your victory, your fruitfulness, your spiritual health and well-being, your ability to absorb the New Wine and flow with the latest revelations and revolutions of the Spirit--is the Word.
69.The key is My Word, My voice, My Spirit, for these are one, and they are Me. The more these things abide in you, the more I abide in you. And the more I abide in you, the more you will abide in Me, and so shall you bring forth much fruit! For without Me, you can do nothing. (End of message from Jesus.)
From Dad on Daily Word Time!--It's Your #1 Top Priority!
70.(Dad speaking:) You can't last long if you keep going at such a fast pace, pushing yourselves into the ground like you tend to do sometimes! If you're running yourselves into the ground and letting the pressures and the burdens and the weights build up, without getting away to have a little time with the Lord--and I mean on a regular basis--how do you expect to last for long? It's just not possible!
71.You can't keep going and going--taking care of all the needs of your Home, as well as your contacts, sheep, and new disciples on the line--and pouring out and pouring out to teach and train your children, maintain good communication in your marriage relationships and good unity in the Home, have good feeding devotions and inspiration times, as well as do your outreach and witnessing and raise the funds that are continually needed, without taking enough time every day to get washed!
72.No one can take that for long! You've got to stop and get refreshed and clean up! Just like you've gotta take a bath or a shower regularly or you're gonna stink, you've gotta shower your spirit. You need to stand under those refreshing waters and let'm clean out your pores. You've gotta get all spruced up and refreshed in spirit, just like you do in body, on a daily basis!
73.I know I wrote a whole Letter about dying daily, but at this rate you're gonna die out altogether--and before your time! That's exactly where you're headed if you don't take this seriously and have some kind of a drastic change! It's just humanly impossible to do your big jobs without taking time every day with the Lord--and with me, for that matter!
74.Oh, I know your intentions are good. You see the need and you're burdened for others--for your children and young people, for your contacts and sheep. The job is so big and you don't want to take a break. It's hard to pull away. You feel like you can't stop because there's too much to do--babies and pregnant moms to care for, your children's education, follow-up, outreach, CTP ministries, visa trips, house hunting, moving plans, and so many questions; there's this, that, and the other to tend to. Well, folks, there comes a point where you're gonna find you can't afford not to pull back. And if you're not getting time every day with the Lord and me, you'd better watch out!
75.Sure, some of you seem to be doing okay--you're scraping by and making it--but it won't last. It can't last, because the Lord didn't mean for it to be that way. He says, "Cast your burdens on Me, and I will sustain you." And if you're not taking the time with Him, you can't possibly be fully casting your burden on Him or allowing Him to sustain you as fully and completely as He would like to.
God Wants a Direct Line with You!
76.And I'll tell you all another thing, when it comes to your personal relationship with Him, God is not in the business of sustaining His children by proxy! Sure, there are times when He uses others to show you His love, or He'll speak through others to give you a personal message, but this does not take the place of the intimate and personal relationship He wants to have with each of His children--just the two of you. He's not in the business of loving you by proxy--through some kind of third-person relationship. He's not in the business of talking to you by proxy when He wants to have a direct line! He wants your full, undivided, personal attention, and He will not stand for anything else!
77. There is a time and a place for everything. The Lord will love you through another, and He'll often love others through you too--but He is not able to do this unless you get alone and spend time with Him first in rest and quietness, listening to His voice and allowing Him to fill you with His love and strength and everything else you need to do His will.
78.He made it that way because He knows you need it! He made you to need Him. He didn't intend for anyone to have to go it alone! The human body and human nature are not like that! You can't do it without God, and if you insist on trying, you're gonna fall flat on your faces sooner or later!
79.My God, look at history!Look at some of our own folks who tried to keep up such a strenuous schedule. They were good people. They had many talents. They loved the Lord and were dedicated, serving the Family faithfully. They did well at their work. They put in long hours and tended to the flocks of God. They appeared to be strong shepherds and leaders who were able to handle a lot of strain. But in the end, look what happened!--Because they forgot the most important thing.
80.They forgot to take that vital, essential time with the Lord and with me every day, until finally it caught up with'm. They appeared to be strong and they were talented people, but inside they were dying spiritually. Their light went out. They lost the fire and the vision and the strength they needed, until they were alienated from the very life of God itself.
81.If our folks are not spending time getting in touch with headquarters every day, they're not gonna last. It's as simple as that! If they're not gonna spend time listening to God and listening to God's prophet, they're not gonna get far! If our folks insist on missing their most important appointment of the day, that spells disaster--it's proven by history!
82.Honey, I know these folks have good intentions, but good intentions are not enough! Our missionaries are so dedicated, they really want to give their all. They see the need and hear the bleats of the sheep, and they want to do all they can to reach them with His love, God bless'm! But what everyone needs to realize is that if they don't stop and turn around and make their most important appointment of the day, in the long run they're really hurting the work of God!
83.Not only are they hurting themselves in that one day they're gonna lose steam, run out of gas,grind to a halt and break down to where they'll need a complete overhaul--or worse yet, even need to be thrown on the scrap heap--but all the while they're passing on this same bad sample to others--and this, in the long run, is hindering the work of God!
Others Partake of Your Spirit and Sample!
84.Our folks need to review what I said in that simple little Letter about morning prayer. The sheep partake of the shepherd's spirit, folks. Everyone in our Family is shepherding someone, and if you're a bad sample, you're passing that same bad sample right on down the line--whether it be to the children, our young people, the folks you're witnessing to and training to be disciples, or even your brothers and sisters, all of whom look to you and observe your sample. It might not seem obvious all the time, but they do.
85.And it's not only those times when the shepherd gets angry and impatient and out of sorts that the sheep partake of. In spirit, if you're not filling up on the Word on a daily basis, reading and tanking up, this is gonna be reflected in all you say and do. It's not always so outwardly obvious or something that meets the eye, but the spirit bears witness, and sooner or later you'll reap the results.
86.Whereas if you're pouring out and ministering from a full heart because you came down from the mountain that morning refreshed, clean, and emanating the Spirit of God--then this is gonna have a good, positive effect on those with whom you come in contact! All those around you partake of your spirit, and when your spirit is full of the Word of God, this is gonna have positive results! But, sad to say, if your spirit is full of worries, cares and burdens, this too is gonna flow out and affect all those you come in contact with. And that's what your spirit will impart, even though you smile on the outside.
87.You might say and do a lot of the right things, andyou might be kind and even be able to spread a little love, but because you're not able to get fresh daily vision, because you're heavy-hearted and pressed with burdens, because you didn't take a nice invigorating shower and get all cleaned up--even though somehow you're able to keep up good appearances, nevertheless, that busy, somewhat heavy, burdensome spirit is still there in the atmosphere around you.
88.You simply cannot serve and minister to others from an empty shell! And if you're operating "business as usual" with little fresh inspiration from On High, so will those around you. It's in the atmosphere around you. Something is a little stiff, a little dry, because you didn't have that time for the Lord and the Word; you didn't stop to get refreshed from On High. You can be preaching all the right sermons, you can be saying all the right words, but if your life and your actions are not sparked with that fresh input and inspiration from Heaven every day, it's all a bunch of hot air!
89.Sure, I know you have to take care of the Home, the children, the outreach and the many affairs of the Lord's business. But there's a marked difference between starting off your day in that sweet communion with the Lord and allowing Him to carry you through the business of His Kingdom, and going day after day and only catching the Lord for a hallway hit-up here and there! If that's all you're getting, you'll be missing out on that spark, that pep, and zest that enables you to zip through your work and perform your ministry with effortless ease and really connect with others and inspire them along the way! You're simply not going to be able to be a good representative of the Boss if you're not sitting in the conference room with Him every day.
Daily Word Time Should Be Automatic!
90.For goodness sake, I made daily Word time mandatory years ago! It's never changed! This is one of the fundamental basic spiritual principles of God! This is my law--something I laid down from the beginning--don't miss your daily appointment with the Lord and MO!
91.There's so much already written in the Bible and in my Letters about the Word--the importance of the Word, the necessity of the Word, what the Word will do for you, how you can't live without it! So what I want to know is, if the Lord has put so much importance on His Word and if I have put so much importance on the Word, then why is this even an issue?
92.Whether or not our folks need to have daily Word time or mandatory Word time shouldn't even be a question! This should be as automatic as eating breakfast, lunch or dinner, or going to the toilet, or drinking a glass of water, folks!--And it's certainly more important! Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the Words that proceed from the mouth of God!
You Can't Afford Not to Take This Time!
93.Okay, I know, I know--the fact is, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. It sounds good, I know. It's easy to say you've gotta get this time every day, but you're thinking, "Easier said than done!" And what you wanna know is how this holds true when held up to reality and the cold, hard facts.
94.I know our folks are just plain busy! The laborers are few. There's not enough personnel, not enough finances, not enough hours in the day to get all the things done they need to do. And here the Lord asks'm to do this and that, and the work seems to increase all the time. There are just so many things to do, details to take care of, and it's just plain hard work tending tables and working out in the wings.
95.It's true--there's lots to be done--but I'm gonna throw this one right back in your laps! You don't see how you can possibly take more time in the Word and in listening to Heaven when there's so much to do and so few to do it, but here we go round and round again, because this is precisely the point!--And that is, that because you have so much to do, you cannot possibly afford to not take this time! How many times does the Lord have to say it? All these things that are presenting the problems--personnel, finances, the time needed to do this or that--if you'll just put first things first, you're gonna find, much to your amazement, that all these other things will work out a lot smoother.
96.This is God's work! This is God's business! This is God's Family! Don't you think He's going to take care of it? Does anyone think they can do a better job than God? Don't you think He's more interested in getting all the work accomplished than you are? How does everyone think they're gonna be able to go about the work of the day if they don't spend some time in conference with the Boss? Are our folks making appointment after appointment and running themselves ragged to meet deadlines, but forgetting their most important appointment and their most essential deadline of all? If they don't make this one vital deadline and meeting with the Lord, they might find out that they're gonna be dead ducks!
97.What's wrong with this picture here? I don't care what else folks need to tend to; if they're not keeping the most important appointment of the day, they're gonna fall flat on their faces! Oh, you got me going on this one, but I'm trying to help folks see that this is a life-and-death situation! And it's gonna be their life and their death if something's not done about it now!
If You Love the Lord and the Word, What's Keeping You from Them?
98.All right now, I could point the finger here and say that you read the Word as much as you believe the Word. Or I could ask our folks to show me what they're spending their time doing all day, and then I'd tell'm what they believe in. But I'm not gonna do that, because for the most part, I see that our folks are well-meaning and I know that their intentions are good. But, beloved, good intentions are not good enough!
99.I know for the most part that in their hearts, these folks really want this time with the Lord. They wish they could have that time, and they wish everybody else could have that time too. It sounds good, it looks good, they know they need it, but they just don't know how to get it and still be able to do all the other things they think they have to do.
100.They truly and sincerely want to serve the Lord and the Family to the best of their ability, but their job is too big, too hard for human hands. This is true of most all of our folks, whether they're a traveling shepherd, Home teamwork member, office worker, or one of our elite front-line soldiers!
101.I know for the most part that our folks would like to have that time with the Lord every day, and when they do get away and get some time to rest and relax and read, they're very thankful. So it's not necessarily that folks don't want this time. Well, if this is the case, then what's stopping them?
102.They say they have so much important work to do, but I'd like to put this question to each and every Family member: What is so important that it's stopping you folks from having enough Word time? What are you doing that's keeping you from having at least some time in the Word and in prayer every single day? You're living to carry out the Lord's business, but you're too busy to make your appointment with the top Boss every day. What's keeping you from making that appointment with the King of kings, and with your King David, and your Queen Maria and King Peter--God's anointed for today?
103.If the Word is the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, what on Earth could possibly be keeping you away from it? You say you've got problems? You say you need answers? You need solutions? Yet you don't have time for a conference with the Solution Man, the Problem Solver! If the Word is the key to every door, the secret to every mystery, if it's power and victory and light and life, what in Heaven's name could hold you back from taking this time?
Your Number 1 Priority Is Listening to Him!
104.I think it's a matter of priorities, really. That's what we're talkin' about here. You say, "But, Dad, we're busy with all the top priorities that the Lord Himself has given us!" Believe me, if the Lord has given you those priorities, then He will provide the time for you to meet each one. I don't doubt the Lord has given you a good number of priorities, but you've got to prioritize your priorities, and among them all, the number one priority is listening to Him! Your daily appointment with Him and listening to His mouthpiece, His chosen leadership for today, is top of the list!
105.This is surer than the laws of physics, folks: If you want the Lord's blessing in your daily lives, if you want to prosper, if you want His protection and His provision, if you want to reach the goals that He's put before you, you've got to listen to Him daily! You can't fudge on that daily appointment with Him. Don't neglect that time, because without it you'll falter, you'll crumble, and you'll soon faint under the weight of all you have to do--instead of letting Him carry you along with the greatest of ease! If you neglect that conference time with Him every day, you'll not have the counsel and strength you need to make all your other deadlines and knock all those other priorities off your list!
Break the Vicious Cycle!
106.Honey, you and Peter are bringing this question up, and you've been burdened for our shepherds and Family members for some time now. It's burdening you in an even greater way now that we have so many young people branching out and trying to fill the need as VSs. You see the great need they have to take time to stop and refuel, to get filled up, so they'll have the strength to keep going, and so they can get cleansed and renew their vision, and have their wounds tended to before they go into the next battle.
107.And your concerns are very legitimate, because there are wounds and there will yet be wounds, and they need to be tended to. If you don't dress and tend to the wound when it's minor, if you don't properly care for the bumps and bruises, the breaks and sprains and cuts of the battle, you run the risk of those wounds becoming infected and spreading poison to other body parts. Tending to the wounded is a part of every war, and time to recoup and regain strength is imperative in any man's army.
108.So I understand your concerns. You just don't see how they're gonna be able to make it and last much longer if they don't have this time. Well, Honey, you're absolutely right. Your hunches are right. They've got to get this time, and it's a life-and-death situation!
109.It's a cycle, and right now it's a vicious cycle. And to break the cycle, it's got to start from the top and filter down. It's an age-old battle and it will continue to be a fight, simply because Satan doesn't like our folks to have this time, and he's gonna always fight tooth-and-toenail to the end to try to get in and distract our folks and steal away this time. He's always gonna be right there trying to cause trouble, flat tires, breakdowns, emergencies, distractions, getting folks busy with a little here and a little there, until their time dwindles away and slips right out of their reach forever. Time wasted today is gone forever, folks!
110.It's an ongoing battle, so I think what you're gonna have to do to break the cycle is to go on an all-out attack! Our folks have got to see it as an attack to begin with, and declare war! Make a united effort on all fronts! Join hand in hand and arm in arm, and turn this trend around!
111.People's mindsets have got to change! They've got to realize that this is the number one priority! They've got to see that their number one, top-priority appointment every day needs to be their time with the Lord! Everyone ask themselves what's more important than that. Who is more important than that? What are they doing that is more important than their audience with the King of kings?
112.If you have too much to do, and you think you just can't possibly make room for all the priorities that the Lord has given you to do, there must be something wrong somewhere--but it's not with God! You must not have your top priorities set straight! I can guarantee that if you just get back to setting your top priority right up there where it should be, all the other things you think you have to do will fall into place, and the Lord will help you to tend to all the other business. That way you'll get more done of the things that the Lord really wants you to do, and you'll make fewer mistakes along the way.
To Be Successful, Take Time with the Lord!
113.The Lord Himself has made daily Word time mandatory, so if you want to be successful, you'd better take that time! It's simply a law of God! If you want to prosper, if you want to be blessed, if you want power and plenty and provision--then you'd better keep His law. If you want all these things in your life, then I'd suggest all our folks--CROs, VSs, and every Family member--keep this daily appointment at all costs! I suggest you put it at the top of your list above all other things you think you need to do. [See Josh.1:8; Job 23:12b; Psa.119:97; John 8:31, 14:23; Col.3:16; 1Tim.4:15.]
114.If in our busy Homes it seems impossible with so many kids, lack of personnel, and pressing things that need to get done--fundraising, meeting deadlines and so on--then I suggest you take a look at your priorities, for one, and then look at your scheduling. Where there's a will there's a way! You're not about to miss a meal very often, are you? You're not about to miss going to the toilet or sleeping--those things that are vital to living. Why, then, could you even consider missing this time with the Lord? Well, I know why, because the Enemy fights, and he's always right there, like I said, to sidetrack, delay, and so on.
115.But let this be the official sound of the trumpet here! There's nothing more important than your time with the Lord, and if you ignore that time, you're gonna be sorry! You're gonna find yourself in a real fix!
116.So how about it? If you think it can't be done, check your priorities! Check your scheduling. Go over your hourly schedules and see what you have on there that you can knock down on the list, or knock off altogether. The Lord has been emphasizing the importance of striking a balance in all things, so you can apply this to every area. Change things around if you have to. Take turns if you have to. Alternate responsibilities so that everyone is getting their quota of Word time every day. Set quotas! Be open! Be flexible! Experiment! Set goals! Make it a priority!
117.The Lord Himself made it a prerequisite for happy, healthy and fruitful living! It's His law of prosperity! Make it sacred! Make it untouchable! Make it sacrosanct [set apart as sacred; inviolable]! Make it indispensable! Make it imperative! Make it everyone's job! And by all means, at all costs, make it happen! Do it!
Make It the In Thing!
118.If our busy shepherds and those in leadership are having a hard time stopping and getting enough quiet time with the Lord, maybe they need to lead the way and start a new trend in the Family! If they get everybody following suit and into the same groove, everyone will be doing it, and folks will be more sympathetic towards those who are having their "untouchable" time!
119.Get on the bandwagon and make it the fashion! Get on fire with a renewed Word revolution in your lives, and see others catch on! Make it the new "in thing!" Get on the bandwagon together! Declare Word time as sacred time! If the whole Home can't take it together while other work needs to continue on, or different ones have to follow different schedules for one reason or another--be respectful of those who are having their top-priority appointment with the Boss! Be mindful, be respectful, and make it easy for others to be good.
First Things First!
120.Try different ways to get it.Try different times. Adjust your schedules according to the situation and the need. We've already published a variety of ways and ideas that you can make Word time work--now all you've gotta do is make it happen by putting it on the top of your list! (See FSM 276, "Seeking His Treasures.")
121.It could be that a lot of time gets wasted in our Homes just as a matter of logistics. If it's not quiet enough in our busy Homes for people to get away and take some time with the Lord, why not designate an area for this and make it off-limits to noise and disturbances? If that's easier said than done, stretch your faith a little and see how you can adjust things to accommodate this dire need. If the need is there, the answer is there! God is not limited! If our folks show Him that they're serious about taking this time daily, He's going to provide the means! Let me tell you, if our folks want to get something done, they will do it!
122.Everyone needs to ask themselves: "What am I doing that's more important than meeting this appointment every day?" I'm all for knocking off and having free time and relaxation too. But if you're not getting a proper balance in all the things that you need, you might need to revamp your activities. How many movies are folks watching a week? If they're watching two, three, or more movies a week, but they're not getting a good, solid chunk of time in the Word on a regular basis, I'd say something's off somewhere.
123.Don't get me wrong, I'm for fun! But I'm also for first things first! And if you're having trouble getting this time, take a good, hard look at your schedule and see what other activities are crowding out your important time with the King of kings!
A Minimum of 1½ Hours Daily
124.I'd say the bare minimum of daily Word time for any Family member should be one-and-a-half hours a day--although the preferred would be two hours as much as possible. But one-and-a-half should be the minimum--be it united devotions, private reading and prayer time, or a combination of the two--either all in one shot or divided up in two sessions.
125.As our folks get more accustomed to allowing the Lord to enter in more to every part of their lives, they'll find it will get easier to have this time as well. As they begin to set their priorities straight, they'll wonder how on Earth they ever were able to survive without it!
126.One last point here--this is not to say you will never ever have any exceptional times when you might miss your requirement. I'm not saying this will never come up, but those days ought to be few and far between. Occasionally there might be a day or two where you're hardly able to get any Word time, but this should be the exception, not the rule. It should not go on day after day after day.
127.Even if our leadership who are traveling from Home to Home have to consider spending an extra half day,or possibly a whole day in some Homes, you might want to pray about it and consider it. In the long run, it might be worth it. For one, it might be the last time you get around to visit that Home for quite a while; and two, it will not only be setting the right sample and teaching others to take this vital time as well, but it will be doing you all a lot of good. First things first! What better sample could you give those folks you visit than to get in the Word, even if you have to spend more time in each Home?
128.Get into the Word with them--do it together! You don't always have to hide away alone in your room for your Word time. Of course, everyone needs that time alone with the Lord sometimes, but be open! Don't get in ruts! Get variety! But whatever you do, get that Word! Find what works and do it! Get those priorities straight, and you're gonna find everything else will fall into place.
129.Think about the Word! Talk about the Word! Breathe the Word! Talk the Word! Think the Word! Center your conversations around the Word! Live for the Word! And above all, get it in! Drink it in! Swim in it! Revel in it! Let it lead you! Let it guide you! Let it thrill you! Let it work for you! Let it carry you! Believe it! Hear it! Receive it! Read it! Do it! Get it!
130.That's my two cents on the subject! If you want to be able to reach your goals and knock those things off your to-do list, then don't miss out on your top-priority appointment first and foremost! If you want prosperity and provision and protection and success, don't neglect your time with the Answer Man or with His Word--otherwise you'll end up in confusion, frustration and defeat!
131.You've just gotta do it! I know you can. The Family can do anything they put their mind and heart to. It's just a matter of priorities! And you might need a little organizational help, but the Lord's got plenty of that. If you pray and ask Him, He'll show you how to work it all out. I think this is the real crux of the matter. Set your priorities straight. Pray and get organized and schedule the Word at the top of your list! Love, Dad
This Is a Realistic Goal!
132.P.S. Do you think that Martin Luther's example of doubling his time with the Lord when the work doubled was just a clever anecdote, or something that sounded good to say or do? Was it just some story that would tickle everyone's ears down through history or inspire them with how holy Luther was? No, this was a down-to-earth example of someone who obeyed the Lord and got double done because he spent double time with the Lord! This is a story with skin on the bones! This is real, and it's not just a nice story.
133.When I say that the problems are just too big, the battles are too heavy, the war is getting hotter and hotter, and you folks need to take more time in the Word, I'm not exaggerating or just using pretty words, or getting hot under the collar about nothing! I mean what I say, and I'm very serious about this!
134.As you know, things are not getting easier. The End is drawing closer by the day, and don't you think that it stands to reason that we should increase our ammo too, since the Devil is pulling out his big guns? We need more strength and more power to win the battles and go from strength to strength. So doesn't it seem logical to you that an increased amount of Word time would be in order?
135.If you folks aren't willing to trust the Lord and to obey His command to take this time with Him and in His Word, then you're going to fall flat on your faces! You're not going to last long, because you won't have the strength to go on. And if you don't have a mandatory Word time, then it's just human nature to do the least, to take the easy way out, to do the minimum.
136.The standing amount of Word time was put in the Charter in hopes that people would not just hang on the minimum line, but that they would go over and above the bare necessities for survival. But human nature creeps in and that lethargic spirit takes over.
137.It is realistic for you folks to take this amount of Word time. When you look at it in the physical, it seems impossible because you have so much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it all. But this is where you're way off track. This is where you've gone wrong. You're looking at things through the eyes of the flesh rather than through the eyes of the spirit. The Lord promises that if you take ample time in His Word, loving Him and receiving His seeds, then you will be able to accomplish even more.
138.You're afraid to step out and try it because you aren't trusting the Lord. You're too scared to step out on the limb and saw it off. The ironic thing is, though, that the Lord is standing there ready to catch you and take you to heights that you've never known before! All it takes is a little trust, obedience, and putting faith into action.
139.It's not unrealistic to require this of you, because the Word is a vital part of our lives and it will become even more imperative in the days to come! Things are getting hotter and tougher, and it only stands to reason that we also need to up our intake of Word. Come on, who are you kidding, anyway? You need the Word! It's your lifeline, it's your strength, it's your energy, it's your inspiration, it's your very life!
140.Maybe you won't perfectly hit this mark, but at least it's something to strive for and press towards. If we shoot for the stars, we'll at least hit the ceiling--which is much better than how things stand at the moment. If you aren't willing to take this time out of your busy schedules for Word and prayer, then you're eventually going to die on the vine and fall off through lack of nourishment and sap. If you don't receive enough nutrition, minerals, and goodness through the sap, it's just a matter of time before you'll drop off the tree. It's a matter of science; it's a fact of life.
141.If you want to stand strong, if you want to make it, if you want to continue on for the Lord, if you want to be all that the Lord wants you to be, if you want to overcome your problems, if you want unity, if you want love, if you want inspiration, if you want power, if you want stamina--then you're just going to have to take this time with the Lord, like it or not!
142.I've given some nice talks about the importance of the Word before, in hopes that you would get the point, sit up and take note and change things, but I haven't seen any drastic changes. So now I have to bring the message a little closer to home, a little closer to reality. I'm having to give some guidelines, advice, stipulations and blocks of time, so that you'll know exactly what the goal is and what the Lord's requiring of you.
143.I'm sorry, folks, but we're going to have to make this a rule! No, I'm not sorry, because I know this is going to be your salvation! But you say, "Dad, some people might not be able to handle this, and we'll lose them!" Well, I'm telling you, I'd rather lose some of you over this rule than not to make the rule and lose most of you because you're not getting the input you need. We're going to be praying that you folks will have the faith to put this into practice, because if you do, it'll be a lifesaver for you--a real spiritual boost in the lives of each and every one of you!
Why We're Making This Time a Requirement
144.P.P.S. Let's everybody get down to business right away and start taking more Word time! I want you all to hurry up, and I want you all to slow down! I want you all to hurry up and start taking the quality Word time that you need, and to slow down and spend more time with the Lord!
145.A person does not naturally desire the Word; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. It's a fight to get that constant spiritual feeding. The flesh fights against it and thinks of all kinds of excuses why it doesn't have time for it, doesn't need it, can operate without it, and is just too busy for it. Few people really love the Word enough or value and appreciate it enough. This is why rules and laws are so important in getting people to do what they're supposed to do.
146.Now there are always disadvantages down the line to putting an emphasis on the Word and taking time in the Word. There's always the spirit of self-righteousness that can creep in--who's better than who, who's more spiritual than who. This has been one of the problems in the churches--spiritual pride. There's also a disadvantage and potential problem of people putting so much emphasis on feeding themselves that they don't feed the sheep, which is their most important job--witnessing, preaching the Gospel, getting out, dying daily, ministering to the needy, and getting those souls saved.
147.Those are some of the pitfalls--but we can't let them stop us. If we don't take this vital time in the Word and with the Lord, everything else is eventually going to grind to a halt, including our most important job of witnessing! So it's a need! It's a necessity! It's not just a nice thing to do, but it's something that our spiritual well-being depends on!
148.Human nature is such that if we don't make it a requirement and we don't all do it, then it just doesn't get done. I'm trying to emphasize how important it is for each of you to take that time with the Lord.
149.I'm not talking about turning into a bunch of monks and our Homes becoming monasteries where everybody's sitting in their room praying meaningless prayers or daydreaming or spacing out. I'm talking about inspired Word, prayer, prophecy, praise, singing, speaking in tongues--all the many varieties of ways that the Lord has given us to love and worship Him! Of course, if it becomes a legalistic law where shepherds are holding long, boring meetings, then it's going to have a negative effect rather than feeding each person the spiritual strength and inspiration that they need to do their important work.
150.Concerning the time requirement, if you figure it out, an hour-and-a-half a day is not too much to askwhen you take everything into consideration--the united devotions, the praise time, the personal reading, the time that you spend hearing from the Lord in prayer, the time that you spend reading Bible stories with your children, and the time that you have Word classes with the JETTs or the teens, reading the new GNs with them or teaching them about the Endtime. If you keep track and total these things up at the end of the day, you'll see that an hour-and-a-half is not too much to ask!
CROs, VSs and Others Need Even More Time!
151.I've also suggested that the leaders and shepherds--the CROs and VSs and any others who find themselves in positions of heavy responsibility, whether they're shepherds and teamworkers in a large or busy Home, or perhaps those who work on outreach day after day, or those who constantly minister to outsiders, or ABMs or other overseers who are constantly pouring out to others--take a longer time of three hours twice a week, or half a day, besides their regular quiet time on other days, because they have an extremely arduous task of constantly hearing about problems, bearing burdens, pouring out and ministering. Their ministry and job requires them to constantly give and give and give. It's necessary that they spend this time in the Word because their spiritual inner selves are being depleted, and they don't even realize the devastating effect, the constant wear and tear on their spiritual bodies and their spiritual condition that this constant ministry has on them.
152.Not until too far down the line do they realize what a deplorable spiritual state they've gotten themselves into, all because they didn't take the time to replenish and restore their resources. Those in positions of responsibility need that extra time because it's a constant spiritual fight--they've got to be feeding the flock, ministering to their underlings, praying and counseling and hearing from the Lord.
153.This may not be necessary for the deacons of the church whose jobs are in the physical and who don't have to make a lot of decisions, or have a lot of the pressures and responsibilities. They've either been called to or they've chosen a ministry that's not as spiritually taxing on them. Therefore there isn't as great a need that they take this additional time to be replenished and revitalized, restored and renewed with the spiritual Word that others in places of responsibility need.
154.I know it's difficult to make these things required rules and laws--and if you can think of a better way to get people to do it, more power to you! But it seems to me they've just got to do it!Even the ones that don't think they need it have got to do it. That's why I said to make it a requirement for every Family member. (Note: Charter amendment coming soon, God willing, but you can start taking more Word time now!)
155.I know that asking our busy CROs and VSs and others to spend extra time twice a week, three hours a day instead of one-and-a-half, is a lot to ask. But those that are constantly pouring out and ministering are going to find that they need it if they're going to survive.--And they can get it, even if, rather than sitting with and counseling some of their people that are having problems, they sit there and read the Word with them and count that as their own Word time.
156.The thing that this revolution is going to do is cause people to look to the Lord and His Word more, because they're required to, they have to. In other words, we're enforcing it and saying that they have to do it. It's not only going to get them to spend more time in the Word, but it's also going to get them to spend more time hearing from the Lord, because hearing from the Lord is also part of their quiet time. If they're tired of reading, then they can listen to the Lord. Ask Him to talk to'm, speak to'm, and record it--write it down or type it out!
This Family Was Built on the Word and Thrives on the Word!
157.Good night! If they have half-an-hour of devotions, 15 minutes of praise time, half-an-hour of personal reading, and 15 minutes of hearing from the Lord, that's an hour-and-a-half daily! I think they'll see very quickly that an hour-and-a-half is not too much to ask. I'll bet you anything that the Homes that are already doing this are the Homes that are not only surviving but thriving, and that the Lord is blessing and they have fruitful ministries!
158.This Family was born on the Word--reading the Word, memorizing the Word, teaching the Word! It was a constant part of our diet. But it was alive and it was fresh and it was new, and that's what it has to be. It can't be boring meetings or long classes--it's gotta be inspired teaching, inspired reading, inspired absorbing, and inspired living of the Word if it's gonna work! Otherwise, it'll just become a ritual, and this law of God will become of no effect if it's not applied and done in the spirit.
159.So, Honey, I get fired up about things, I get hot under the collar, but if I hadn't laid down the law and been a tough commanding officer, we never would have gotten anything done! There's always an excuse why people can't witness, there's always an excuse why they can't go to the mission field, and there's always an excuse why they can't get in the Word, but I get tired of excuses! So that's why I say, just do it! (End of message from Dad.)
HOW TO HAVE A MEANINGFUL QUIET TIME DFO [GN789]
Excerpts from 12 Dynamic Bible Study Methods by Richard Warren, Victor Books
The regular quiet time during Jesus' ministry was a source of His strength. Personal fellowship with His Father in Heaven was the top priority of Jesus' life (see Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 22:39-44). He was never too busy for it; in fact, when His ministry was the busiest, that's when He made certain that He kept in daily touch with the Father. If Jesus needed this time with God, how much more we need it.
Every great man or woman of God throughout history has spent much time alone with God. Anyone who has ever been used mightily by the Lord was a man or woman of the Word and prayer. Regular quiet time was the one thing they had in common. The common denominator between Moses, David, Daniel, Paul, Calvin, Wesley, Finney, Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham, and all of the great saints of history is that they all spent much time with God in personal fellowship. Their writings and ministries clearly show this.
Someone has said, "If you want to find out what a man is really like, find out what he is like alone with God." Martin Luther, the father of the Reformation, once said, "I have so much to do today that I must spend at least three hours in prayer." The busier he was, the more time he needed with God. If you're too busy to have a quiet time, then you're too busy!
"But I don't have the time!" is an excuse we hear so often. Every person in the world has exactly the same amount of time each week--168 hours--and you will spend some of those hours on things you think are important. You don't have time for everything; you must make time for things that really count. It's not a matter of time, but a matter of priorities. What is really important to you?
The key to making time for the quiet time is your commitment to Christ and the Kingdom of God. Jesus stated, "Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Mat.6:33). Put God first in your life and you will have more time. Don't let anything rob you of that time of fellowship with the Lord. Preserve it at all costs. If Jesus Christ is first in your life, you ought to give Him the first part of every day. Your quiet time should be the absolute number one priority commitment of your life.
One privilege of the quiet time is for us to get direction from God for our daily lives. This was David's attitude in life: "Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long" (Psa. 25:4-5; see also Psa.73:24; 143:10). The quiet time is a great opportunity to receive counsel from the Lord.
In this fast-paced age of hurry, we need a time when we can slow down, collect our thoughts, evaluate what is happening around us, and get direction from the One Who knows the end from the beginning. It has been said that all the troubles of man arise from his inability to sit still. On a number of occasions Jesus invited His disciples to "come apart" with Him for a while that they might recuperate physically and spiritually. In this modern day and age, if you don't "come apart" periodically, you will literally come apart! It is also interesting to note in the Gospels that often Jesus explained His teachings to the disciples when they were alone with Him (see Mark 4:34).
Also, the quiet time is a time to commit our day to the Lord. Solomon urged, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Pro.3:5-6; see also Psa.37:5). Ask God to show you His will for the day; commit your schedule to Him and ask the Lord to guide you in the upcoming activities. You might even ask Him to help you budget your time so you can get more done (see Psa.90:12). Ask Him to help you sort out the necessary from the unnecessary (see 1Cor.10:23).
It is only as you are in touch with the Lord daily that you will see life's problems and opportunities from the right perspective. Only through your meeting with Him will He be able to guide your life more effectively. One of the most important requests you can make while committing your day to the Lord is to ask Him to prepare and direct your witnessing opportunities that day.
In order to get to know someone intimately and to enjoy him personally, you must …
* Spend quality time with him.
* Communicate meaningfully with him.
* Observe him in a variety of situations.
These same criteria apply in getting to know and enjoy God too. Remember that it is hard to have a love affair in a crowd; you need to get alone with that one person. That's why the Bible speaks of our relationship with God through Christ as a love relationship. In fact, it is called a marriage--He is the Bridegroom and we in the church are His bride.
Are you anxious to get alone and share intimately with Jesus? If not, you should be. Make it your goal to meet Jesus in your quiet time; not just to learn about Him, but actually to meet with Him. Expect to meet Him each morning, for He's there waiting to meet with you!
Sometimes we get so busy working for God or with our own affairs that we forget just to love Him. God once said through His prophet, "Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number" (Jer.2:32). We particularly forget God when we fail to read the love letter He has written to us--the Bible.
How to Have a Meaningful Time with God
If we are convinced that a quiet time is needed in our lives, then how do we go about having one? We may become motivated to do it, but may not know how. We need to consider four essential elements of a good quiet time:
* Start with the proper attitudes.
* Select a specific time.
* Choose a special place.
* Follow a simple plan.
Start with the Proper Attitudes
In God's eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do. On one occasion God told Samuel, "The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1Sam.16:7). It is quite possible to do the right thing, but with the wrong attitude. This was Amaziah's problem, for "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly" (2Chr.25:2).
Select a Specific Time
The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best. Give God the best part of your day--when you are the freshest and most alert. Don't try to serve God with your leftovers (leftover time). Remember too that your best time may be different from someone else's.
For most of us, however, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus' Own practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father. "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" (Mark 1:35).
In the Bible, many Godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these were:
* Abraham--Genesis 19:27
* Job--Job 1:5
* Jacob--Genesis 28:18
* Moses--Exodus 34:4
* Hannah and Elkanah--1Samuel 1:19
* David--Psalms 5:3; 57:7-8
(See also Psa.143:8; Isa.26:9.)
Throughout church history many Christians who were used most by God met with Him early in the morning. Hudson Taylor said, "You don't tune up the instruments after the concert is over. That's stupid. It's logical to tune them up before you start."
The great revival among British college students in the late 19th century began with those historic words: "Remember the Morning Watch!" So we need to tune ourselves up at the start of each day as we remember the Morning Watch.
If Jesus is really in first place in our lives, we ought to give Him the first part of our day. We are to seek His Kingdom first (see Mat.6:33). Doctors tell us that the most important meal of the day is breakfast. It often determines our energy levels, alertness, and even moods for the day. Likewise, we need a "spiritual breakfast" to start our day off right.
Finally, in the morning our minds are uncluttered from the day's activities. Our thoughts are fresh, we're rested, tensions have not yet come on us, and it's usually the quietest time. One mother sets her alarm clock for 4 A.M., has her quiet time, goes back to bed, and then rises when everyone else in the household gets up. Her explanation is that with kids around the house all day, early morning is the only time when it's quiet and she can be alone with God. It works for her; you need to select a time that will work for you.
You might even consider having two quiet times (morning and night). Dawson Trotman, founder of The Navigators, used to have code letters for his night quiet time--H.W.L.W. Whenever he was with a group of people at night or home with his wife and the conversation seemed to be ending, he would say, "All right, H.W.L.W.," after which a passage of Scripture would be quoted without comment and all would go to sleep. H.W.L.W. stood for "His Word the Last Word," and he practiced that through the years as a way of ending a day with one's thoughts fixed on the Lord (Betty Lee Skinner, Daws, Zondervan, p.103).
Stephen Olford, a great Christian and minister in New York for many years, said, "I want to hear the voice of God before I hear anyone else's in the morning, and His is the last voice I want to hear at night."
David and Daniel even met with the Lord three times each day (see Psa.55:17; Dan.6:10).
Whatever time you set, be consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. Make a date with Jesus! Then look forward to it and don't stand Him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with Him and keep it at all costs.
The question is often asked, "How much time should I spend with the Lord in the morning?" This is a matter that should be decided between you and the Lord. If you've never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with seven minutes (Robert D. Foster, Seven Minutes with God, NavPress) and let it grow naturally. After all, you were created to have fellowship with God, and there are 168 hours available during any given week. Here are some additional guidelines:
* You must grow in this relationship as you do in any other. So begin with a consistent time and let it grow; it's better to be consistent with a short time than inconsistent with a long time.
* Don't watch the clock. Clock-watching can ruin your quiet time faster than almost anything else. Decide what you can do in the Word and prayer during the time you have selected; then do it. Sometimes it will take longer than you have set aside, and sometimes less time. But don't keep looking at your watch.
* Emphasize quality, not quantity. It's what you do during your time--15 minutes or two hours or anything in between--that's important. Aim for a quality relationship with the Lord.
Choose a Special Place
The location, where we have our quiet times, is also important. The Bible indicates that Abraham had a regular place where he met with God (Gen.19:27). Jesus had a custom of praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. "Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him" (Luke 22:39).
Your place ought to be a secluded place. This is a place where you can be alone, where it's quiet, and where you will not be disturbed or interrupted. In today's noisy Western world, this may take some ingenuity, but it is necessary. It ought to be a place …
* where you can pray aloud without disturbing others.
* where you have good lighting for reading (a desk, perhaps).
* where you are comfortable. (If possible, try not to have your quiet time in bed. That may be too comfortable!)
Your place ought to be a special place. Wherever you decide to meet with the Lord, make it a special place for you and Him. As the days go by, that place will come to mean a lot to you because of the wonderful times you have there with Jesus.
You don't have to be in a church building to have quiet time. People have had their quiet times in their cars parked in a quiet place, in an empty closet at home, in their backyards, and even in a baseball dugout.
Follow a Simple Plan
Someone has said, "If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!" To have a meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to follow. The main rule is this: Keep your plan simple. Don't let it detract from your time with Christ.
Some Closing Thoughts
* Vary your plan. From time to time change your methods. Don't fall into the trap of performing a method instead of getting to know Christ.
* Spend a whole quiet time in thanksgiving. Sometimes when prayer seems hard and heavy, spend your time just thanking God for Who He is and what He has done. Psalm 145 is a good example of that--the psalmist asked nothing for himself. Or just sing some songs of praise to God.
* At times you may want to spend your whole quiet time memorizing Scripture and letting God speak to you in this special and challenging way.
* Remember your main purpose--to get to know Christ. Don't let your quiet time become a legalistic exercise in "doing your duty." Remember that you are there to meet Jesus and to get to know Him.
How to Deal with Common Problems in Your Quiet Time
As soon as you start a quiet time or even commit yourself to having one regularly, you will encounter problems and difficulties. Why? Because Satan will fight you tooth and nail to keep you from your daily meeting with the Lord. He hates nothing more than a Christian getting down to business with God, because he knows that such believers are dangerous to his kingdom of darkness. We want to deal with four of the most common problems:
* The problem of self-discipline
* The problem of dry spells
* The problem of concentration
* The problem of discouragement
The Problem of Self-discipline
Perhaps one of the greatest and most common problems you will face is the discipline of getting out of bed in the morning to have the quiet time. It is the "Battle of the Blankets," which faces you the moment you wake up, and has to do with the question, "Am I going to get out of bed to have a quiet time?"
The Devil will exaggerate to you about how tired you are, and when the Devil and the flesh team up, it really takes work to get out of bed.
The Problem of Dry Spells
Another common problem of those who have just started having quiet times is that they don't seem to get much out of them. It has become the "Battle of the Blahs" with them. This difficulty may be overcome by realizing that they can never judge their quiet time by their emotions. Emotions may lie; feelings may come and go. So they shouldn't depend on their feelings. If they only have a quiet time when they "feel" like it, the Devil will make sure they never feel like it.
Yes, some days will seem rather bland. On other days you will think that Heaven has opened up and you're part of the innumerable angelic host, singing praises to God. So don't expect to have a great and glorious "experience" every morning. As Billie Hanks says, "It's hard to get spiritual goose bumps in the morning."
The Problem of Concentration
Once you've won the two previous battles, the Devil will attack you by sending many distractions along the way. You will now have to fight the "Battle of the Brain," for your mind will try to wander in all directions during the quiet time. You will be bothered by noises, lack of sleep, poor lighting, tensions with others, worry, and a million other things that you "just can't forget." Here are some suggestions for conquering this problem:
* Be sure you're thoroughly awake. Take a shower, splash cold water on your face, or do some exercises.
* Read and pray aloud.
* Walk while praying. You will not fall asleep standing up, so move around.
* Keep a notebook handy. When you're reminded of something else, write it down and come back to it after your quiet time. Then you won't have to worry about forgetting it.
The Problem of Discouragement
By far your greatest problem will be your struggle to stick with your morning quiet time. Nothing is more difficult to maintain regularly--for the world, the flesh, and the Devil will work together to keep you from it. When pressures mount and you find that you have too many things to do, what are you usually tempted to drop first? The most important thing--your quiet time.
Satan's most vicious attacks will come in the area of being diligent in your quiet time. He knows that if he can keep you out of the Word, then he has defeated you. If he can keep you from spending quality time with the Lord at the start of a day, then he's won the battle, for he knows that he will have no opposition from you.
Dropping your quiet time is usually the first step in spiritual backsliding. Many lukewarm Christians have said, "It all started when I began neglecting my quiet time."
In ministering to others, you can never take another person farther spiritually than you have gone yourself. If you have no input from the Lord each day, you will have nothing to share with others and will not be able to help others grow.
What if you miss a day? Don't worry about it if it happens occasionally. Don't go on a guilt trip. "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom.8:1). Don't get legalistic, because missing one day does not make it a flop. Don't give up. If you miss a meal, it doesn't mean that you should give up eating because you're inconsistent. You simply eat a little more at the next meal and go on from there. This same principle is true with your quiet time.
Psychologists tell us that it usually takes us three weeks to get familiar with some new task or habit; it takes another three weeks before it becomes a habit. Now the reason why many people are not successful in their quiet times is because they've never made it past that six-week barrier. For your quiet time to become a habit, you must have had one daily for at least six weeks.
William James had a famous formula for developing a habit (Selected Papers on Philosophy, E.P. Dutton & Co., pp. 60-62):
1. Make a strong resolution (vow). You must always start with a strong, decided initiative. If you begin halfheartedly, you'll never make it. Make a public declaration by telling others about your decision.
2. Never allow an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life. A habit is like a ball of twine. Every time you drop it, many strands are unwound. So never allow the "just this once" to occur. The act of yielding weakens the will and strengthens the lack of self-control.
3. Seize every opportunity and inclination to practice your new habit. Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice your new habit, do it right then. Don't wait, but use every opportunity to reinforce your habit. It does not hurt to overdo a new habit when you are first starting.
To these suggestions I would add one more:
4. Rely on the power of God. When it is all said and done, you must realize that you're in a spiritual battle and you can only succeed by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. So pray that God will strengthen you, and depend on Him to help you develop this habit for His glory.
If you've been convinced that this is what you need to do, would you pray the following?
A Prayer of Commitment
"Lord, I commit myself to spending a definite time with You every day, no matter what the cost. I am depending on Your strength to help me be consistent."
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family