Graham Cooke: pgs.36-38
A DEVOTIONAL LIFESTYLE
Our search for the treasure in other people is just one part
of the devotional lifestyle needed to free our ministry from
stress and worry.
One of my earliest mentors once said to me, “You have to
be in ministry for about twenty or twenty-five years before God
will trust you with your life’s message. In the first twenty years,
everything is training and preparation for what God truly wants
you to do.” That’s why longevity is so important in ministry. We
must learn to live in a place where we can run without growing
tired. We have to replenish ourselves in the Spirit every day.
Successful ministers plan for the future but live for today.
They place their lives in day-tight compartments, taking everything
one day at a time. At the end of a day, they know how
to shrug everything off, cleanse their hearts and minds, and
be thankful for the blessings God has given them. When they
awake the next morning, they awake anew to the tangible
mercies of God. Those mercies are like a first cup of coffee or a
first mouthful of food.
When I first started out in prophetic ministry nearly thirty
years ago, there were six of us in England. There were probably
more like 6,000 prophetic ministers, but I only knew six—and
half of them were weird. On some days I didn’t know which
group I belonged to! Ministry is relentless on people:
✦✦ A QUARTER OF ALL PROPHETS HAVE NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS
✦✦ SIXTY PERCENT OF ALL PASTORS QUIT LEADING CHURCHES
✦✦ FIFTY PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE LEAVING THE MINISTRY DO
SO BECAUSE OF IMMORALITY
✦✦ ANOTHER THIRTY PERCENT LEAVE BECAUSE OF STRESS
Behind most of these statistics is a rundown devotional
life. When we lose our focus on God, we end up with a working
relationship—but a lousy friendship—
with Him. The only way a lot
of ministers relate with God is on
the basis of what they do for Him.
Everything is business when someone
has lost their devotional life.
We end up praying about ministry:
the youth group, Sunday School,
finances, consumed by the business of ministry and not the
joy of friendship with the Father.
I wonder how many of us have upgraded our ability to
praise and thank God in the past twelve months. We need to
praise God more this year than we did last year.
“WE HAVE BECOME SO
ENGROSSED I N THE
WORK OF THE LORD THAT
WE HAVE FORGOTTEN
THE LORD OF THE WORK.”
Many of us take time out every day to pray, but how many of us take time
to just adore Jesus? There are a few questions which we can ask
that will help us get to the heart of the matter:
✦✦ WHAT CURRENTLY ATTRACTS YOU TO JESUS?
✦✦ WHAT DRAWS YOU TO HIM RIGHT NOW?
✦✦ WHAT ASPECT OF HIS NATURE OVERWHELMS YOU IN HIS
✦✦ WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR YOU TO RECOVER
IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD?
✦✦ WHAT GIFT DOES THE LORD LONG TO GIVE YOU?
“You have to be in ministry for about twenty or twenty-five years before God will trust you with your life’s message. In the first twenty years, everything is training and preparation for what God truly wants you to do.” That’s why longevity is so important in ministry. We must learn to live in a place where we can run without growing tired. We have to replenish ourselves in the Spirit every day.” After reading this I was quickly reminded of days gone by…youth in the Lord. How similar to our natural cycle of growth and maturity is this to our spiritual life. Some of us know from a very early age what we want to do when we grow up and we start to make plan to achieve our goals. Yet another great key Graham brings to how it looks to have a lifestyle devoted to God and resting in what His plans are for you. It is a pleasure for God to bless us and grow us into our destiny and we can put our trust in Him.
“Successful ministers plan for the future but live for today. They place their lives in day-tight compartments, taking everything one day at a time.” I have a deep respect for those who minister as pastors, teachers and evangelists. I also believe that God is on the move now in a broader spectrum and the call to serve is to the “everyday” life not only the Sunday best or Special events. We should learn from our pastors examples of how God has refined their life to the character of God for edifying the church. We should listen to those who teach the truth of God’s wisdom and understanding of God’s love for us on a practical and supernatural level. We should be encouraged by evangelist’s who preach the Life of Jesus…enough said. How do they do it? I think it truly is as Graham states here…”in a day-tight” compartment and moving on to the next day forward with the Lord by their side.
“When we lose our focus on God, we end up with a working relationship—but a lousy friendship—with Him. The only way a lot of ministers relate with God is on the basis of what they do for Him. Everything is business when someone has lost their devotional life.” ( Just a quick side note, when we see our pastors or church leaders in this mode of operation, we should lift them up in prayer.) We are not called to judge but we are called to love, right? Don’t put them on the pedestal to achieve for you. Don’t put them in the hot seat, to account to you. Don’t gossip about them to bring them down to your expectations. Now, with that said…it requires a solid foundation to serve others. We can draw from the word to build that foundation in our character. It is never ending because our faith is everlasting when we are in sync with God. Jesus is our friend that sticks closer than a brother. Spend time with Him as a friend. He is a wonderful Counselor. Be led by the Holy Spirit first… first thought and first action. In other word, ”in action and deed”. Rest it in the Lord and release it to Him. Don’t burn out for the works sake! Love Him for the privilege and honor each and every day. Go out there and serve with the Joy of the Lord and in doing so, you are worshiping Him. That is putting our daily devotion in action. We take the word and apply it to our walk of faith as we serve. It’s His business and we are His servants. Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up in due season. Perfecting the faith in one another in unity for God.