Graham Cooke: pgs. 41-42
Gratefulness may be humanity’s most underestimated
devotional tool. We often forget that gratitude is how we access
God’s presence. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into
His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For
the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to
all generations,” the psalmist sang in Psalm 100:4-5.
It’s always good to set aside a few hours just to be thankful.
Make a list of the things you’re grateful for. A lack of gratitude
can lead us into feeling that nothing is happening, or into frustration
over hassles and issues. In that moment, stop and ask
yourself: “What are the benefits in my life right now?”
In the west we don’t know how well-off we truly are. Twothirds
of the world doesn’t eat more than five meals a week. God
has blessed us and it’s important that we think about it. I long
to see Christians get beyond themselves and start seeing the
“IF YOU CONCENTRATE ON
FINDING WHATEVER IS GOOD
IN EVERY SITUATION, YOU WILL
DISCOVER THAT YOUR LIFE
WILL SUDDENLY BE FILLED
WITH GRATITUDE, A FEELING
THAT NURTURES THE SOUL.”
RABBI HAROLD KUSHNER
glory of God as it pertains
to their own life. We need
great people who understand
that their success is
wrapped up in the sovereignty
If we can do that, a
faith, power, energy and
zeal will emerge that will take us forward in the things of the
Holy Spirit. We must become overwhelmed with who God wants
to be for us.
We often forget that gratitude is how we access God’s presence. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations,” the psalmist sang in Psalm 100:4-5.
It’s always good to set aside a few hours just to be thankful.
Let’s be honest, most times we find ourselves entering into His presence with a mouthful of complaint and lamenting over current disappointments. Then we wonder why things are not changing in our lives, right? This is because we are holding onto the problems before Him. Instead, I think what Graham is stating here is reminding us that God desires us to be at rest…unshackled by what is weighing us down when we come before Him, whether it is in our prayer time or devotionals. God is not worried about what besets us. He is letting us know He is Good and full of Mercy. So, the question becomes “Are we allowing ourselves to leave it all at our heart’s door (so to speak) and give thanks for the things He HAS done? Let His Goodness fill you with the things to be thankful and watch His Mercy begin to change your perspective in the moment. Make a list of 3 things you are Grateful for to Him. You can make it like a love letter. I did this, “Lord, today I am grateful you love me and that you are teaching me how to love and be loved.
Graham Cooke: pgs.40-41
At the beginning of our spiritual journey, none of us know
the adventures God has in store. We can’t really comprehend
who we’re called to be in His Kingdom. To discover our place,
we must seek out wisdom and revelation from God. Without an
intimate relationship with Him, we’ll never find our way. Our
inheritance will pass us by; our future may be something other
than we could have realized.
To move out of our inadequacies and into a significant place
in the Kingdom, we must allow the Holy Spirit to work in our
life. The Spirit will help us upgrade our worship, praise and
adoration. When we learn to worship in spirit and in truth, as
Jesus implored us to in John 4:23-24, we will see ourselves in a
way we have never experienced before.
Worship attracts this
revelation. When we get
into a place of worship, we
start to discover things
that God wants us to know.
Scales fall off of our eyes,
and our minds are renewed. We begin to have dreams, see
visions, and have thoughts so profound that we have to write
In Ephesians 1, Paul prayed that we would have “the spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
“WORSHIP IS GOD’S ENJOYMENT
OF US AND OUR ENJOYMENT OF
HIM. WORSHIP IS A RESPONSE TO
THE FATHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP.”
This knowledge is all about what God wants to be for us. This revelation gives
us energy and peace; it overcomes who we are.
When I’m overwhelmed, I’m always rescued by the same
spirit of wisdom and revelation about who God is for me. I get
out of the trap of my inadequacy and insecurity by remembering
everything He has done for me. In our weakness, He comes
and kisses us and calls us again.
“We can’t really comprehend who we’re called to be in His Kingdom. To discover our place, we must seek out wisdom and revelation from God.”
One of the most profound keys in our transformation and becoming a new creation in Christ, is realizing who we are in Him. I like what Graham says in that it really is easy for us to get side track when we are new believers, it’s like our hearts are full from basking in the after glow of salvation in Christ but our minds are empty of the revelation of Jesus…so to speak. God has given the language of worship to reach out to our spirit man, it connects us to the Holy Spirit…who brings us to all truth of Jesus. Young or old, in all stages of our lives, no matter…we can have that intimate relationship with our Savior. In fact, God requires us to know of Him in order to enter into His kingdom. Who wouldn’t want to get to know such Love that endured death and Hell to bring us into the presence of our God. Into the worship of our King. Through Jesus, we can enter into the presence of the Creator of the heavens and earth…of all things. He promised in the old testament that a savior would come and Jesus was born to be the savior of all mankind. Undisputed truth. In Hebrews 4:14; “Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior].” Let us seek Him and get to know who we believe in on a personal level. Get up off the pew and into to the path for which we are called. This is how we worship Him by being a living testimony which is the Hope of our calling in Christ Jesus. #Live our worship.
“In Ephesians 1, Paul prayed that we would have “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” This knowledge is all about what God wants to be for us. This revelation gives us energy and peace; it overcomes who we are.
“WORSHIP IS GOD’S ENJOYMENT OF US AND OUR ENJOYMENT OF HIM. WORSHIP IS A RESPONSE TO THE FATHER-CHILD RELATIONSHIP.”
My Comment:The word [Bible] is where we get the knowledge and wisdom from God. We begin to learn at a common starting line of what He wants us to understand, the wonder of this is a mystery we will only know once we are with Him in Heaven. It belongs in a dimension where God abides but of His Grace…we have access to it on earth. In the Bible, we learn of a Well [Jesus] from which we are replenished, refreshed and restored…from which we can draw and thirst no more. We are not to interpret the word for our own gain but to use it as a light to our mind, in other words, it is in the word of God we apply the principles of wisdom and gain understanding of knowledge. Intellects don’t accept this easily. It’s a shame. They lean to their own understanding. But. God. Is. Faithful. It is part of the omnipresence of God. Think about that.
My Comment: One day, I was pondering the beauty of some bird pics I had found online. I realized, after looking for a few moments, that I had forgotten all about what I had been preoccupied with earlier [#life] and began to focus on what an amazing Creator we have in God. Instantly, my heart was light and a smile was broadening on my face. God had come along side and we walked together, so to speak [in spirit]. He reminded me to “consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air” He cares for them and He cares for me. Just as a Father he is present and watchful over the concerns of our heart. He holds our hand, when things get scary, hard to see through and when we feel alone. Yes, we can have true worship, when our hearts are connected to God, even in the most simplest of ways.
Graham Cooke: pgs.38-39
A sixth question could be added to that list:
✦✦ WHAT CURRENTLY DISTRACTS YOU FROM ENJOYING THE
PRESENCE OF GOD?
Martha was pulled away from Jesus’ presence by her sense
of duty and by the work necessary to house a guest of Jesus’
stature. What interests you most has taken a piece of your heart.
If the combination of people and things in your heart is greater
than your love for God, your spirituality will hit a ceiling and
level off. Often we do not know where God is in our life because
we have not given Him much room to move. The clutter of our
other loves and desires, legitimate though some may be, can
prevent His reality from being expressed. In extreme cases, they
can even shut Him out all together.
Many Christians are lukewarm in their fellowship with the
Lord because the balance of their love and attention is swung
away from the Father. Idolatry has such a beginning.
His love raises the water table of all our other affections:
it’s as if our love for others comes up ten levels because of how
we feel about Him. When God rules out of your absolute love
for Him, all other loves improve and increase.
Whatever comes between God and us is an idol. Whether
it’s our leadership, career, business, ministry, family, or anything
else, it’s an idol. At that point,
we are headed for either a pruning
or a serious chastisement because
God is a jealous God. He will not
have anything come between Him
and His children. Take some time and make sure your life is in
“WITHOUT WORSHIP, WE
GO ABOUT MISERABLE.”
Jesus’ words to the church in Ephesus need to ring loud
and clear in our spirits: “Remember therefore from where you have
fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly
and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” The
lampstand represents the place of revelation, influence, and
ministry—a beacon of light to ourselves and others. God must have preeminence.
“WHAT CURRENTLY DISTRACTS YOU FROM ENJOYING THE PRESENCE OF GOD?”
Have you noticed how “distractions” seem to jump up and down relentlessly even when you try your best to ignore it? The louder the distractions get the more time it will take away from enjoying the presence of God, right? I like what Graham poses in these questions. It brings us to refocus our attention back to gaining an understanding about what is replacing God in our heart. When we can honestly answer this question, we can successfully make changes. We need to make better choices and decisions for what occupies our time and thoughts.
”When God rules out of your absolute love for Him, all other loves improve and increase.” I must have read this over several times and each time I found a new key or nugget of wisdom. First, I looked at the concept of obedience to God. Graham states “When God rules.” So, in other words: we have misplaced God in our heart in some measure that is an act of disobedience in His sight– either it is our own flesh or we are not allowing him to lead us. Ok. Next, “out of “ so is necessary that we are “present” (like Martha) in our daily life experiences with His spirit…walking in the power of Holy Spirit, otherwise He is not able to abide with the idol of our heart and the result is less of what His plans would be for us. The next key here is “absolute love.” We love at the feet of Jesus, like Mary. He wants us to recognize His presence first before what distracts us or take His place in our heart. Is your family, friends, work, personal desires or even achievements taking priority over Jesus? Is the struggle in your life distracting you from listening to God’s love language which is full of His promises for you? In short, we easily can make idols in our heart from what surrounds us or entertains us. It comes between our worship of God and it slowly takes over our time with God to the point that we willingly replace God completely with our idols. (sigh) The result is sin. His word states “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” We don’t want to put our loving savior in the back seat of our life, right? Let’s pull off the wrong path quickly, repent and toss that old idol in the garbage where it belongs and put God back on the throne in our hearts!! Don’t even look back in the rear-view mirror. Just press on and let God bring the increase to you as He promises. Watch as He blesses you!!
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.
Graham Cooke: pgs.35-36
In Acts 10:9-16, the Apostle Peter had a vision that changed
the course of church history:
The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near
the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the
sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat;
but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw
heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the
four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth.
In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild
beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came
to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”
But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything
common or unclean.”
And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God
has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three
times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
God wanted Peter to see people the way He sees them—
as precious treasures. “Don’t call them dirty, Peter, I love
them.” The real prosperity message
is “Christ in you, the hope of glory”
(Colossians 1:27). We must look for
Jesus in the people around us.
“LOVE IN ITS ESSENCE IS
God has sent us on a treasure hunt to find what He has implanted
In the beginning, God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,
according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). We must search for the
image of God in every human being, looking for what is precious
in Christian and pre-Christian alike.
“The real prosperity message is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). We must look for Jesus in the people around us. God has sent us on a treasure hunt to find what He has implanted in people.” My Comment: Graham brings out a great point here in reminding us to look at what Jesus is focused on concerning people. Sometimes we are so caught up on what we think of someone that we loose sight of what Jesus has invested in that person. Our own shortsightedness or gossip heard may turn our hearts away. We will miss out sharing in the unique treasure implanted in their life. In other words, there is a fight for our attention that can distract us away from going on these “treasure hunts” if we allow it. Have you ever gone on a treasure hunt with a group of people at school or work? I remember how exciting it was to try to find all the items on the list and how fun it was sharing all the stuff at the end of the hunt. We can find that same excitement when we discover the “treasures” (gifts of the Spirit) that Jesus has planted in those when we reach out to get to know them.