by Pastor Ron Miyake
In the sermon that I gave on December 31, 2017, there were four things that I’ve been trying to do and hope you will try to do regularly in 2018 to grow closer to the Lord. Here is a brief summary:
1. GIVING THANKS
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Having an attitude of gratitude. Remembering to be thankful. Being aware of what God is doing around us, and in and through our lives. During difficult times, not thanking God for the difficulty, but thanking God that He is with us during those times.
One way to grow in this area is, at the end of the day, asking yourself or someone else, such as your spouse, a friend, or even just journaling… What am I (or what are you) thankful for regarding that day?
What you share doesn’t have to be something spiritual. It doesn’t have to be some huge topic. It might just be being thankful for talking with a friend; thankful for our school, job, friends, family; or how God helped us through a particular situation.
2. RELEASING PRAYER
Giving or releasing to the Lord those things that weigh on us.
Philippians 4:6-7 “ do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Here is something that we can do…
As we go through our day and something happens that really bothers us or makes us angry or some other emotion, we can spend a few moments releasing or giving that emotion and the situation to the Lord. Then asking the Lord to fill our heart and mind with His presence and peace.
It’s doing something like this: “Lord Jesus, I give my anxiety and this stressful situation to You.” “Fill me Lord with your peace. Guard my heart and my mind with Your peace and Your presence. Thank You that You are with me.”
You can do this type of prayer as many times as you need to throughout the day as things come up that you need to release and give to the Lord.
3. BREATH PRAYERS
1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray all the time.”
Regarding this verse and Breath Prayers, Pastor Rick Warren writes in The Purpose Driven Life: “The Bible tells us to “pray all the time.” How is it possible to do this? One way is to use “breath prayers” throughout the day.”
Here is an example of a Breath Prayer:
In Matthew 1:23, Jesus is called Immanuel, which means God with us.
Make this passage into a Breath Prayer - a phrase, a truth from Scripture that we can repeat throughout the day.
• Jesus, You are Immanuel, You are God who is with me.
• Or, Jesus, You are with me.
Breath Prayers are
• Reminders of God’s truth,
• Our desire to know God,
• Our dependence on God,
• A reminder to talk and listen to the Lord throughout
To remember Breath Prayers, it’s a good idea to plan a time to do them:
• At the top of every hour.
• At meal times.
• When we look at our phone.
4. DOING WHAT THE FATHER IS DOING
John 5:19-20 "Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel."
In John 5:19-20, Jesus is our model for how He wants us to live and participate in the work of God’s Kingdom.
• By being dependent on God.
• Being aware of what God is doing.
• Doing what the Father is doing.
• Doing what the Father shows us.
• Being in a love relationship with the Lord.
• Doing His will and not our own.
Sometimes doing what the Father is doing is inconvenient or risky. Though it might take us out of our comfort zone, it puts us in the trusting God zone.
Doing what the Father is doing will help us experience a joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment that we would not have had if we didn’t step out and do what the Father is doing.
I hope that you and I will continue to grow in our daily interactions with God by doing things like Giving Thanks, Releasing Prayer, Breath Prayers, and Doing what the Father is doing, so that we will grow in intimacy with God and glorify Him more in 2018 and for the rest of our lives.