Saturday, March 14, 2015

8 Ways to Stay Alert and On Fire!

Mark 13: 36-37  The Message

"You don't want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job.  I say it to you, and I'm saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch."

The challenge was on. My spiritual director asked our group, "How do you stay awake. and recognize the Spirit breaking into our lives at this time?" 

She had just read the entire chapter of Mark 13, of Jesus' warning of the signs of His return, and things to watch for. I was meditating upon the words and her question. It was a difficult question for me.  I had to examine my heart, and I wasn't sure I was awake! 

When I get stuck on spiritual matters, I look at the issue from a natural perspective.  How do I stay awake in the natural?  Immediately, driving and getting sleepy popped in my head.  What do I do to stay awake?  This got me going, and I was excited to see the revelation the Lord gave me through it.
  1. Pull over and switch drivers
  2. Stay active
  3. Drink coffee
  4. Do not overindulge with carbs
  5. Stimulate mind
  6. Conversation
  7. Sing out loud at the top of your voice
  8. Get proper rest
Mulling over this list gave me some helpful insights I would like to share.  God speaks to me through dreams and pictures symbolically.  The first thought I had was of the car. Vehicles represent our lives or our ministries. Every thing in my list represents something important to me in staying awake spiritually. So here we go:

  1. If I am at the wheel, I am in control.  A sleepy driver can be deadly.  Let Jesus take control. He never will fall asleep at the wheel! 
  2. Stay active. For me this is clear, be intentional to do the Father's will. Get up and go! "Go in My name!"  Just studying and thinking about His words can lull you to sleep. Doing His words is thrilling!  Sharing my testimony, and watching someone come to Jesus because of it, gets my motor going! Seeing God heal someone, as I lay hands on them to pray, is indescribably awesome!   
  3. Drink coffee. This symbolizes drinking deeply of Living Water, first thing in the morning. Living Water is full of life! It flows from the throne of God and fills us and overflows us as we spend precious time with Him. Jesus spent His first hours of the day with Father God. He was filled, and energized, and given His marching orders for the day. 
  4. Carbs represent the pleasant words of God.  They are the encouraging and kind words.  They are delightful, but only feeding on them, can lead to a contentment for the status quo.  We need the difficult sayings, the words that provoke us. Easiness can lead to a "live and let live" attitude.  The Word tells us if we see someone heading down a path that leads to death, and we do not warn them, their blood is on our hands. This is a tough saying. Words like this wake me up from my comfortable slumbers, and challenge me to go.
  5. There are many ways to stimulate the mind. There are multiple scientific studies on the human brain.  One of the methods that is used to increase memory and recall is to involve other senses as you think. Smell has a huge impact on our memory. Thinking of this, I am reminded of the scripture that says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." Psalm 34:8  How do we taste another person?  Kissing comes to mind.  I have never once fallen asleep when kissing my honey!  Intimacy definitely keeps us awake!  See. How do we see?  To see is to perceive with the eyes. Seeing is intentional. Staring into space is not seeing.  Closing our eyelids is not seeing.  When we focus, we can see such detail.  Seeing in the Spirit, can involve all our senses. Some see by what they know, some see by what the hear, some see by what they feel, and on it goes.                                                                                                                                                                                                     Another interesting way to stimulate our minds is to turn all the pictures in our view upside-down. The instant they are upside down, our brains goes into alert mode and we begin to notice small details about them and this carries into our day.  I have found that when I get into the Word and look at familiar passages from a different perspective I get new revelation. I perceive things I never knew before. Spending time with one word in the original language can give enormous revelation. And that is super energizing!           
  6. Conversation. We were created to be communicative beings. God said in the beginning, "It is not good for man to be alone."  He is all about relationship. When we converse with others it can be very stimulating.  We receive more revelation together than we do alone. Every time I have shared about the deep things that God has shown me, the people that are listening get their own revelation, and together we go to greater heights. I have never fallen asleep in a conversation where all are actively engaged.  I have fallen asleep when listening to someone dominate the conversation. Because that is not conversation! That is a lecture. 
  7. Sing out loud at the top of your voice.  When I am on road trips, especially when I am by myself, I sing along with praise music, with all I've got. I stay so energized! Once I was driving through north Texas singing with all my heart and soul. I was pulled over by a police officer.  He politely said to me, "M'am, do you realize you were speeding?"  I answered, "Well, I was singing!"  He laughed and said, "Well there you go!"  He let me go with a warning, and a smile.  That day I drove 13 hours and never got tired!   When I praise God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I am empowered!
  8. Get proper rest.  There was a reason God made the Sabbath. He made it for us. It was for a refreshing. When we do not rest, and we get behind the wheel of a car, we can become a dangerous weapon. We can cause extreme harm. The same goes for our lives and ministries. Burnout is huge in our society. I am sharing a link at the end of this piece on ten effects of sleep loss. All of them have spiritual implications. Read it and give it some thought.                                                                                                                                There is a time to get alone and just be with God.  A time to stop the car, get out and stretch, lie down in the green grass and watch the birds fly overhead. A time to be silent and still. A time to just have fun.
Since I began to be intentional to stay awake and alert, my walk with God has grown in ways I could never have imagined.  One thing I know, no matter how much you know, how much you learn, how much you get to do with God, There is always more! He is the God who keeps on giving!

Blessings, Anna Marie