Category Archives: Pulse

Clear Vision

Pause for a minute and check your pulse, your spiritual pulse. How is your prayer life? Have you been fasting? Are you living your life with fresh vision and clear purpose?

We all end up somewhere but some of us will end up somewhere on purpose. Vision is about seeing into the future and imagining what can be. It is about creating a preferable future. We all need an inner architect to draft and design before we build a life.

Where there is no vision, the people perish…Proverbs 29:18 KJV

If you find yourself lackadaisical and unmotivated, most likely you have lost sight of your purpose and are lacking a clear vision.

  • Some people live with no vision; they have no clarity and no restraint.
  • Some people live with small vision; their future is limited by small, unimaginative thinking.
  • Some people live with conflicted vision. They never fully commit to any course of action because they are constantly changing their minds
  • Some people live with a wrong vision and live a life consumed with self-satisfying endeavors.
  • Some people live with vague vision and become strangely loyal to preforming tedious, trivial acts.
  • Some people grab hold of another person’s vision and forsake a life of unique purpose in order to make someone else happy.

Clear vision is the work of the Holy Spirit in our core being. So, ask God for a vision for your life.

When God gives a vision he gives clarity. You will know what you’re supposed to do. You’ll have focus and direction. You will also have protection in knowing what not to do. Vision will keep you from drifting.  Vision will bring peace and rest.  And vision will energize you with passion and commitment.

“I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can’t be done.” Henry Ford.

Life is too short to live without vision.

One way to discover the plan and purpose God has for your life is to understand the way he made you.  Set aside some time for this free test based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ typological approach to personality. It could be a step toward living this year with renewed vision.

When You Fast

Fasting is a spiritual practice that involves choosing to abstain from something, such as food or alcohol or the Internet, for a period of time. Fasting is about reminding yourself who or what is first in your life.

How many of us have worshipped food? The “stomach king” wants to sit on the throne of your life and dominate, but the Lord wants you to be blessed. Don’t let your appetite undermine your receiving God’s abundance and favor in 2016. Strength rises up in you when you deny yourself something that you crave. It is better to crave God Himself.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42: 1-3 (NIV)

God wants a deeper relationship with you. He wants to reward you for putting Him first. Jesus had the expectation that His followers would engage in this spiritual practice of fasting. This is not about religion. According to Matthew 6:18, your Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, rewards you for a sincere fast. It’s not about performance or earning points. The benefits of fasting are so much greater.

Fasting brings spiritual renewal. It’s all about connecting with God. It’s a way for you to get closer to God, so that you are strengthened from within.

Fasting removes the distractions in your life. It enables you to more sincerely connect with who God is. If you want to see God more clearly, then you should fast. When you fast, you decrease the distractions that tend to cloud your view of God’s passionate and persistent love for you.

Fasting breaks bondages, such as addictions. It helps you gain a greater degree of self-control in all of the areas for your life where you are out of control.

Fasting brings health and healing. On a physical level, it removes toxins from your body, strengthening your immune system (as described in Pastor Laura Koke’s book “Fit for the King”). But the benefit of fasting goes beyond the physical. It puts you in a position to receive the abundance of God. There is a spiritual blessing attached to this spiritual practice. God is still in the miracle-working business.

Fasting brings an awareness that nothing is impossible. Something supernatural happens when you fast, as well as pray and give. If it’s important to you, it’s important to God.

In these early weeks of January, we invite you to join our community at Shoreline and churches all over Austin and across the United States to participate in a “corporate fast” over the next three weeks. We encourage you to fast — give up something – over the next 21 days.

There are many different types of fasts – water-only fasts, partial fasts, selective fasts, “Daniel fasts” and soul fasts, among others – so you decide what kind of fast works for you. Do it in pursuit of God and reap the benefits.

When You Pray

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and everyone is talking about getting into shape. Physical health is important, but we want to take the next three weeks to talk about spiritual health. How is your spiritual pulse?

More specifically, how is your prayer pulse? Steady? Sluggish?

Prayer is counterintuitive. It goes against our do-it-yourself, bootstrap culture. Prayer is an admission that we can’t make it on our own. It is an act of faith and trust. Jesus assumes that we will pray.

And when you pray…..Matthew 6:5 NIV

In his lesson on prayer, Jesus gives some basic instructions. Don’t pray for show. Don’t pray mindless words. Be specific. But the biggest observation is that he didn’t say “if you pray” he said “when.”

Prayer is something Jesus expected would be a part of every believer’s life – of your life. The Bible is full of references to prayer. We see prayer a few chapters in to the mammoth text in and the book of Revelation concludes with “Amen.” The Bible is bookended by prayer and filled with praying people whose prayers brought incredible change in their lives

Something happens when we pray!

… You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2 NIV

God’s prevailing power is released through prayer. For some reason, certain expressions of his power can only be released in response to prayer. It’s a beautiful picture of the potent combination of the will of God and our dependent, surrendered relationship with him.

Prayer is not a boring spiritual disciple. It is a key to unlocking the the will of the Father.

God is able to do far more than we could ever imagine. He has power over nature, power over circumstances and power over hearts. Do you need something in your world to change this year? Pray!

Check your prayer pulse. Is it pounding a little bit stronger? We hope so! Be sure to pick up our Pulse Prayer and Fasting Guide this Sunday and join us as we dedicate this time at the beginning of the year to seek the face of God.