Fasting, Prayer, purpose, Uncategorized

Day 21: “Less Clutter.”

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,

    the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:11

Well done for making it to the last day of three weeks of prayer and fasting. You have created a consistency in your time with God that will impact your life in a way that is meaningful and rich as you move forward.

Have you ever cleaned out your garage for council pick up only to find it full and cluttered again six months later? Maybe it’s your fridge or your pantry or that overstuffed linen closet? You organise and put everything in its rightful place while looking at it with fondness and enthusiasm for how well it will serve you going forward.

You’ve devoted three weeks to cleaning out the clutter in your spiritual life. You have prayed more. You have sacrificed to see breakthrough. You have opened up space in your life and organised yourself in a way that has been meaningful and sincere. Now, three weeks of prayer and fasting is drawing to an end and you are totally ready to move forward with more clarity, less chaos, and a closeness to the Holy Spirit that was lacking when you started this journey. Well done for making it to the end. (And, if you had a few hiccups along the way, no worries. Pat yourself on the back anyway!)

Spend some time reflecting on what might look different for you going forward. Who can offer accountability for you moving ahead so that you don’t get caught up in busy-ness and old habits? Ask them to check in on you. What will you be reading from the Word each day to keep depositing into your spirit? Who will you talk to about it? Will you keep a journal? Do you have a special place in your home where you meet with God? Don’t let yourself and your diary get filled back up with all the old habits and “stuff” that you worked so hard to eliminate.

If you have been praying and believing for breakthrough in a certain area and haven’t seen it yet, don’t give up. Keep pressing in and seeking God’s face. Find comfort in your pain by keeping Jesus close.

See each day as a God-adventure where you’re ready to take on whatever life brings you. There’s no secret sauce that turns anyone’s life into a sweet tasting main course of delicacies. Instead, most days are just normal, takeaway shop quality. Learn to find the yumminess in that sort of simplicity. Look for it even if it’s wrapped in brown paper. Learn to open up each day sniffing around for fruitfulness. Look ahead with anticipation that wherever you turn your attention, God is there with you. He’s cooking up something magnificent and you get to eat from his spread. Nothing has been spared in the cost and sacrifice God has put forth for you.

*Read Ephesians 5:11-13. Make a list of busywork that could potentially clutter up your spiritual life. Think about what you will put into place so this doesn’t happen. Ask someone to hold you accountable and commit to praying together as you go forward into 2020.

Fasting, Personal Growth, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 20: “Intentionality”

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,

    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.

They’re created new every morning.

    How great your faithfulness!

I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).

    He’s all I’ve got left.

Lamentations 3:22-24 (MSG)

New habits have made you more intentional. You are encouraged to continue the behaviours you have chosen over these last three weeks in order to maintain intimacy with God. Your life looks and feels different. In the space of 3 weeks, you have heard from God more clearly. You know him better. You can sense a fresh direction in areas you need to make decisions.

Now, be brave! Make your choices! Act on what you heard God speak to you! Don’t hesitate! Jump into everything God has for you and continue digging deeper with him!

If you haven’t been consistent over the last 20 days, it’s okay. Make calculated plans for the rest of your year and like the old Anne Murray song, remind yourself that you “gotta get back to where you used to be. Time don’t run out on me.” Start today and move forward with intentionality. Carpe Diem. YOLO. The journey of growing in intimacy with Christ never stops. You never arrive at a place where you are have nothing else to work on. SO, embrace this rather than lamenting it.

Aren’t you thankful God’s mercies are new every morning, never running out? Stick with him and don’t look back. Your considered steps are allowing you to make progress in every area of your spiritual walk.

*Read Proverbs 21:5 and ask God to show you what plans you are meant to move forward with today. You can’t tackle everything on your list, so seek him to determine what’s most important. Then, do it. Don’t overanalyse. Don’t worry about it or try and anticipate all the “what if’s.” Trust God and keep your attention on him.

Fasting, government, peace, Social problems, Uncategorized

Day 18: “Across the Earth”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,

and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, 

Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

Isaiah 9:6

Jesus was sent from heaven down to earth 2000 years ago as “Saviour of the World.” You might look around and see all the wars, famine, drought, drug cartels, human trafficking, and so many other problems and think, “which part did he save?”

That’s a fair question as you face many hardships; chaos is everywhere. The beauty and magnificent splendour of the Garden of Eden seems so out of reach. You find it hard to imagine a world without worry, a planet of peace.

Jesus promised that in this world you WOULD have troubles.

Bummer!

Until he comes back or you’re in heaven, you will not experience perfection. However, Jesus DID overcome the world through his death and resurrection; and, because of this, you have the hope of heaven; you CAN and SHOULD pray for it to be brought down to your world each and every day. 

Recently, over 140,000 Brazilians, including their President, attended the Send Conference, hungry to see God move. Movements like Hillsong Church are seeing expansion across the earth with over 80 churches in 21 countries now. Stadiums are filled with young adults at conferences like Passion with Louie Giglio every year. Christian production companies are making wholesome family movies that promote Christian values (and they aren’t cheesy and lame)!

God is on the move across the earth. The church is not dead! 

No matter what you hear on the news or in your own circles of friends, Jesus is on the throne and he has already defeated the enemy of your soul. Yes, this world is struggling in many ways. The devil seeks to steal, kill and destroy. But the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives and moves within you.

Access that power today as you lift up this world in prayer.

*Today, in your time of fasting and prayer, ask God to move mightily on the Earth. Pray for continued revival within the church. Ask God to bring unity among believers so that their impact is greater. Pray for protection of missionaries and servants of God in third world and war torn regions. Ask God to be known in Communist countries where law and culture prohibit the free expression of faith. Believe by faith that more people will come to know Christ around the world despite its struggles.

Fasting, Inspiration, peace, Personal Growth, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 16: “Think.”

We pondered your love-in-action, God,
waiting in your temple:
Your name, God, evokes a train
of Hallelujahs wherever
It is spoken, near and far;
your arms are heaped with goodness-in-action.

Psalm 48:9 (MSG)

Do you ever think about something in so much detail that you feel a release, like you actually did the thing you were thinking about? Only to realise the next day that you actually didn’t accomplish anything at all but you thought about it so thoroughly that you believed for a minute that progress happened?!

You actually ARE bring productive when you spend time thinking, even if you don’t physically mark off something from your list of to-do’s. Thinking is extremely valuable. Interestingly, billionaire Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, is famous for taking a week off twice each year just to think.

Becoming a person of impact and influence comes through self reflection and development. What do you do when no one is watching? How are you thinking about yourself and life in general? When you’re alone with YOU, what reverberates across that grey mass between your ears?

What goes on in your consciousness affects the world around you in a major way. Your mindset towards adversity. Your self-image and self-talk. Your mentality and perceptions determine the decisions you make. If you lean towards negative thought patterns, recognise this and practise turning that around. Make a list of 10 positives in your life and silence yourself before that piece of paper. Look at it and THINK. Allow your mind to travel aimlessly down the path of positivity that each item on the list unveils. Pay attention to how good you feel!

Give yourself time today to stop and think about God’s impact on you. Your calendar needs space to breathe. Ponder. Speculate. Consider. Appraise. Imagine. Conceive. Ruminate. The wonder of heaven will be dropped into your spirit. Ideas will come forth that you never knew were possible. You will expand your own vision for the future and find yourself more content with the present.

*This time of prayer and fasting means you cleared your schedule of something. Social media, food, television. Whatever it was, commit to spending some time thinking today. Practise your deep breathing. Let your mind wander. Read Psalm 119:27 and commit to thinking for a change.

church, Fasting, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 15: “Pray for Pastors”

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t be so eager to become a teacher in the church since you know that we who teach are held to a higher standard of judgment.

James 3:1 (TPT)

People get into professions of public service because they care about others. They feel they can be difference-makers. Oftentimes, they forego financial gain for the sake of a passion. Their hours aren’t 9-5 and the burden they carry goes beyond the tangible work product they produce each week. Pastors, in particular, walk alongside people in crisis, motivate and inspire others all while endeavouring to seek God’s face each and every day for vision and direction.

The pressure your pastor faces to be the Christian example everyone expects can be overwhelming at times. With their own personal problems and insecurities along with providing for their families, the responsibility causes some pastors to fall into depression, unhealthy addictions or, at times, to quit all together.

Pastors’ kids often feel jaded and disenchanted with the church as they see the stress at home. Many pastors feel ill-equipped to lead all aspects of smaller churches and some even abandon their “calling” when it all becomes too much.

The reality is, pastors are people. They love God and the church and feel called to give their lives for the service of other people. They aren’t perfect. They have to learn to manage themselves and work out healthy boundaries for the sake of their marriages and families just like anyone else.

You can make a difference by praying for your pastor. Tell him or her you see how much gets done for your church and that you appreciate it. You will never know the detail of what he carries or how heavy the weight can be. Hopefully she is learning to cast those troubles at the foot of the cross.

After all, that’s what gets preached to you, hey?

*Today, pray Ephesians 6:19 over your pastor: “That whenever ________ speaks, words may be given to ________ so that ________ will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” As you pray and fast for issues in your own life, also pray for your pastor’s burdens today. Pray for your his finances and children. Ask God to remind her of the joy pastoring brings and that God would supernaturally provide everything the church needs in both finance and people.

Contentment, Fasting, Inspiration, Leadership, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 14: “Leaders”

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Romans 13:1-2 (NIV)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been criticised for the way he has handled the national bushfire crisis in Australia. The American President Donald Trump is consistently called a racist for his stance on illegal immigration. Your boss is gossiped about in the workroom or at after hour drinks for her recent decisions around the office. Mums are criticising teachers and administration on the playground for how they handled the recent bullying complaints at school.

If you’re in a position of authority, chances are, someone is out to slander you too. They might not be overtly blogging about you on the Internet but somewhere, they are talking about the “poor decision you made,” how you don’t know what you’re doing, and how they would do things differently if they were in charge. This is the price of leadership.

No one in a position of leadership is perfect. Managers, Presidents, Directors, Captains. Whatever the title, each one makes decisions he feels are best at the time with the current resources and capacity of the organisation. (Yes, authority figures can get on power trips. Sometimes selfish and self-seeking, you’ve seen and heard about abuses of power. Leaders can embezzle money, hurt their parishioners and royally mess up. This is true.) More often, people in high positions are doing their very best and have no intention of hurting people.

As you continue to pursue God through prayer and fasting, think about the leaders in your own life. Think about yourself as a parent, a boss, a volunteer leader. God has allowed them/you to be in those positions. Until you have walked in their shoes, you don’t know all the problems they face. They need your prayers and support just like you need the support of others to shore up your own burden of leadership.

You might be battling a health issue others don’t know about. Your leader’s marriage could be suffering or he may be dealing with difficult children. This private pain isn’t talked about; yet, he gets up each day, carrying the weight of what he leads, using the cards he has been dealt, endeavouring to play his team for the “win.”

Having a Godly perspective of your leaders means admitting God has allowed them to be in their positions; therefore, you trust the Lord to intervene where necessary. Interjecting criticism and disdain, gossip or abandonment doesn’t help leaders lead. It only holds them back and causes them more stress.

*Today, lift up the leaders in your life. Ask God to help you see them through his eyes. Try and find something positive to say if you’re not happy with them. Pray for their families and ask God to show you how you can be a better follower and support. If you’re in a position of leadership, ask God to surround you with the right team who will shore up your weaknesses and help you achieve all that he has in store.

Contentment, Fasting, Prayer, Resilience, Uncategorized

Day 13: “Work”

Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

Colossians 3:23-24 (MSG)

Work is the focus of a big part of your life. If you’re a student, it might be homework, but it’s work nonetheless. If you’re a mother, not formally employed earning a wage, you’re plugging away from dawn until dusk.

The daily grind can be a major source of stress in your life. Work mates can be difficult as can bosses. You might be doing a job you don’t love or feel any passion for and if so, you struggle to find joy in it.

Today, you no doubt have some sort of work ahead of you. Whether it’s in the home, at school, in another city or online, see it as a gift from God. You have been given a capable mind and hands with which to carry out your labour. You are surrounded by others who are moving ahead and you are blessed to not be idle. Seek to honour God in every task you perform today. Allow him to speak to you about your work and to show you how much you glorify him by putting your hand to the plow.

Pray for your boss, no matter how he or she treats you. Bless your annoying co-worker and pledge not to join in on workroom gossip. Seek to live in such a way that gratitude trumps your fatigue. Your ability to earn, provide care, or study is a gift.

*You might be praying for breakthrough in your job situation during this time of prayer and fasting. Be brave and trust God for a new season. Maybe you’re dealing with extra stress at work. Study Philippians 4:6-7 and trust God with every detail of your situation.