Day 19: “Peace”

peace worldAs you approach the final three days of prayer and fasting, you are more at peace. Yet, learning to walk in peace despite your circumstances is a lifelong practise and takes more than a few days to master. Composure comes when you make it a habit to take negative thoughts captive and submit them to God. You can walk in harmony with others when you learn to separate what someone else might say about you that’s contrary to what God says.

Nothing can steal your peace when you completely trust God no matter what curve balls life might throw your way. No scary diagnosis. No unforeseen accident. You’re embracing the blessing of well-being within your spirit which your mighty God offers you each day.

You can find the “Prince of Peace” right alongside you when you seek him continually. He is longing to embrace you and to care for you. He desires nothing more than to guide you into a quiet place of relaxation amidst any storm you’re facing. The practise you have incorporated into your life over the last three weeks is allowing you to experience more of Jesus.

You know that you’re not alone. You have seen and heard him speak. You can see that dedicating time to your relationship with your Heavenly Father brings contentment and rest. You, as a carrier of God’s peace, can actually set the temperature in your home, your family, your workplace. You make and maintain calmness everywhere you go.

“Finally, believers, rejoice! Be made complete [be what you should be], be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace [enjoy the spiritual well-being experienced by believers who walk closely with God]; and the God of love and peace [the source of loving-kindness] will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11 AMP).

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Day 7: “His Grace is Sufficient.”

grace-is-sufficientYou’re one week into your time of prayer and fasting. Well done! If you are feeling a bit weary or thin, you’re probably exactly where you’re meant to be. It’s through your weaknesses that Christ’s strength comes into its own.

As you move into your second week, begin to lean on God like never before. Turn to him every time you think of your hunger. Call out to him instead of making coffee or looking at social media. Whatever you are giving up might feel like an area of weakness and vulnerability. That’s the point! Let Jesus shore you up and give you strength.

Focus your energy hearing what God’s will is for you and then pursue that. Nothing more. He is waiting for you to turn your attention to him. Strip your life back in such a way that God’s voice is the overriding sound in your ears.

Instead of focussing on what you might lack, concentrate on the gift of God’s strength to which you gain access only when you’re willing to admit you need it. What a comfort it is to know God is near! You are experiencing closer proximity to your maker because only when you admit your lack do you have room for his fulfilment.

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

 

Day 2: “Fix Your Eyes.”

fix-our-eyesIt’s so easy to focus your attention on what’s right in front of you – the urgent matters of life (bills, schedules, kids, how you feel, etc). When you have an eternal perspective, however, you make it a practice to set aside that which demands your time. Instead, you persuade yourself to be still before your God.

What is urgent isn’t always what’s most important. To carnal eyes, this vision might seem blurry. But to you, who is walking by faith, your sight isn’t what guides you. It’s what is unseen within your spirit and what you know by the Word of God.

Today, force your mind to fixate on heavenly thoughts. See yourself the way Christ sees you – holy and acceptable, a cherished treasure, created for his good purpose. Allow his peace to invade every part of you. Take in the fresh viewpoint you receive when your faith drives you rather than fear. Remember God’s options are infinite. His blessings are boundless. His energy limitless.

2015 Fasting Devotion, Day TWENTY

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Everyone loves the smell of a new car, the feeling of stepping out in a spiffy new pair of shoes, having a fresh haircut, or a embarking on a new opportunity! What joy we experience when we gaze at a precious baby, the miracle of brand-new life so tangible.

We can easily appreciate what’s unblemished in the world around us, but we forget that being born again as Christ followers is actually better than anything money can buy.

We, in all our messy mistakes and silly shortcomings, are considered NEW CREATIONS in Christ! Everything we ever did to fall short of perfection no longer has a grasp on us because of the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The blood of Jesus has washed us white as snow.

Unfortunately, the world we live in taints us and this newness can wear off if we aren’t careful. Our salvation might be secure, but the pressures of the world can cause us to drift. The Apostle Paul is imploring us to be reconciled to God, meaning we must continually come back to Him.

God, I am so very thankful for the gift of salvation and the fact that I’m a new creation in Christ. As our time of prayer and fasting is coming to an end, I’m totally committed to reconciling myself to you each and everyday. Help me to never lose sight of the miracle of my salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Push Baby Push

colour explosion

If you’ve ever given birth, you know what “transition labour” is all about: that excruciating moment where you begin to second-guess your plans for a drug-free delivery. You self-doubt; and if you’re me, you begin to shake and cry a little, your begging eyes looking at your spouse for any sign of comfort that “this too shall pass.” You were SO ON TOP OF IT for the last 5 hours but now it seems like all your best efforts to breathe, relax and work with your body have gone out the window.

However… not long after this no-turning-back moment of insanity, the wrangling is over and your valuable prize is delivered – all slimy and perfect. The pain COMPLETELY ceases and there you are, sweaty, exhausted, and reveling in the most amazing moment of your life – the agony but a small twinge now!  Everything you worked for and more lies bundled up in your arms.

We could all use personal analogies to make my point today. My recent marathon or moving across the world to plant Lift Church would suffice. You battled an illness or a job loss. Your season of little children testing your insanity meter 24/7 while feeling sleep deprived and overwhelmed seemed like it would never end. And what did you do?

You

Kept

Going.

No matter what you’re facing, there are days when you hit a wall. Pain prevails over the promise. “Something’s got to give” and you might internally combust. Finances, health, teenagers, in-laws, husbands, commitments, jobs… they all have their say, but somehow your own voice seems silenced. You literally think you can’t stretch another centimeter or else you’re going to snap. The laundry piles up, the toilets need cleaning AGAIN, homework isn’t done, and your husband is no longer your lover but a co-labourer and fellow cab driver.

NOW is NOT the time to throw in the towel! Keep forging ahead! Get up another day and take the step that’s before you. Remind yourself of God’s word and His hand in your life. Don’t say things like, “I can’t handle this” or “If one more bad thing happens, I’m going to lose it!” Don’t quit your commitments and for the love of God, please DO NOT rant on social media!

PUSH baby PUSH!

Fight for something bigger than yourself. Don’t let your circumstances win. Those will come and go, but you?

YOU’RE HERE TO STAY.

When you feel backed in a corner, come out brawling. Maybe someone told you that you were weak. He LIED. You’re very strong. You’re quite capable. Try pushing through the pain and just see what’s on the other side. It’s VICTORY, not DEFEAT. The only way you’re defeated is if you quit.

None of my mommy friends explained the gory agony I would face postpartum. (Stitches and calluses on places you don’t normally talk about publicly to mention a few.) The cost/benefit analysis made it all worth the risk I presume.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)

 

Fasting Devotion, Day Thirteen

2 Corinthians 1:20-24 Isaiah 61:1-7

The word “anoint” is a spiritual sounding word that means we are covered with the Holy Spirit to carry out a specific purpose. In the OT, kings and priests were anointed, and they were considered God’s “chosen” ones, consecrated to fulfill important roles on his behalf.

Despite what we might hear in our Christian circles, the anointing doesn’t just rest upon pastors and worship leaders! We must remember that by the power of the Holy Spirit, each of us carries authority to do things outside of what our natural flesh is capable of doing.

We are anointed when we are full of the Holy Spirit and on a mission for God.

Isaiah prophesied a day when each of us would preach good news to the poor, comfort the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for captives, to heal the sick, and more. What’s exciting for you and me as believers, is that we are co-heirs with Christ and we too carry a special authority. Jesus came first to fulfill this prophecy and by believing in Him, we too, can tap into the same power that raised Christ from the dead.

What is that God has called you to do? As we continue to draw near to God during this fast, let’s seek him for powerful tasks we have ahead of us. God receives glory and honour when we walk in our anointing, realising we are set apart for his glory.

Lord, thank you for putting your “yes” within me. By your Spirit, you have started a powerful work in and through me. I am called and anointed to do your good works on this earth. You have chosen ME and I accept the challenge to walk in the authority and confidence that comes with this anointing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Fasting Devotion, Day Three

2 Corinthians 3  Acts 4:30-33

When we picture someone who is bold, we think of shoulders held high, a confident step, eye contact, a voice that carries… someone who isn’t afraid to try something new, even if it’s risky. We find it admirable when our children step out to try new things and we encourage them to have confidence in the face of peer pressure. We teach them to stand up to bullies and to walk without fear.

If someone is too aggressively bold, however, we call her “forward.” We think, “that was a bit audacious” of her and we want her to back down. It seems there’s an unspoken line we aren’t meant to cross where lies too much risk. Her actions just become stupid and irresponsible.

Someone can move quickly from admirable for her courage to just plain senseless because she puts herself in precarious situations too often.

Thankfully, when we walk with God, we can be as bold as we wish towards him. He loves for us to shout daring prayers and to put forth colossal requests. After all, he holds the world in the palm of his hand. Nothing is too difficult for him! The apostle Paul reminds us that nothing should hold us back through the power of Jesus! Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

This means you and I have freedom to bring ANYTHING before God during this fast with ANYTHING. Even the things we don’t want to say out loud because they might seem too far-fetched. We can ask God to set us free from lifelong addictions and struggles. He can restore broken relationships. He can heal us from any disease. God can multiply our influence and our finances if he chooses. God can bring back wayward children; and by his spirit, he can make a way where no path seems clear.

Jesus, thank you for spilling your blood out on the cross for my redemption. Because of your sacrifice and the hope I have in who you are, I come boldly before your throne of grace. I ask you to move mightily in my life in the area of ________________. I look forward with excitement for the testimony that is to come from what you will do in this situation. In Christ’s mighty name, Amen.