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.

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.

Courage, Devotion, Inspiration, Personal Growth

Day 2: “The Right Road”

photo: wagabunda.club

Seeking God through a concentrated time of prayer and fasting means something different to each person. You may feel weary from circling around the same mountain and you want to see different terrain this year. Perhaps your spiritual walk feels sluggish and stale; you know the onus is on YOU to pick up the pace, focussing on Jesus more in order to break some bad habits or to hear his still, small voice again.

You might be seeking breakthrough in a specific area for yourself:

Overcoming an addiction

Physical healing

Reconciliation in a relationship.

Or, you’re praying and believing for someone else… A family member who needs a miracle.

Your path is covered in thorny bushes and roadblocks; progressing seems impossible. You feel out of breath at the thought of going higher. Your spiritual muscles are squishy and you think you’re not cut out for the heavy lifting required by a life of authentic faith.

Whatever your reason for embarking on this journey, it’s a good one. You have identified some stalemate in your life and you wish to overcome it, to stretch yourself and dive into deeper waters with your God. You have an intrinsic motivation driving you, compelling you to look ahead rather than behind. You are pioneering afresh, taking back ground which you might have thought was forever stolen from you.

Today, equip yourself for battle. Your armour is your faith. Your weapons are the truth you hold within the Word of God. Your salvation is secure and your Saviour is petitioning on your behalf as you align your will with his.

Step out in faith and you will hear what God wants to say… a personal road map of whispers, guiding you along your narrow trail of difficulty. Everyone is navigating treacherous waters. It’s a lie to believe you’re alone. Nothing you face on your road to victory is new to the One who carved your path.

Envision yourself today, saddled up alongside a brave hero who can conquer anything. Let Jesus take the reigns. Let go of the control you falsely believe is giving you success. Your peace isn’t found in seeing others do what you want, how you want it done. Clarity doesn’t come by more money landing in your account. Harmony doesn’t make its way to you through mowing down the next mile marker at breakneck speed.

You’ll never arrive at the perfect destination this side of heaven. So, begin the practise of leaning into the shadow of the Almighty’s wing. Let him take you 30k feet above the turbulence below. Your circumstance doesn’t have to change for you to see today differently. You’re en route and your help is near.

“The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.”

Psalm 19:7-9
Contentment, Devotion, Personal Growth, Series, Uncategorized

Day 5: “Can You Slow Down?”

slowResting sounds good in theory; however, slowing down could make you realise some struggles you can’t seem to overcome. A cluttered mind helps you avoid that which is uncomfortable. Busy-ness allows you to sweep your pain under the proverbial ‘rug,’ denying Christ’s gift of rest. Your condition is clogged – your heart, hardened.

Consider the writer of Hebrews’ words: “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2a NIV).

What hinders you from an encounter with The Living God? He’s nearer than ever, watching over you, loving you, yearning for you to cast off whatever holds you back so you can stay on the course he has mapped out for you.

Are you insecure and unsure of your worth?

Have you fallen into the comparison trap?

Is it fear?

What about anger or un-forgiveness?

Can you slow down long enough to inspect your heart? 

We all have tender places of struggle. That’s not bad. We get into trouble when our compulsions consume us, our transgressions taint us, our shortcomings strip God’s truth right out of our hands.

Over the next several days, let’s pause, take an audit, and then believe God for breakthrough. Ask the Holy Spirit to shed light on any darkness that has caused a blockage in your walk with God. Don’t be afraid of what you discover. The very area you might be avoiding could be the key to freedom and peace – true rest.

“So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul” (Hebrews 3:12-14 MSG).

 

Fasting, God Speaks, Lift Church, Uncategorized

Fasting Devotion, Day One

Matthew 6:16-18

Starting the new year with a fast is a great way to re-align ourselves with God as well as place priority on our spiritual lives. This year, Lift Church is corporately fasting and we will be posting a daily devotion for the next 21 days.

In Matthew 6, Jesus teaches some basic Christian principles. Giving, prayer, and fasting all help us live a blessed, fulfilled life. Sometimes, people run to God as a “self-help” phase during a crisis. They feel better after going to church for a while or getting counsel from a Christian leader. Then, this “feeling” wears off and they are on to the next thing.

In order to truly experience the fullness of a Christian walk, there are some disciplines we must undertake. This is different from “working” our way to heaven or striving outwardly to change ourselves to please God. We have already been set free by the blood of Jesus and what he did for us on the cross. However, seeking God through prayer, Bible reading, and by denying our flesh one of its most basic needs pushes us to a new depth in our walk with God and clears the path for us to hear from him like never before.

Moses fasted before receiving the ten commandments. Hannah went without food and practically lived in the sanctuary praying and crying out to God until she had a breakthrough in conceiving a child. Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before he began his ministry.

Fasting helps us hear from God more clearly. By eliminating something as vital as food, we cling to God and seem to feel his presence in a more palpable way. If you are joining us as we embark on this 21 day journey, here are some things to consider:

What do you wish to gain by fasting? Focusing on this rather than what you are giving up will help you stay motivated throughout your fast. Be specific with God about what areas of your life you wish to see breakthrough.

What specifically are you giving up? Some people fast all food; some forego specific items like meat, sugar, or caffeine. Others fast social media, television, or video games. Whatever you give up, stretch yourself and stay the course!

Dear God, help me and each person embarking on this journey of fasting. Give us strength and vision for this new year. Forgive us for our shortcomings and allow us a deeper communion with you. Speak to us. Give us breakthroughs in our health, finances, our families, and every area of our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For more great information on fasting, check out the resources of Pastors Jentezen Franklin or Stovall Weems.
Faith, Fasting, Inspiration, Lift Church, religious, Uncategorized

Break Through

Greg and I wanted to start out 2012 fasting and praying God’s perfect will in our lives.  The Bible shows us clearly that some things come to us only by prayer and fasting.  Jesus fasted for 40 days before he began his public ministry.  Daniel fasted while seeking a breakthrough for the people of Israel.

Before we began, we wrote down and prayed about some specific breakthroughs that we want God to give us: namely financial support for Lift Church and selling our house.  As Greg and I embark on the most critical season of our lives-moving across the world and starting a church, we are desperately seeking God.

As I write this morning, I am on day 10 of our 21 day Daniel fast.  God has clearly shifted my perspective.  Instead of praying for breakthroughs for myself in the aforementioned areas,  the phrase “break ME through to YOU” keeps coming up in my spirit.  Rather than a breakthrough for me, what God wants is

ME to break through to Him.

If we rid all the distractions and seek Him like never before, He meets all our needs.  At the end of the day, our needs are not physical.  That’s the miracle of fasting.  God is all we need. Cliche?  Yes. True? Absolutely. At no time in my life have I realized how much my true needs depend on His presence.  In order to feel fulfilled physically, mentally, and spiritually, we have to break through our normal routines and distractions.  James 4:8 promises that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us.

Amazingly, God has shown me that the things I wrote down as my desired breakthroughs during this fast are all rooted in fear, doubt and worry.  My “desperate” need for God to “come through” FOR ME so that we are taken care of both financially and physically totally shifted a few days into this fast.  Instead, my “desperate” need became to be free from fear, doubt and worry.  I didn’t even realize I was worried!

My plea each and everyday is that God’s grace will be sufficient for me (2 Cor 12:9).  God’s strength is made known to us when we are weak.  I’ve never been more weak physically than I am right now.  (What I wouldn’t give for a greasy cheeseburger!) But that’s just the point.

We carve away at our carnal desires by getting rid of anything that fills us up besides God.  It can be shopping, television, or any number of things that take our time.  Once we move those out, we are left with a

reflection of ourselves

that is raw and tender.  Like an open wound or the inside of a piece of fruit that is peeled apart, we are soft and pliable for the Lord.  When we delight in the Lord, the promise that He will give us the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4) takes on its true meaning.  Those true desires are in alignment with God’s like never before when we fast.

Matthew 6:33 says that if we seek first God’s kingdom “all these things will be added unto us.”  What things?  The sale of my house?  Perhaps.  Finances to move and plant a church? Hopefully. Peace?  Certainly.  Revelation? Absolutely.

I am more thankful than ever for God’s absolute and infinite provision in my life.  He truly can meet every need.  When we empty ourselves for His glory, He is able to fill us up like never before.  When we sacrifice the most basic of our desires (food), He overcompensates with His sweet presence.  It’s better than any piece of chocolate I have eaten.

If you are a Christian and have never fasted, I encourage you to try it.  Awakening is a movement of churches and individuals who will fast corporately beginning in a few days.   You can even watch podcasts each day for 21 days.  Jentezen Franklin also has some great fasting resources available.  As 2012 starts off , seek God and

break through to Him like never before!