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.

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.

Courage, Personal Growth, Prayer, Resilience, Uncategorized

Day 7: “Fill Your Arsenal”

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.

1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (MSG)

Life IS a box of chocolates, as Forrest Gump once said… you never know what you’re going to get. Day to day, you can become exhausted from the force of life. You need courage, resilience, and the ability to handle adversity. You require scripture, friendship and encouragement, wisdom from God. You’re one week into this annual time of prayer and fasting. This endeavour is spiritual conditioning, supplying your arsenal with spiritual battle weaponry you will soon need.

Jesus reminds you that in this life, you WILL have troubles. But, you can take heart in knowing him because he has already overcome the world. What troubles are you currently facing? How do you handle the sour taste left in your mouth when you expected something sweet instead? You anticipated a raise and your boss fired you. Your son made a huge mistake and you’re disappointed and afraid. Your best friend betrayed you after you trusted her with your vulnerability.

When you know your future is secure and you are “battle ready” each and every day, you can handle adversity. As a matter of fact, your response to the curve balls life throws you testifies to your time spent in preparation. If you’re weary and ill-equipped, you will be taken out. But, when you have spent time stockpiling the ammunition you need to fight, you can continue to rebound when you’re knocked back.

See each day as an empty silo or storehouse for your weaponry. You’re taking time to fill it by praying, reading the word, and fasting. Hide away something useful today. Do it again tomorrow. You’ll be amazed at your supply levels over time.

*Read Ephesians 6:10-18. Which part of God’s armour do you need to focus on this week? Ask God to help you and expect to divert the enemy with strength when your next battle comes.

Fasting, Prayer, Series, Uncategorized

Day 1: “A Year of Possibilities”

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Ephesians 3:20 (MSG)

A blank calendar lies waiting be filled with school terms, holidays, dental appointments and work schedules. The new year represents a fresh start with re-calibrated goals and expectations. You can easily tumble into the year, tripping over yourself and all the hurdles you see based on last year’s performance. You can be swept up in the tide of old habits and conformity to those around you.

Or, you can grab 2020 by the reins, turn your face toward heaven and will yourself to look ahead with the lens of expectation and possibility rather than skepticism and unlikelihood.

Big companies hire consulting firms to help them think outside the box and see possible growth areas. Kids lie in bed at night dreaming of being NBA or YouTube stars with no inhibitions. You watch movies and read books where your imagination takes you to unknown places and you allow yourself to dream, escaping the reality of what is in exchange for a few minutes of what could be if you were someone else.

Walking with God means you have the chance to wake up everyday with the possibility of becoming the perfect God-designed version of yourself that was planned before the beginning of time.

Your heart’s desires and best laid plans are minute compared with what God has in store for you. It’s time to dream again: let yourself go! Ask God to show you what’s possible for this year if you walk by faith and not by sight. When you position yourself intentionally and focus on hearing the voice of God, you’ll suddenly see what was inconceivable; the hypothetical becomes viable. The difficult becomes a breeze when you’re swept up in the breath of God.

Let’s begin our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting seeking God for endless possibilities, soaking in the refreshing chill of being in over our heads. Rather than stifling your mind with “what ifs” and “how to’s,” allow your mind to wander in the wide open space of God-sized dreams.

*Spend time today journalling a list of what’s possible this year for your health, your finances, your family, your work or school. Allow the Holy Spirit to whisper his encouragement for heavenly possibilities as you start your 3 weeks of prayer and fasting.

Devotion, Fasting, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 16: “A Worthy Foundation.”

Photo: cbc.ca

Our pop culture can easily package up your faith in handy Instagram images, retweets, or reposts. On the outside, you seem all deep and meaningful, perhaps even well-read. You scroll through articles and images “liking” and looking. “Amen” to that. Another one minute snappy sermon, tick.

You normally spend time skimming the latest news and most popular trends. However, this time of fasting has taken your microwave content and slow cooked it. The YouVersion “verse of the day” has come alive and God is revealing truths to you beyond the Christian-ese some around you are speaking. This will sustain you beyond your snack packet, low cal, fillers into a wholesome, healthy base upon which you will continue to build.

What truths have resonated with you most? Are you easing into that place of peace you find when you tuck into Jesus and his Word?

You are satiated and satisfied when revelation makes it’s way inside your spirit.

You’re strengthening the foundation of your faith. Like insurance that pays out upon unexpected tragedy, you’re putting your policy in place, depositing extra moments of God time into your spiritual account. When winds come and the Earth shakes beneath your feet, you can cash in because Jesus’ words are ready for redeeming. You stocked up on truth. You’re freezing his words, ready to thaw under the heat of life which is sure to manifest one day.

Keep setting aside time. Keep journaling, reading, asking, praying. Fill yourself with more and more of your Heavenly Father’s words in place of that meal or social media. Whatever you gave up is an empty space waiting to hold your deepest, most desperate cries.

Let your vulnerability before God break open something worth spilling out. Your life is more stable than ever because you know your foundation is secure.

“That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.”

Ephesians 2:19-22 (MSG)
Devotion, family, Fasting, peace, Prayer, Series, Uncategorized

Day 10: “Peace. In Family.”

Photo: brushworkbyjustine

The good, the bad, the ugly. Your family has seen it all. They know your strengths, your weaknesses, your successes and your failures. Blood bonds since birth. Some families are tight tribes; others – broken bonds of separation and strain.

Divorce, abandonment, disunity, misunderstanding. Lack of forgiveness, ingratitude, abuse, neglect.

Safe, secure, aligned. Tradition, celebration, secrets. Laughter, travel, connectedness, prayer.

Whether the former or latter describes your clan, no doubt, you understand the importance of family. You may be praying for a wayward child to come home like the Prodigal Son. Your prayer and fasting could be for the salvation of a brother, auntie or parent. Maybe you’re struggling with a teenager or sibling rivalry and you desire peace to tamp down the fires of controversy.

God placed you in your family and he knows your heart’s desires. He loves each member and has a plan and a purpose for them all. You can impact your family dynamics through prayer as you lift up the needs and people in your life. God can do miracles in impossible situations and can bring healing and life to that which is dead.

You are a chosen daughter or son, belonging firstly to God’s forever family.

No matter your position or standing within your earthly family, God has crowned you as royalty within his. You have an eternal inheritance and all your concerns will be set right when you see Jesus face to face.

Spend time today thanking God for adopting you into his household. Give over any concerns you have about your earthly family to him who is more than able to bring healing, unity and hope to each and every situation.

The God of Glory ] “How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

Ephesians 1:3-6 (MSG)
Devotion, Inspiration, Prayer, Uncategorized

Day 21: “Smile at the Future”

she laughs

Laughter – good medicine. Nothing like a big belly laugh when you hear a funny joke or your kids do something hilarious. Have you ever smiled so much your cheeks hurt? Maybe it’s a day at a theme park or a show? Your wedding day?

Can you smile at your future?

Unfortunately, some of you feel dread with your approaching calendar. Unless you’ve got a holiday planned, you’re stressed about work coming up, bills that need to be paid, a problem you have to deal with… you think ahead too much and rather than hilarity, it’s a headache.

What does your future look like after these 21 days of prayer and fasting? How much of it pleases you, knowing your family is prepared to take on its next season? Your mind and heart are in a better place than they were three weeks ago. Your position is strong and secure. Your future is bright.

You know how to put your problems in the proper perspective. You’re secure in your position in your community as part of a larger world. You pray more. You encourage often. You allow vulnerability.

You close your eyes and envision what’s to come and you can’t help but crack a grin.

Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).