Day 1: “An Invitation”

The New Year has officially begun; and, as expected, the slow pace of lazy days by the beach, time off work, and extra sleep has abruptly ended. School has started for the kids. Work is in full swing for the adults. The calendar begins to fill like the sink with dirty dishes – all messy and stacked high.

You long to get to the bottom of it all. To maintain order. To wrap your head and pen around the “stuff” and place it neatly in boxes where it shall lay, subdued by the force of your strong will. The schedule, the stress, the decisions, the mess. You want to wrangle it all to the ground and tie those coveting hands up so they can’t reach you and devour your 2019.

You are searching for the calm. You dream of waking up to a quiet household. Can’t you just merge slowly with the traffic of the morning? You wish to find your family full of enthusiasm for the day ahead, rather than dread.

You fantasise about the next break, or maybe just a short nap. You are striving, pushing, yearning for this year to be different:

Better health

More money

Diminished problems and heartache…

A New Year holds the promise of what yesterday failed to yield. You are searching for answers, believing you can put together the right formula this time to find the things for which life has withheld thus far.

*If you’ve decided to join me for the next 21 days, committed to prayer and fasting, you WILL find what you’re looking for. Breakthrough awaits you. Spend time each morning taking ten deep breaths, closing your eyes, listening to the Holy Spirit, and reflecting on these words and scripture. Use a journal to write down your thoughts each day. What is it you want God to do in your life this year? How about over the next three weeks? Come along and draw closer to the One who holds the answers you seek.

I heard a voice thunder from the Throne: “Look! Look! God has moved into the neighborhood, making his home with men and women! They’re his people, he’s their God. He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good—tears gone, crying gone, pain gone—all the first order of things gone.” The Enthroned continued, “Look! I’m making everything new. Write it all down—each word dependable and accurate.”

Revelation 21:3-5 (MSG)
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Fasting Devotion, Day FIVE

Read Ephesians 1:15-23

(Today’s thought is submitted by Janine O’Rourke.)

The apostle Paul says in this passage that God gives us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation “so that we may know him better.” Do you know God better at the start of this year than you did at the start of 2014? Just because a year has passed doesn’t mean an automatic “yes” to that question.

We can go to church every week, make wise choices, and have an overall great year, but that doesn’t mean we have grown to know our Saviour any better. Let this time of fasting be a catapult into personal growth this year.

What are the things that help you know God better? Memorising scripture or a Psalm, spending time in a topical Bible study, listening to worship music and meditating on Him? These are some ways you can strengthen your spirit.

When do you find yourself avoiding spending time with God? Is it when disappointments come, heartache or illness? What about just being too distracted or busy? It’s in those times we scramble to dig up stored treasure from past experiences which only satisfy for a short time.

Let’s spend time with the one believes in us, wants the best for us, knows what we need and when we need it.

Heavenly Father, spending time with you strengthens my spirit. It brings wisdom and revelation. I want to know you more. Breathe life into me; a fresh wind of your Spirit. Touch me like never before so that I can walk through life at ease. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

2015 Fasting, Day One

Read Daniel 10:1-12

Daniel fasted for 21 days seeking God’s heart. He was faithful to speak to him and give Daniel special visions that he didn’t allow anyone else to see. When we humbly set our minds on God, he is faithful to speak to us too.

God is ready to hear your prayers and he wants to reveal himself to you in a deeper way. Write down what you are believing God to do in your life over the next three weeks. Do you need breakthrough in an area of bondage? Are you praying for healing? Are you believing for a family member to come to Christ? Do you need specific direction in 2015? Whatever it is, believe that as you press in and deny yourself something, God will fill the gap and be faithful to your requests.

Dear Heavenly Father, as I embark on the next 21 days to seek you through focussed prayer and fasting, please reveal yourself to me. Show me your will for 2015. Allow me to experience your presence in a deeper way and for my relationship with you to grow stronger. Thank you in advance for what you’re going to do in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Willie, Cowboys, and 2014

willie

I had the privilege of seeing a legendary country music star at an iconic venue while I was in Texas last month. Willie Nelson has transcended generations with his music and many of his country ballads have famous one-liners everyone could sing whether he likes country music or not and no matter whether she grew up in West Texas like me. One of those classics entitled, “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” describes a cowboy much like many of us could be labeled:

“Sadly, in search of, but one step in back of, themselves and their slow-movin’ dreams.”

As I look ahead at my 2014, I don’t want to be in search of myself but always one step behind. And as much as I love a good cowboy, I certainly don’t want my dreams to be “slow-moving.”

A lot of us live this way, though. We really don’t have an expectation of this year to be any greater than last. We don’t have any new goals. Fridays are the only thing we have to look forward to and we seem to have more worries than we have wishes. Our lives are lived the same year after year, just getting older each time.

Personally, I’m thrilled about what 2014 has in store for my family and our church. I expect God to bring more people to Lift; I believe we are going to move ahead with our dream of a community centre and pregnancy resource centre; my kids are going to accomplish more, growing wiser and stronger with more purpose and fervor behind their relationship with God.

I believe our roots in Australia will go deeper and our relationships will thrive and multiply. God is in the business of changing lives and I expect to be right alongside him impacting our city and neighbourhood and school. I want to look back at 2014 and see a compression of time that only God can do! That we will accomplish more in one year than years past combined.

I’m praying and believing the same for you and your families. In the words of Willie, let’s “insist the world keep turning our way” in 2014 and live more like this than a lonely cowboy:

On the road again

Goin’ places that I’ve never been.

Seein’ things that I may never see again

And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again –
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way.