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.

Contentment, Courage, family, Finance, Inspiration, Leadership, Personal Growth, Uncategorized

Lady Wisdom

Happy New Year! 2020… a new decade! Time to pull out the diaries and start goal setting, resolution-ing, and asking good questions:

“Do I have time for this?”

“What should I say “yes” to?”

“What items in my cupboard need to go?”

“Can I afford this?”

These are questions I’ve heard my friends, my family, the teams I lead, all asking. I bet you are too. Andy Stanley wrote a great book many years ago called “The Best Question Ever” and it changed my thinking. Andy says, “In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?” (Emphasis mine.)

Before Greg and I ask if we can afford something, what we should cull from the calendar, we query, “What’s the wise choice?” When someone begs me to take on another volunteer role, it’s not “Do I have time?” Rather, “In light of my current and future priorities, dare I say ‘yes?’

Does this expenditure align with my value to put God first in my finances? To stay out of debt? To live minimally so I create margin to do the things I love like supporting my kids’ endeavours, traveling, etc?

If I take out the buzz of emotion that’s shouting in my ears, do I hear the whisper of prudence and sanity speaking to me?

This method takes off so much pressure and fuels my priorities! Wisdom tells me I need space in my days to feel alive, to hear the voice of God, to rest. Savvy says my budget is stretched and one more activity will only add to my stress. Wisdom reminds me that my kids are going to be just fine if they skip a year of XYZ sport or music or art. Chances are, they aren’t the next Beethoven or Steph Curry so giving them space to play outside, eat a proper dinner with the family most nights, and giving them my undivided attention as their mother (not just their Uber service), matter more. Good judgement calls out to me from the early mornings reminding me how much I need exercise for my sanity so my day must include TIME for that as a priority. Experience has taught me that I can make time for another activity but I won’t because these other priorities rank higher.”

In your gut, your heart of hearts, your intelligence and discernment, you hear Lady Wisdom speaking her truth to you too!

Listen to her!

She teaches you how to establish your values as a person and family. Then, you must find the courage to not let other people dictate how you outwork those values. What other families do or don’t do, how big their cars and houses are, how smart and amazing their kids might seem, what their social media account looks like with regards to their travel and experiences shouldn’t be factored into your goal setting or planning for the year ahead. This year, be brave and chart your own wise course.

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

Colossians 1:9-12 (MSG)
Contentment, Devotion, Fasting, Inspiration, Personal Growth, Prayer, Uncategorized

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)
Devotion, Fasting, Series, Uncategorized

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.

Devotion, Fasting, Lift Church, Series

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.

Inspiration, Lift Church, Uncategorized

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.