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I have seen some clear differences. I am coming to conclusions faster and they seem to be not as confusing. I hear messages from God more frequently as well.
How do you hear from God?
Today, I was praying with my early morning men’s group and I sensed a clear message from God. In the middle of my prayer, I was talking to God about a frustration I had. I was really talking fast and hard about the situation and being honest with God about my displeasure. In a conversation, there should be at least two parties involved. Meaning when you pray, you should talk AND you should listen. BUT…how do we know when it is God talking and not simply our imagination? I know it is God when several factors line up.
1. The message lines up with Scripture. If God is speaking to you, it will not ever contradict what the Bible says. If you are not familiar with this, study what the Bible says about the subject. Ask someone if they know where it is found or how the Bible teaches this subject throughout the books. If the word I get from God is challenging or asking me to do something bold, I will always ask at least two other people to confirm with me in prayer about the word.
2. I feel a peaceful confirmation. This one is so hard to describe. It sounds like a fairy tale. However, when it is the Lord speaking, it is accompanied with a peace that feels like no other peace. It is almost impossible to put into words. You just know that you know. Having said that, I still have other people pray with me to confirm all the things I have felt inside.
Looking back over my life, I can see a couple huge decisions that were made during a fast. In 1998, God confirmed to me during a fast that I should marry Erica. I remember the exact place I was standing when I received that special word. In 2009, I was fasting and praying about where we should move. God showed me a vision of the house we were to buy. We had been looking at several different options and we wanted to know for sure where to go. During prayer at the church, I saw an arial view of the house. It was accompanied with a peaceful confirmation.
How would those examples line up with Scripture?
What does the Bible say about marriage? It is between a man and a woman (that are not already married). It is until death. It should be between two people that are going in the same direction. Both spouses are to be looking to God for their salvation and sanctification. In our case, our lives matches scriptures mandate.
What does the Bible say about a business transaction? It should be done legally and ethically. Would I be able to provide for my family in the context of this neighborhood, location and monthly payment? How would it interact with our calling and family life? We knew that all these were “a go”.
I hope this helps some in your conversations with God.
All for now,
Welcome to Day 10!
I’m not sure if you all know this, but I am in a pastors’ discipleship group that meets weekly. There are 7 of us from all over the United States that meet via internet video. Jeffrey Garner and Mike Breen are leading us through many different scriptures, exercises, and discussions. It have been so fruitful. This fasting and prayer combined with my discipleship group is changing me. I encourage those of you who have not joined a group to GET IN ONE. Pick one from our list. It will take several weeks to feel like there is chemistry. Give it time. Click here for a list.
Last week, in my group, we were told to spend the week seeking God for our window into the gospel. What is the way you specifically and personally are able to share the gospel with other people. How has your life experience continually pointed you to Jesus? How can you use that to point others to Jesus?
This is what I have come up with so far. I thought I would share the rough draft with you. I welcome your thoughts. Those of you that know our personal story will not need a lot of explanation as to how I came up with it.
What can God do with your present that seems hopeless and lost?
When we are faced with trauma and unanswered prayers, we can look to Jesus who not only knows every detail of our life but experienced trauma and unanswered prayers himself. Our Savior relates to our experience by his own experience of betrayal of his own people, the Jews, and being forsaken by his father on the cross. This betrayal and abandonment is not wasted. It is the very foundation for the salvation of the world.
What can God do with your present that seems hopeless and lost? A lot.
Welcome to Day Six,
I have had some good conversations with folks yesterday and today about their fasts. Everyone is working through it differently. I am always glad to get your comments here as well.
This particular fast is more like a marathon than a sprint. Don’t be concerned with how you feel on a specific day or time. We are wanting a paradigm shift. We are wanting a completely pure/authentic personality and character. This will take a while. In fact, the fast is simply the beginning. However, if you will be faithful through the fast with prayer, Bible reading, and community, you will find yourself in a good position for 2017. Also, remember not to compare yourself to others. This is so tempting. This is between you and God. Trust the process, don’t rush it.
I am actually buckling down a little bit on my fast. Removing some more items from my edible list. I think that is needed for me at this point. I’m not sure if I have mentioned it on here, but I have been reading the Bible in Spanish this year. I typically read 1-3 chapters in Spanish and then a couple chapters in English. I really want to learn better Spanish for our mission trips.
On Friday our offices are closed so I don’t see many people. It is a day to separate from the pace of life and really rest for the weekend. I don’t review anything for Sunday. I do have a wedding rehearsal this afternoon, so I will be heading to that soon. Tomorrow, I will pick the sermon back up and dig deeper into what God has for us. Can’t wait to see you all on Sunday!
Welcome to day five of our 21 day journey in prayer and fasting.
Oh my goodness! I have felt so much tension the last 24 hours. I have had a short fuse when it comes to dealing with conflict. I have not realized how deeply this fast would affect me. The change in food has been very difficult for my capacity to deal with trouble and difficulty. It is forcing me to rely on God for my ‘niceness’ and capability. The fruit of the Spirit comes to mind: kindness, gentleness, meekness. Sometimes, I rely on my personality or charisma to bring peace into a situation instead of the Spirit flowing through me. I pray, “Lord, forgive me. Please show me how this can work with you completely in the driver seat!”
For lunch, Erica and I met with Cole and Pam Phillips (pastors of Connection Church in Buda). Erica and I ate veggie options on the menu. It was nice to talk with other pastors about issues we deal with. We talked about a few of you that have gone back and forth from our churches. 🙂 FYI, We often do that. Dinner with our kids has been special. They are following the daniel fast with us for dinner and breakfast. If you have kids, what are they thinking about all this? Have you taken the time to share with them?
Today, I began reading a devotional Bible that was written by a friend of mine, Dr Tony Foglio. He used to pastor a church in San Diego. I have become good friends with him through international mission work.
How is your scripture reading going? Has God spoken to you through a particular verse or passage? What is He saying to you?
Today, I spent several hours working on the sermon for Sunday. I am getting really excited about teaching on worship and prayer. It will be very helpful for many people. The gist of it: The NEW YOU should be more of a worshipper instead of a striver.
All for now,
I have been praying for you! Last night, I hosted our first live prayer session on Facebook. 262 people logged on for it. Wow! We prayed for many different needs. I am believing God supernaturally met with people in that moment. Those sessions are not planned in advance. I simply feel the urge and go live on Facebook. If you are on and see me, click into the session and help me pray with people.
I met with our men’s prayer group this morning and we had a great time of prayer and sharing. We were honest about what we are seeking from God during our journey in January. If you are not in a group of some sort, please find one. We will be giving you all the group options on Sunday morning. If you want a sneak peak, click here.
I have been eating a lot of veggie soup. Almost tired of it. However, eating in general is a blessing when you are hungry. I never want to take that blessing for granted. So many in the world would fight for some veggie soup right now. My physical body seems to be adjusting to the different diet. I am thankful for that.
How are you doing?
I am so thankful to hear from each of you when you comment on the posts. Please feel free to simply check in with a few brief words if you can. It is encouraging to see others in the movement with you.
How is your scripture reading? What is God saying to you through the text? Have you slowed down enough to give God the space to speak? Sometimes, we are rushing so fast, we do not give Him the attention needed. Let’s slow down. Let’s quit talking so much. Let’s intentionally listen for God to speak. Maybe He is speaking to you non-verbally. What have you seen lately that might be the voice of God?
All for now,