This is not the end. It is the beginning.
Most of us have been focusing our prayer, scripture reading, and fasting over the last 21 days. We are focusing it on our personal consecration to God. We want to hear God clearly and distinctly. We want TO BE the person He originally created for us to be. Today, is the last day of the 21 day fast.
However, it is the beginning of living a ‘new normal’. From this day, we will live in a new flow of life. I highly encourage you all to pick a day a week or a day a month to fast throughout 2017. Make time every day to read your scripture and speak to God. Dedicate your week to God by making church on Sunday a priority. Before you get paid each cycle, set a certain percentage aside for God. Find other people that you can connect to on a regular basis about prayer and life.
Living in this discipline will sow thousands of fruit-bearing seeds in your life. It will change the atmosphere of each day. It will tip the balance in your favor. It will influence your family, co-workers, neighbors, and everyone else you are around.
Sunday, we will be giving you the tools to find your specific ministry. We will help you see how you can make it fit into several different spots in your life. Living in this calling will bring fulfillment beyond anything else the world can provide.
Let’s do this!
Today, I received a powerful email from a young man in our congregation. He told me all about his journey over the last 19 days. So many ups and downs and challenges and victories.
He brought up a good point. At first, the fast seemed like it wasn’t doing anything. It was too minor and there wasn’t really a struggle or sacrifice. Then, he increased his level of fasting to include many other things and everything begin to shift.
As I read it, something dawned on me. The fast was working even when it was a ‘minor fast’. When he felt the conviction of needing to increase the fast…that was God talking to Him! That was the beginning of the messages that he would receive over the next 18 days. He had a chance right then to obey the voice of God and increase the level of the fast or disobey God and continue the way he started (or give up all together).
The main point to all this is that God’s voice is a…still, small voice. It whispers direction to us. It is so sensitive. It often sounds like our own internal voice. When we fast and pray, we start discern that voice and recognize that it is truly God speaking and not simply.
1 Kings 19:11-13 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. 13And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
This tells of our Elijah received the convicting/correcting voice of God. It wasn’t in the BIG things of life. It was in the low whisper. Prayer and Fasting removes our distraction so we can hear the still small whisper. Learn his voice. Listen for His voice. When you hear it, Respond to his voice. Then, follow after his voice. When this happens it makes all the effort and discipline seem like nothing at all. It rewards far beyond anything we fasted from.
All for now,
Fasting confession: Erica and I got into a heated argument on Sunday night. We both were not seeing the other perspective. It took a good hour to work through the situation and come to reconciliation. The peace at the end was sweet and sincere. However, the pre-peace atmosphere was quite rough.
How strange? It was Sunday. We have had a wonderful church experience. We were praying and fasting. We were tempted to be selfish and we bit the bait. 😦
Jesus was tempted during his wilderness/fasting experience in Matthew chapter 4. However, Jesus was perfect in the test. He flawlessly quoted scripture to ward off the devil’s deception. In February, our sermon series will be diving into this specific topic of temptation. Look over that chapter if you get a chance. It will be a powerful study on the three types of temptation. When we consider how we are tempted today, our temptation generally goes back to one of the same three that Jesus faced. Temptation to satisfy our Appetite, Acceptance, and Ambition.
How is your fast going? The church-wide fast will conclude Saturday night. Sunday, will be quite special. Come expecting a great day.
All for now,
I am still feeling the momentum from Saturday and Sunday. It was amazing to join with over a 100 guys on Saturday morning, hang out, eat breakfast, and hear Ted’s story. I have to admit that it was odd to be fasting and preparing breakfast. I ate part of the breakfast and avoided part of it. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. I was stunned at how many strangers were at church on Saturday and Sunday. Ted really drew in a slew of guests. There were some amazing stories of God touching the hearts of men AND women.
In my devotional Bible reading, I can’t get out of Matthew chapter 13. I read it each morning and chew on each part. Today, I was locked into verses 44-46. I want those verses to be lived out in my life. I also read a lot of the Bible for sermon preparation each week. This reading is all over the place and is a slightly different type of study. Today, I am starting to dig into the message for this coming Sunday.
What have you been reading lately? What is God telling you?
I have switched my fast this final week. I have switched meat with carbs. So I am fasting from most carbs. I am continuing to eat veggies, fruit, and minimal amounts of brown rice or sweet potato. I am not eating sugar, bread, chips (this is the BIGGEST for me), pasta, oats (this is also BIG for me), etc.
It still amazes me how a limited fast like this is a struggle. We went to Jason’s Deli after church yesterday. I can fill up on a salad and still be upset that I didn’t eat a cracker or bread or ice cream. God speak to me!!
If you haven’t fasted yet…JUMP IN this week! Even fasting for one day produces results in your life. In fact, I encourage everyone to continually fast throughout 2017: once a week or once a month.
Check out this clip from Sunday.
How are you reading scripture this year? What have you read already? How have you heard from God so far?
Today, I was reading Matthew, ch.12 and instead of plowing through to chapter 13, I really felt like God wants me to stay in chapter 12 for a few days. I am currently not on a one-year plan to read the Bible through. I want to hear from God these three things:
- How does this passage give me a picture of God?
- How does this passage give me a mirror for myself?
- How does this passage give me a window into the world?
Use these questions in your own study to further hear God’s message.
All for now,