Thursday, August 18, 2016
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Monday, August 15, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Friday, January 8, 2016
There are Biblical examples throughout Scripture, including the 3 day fast that Esther and her servants began when preparing to make a decision that would have epic impact upon her & her people. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before calling those who would become disciples and carriers of the MESSAGE that would change the world. Daniel led his peers in a fast, now commonly called the "Daniel Fast," of not eating meats and other foods, showing that they had become stronger and were seen better in the eyes of their leaders as opposed to those who had eaten all that had been prepared and presented.
As a church, we have begun a NEW YEAR and have declared steps of faith that we are taking as a church. I know that many of you are doing the same in your own lives, whether it be marriage, family, jobs, personal economy, or the like. As the year begins, we will be honoring a 4 day period we are calling "ReFOCUS 2016" that will also serve as a CALL TO FASTING. I am encouraging all of us, as a church, and as believers in Jesus, to press in, dig deeper, and hear what God is desiring to speak to us and teach us.
THEREFORE, I wanted to equip you with Scriptures and with ideas on how to fast. Don't let the fear or the intimidation of 4 days, no food, or anything else block you from being involved.
Common Types of Fasting.
Water-only. This fast would call you to abstain from all food for a period of time between the January 10-13. Start on Sunday or wait until Monday, but the idea is that you withhold from your body something that it has survived on. The first day of water only might seem pretty fierce. Drink up. You will need it. You will NOT DIE, though you might feel it in moments. The idea is to keep your mind and heart on Jesus. Turn off the TV. Spend time in prayer. Read the Bible. Be a part of the "ReFOCUS 2016" services that week. By the way, how you prepare for ANY fast will help you to enjoy and to endure.
Modified Daniel Fast. The "Daniel Fast" is often referred to as a vegan-diet, which simply excludes meats and animal product foods. This can be a great challenge to those who are dependent upon eating certain things. Take a look online for recipes that will help you to follow this for the days of the fast.
Juice Fast. Just as it states, drink only juices for the period of the fast. Preferably, choose juices that are not full of chemicals and processed sugars that will cause more of a hunger or not be as beneficial for the health of your body. Alternate between juice and water. You will receive some calories and taste from the juice, but you will still benefit from the denying your body the fulfillment of food.
Media Fast. Some of you, for health reasons or other concerns, will not be able to, or are not ready to engage in a "food-less" type diet. Choose to "fast" turning on the television, not getting on the internet for reasons other than work-related. Take a break from Facebook, YouTube, other other social media outlets. Let the video game system gather some dust for a few days.
Other Fast. Pray & ask God what it is that you have grown to depend on, other than Him, that He would call you to put down, even for this period, if not indefinitely. Are you a smoker? Put them down during the fast. Are you coffee-caffeine-aholic? Lay it down for the fast. Do you like your beer or glass of wine? Set it aside. Set aside SOMETHING that is like "second nature" to you and use that "loss" as a means to be reconnected and ReFOCUSED on HIM who will be your greater gain!
Scriptures on Fasting.
Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV) 16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Isaiah 58:3-7 (NIV) 3 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?' "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
2 Samuel 12:15-17 (NIV) 15 After Nathan had gone home, the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife had borne to David, and he became ill. 16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.
Psalm 35:13-14 (NIV) 13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, 14 I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.
Acts 14:23 (NIV) 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them” (Deuteronomy 1:6-8, NIV).
"You have stayed long enough at this mountain..." They had been in the desert of their wandering for 40 years. They had doubted God, fought God, complained at God, and had attempted to rebel against both their leaders AND God. Therefore God allowed them to stay in the desert so as to learn from their mistakes and not to believe that their methods had helped them to get there. But now they had learned what they needed to know. God had disciplined them, He had not punished them. His heart's intention was for them to get to where He had promised them, but it would be on HIS terms, and not by their own hand or mind. This, now, was God's way of letting them see that restoration was at hand. Their time in the desert and then on the mountain had been a result of seperation (from His immediate blessing), preparation (for what He had promised them), and restoration (connecting them to original intent). God is not mad at you. He loves you more than you will ever be able to fathom or understand this side of Heaven. There will be times, however, when He will slow you down or even stop you dead in your tracks from reaching what He has for you. He loves you too much to let you receive His blessings on your terms. Embrace the desert seasons of your life. Let God use the times of separation for preparation for restoration.
"Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites..." It was time to go. Their time in the desert and on the mountain had become their launching pad into the hill country of the very ones that had become the "poster-child" of intimidation from decades past. The Amorites were seen as giants, fierce, and mighty, and were the roadblocks that stood in the way to where God had called them. God didn't instruct them to sneak, to creep, or to crawl, but He did call them to advance. There will be opportunities that God calls you to that is going to require you to step out in faith IN THE DIRECTION of that whih intimidates you. Do not fear. Have faith. Take ownership of the opportunity. Stare intimidation in the face with the grace and strength you receive from God. The time for waiting and preparing is over. It is time to advance. It is time to do what needs to be done to receive what God has destined for you. No more excuses. The giants are big, but your God is bigger!
"See this land I have given you..." God was reminding them that His promises had not become lost in the 40 years of wandering in the desert. God is not bound by the time which is a creation of His own hand. He used that time to bring them closer to HIMSELF before bringing them closer to the promise. But here they were. God showed them the land. It was still there. It was also still theirs. He reminded them that He had given it to them. There was nothing that could stand in the way of their receiving the inheritance that had always been purposed for them, EXCEPT FOR THEM. By their doubt, they could miss it completely. By giving into fear over faith, they could bypass the best that God had laid up for them and for generations to come. It was theirs. All they had to do was to trust Him, see what He saw, and receive it in their hearts. If you don't receive what God has for you in your heart, by faith, you will never receive it in your hand, by fact. Look at what God has promised you. Trust Him completely. See it as He sees it. Yours. Let your life, your words, actions, thoughts, and attitudes reflect the faith that reads, "This is mine and I will have it, because God has promised it to me."
"Go in and take possession of the land..." He was bringing them close, not that they could sit, dream, and wonder, but so that they could go in and take ownership of what was theirs. This had been God's promise to them. Since God is sovereign, and God knew before time began what would be theirs, this land had ALWAYS been theirs. It was time to go in and take back what had been inhabited by those that were never intended to be there. To go in and take possession was going to be a matter of war. It was going to take a fight. Those that were there, the Amorites, had decided because no one had claimed the land, it would be theirs, and they would use fear and intimidation to keep out anyone who dared to think otherwise. God had told them that this was the land HE had given them, which meant He was there with them, and would equip them with everything necessary to go in and take what was theirs. What about for you? You're not going to receive the breakthroughs or the answers to prayer you want by sitting by wishing, hoping, and praying faithless prayers. Whatever is rightly yours, given to you by God, but has been invaded and taken over by the enemy, is going to take a FIGHT to get it back. Are you afraid of the fight. Do you have faith to believe that you can achieve EVERYTHING that God has said is yours? It's time to fight, not with the weapons that have become culturally acceptable and justified. The warfare in which you will engage in is on a completely higher level, to the pulling down of every stronghold that even tries to separate you from ALL that God has promised and destined for you. It's time to fight! It's time to believe! It's time to pray! It's time to go in with the battlecry of PRAISE and TAKE ALL that God has for you! The devil can't have your peace. The devil can't have your marriage. It's time to take back the control he has had over your finances, your family, and your faith. Take it back! It's yours! Go in and take possession of the land!!