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Saturday, January 21 2012

Day 15: God Embraces us in our Brokenness  (Psalm 51; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12)

Summary:  One objective of the discipline of fasting is to humble us.  Spiritually (and to some extent physically), fasting weakens our willfulness so that God can get us past our facades, veneers and other protective layers.  (Every one of us has them.)   It is then that we can see and admit the sins that we often try to “pretty up” by rehearsing all of the excuses for our thoughts and behaviors.  But God loves it when a person cries out for His mercy, and fully acknowledges their need for God’s forgiveness.   It is the heart that comes to God honestly and openly seeks God’s cleansing, admitting all brokenness, guilt and failure, that God will restore and ultimately use to declare His praise.

Action Step:  Come to God humbly today and ask God to show you any unacknowledged area of your life that is not pleasing to God.  Ask God to purify your motives and behaviors so that you can worship God in Spirit and in Truth.

 

Day 16:  Fears Handled (Psalm 27)

Summary: All of us have things in our lives that seem overwhelming, intimidating, and daunting.  We have goals that we have to reach, problems that we have to solve, people that we have to confront, and things that we have to do that we have no idea how they will get done.  The intimidation leads to procrastination and avoidance, which only causes the issue to get bigger and become more of a crisis.  When David was overwhelmed by the opposition in his life, he didn’t get wrapped up in it, but rather focused his attention on God.  He gathered all of his hopes, aspirations and aims and pointed them toward ONE THING – getting into God’s presence.  When we focus on getting into the presence of God and not on our problem, the obstacles and opposition lose their power to overwhelm.  When we’ve been with the GOD of the universe, of whom shall we be afraid?

Action Step:  Write down one thing (situation, challenge, etc.) that you have been avoiding or dreading.  Identify a Bible verse that addresses your fear in that area.  Pray and tell God that you are giving it to Him.  Then check it off and write the word “handled” next to it, and place it in a place where you will be reminded.  Praise God in advance for your victory, and go forward with confidence.

 

Day 17: NOT Everybody’s Doing It  (Daniel 3; Romans 12:2)

Summary:  There are times when we have to face consequences for not doing what is popular.  Our young people are constantly assaulted with peer pressure to get involved in things that they shouldn’t (illicit sex, drugs, violence) and adults are tempted to condone things that society says are okay.  But God has called believers not to conform to trends just because everybody else accepts them.  If we are to be “the head and not the tail”, it means we are to be trend setters, not trend followers.  We have to stop letting styles, the media, and people around us dictate to us what is right for us.  We are to get our instruction from God’s Word. When you take a stand, people will try to make it uncomfortable for you, but often at the end of the story, these are the ones that will come to YOU for help and advice.  Know that God will stand with you even in the fire, if you stand up for what’s right.

Action Step:  Is there an area of your life in which you are compromising what you know to be right?   Determine today to do the right thing, even if it gets uncomfortable.  Know that God will be with you in whatever “fire” you have to go through, and will bring you out victorious. 

 

Day 18: Look for Restoration and Revival (Joel 2:12-32)

Summary:  When God’s people turn to God with all their hearts through repentance and fasting, results happen.  God would intervene in many of the problems that plaque us (sickness, poverty, crime) if God’s people would get serious about prayer.   There has been so much that the enemy has stolen and that has rotted away (as Joel says, “that the locusts have eaten”) because of our self-reliance and inattention to prayer (disintegrating dreams, crumbling ambitions, stolen opportunities). God says through the prophet that if we take this call back to consecration seriously, we will begin to see restoration of the hope that God has promised His children.  Not only this, but God has promised to send an outpouring of His Spirit that will spill out to and bless every segment of the family of God, causing more people to turn to the Lord.  Are there people in your life that you want to see come to the Lord?  Is there change in your family or your community or in the church that you know is needed?  It will only happen if WE return to the Lord with all of our hearts.

Action Step: Commit yourself to some focused prayer time for the things that you believe that the enemy has stolen.  Ask God to forgive you for your inattention to covering them with prayer.  Give God praise IN ADVANCE for God’s restoration.

 

Day 19: No Place Like Home  (Psalm 84) 

Summary:  In numerous places in the Psalms, we see David and the other Psalmists proclaiming the benefits and blessings of dwelling in God’s house (the tabernacle), the place dedicated to encounters with God.  There are certain places and spaces that are set apart for people to have these encounters.  Even though God is everywhere at the same time (omnipresent) and an encounter with God can happen anywhere (even Solomon acknowledged that the Temple he had built could not contain God), and even though under the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus WE are now the Temple of God (God’s Spirit lives inside US), God’s presence is still felt especially powerfully in places set apart (consecrated) for Christians to meet together.  We ought to THIRST for that presence, because the manifest presence of God is what brings healing, deliverance, and transformation.  We ought to LONG to come together with God’s people in the Lord’s house (the church) whenever the doors are open (Worship, Bible Study, ministry meetings, etc.) because we know those that occupy God’s house are BLESSED.  The enemy’s tents may look inviting, but there’s no place home.  In spite of it s imperfections, God shows up there!

Action Step:  Write down three things that you LOVE about coming to church.  Commit to sharing them with someone today.  Pray that God will use it to inspire them. 


Day 20: Devotion that Works  (Zechariah 7)

Summary:  Consecration and sacrifice to God mean nothing if they are “all about us.”  Sometimes we think that we impress God with faithfulness to our disciplines, rituals and traditions, as if they in and of themselves were the goal of our devotional lives.  We need to continually be reminded, even during this consecration fast, that the objective of everything we do is that God will get more glory out of our lives, and that more people will be liberated from Satan’s captivity.  Rituals, traditions and personal disciplines like fasting are ways in which we consistently seek God, but they are “means to an end”, that “end” being that we expose ourselves to the presence of The One who is living and active.  God is pleased with our expressions of devotion, but what really pleases God is how the encounter transforms our thinking, our behavior, our obedience, and how we treat people when we rise off of our knees. 

Action Step:   Take a moment to write down something that you intend to DO differently going forward to be a blessing to others as a result of your encounters with God during this consecration.


Day 21:  Time for an Outpouring (Ezekiel 47:1-12)

Summary:  God has empowered the church to impact the world.  It was never God’s intention for God’s people to be containers of God’s divine power, but rather conduits and distributors.  Ezekiel’s vision of the river flowing FROM the Temple reminds us that blessing and healing should flow OUT from the house of God.  The key to initiating the flow is the prayer of God’s people.  God promised Solomon that God would “heal the land” if God’s people would humble themselves and pray. God wants to bring revival, not just in the church, but also in our neighborhoods, schools, and our city.  It’s time for us to “pour out” from our comfortable pews into the community and help someone else encounter God.   Our presence should “freshen up” someone’s salty existence. 

Action Step:  God has been gradually pouring God’s anointing into us during this 21 day season of consecration! Make it your business to refresh someone today with a word of encouragement.  Pray about new ways that our church can open its doors and pour out God’s refreshing presence into our neighborhood and the city.  As we pour out, God will pour into us more than we can even contain!

Posted by: Pastor Jay AT 12:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 15 2012

Day 8: Expect Awesome Worship (Psalm 100)

Summary:  David exhorted worshippers to rejoice as they prepared to enter into God’s house.  For Christians, Sunday morning is a time when believers should awaken with a sense of expectation even before leaving home.  All too often, we allow the enemy to turn Sunday into a “routine”, devoid of any sense of awe or wonder.  The ultimate agenda for Sunday should be WORSHIP.  When all of us come to church ALREADY prepared to praise and worship our God, God works MIRACLES in our midst!

Action Step:  Determine in your heart to believe that God is going to do something AMAZING when we come together in God’s house on Sunday.  Begin to praise and thank God IN ADVANCE!  God will do it!

Day 9: Give Yourself First (Romans 12)

Summary:  The word “consecrate” means to set apart or devote for sacred use.  Consecrating ourselves means reserving ourselves (mind, body, spirit) for God’s use.  While it is appropriate to make a sacrifice by setting apart our possessions or resources for God, the sacrifice that God REALLY wants is for US to be consecrated first.  When God has your heart, then God can work your gifts, and God’s love can emit from you.

Action Step:  Verbally tell God that EVERY part of you belongs to God.  Ask God to use your ears hear people’s cries, to use your eyes to see people’s needs, to use your mouth to encourage people’s souls, to use your heart to give love and compassion, and to use your hands to help someone today.  Then watch God move and celebrate it!

Day 10:  Resistance Gives Clarity and Strength (Luke 4)

Summary:  As God did with Jesus, the Spirit of The Lord has led us into a season of sacrifice and testing.  By now, the enemy has probably made all kinds of “offers” to you to sidetrack you from your spiritual focus (Food in front of your face, invitations to do other things during quiet time, etc.).  However, when Jesus stayed focused and resisted, God clarified his mission and anointed his ministry.  Similarly, as we stay focused during this 21 day journey, we can expect increased clarity on what God wants us to do, and a greater anointing for effectiveness in serving God.  We may face rejection from some of those around us, but others will be blessed by the change.

Action Step:  When Satan tries to get you off course (through negativity, appetites, distractions, etc.), resist him by keeping in mind that you have a better offer from God.  Each time you successfully resist, give God a praise.  Each time you resist will make you stronger.

Day 11:  Getting Answers (James 1:5-8)

Summary:  God wants to answer our prayers and give us direction.   If you are seeking direction from God during this consecration, God WILL provide it.  However, we should not come to God half heartedly, thinking God MIGHT answer if God gets around to it.  You have to BELIEVE that God will speak to you and provide insight and direction.  You might think that if you’ve sinned or made a mistake that God will stop speaking to you.  But if you (a) acknowledge your mistakes before God, (b) ask God for wisdom, and (c) refuse to doubt that God will respond, God will show you what you need to know when you need to know it, without finding fault.  God WANTS to show you His will (and not confuse you) so you can bring God glory.

Action Step:  Write down a question that you want God to answer and begin seeking God diligently for a response.  Believe God to give you the answer right when you need it.

Day 12: Stress Relief  (2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

Summary:  Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life.  Constant stress can be a cause of significant mental, emotional, and physical damage to a person.    But the Spirit of our God, known as The Comforter, provides us with a shelter from the stresses and strains of life.  The assurance that God, who is our deliverer, will see us through the things that we cannot see the answers to now, keeps the trials and stresses of life from becoming overwhelming. Our task is to learn to rest in that assurance.

Action Step:  List five things that cause you to feel stressed on a piece of paper.  Fold the paper in half and place it under your Bible.  Place your hand on your Bible and say “covered”.  Begin to praise God for dissipating your stress and delivering you from your stressful situations.

Day 13: House Cleaning (1 Peter 2:1-2, Philippians 4:8)

Summary: There are things in our spiritual lives that need to be removed so that we can grow spiritually.  There are times that we wonder why we don’t experience the kind of peace, breakthroughs, or revelation that we seek from God.  Sometimes the problem is that there is too much other clutter in our spirits that is keeping us from experiencing God’s power.  Consecration is a time for getting rid of the garbage that “crowds out” the Holy Spirit’s fullness that could be ours.  Things like jealousy, refusal to forgive, dishonesty (small or great), or unyielding resentment of people limit the anointing on your life and keep God from using you the way God could.  Rid yourself of it by replacing the negative talk in your head with God’s Word.  Make it your business to meditate on God’s promises in the Bible rather than negativity.

Action Step:  This week, as you empty the trash in your home, use the occasion to consider whether there is any “garbage” in your spirit that needs to be removed.  Write it down on a piece of paper and throw it in the trash.  Then read Psalm 19:14 aloud.

Day 14: You Make A Difference (2 Corinthians 4:7, Matthew 5:13-14)

Summary:  Your presence as a believer makes a difference.  When you become a believer in Christ, The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you.  Within you then is the most valuable treasure that exists.  You may not feel like it, but that which is in you is something that people around you desperately need.  Jesus describes us as “salt” and “light”.  Salt (in this context) is a preservative that keeps things fresh, and a seasoning that gives flavor.  Light gives direction and guidance that leads to safety.  These need to be shared.  Don’t let fears or a focus on your own inadequacies and problems keep you from sharing a word from God with someone that could refresh them, give them insight or direction, or perhaps even lead someone to salvation.  Regardless of how little influence you think that you can have, your word might just be the thing gives somebody in despair a reason to carry on another day. You may feel insignificant next to someone that’s “big or important”, but you plus God make a majority.

Action Step:  Commit yourself to encourage at least one person with a promise from God’s Word today.  Regardless of how they receive it, when you get by yourself, praise God for allowing you to plant a seed.  You made a difference!

Posted by: Pastor Jay AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 08 2012
Day 1: Engaging the Spirit Realm (Daniel 10)

Summary:
This period of consecration will open your eyes to spiritual things that are not knowable in the natural. Spiritual allies will be fighting for you to release blessings in answer to your prayers. Your body may feel weak for a time, but God will give you strength through the reassurance that you are deeply loved by God.

Action step:
Set aside DAILY time for prayer and Bible Study. Believe that God is operating on your behalf, releasing blessings in the heavenly realm. Determine to trust God for the answers to prayer, no matter how long it takes for them to manifest.


Day 2: An Earnest Plea (1 Chronicles 21:18-27)


Summary:
David went in obedience to the Lord to worship, and was willing to make a sacrifice to purchase something to be dedicated to God, even when he could have used his influence to get it for free. When God saw David’s sacrifice, God removed the judgment to be executed against his people. Obedience and sacrifice are the keys to victory in your life. We can plead to God with our lips, but obedience and sacrifice demonstrate our sincerity. They can change the course of negative consequences and evoke God’s grace and mercy.

Action Step: If there is something in your life that you are seeking God’s forgiveness for, ask for that forgiveness, but also commit to obeying God’s Word and answering God’s call to sacrifice during this period of consecration. It may cost you something, but it will gain you everything.


Day 3: Expect the End to be Better! (Daniel 1)


Summary:
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah committed themselves to eating only water and vegetables for ten days, and asked to be tested at the end. At the conclusion of this period they ended up looking and feeling BETTER than those who had the king’s rich diet. They were also given special spiritual graces of knowledge and wisdom. Committing yourself to God during this time we should EXPECT to be both physically better and spiritually more in tune that we would otherwise.

Action Step: Today take some time to write out some expectations for the end of your consecration. What are you looking for at the end. Begin giving God thanks NOW for it.


Day 4: Focus on God’s Word (Psalm 119)


Summary:
David’s extended statement on the power of God’s Word details how important it is to make The Bible the central driving force in our lives. Often we rely more on our own instincts, experience, and senses to determine our course rather than God’s Word. But if we hide God’s Word in our heart (vl 1), let it order our steps (vl33), establish our short and long term direction (vl05), God will give us more strength and wisdom than we’ve ever had.

Action Step: Determine to write out a scripture from this passage that speaks to you. Repeat it eight to ten times during the course of the day and try to commit it to memory. Praise God for giving your spirit new strength.


Day 5: The Three Pillars (Matthew 6; 1-18)


Summary: Jesus focuses on three pillars of spiritual life in this passage: giving, prayer and fasting. He emphasizes that we aren’t to do any of these in order to get respect from others, but rather to please God and enhance our relationship with God. Giving, praying, and fasting are spiritual sacrifices that we do primarily for God’s pleasure, not to gain approval from anyone.

Action Step: Ask God to weed out any attention getting motives from our fast. Tell God that you are doing it for God and God alone.


Day 6: Connect it With Justice (Isaiah 58)


Summary: Fasting is useless if it is not accompanied by self examination. Isaiah points out that God’s people were doing the spiritual discipline of fasting, but at the same time exploiting people and participating in injustice. Similarly, we must ensure that our fast is not so inwardly focused that we are not working to make a difference for those who are experiencing oppression around us. Fasting and prayer can be powerful in destroying yokes of oppression and bondage around us if we commit ourselves to not close a blind eye to what is going on around us.

Action Step: Identify a social justice cause that you are concerned about (poverty, violence, education, etc.). Begin praying for social change and identify one way in which you can participate in making a difference.


Day 7: How to be a Spiritual Warrior (Matthew 11:12; Ephesians 6:10-18)

Summary: We believers must realize that we are at war, and that our choices are a matter of life and death. In order to survive we must (a) Get right with God (repent of unconfessed sin), (b) Declare War on Satan (determine that he WILL NOT rule your house), (c) Pray DAILY, and (d) Exercise our faith - believe God for a godly goal which seems unattainable.

Action Step: Talk yourself through putting on the armor of God before you meet your day (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Posted by: Pastor Jay AT 12:02 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 08 2012
January 8 - January 29, 2012

In Matthew 6, Jesus addressed three specific pillars of a Christian life, Giving, Praying and Fasting. “When you give”, “When you pray”, and “When you fast ”

Ecclesiastes 4:12 — a threefold cord is not easily broken

Fasting, Praying and Giving

Consecration: For these next three weeks we are setting ourselves apart to focus our attention on God

Corporate Objectives (Why is our church doing this?)
•    To break strongholds that limit our church from progress and growth
•    To overcome unhealthy behaviors
o Personal- Addictions, habits, unhealthy life practices , unbiblical behaviors
o Collective - Traditions and practices that are ineffective, irrelevant, or detrimental to progress
•    To develop a more of a hunger and thirst for learning about God, God’s will and the application of God’s Word in our congregation,
•    To empower our people to take our faith OUTSIDE of the church, in order to:
o Lead people to Christ
o Address community issues with the resurrection power of the gospel

Means
Praying & Studying
•    Prayer is the cornerstone of any effort to get closer to God. (Focused communication)
•    Set aside daily time to seek the Lord.
•    Make a special effort to attend Church School AND either Evening Prayer Meeting/Bible Study or Hour of Power during the period (Heb 10:24,25)
•    Scripture readings: Matthew 6:5-15, Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, James 5:16

Giving
•    Making a sacrifice from your substance is integral to any program of consecration. God has always required sacrifices from the belongings of God’s people as part of their worship. In the Old Testament, worshippers had to always bring some form of sacrifice unto the Lord, regardless of their level of means
•    God expressed His love for us through GIVING (John 3:16)
•    GIVE YOURSELF FIRST. Then give of your substance. (God wants your heart)
•    Determine a level of sacrifice that you will commit to during the period (1 Cor. 16:2)
•    Scripture readings: Matthew 6:1-5, 2 Corinthians 9:7, Ephesians 5:2; Romans 12:1,2

Fasting
•    Biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. The point of fasting is to apply the time and attention that you would give to eating to activities that will make your relationship with God more intimate (i.e., prayer, Bible Study, meditation, Spirit led service).
•    Fasting is a way to conquer the physical and open the door to the supernatural in your life.
•    Scripture readings: Esther 4:16, Daniel 10:3, Jonah 3:5, Matthew 4:2 (Jesus fasted), Matthew 6:16-18

Types of Fasts
•    Total Fast-No food or drink
•    Full Fast - Drink only liquids
•    Daniel Fast - Eat no meat, no sweets, no bread; Drink water and 100% juice; Eat fruits, vegetables and lentils. (Daniel 1). Our corporate fast will be a Daniel fast.
•    Partial Fast - From 6 am to 3 pm or from sun-up to sundown
•    Fast of Sacrifice - Giving up television or anything that would be a personal sacrifice.

Scripture References for Corporate Fasting
•    1 Samuel 7:5-6; Ezra 8:21-23; Nehemiah 9:1-3; Joel 2:15-16; Jonah 3:5-10; Acts 27:33-37

Consecration Guidelines
•    The church is promoting the DANIEL FAST for 18 days and a FULL FAST (liquids only) for the last 3 days. However, if you cannot fast according to these guidelines, please choose another type of fast (see above). BOTTOM LINE: WE WANT YOU TO PARTICIPATE!!! (Youth, adults, seniors, EVERYONE)
•    Start with a clear personal goal, such as a need for direction, healing, financial breakthrough, and/or restoration of relationship. Commit to the church’s collective goals. Prepare spiritually by confessing your sins to God and asking forgiveness
•    Pray as often as you can; get away from the normal distractions and keep your heart and mind set on seeking God’s face
•    Do not be too legalistic! The point is not to show how strong or dedicated you are, but to increase your dependence on God and to give you a way to prioritize God in your life. If you blow it, just continue where you left off and keep trying! Conquering the flesh is difficult, but God will give you the strength if you faint not!!

Food Guideline for a Daniel Fast
Foods You May Eat
Whole Grains: Brown Rice, Oats, Barley
Legumes: Dried Beans, Pinto Beans, Split Peas, Lentils, Black Eyed Peas
Fruits: Apples, Apricots, Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Cranberries, Oats, Figs, Grapefruit, Grapes, Guava, Honeydew Melon, Kiwi, Lemons, Limes, Mangoes, Nectarines, Papayas, Peaches, Pears, Pineapples, Plums, Prunes, Raisins, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangelos, Tangerines, Watermelon
Vegetables: Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chili Peppers, Com, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Garlic, Gingerroot, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Parsley, Potatoes, Radishes, Rutabagas, Scallions, Spinach, Sprouts, Squashes, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Yams, Zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you not allergic to soy.
Liquids: Spring Water, Distilled Water, 100% All-Natural Fruit Juices, 100% All Natural Vegetable Juices. You may also drink protein drinks.
Others: Seeds, Nuts, Sprouts

Foods to Avoid
Meat, White Rice, Fried Foods, Caffeine, Carbonated Beverages, Foods Containing Preservatives or Additives, Refined Sugar, Sugar Substitutes, White Flour and All Products Using It, Margarine, Shortening, High Fat Products
Posted by: Pastor Jay AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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