21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 21

Then Jesus returned to Galilee, filled with the Holy Spirit’s power.

Luke 4:14 (The verse that followed the end of Jesus’ fast)

Here we are at the conclusion of an extraordinary beginning to 2018 on the last day of our 21 day fast as the DC3 family.  God has done extraordinary things over the history of DC3 but I do believe that our Heavenly Father has something very special in mind for year 16.  I like to think of this year as “sweet 16!”  And the very fact that you’ve contributed to the process of enthroning Christ our community is amazing and I personally want to say thank you and great job!

Whether you fast for 21 days or just 1 day or maybe you’re just praying, here’s what I want you to take away…

Expectation!

Expect amazing things to happen!

I remember seeing one of my favorite bands live in concert for the first time.  From the first moment the venue was electric with anticipation.  Then , bam! The band kicked the first song and the rest was an amazing memory. In the same way expect to begin to put people in your path to help and answer prayers in a way you have never seen before!  Expect it!

 

Expect your life to change!

Whenever you make time to sincerely grow in Christ you will filled with His Holy Spirit.  From that filling comes fruit.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control will spring from the branches of your life.

Expect resistance!

I would be remiss as your brother in Christ and pastor if I said “everything will be easy peezy now!”  I you read Luke 4 the devil did his best to use the pain of the fast against Jesus Christ.  And if you check out Luke 4:13 it says:

13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

When we are living for the right then the devil will look for opportunities to tempt us with the wrong thing.  With that being said sat full of the Holy Spirit to be ready to overcome evil with good!  

It’s time to leave the zone and see what adventure our Savior and King has waiting for us!

LET’S GO!

-Steve

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 20

“So open up the gates, make way before the King of kings”

For our consistent DC3 attenders, you may know which worship song this line comes from. I had just returned from my honeymoon and had the amazing opportunity to just attend DC3 with my new wife, Becca. The service’s worship had been good, but I experienced something entirely different as this song was played and the second verse was sung. Here it is again, and how I listened to it as I sang:

“So open up the gates, make way before the King of kings”

As I formed the words of that line, singing in unison with the rest of our congregation, the Lord spoke to me.

“Not only is this a command, but you get the opportunity to go before me and make the way.”

At this thought, I was overcome with emotion. Who am I, that the God who created the universe, would choose me to be one to go and prepare the way for Him to enter? The same principle applies to you. We all have a command to go and do the work that God has called us to do in order to make a way for Him. Not because He needs us to do the work, but because He wills it.

I did some research on this line and believe it is a interpretation of the scripture found in Psalm 24:7:

“Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” NIV

In this verse, the gates are being commanded to open so that the King of Glory can enter in. See? God doesn’t need people to do His work; He could just command the gates themselves to open and they would. However, I believe that God delights in giving us the opportunity to have us open them for Him.

What gate does God want you to open today? How can you make way for Him? Do you need to open the gates of your heart to make a way for Him there? Perhaps you need to work on opening gates in your family, relationships, workplace, or school in order to make a way for Him to do great things in those places. As you spend time in prayer and fasting today, ask God specifically what gates He would have you open for Him.

-Ethan

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 19

Do you have any prized possessions kept in a safe place? God does.

So what does the God of the universe, the star-breather, the universe maker, store away? Our prayers. Shocked? Revelation 5:8 says,

 "And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people." 

God stores our prayers in bowls! And not just any bowls either- golden bowls! They are precious to Him. They are a sweet fragrance, a special incense. God loves our prayers because God loves us. No problem is too big for Him and no concern is too small. He cares about it all! If you are facing difficult circumstances today, let me remind you of a prophet named Elisha.

Read: 2 Kings 6:8-17 

Now read verse 17 again. 

Elisha, could see beyond his negative situation. He knew God would never leave him alone. Though you may be surrounded by difficulties today, know that God is bigger. He cares so much about you that He keeps your prayers stored away!

-Davey

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 18

Here we are! It’s almost day 21 of our fast. We’re at the finish line.

Which means day 22 is coming. 

To be honest, I started thinking about day 22 on day 2…

Maybe I’ll pull up a seat right next to a chocolate fountain and indulge while sipping on an extra-large expresso. Fine, let’s be reasonable. I might just eat a banana split for dinner. Ok, probably not. But seriously, I’d be okay if I didn’t see another salad again for a while. 

The restraints of the past 3 weeks will be lifted. Now what?

This is where it’s hard. It’s hard truth and it’s for me because I need to hear it, even if I fight the very truth I’m about to say. 

The whole focus of fasting is to humble ourselves before God. It’s about feeding our spirit instead of our natural desires. It’s denying ourselves and surrendering to God’s will, which helps us be more in tune to His voice and leading in our lives. 

Does this attitude and posture of the soul end on day 22? 

If we truly want to live a life surrendered to God, we should pause and ask God what He wants us to give up each and every day.

There may be seasons of sacrificing sleep for more prayer time, weeks of forgoing Netflix in order to serve, or times without social media because God needs to recalibrate our thought patterns. But know this:

When we open our hands to give Him the things we hold dear, we will be in the perfect position to receive His best for us. 

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross dailyand follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

“Deny themselves…” 

Trade my wants and my desires for His. Be willing to relinquish the temporary things I want in order to hold His eternal best. 

“Take up their cross…”

Be willing to die for Him, and equally willing to live for Him.

“Daily…” 

Even on day 22.

As these weeks come to an end, I encourage you to keep pursuing God. Keep listening for His voice and remain ready to surrender to Him. 

In and for Him,
Marla

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 17

Have you ever gone into a store hoping to get in and get out without seeing anyone you know? That was me a few nights ago. If any of you know me, that would seem out of character.  However, it had been an exhausting day of five-hour car rides, unfriendly airline attendants, early mornings and no coffee. So, like anyone would do in that circumstance I went to the store at 9:15pm, hoping everyone would be home. I made it all the way to the checkout counter without seeing anyone. Then it happened. I was greeted with, "Hey girl!" Not recognizing who she was, I politely responded back with, "Hey!" Hoping that would be the extent of the conversation. She proceeded with, "You probably don't remember me but you were my first customer when I started working here." Initiate brain game of "Guess Who", where my thoughts began lending themselves to such things as: how long has she worked here? How many times have I been here recently? It had to have been recently if she still remembers me? Maybe she remembers me because I was rude? Why is she telling me this? 

In mid thought, before any of these questions could be answered she said, "I remember you because you were very patient with me. A lot of the people who come through here choose me primarily because my line is shorter. But you were different. You commented on my hair and continually told me not to worry about the time it was taking." Whew! What a relief! --But was it? How many times are we someone's first customer? Maybe we are their first day back to work after a hard breakup or the loss of a loved one? Maybe they are trying something out of their comfort zone and need that person to be patient? 

Think of the story in The Bible of the woman caught in adultery, found in John 8:1-12. Jesus, sees the circumstance, but He also knows and sees their hearts. Instead of having her stoned, He instead states, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And you know the end. No one throws a stone.  

We all have hard days. We all have sinned. I wouldn't be able to throw a stone either. Sometimes when it's the hardest to be that helping hand or smile, those are the times we need to dig deep and ask ourselves how we would want to be treated. 

We were created to make a difference. 

Trust me, there are times I miss the opportunity or I'm in a rush, but we have to make time for others. We can start by asking the question, "Whose needs can I meet?" instead of "Who can meet my needs?" 

Here are a few verses I use and pray about to help me serve others better: 

"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10 NIV 

"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." -1 Thessalonians 5:11 

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29

And if you're looking for a worship song to fill you up so you can pour out to others, this is one of my favorites! (I even recently played it at the unity section of my wedding) Closer by Lifepoint Worship

Lots of Love,
Becca Perry 

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 16

Have you ever seen that Snickers candy bar commercial?  The one where various people turn into some famous actors like Betty White, Joe Peschi or Robin Williams because they are easily annoyed and are angry with other people.  It turns out they are hungry so they “grab a Snickers.” After taking a quick bite of the candy bar they turn back into themselves again because “you are not you when you’re hungry.”

That could easily be me in that commercial. I’m not talking about eating a Snickers bar to satisfy my hunger either; I’d rather have a Kit Kat anyway.  I am talking about being easily annoyed and angered with people because I have not satisfied my spiritual hunger.  I often find myself with a bad attitude or simply not being myself if I don’t take the time to have a spiritual Snickers candy bar that morning.

In John 15:4, Jesus says, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

Let me encourage you to take time to satisfy your spiritual hunger by daily spending time in God’s word.  Set aside some time to simply sit and talk with Him.  Just like you would talk with one of your friends.  He’s listening, and longing to simply spend some time with us. Remember, you are not you when you are hungry – so grab a Snickers – a spiritual Snickers that is.

 

 

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 15

Ready Or Not

Luke 21:34-36 in the Amplified version says: 

(But take heed to yourselves {and} be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened {and} depressed (weighed down) with the giddiness {and} headache {and} nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries {and} cares pertaining to [the business of] this life, and [lest] that day come upon you suddenly like a trap {or} a noose; (35) For it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. (36) Keep awake then {and} watch at all times [be discreet, attentive, and ready], praying that you may have the full strength {and} ability {and} be accounted worthy to escape all these things [taken together] that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.

>take heed
>be on your guard
>keep awake
>watch at all times
>be attentive
>be ready

This verse is sending an intensely clear message and leaves no room for taking the easy way out, or the “I’ll get there eventually” mentality.

Instead, it’s imploring us to be ready now. On guard and prepared because Jesus made it abundantly clear in the Gospels that we will not know the hour that He will return or when we will be taken home. 

Let me ask you this: If you knew today was your last, what would you do? How would you spend your remaining 24 hours? Would you have perfect peace and steadfast confidence knowing full well that your heart and life before God are in right standing? Or, would you be uncertain, possibly frightened....pleading for just a little more time? More time to ask others for forgiveness to make things right in any broken relationships? More time to share Jesus with family, friends, coworkers and neighbors?

The reality we all must face is that more time is never guaranteed. Life has a way of happening without consulting us, and we or someone we love can suddenly be gone. 

No more Time.

So, whatever it is you’ve been putting off or told yourself that you have plenty of time to take care of... do it now. 

Make that apology, ask for forgiveness, read your Bible, tithe, join a Life Group, lead, worship, get in shape, start praying, share your faith or maybe finally surrender your life to Christ. 

Whatever it is for you...just do it! Take the first step today. 

It may not be perfect. It could even be messy... do it any way. 

Our time here will end. When and how is up to God. 

Readiness? 

Well...that’s up to us. 

Father we pray for lives wholly surrendered to You. Give us a boldness and courage to step out in faith like never before to be ready for you. Father, we want nothing less than all you have for us. Help us to bravely do whatever it takes to get there, knowing you’re with us every step of the way.  In Jesus name we pray, Amen. 

💗 Love Y’all,  Anita Cook

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 14

Hosea 10:12 (NLT)

12 I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.  Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’

Psalm 126:5-6

Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.  6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.

I love beautiful flowers and delicious fruits & vegetables.  Picking out freshly bloomed flowers and fruits picked in season with their vibrant colors is a joy when I am at the grocery store. Yet I admit I’d rarely think of the planting process.  

I think we have lost so much as we have become a society mostly dependent on stores to provide us our flowers and fresh foods.  Most of us no longer get our hands dirty and wait patiently, tenderly caring for the seeds we have planted. We no longer anxiously await the fruit as they develop.  

Hosea’s words remind me that the planting is a huge piece of the harvest that we enjoy.  There can be no harvest without the planting.  Planting entails intention, a plan, work, hardship, plowing up hard ground, patience, waiting and follow through.

As I think about this in terms of my spiritual walk with the Lord, I’m reminded that I must spend time seeking Him, allowing Him to plow up the pride and hard places in my heart. I must plant seeds of righteousness in order to harvest the right things I desire in my life.  I must allow things to be cut out and cut off; those weeds that would choke out the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and self-control that I want to be sprouting out of my mouth, my hands, my eyes, my heart.  Sometimes that pruning is painful, and it causes tears and separation from things that have taken the place of my first love.  

Another important quality to planting is an expectant and patient heart as I plant these seeds.  Nothing grows into a beautiful flower, or a full grown piece of produce, overnight.

I love the thought that as we plant in tears, most likely meaning tears of pain, we will harvest with shouts of joy and triumph.  Those moments of pain are not without a purpose.

For what we may feel is pain, when handed over to the Lord result in our lives a beautiful harvest, in His time.

With Joy,

Sarah

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 13

I love the start of a new year. It’s a chance for a fresh start. A new chapter. Put the old behind you and look forward to the new. Goals and resolutions begin and the anticipation of better days ahead brings excitement to life.

Everyone seems to be on the same page of setting new resolutions. Accountability begins. Then suddenly, something happens. You get off track. You miss a day. Then two. And suddenly, your whole plan seems to fall apart. By the third week of the New Year, those goals that were a dream can feel like a distant memory and completely out of reach.

This is where most people just give up, but there is good news. No matter what happened yesterday, last week, or five minutes ago, you can choose to get back on track.

One of my favorite stories is of a friend of mine who started her weight loss journey on a Thursday afternoon. She didn’t wait until the new year. She didn’t wait until the beginning of the month. She didn’t wait until Monday. She didn’t wait until the next day. She started right then. At the moment she knew she needed to make a change and God spoke to her heart, she took the first step.

What if we lived like this? What if our goals weren’t dependent on a new year? What if we chose to take the very next step right now? Regardless of what our last step was. Let me encourage you today as we are almost three weeks into the new year. If you have already gotten off track with your goals and resolutions, if you are struggling on your fast, or maybe you intended to fast, but you somehow never got started. Remember today is a new day and God’s mercies never end and they are new every morning.

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

    His mercies never cease.

23 Great is his faithfulness;

    his mercies begin afresh each morning.” – Lamentations 3:22-23

I am praying that wherever you are at today, that you would be reminded of God’s faithful love and mercy.

God bless,

Jennifer

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 12

Dishonest money dwindles away,

    but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. - Prov. 13:11 (NIV)

 

Did you know that just $100 a month invested at the historical return of the stock market will turn into a million dollars over the average person’s working life?

This devotion is not about making money, but about the power of consistency. A little money invested consistently over time turns into a lot!! The same is true of other habits and disciplines in our life, and in fact, the small consistent actions produce far greater results than doing a lot of something once in a while.

Small amounts of consistent exercise everyday produces more results than a massive workout every once in a while and is less painful (trust me).  Small consistent healthy choices in your eating is far better for your health and weight than going on a crazy binge starving yourself and sending your body into shock.

A few minutes spent everyday with God produces a far healthier relationship with Him than trying to catch up on it all in one day. Can you imagine if you only talked to your spouse or kids once or twice a month? It wouldn’t lead to very healthy relationships.

The things in our lives that become the most successful, whether it be our finances, our health, our relationship, career growth, etc., are the things that we invest in consistently. When we make something consistent in our routine, it becomes a habit, and habits that we do consistently actually take less energy and effort on our part. Win-win!

So as you set goals for yourself, make the steps achievable and consistent and you will set yourself up for success!

-Pastor Sandy

Hope this song inspires your choices!

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 11

The clock started. It was a race- my endurance against the seconds on the bright red clock mounted on the gym wall. 

The simple exercises on the list for the daily workout were all simple in and of themselves, but when combined in a certain order the simple tasks turned torturous. 

Seconds ticked by like eternity as my mind willed my body to perform the movements. 

Some seasons of life feel like terrible workouts. 

Simple events or circumstances, when in isolation, never frustrate us. But when combined the wrong way, what was once no big deal suddenly becomes monumentally overwhelming. 

Paul teaches us the importance of endurance in Romans 5 when he says, “…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” 

Did you catch the gift about hope? Hope does not put us to shame.

Whatever we face this year, whatever trials, challenges, growth opportunities, setbacks, or sufferings, they are not in vain. They are not without purpose. 

If we allow them to, the very things meant to hurt us will be the things that harden our resolve, heighten our faith, and bring us hope. 

The beautiful thing about the ugly workouts, each and every one of them build my muscles stronger, my mind more dedicated, and my awareness of my ability more secure. Each workout meant to break me down in fact builds me up. 

So the next time the clock starts- with it’s ugly red glow- I’m confident I will survive, I will thrive, and the clock will eventually end. 

The challenges in front of you today- they can break you down, or build you up. The choice on the result is yours. 

Much love, 

Natalia

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 10

This past holiday season I was so proud to find a candle whose scent evoked the very essence of the season, and even more proud that I paid only a small fraction of the cost of candles in the mall store. At home I lit each of the three wicks and enjoyed the fragrance for the next few days until one wick abruptly burned out, followed by another, leaving one solitary wick, barely flickering, threatened by the tiny pool of wax surrounding it. It wasn’t long before it surrendered and I was left without its light. 

How often I have felt like that candle. My love for Jesus, desire to know more of God and His Word, and my heart to worship have all burned brightly at times. I want to be more like Jesus! I want to understand more about Him! I want to be near people who love Him and share His love with those who don’t!

I can’t say exactly how it happens, but over time the light of His love in my heart becomes less of a blaze and more of a flicker. I feel…burned out. Prayer becomes not so much a conversation birthed from a desire to know Him, but more of a chore. Bible reading? A checklist item instead of the soul-feeding it once was. 

God knew our inclination to burn out long before He ever lit His flame in our heart. He stepped into our human inconsistency as Jesus. 

Jesus, who came to bring new life, the One of Whom the scriptures say: 

He will not crush the weakest reed
  or put out a flickering candle. Matthew 12:20 (NLT)

Feeling burned out? Go to Jesus. 

He is not waiting to extinguish your flame for good. He will meet you where you are and breathe, ever so gently, the breath of life into your heart again. He will hover over the broken and burned-out places and light a fresh fire in your heart. 

During this time of fasting and focused prayer, draw near to God. And when you feel like your once-fiery love for Jesus has become a fledgling flame, don’t give up. He hasn’t.

-Marla

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 9

So!

It's 2018. Another new year, full of incredible possibilities! All that potential should just about make you burst with excitement!

If you're a human though, you've probably already faced disappointment of some kind. You might have even carried over a burden from 2017 (soooooo last year) into 2018 (the proverbial promised land). GASP!

Now, if you're not a human, all of this doesn't apply to you. Go ahead and hop back in your spaceship and get heck on outta here. For the rest of us humans though, the fact that life probably hasn't gotten drastically better for you in 2018 may have you discouraged. You might even be skeptical that things will get better at all. I know I've certainly felt that way before.

Real people time: all my life I've struggled with discouragement. It feels like Satan has always been in my ear, telling me that I don't matter, that I'll never make any difference, that God can't use me because I'm a failure. Unfortunately, many times, I listened to those lies. I've even gone as far as to allow some of those lies seemingly become realities. High school and college were particularly difficult seasons for me, and as hard as it is to admit it, I still carry a lot of that baggage.

Through it all though, God never left me. If I could just slow down for 1 second and look back, I can see how He was there every step of the way. He brought mentors when I needed direction, professors when I needed to learn, people when I needed community, confidants when I needed accountability, opportunity when I needed financial support, and true friends when I just needed to be encouraged. Every need I've ever had has been met. It's totally astounding.

The amazing thing for me is just how little sense it makes from a worldly perspective. Why would God go through all the trouble, the hurt, the struggle, just to bring me to Him when there are so many others who have walked with Him faithfully their whole lives? 

Be encouraged today: Our God is the God who leaves the 99 to find the 1 who's wandered into the wilderness. And He'll do it every time. He won't change His mind. As Cory Asbury puts it, His love for you is that reckless. 

You're probably struggling with something here in this glorious year of 2018. You might feel far from God, but the truth is that God is never far from you. He'll recklessly come after you, and if you'll just lean into that embrace, if you'll just take a moment to stop running, you'll find that God can handle whatever weight you're carrying.

Grace and Peace, 

-Ryky

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 8

Corrective Perspective

Perspective is extremely important. I heard a pastor say one time, “the God you perceive is the God you receive.” If your view of God is that He is harsh and judgmental, you will most likely feel guilty or condemned a majority of the time. You may also find it difficult to receive or give grace and forgiveness.

Mark Batterson wrote, “we often shrink God down to the size of our biggest problem.” Sure, we believe God is big, but so is cancer. God is big, but so is depression. God is big, but so is the hard heart of our lost friend or family member. God is big, but so is, _______________ fill in the blank.

How big is God in your life? Big enough to heal? Big enough to provide? Big enough to set free? Big enough to calm the storm? Big enough to trust?

Have you shrunk God down to the size of your biggest problem? If you have, don't feel condemned. Take some time to remind yourself how great our God truly is. Maybe you could lay under stars and remember that God spoke them into existence. Maybe you could read through Exodus and remember how God demonstrated his miraculous power over and over again. He parted the Red Sea,  Maybe you could read the New Testament and remember how Jesus fed the 5,000, walked on water, calmed the storm, opened blind eyes, and brought the dead to life. For our God is the same yesterday today and forever. He still heals, still delivers, and is always faithful. The best part? This God of love and power is ON OUR SIDE.

We serve the God that makes the impossible possible. The God of miracles! God is ENOUGH.

For more on this subject, read Mark 9:14-29. "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."

-Davey

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 7

TRUST

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

One definition of trust is assured reliance on character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.  It’s funny or really not so funny how often I have so little trust in God.  I can talk about it, sing about it, quote scripture, encourage others to trust God but when it comes down to the sticky situations of life, boy, I quickly yank the reigns back and hold on for dear life!  After 2017, I am discovering a whole new level of trust.  I continue to walk through some of the most challenging times of learning to trust, and you know what?  I’m getting stronger. 

The above verses remind us that when we place our trust in the Lord, we will have strong roots.  We will be able to withstand droughts and heat and not only that; we will be healthy & able to bear fruit!  What a beautiful promise.  It reminds me of the story of Joseph when he saved all of Egypt from the famine.  Because he had a lifestyle and track record of listening and trusting the Lord through many hardships, trials and unfair treatment; he was prepared and able to save all of Egypt and his entire family (including the ones who had betrayed him).  When we trust the Lord through our trials and hardships, we get stronger and we develop roots that will carry us through the sorrows and joys of this earthly life. 

As you journey thru the 21 day fast, remember this:

Every time you feel hungry or missing that thing you’re giving up physically, cry out to God trusting that He’s moving in the spiritual realm.

More than your physical body needs and wants food, your spiritual body needs and wants Jesus to sustain & fill you. 

Take courage,

Sarah

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 6

By the end of the month, roughly 80% of all New Year’s resolutions will have failed.  In fact, only 8% of people will achieve their New Year’s resolutions in 2018.  Why is that? Why will 92% of resolutions fail?

I believe it has to with perfection.

Wait, you’re saying that failure to meet goals has to do with perfection? 

Yep, sure am.  The day after your perfect streak is over is the most important day in the journey to meet your goals.  It isn’t the start, it isn’t even the finish – it’s the day after you failed and that perfect streak comes to an end.  What will happen after you miss one day of your P90x program?  What’s going to happen when your diet is ruined by a big fat piece of chocolate cake? How about the morning when one of the kids clogs the toilet, the toaster is jammed with a pop tart, and all three kids miss the bus? Morning Bible study isn’t happening that day!

There is an overwhelming temptation the day after failure to give in, but don’t do it! Don’t allow perfectionism to get you off track and derail your goals. The goal isn’t to be perfect, the goal is to finish.  The day after your perfect run of Bible reading and study time is over, get back at it. The day after you ate something you shouldn’t have on your fast, get back up and finish well.  None of us are perfect, and none of us ever will be.  The apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Get back up and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you. 

What you do after the day your perfect streak ends is critical.  When it stops being perfect, will you stop too? I encourage you as the apostle Paul says to “press on” get back up, don’t quit. You can do this!

- Pastor Eddie

For further reading on perfectionism and finishing, I recommend Jon Acuffs book, Finish.

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 5

January often brings with it a renewed passion for change. Declarations abound all over the world every year. People set goals for just about everything from eating habits and exercise to education and spiritual growth. 

Over the years we've learned that in order to achieve a goal we must have a few critical components in place. Things like writing down our goal, establishing a plan and arranging accountability. 

I don’t know about you but it seems to me that almost every time I set a goal....within a few days I can almost guarantee I will be tested in that very area. When that test comes ....not if it comes, if I haven't intentionally prepared in the areas I shared above, I will usually fail miserably. 

Regardless of how diligent we all are in establishing a plan, unless we follow through consistently we won’t achieve the desired goal. 

Most goals aren’t at all impossible. Hard maybe, but not impossible. Sure we’ll struggle and it could be really tough but with God all things are possible. 

ALL. 

Not some, ALL

Just take a look at Matthew 19:26:

"Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

With God all things are possible. All. No matter what that thing you want to conquer or accomplish is. 

ALL means all. 

So start right now if you haven’t already. Pray and ask God what He wants you to work on. Once you know, write the goal down. 

Establish an accountability partner who will help you stay on track. Make sure you ask God to help you with it, and watch that great goal become fully realized.

Praying you all will have an amazingly blessed, goal fulfilling, God honoring year in Jesus' Name. 

As you begin to pray about your goal, listen to this great song from All Sons & Daughters entitled “Call Me Higher” 

Great big hugs y’all,

Anita 

21 Day Prayer & Fast 2018: Day 4

Philippians 1:6:

“6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Paul wrote this in his letter to the Philippian church in hopes of encouraging them. I write this to you now in hopes of encouraging you.

Paul is confident of his statement here and what the message is behind it, just as I am confident of it and the underlying points it contains.

We can notice three things in this verse:

  1. That He (God) began a good work in you (past)

  2. That He is currently carrying on that good work (present)

  3. That He absolutely will complete that good work in you (future)

He is doing this work in you for two reasons that Paul mentions in verses 9 through 11 of the same chapter: One, to make you more effective for earthly ministry:

“9 that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ”

Secondly, He is doing it to showcase His daily, life-changing power in us:

“11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”

Perhaps you’ve stumbled today as you work on your 21 day fast. It isn’t easy, and it shouldn’t be. Just know that God has started something in you, and I believe He is using this 21 day fast as a way of bringing that good work to completion. Just as He will continue working in you, I urge you to get up and continue seeking Him. Remember, He is faithful to the end.

-Ethan

21 Day Prayer & Fast: Day 3

David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied.

1 Samuel 17:45

He was just a boy against a giant. A really big giant….and a really simple boy. No big deal, right? Wrong! It was a huge deal.

The greatest warrior in all of the Philistine army had challenged all of Israel’s men. Even worse, Goliath challenged God. And when every warrior in Israel’s battle camp heard the challenge they cowered!

All but David.

David could put up with an awful lot. He was after all the youngest of his brothers, and he spent his days and nights watching sheep. However, the one thing David couldn’t do was tolerate people challenging God.

I’ve seen this verse in the story and washed over it. But as God brings me back to it over and over He reminds me to consider David’s faith in comparison to everyone else’s fear.

We talk about fear an awful lot. How to conquer it; how to avoid it; how to dismiss it. But we sometimes wash over faith. And maybe if we spent some more time studying faith, we’d have to deal with a little less fear. Faith, after all, is the antidote to fear.

David had faith to conquer Goliath not because his stones were shiny and smooth, not because his aim was straight and true, but because he knew that the Living God was going before him.

What would happen in our lives if we lived with the same faith as David? What would happen to the goals on your list this year if you laid them before God and trusted Him to go before you in accomplishing what He calls you to do? What would happen if we acted on the faith we claim to have?

New year goals are all kinds of fun and exciting when we write them down, but when we start to walk them out we can find fear creeping into our souls as the enemy seeks to distract us. Let’s tune out the fear this year and step up to the challenges ahead of us- exactly as David did. With solid faith in the One who sends us to battle.

Much love,

Natalia

21 Day Prayer & Fast: Day 2

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens: - Eccl. 3:1

This verse has popped up in several places for me the past few weeks – in a book I have been reading, a celebration of life service I was able to share in, and in a blog post I read.

Everything is for a season; a season has both a beginning and an end. In order for a new season to begin, another season has to end. I have been reading Dr. Henry Cloud’s book Necessary Endings, in it he talks about how everything has an ending, and that endings are healthy for us in order to start something new – new habits, new careers, new opportunities, etc.

As we come to another “New Year”, it’s easy to think about doing something new, adding something to our routine, starting a new hobby or habit. But when we think about starting something new, how often do we think about bringing something else to an end? We all have a limited amount of time and energy. A lot of “new” things people start don’t last because they don’t have the capacity for another thing in their busy life or schedule. When we make a list of things to start, we should also make a list of things to stop. Make room.

More often than not, endings are more painful and require more energy than starting something new. It’s more difficult to stop a negative habit than to start it, or to end a harmful relationship than to begin.  As you take time to reflect during this fast, ask yourself what season should be over, what needs to end. A habit, a pattern, a behavior, a relationship, maybe a career path…. Maybe there is something that you are giving up during this fast that needs to be given up for good.

Endings open the door for new beginnings!

-Pastor Sandy