4 New Year’s Resolutions for Christians

There are so many new years resolutions we can have, but I believe these four would change your 2020 for the better. This is how you’ll grow in your relationship with Christ and with others: resolve to pray and read the Word daily, to share your faith openly, to take care of your soul, and be Love to those around you. May this new year be filled with blessings for you!

Read and Pray the Word daily.
  • It’s funny how this resolution is the most talked about but hardest to apply. It seems like a given that we would read the Word daily, but for so many of us, time escapes us, and when we don’t schedule our time with the Lord, it just does not happen. Admit it. You tried to start that bible reading plan and things just didn’t pan out.
    • Here’s a resource: Public Reading of Scripture : Download the App if you download the app onto your phone (Public Reading of Scripture) it actually reads the Bible aloud to you as you follow the text, and there’s a bunch of different reading plans to suit your schedule. There’s 30 mins, 45 mins, 60 mins of daily bible reading. It’s the most engaging, lively bible reading I’ve ever encountered.
    • Get an accountability buddy or group. Read through the Word with a plan with friends or family. Give yourself grace when you do not read all of the day’s readings.
  • So that’s reading the Word. Now praying the Word is different. That’s when you take a text, and you read it aloud, and you pray over it. You insert names of yourself and others into it so that it comes to life. You meditate on it. You allow the Scripture to soak through you and you memorize parts of it to keep yourself equipped. We need to pray the Word out loud because it becomes Life giving to us, and we have direct communication with the Lord.
Share your faith openly.

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

  • People are hungry, now, more than ever before, for a life of purpose and meaning. People are searching for answers, and wholeness. Little do they know that the answers are in the Bible and their source of life is from Jesus Christ. It is our job, our duty as Christ’s handiwork, to do good works, to share our faith, and to spread His name.
Take care of your mind, body, spirit.
  • As Christians, we tend to overwork ourselves in all areas of our life and steamroll over our own care. The secular age will tell you to do “self care” but I would implore you to consider “soul care”. What is “soul care” as a Christian? Soul care is usually defined in the context of a church community, where biblical counseling and nurturing is provided. But as a Christian, for yourself, I’d define soul care as tending to the needs of your mind, body, and spirit. There are so many ways that could take shape for you – whether it’s reading the Word daily, exercising daily, meditating on Scripture, engaging in a community bible study, volunteering, treating yourself to a coffee, going for a nature walk etc,.
Be Love to those around you.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor 13: 1-3

  • I was reminded in a healing and deliverance room once last year about this passage. They instructed me that if I had the message of God, if I could speak tongues, if I could do all these things, but did not act in Love, I was not going to reach people’s hearts. If I had all the biblical knowledge and foresight, but did not Love, I would not turn peoples’ hearts towards Christ. So I remind you that do all things in Love, and speak words softly with Love.
There are so many new years resolutions we can have, but I believe these four would change your 2020 for the better. This is how you’ll grow in your relationship with Christ and with others: resolve to pray and read the Word daily, to share your faith openly, to take care of your soul, and be Love to those around you. May this new year be filled with blessings for you!

When You’re Angry with God

BUT you know what JESUS did with his anger? When he was dying on the cross, blood pouring out, his sides in incredible pain, his mouth parched, his knees giving way, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”and then when His time arrived, Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. He committed His Spirit to the Lord forever. Eternity was always waiting for Him. Eternity is always waiting for you.

Right now, I’m incredibly angry with the Lord about my illnesses and the time it takes to recover. But I think our anger can come from anything relatable — whether you’re angry because you lost your job, or didn’t receive that promotion, or don’t feel His presence, or there’s a sudden death — we feel anger towards God quite frequently actually. And I often wonder, is it right to be angry with God? Because I’ll stand there – having a shouting match with the Lord with phrases like “I don’t deserve this!”. I rage and holler  “I shouldn’t have to go through this!” “This pain is too much to bear!” “Make it all go away!!!” “God I’ve been good – why are you punishing me?”

Don’t we all qualify our anger — that we’ve been good and therefore bad things shouldn’t happen to us? We say that we don’t deserve this pain – we don’t deserve this injustice – it’s all about ME, ME, ME. 

Well, anger comes in many forms and I’d like to break down the things that hold up space in our hearts and ask you to reflect on what is holding you captive today (Be honest!):

This category is of things that poison the heart:

  • Jealously
  • Envy
  • Scorn
  • Deceit
  • Malice

We see this appear in:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Rom 1:28-32

When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you. Ps 73: 21-22

This category is of things that darken the soul:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness

“Let the day perish on which I was born,
and the night that said,
‘A man is conceived.’
Let that day be darkness!
May God above not seek it,
nor light shine upon it.
Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
Let clouds dwell upon it;
let the blackness of the day terrify it. Job 3:3-5

This category is of things that harden your soul and quite literally kill your soul relationship with God:

  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Rage
  • Displaced Aggression against others

Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry,
I struck him; I hid my face and was angry,
but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. Is 57:17

BUT you know what JESUS did with his anger? When he was dying on the cross, blood pouring out, his sides in incredible pain, his mouth parched, his knees giving way, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”and then when His time arrived, Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. He committed His Spirit to the Lord forever. Eternity was always waiting for Him. Eternity is always waiting for you.

And this is what the Lord says about our anger. It is not righteous, nor is it pleasing to the Lord. He says…

Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? Ecl 5:6

Be not quick in your spirit to become angry,
for anger lodges in the heart of fools. Ecl 7:9

Friends, when you are in the midst of boiling anger, I pray that you would find the strength and the patience to endure and to seek the Father immediately. To bow down before Him and tremble in His presence knowing that He can turn your anger into gladness, your frustrations into singing praise, and your mourning into dancing. Let not our hearts be ripe with anger, but be filled with the Holy Spirit that rules our lives and controls our entire beings.

Christians in the Age of Casual Dating

I read a really interesting article today from Thought Catalog that voiced the pangs of casual dating. A part that struck me was Don’t let anyone call you “crazy” for developing a real human connection and then caring about that connection. That doesn’t make you “crazy,” it makes you healthy and strong and open-hearted and ultimately someone who will absolutely receive real love one day.” 

Let’s face it: the way we date today looks vastly different than years prior. When was the last time a friend told you that they had their date show up at their front door, drive them to the date and drive them home safely, say goodnight to their parents? When was the last time you saw or heard of a date where it started with a warm hug or a first kiss, and not sex or a one-night stand?

Reality is that dating is different today. We have so many different dating applications where we can choose people based on our interests and we can showcase ourselves to the world a projection of who we are and what we want to show. Casual dating has made that 100x more confusing – where dates and hookups intermix, commitments hang dry, and feelings are out of place.

So here are some reminders I want to give to Christians, whether in the LGBTQ+ or heterosexual space.

Our ultimate aim must be to know, love, and abide in Christ. If we forget what the Love of the Father is, we will traverse aimlessly through the dating world.

Breathe Deep and Know the Goodness of God.

Reflect on these questions:

  • Who is the Father TO YOU?
  • Have you engaged in thoughtful reflection and prayer with Him lately?
  • Have you asked Him about these desires you have to date?
  • Have you asked Him to speak to you about these desires to have a partner, to share and do life with someone?

I invite you to take a moment after reading this article to meditate on His word and ask yourselves these questions, to journal out your response to the Lord. Do you believe in His goodness? So if you believe in His goodness, do you believe He has hand-picked your partner for you? Do you believe then, that instead of searching for the one, you should search for the One who made your heart in service and compassion? (For some, you may find that in searching for His heart, you do not need a life companion and are supremely satisfied in His love – that’s the gift of celibacy.)

Lean Back and Rest in the Arms of the Father.

Dating is not easy. Say, you do end up finding someone that you start to like. You start to learn each other’s likes and dislikes, you start to spend time together, it seems like it’s all going really well. Often, whether as Christians or not, we lean into this love with all we’ve got – we become as the songs would say it – hopelessly, madly, irrevocably in love. We want to be with this person 24/7, if not text and call them 24/7. We think they’re amazing and they’re the one. And maybe they are. Maybe this ends up being the person you spend your life with. But as Christians, we have to take precautions – we have to lean back and rest in the arms of the Father before we lean into the arms of this loved one. Our treasure should be in His divine presence, not in the worldly treasure of this man-led pursuit. Do you get what I’m saying? Here’s the breakdown of reminders:

  • Lean into His Love, and Learn to Rest in His Presence
  • Spend time with your loved one, but don’t overdo it (heed curfews/time)
  • Enjoy your time with your loved one, but guard your heart above all else

Here is my last point. The Bible says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” The Message version (Proverbs 4:23-27) says 

Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
    that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
    avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
    ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
    and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
    leave evil in the dust.

We must be vigiliant to guard our hearts against impurity, and against jumping ahead to dreaming up dreams about our romance. We have to guard our hearts against making this new love our highest priority. We have to be vigiliant in balancing out our time and company with this new love. Above all else, we must guard our hearts with the Love of Christ and allow all our decisions to flow from the mind of Christ.

My last bit of advice would be that regardless of who you are with, or how many dates you decide to go on, if you pray to look at this person with the eyes of Christ, you cannot fail. You will love with the mind and heart and Spirit of Christ – and that is a constant protection for you and for them.

In the light of eternity friends,

yours truly,

Jackie.

 

I am Loved by You.

Over and over again, the resounding truth is that we are loved by the Father and no human love could replace that Love. We will search through every corner and crevice, through every dating application platform, and yet, we will always come up short when we try to compare His love to the love given to us by a person, or a screen.

We are so divinely loved by a welcoming and eternal Father that his Love is matchless. It may sound obscure to think human love cannot compare, but it is so true. What kind of Love chases us in our weaknesses and embraces us in our despair? What kind of Love sees our darkness and shows us Light, every time? What kind of Love shows up at our doorstep, arms open wide, ready to take on our burdens? Only the Love of the Father. Only the Love of the Father that sustains is, embraces us, and never leaves us.

So here is your call to Love today. Your call is to Love radically and obediently so much to the point that even when your flesh wants to seek human affection, as we all do, you’ll be reminded that it’s His Love that satisfies you, not man made pursuits.

So lean back into the Love of a beautiful Father. Sing about His Goodness and be reminded that nothing can replace His Love for you. Oh, how sweet the Father’s love for you.

When Faith is on the Sidelines

When faith is on the sidelines, we forget the Father’s role in our lives – and that can lead to making terrible decisions that cost us in the long run. So how do we make sure to include our faith in all that we do?

When faith is on the sidelines, we often do not give a second thought when we make daily decisions. Our thoughts are automatic – drink this type of coffee in the morning, wear these matching socks, etc,. Our brains are wired to make millions of decisions in the span of one day – and I wonder if we take a step back to examine how we make those decisions. When faith is on the sidelines, we forget the Father’s role in our lives – and that can lead to making terrible decisions that cost us in the long run. So how do we make sure to include our faith in all that we do?

  1.  Do your daily quiet time.

    1.  Whether it’s 10 minutes of meditative prayer, or an hour of solitude with a good cup of coffee and your Bible, do your quiet time. Sit with the Lord. Listen to the stillness of the moment and drink from His well. Because when we are continually drinking from His cup, our cup will overflow with thanksgiving and thoughtfulness.
  2.  Pray always.

    1. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. When you’re driving three hours for your commute home, or waiting in line at the supermarket, pray to your Lord Jesus Christ about anything on your heart. Transfer it from your heart of worry to His heart of compassion and empathy. Understand how powerful your prayers are – you are entreating the God of the Universe to work on your behalf. That’s where the growth happens! That’s where the miracles happen.
  3.  Be Rich in the Word.

    1.  Make it an unconscious habit to fill yourself up with the Word – whether on a run listening to a Bible podcast, or reading a Christian book, or listening to Christian music – try to make your faith amplified in your thoughts daily. What we think we become – so be careful to take in as much positive literature as possible. When you soak in the Word, you will find the answers you’ve been looking for in the love of Jesus Christ.

If we are not careful to consider our faith in our daily decision making, especially when we need to make important decisions about our families, work, etc, we fall into the lie that we can do this life all on our own. Remember when everything is going well – and so you fall off the bandwagon of your faith? Well, hop back on. When things are going well, you need to press into the Lord even more so to deter the attacks of the enemy. So listen to the Lord, pray to Him, and read his Word. And you will witness change in your life dramatically.

louder than the unbelief.

When my lips proclaim who the Lord is and how His might, His power, and His plans thwart the Enemy, the lies have no place to settle.

As a professing Christian my whole life, I have found it easy to think that I know what the Bible says, what it means, and how I need to apply it daily. The hardest part then is realizing there’s an alarming difference between knowing the Word and believing in the Word. How many times have I heard Psalm 23 “I will fear no evil, for you are with me,” and yet been overcome with intense fear and anxiety? Don’t get me wrong, fear and anxiety are real. As someone who has dealt with panic attacks my whole life, I understand the crippling reality of what an anxiety disorder can do to someone’s mental health. But then where does my faith come in? It seems to me like our faith community lacks an understanding and awareness of how mental health impacts our faith…

I am only one year (1 year, 2 months, 5 days to be exact) into my recovery from PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder and I can tell you that when I was in the fight (I still am – but am making progress), crawling my way out of my fear and anxiety was and still is one of the toughest battles I’ve faced. For the longest time, I was ashamed of how I felt, and was also too naïve to consider that my fear and anxiety were responses to deeper issues: shame, guilt, and unresolved trauma. I put the blame on myself and when flashbacks of the pain rushed to my mind, I became numb and isolated to cope.

I say all of this really to cover ground so that what I’m about to say has merit – so that what you read you understand as coming from a professing Christian who has been through the darkness. After processing my trauma (I always recommend with a counselor) and understanding the root issues of what was causing my fear, anxiety, and doubt I learned a couple things:

  1. Feelings are valid – but they are not facts. My feeling of overwhelming fear with or without an immediate threat has to confront what the Bible says – what God promises to me. He promises me safety, security, and protection in the midst of whatever I am facing. I have to constantly challenge what I feel with what the Word says. I have to ask myself the tough, vulnerable question of: Do I truly believe what God says?
  2. The Enemy (Satan, the prince of the power of the air) is real. He will do whatever it takes to take me down. He will derail me from my purpose, overshadow my confidence with crippling doubt, and enslave me to sin like no other. He will override my thoughts so that everything I’ve learned and known about God my whole life – will appear as false, unreliable, and unloving.
  3. Sometimes, most times, when fear sets in, I have to “sing a little louder, louder than the unbelief.”

    When my lips proclaim who the Lord is and how His might, His power, and His plans thwart the Enemy, the lies have no place to settle. This has always been the hardest action for me – that in the moment of my weakness, in the moment of my despair, in the moment of suicidal thoughts – I turn to God. Whether it’s a plea, an outcry, a whisper into the dark – I have to cling to His promise for dear life.

  4. I really should have said this first but last – mental illness is real. Some of us are more susceptible to mental illness based on genetics, brain chemistry. There is real evidence that shows how our brain chemistry changes with exposure to trauma. Bodily conditions – such as thyroid dysfunction & chronic illness – can be contributing factors to your depression. It is not all in your head. You cannot will it away. All the coping mechanisms in the world will not cure your plight. I’ve learned that coping mechanisms are short term solutions to the bigger problem – what we really need to do is talk about what’s really causing our illness with a trusted counselor, tackle the root causes, take the right medications, & keep our gaze fixed on our Eternal Father. 

dear friends, I am only now learning the abundant grace & love of my lord and savior, Jesus Christ…I am only now becoming softly aware of how my faith & the Word is a weapon to be used in every battle. I am only now beginning to understand how integrated recovery is supposed to be. There is no one stop solution. There is no formula to success. But there is one True King, one Savior, and one God that fights on our behalf. My hope, as I continue to share about my recovery, and lean into the guiding of the Holy Spirit, is that you would be blessed.

 

j.s parker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 26, 2019

Bible Study of the Day : The Person of Christ

In Jesus’ birth, Gabriel visited a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to let the virgin Mary know she would conceive the Son of the Most High. It’s almost a parallel circumstance to Zechariah and Elizabeth, but there’s something profoundly different about what happens here. Gabriel assures her that even Elizabeth has had a son in her old age, but something different about Mary is that she has faith. She believes immediately.

Elizabeth exclaims, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” What if we stepped out and had faith like Mary, and instead of doubting the Lord’s promise, we responded with a resounding “YES, I AM THE LORD’S SERVANT! MAY IT BE DONE ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD!” like Mary!

Moreover, the Person of Christ – the person that Jesus is – is a profound revelation. Dr Wayne Grudem provides an outline of the Person of Christ that I will summarize:

  1. Human weaknesses and limitations: Jesus had a human body, had a human mind, had a human soul and emotions
  2. Sinlessness: Luke 4:13 even the devil could not tempt him after 40 days; 2 Cor 5:21: he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us
  3. Yet Jesus was truly tempted: Heb. 4:15 “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace…”
  4. He Did Not Sin: He did not sin because he resisted in human strength alone (by trusting in God and obeying), but he could not have sinned because of his divine nature
  5. Why was Jesus’ full humanity necessary? a. Representative: To obey God on our behalf: Rom 5:18-19
    b. Substitute: To die for sin in our place: Heb. 2:16-17
    c. Example: To be our example to follow in life: 1 John 2:6
    and the pattern for our redeemed bodies:1 Cor. 15:42-44
    d. Sympathetic priest: To sympathize as high priest: Heb. 2:18
    e. Mediator: To be the one mediator betw. God & men: 1 Tim. 2:5
    f. Human ruler over creation: So that a man (God’s image) might rule over creation: Heb. 2:8
    7. Jesus will be a man forever
    Luke 24:39 “flesh and bones”; Acts 1:11 will come in the same way he left
    Acts 7:56 Son of man standing at right hand of God; Rev. 1:13 one like a Son of man
    Matt. 26:29 will drink wine with disciples in Father’s kingdom
    Rev. 19:9 invites us to great marriage supper in heaven

In summary, we want to have faith like Mary and assurance in the Person of Christ. Reflect on who the Person of Christ is in your life, how does he speak to you? What does he mean to you?

Prayer: Dear Lord, you brought a savior down to this Earth to be fully human, fully man with us, a man that sympathizes with our weaknesses and our frailty. He who knew no sin became sin for us, on our behalf. And He was made from the virgin Mary, who had incredible faith in your promise over her life. Lord, help us to have faith that knows and is confident in your promise for us. Help us to lean on You, and have a hunger to know more of who you are in our lives. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

February 25, 2019

Bible Study of the Day: Man on a Mission

Luke 1: 1-25

Luke_genealogy.png

In Luke 1, after 400 years of silence from the Lord, we enter a time of religious upheaval and hypocrisy under Herod the Great. It is now that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth conceive a son, John. There are several extraordinary things about this part of the passage that I’d like to highlight:

5 During the reign of Herod king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, and he had a wife named Elizabeth, who was a descendant of Aaron. 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. 

There are several things to take note of here:

  • Zechariah and Elizabeth are seen as righteous in the sight of God
  • They walk blameless in the light of the Lord
  • They follow His commandments

What does it mean in the greek to be righteous and blameless in the sight of God? Righteous, in the Greek, dikaios, was given as title to Holy men and women in the Old Testament. Noah and Abraham are also described as righteous. It referred to those who were civilized and well-ordered, innocent and just. You knew the righteousness of an individual by their fruits (Mt 7:16). In the Greek, amemptos, blameless is equated to without fault. Zechariah and Elizabeth were a model example for believers, of OT and NT, for past, present, and future. And they would conceive a son of that same stature and reputation.

16 He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him.

The Greatness of John would be affirmed in such:

  • man of noble birth (descendants of Aaron)
  • unworldly man (plain dress, plain look)
  • control over appetite
  • full of the Holy Spirit
  • Man with a Mission (as stated above)
  • obedient to the CALL
  • unwavering faith and courage
  • on fire for God

John was the Elijah who was to come! He would be the Messenger for the Jews of the coming Messiah. John would act as a forerunner before the Lord to turn the hearts of the Jews back to God. He was a man on a mission.

And this is where I turn to you, friend, and ask:

  1. What are you known for? (Are you known for your obedience to God’s call on your life; are you known for your unwavering faith and courage? Are you on fire for God?)
  2. What is your mission? (To be a Christ-like example in your work, to serve as a pastor, to work as a missionary in the fields, etc,.)

I pray you may reflect on where you came from, who you are, and what your mission is in the sight of the Lord today.

Prayer: Almighty God, as we reflect on the first few words of Luke, I am reminded that in your 400 years of silence, you were with the Jewish people and sought righteousness for their sake. Even in Zechariah and Elizabeth’s unbelief, you came through and gave them a son, a son John who would become an undeniable force of life to those around him. Lord, remind us who we are, how we want to be known, and what our mission is. May we be missional in our lifestyles, in our speech, in our actions, and our walk with you. And may we set aside time to really study your Word. In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Why We Fast as Christians: Part I

To set our hearts ablaze for God, we must acknowledge, recognize, and revel in his desire for us. 

     Jesus is the Bridegroom God that is fascinated with us – all day long. Therefore, fasting is a unique, and intimate way in which we draw near to the Father – and become fascinated with HIM. Taken from The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle, I outline an overview of the text to give you a quick glimpse into how we can start a regular routine of fasting.

According to Mike Bickle, there are seven ways of biblical fasting, and I summarize each below:

  1. Fasting to experience the power of God in personal ministry: Fun fact, the early church fasted twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays. Back then, the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, and many others understood that fasting was the fastest way to connecting with the Holy Spirit. It drew us so close to Him we could Kiss the Lord. 
  2. Fasting for prophetic revelation of the end times: The end of the age is coming – and the Bridegroom, King, and Judge is coming on a cloud of fire. When Daniel was in prayer, the angel Gabriel came to him that he might increase in prophecy (Dan 9:3). He gave Daniel a vision, and said to Daniel, “Do not fear, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words” (Dan 10:12). Whew, what supernatural anointing and ability David had to understand the Lord’s plan for the end times. He encountered the Lord’s presence and increased in understanding because he fasted and prayed before the Lord.
  3. Fasting for the fulfillment of God’s promises to our city or nation: God does not want us to wait without expectation. He wants to wait with eagerness for the fulfillment of His promises, in thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting. In this heart position, we can gladly pray and seek the vision over our cities and nations. A great example of this was the prophetess Anna, who prayed and fasted for more than SIXTY years that God would visit Israel and fulfill his promises to them (Luke 2:36-38). Sixty years! Could you imagine waiting SIXTY years for God to fulfill his destiny for your people? Could you imagine praying, and waiting on the Lord for provision for sixty years? Most of us cannot even take waiting a minute for a microwaved hot pocket, let alone waiting sixty years for God to deliver us!
  4. Fasting to stop a crisis: There are many examples in the Bible of followers who took to prayer and fasting to avert a crisis. In modern day, there are national days of prayer instituted to call a nation to a position of sitting before the Lord, waiting. An example is Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who was so distressed by her physical barrenness that she wept and did not eat for many days. She cried out to God in prayer and fasting so much so that God eventually delivered her, heard her cry, and gave her a son that eventually became a great prophet (1 Sam 1:7).
  5. Fasting for protection: When Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, King Darius and Daniel prayed and fasted for his protection. It was because of his prayer and fasting that God shut the mouths of the lions and spared him.
  6. Fasting for direction: While in Antioch, Paul prayed and fasted for prophetic direction with his missionary team. Jesus prayed all night to receive anointing wisdom in selecting his twelve disciples.
  7. Fasting for encounter and intimacy with God: A concept that Mike Bickle highlights in his book is something called the Global Bridegroom Fast, a call to fast in desiring Jesus more than anything and to seek spiritual renewal. It’s time for us to align our hearts and desires with the Lord and set ourselves apart to increase in knowledge of God’s love for us.

In my next post I will talk about the Rewards of Spiritual Fasting and how we can step into God’s favor through prayer and fasting. Like what you see? Comment below and sign up for my weekly newsletter launching THIS week!

 

 

Made for Forever

What is the difference between spiritual intimacy and secular intimacy? How do we navigate the world as Christians in a fallen world? I offer some candid remarks on this topic.

The trouble I find that most Christians get into is that we try to feed our cravings for intimacy in the wrong places. What is spiritual intimacy? How is it different from secular intimacy, given by the world? I would define spiritual intimacy as a relational fulfillment of drawing near to the heart of the Father. Secular intimacy is relational closeness with other people. Secular intimacy, then, when gone haywire, is drawing fulfillment from things outside the spectrum of right orderings – such as fleeting, self-seeking pleasures like pornography, gluttony, etc.,. But here’s the first simple truth I will give you:

We were made to be in awe of God. 

Yes, dear friends, we were made to seek the Father with our whole hearts, an undivided devotion!!!

“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37 Jesus declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.… Matthew 22:37

No wonder we fall into the trap of trying to fulfill our needs with what the world gives us, and promises us with satisfy! But God calls us higher. He wants us to draw near to Him, and love Him with our whole hearts, souls, and minds. How can that be achieved when we are distracted by every day life? How can that be achieved if we are single, or married? I think at the end of the day, God wants us to give Him our best. I refrain from saying our best efforts, because God does not quantify or measure our devotion to Him. He wants us to give Him our first fruits – whether that be devotion first thing in the morning, or our first tenth of our paychecks. However we go about giving Him our best, God will respond – He will draw near to us. There is no one model to perfectly love the Lord – we all triumph and fail in this category. So how do we go about pleasing the Lord?

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

To be in awe of the Lord, to get to this humble position where we gaze upon the beauty and bounty of God, we must seek Him with our whole heart. We must be willing to sit in silence, and be mesmerized by a holy gaze. We must be willing to listen, and hear what He has to say to us – before we spill over our own wants. We must be willing to shut the door, and enter into relationship with Him in the secret place. We must be willing to read his Word, digest it, soak into it, and meditate on it.

There are many ways in which we can draw near to the Lord in spiritual intimacy. My prayer is that you would realize that you were not made for this fallen, temporary world. You were made for Forever. 

Did this resonate with you? How are you drawing near to the Lord in your daily life? Comments, questions, concerns are all welcome here!