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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Fifteen

Guest blog post today from: www.restorationnwa.org

6 WAYS TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR FAST

Nehemiah 9: 1-3

1Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackclothes, and earth upon them. 2And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.

1. Gather together with other believers for special times of prayer

Use small groups or the buddy system to help you make it through the process. Get plugged in with all of the activities happening in the ministry during the fast and with others who are committed to consecrating themselves before God.

2. Separate yourself from non-believing influences

Deliberately separate yourself from ungodly influences because your spirit is open during this time. Limit your time spent on computers, watching television, excessive email, secular music, and other forms of entertainment. THIS IS GOD’S TIME!

3. Confess your sins

As you fast, repent. God will allow you to see yourself and begin to bring up and reveal your actions and attitudes that are not pleasing in His sight and the unrighteousness that is keeping you from being in right standing with God (I John 1:9)

4. Spend extra time in God’s Word

Read the Bible now more than ever. Commit to reading the entire Bible in one year.

5. Confess the Word

Speak the Word of God over your family, over your health, and over your finances

6. Worship

Listen to CD’s of preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Feed your spirit only the Word of God. Be passionate about worship during your time of fasting. Set aside time to praise and worship God and dwell in His presence.

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Fourteen

Yeah! The end of week two!
What could be better than celebrating your success with all your friends and family at RLC!

Don’t be ashamed to celebrate it!
The local church can be a wonderful place to connect with other believers as well as serve using your gifts, talents, time, and resources.

Everyone needs something bigger than themselves to plug into.
Everyone needs something to that makes them better.
Everyone needs a place where everybody knows your name.

The above reasons are just a few of the things I love about RLC.

David said, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Come and let us go to the House of the Lord.'”

Make plans to be at church tomorrow. I cannot wait to hear how it went.

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All, Leadership
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The Top Posts I Read The Week Of January 21st

The following are The Top 10 Posts I Read The Week Of January 21st:

  1. The 8 Morning Secrets Of Successful People (Infographic) by Dan Black
  2. The Next Generation’s Perception Of The Church by Phil Cooke
  3. 7 Ways A Pastor Should Think Like An Entrepreneur by Brandon A. Cox
  4. A Crossless Christianity? by Mary DeMuth
  5. Why A Rough Start Isn’t The End Of Your Leadership Journey by Joseph Lalonde
  6. 9 Reasons Preachers’ Kids Stray by Chuck Lawless
  7. 5 Cringe-Worthy Lessons From The Ministry Trenches by Seth Muse
  8. 9 Things I Wish Worship Pastors Didn’t Say by Joshua Reich
  9. 10 Myths About Being A Visionary Leader by Paul Sohn
  10. Introducing Your Child to God

Well, that is my Top 10 for the week.  What other great posts did you read?

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Thirteen

Please-Quiet-Standing-Floor-Sign-SF-0212

Week two is almost complete. How’s it going?

One time I was walking through a dry season in my life. By that I mean I was having my normal quiet time with God, serving with my gifts, and generally doing everything as normal. However, there was one key difference. I was empty. I felt like I was a ship out in the open water with no wind to move the sails.

After feeling this way for a while I spoke with a friend about it. His council is something I want to pass along to you today. He said, “Did you realize that if a teacher never gave you a test they could never gauge whether or not you had learned anything? What if God isn’t mad at you? What if you haven’t done anything wrong? What if God is merely putting you out there to see if you have learned from the lessons He’s already taught you?”

That got me going. I was determined to pass my test. I kept moving forward seeking God and doing my best not to get discouraged.  Before long, I began to feel the presence of God on my life again. I passed the test.

What are you going through today? Do you feel as though God were a million miles away. Be careful. He might be leaning over your shoulder looking at your quiz. He might be giving you a test.

Don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

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Too Fast Too Soon #todaysdevotion

“An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

http://bible.com/116/pro.20.21.nlt

In the culture of quick and instant opportunities we can begin to think God is the same way. We ask for something in prayer and expect to receive it right away. 

God, I need you to bless me. 

God, I need a new job. 

God, I need the get more healthy. 

What we fail to remember is that God is more concerned with our character than with our comfort. He will not give us something that He knows our character cannot sustain. I wouldn’t give my 8 and 10 year old girls my car keys just because they asked for it. Why? Because no matter how bad they want to drive I know they simply are not ready yet. They will be ONE DAY just not TODAY. 

If you have asked God for something and He has not given it to you yet, maybe it is for your own good. He knows you are not ready yet. 

What do you do while waiting on God to answer your prayer?

1. Work on yourself. If He is waiting on you to be ready then work on you. Rid yourself of selfish motivation. 

2. Find contentment in the waiting. Don’t spend your whole life waiting to enjoy tomorrow. Life is happening now. Enjoy today. 

3. Decide to trust God’s process. He wants to give good things to you but, like a good Father, at a rare you can withstand. 

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Twelve

2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

You remember that really old story called “Footprints in the sand”? Here it is in case you’ve never heard it,

 

One night I had a dream…
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand;
One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before us,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
There was only one set of footprints.I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

 

I’ve had times in my life when it looked as though God was no where to be found. Everything I tried to do just didn’t work. I’ve even prayed and said, “God, are you still there?”
It was in these time though I later realized God was at work the most in my life. If you are going through a tough time in your fasting journey today, refocus on why you are doing this.

Take a few minutes and allow the presence of God to quite your heart and mind.  There’s a video below with the song STRONGER. Truly Christ is STRONGER in our lives than anything else we face.

ACTION STEPS

  • Find a time and place today when you can get away from ‘life’ for 5 minutes and draw strength from God.
  • Think about the fact that when we are at our lowest Christ becomes the strongest.

 

 

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Eleven

You’re now officially past the half way mark. Way to go!

Proverbs 24:16

Though a righteous man falls seven times,
he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.

There’s an old song by Donnie McCluckin that says, “We fall down but we get up. We fall down but we get up. We fall down but we get up. For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up.” A video of the song is located at the bottom of this post.

Fasting takes a lot of effort, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of accountability. Let’s be honest with each other. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Yet it is. During the process of this journey you may have had a moment of weakness, maybe two.   If you’re not made any mistakes and you’ve held strong you have so much to be proud of.  You’re halfway there. Keep going.

However if you haven’t made this fasting journey without a slip up you need to know that you’re not a failure. Nothing you ever do as an act of worship to God will go unrewarded.
Don’t allow yourself to end down. Get back up again.

You still have halfway to go. Make a new decision today to continue this journey. It’s worth it. You’ll see.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Forgive yourself if you have slipped a little on your commitment.
  • Don’t allow yourself to end on a down note. Keep moving forward and finish strong.

 

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Ten

2 Corinthians 4:16-

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

Believe it or not you are halfway there! Yeah! Good for you. I wish I could tell you it’s all downhill from here. Don’t give up. Hopefully by now you are already beginning to feel God’s nearness. The truth is God is always near. It’s we who don’t always recognize it.

That’s really the whole point of fasting. Fasting is an act of worship. As we fast we are disciplining our bodies and allowing ourselves to become more sensitive to His presence.  When I first began fasting, I thought it somehow bribed God into answering my prayers. Like it was some sort of cat-nip for Christ. He couldn’t resist watching me suffer and rushed in to spoil me.

Well… that’s not quite right.

The truth is living in a world dominated by sin has its downsides. One of them is we get so accustomed to it we lose our sharpness as it relates to sensing the presence and voice of God. Fasting brings us out of our normal routine for a while in order to re-itemize our priorities so we can regain our closeness with God.  Have you ever been around a couple who were experiencing martial issues? Especially if it had stemmed from lack of communication the antidote usually is a trip away from everyone else so they can spend time with each other and reestablish their relationship. I know of at least one getaway place that’s only for couples in trouble. There’s no phones, tv’s, radios, computers, etc. etc. etc. It’s just them and the medicine bottle reads, “Talk to each other.”   That’s what you are doing. You’re taking time away to reestablish your relationship and reconnect with God.

So, fasting doesn’t change or coheres God into anything. It changes us and reconnects us back to Him.

Action Steps

  • If you’ve lost it over the past 10 days, regain your focus to ‘come out’ from everything else and spend time with God.
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All, Leadership
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How Can I Trust the Bible

The Bible can defend itself. There’s a famous saying that says, “It is said that the Bible is like a lion; it does not need to be defended but simply let loose.
The Word of God has proven itself throughout time and history.

In preparation for the next part of our series “Can the Bible Be Trusted?”, I wanted to give you some additional resources to further your trust in the Word of God. Below are books, links to articles, podcasts, and people who regularly write and speak in defense of Christian faith. It all really comes down to one question though, “What will you do with Jesus?” If you are looking to not believe, you’ll find some random information and voice to support your opinion. If you choose to believe the mountain of evidence that says God is real and wants to be active in your life, there’s an opportunity for that too. What are you going to do with Jesus?

Books:
No God but One: Allah or Jesus?: A Former Muslim Investigates the Evidence for Islam and Christianity (Nabeel Qureshi)
Quantum Christianity (Aaron D Davis)
The Case for Christ (Lee Strobel)
Cold Case Christianity (J.Warner Wallace)
Making Sense of God (Timothy Keller)
God’s Crime Scene (J. Warner Wallce)
The Reason for God (Timothy Keller)
Misunderstanding Scripture With Western Eyes (E. Randolph Richards)
Evidence for God (Michael Licona)
A Ready Defense (Josh Mcdowell)
The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict
 (John Mcdowell)

Links:
Can We Prove the Bible Is True?
You Can Trust the Bible
How Do We Know the Bible Is True?
How Do I Respond to Bible Critics?
How Do I Handle Bible Difficulties?
Is the Bible Reliable?
Proof, I want proof
Scientists Prove Existence of God
Proving God’s Existence (Would You Believe If He Showed Up at Your Door?)
Creation: “Where’s the Proof?” (When the person you talk to on creation insists that you “leave the Bible out of it,” they are really saying the deck should be stacked one way.)

Podcasts:
Cold Case Christianity Podcast
Apologetics 101
Apologetics Unplugged

People:
Rick Warren
Josh McDowell
C.S. Lewis

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A Letter to RLC, All
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This Week at RLC>>>

Hello. I hope your week is off to a great start. Here are a few things happening this week at RLC>>>

1. This Wednesday. This Wednesday we are beginning something new. We are beginning a prayer service that will be from 6:30 to 7:30pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to worship and experience the presence of God.

2. This Sunday- Third Part of Our New Series. We will be continuing our series entitled “It Is Written”. This Sunday is all about “Can I Trust in the Bible?”

4. 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. This is our yearly focus on prayer and fasting at the beginning of the year. We have actually been doing this since before we were a church.

5. First Sunday in February- Baptism. More details coming soon.

6. LifeGroups. LifeGroups will be kicking off right at the end of January. More information will be coming available soon.

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All, prayer|fasting
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Nine

Matthew 6: 16-18-

 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

I’ll admit it. When it comes to pain or discomfort, I’m out. How about you?
When it comes to fasting though, discomfort is the name of the game. You’re saying no to desires that aren’t use to it. They usually don’t take it too well. However, Jesus tells us plainly if we walk around wearing our misery like a crown we won’t receive the benefit we could have.

He tells us the most productive way to fast is to act natural. Around Real Life Church, we talk about fasting so we can support one another but we’re careful never to use it as a spiritually mature measuring stick. At one point the Bible mentions the Pharisees fasted twice a week yet they weren’t getting a lot of things right.

So while it’s important to have accountability and encouragement when you are fasting be careful not to take it too far. Don’t wear your fasting as a crown. Keep the struggle as quiet as possible. That way God will, who sees in secret will be able to reward you.

ACTION STEPS

  • Make a determined effort to hide your struggles
  • Remember this is all as an act of worship and an effort to move closer to God. Therefore don’t allow yourself to fall into a rut.
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21 Days of Prayer/Fasting: Day Eight

Hebrews 12: 1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb which says, “The journey of a thousand leagues begins with a single step.”
That is very true as it relates to getting started.
However, it takes consistent, determined effort to see your goals accomplished.

The scripture above says that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy set before Him. It admit He didn’t enjoy it. But, it was the reward was worth the struggle.
Be encouraged today. If fasting were easy it wouldn’t produce the spiritual results it does. The struggle is part of the reward. The satisfaction that we endured.

Your effort is going to be worth it. Think like Jesus. He endured hardship in the present to receive joy afterward. What are you hoping to achieve?

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