Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Fresh Word

I believe with everything in me that God's word is ALIVE!  I love it when He breathes new life into a scripture that I've read nearly a thousand times.  I pray that the following words will encourage you as much as they did me.

God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Ephesians 6:10-18

Get into His word, Ladies!  You won't regret it.

I love you all so much.

Your Little Sister,

Friday, January 15, 2010

Why Fast?

Can I just say, "This sista is HUNGRY!" On my way back from Little Rock on Wednesday, I had to stop by Whataburger! (Now before you run to tell Pastor Rick, you need to read the whole thing.) I had turned off I-30 in Arkansas, and there really isn't any place after that where I would stop to use the little girl's room. SO, I held it for a VERY long time, and as I was running to the restroom in Whataburger, the aroma wafted in my direction, and my knees went weak. This is my normal stop for a burger and fries on the way home or on the way to Little Rock. I had carried nuts and a trail mix with me, so I would have snack food, but that burger surely did smell inviting. I took care of my business, and I ran out of Whataburger. Flee from temptation!

Tonight at my parents' house, my kids had cheese pizza. The smell of the crust made my mouth water, but I refrained. This Daniel fast is harder than I imagined.

My co-workers went out to eat, and I ordered the vegetable soup and salad. The restaurant was chosen because I told them I needed to eat a salad, and the discussion started about the fast. "Why are you all fasting?" I explained that it's a time of purification and a time for us to regain our focus. I told them how the kids were fasting--TV, movies, sugar, or whatever was on the calendar and that we were fasting fast food – my weakness, I now realize.

Why am I fasting? Just because Pastor Rick leads us to do a thing doesn't mean I have to do it. Why are you fasting? Don't want others to talk about how you aren't fasting? While we are being led corporately to fast, fasting is a very personal choice as well as the reason we fast. For me, it's about seeking God. I need some direction in my life. "Should I start seminary or shouldn't I?" "What is the next step for women's ministry at Calvary?" And then, I have personal things that I'm seeking God's face and grace regarding. You know, God is so good. He rewarded my daughter with an answer to her prayers the first day, and it was a big one.

For me so far, the fasting has resulted in rest. I know that sounds odd, but when I was in Little Rock I couldn't keep my eyes open past 7:15 PM. I had been studying for my Sunday school class and preparing for a series we are going to start in February when He allowed me to sleep. At 6 AM I was awakened by a text from a friend who is also fasting. Her e-mail that followed is what I needed to read. God's conviction on my heart to confess my disobedience to another friend lay heavy on my heart, and I was able to be obedient Wednesday night. Friday night I'm expecting more from God in another personal matter.

So, why am I fasting? I'm fasting because I want to be clean before the Lord my God. I want to be anointed by holy, omnipotent Father. I fast because I'm expecting God to do awesome things in the life of my family, my church, my ministry, and in my life. I WANT REVIVAL! Could I do those things without fasting? Possibly, but the effectiveness of fasting makes my expectations reach for higher limits. Relying on God without putting human constraints on Him, looking to God for my most basic of needs, expecting God to move mightily and answer my prayers – these are the reasons I fast.

Why are you fasting?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

From Funk to Revival --- And Everything in Between

You probably have never had this problem, but in most of December, I had a serious case of a funk that had crawled all over me. No matter what I did, it clung to me, sometimes in the heaviest of natures. It was so evident one Sunday that Mrs. Lavahn pulled me into my office and called me on it. Can I just say that I love that woman! She sits in my office every Sunday during the Sunday school hour waiting for women to come who need to be loved on, prayed for, and encouraged, and apparently, I needed what she was dosing out. Ladies, Christmas is usually my most favorite time of the year. I love to decorate, but my house is being remodeled, so decorating was limited. I love to entertain, but we didn't because of the condition of the house. I love having family over, but most of them didn't travel into town this year. And of all years for me to just survive December, this was the year my husband vowed to be more like Santa Claus than the Grinch!

Sunday, I had stayed in my class a little to listen to a sweet lady and arrived in the worship service during the middle of praise time. I could feel that funk all over me again. It was a heaviness in my spirit--in my core being. I hate that feeling! But I could sense God's presence, and tears began to flow as we all worshipped corporately and individually. Then Pastor Terry preached on revival, and I realized that was what my soul was craving--revival.

How long has it been since you've personally had a revival? Some ladies I spoke with said they were eager for it. The thing about a true revival is that it cannot and should not be contained within the walls of the church. We need an awakening. We need the Spirit to come and stir and move in and around us. We need anointing.

I am eager to hear about the fast in which Pastor Rick and the other pastors will lead us in the upcoming days. There are so many ways to fast, ladies. What do you spend the majority of your free time doing (as if we have a lot of it)? What do you spend most of your mad money on? What are you plugged in to more than God? For me, I'm not a fan of TV. I can live without the additional racket and chaos it brings, so that wouldn't really be giving up something of value. For each person, it's different. What are you willing to give up in order to focus on God, in order to be drawn closer to Him, in order to have a personal revival--music, computer, chocolate, shopping, TV, fast food? We also need to include our children in this process. This is an opportunity to teach the next generation what a revival looks like and how it comes about. Revival and fasting mean an opportunity to lay all distractions aside and focus on God and God alone. Revival means using our resources (whether it's finances or time or energy) to find out how God wants us to spend that time that was once consumed with TV, shopping, music, etc. Clearing away the distractions, spending more time with God, repenting of those things of which He convicts us, repairing relationships – these things will and must happen.

Job 9:12-13 in The Message: " We'll never comprehend all the great things He does; His miracle-surprises can't be counted. Somehow, though He moves right in front of me, I don't see Him; quietly but surely He's active, and I miss it." Ladies, I'd hate for a revival to happen and you miss Him. Get ready. Revival's coming!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Preparing to Fast...

During Christmas we focus our attention on the story of Christ’s birth, but as we prepare for January and the fast our pastor will be leading us into, I think we need to look at John the Baptist. Why? John’s destiny in life was to prepare people to meet their Savior. John’s message was that of Elijah’s – Repent. In order for people to get ready to have a personal revival, we need to be prepared to meet Jesus and expect him to bring on a revival.

REPENT! John the Baptist’s whole message was on repentance. He was preparing those in his time to meet Jesus. People were dying of thirst and hunger – thirst for the Living Water and hungry for the Bread of Life. People were so desperate for the Living Water and Bread of Life they were willing to go to the desert to hear a man preach the Truth and to call a spade, a spade – or in this case, a brood of vipers.

In a world that is so hung up on “political correctness” instead of the spiritual condition of a person’s soul, don’t you think it’s time for a voice in the desert crying out “REPENT” ?

So, I began digging into “forgiveness” and “repentance.” We ask for forgiveness when we’ve done wrong, and God grants us forgiveness. Psalms 103:12 says, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” In Isaiah 43:25 it says, God “remembers our sins no more.” That is forgiveness. Satan is the one who would like to keep us ensnared in our sin bringing up our past mistakes over and over again. Satan enjoys throwing the dirt of our past failures in our face -- this is not of God.

REPENTANCE is a lifestyle. It’s not saying, “I’m lower than scum,” or “I am dirt.” Repentance is a daily dying to self – dying to our selfish wants and putting Christ first and above all else. It is making a conscious decision to put down your idea that you are owed something, you are due something, that you have rights. As Americans we have come to believe we are “entitled” to things, but that is contrary to the Word of God. The only reason we are blessed with good things in this life is because it is from God (James 1:17). Repentance is the daily choosing to focus on what Christ wants you to achieve during the day, how God wants you to live a victorious life. Do you want a revival? Do you REALLY want a revival? Because if you do, God will bring it, but if he brings it, you must also.

I confessed to the ladies this past Sunday that when I pray and I ask God to forgive my sins that sometimes it’s rather vague. In Luke it says people were going to the desert to confess their sins to John the Baptist. I believe if we were to pray and name our sins, ask God to show us our sins, and truly repent – turn from them, die to ourselves and focus on how we are to live our lives – then personal revival would happen. We need to be praying Psalm 19:12 – 14, “Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden (and unconscious) faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my (firm, impenetrable) Rock and my Redeemer.” (Amplified Bible)

While studying Mary and Martha this November and December, I discovered the woman with the alabaster jar was most likely Mary. This woman was described as being known around town as sinful, but in the stories of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, it says that Jesus loved them. More than once, Mary was found at the feet of Jesus – once she was listening and learning and the other time she was sobbing, pouring out her heart, repenting and washing the feet of Jesus with her tears, drying them with her feet, kissing them with her lips and pouring the most extravagant thing she had on his feet. Don’t you know she felt sweet release after pouring herself out like that? When was the last time you cried about the sin in your life? (You have to take the plank out of your own life before you take the splinter out of someone else’s. Mt 7:3-5). When we have poured ourselves out then He can fill us up. When was the last time you listed your sin before God, truly confess and lived a repentant lifestyle? If you want personal revival, this is where we have to start. Are you willing? Repent.