Faith Community Online

Day Five

Filed under: Blog,Pray & Fast — Pastor David Jan 9, 2014 @ 9:44 pm

Day Five:  Read Nehemiah 1 and John 17

“Dear Friends, I hope to see you tonight at 6:30pm, in Thoman Hall, for a final time of prayer. Together we will break our fast and eat some nourishing home-made soup. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?”

Today is your last day of planning ahead for this year through prayer and fasting (as much as you able to do). The importance of this week is what God has said or is showing you about Himself or about yourself!   May His insights grow your faith, hope, and love to richer degrees (2 Thess 1:3).

Prayer is our connecting point at which we enter eternity and kneel before His throne of grace. We speak and engage the very One who spoke the universe into being. As Dr. Rick Warren has pointed out, “Prayer can do what God can do.” Incredible possibility lurks on the other side of God answering our prayers. Wouldn’t you say that everything changes at that point?

The next question then to ask, is, what are you praying for? Or, if God answered your prayers this week what would change? What answers will He give to you this year? Or what are the questions that you are asking Him to answer this year? Who will become a follower of Christ? What lives will change? That is, if God were to answer your prayers right now… or even within this next year?  We cannot control God’s timing or hurry up the Divine process, however, we can get ready for what God wants to do in our lives and through our lives.

I guess what I am aiming at, is this; do you pray small or big? This question follows with another question, do you expect God to answer you?  God is already in motion, answering the prayers you have cried out to Him this week. He is a busy God moving and stirring people, stirring you, and stirring this world in ways we cannot yet see. Look for His hand. Watch for His Presence. See the unfolding of His plan in what is going on around you. It is impossible for God to lie! His promises are, “yes and amen”, in Jesus Christ!  So He is inviting you to become a part of what He is already doing. Exciting? I agree! This is the opportunity that prayer to God opens for all who step through that door. The labor of prayer has a reward.

So my friend, pray and become a part of God’s movement which has been in motion since He sent His Son. Someone has summarized, “Whenever God wants to do something in this world He starts with moving His people to prayer.” Brothers and sisters, let’s pray! And prepare for Him to do something wonderful in our community and through our church. To God be the glory!

Day Four: Letting the Garden Grow

Filed under: Blog,Pray & Fast — Pastor David Jan 8, 2014 @ 10:05 pm

Read Eph. 1:15-23, 3:14-21 

It is very likely that most of us begin our journey of listening to God with the idea that we think we know what changes and directions He is going to give us. The surprises come after we obey Him and then we see that what He had intended for us, was very different from what we thought.  C. S. Lewis was convinced that this dynamic was proof that it was God making the changes in our lives and not ourselves manipulating the process. “Eye has not seen nor ear heard what the LORD has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9-16). This verse is not just talking about heaven but is also referring to our spiritual maturity as well. We cannot predict where He is guiding us. It is one of the great joys of obedience. Surprises abound, I mean good surprises!  It can be summed up in that word we read, “Behold…” We realize later, “I was not expecting that!”

Learning is always a process that takes time. During this process we usually find ourselves going through four phases in our “state in our mind”.  State #1:  We do not know what we do not know. We may be full of opinions, assumptions, and ideas, and the knowledge we possess will puff us up with arrogant feelings, however they are for the most part, ignorant of God’s wisdom. In reality, we know nothing. State #2:  We know that there is much we do not know. This is the birth of humility in our lives. Through pain and jarring circumstances we come to realize that there is  more to learn than we previously thought. Selfishness and laziness become clear enemies to our progress. We become passionate to learn. Scientifically we actually feel dopamine surging through our frames and it feels good! We want to learn more and more!  State #3: We know and begin to grow from that knowledge. How exciting it is to see that the new wisdom we are gaining is now becoming part of our daily living!  Ideas have turned into choices. Choices have turned into habits. Habits are beginning to form into character qualities. State #4:  We know and flow this knowledge to others. While we are just naturally doing what we have now habitually practiced for weeks on weeks, months on months, and then years on years, things then take a turn and we are now able to help others! This sharing comes from a life that has been living daily in the flow of God’s rich wisdom. This is where we want to live the bulk our time on earth!  Here is the richness and significance of why we learned what God had for us to learn. Others helped us and now we help others!

Another way to see our lives is through the seasons of nature: winter, spring, summer, and fall. You can see winter as the time to “sleep and hibernate”, or you can be like the effective gardener, knowing that  it is a very important time to dream and plan for the next year’s harvest! These wise gardeners will think and ponder, plan and prepare for what is ahead for their garden. Spring can be the time for spring fever, for daydreaming and playfully frittering away the hours with silly games and meaningless activity, however, the effective gardener knows that it is time to plant the seeds according to what they have planned and prepared to do, during the winter season. This is a busy time, planting and sowing all kinds of plants, looking to the future harvest of what they will eventually reap. Then comes summer, some will see this season as a time to take a vacation and forget about work and responsibilities, But, again,  the effective gardener sees summer as the time to water and cultivate his garden, allowing it to expand and flourish in growth! Sweating, toil, fertilizing and weeding, watering and grooming the plants, this is what this season of summer is all about to the wise gardener.  Finally, comes the season of fall.  This  season can sometimes be the time when some will suddenly realize that they have actually missed the opportunity to reap a harvest.  These are the gardeners who are now full of regrets and they suffer from missed opportunities and poor planning. But the effective gardener, during the fall season, will now be  harvesting the seeds and plants he sowed in the past. Abundance and blessing, much fruit and a future that is bright with hope, is this gardener’s portion.

Are you planning ahead in this week of prayer and fasting? Are you taking the steps you must take in order to have an abundant and “beyond all that you will ask or think” spiritual harvest? What are you seeing that God will do through you? What are you sensing He wants you to obey right now? Plant the seeds. Plant the dreams for becoming like Jesus. One day it is a prayer the next it is a reality! Watch your garden grow this year in the dimensions of breadth, length, height, and depth. Let us step into the rich dimensions of God’s love revealed in Christ this year.

Focus on Jesus, The Seed That Grows

Filed under: Blog,Pray & Fast — Pastor David @ 7:09 am

Read Colossians 3:1-17 and Hebrews 12:1-3                                                                                 

Our Spiritual growth always comes from one Seed and one Source… the person of Jesus. He is the Author and Completer of our faith! He begins our spiritual journey through His Words that produce our faith (Rom 10:17). His words are full of grace and truth (John 1:12-18). “Grace” for our sinful bents and depravity and “truth” for our spiritual ignorance. As time goes on we are seeing, more clearly, how deeply these two words are needed for our condition.

“Seeing Jesus”, is the result of looking in the mirror of His Word (2 Cor. 3:16-18). We see that He is high and lifted up. We see that He is humble and meek. He is willing to bend lowly to help us. We see His gentleness with a life that is no more than “a smoldering wick ready to go out” (Is. 42:3), or “ the broken frail flax that has been easily marred and abused”(Matt. 12:20) as a result of going through the tough things of life. We see that He is merciful and ready to forgive. We see that He is ever praying for us…praying that our “faith not fail”(Luke 22:32). We also see that Christ is seated in power and glory and is the only One worthy to be worshipped in heaven, as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth!(Rev. 13:8)

Continuing our focus on “seeing Jesus”…the Word also reveals that we see Him as both King and Servant!  He is lowly man and God Supreme! He is our “Elder Brother” not ashamed to call us His family (Hebrews 2:9-11).  He is unwilling to ever quit in His support of each one of us!  He has already faced the darkest hours of separation from the Father for us, His beloved. He has faced torture and rejection from brutal and heartless men. He has faced the horrors of hell and the fierce wrath of God, all for us! We see Him rise in Resurrection power, overthrowing all the powers of death, sin, Satan, and selfish men!  He stands before us as the victorious and always triumphant Son of God!

And, finally, we still wait to see Him arrive here on this planet to rule for a thousand years!  We wait to see the saints and angels attending Him in that rule. And finally this war torn and defiled planet will, for the first time in human history, be free from oppression and will blossom in beautiful glory!  Our hope and passion in the prayer “Your Kingdom come” will be answered!  He is coming again!

What does this brief picture, and “sight” of Jesus, do for your heart right now? I pray that it stirs you to want to know Him better!  This knowledge…knowing Him more and more with each passing day… is the best knowledge to seek and it lifts the heart to higher places! Think of that long loved hymn (if you know it) and sing, “Fairest Lord Jesus”…. (or, take a moment and sing whatever song best represents your heart of love to Him.)

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
O Thou of God and man the Son,
Thee will I cherish, Thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy and crown.
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heaven can boast.
Beautiful Savior! Lord of all the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!

Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and forever more be Thine

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