My mother tells me of a time that I don’t remember well. When I was around 2nd or 3rd grade, I was walking home from the bus stop after school (back in the day when kids were allowed to do such things). The windows of our house were open and she could hear me singing as approached the house. Suddenly, the sweet melodic sound of my voice was replaced with crying. Our next-door neighbor boy, Luis, had jumped out from behind the hedgerow and whacked me on the head with a small pipe. You might guess that we weren’t fast friends. Over the few years that we lived in that house we had a handful of disagreements that resulted in fisticuffs a few times.
Have you ever experienced that God gives us dreams that are bigger than ours and scary if we had to walk out that dream alone? But that’s why we’re big and scary, God wants to partner with us to accomplish those dreams!
When Jesus, in His authority, commissioned the disciples to go everywhere and preach the Good News for the rest of their lives, it was probably one of those big and scary moments for the disciples. But He promised that He would always be with them (and us!) as they went.
To fast or not to fast: that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. Please indulge my borrowing and modifying of Shakespeare’s words. In this passage from the play “Hamlet”, Shakespeare sets up a dichotomy where Hamlet struggles between the extremes of life and death. Fasting may not be a matter of life or death in the sense that Hamlet was wrestling through, but fasting is the spiritual equivalent of taking arms against our own sea of troubles. Fasting can make the difference between maintaining the status quo and breaking through to a new level of freedom.
Fasting is a Christian discipline where we voluntarily set aside food for a time. During this time of fasting, we pray and wait on the Lord.
Embrace the idea that there will be resistance as you move to take ground. If you’re seeking growth or freedom in strategic ground of your life, you should recognize that important ground is not easily taken. In order to take ground so that you can walk that ground in freedom, you need to displace any current residents, for example entrenched ways of thinking or erroneous beliefs. When we fast, we face the resistance head on.
Imagine a rubber band. You are on one side of the rubber band and your freedom is on the other side. As you press against the rubber band you encounter resistance. When you stop pressing you return to the status quo and nothing changes. The more you press the more resistance you experience. Resistance grows in direct proportion to the pressure you generate until you generate enough to overcome it. Once it’s overcome, the rubber band breaks and you experience breakthrough.
Fasting allows you to be become weak before the Lord so he can show His strength in your weakness. It’s true that on your own you may not be able to overcome the resistance in your life. But when you yield yourself in a fast, pray with sincerity, and listen to what God has to say about your situation He will be faithful to guide you into new freedom.
I encourage you to:
- Ask big – don’t discount God’s ability to work.
- Ask for others – Fast for salvation and restoration of others.
- Share your fast with a loved one – talk about it.
- Encourage one another.
In Matthew 17:14-21 when the disciples attempted to drive out a demon (asking for others) they failed. When they asked Jesus why they failed, He responded that they needed more faith. Some manuscripts include verse 21 where Jesus says, “This kind only comes out through prayer and fasting.” From this statement, we can gather a couple of insights. First, we are to fast and pray not just for ourselves but also on behalf of others. Second, change may take longer than we think. We all want things to change quickly but sometimes we must be persistent and consistent in fasting and praying. Some strongholds are not easily dismantled; therefore, our persistence can be key to unlocking the spiritual bonds of other people. What a privileged calling!
To fast or not to fast – indeed that is the question at hand. I encourage you to join us for our 21-Day Fast and see what the Lord will do. He does amazingly good things!
Click here to learn more about fasting.
The Advent Season is about preparing our hearts to remember and celebrate the coming of the Christ Child. Each week we will focus and meditate on one word.
This third week of Advent we will focus on the word JOY!
- The 3rd Sunday of Adventsymbolizes Joy with the “Shepherd’s Candle” reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.
The third candle, is usually pink, and represents the great joy that the shepherds felt at the angelic proclamation regarding the coming Savior. Joy came at the announcement of our Saviors birth. This week as we focus on JOY, we must remember that the announcement of our Jesus’ birth by the angles came at a time when things were not so joyful. Let it be a reminder that JOY can come about even in the midst of a season of sorrow, loss, longing, repentance, and seriousness.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
Can you even imagine what it must have been like to be standing in the field with the shepherds that night? Think about it. You are doing your work, settling in for the night, and then suddenly the sky is illuminated and filled with a chorus of angels?
Still having a difficult time putting yourself in the shepherd’s sandals?
Can you remember a time, when you were told someone was expecting a child? And feeling great joy and excitement of what was to come?
Or maybe you have watched videos on social media of individuals being told in unique ways that a baby is coming? With screams and shouts of pure joy and happiness.
Now, can you image how the shepherd’s must have felt?
What a magnificent sight it must have been. A miracle to be sure. And God chose ordinary men to receive the announcement of his son’s birth first, before anyone else. These common, ordinary men, may have been filled with fear and awe at first, but then they quickly jumped into action and went in search of the baby. They found Jesus, just as they had been told they.
Other week THREE Advent Scriptures to meditate on:
- Luke 1:46-55
- Isaiah 61:1-3
- Luke 4:16-21
- Nehemiah 8:10
- Psalms 66:1
May God fill your heart with exceedingly great JOY this week. May you be filled to overflowing with it, that you share it with everyone you meet. May you rejoice at the wonderful things God wants to do in your life as you have Great Expectations.
Pastor Debbie Kitterman
Do you feel expected to perform?
What if what is being measured is souls or people instead of talents?
Are you taking care of what God gave you?
This is about judgement, stewardship and RELATIONSHIP!
This second week of Advent as we turn our hearts towards celebrating the coming Christmas Season, we will focus on the word FAITH!
The Advent Season is about remembering and preparing our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child. Each week we will focus and meditate on one word.
- The 2nd Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the “Bethlehem Candle” reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
Faith is :
- complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
- strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Biblical Faith is:
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1 NLT).
This second week, we will focus on FAITH. There are many acts of faith spread through out the Christmas Story, but for this week, we will focus on how Mary and Joseph had the faith to believe in the promises God spoke to them. They each trusted the message they received from the Angel. By Faith, they responded “YES” to God without fully understanding or knowing how it would work out. They trusted God, even when their journey took them Nazareth to Bethlehem, ad beyond.
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And all went to be registered, each to his own town.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child
Luke 2 :1-5
This week, look at your life and ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have the faith to believe in the promises of God?
- What are the promises God has spoken to me?
- Do I have faith that God will accomplish them?
- Am I able to trust God and relinquish control to His plans and His timing for my life?
Other week two Advent Scriptures to meditate on:
- Luke 1:26- 38
- Matt 1:18-23
- Luke 2:1-7
- Galatians 3:9
- Hebrews 11
May God fill your heart with the Faith to believe and may you have Great Expectations for the wonderful things He wants to do in your life.
Pastor Debbie Kitterman