This past Monday, Church of the Highlands began it’s annual observation of “21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.” This focus takes place at the beginning of each year in order to offer our “first fruits” to our Father. It puts us in a posture of truly honoring the Lord as our #1 priority, by reducing our flesh desires so that we may feast more on Him. It humbles us to recognize that we cannot do without Him. By entering into a season of specific prayer and fasting, we are in a stance of “attention” to our King. Therefore, we are more apt to listen and seek revelation, instead of continuing in the rapid pace most of us experience during the Christmas season.
I received an incredible message recently from my sister in Christ, Beth Yoe of . Below I have highlighted a portion of her message that I feel is applicable to what I am trying to accomplish during this time. It helps me to realize that the disciples also had some difficulty understanding our Almighty’s perspective and purposes for His children. His ways are higher, and operating in our own power and pursuing our own will leaves us empty. I want to be filled completely as I continue to be blessed the days of 2008……
**Wisdom from Beth Yoe’s devotions “Sharing Bread”**
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 (NIV)
The commands are clear: Seek Him, Call on Him, Forsake our evil ways and thoughts and Turn to Him, He will have mercy, He will freely pardon. Live a life of trust in Him. Jesus wanted His boys to understand how the events of His life would indeed play out. He did not want them to be caught off guard. He was telling them to listen carefully! He was telling them to pay attention! How often I have missed His warnings too! There are many reasons for this including, but not limited to, pre-determined ideas of how my life would play out, being too busy to hear His still small voice, confusion over His will for my life, and being ignorant of God’s word, just to name a few. Since our God is a God of order, when I experience confusion in my life, I am the problem. Having a firm grasp of Scripture will keep our heads above water – and I don’t mean when the crisis hits! The most effective Christians for Kingdom work are prepared people. They know truth. They can trust God even when circumstances appear different from expectations. “Real trust in God is above circumstances and appearances.” George Muller.
God has a greater plan than our eyes can see or our mind can understand. For instance, in our verses for today, if the disciples would have had their way, Jesus would have been made an earthly king. He would have never gone to the cross and all mankind (including them) would have been destined to hell. But God (my two favorite words together) had a different plan.
We live in a generation where we constantly depend upon our own strength and abilities until, of course, we reach the end of our powers, hopes and dreams and we are left empty calling out for help to save us! I believe that our lives would be much less harried if we began each day by emptying ourselves of ‘ourselves’ and praying to be filled with all the fullness of God. God desires for His Spirit to fully indwell and equip His saints for every good work. We shrink the Spirit within us when we constantly rely on ourselves. He often has to get us to the point the disciples were in before we will look up and be amazed by the greatness of God. Spurgeon tells us: “It will do us good to be very empty, to be very weak, and so to go about our Master’s work.”
- When God tells me something I must pay attention and respond.
- God’s thoughts and ways are higher than my thoughts and ways.
- God has a greater plan than my eyes can see or my mind can understand.
- Increase the Father….Decrease Self
Thank you Beth for your beautiful insight! Please check her blog! bethyoe.wordpress.com
I challenge you all to believe in God for answered prayer to your specific needs, and please declare your complete dependence on God…..not allowing anything to distract you. His Presence is available to all…..but it is our responsibility to SEEK, CALL, FORSAKE evil, and TURN to Him. Join us as we embrace our Savior 100% through prayer and fasting at Church of the Highlands through January 27….what a way to kick off the year! 2008 is said to be the year of new beginnings!
God bless you all!!