Day 15: God Embraces us in our Brokenness (Psalm 51; 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12)
Summary: One objective of the discipline of fasting is to humble us. Spiritually (and to some extent physically), fasting weakens our willfulness so that God can get us past our facades, veneers and other protective layers. (Every one of us has them.) It is then that we can see and admit the sins that we often try to “pretty up” by rehearsing all of the excuses for our thoughts and behaviors. But God loves it when a person cries out for His mercy, and fully acknowledges their need for God’s forgiveness. It is the heart that comes to God honestly and openly seeks God’s cleansing, admitting all brokenness, guilt and failure, that God will restore and ultimately use to declare His praise.
Action Step: Come to God humbly today and ask God to show you any unacknowledged area of your life that is not pleasing to God. Ask God to purify your motives and behaviors so that you can worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
Day 16: Fears Handled (Psalm 27)
Summary: All of us have things in our lives that seem overwhelming, intimidating, and daunting. We have goals that we have to reach, problems that we have to solve, people that we have to confront, and things that we have to do that we have no idea how they will get done. The intimidation leads to procrastination and avoidance, which only causes the issue to get bigger and become more of a crisis. When David was overwhelmed by the opposition in his life, he didn’t get wrapped up in it, but rather focused his attention on God. He gathered all of his hopes, aspirations and aims and pointed them toward ONE THING – getting into God’s presence. When we focus on getting into the presence of God and not on our problem, the obstacles and opposition lose their power to overwhelm. When we’ve been with the GOD of the universe, of whom shall we be afraid?
Action Step: Write down one thing (situation, challenge, etc.) that you have been avoiding or dreading. Identify a Bible verse that addresses your fear in that area. Pray and tell God that you are giving it to Him. Then check it off and write the word “handled” next to it, and place it in a place where you will be reminded. Praise God in advance for your victory, and go forward with confidence.
Day 17: NOT Everybody’s Doing It (Daniel 3; Romans 12:2)
Summary: There are times when we have to face consequences for not doing what is popular. Our young people are constantly assaulted with peer pressure to get involved in things that they shouldn’t (illicit sex, drugs, violence) and adults are tempted to condone things that society says are okay. But God has called believers not to conform to trends just because everybody else accepts them. If we are to be “the head and not the tail”, it means we are to be trend setters, not trend followers. We have to stop letting styles, the media, and people around us dictate to us what is right for us. We are to get our instruction from God’s Word. When you take a stand, people will try to make it uncomfortable for you, but often at the end of the story, these are the ones that will come to YOU for help and advice. Know that God will stand with you even in the fire, if you stand up for what’s right.
Action Step: Is there an area of your life in which you are compromising what you know to be right? Determine today to do the right thing, even if it gets uncomfortable. Know that God will be with you in whatever “fire” you have to go through, and will bring you out victorious.
Day 18: Look for Restoration and Revival (Joel 2:12-32)
Summary: When God’s people turn to God with all their hearts through repentance and fasting, results happen. God would intervene in many of the problems that plaque us (sickness, poverty, crime) if God’s people would get serious about prayer. There has been so much that the enemy has stolen and that has rotted away (as Joel says, “that the locusts have eaten”) because of our self-reliance and inattention to prayer (disintegrating dreams, crumbling ambitions, stolen opportunities). God says through the prophet that if we take this call back to consecration seriously, we will begin to see restoration of the hope that God has promised His children. Not only this, but God has promised to send an outpouring of His Spirit that will spill out to and bless every segment of the family of God, causing more people to turn to the Lord. Are there people in your life that you want to see come to the Lord? Is there change in your family or your community or in the church that you know is needed? It will only happen if WE return to the Lord with all of our hearts.
Action Step: Commit yourself to some focused prayer time for the things that you believe that the enemy has stolen. Ask God to forgive you for your inattention to covering them with prayer. Give God praise IN ADVANCE for God’s restoration.
Day 19: No Place Like Home (Psalm 84)
Summary: In numerous places in the Psalms, we see David and the other Psalmists proclaiming the benefits and blessings of dwelling in God’s house (the tabernacle), the place dedicated to encounters with God. There are certain places and spaces that are set apart for people to have these encounters. Even though God is everywhere at the same time (omnipresent) and an encounter with God can happen anywhere (even Solomon acknowledged that the Temple he had built could not contain God), and even though under the New Covenant through the blood of Jesus WE are now the Temple of God (God’s Spirit lives inside US), God’s presence is still felt especially powerfully in places set apart (consecrated) for Christians to meet together. We ought to THIRST for that presence, because the manifest presence of God is what brings healing, deliverance, and transformation. We ought to LONG to come together with God’s people in the Lord’s house (the church) whenever the doors are open (Worship, Bible Study, ministry meetings, etc.) because we know those that occupy God’s house are BLESSED. The enemy’s tents may look inviting, but there’s no place home. In spite of it s imperfections, God shows up there!
Action Step: Write down three things that you LOVE about coming to church. Commit to sharing them with someone today. Pray that God will use it to inspire them.
Day 20: Devotion that Works (Zechariah 7)
Summary: Consecration and sacrifice to God mean nothing if they are “all about us.” Sometimes we think that we impress God with faithfulness to our disciplines, rituals and traditions, as if they in and of themselves were the goal of our devotional lives. We need to continually be reminded, even during this consecration fast, that the objective of everything we do is that God will get more glory out of our lives, and that more people will be liberated from Satan’s captivity. Rituals, traditions and personal disciplines like fasting are ways in which we consistently seek God, but they are “means to an end”, that “end” being that we expose ourselves to the presence of The One who is living and active. God is pleased with our expressions of devotion, but what really pleases God is how the encounter transforms our thinking, our behavior, our obedience, and how we treat people when we rise off of our knees.
Action Step: Take a moment to write down something that you intend to DO differently going forward to be a blessing to others as a result of your encounters with God during this consecration.
Day 21: Time for an Outpouring (Ezekiel 47:1-12)
Summary: God has empowered the church to impact the world. It was never God’s intention for God’s people to be containers of God’s divine power, but rather conduits and distributors. Ezekiel’s vision of the river flowing FROM the Temple reminds us that blessing and healing should flow OUT from the house of God. The key to initiating the flow is the prayer of God’s people. God promised Solomon that God would “heal the land” if God’s people would humble themselves and pray. God wants to bring revival, not just in the church, but also in our neighborhoods, schools, and our city. It’s time for us to “pour out” from our comfortable pews into the community and help someone else encounter God. Our presence should “freshen up” someone’s salty existence.
Action Step: God has been gradually pouring God’s anointing into us during this 21 day season of consecration! Make it your business to refresh someone today with a word of encouragement. Pray about new ways that our church can open its doors and pour out God’s refreshing presence into our neighborhood and the city. As we pour out, God will pour into us more than we can even contain!