21 Day Fast Devotion
How can we be a light to our Church?
Day 8 - Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
Let’s start this time of fasting with looking inward. I have heard that
if you want to change the world, you have to begin with yourself. I have also learned from traveling in planes that when the oxygen masks drop, you need to put your mask on first, because if you pass out, you won’t be able to help anyone. It may sound selfish, but it makes a lot of sense. I believe that it’s the same way in life. If we let ourselves get too trained, push ourselves too hard, or constantly think about everyone else and ignore our own needs, we aren’t of any use to anyone.
We need to know that we have permission to renew our spiritual life and take care of our needs. If you have found yourself drained and no longer feel capable of reaching out to others, there is still hope. 2 Samuel 22:33 says, “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.” God is our strength and the awesome thing is that he never tires! So as we begin our journey through this time of fasting and reflection, use it as a time to draw strength from God's inexhaustible well and allow Him to guide your steps. Allowing Him to do this will get us ready to be a light to others.
Father, as we begin to discover how you can use us to be the light you created us to be, fill us with Your Spirit to the point of overflowing so that we have more than enough to shine bright.
Day 9 - Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
My dear church have you ever been to the church of hurts? I know I have; so much so, I was told by the new senior pastor, at a church I went to before, that the last four years of service was meaningless and not to offer any more help. Even though I had only ever diligently served. Often those we allow close to us, will cause hurt, even if the offender never intended us pain.
How often do we cause pain to our even more loving Savior, compared to
us or others? Most of those times we know our missteps towards the Lord, even as we take them. Our amazing Father will extend Grace and
forgiveness through our discretions.
As we thrive to be more like Christ, lets thrive to look at the hurts done to
us, and allow them to be forgiven. Without the forgiveness, divisions will
begin to cause division in our church much like the way sin causes division with God.
For the sake of protecting your heart let’s find a way to forgive. Moreover,
our church family will strengthen and become a strong light to the world.
Day 10 - Hebrews 10: 24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Being in a group of people who support, encourage, keep us
accountable, as well as pray for each other is so very important. In our
church we have a few groups to choose from. Every other Tuesday there is Home Fellowship, Wednesday night Bible Study, Friday nights Women's Bible Study, Youth group every other Wednesday, plus those times when the men get together to fellowship and learn together. Each group is different, but each group offers something similar, a place to learn more about Christ with fellow believers. Yes, it might take time from getting home after a long day of work or school, but it’s worth it. The friendships that have been formed are priceless.
I attend the Women’s Bible study. We have learned so much
together, laughed together, cried together, and supported each other during rough times in each of our lives. We also encourage each other to do the weekly homework. There have been moments where we have needed to take a few weeks off, but it leaves a hole, and soon we start up again and all is right again. I personally have grown so much because of time spent with these lovely daughters of the king. Meeting with the youth has also helped me grow. Listening to the Bible from their perspective is eye opening. Plus I enjoy watching them grow and take on more responsibility.
If you haven’t had the chance to go to one of these groups, I highly
recommend it. We need a place wher we can be encouraged, and to
encourage others. If you can’t make it to one of the groups that are already started, maybe you can find some others and open up a new opportunity to gather together to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” ABBA, thank you for this church and the people in it. Help us to continue encouraging each other and helping each other grow.
Day 11 - James 1:22
But be doers of the word and not hearers only
In our women’s bible study this week Priscilla Shirer related a story
about herself and her three sons. She was driving her car with her boys in
the back seat and they were arguing and raising a quite a ruckus. She told them to stop, but shortly after, it began again even louder than the first time. When she came to a stop light she put the car in park and turned to do what she needed to in order to resolve the situation so she could continue on to her destination without all the noise and stress. In the midst of “straightening the boys out”, she realized that people were passing her on both sides and some had even pulled around her to move on. When she had finished resolving the problem, she turned around just in time to see the light turn orange and then red. She had been so distracted by the disturbance that she had sat through the entire green light and missed her opportunity to move on.
Often times we hear the Lord speaking to us by the Holy Spirit and
urging us to move forward. Encouraging us to step out and get involved in
things He wants us to do. But then the cares of this world and daily
responsibilities enter in and cause us to become distracted and we miss
our opportunity to serve and to advance in our walk with God. We hear
what the Word of God is telling us but we sit through the green light and
don’t move on. Thankfully, The Word of God also tells us that there is no
condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. When we miss the mark
He is faithful to forgive us and provide us with fresh opportunities to move
forward and to advance The Kingdom.
My prayer for myself and for our church is that we will take the time to
read and hear The Word clearly enough that it will drown out all the
distractions so that, together, we can accomplish the things that the Lord
calls us to do.
Day 12 – 1st Corinthians 12: 12 – 14
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body – whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
Making up the body of Christ (the church), just as a physical body,
means we all have different gifts, talents and abilities. It is more apparent
than ever in a smaller congregation. At times we can even feel “disabled”
when we don’t have a member to fill a roll. Some gifts or “body parts” are
obvious. Others not so much. Many people hear the word serve and feel
that they do not have the necessary qualities to make a difference in others’ lives. This is true—apart from God. But He has gifted each of us in unique ways with a purpose in mind. His plan for us involves using these talents to serve Him for the good of others.
Satan would like us to believe otherwise. Our enemy wants us to
notice what others are doing and then to feel inferior. For instance, I have
heard women say, “I am just a homemaker.” They see people preaching
and singing in the choir and wish they could accomplish something so great for God. Nothing could be further from the truth. My husband is a good example. Before his stroke he was an usher, cleaned the church on a weekly basis, and led a home fellowship. After his stroke he found he was unable to do these things anymore. He was very unhappy with his
inabilities. As time went by he found that his faithfulness and joy in Lord
was an inspiration to many and he was blessed that they told him so. He
also found that he could contribute through keeping a strong prayer life and lifting up the church and its pastors, consistently praying for God’s hedge of protection around them.
If you feel that you want to be more involved, more active, pray:
Dear Father, we ask you to open the door so that I can fill that spot that the church so desperately needs. Give me the courage to come forward and volunteer to fill that need. Reveal to me Lord what you would have me do for the Kingdom of heaven. Amen.
Day 13 - Romans 12:6-8
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy inaccordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
There are times when trying to do something can be very
overwhelming, especially if it’s a big event. That’s when it’s helpful to have different people with different strengths, working together to make it
happen. This past Christmas I got to create the Christmas video. I am a
creative person, but I couldn't have done it without others that helped out.
Like the main character in the video, Lilac learned, it doesn’t have to be a
big thing. Sometimes it is someone bringing angel wings for us to use, and one angel brought donuts. To make the actual performance took other gifts too, like filming and editing, acting, and directing. Also, the video was only a small part of the evening. We also had music and preaching and cookies. So many cookies! The evening was a great success because of the different talents that brought it together. Even the ones who were audience members shared a gift of encouragement, just by being there.
We all have gifts, and we are all apart of a church that encourages us
to use them for God’s glory. And the best thing we can do as a church is
support one another in what God has called us to do. So if you preach,
preach! If you teach teach!If you bake cookies or other tasty things, do it
with joy (after the fast), of course encouragement and support is always
welcome. Remember it doesn’t have to be big, you have no idea what a
blessing each one of you are, just by being the you God created you to be.
Father thank you for the gifts you have given us. Help us find ways to use
them for your glory.
Day 14 - Matthew 28:19-20
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.”
We call this the GREAT COMMISSION. A commission is a command,
or an order or duty given to a person or group of people. Jesus gave these orders to his disciples (and to us as His disciples). It is not a suggestion or a choice... it is our duty... our commission. I love that the first word in this is “GO...” It is not... “stay where you are” or “sit in the pews (or chairs).” Jesus tells us to GO make disciples. We have a wonderful church family. One of the things that attracted us to this family of God is that the people seemed to like being together. This is a good thing! The body of Christ should enjoy being together. But we are also commissioned to GO and make disciples.
As much as we enjoy being together on Sundays or midweek, we really
spend more of our time somewhere else, right? So where do you go?
Where do you GO? How can you make disciples where you go? Many
years ago, I worked as a catering manager/event planner. We hosted
several events every weekend. We worked long hours and therefore spent long hours with the same people in a high-pressure, fast paced
environment. Tired people can get cranky (and crazy). Tempers would flare! It was in this season that I learned that I function well (peaceful and with a smile) in a “three ring circus!” One evening, over a plate of leftovers in the kitchen, one of my catering staff asked me what kind of bubble I lived in. She said she wanted one too! It opened the door for me to share more of my faith with her, to teach (disciple) her and help her in her walk. I remember clearly how much that meant to me... to realize that by simply
living my work life like Jesus (being a disciple of Jesus), I was discipling
those around me. Sometimes, we are called to give our testimony and
share a gospel outline, but in ALL times we are called to live it! Isn’t it good to know that Jesus said He would be with us ALWAYS? We don’t have to GO anywhere alone. We can ALWAYS count on the Holy Spirit to enable and equip us to live out our commission. Where will you GO and BE a disciple as you MAKE disciples?
Pastor Michele Ehrenberg
Here it is in a couple of my favorite versions... just for fun!
Matthew 28:19-20 The Message (MSG)
18-20 Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God
authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train
everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by
baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct
them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 Hawai‘i Pidgin (HWP) Da Jesus Book 19 So you guys, go all ova da world an teach all da diffren peopos, so dey can learn bout me an come my guys. Baptize dem, an dey goin come tight wit my Fadda, an me his Boy, an Godʼs Good an Spesho Spirit.20 Teach
um how fo do everyting dat I wen tell you guys fo do. An you know wat? I
goin stick wit you guys all da way, till da world goin pau.”