21 Day Fast Devotion
How can we be a light to our community?
Day 15 - 1 Thessalonians 5:14
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
Before we talk about where we can be a light in our community, let’s take a little time to talk about how we, as a church, are already being a light in our community. A couple of weeks ago Gary and Pastor Doug talk to us about The fact that 10% of the offerings that we collect here are being used for the following ministries: Gethsemane prayer Fellowship, Gideons international, His Nesting Place, Kenneth Copeland ministries, as well as other ministries including the church in India. Not only are we supporting is ministries through our offerings, but during VBS the children raise money for the church in India also. Plus, once a month the special offering in the back has blessed a few people in our own church family. So if you’re trying to figure out what it is you can do in the community, just know that your tithes are already doing something. I’m not here to call out the idle, but to show how easy it can be to be a light. The money we give helps the week and encourages the disheartened. The people that receive this money, may never know our names, may never meet us face-to-face, and yet we are helping to change lives. How cool is that?
if you don't tithe now, for what ever reason, but want to participate in giving, know that every little bit counts. Pray about having God show you how. During VBS the kids searched their couch cushions for change, raising a good amount to donate. I once raised 90 dollars just by cleaning my room and gathering all the loose change that had fallen out of pockets and laid there forgotten. Together we can make a difference and we ARE making a difference. Let us consider increasing our giving to the church so we can make a bigger difference this year.
Father, thank you for providing opportunities to make a difference and to be a light in our community.
Day 16 - Colossians 3:13
bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against any one; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
The reason that the word “bearing” in this verse is not capitalized is because this verse is a continuation of the verse before it. That verse states, “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Did you hear that phrase? Chosen-Of-God. If we have truly been chosen by the creator of the universe, then why would we be so petty as to hold someone hostage in our hearts. Unforgiveness doesn’t do anything for anyone but cause problems. You see, when we are hurt by someone and that someone doesn’t seem to know or care, the only thing we feel we can do is hold some sort of power over them by saying, “I will NEVER forgive them”. All the while that inability to forgive lingers day and night. It’s all we can think about. We’ll show them! The problem? They don’t really care what we do. If they did they would have come to us in repentance and ASKED for forgiveness. But they seldom do. People are mostly all about themselves. You know the old saying. “Gotta look out for #1”. I have found in life after dealing with thousands of people in various situations that they seldom even realize that they have hurt me. So I have a number of options. 1. Hurt them back. That’s no good. 2. Confront them. People mostly get caught off guard and get defensive and then a bigger problem ensues. 3. Ignore it. Let it fester and build. Or 4, do what Jesus did and say, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Say to yourself, “Father, you have chosen to forgive me and so I choose to forgive them”. The Bible says if we forgive others then He will forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15) Let it go. Set it free. Watch it heal. The scar will fade and the pain will subside. Go ahead. Forgive them chosen one of God. You’ll be glad you did. And so will He.
Pastor Steve Verdone.
Day 17 - (Proverbs 27:17)
As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.
We all need someone who believes in us, to help us believe in ourselves, that we can do all things with God's help.
As a child I was very shy and only had a few friends as I grew to be an adult. I would still consider myself to be a shy and reserved person but when I knew that I was a child of the most high that changed everything.
So how did I come to know this God who is my strength? I can walk taller and stand up straighter knowing who is my loving father.
I was born into a wonderful family that believed in God but didn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My family was supportive but I was not complete. I lacked self-confidence and I felt unworthy.
In high school I was invited to a bible study. This would be held during the lunch period in a half-empty classroom where the students would bring in their lunches and bibles and listen to the word. Because I was shy this would help me avoid the crowds in the lunch room area. I accepted Jesus but that was as far as I got with my new relationship as a believer. Life was difficult finishing school and getting a real job to pay off a school loan.
Then I met a godly woman who was positive and encouraged me to apply myself and that I can do it. This person was so helpful and a great listener. She introduced me once again to Jesus. Not by word alone but by her actions. I wanted to know more about the living God that was her strength that made her so strong during a very difficult time in her life- the loss of her daughter due to a car accident. I needed to know what she knew. I was grieving with her and just like her I wanted it to be a bad dream.
She returned to work earlier then I expected. I wanted to know her assurance that she had to know that she would see her daughter again so when she asked me to go to church with her I didn't have a reservation. She had been a great co-worker believing in me and always helping me better myself. She was an encouragement and I just loved working with her.
I could remember that first day I walked into WFF in Yorba Linda. I felt welcomed and greeted by a lot of smiling people with open arms asking me, "Hope to see you again"? Of course I wanted to come back and learn more about Jesus Christ even though my friends and family thought that I had joined a cult because of the fasting. They thought that I was crazy to be doing this.
The first year the church did a corporate fast. It was hard for me because i had a sweet tooth. But my church family gave me encouragement and support during the fast.
God is always there for us no matter what we are going through. He is our strength. I am looking forward to see God's breakthrough in my life and for the church. I know God has a purpose and plan for everyone who puts him first. I am reminded about Matthew 6:33- but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all of these things will be given to you.
So we can put aside that donut or that hamburger for 21 days because God's plans are always better then our own. As you meet people who encourage and believe in you be thankful that God put them in your life with a purpose. Become a blessing to others by motivating others with positive and loving feedback. It can start with a smile. Let your light shine so bright that they will ask you, " Why are you so happy?" If we build up one another then we can build our church by sharing God's love for one another.
We are so blessed by God's mercy and grace. During the fast let's learn his truth for our lives and keep his promises close to our hearts.
Heavenly Father: thank you for the opportunity to share your love in our life with others who don't have the relationship they need to be set free from their past and their failures. You make everything new, bright and better. Thank you for Jesus's total sacrifice for us- your church family.
I pray for our families and friends that they might have ears to hear our calling. In Jesus' name may we not be shy from sharing the good news of our living savior.
Day 18 - 1 Peter 4:8-11
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
The church I went to in Redlands started a ministry several years ago called, “feed the hungry“. It started with just the one church, one Saturday a month, but other churches in the city saw what we were doing and wanted to help. It grew to several churches in the community participating and this once a month event became once a week. When feed the hungry first started, the homeless were fed in a park. It would gather our supplies and barbecues and set up feeding up to 50 people. We then offered peanut butter and jelly and bread so they could make sandwiches to carry with them. When it became an issue for the city, the church opened up it’s fellowship hall to host it there. Those who couldn’t participate by actually being there, began to knit and crochet scarves, donate blankets. jackets, and socks to make sure that they kept as dry and warm as possible. All of these things were good, and was appreciated, but more important to many of these people was the fellowship. During the time allotted for the dinner portion, many of us brought our guitars and played and saying praise music. We were able to have conversations and develop relationships with those that were regular attendees. During this time the people who came were not just homeless people, they were individuals with hopes and dreams. For a few moments in time they were safe, and they were loved.
When I walked around town catching busses, I would see them and wave, and they would smile and wave back, and if I had a moment we would chat. I didn’t have much money, so I couldn’t do much, but what mattered to them was being noticed as people as opposed to being avoided or glared at. Hospitality doesn’t just mean opening your home or wallet, sometimes it means smiling at someone and treating them like a child of God. We all have a story, some have risen above their circumstances, and some need a little more encouragement. Where can you reach out and be the support and encouragement in your community?
Father, help us be supportive and encouraging to others. Help us also use our gifts to serve others.
Day 19 - Romans 12:3-13
What Kind of Legacy Are You Leaving the World?
Today’s scriptures are found in Romans 12: 3-13 and is about LEGACY.
Have you ever thought about the legacy you’re leaving your family, your community, your world? Most people never give it a second thought. But a legacy is something you’re creating every day, whether you realize it or not.
What exactly is a legacy? Webster’s Dictionary defines “legacy” as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”
However, as a business professional, I see another name for legacy that is often referred to as a company’s brand / branding.
According to Wikipedia, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. Brands are used in business, marketing, and advertising for recognition. Name brands are sometimes distinguished from generic or store brands.
For example, when we go to grab a meal from McDonald’s (you know the Golden Arches [appearance]) or KFC (the Colonel Sanders [the person or the colors – his brand has been handed down to today’s marketplace]) or In-N-Out Burger (their food – hamburger and fries), there is an expectation of what type of food is available, service to receive, and the look of who is associated with the respective establishment.
But the Apostle Paul (credited with writing Romans) describes the legacy (for me it our branding that has been handed to us), we as followers of Christ should be presenting and look like. In fact, in reading this section, I get the feeling that Paul is advising us, as workers of the Kingdom, first how our individual minds should be adjusted, then his next discussion is to inform us how we as “employees” are to view our co-workers, and then most importantly how to perform our work – service in LOVE!
As you read today’s scriptures, image Paul is giving us an “employee” pep talk for the purpose of reminding us (followers of Christ) of the Kingdom’s branding!
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] 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,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
We, fellow co-workers of our Savior and Lord, go today and represent the Kingdom’s brand so that the legacy the good work of Christ our Lord and King is favorably embraced and continues!
- Sandra K. Lynch
Day 20 - Ephesians 4:2-6
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
When the people in Genesis began to build the Tower of Babel, God split them apart apart by changing their language.so they couldn’t communicate. People began to look for others that spoke the same language informed groups. These groups created their own cultures. These days we have the ability to be involved with these cultures either by visiting in person or through social media. We can use different methods of learning other languages so that we can communicate with each other. But above and beyond all the apps and social media’s there is one culture that transcends everything. Some call this, “The Jesus culture.” No matter what country we live in or what language we speak, if God and Jesus are at the center of our lives, there are no differences.
We’ve seen this in videos that Joe and Anitha have brought back from the church we support in India and through the stories we’ve heard from Pastor Steve, Chris and Dave who gone to visit. A couple of months ago I met a person who lives in Norway. We have enjoyed being creative and silly together, and learning more about each other’s language. Sometimes there are language mishaps, except for in one area of conversation. God. When we talk Scripture conversations are very clear. There have also been many moments when God has put things in each of our hearts to share with each other at exactly the right time. God knows no boundaries.
If he can do that with people who live in different countries, why not in our own community? When we are in the Lords family, all the barriers that we as humans built up don’t exist. His word is the same no matter what language it’s translated into. The body of Christ isn’t limited to our family, or our church but encompasses the entire world! God created all of us! So as we go into our communities let’s not let worldly things divide us. Instead, let’s let the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord be the thing that unites us together. At my dad’s church in Paradise, Ca there is a sign at the end of their driveway that reads. “You are now entering the mission field.” Where can you be a light for Christ in our community?
Lord thank you for making a world that is made up of all kinds of interesting humans. Help us to find you in the people that we meet in our daily lives. – Ame
Day 21 - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down,one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
God has not called us to serve His people alone. He calls us to work together to be the light of Christ in a lost, lonely, broken and dark world. We are the church, the Body of Christ. We work together and God does great things! I memorized this
verse at church as a junior higher. We were taught that together we could do more for God than individually. I have always preferred to be part of a team than a lone ranger. The part about “woe to the one who falls who does not have another to lift him up” just sounds so sad to me. I need my sisters and brothers in Christ! There are days when I just need a hug or a listening ear, or sound advice or sometimes just someone to share a laugh or a cup of tea with! How has being a part of the Body of Christ blessed you? When have you had a return for your labor because you worked together with others? Have you ever needed a companion to lift you up? Thank God for the times you have been there to lift another.
I am so grateful that God has set us up in community with eachother! We are a community that stands together to lift one another up, to resist the enemy and we are tightly bound with our Lord who holds all things together! Praise God! May the Lord continue to knit us together with Himself and use us to do GREAT things for His Kingdom!
Pastor Michele Ehrenberg
Day 8 - Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!
I have to say that Sunday is my favorite day! I have only been in this church for a couple of years, but it feels like family. Many of you have made a difference in my life, and you don’t even know it. When someone isn’t there, I feel like my day isn’t complete. I am happy here, and it brings me joy to know each and every one of you. I was at a church once where I didn’t get that feeling. There were a couple of women that caused quite a bit of drama. One so much so that the church began to take sides. It was a staff member I was working with who would constantly do things that went against policy, and was combative in front of youth and other church members, once during service. Her behavior ultimately ended up getting her and I both fired. This caused a major rift in the church and some people left. I spent a long time being angry, and because of the division, Church was not pleasant. It took several years and another pastor, for that church to heal. There were lasting effects to be sure, but fortunately many of us grew stronger and closer together.
Now when I begin to feel grumbly about someone, I let God love them for me. Eventually I find that they don’t bother me as much, sometimes not at all. Many times I praise God for changing the other person only to find out that it was me who was changed. I know people are all different, and we have different experiences and temperaments, so I don’t expect that there won’t be disagreements between people, but in church I take comfort in the fact that we have the most important thing in common, our love for Jesus. We are all unified in the same goal, to get into heaven and live in eternity with Jesus and yes, with each other. None of us are perfect, we’re going to get under each other skin at one point or another. However, keeping the fact that we are all united under God’s grace has the potential to make things more pleasant
If we let it.
Father, thank you for this church and the people in it. Help us to continue to make it a pleasant place to be.
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 in accordance 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.”
Day One - 2 Sam 22:33
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
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 Two - 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.
Forgiveness. One of the hardest and yet, most necessary concepts. One most pastors shy away from, and yet Pastor Doug not only takes it on, but lives it too. This verse is so important, we get to revisit it a few times. Forgiveness isn never really easy, but is especially hard when the person you need to forgive is in your family. For some reason having someone that close to you, or you are supposed to be safe with, has the power to hurt the most. I have experienced the fact that forgiveness not only frees us, but can also help in the healing process of the other person, with the addition of the hardest type of forgiveness, the forgiveness of ourselves.
My father was not the best father. He did things to his kids that shouldn’t have ever been done. Unfortunately alcohol had a major influence on his behavior, and he was pretty scary. When I was 12, he finally hit rock bottom and began the hard journey to recovery. We didn’t trust this new person, and it took several years for me to really forgive him for what he had done. When I did, it allowed me to look at him differently. But it took a little more time for him to forgive himself. When he did, God was able to get ahold of him in a whole new way. He became a new person, and THAT person was someone I could trust. My dad and I got to spend his last years as friends, and I’m grateful for getting to know the forgiven man God created.
Let’s use this time to forgive those people in our families that need forgiveness. It doesn’t make their actions OK, but it sets us free. If you have done something you feel badly about, make your apologies and forgive yourself, because God already has. I know it’s not as easy as it sounds, but let’s free ourselves of the junk that is keeping us from being a light.
Day Three - Proverbs 1:8
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not
forsake your mother’s teaching.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with some of our young
champions and talking to them about obeying parents. I asked them two
questions, the first question I asked was, “What is the worst thing about
having to obey your parents?” The unanimous answer from all of them
was, “They won’t let us do what we want.” What they wanted was pretty
typical, not getting the password to Fort night when they wanted, having
to wait to play the game Roblox, staying up all night, etc. Then I asked,
“What’s the best thing about having to obey your parents?“ They all kind
of looked at me for a moment and then one of them said, “It keeps us from doing what we want.” Then another chimed in with, “which keeps us safe.”
Children can be pretty profound, and they can teach us a lot when we
listen. I threw in a question about whether or not they thought that their
parents had to listen and obey their parents, and they didn’t seem to think
that they did.
I kept thinking about their response, and realized that even though I
don’t obey my mom these days, I do need to obey my Heavenly Father.
Additionally, the more I thought about it, the more my answer to the first
two questions was the same. I don’t like obeying because I can’t do what I
want, however obeying keeps me from doing whatever I want. I can’t be
the only one who has experienced this. Putting ourselves in a position of
being willing to be in obedience to our Heavenly Father not only sets an
example for the younger generation, it provides the best opportunity to live
the best life that God has created for us. So, let’s be a light to the younger
generation by setting the example of obedience to God‘s will. Let the
children’s response to the second question be our inspiration, “It keeps us
from doing what we want, which keeps us safe.”
Father, thank you for having our best interests at heart and for being
patient with us when we aren’t so obedient.
Day Four - 1 Corinthians 13:13
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
There are many things in my life that I would say are godly, but without love, they are meaningless. Often I have the head knowledge and I can easily miss the the real blessings. In my small family, I can know what I am suppose to do, and sometimes I do it, because I feel like I am expected to do so. In doing so, there is not love. They say love is sometimes a
choice not an emotion; I know that I forget this at times; I do what is expected. This is a very sad situation to find myself in, I can argue I do it in love, but do I?
I think that the challenge in this scripture is to remind myself that even when love is a choice, to really choose love. Even more so, choose the love of Christ and to love like Christ loves me. He loves like an action, in everything.
My prayer is to love like Christ loves the Church. The challenge for us is to know we act as Christ did, in love. Regardless of our situations, to love in every decision, even to love when the action seems loveless, but do so as Christ.
- Michael Harrington
Day Five - Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
Fathers do not – um, what does the Bible say about fathers and their children? Provoke them to anger?
Embitter them? Make em huhu (Hawaiian Pigin paraphrase)? Other words and phrases include: Be too hard on them, criticize them, irritate them (oh my!), humiliate them or even have unrealistic expectations of them. What's a father to do? I thought of examples of fathers that have been portrayed in entertainment and media. Like Pa Cartwright, Charles Ingalls, Steven Douglas, Andy Taylor or how about Mike Brady and Erik Camden? All of them fathers with unique families (real of not) and personalities (goodness there's even a Facebook thing going around with Herman Munster teaching Eddie how to be a good person!)
But back to God's Word... I turn to look at the verse again to see how it looks in the International Children's Bible – after all – it is about how to treat children “Fathers, do not nag your children. If you are too hard to please they may want to stop trying.” Col 3:21 (ICB). Maybe there's another paraphrase that kinda sounds like this: “Hey Dads, if you want your kids to keep trying to get it right without giving up, don't discourage them with you words, actions or attitudes!” I realized that it wasn't the father's behavior that was the primary focus, but the results and effects of the behavior on the children. So it isn't so much a question of withholding discipline or correction – it was about doing so out of love and fostering a sense of worth and hope and support. What strikes me is how our Heavenly Father models this for us. Jesus comes along side of us to teach us of the Father's lovingkindness and endless mercy even if we fail (I mean when we fail!). He speaks of forgiveness and Grace which are not earned, but are offered out of pure unconditional love. Again I may not be a father like some of those examples I remember on TV but I will strive to be encouraging and kind and loving to my kids - just like my Heavenly Abba, Father has shown Himself to me.
Day Six - Proverbs 31:25
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.
Can we talk about moms for a minute? They are amazing! They do a lot for us, even when they might not be ours. They are cooks, chauffeurs, personal assistants, maids, nurses, counselors, . . .the list goes on. Sometimes they do all of this and hold down a job, sometimes they do it all on their own. Mothers are amazing creatures. Sometimes we don’t realize it until we are grown, and look back.
Growing up my mom drove me nuts, espeacially during my teen years. When I was older, little things started to hit me. Growing up there were two different times we were homeless. Once, she got a tent and got a spot at a KOA campground for awhile. My brothers and I had a blast! We got to sleep in a tent, and there was a pool and a playground. My mom was probably worried and stressed, but she never let on. The one regret I had, was never telling her that I appreciated the things I saw in her that were strong. Up until a few weeks ago she thought she was a horrible mother. We had a long talk so I could clear that up. My mom had a hard journey through her own life, and because of an accident when she was really little, she struggles a lot, and others have not made her feel as smart as she really is. She needed to know how strong she was.
We can be a light to our moms by letting them know the good things they have done for us. It might be a small thing, or it can be huge! But I think they need to know that all the things they have done did not go Unnoticed.
Father, thank you for moms! They can be the unsung heroes in our lives. And though we might not notice the little things, I know you do. I am glad you hold them in the palm of your hand.
Day Seven - Psalm 127:3-5
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.
I know it’s strange to talk about this verse when I don’t have children of my own, but I understand how much of a blessing children are. I can hear it in the voices of the parents here as they talk about their children, and notice how the phones come out when the children perform? You can really see and hear the love and pride that parents in this church have for their children. And why not? Y’all have something to be proud of.
I wish everyone could see the way some of these kids worship. They let themselves really get into a place where it’s just them and God. The way their minds work is amazing and profound. Working with both the young champions and the youth has kept us on our toes. It’s also fun to see some of the younger generation take some responsibilities in the church. These children are not only a heritage to their parents, but to all of us. I think it’s pretty awesome in this church to have so many generations represented. So many things to learn from each other! Let’s be a light to these young ones, and open ourselves up for allowing them to be a light to us.
Father, thank you for the children! Thank you for the opportunities to learn from them and for the joy they bring us.