P & F – Day 21. Saturday, April 15. 2017

DAY 21 – See, I Am Doing A New Thing!

Isaiah 43:19 NIV See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

Over the past 21 days I have been blessed, inspired and encouraged by the daily devotionals from our various writers at Harvest CFC. The unique perspectives that each one of them brought about the Kingdom of God all helped to paint us a picture of just how big, diverse and magnificent the Kingdom of God really is. While each devotional brought a very specific viewpoint and helped us to focus in on some very diverse prayer points; it was so exciting to see how the Holy Spirit directed our prayers all the way along!

The only direction we set for the 21 day prayer initiative was that we wanted the emphasis to revolve around the theme, “Kingdom Come” with the desire to see God’s will, purpose and power released here “on earth as it is in heaven”. The corporate gathering we had was an encouraging reminder of how powerful prayer really is when it comes to unlocking the mysteries of the Kingdom here on earth! To hear so many voices, and different generations all agreeing together for the Kingdom to Come in our individual lives, our relationships, our church, our communities, our city and beyond, was so refreshing and very life-giving!

The 21 day prayer and fasting may be coming to an end, but it’s with that in mind that I want to leave you with a few thoughts from this wonderful scripture that the Spirit dropped into my understanding as our time of intentional seeking comes to an end. The scripture in Isaiah 43:19 NIV “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” inspires us to “see” beyond something that has obviously come to an end. Sight, vision and seeing with eyes of faith are all an important part of the onward journey for every disciple of Christ. As we look forward as a church community we know that challenges and obstacles will always be part of the adventure, but this scripture declares that God wants us to “see & perceive the new things that He is doing” and also to have faith to expect that he will make a way where there may seem to be no way and that he promises to open up streams of living water and refreshing in the midst of every desert and wasteland experience we may face in the future.

I believe that this scripture is also a personal encouragement to everyone of you. Don’t dwell on the past disappointments, failures or even broken dreams, but instead take this scripture as a fresh promise for your own personal life as you look to the future with hope and renewed anticipation for what lies ahead.

PERSONAL PRAYER: Lord, thank you for this encouragement from your word. I pray today that I will have the eye’s of faith to “see” the new things that you are doing. Help me Lord, not to get bogged down in my past disappointments and failures but instead I ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to believe again and to expect that you can MAKE A WAY where a way doesn’t appear to exist in the natural. I would also ask for a renewed anointing to believe for streams of living water and blessing to flow in every desert and wasteland situation I may face as I press on towards the goals you have set for me. In Christ’s name, Amen.

CORPORATE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, as a church community, we have faced many obstacles over the years and yet we are still forging ahead in faith towards the plans you have set in motion for us. I pray today for our pastor’s and leaders that they will “see” what you want them to see and that they will boldly lead us into the “new things” that you have prepared for us in advance to experience. I also pray that in the days ahead we will enjoy new streams of grace, Holy Spirit anointing, blessing, provision and power flowing in the desert and wasteland places so that our church will bear much fruit with the adding of many saved souls, healed hearts, restored relationships, renewed vision and fulfilled dreams that will empower our testimony and result in greater community impact. In Jesus name, Amen.

P & F – Day 20. Friday, April 14. 2017

DAY 20 – The Kingdom Is About Power.

Many years ago, I came across a verse that has never left me. It’s found in 1 Cor 4:20 and it describes the nature of the Kingdom that we were redeemed into, that we belong to, and that we function in today. “For the Kingdom of God is not about talk, but of power” (NIV)
Quite often, going to church week after week can sometimes leave us in a numb state. We hear the truth, and don’t get me wrong – it is the truth, and it is doing its work in us as it should, changing us gradually and radically from the inside out. But after awhile, somehow we subconsciously start to think that if we just believe the right things, nod our heads at the right concepts, live our life according to solid principles, that then is all there is to living life as a Christian.

Do me a favour – go and do a word study in Paul’s writings on the word “power”. I was struck by the sheer amount of weight Paul put on the Power of God – the demonstrate-able, visible power of the living God that he served. Paul did not base his teaching and his faith on mere principles. Indeed, he writes in 1 Cor 2: 4 his first visit to the Corinthian church. He says “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power…..” Now, remember – this was Paul, the highly educated one. The one who could hold his own in court with the top Greek scholars and wise men. But somehow that was not important to him – he deliberately spoke quite simply, and God backed it up with demonstrations of His Power – why? Paul explains “… so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.” Not on wisdom, not principles, but Power…
Read on: 1 Cor 4: 7 “… this all surpassing power is from God, and not from us””Eph 3:20 “…..He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His Power that is at work within us”.

Do you get the drift here? God’s Kingdom is one of power – at work in us, His people. The same power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead; the same wonderworking power we read about in the gospels; the same power at work around the globe. Not always visible, but fully at work and on purpose. be based on a firm footing. Not based on eloquence or doctrine or tradition or principles – important though some of those may be. Let’s ask God to confirm His Word so that as we speak it and live it, He’d back it up with “demonstrations of His Power” so that together we can work wholeheartedly in His Kingdom with full confidence and authority, and see the breakthroughs we so badly long to see.

Bring it on!

Author: Garry Stickel

P & F – Day 19. Thursday, April 13. 2017

DAY 19 – A Kingdom of Son’s & Daughters!

4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.

Galatians 4:4-7 (NASB)

We live in an orphan culture.  This is an odd statement.  What do I mean by this?  Andy Mason explains this brilliantly in his book God With You at Work when he writes:

“Orphans grow up without the presence of a father or mother.  They do not have the comfort, stability, or safe environment that loving parents provide in a home.  They do not receive their identity from belonging to a family, so they typically build their identity around some form of accomplishment or accumulation of things.  In spite of this, they never feel like they belong and never feel satisfied.  Their internal void cannot be filled with external things.  Orphans learn from a very young age that they need to look after themselves, protect themselves and provide for themselves because if they don’t no one else will.  They say, “If it’s going to be, it’s up to me”.  They don’t know what it is for someone to nurture and develop them or help them in realizing their dreams.  Because they grow up without the presence of a father or mother, they never learn love, trust or connection.  They don’t know rest or peace.  As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual.  We were all orphans because we were separated from the Presence of God our Father.  The result of original sin was that Adam and Eve left home.  They left the Presence of a loving Father.  They set themselves against Fathers love, and the resulting curse was separation and toil.  Adam and Eve became orphans.  When you remove the presence of a father from any environment you create an orphan culture.  Even though we may have reconnected with God as our Heavenly Father, most of us have yet to fully embrace what it means to live as a son or daughter of God.”  (from CH3 Restoring Sonship – Living From Inheritance)

Kingdom culture is different.  Kingdom culture is a culture of sonship!  Listen to how Paul describes this type of culture as he writes to the church in Rome,

The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms

1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.

3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.

The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.

5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance!”

Romans 8:1-17 (MSG)

Wow!  No more striving to measure up, to be accepted, to be loved, to earn a place in the world or with God to receive anything.  We are loved, accepted for who we are, and adopted as sons and daughters!  We are no longer orphans! What an incredible gift!  Heaven starts and ends with family.  How well are we representing that in our lives?

If we are operating out of a place of sonship, our reality would be much different than it is now!  It would be Kingdom come!  If we really understood what it is like to be a son or daughter, our reality will be heaven on earth!  It will change the way we think, the way we do things, the way we interact with God, it will change our prayers, what we ask, how we weather the storms, how we walk in faith…. It will change every area of our lives!  Heaven come!

Today as we pray ‘KINGDOM COME’ let us do so knowing we are sons and daughters and heirs of Abba Father!

  • Start with praise. Cry out to God as ‘Abba, Father!’ praising Him for His gift of adoption received by faith thru Jesus Christ.
  • Ask the Father who He says you are.  What do you need to believe about yourself in order to fully live as a son or daughter of God?
  • Pray that we would corporately and individually really understand what it means to be a son and daughter of the King
  • Pray that this revelation would infiltrate everything we do!

Author: Corey Stickel

P & F – Day 18. Wednesday, April 12. 2017

DAY 13 – Keep In Step With The Spirit

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

As we walk the pathway of grace it’s easy to get knocked off. Rather than keeping in step with the Spirit we can enter into speculation about controversy and form opinions and debate about the latest issues which are actually affecting the lives of those around us. And those opinions can hurt.  Paul actually commanded Timothy to put an end to such talk. Then proceeds to say that,1Timothy 1:5-6 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk.

As we are in this time of fasting and prayer let’s think about how our words advance God’s kingdom and ask him to shine his light on areas where perhaps we’ve promoted controversy rather than God’s work.  Where we’ve departed from sincere faith, good conscience or purity of heart. I found the Hebrew word for fasting fascinating. To put one’s hand over their mouths.   Of course as has been pointed out that includes not eating but perhaps also not indulging in certain conversation and instead answer Jesus’s invitation to eat, or fellowship with him. Revelation 3:19-20 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.

Paul actually ends his exhortation to Timothy with a focus on his testimony and the grace, faith and love poured out on him.

1 Timothy 1:12-18 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,

Personal prayer.  Father I confess that there are times when like Paul I’ve walked in ignorance and unbelief and have spoken things out of that mindset. I know my conversation hasn’t been 100% beneficial to those who hear and I’ve somehow lost step with your Spirit at those times. Forgive me Lord, help me to put my hand over my mouth at those times, I truly want to advance your kingdom and promote your work. I want nothing to do with conversation that isn’t beneficial to others or worse, hurts others. Help me to not trust my own heart when I start looking at others sin as greater than mine and to remember the great grace and mercy you’ve shown me and the call that you have placed on me.  Cleanse me from these things and fill me with your Spirit Lord Jesus.

Corporate prayer. Father, I think of the mercy you showed to Paul when you showed yourself to him on the road to Damascus where he was heading to do harm to your kingdom. He was even approving of the murder of Steven a great man of God. Father pour your mercy upon those in this day who stand against your kingdom especially those who are taking the path sincerely out of strongly held belief. Intervene Lord, convince Lord, raise them up as champions of your grace and a display of your immense patience.  Amen

Author: Karen Tomlinson

 

 

 

P & F – Day 17. Tuesday, April 11. 2017

DAY 17 –  A Kingdom of Miracles & Transformed Lives!

I just finished re-reading one of my favorite books; “Unbroken”, which is the true account of Louie Zamperini, a former American Olympian, cast-away, and Pacific P.O.W during WW II.  Louie’s story is difficult to read in that it recounts the horrors he endured in a Japanese P.O.W camp where he was enslaved, starved, & daily beaten and humiliated in particular by a sadistic corporal known as ‘the Bird’.   The war ended in September 1945 and Louie came home, but the war never really left him.  The ‘Bird’ returned to torment him every night in his dreams, and like thousands of other former P.O.Ws, he suffered debilitating flashbacks and deep depression.  In desperation, Louie turned to heavy drinking to numb his pain.

Then in 1949, a young Billy Graham set up a tent in Los Angeles & started preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. Louie’s wife dragged him to the meetings.  On the second night he went, the Holy Spirit got hold of him.  He responded to the altar call, and his life was instantly & dramatically changed.  He went home & dumped his cache of liquor, cigarettes & pornographic magazines.  That night he slept peacefully for the first time in years, and the  ‘Bird’ never returned. Louie spent the rest of his 97 years as a Christian speaker, proclaiming the gospel all around the U.S.

In 1 Corinthians 1:23-24 Paul writes “…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  As Christians, we often lose sight of the power of the gospel message.  We need to remember that everywhere Jesus went, amazing miracles followed the proclamation of his Kingdom.  Where the Kingdom is, there is transformation, and there is no greater miracle than a life transformed!

Author: Brenda Hilling

P & F – Day 16. Monday, April 10. 2017

DAY 16 – EFFECTIVE PRAYER!

Are your prayers being effective? What about powerful?

James 5:16 states that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

This verse seems to indicate that without righteousness prayer becomes ineffective and not powerful.

The word righteousness referring to ourselves can cause a response in our hearts of feeling disqualified and even worse lead to a greater exertion to become more righteous by our own efforts.

Paul says in Philippians 3:9 of not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law (speaking of a system of religion or our own efforts), but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.

This truth causes us to lean heavily upon Christ living in us, and the journey of God transforming our desires to those of His own – even to include what we pray for!

Perhaps you have been burdened to pray for a specific situation, a family member or friend, and this prayer may originate with God in you and as you align with His heart your prayers too can become both powerful and effective!

Author: Rob Parker

 

 

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