What does a cloudy, rainy day mean to you? Overcast, dark, threatening skies, humidity, frizzy hair. What mental/emotional state does it put you in? . . . If your answer is “not good” then you have a lot of company. Psychology researchers have established a link between rainy overcast days and feeling down. However, that kind of gloom is a fairly modern invention (since we’ve been able to stay inside and not have to work the land for food). Now, LET’S REFRAME it. In the Bible rain is almost always a sign of blessing from God. (Lev 26:4, 2 Chron 7:13, Amos 4:7, Hosea 10:12, Isaiah 45:8, 55:10, Jer 5:24, 14:22, Job 5:10, Joel 2:23, Matt 5:45, Acts 14:17, James 5:17-18, etc.) Why? In the ancient world, rain means food. No rain, means starvation. People were constantly looking to the skies.
So what if rain means … blessing, food, the favorof God? What if, insteadof seeing our frizzy hair and a threatening sky, we saw the promise of what would come next? Look past the moment – understand that THE HARVEST IS WORTH ALL THE GLOOMY DAYS THAT IT TAKES. What if the clouds, turmoil, storm and mud that our nation and your family is going through right now is just the necessary precursor to the harvest that God wants to bring? Then it’s time to ask the “Lord of the harvest to send out workers” (Matt 9:38). It’s time to be ready to be sent to invite people into God’s kingdom.
Joy & fasting – should those two words be in the same sentence? Isn’t fasting hard (you said that Pastor Jared)? Don’t you need to keep digging (you said that too)? Despite the truth that fasting IS hard and sometimes you need to keep digging – fasting together with a whole group (corporately) is ALSO a joy! Let me explain . . .
The Bible talks about and shares examples of corporate fasting a lot (Judges 20:26, 1 Sam 7:5-6, 2 Sam 1:12, 2 Chron 20:3, Jer. 36:9, Isaiah 58, Daniel 9, Esther 4:16, Joel 1:14, 2:15 Ezra 8:21-23, Neh. 9:1, Jonah 3:5, Acts 13:2-3, 14:23). Check those out if you want to dive in deeper. And here’s what Isaiah 58 says at the end of the chapter, afterhe’s thrown down on their false fasting, and thoroughly taught themtrue fasting . . .
14 then you will FIND YOUR JOYin the LORD, and I will cause you to ride in TRIUMPHon the heights of the land and to FEAST on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” FOR themouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isa. 58:14)
After we have fasted together correctly, then what’s next? JOY!!! TRIUMPH!!! FEASTING!!! Why? How is that possible? What is the trigger for the joy, the winning, and the feasting? The last phrase of the verse of course, “For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
This is why you need to come to First Wednesday tonight. God is going to speak in and through you, and us all together. What God is sharing with you will be confirmed and made richer by what God is sharing with others. We are going to have a time tonight where we ask, “What is God saying to you?” Then we’re going to watch as God confirms His words over and over again to us! And then . . . JOY. And then . . . TRIUMPH. And oh yeah, we can eat after that too – haha. Most of all, we will feast on the inheritance that God had given us – the spiritual inheritance – His words and His works in us. Some would say we’ll “Feast” on the faithfulness of God. Hmmmm, maybe we should write a song about it (oh yeah, we did!).
We hear a symphony of mayhem right now. Every newscast, politician, and influencer are screaming at us to be outraged. Be outraged at this person, cancel that person, shout over those people, donate to this cause. There’s a battle on every hill, and littlediscernment on which can be fought and won. Energyruns thin, motivation grinds down. They’re stealing your life, they’re stealing your voice, they’re trying to drown God’s voice in you.
But Holy Spirit will NOT be silenced, “God’s Word is not chained” (2 Tim. 2:9)! He’s in you, He’s revealing the Bible to you more, He’s declaring Himself through worship environments, through wordsin the gatherings, through His voice in your Spirit. TUNE IN, BE ENCOURAGED and “let the things of earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Speak to your soul, and tell it, “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:11). AND . . .
CUT THROUGH THE NOISE! Your voice, or even better, Holy Spirit’s voice through you cannot be silenced, and cannot be chained. You don’t need to fight every battle, you certainly don’t need to win every battle, but you do need to stay in the fight. Let Holy Spirit direct you when and how to engage with the battle. His precision, His supernatural leading, His words, His hope in you can absolutely cut through the noise. Put on His armor (Eph 6:11-18), your weapons are better, and ultimately, you can’t lose. With Holy Spirit praying through you, your voice has eternal reverberations.
Take a moment right now, lay down any tension or aggression, listen for God’s voice. How does He want to cut through the noise today?