“Say apple spider, Jolena” “Noooo, it’s apple cider” “[sing-songy] apple spider” “NO, apple cider” “[disappointed] ahhhhh.” My older kids were desperately trying to get their baby sister to mispronounce “cider” in the way that she used to when she was 3. But 5 year old Jolena wasn’t having it, to the great disappointment of her siblings. Because as amusing and cute as her little mistake was, Jolena knew that there comes a time to grow up. She’s fully capable of doing it right, and thus refuses to fall back into the old habit.
Spiritually, there comes a time for us to grow up too. When we see the truths of God’s Word clearly, we can’t fall back. For instance, salvation is 100% by grace through faith. So then, you never have a place for spiritual pride again. Also, God loves you and likes you, He smiles when He thinks about you. Once you know that, you never have to dwell in rejection again. Or, God still does supernatural wonders through humans. Once you know that, you can’t go back.
What truth from God do you need to own and live in today? Take a moment right now. Ask God, “What truth do I need to own and live in today?”
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!).
I’m sure there are few things more frustrating than back-breaking digging a well that produces no water. As we are praying and fasting these days, getting ready for our First Wednesday Gathering (tomorrow night, 7 PM – be there), the Lord directed me to ask, what happens if we come up dry? What happens if you, in the middle of praying right now, don’t feel like you’re hearing? Or don’t sense the breakthrough? Or God even seems absent from your prayer times? The answer is simple . . .
Keep digging. If you’re digging a well, and you don’t hit water, either 1. You haven’t dug deep enough or 2. You need to dig another whole in a little different spot. But if you’re thirsty and the alternative is your family dying because you don’t have access to clean water, the answer is never to give up. The answer is KEEP DIGGING. Spiritually we are thirsty, and in our present culture, without the Living Water of the presence and work of God Himself through His Holy Spirit, we will die. There is no other option – we must keep digging. Keep praying, keep looking in God’s face, keep listening for God’s voice, looking for His pictures, tuning yourself to His way of communicating. We MUST HIT WATER.
Digging will feel hard while you’re in it, it has to, it’s not rewarding otherwise. It’s not impactful or meaningful otherwise. However, when your boots first get wet, and it’s time to get out of the hole, and see what you’ve got – IT’S ALL WORTH IT! God is THE Spring of Living Water – He will provide us with fresh water AND now is the time to keep digging. It will be worth it. David said in essence – I will not offer the Lord that which cost me nothing(2 Sam 24:24 & 1 Chron 21:24). It’s time to dig, feel the cost, and trust God that the payoff will be worth it.
As I looked for the above ^^^^^ picture, the normal photo sites I go to had zero pictures of anyone physically digging anything. ZERO! Those sites are from Americans and Westerners (Western Europe & Australia/New Zealand), where it seems that we’re allergic to hard physical labor. Or at least we DON’T HONOR HARD WORK – Wow, that’s sobering. Modern Westerners no longer honor hard work, we no longer see it as something to aspire to, we no longer see the dignity or nobility in it. That realization was sad, but not surprising. The Western World, however, only makes up 10% of the global population. The Majority World (the rest of the world) has a much better understanding of hard work, and if they’re smart, they still honor it.
As an aside, do not trust a news outlet that says, “the rest of the world is saying . . .” because most of the time they’re only referring to the 10% and ignoring the 90% (Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, South America). The90% is more Christian in ethics and worldview now than the 10%, so our media doesn’t like them. The picture above is from a global missions site (of course). To the main point . . .
Digging a well is hard. What we’re doing these days through prayer and fasting for revival is not meant to feel good. It’s meant to open up something in our spirit that will produce life giving water forever. There may be some digging involved, BUT IT WILL BE WORTH IT!
So here’s the challenge – embrace the hard work of seeking God during a time of prayer and fasting. Use every hunger pain as a reminder to look in God’s face. Feast on the Word of God. Feast on the faithfulness of God.Enjoy the presence of God. Then when it’s done, we’ll all wipe our brow together, and take a look at what God wants to do!