Saturday, October 27, 2018

For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your children will conquer nations and will resettle desolate cities. Isaiah 54:3 NET

Over a year ago, God provided a vision to our church in the midst of a major transition. The picture was of a big, old wooden boat set out on the sea. Inside the boat was every member of our church family working closely together. Many were actually positioned around the outside of the deck leaning over into the sea, taking hold of people who were drowning, and pulling them up onto the deck. No matter if it was calm or stormy, the boat, by the leading of God’s Spirit, continued to navigate towards ships that were shipwrecked where these drowning people were.

The people who were just rescued from the sea had looks of terror on their face as they were literally plucked from death. As we brought them into the boat and away from the edge, we ministered to them. We stayed with them, and we did not let them go. As we cared for them, loved on them, and ministered to them it was as if divine peace and healing enveloped the whole of their being. Incredibly, it did not take long before the same people who very recently were drowning were now themselves taking up positions on the side of the boat, leaning over and pulling people in. This process happened over and over again. Amazingly, as the people steadily increased so did the size of the boat. In this vision, the look and expression on every person’s face was an extraordinary combination of incredible gratitude and intense determination to do what God had given them to do.

It is important that we remind ourselves of the beautiful things that God shows us in the eternal that reveal His will and purpose. It is even more important that we continue to pray on them so that we are indeed allowing God to direct each of our steps. 

Today, as we conclude our week of prayer and fasting, let us prayerfully remember the different revelations that God has provided us over the years – both personally and as a church. Take some time to write them down and/or talk about them with others. Often this enables us to see in the Spirit what God is fitting together. This is part of what we plan to do this evening during Prayer & Praise. Please join us at 7 p.m. at GSIS room #312.

Here are a few examples from recent years that will be important for us to continually remember and focus on in prayer:

  1. God intends to expand our spiritual territory and capacity
  2. There will be a sudden and swift acceleration towards God’s purposes
  3. God has established our children ministries to raise true followers of Jesus to go abroad, conquer nations, and resettle desolate cities
  4. God is equipping our whole church family to be disciple-makers
  5. God is drawing unbelieving loved ones and seekers to Himself through His Body




Friday, October 26, 2018

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 NIV

At the beginning of this week you were asked the question: For what purpose are you fasting and praying this week?

Looking back at the past few days, what has God revealed to you regarding this purpose? What has the Lord worked in your heart related to the concerns and desires you brought before Him this week?

If you’ve been keeping a journal, take a moment to jot some of your responses down. We will come back to this in a moment.

Today we will focus on confession in prayer.

Biblical confession goes much deeper than saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” The word “confess” more accurately means to agree with God. Here is how the The New Testament Greek Lexicon defines confession:

Biblical confession is actually not at all about asking for forgiveness. The truth is if you are in Christ, you have forgiveness, and you really can’t get more forgiveness from God. You have His forgiveness. 

Ephesians 1:7 says, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

While it is important to admit and acknowledge our sins to God and to one another, it is as (if not more) important that we admit and acknowledge what Jesus did with our sins. Jesus paid the full price for all our sins on the cross. To confess our sins, therefore, means to acknowledge, admit, agree, profess, declare, praise, celebrate, and give thanks to God for what He has done for us through His Son Jesus.

This is how the righteous person prays by simply echoing back, agreeing with, professing, and declaring what God says is true and has established in the eternal.

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:10

That person has come to believe with their whole heart what God says about who they are and stands firmly on His righteousness that has been imputed to them, not on a righteousness they have tried to earn in some way. The power and effectiveness comes not from the might of the prayer warrior by simple agreement with what God has said. 

So now go back to what you wrote down or mentally noted about what God has worked in you this week and confess those things to Him in prayer. If the Holy Spirit brings attention any sin in your life, then admit, acknowledge, and agree with what God says about it and what He has done with it through His Son Jesus Christ. If fact, the Bible says to do this with one another and pray for each other. Hope you can join us at Prayer & Praise tomorrow evening where we can share, believe, and agree together in prayer for all that God has shown us in this week of prayer and fasting. 




Thursday, October 25, 2018

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV

On Day 1, we talked about how fasting can reveal the things that control us. True freedom is experienced only when our whole life is surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Anything that competes with Jesus’ rule in our hearts, God will lovingly reveal in order to lead us to life-giving repentance. Sorrow is another one of these avenues that God uses to reveal sin in our heart and lead us to repentance.

Sorrow is akin to grief. It is the experience of losing something or someone very important to us. However, godly sorrow and worldly sorrow are radically different. Worldly sorrow is often caused by the loss or denial of something we want for ourselves. It is self-centered, and its result is despair, regret, self-pity, bitterness, and death.

Judas was overcome by such a sorrow caused by his betrayal of Jesus, but it led to despair and death. Godly sorrow, however, always leads to repentance. Similar to the prodigal son who “came to his senses” and went home back to his father, godly sorrow also will move us into action towards God our Father.

What is the cause of godly sorrow?

Ephesians 4:30 says, And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

Godly sorrow is caused by staying in tune with the Holy Spirit. When we are attuned to the Holy Spirit, we are then able to experience the same grief the Holy Spirit experiences when our lives and actions do not match the identity God has given us. This kind of sorrow always leads us to God, a repentance that leads to salvation

Repentance simply means to “change your mind” so that your mind is aligned with God’s thoughts and His will for your life. Your salvation took root in such repentance and through it you are continually “transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

As we move towards God in repentance, we are met with a Father who sees us even in the distance, runs to us, embraces us, and covers us with His kisses. Instead of regret, there is only love, joy, and celebration (see Luke 15:11-32). 

Thank God for His unconditional love today. Thank Him for being your Father, and spend time with Him as His child. Ask the Holy Spirit if you brought Him any sorrow in the way you live, and if so let Him to lead you to repentance. Let the Spirit of God use the sorrow to bring you close towards the Father and conform your heart and mind to His Son who lives in you. 




Wednesday, October 24, 2018

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 2 Corinthians 5:16 ESV

What does it mean to regard someone according to the flesh? It means to recognize and evaluate people from a worldly or human point of view. It is to use human measuring standards to judge others. When we do this the outcome is always division and discord. We, too, once regarded Christ according to the flesh:

He had no form or majesty that would make us look at him. He had nothing in his appearance that would make us desire him. He was despised and rejected by people. He was a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering. He was despised like one from whom people turn their faces, and we didn’t consider him to be worth anything. Isaiah 53:2b-3

But Christ did not regard us this way. Even though “your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2), Jesus did not regard you according to the flesh.

As Jesus hung crucified on the cross, Roman soldiers below gambled for his clothes. The criminals crucified with him ridiculed him, religious leaders mocked him, and the crowd hurled abuse and insults at him. Surrounded by people who had absolutely no regard for him, Jesus prayed for them: “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” He did not judge them according to the flesh. Instead, Jesus regarded them according to the will and heart of the Father.

We also, as children of God, no longer regard Christ in this way because we know Him as our Lord and Savior. We know that “he was wounded for the wrong things we did. He was crushed for the evil things we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him. And we are healed because of his wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5 ICB)

We are to no longer live for ourselves but for Jesus who died for us and was raised again. This is why it is written: From now on, therefore, we also regard no one according to the flesh.

We are to regard every person according to the Spirit of God. This includes your neighbor, your spouse, your children, your boss, your professor, your co-workers, team members, your friends, your enemies, your relatives, your opposition, and even yourself. Everyone.

From now on, therefore, we also regard no one according to the flesh.

We must see people the way Jesus sees people. 

Today, praise God for how He regards you in Christ Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Also ask the Spirit of God if there is anyone you are regarding according to the flesh. Then fast and pray specifically for the people God brings into your heart. Allow the Holy Spirit to enable you to regard them as He does. 

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21



Day 3: FOCUS

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 CSB

Yesterday we talked about being stretched. Being stretched can look like many things. It can be the fact you have been taken out of your comfort zone. It can be the daily challenges that come with what God has called you into. It can also be the emotional, physical, or spiritual hardships of your current situation that God may be using to stretch you for His purposes.

We don’t always know why, but we do know what we are to focus on as we are going through the different challenges, hardships, and difficult situations of life. We are to focus not on the seen and temporal but on the unseen and eternal.

Have you seen what God is doing behind-the-scenes of your stretching situation?

Great photographers know how to focus in on the right elements while blurring out everything else. The results are not only beautiful but also defining and clear to what the photo is really about.

Do you know how to bring into focus the eternal? Or is the eternal what is constantly out-of-focus and blurry? God’s word tells us, “do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen.”

During our most recent Prayer & Praise evening, God gave us a Scripture from 2 Kings 6:8-17 that connects strongly to today’s theme. Please take some time to read and meditate on this passage of Scripture. 

Then spend time fasting and praying about whatever situation is stretching you in order to see beyond the seen and temporal and into the unseen and eternal realm of God. It is critical that believers know how to focus on the unseen and eternal. It has the power to change your whole perspective on your situation. When your perspective shifts so does your attitude. When your attitude changes so do the responses to your situation. And the words or actions you use to respond are life-giving and bless everyone around you because they come from heaven, from the unseen and eternal realm of God.

What will you choose to focus on today?

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of his strength. Ephesians 1:18-19 CSB




Monday, October 22, 2018

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2

Throughout 2018, God has kept us very focused on the vision He gave to us through this verse at the beginning of the year.

The picture here is of a tent-style dwelling that enlarges not by adding new materials but through the stretching of existing resources and materials to maximum capacity.

It is quite evident that God has been stretching many of you throughout this year. It is our belief that God’s purpose for this stretching is to enlarge both the spiritual territory and capacity of His church. As you can imagine, however, this way of enlarging can create a great deal of tension on the entire structure. That is why it is vital for the stakes in the ground to stay strong in order to securely hold the expanded structure.

This will be the focus of prayer today: strengthen your stakes.

What might the stakes represent? For this question, we ask you to please listen in prayer and write down anything God reveals to you regarding this for our church and for you personally.

For our prayer point today, one simple representation of the stakes could simply be the leaders of our church. The Vision Team leaders, our Focus Group leaders, those who serve on the Board of Trustees, the pastors, our teachers, the discussion group leaders in Rooted and Unlimited, and even those who may not yet be leaders but who God is calling into leadership.

One thing that is clear is that our leaders are absolutely vital in holding and securing what God has purposed for us as a church.

If you are in agreement with this, please fast and pray for our church leaders today. Let God’s Spirit lead you to pray for specific leaders and specific situations. Pray especially that each of our leaders are supernaturally strengthened by the Holy Spirit as God enlarges the spiritual territory and capacity of our church. Perhaps you can even encourage a few of our leaders by reaching out to them, asking them for specific prayer requests, or simply sharing what God has put on your heart to pray.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HimEphesians 1:15-17

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understandingColossians 1:9




Sunday, October 21, 2018

Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 CSB

God’s word teaches us that it is the attitude of the giver that is most important, not the amount. That is why it is so important that we are not driven by external pressures. God loves a cheerful giver because that is who God is – a cheerful giver. 

As we begin this week of prayer and fasting, let us decide in our heart what we are going to do. Then let us purpose to do it with a glad and thankful heart. 

If you are new to fasting, this week is truly a great opportunity to learn the incredible value of fasting and prayer. Biblical fasting is simply abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. Often fasting reveals the things that control us. For those who desire Jesus to be Lord of their whole life, such things are vital to identify and bring into prayer. Fasting also helps us focus on the truth that we are sustained by “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” not food or temporal things. In other words, fasting becomes less about abstaining from food and more about experiencing what it means to feast on God’s Word. 

So if you have purposed in your heart to join in prayer and fasting this week, it would be a good idea to decide what that will look like and for what purpose. 

If you’re interested, here is a fuller explanation on fasting with additional tips for those new to fasting.

These questions below, however, should help you get started in planning for this week:

1. Will you fast entire meals or a type of food?
     – If meals, how many meals in a day will you fast?
     – If a type of food, what type?

2. How many days do you intend to fast this week?

3. Are these decisions free from external pressure and feelings of unwillingness? If not, what can you decide differently so you can engage in this week with a glad heart?

Here is the last but most important question: For what purpose are you fasting and praying this week?

Take some time to really think about this. What are you hungry for in the Spirit? What are you seeking God for through prayer and fasting?

Once you have an answer, write it down as we encourage to keep a journal of what you are learning and experiencing throughout the week. Then be sure to come to Prayer and Praise this Saturday to share what God has shown you.  



Day 7: PRAY

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Today we conclude our 7 Days of Prayer & Fasting with a passage from James chapter 5.

We will focus on the word “pray.”

Carefully read through the passage below and identify the verse(s) that God has for you today to meditate on and meet with corresponding action.

James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Please join us tonight from 7PM – 9PM on the 3rd floor of GSIS as we conclude our week of prayer and fasting with an intimate evening of Prayer & Praise. We will continue to process in prayer and conversation together the important things God has been working on our hearts throughout the week.

Hope to see you there!




Friday, July 27, 2018

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. James 5:7

James was speaking to Christians who were enduring hardships when he wrote, “be patient.” Patience here means “to stay put and stand fast even when you’d like to run away.”

It is human nature to want to escape the difficult places in our life. Is there, however, an area of your life where God desires for you to stay put and patiently wait on Him?

This is the focus of prayer today. 

There are certainly situations where God delivers us out of the situation, but there are also circumstances where He says, “be patient” and to remain under the difficult pressure and stress you are enduring. 

Why? What is the purpose? Because there is a valuable harvest ahead; and it is a harvest that we need to wait for and is most certainly worth waiting for. 

As a farmer waits for rains in the fall and spring to grow his seed and crop, it is important for us to also be spiritual farmers waiting for these necessary seasons to help mature the harvest. 

So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest… Matthew 9:38

In your time of prayer, pray on this harvest. What is the harvest God is showing you?

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

Set your mind on what God is revealing to you. Allow Him to settle this eternal picture in your heart. For we live by believing not by seeing. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Also share what God has shown you with a brother or sister in the Lord and agree in prayer together.

Jesus said, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:19




Thursday, July 26, 2018

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Ephesians 4:27 says, “do not give the devil a foothold.”

The devil needs a foothold to work his destructive agenda in our lives. We, however, give him that foothold.

Are you aware of any opportunities, places, or footholds that you have given the enemy?

This is the focus of today’s prayer. Ask the Holy Spirit to identify and reveal places where you have willingly given ground to the enemy. 

James 4:6 says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

His amazing grace is there for you in this process. However, it is impossible to receive and experience God’s grace if our heart is prideful. In fact, God resists the proud. The way to resist the devil and receive the power of God’s grace is to humbly submit to God. 

How do you submit to God? You do what He instructs you to do.

Ask the Holy Spirit what to do with the footholds He has identified   in your life. Here are a few practical truths from God’s Word that may help as you pray through this:

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 1 Peter 2:1

But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Colossians 3:8-10

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4 

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5:16-17