You have heard it said that there is a battle going on and it is happening even now as I write this devotional. It is in the unseen spiritual realm. We can feel it sometimes more than others as we sense an invisible presence of heaviness in our spirit. There are times when oppression bears down on our mind or our attempts to pray are thwarted. Add to all of that a few sleepless nights and you have a mess on your hands. It isn’t always noticeable but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. I am grateful for Psalm 91. It is about warfare, battles, and conflict. It is a song written to describe the enemies attach yet holds in it the promise of God’s deliverance.
The enemy of our soul has lost the battle but he is still trying to convince people that the battle is still up for grabs. In one sense, it is a self fulfilling prophesy. We will determine who actually wins the battle in our sphere by what we choose to do during those oppressive times. Since the enemy is supernatural in strength, we need supernatural help. The good news is that supernatural help is available to all of us. Look with me at Psalm 91:4-7:
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be yourshield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
We have a promise from the Lord of absolute deliverance and protection upon us. Let me encourage you to go and read Psalm 91 today. The Lord declares six “I wills”:
I will deliver him (v. 14)
I will set him securely on high (v. 14)
I will answer him (v. 15)
I will be with him in trouble (v. 15)
I will rescue him and honor him (v. 15)
I will satisfy him (v. 16).
What a list of promises. If you are a Child of God, they are addressed to you. “Because he loves me… for he acknowledges my name” says the Lord. These promises are given to believers who, by faith, wrap themselves around Jesus. That is the way we ought to live. It reminds me of Isabelle Naylor as she was wanting to get baptized for several years. She couldn’t wait to get dunked under the water as Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Everyone who is baptized is like that. What a great reminder of how our hunger ushers in the deliverance of God on our lives.
We will have a video of our baptisms for our first service on Sunday that happened during the second service this past Sunday. We already have 3 more to be baptized after Easter. Let’s continue to anticipate God moving in miraculous ways as we serve Him with all of our hearts. I love my Church…
Joy in Jesus!
“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12
In Mark 9 we read of an incident when Jesus found the disciples unable to cast a demon out of a possessed child. Jesus then shows them the power of perfect faith in an Almighty God and heals the child. The disciples come to Jesus after everything settles down and asks, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting” Mark 9:29.
In the month of February, we are calling the church to fast and pray. We are strongly encouraging the whole church to humble themselves in the sight of God and believe that He wants to do a mighty work beyond our comprehension. We are going to pray for miracles, healing, salvation for lost friends, issues that have troubled our spirits and burdens too heavy to bear. Some of the obstacles in people’s live are still there because they have not taken the time to fast and pray. Could it be that our church could see some strongholds disappear when we all agree and fast together during this time? I believe it can happen.
I want to encourage you to pick up a brochure on fasting placed in the bulletin this Sunday. If you would like one this week, contact our church office and they will send one to you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our nation, our church, our families, and our individual lives need to humble ourselves and desperately call upon the Lord. Fasting is one way to show God how desperate you are for His presence in your life. It is a biblical way of showing God the how you want His will to be done. It also enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life. The Holy Spirit will quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.
Begin now to pray how the Lord wants you to approach this fast in February. Here are some options of different kinds of fasts:
The normal fast is going without food for a definite period during which you ingest only liquids (water and / or juice). The duration can be 1 day, 3 days, 1 week, or all 28 days of February. Extreme care would be taken with longer fasts, which should only be attempted after medical advice from your physician.
The absolute fast allows no food or water at all, and should be short. Moses fasted for 40 days; but this would kill anyone without supernatural intervention, and should never be attempted without medical supervision. Be sure to test the spirit that tries to talk you into a 40-day fast, even if it includes liquids.
The partial fast is one that omits certain foods or is on a schedule that includes limited eating. It may consist of omitting one meal a day. Eating only fresh vegetables for several days is also a good partial fast. People who have hypoglycemia or other diseases might consider this kind of fast.
A rotational fast consists of eating or omitting certain families of foods for designated periods. For example, grains may be eaten only every fourth day. The various food families are rotated so that some food is available each day.
The key in picking your fast is to follow through on what you have decided in your heart. Write it down and pray that you will fulfill your commitment. You may even want to lead your family through Scripture around the dinner table or before bedtime. Again, ask the Lord to show you what to do as you give Him full access to every chamber of your life and discard anything that causes your love for Him to grow cold.
May God bless you today as we anticipate our service together on Sunday. We will continue our series, “OnPoint: Living in Missional Rhythm” and celebrate baptism with several people.
Joy in Jesus!
We have been moving through a series of messages we call, “OnPoint: Living in Missional Rhythm.” This past Sunday we looked at our time. It’s amazing how fast time is going. I was just talking to someone who retired 3 years ago and I thought it had been only 3 months. That was what I thought. It seems like that time just slips away. This Sunday I will be speaking on part two of the time portion of our messages.
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene