Beginning in February, we are going on a Corporate Fast. It is where we choose a set time to do without certain foods or from eating foods in general for a period of time. For our church, we have chosen to go the whole month of February. Some may even choose to fast from items such as social media platforms. It is praying and asking the Lord to help you to know what it is you can set aside as you seek to get closer to Him. It may be something that is beginning to take a hold of you in manner that consumes you.
I love what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:12-14. 12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
God wants to strengthen us and give us the power to overcome anything that sets itself in the way of being all that God has called us to be. The things that we choose to fast from are not bad in themselves, but they can become a distraction from choosing the things that will take us where God wants us to dwell. We need to keep our life in balance and remember that the Lord Himself will sustain us.
After Jesus fasted for 40 days, the enemy was right there to tempt Him. Jesus response was recorded in Matthew 4:4 when he said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” God will help us as we fast and pray. He wants to do so many things in the life of our church and our families. The benefits far outweigh the change in pace fasting will create.
Fasting increases our spiritual vitality, gives us new and fresh Biblical insights, a new sense of purpose, and increased desire to pray and spend quality time with God, it brings victory over the enemy’s stronghold, it increases awareness of God’s presence in our lives, gives us new power for spiritual warfare, it provides answered prayers and restoration from our past, and it brings powerful renewal and revival to our land.
I rest on Ezra 8:23 when it says, “So we fasted and entreated our God for this. And He answered our prayer.”
I so desperately want God to move in and through our church. I want to see so many lives transformed in Findlay and Hancock County. Would you join me in this fast?
If you are available to join us on Wednesday mornings from 6:30 – 7:30am, I know that you will be blessed for it.
Make sure you take the precautions to stay warm on these cold days. Boy am I thankful for coats, gloves, and hats. It is a covering that we need to intentionally put on in order to avoid frostbite. The covering only the Lord can provide during Prayer and Fasting can also protect me from the frostbite of the enemy that promises to take me off course. Pray with me as we enter into this wonderful privilege of covering through Prayer and Fasting.
Joy in Jesus!
I have been doing a study in the life of David with Cody these past few weeks. It has been remarkable to see that during opposition, David totally trusted in the Lord and did not see the need to speed up God’s timing in order to escape ridicule or persecution. God had a plan for David and if God says it, it will happen. Whether it was Saul pursuing him to kill him or his son Absalom, David showed a quiet confidence in the protection of the Lord and faithfully followed Him unswervingly.
David wrote a lot of Psalms that go through his real emotions as he was experiencing different trials. Psalm 91 is attributed to David. It looks like the heart of David as he reminds himself of the provision and protection of the Lord no matter what he may be going through.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield 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. Psalm 91:1-6
I love the promise within these few verses. He who dwells, abides, or remains in the shelter of the Most High will experience rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I can sit and ponder all the times when God’s presence came so near to me that all the cares of this world began to drop to the wayside. He is a place I can run to for protection. When I do, he will save me from places I can get ensnared, from the enemy who is hunting me down whether it be in a physical or spiritual sense. My God will cover me and give me a safe place behind a shield of protection. His faithfulness is my shield protecting me from the blows of the enemy.
Throughout the day I can choose to side with the Lord by remaining in Him through all circumstances that come my way. Praise the Lord for being true to His Word.
I couldn’t help but turn to this Psalm today because I just got off the phone with Barb Frost who said they changed Jack’s diagnosis to Pancreatic Cancer. It is during these kinds of diagnosis when you truly understand what it means to trust the Lord. Please pray for Jack and Barb Frost in the days ahead.
No matter what you are facing today, please remember to dwell in the shelter of the Most High so you can rest from the crippling worry of what tomorrow holds.
I missed being together at church this past Sunday. In the 18 years I have pastored here, we have cancelled twice on Sunday. There is nothing you can do when the county issues a level 3. Risking being arrested for being on the roads is not an option when it comes to safety. We are going to move our Believer’s Baptism back one week and have it on Sunday, February 3 in the morning services. I pray that the Lord stirs the heart of someone who needs to experience the waters of Baptism. It is good to follow the steps of Jesus and take a public stand for our faith.
I also want to remind you to be praying for what the Lord wants you to do during the month of fasting in February. Would you consider coming to the Front Row Ministry during this corporate fast? It happens every Wednesday during February between 6:30am and 7:30am. Let’s believe together that the Lord will break the chains that bind us from having spiritual breakthrough.
I pray that we will have a break in the weather and be able to come together to worship on Sunday. May God give you a sense of His peace today as you accomplish His will today.
Joy in Jesus!
We are now 9 days into the New Year. How has your journey been so far? Have you closed out last year yet? What do I mean by that? Have you left behind the things that dragged you down or distracted you from being your best self? Are there any amends that you need to make before you move forward? Just a note, a quick phone call, an invitation to coffee or hot chocolate (I’m a non-coffee drinker) might be all it takes to clear away one more hurt and bring you closer to the image of God you are trying to live out. Maybe there is a habit that you have developed that is not so good on your future journey toward Christ-likeness. It sounds so simple yet can be so difficult.
Here is a good verse to ponder on as you move into the New Year:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I want to be as disciplined as possible in order to accomplish as much as possible in the most effective way possible for the One who can do the impossible. I want to improve my devotional life, my accountability, my service, my generosity, and my walk. Would you join me in this journey as we begin a new series on Sunday? We are going to examine the paths we take that determine our outcomes. Some are desirable and others are not so much. It’s going to be a great time together as we open our lives up for God to give us the most productive and fruitful year ever.
May God be glorified in 2019 as we put Him first in all things and may we see His hand at work in and through our church. Have I told you lately that I love our church? I always look forward to the whole family of God coming together to worship. We just so happen to do it every Sunday.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene