DAY 9 Prayer & Fasting: Create Friendships
Here we come, Monday! May the Lord be
ever-present in your thoughts, on your lips, in your heart, and in every
sphere of your World today. Let Romans 12 shape your life today:
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
DAY 8 CORPORATE PRAYER FOCUS: Create friendships and divine connections for the lonely.
Boston can be a lonely place. The individual spirit that hovers in our city is stifling at times. Add in the lack of sunshine we get and the high-paced, high-stress jobs and financial pressures, and you've got a recipe for disaster. This is why community is crucial. We absolutely, positively cannot do life alone. We must be vigilant about placing ourselves in community. I hope you've all found a GROW group to belong to this winter and spring. I know meeting new people can be exhausting. I know you feel insecure and vulnerable. Will they like me? Will they truly want to know me? If I'm real, will they accept me? Fight through those doubts and start the authenticity train. This is where TRUE relationship will be found.
Did you know that churches all across the globe are finding that the new trend is for people to attend church only one time per month? Oh, Church, can I beg you not to let this become our reality! "Going to church" has nothing to do with your personal relationship with God, YET it has EVERYTHING to do with your relationship with God. And, yes, I meant that. On the one hand, someone who lives on a lone island is perfectly capable to have a relationship with Jesus Christ as close as a brother. However, that same person would not experience the full extent of Jesus because He would never know about Jesus' Bride and His Body, so their relationship would be cheapened.
Sure, he'd get to know His voice, His provision, His character, but he'd never get to know what it means to love PEOPLE through their valleys and mountaintop moments like Jesus does; he'd never know what it means to be counted on and needed as an important member of the body of Jesus. This is why Hebrews 10:25 says: "Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching. "
Church, we live in days that are close to THE DAY approaching -- we're one day closer as each day passes to the day of Jesus' return, and unfortunately the days will get spiritually darker and darker. You NEED your church family and body to make it through these days. Isolation is your greatest enemy and the ultimate poison to your soul. You need the encouragement of community poured into your soul. And guess what? SOMEONE ELSE NEEDS YOU! Yes, you, even if you feel as though you have nothing to give.
I love how this verse says "as some have made a habit," because after making church-going a practice of my life for the past 34 years, I see it is a habit that has done nothing but more and more good in my life and made me healthier every year. Sure, there have been hard years, and Christian brothers and sisters have hurt me badly, but since I've refused to get bitter and isolate, God has made me stronger and more like Him through the hard days.
For the Tulloses, regardless of being pastors or not, Sundays are for going to the House of the Lord - they're dedicated to God, to the learning of His Word, for meeting with other Christians. They're reserved for worshiping the savior of my eternity with other people and singing at the top of my lungs. They're reserved for going to lunch with my church family and for serving and being involved in something bigger than myself. I pray that in 2017 you'll resolve to making COMMUNITY a habit.
If you're an isolated, let me speak to you humbly. STOP IT. Come out from hiding, and come inside the House of God. I can tell you that in 15 years of pastoring, I've never met one person who isolated from community who ever grew more in their relationship with Jesus. In fact, it sadly is the opposite. Their faith was stunted if not altogether aborted. I've seen people's zeal for the Lord grow cold because they got into the habit of just skipping here and there, making excuses,letting their busy schedules and tired bodies win. They traded the sacred and eternal for the cheap and carnal.
I want that for no one in my spiritual care. I want you healthy. I want you flourishing. I want you spiritually safe. I want to present you to Jesus clean and spotless. That can only happen if you're active in and with the church community. Let's stay vigorous about our growth.
SOUL FOOD FAMILY MEAL
a reminder, we are using the 20-day book study, Soul Food, by Havilah
Cunnington of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, to guide our next 20 days,
which will spark your own deeper studies with the Bible. This book is
the perfect companion to your season of fasting. It looks at the
spiritual food that God uses to fill our emotional and spiritual needs. You can order the book on Amazon if you'd like to go a little deeper, but below we will provide you the key thoughts from each day's devotional. There's also a 7-12 minute video that accompanies this study that we highly encourage you to log on and watch. This course is completely free and engaging! You can sign up for the FREE course here.
DAY 7 of Soul Food - Belonging to a SAVIOR
The time had come for the world to change. Jesus was going to be crucified. I love how Jesus uses food to help symbolize and bring to life what He was about to do. He explains this is His last meal until His mission to save the world is over.
BREAD & WINE
Chew on the bread that gives life, and you will never be hungry. Drink of the wine that never runs out and your thirst will be quenched. What Jesus offers will go much deeper and last much longer than any ‘meal’ the enemy tempts you with.
A SYMBOLIC ACT
The Last Supper was a pivotal moment in God’s new plan because Jesus used it to symbolize what He was about to do. He had fully demonstrated to those around Him what the love of the Father looked like and now He was about to bring about the reconciliation of all of mankind to the Trinity.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3:16–18 (MSG)
Let's thank the Lord for the church that He birthed to give His people life and light. Great is the Lord!