God humbles us in two ways. 1) If we walk in pride he will discipline us, as a courtesy, which invokes humility 2) If we walk humbly you will have this overwhelming feeling of awe and wonder at what God does for you that you don't deserve. This invokes more humility on your part and more exaltation of you on His part. It's a cycle that will continue to the point where you unconsciously become His blessing to others. God rejects the proud but gives grace to the humble.
Marriage doesn't cure loneliness, but companionship does. If you have a marriage void of companionship you can be together and feel worlds apart. Nathan Williams, Elder at Church Ablaze said, "God has ordained singleness to be the highest state of personhood and that successful singles are neither lonely, incomplete nor unfulfilled."
Many singles and married people have a misunderstanding of love. Love is expressed in the Bible in at least four ways: family love, friendship love, romantic love, and unconditional love. Without a proper understanding love you could find yourself, "Looking for love in all the wrong places." Many say, "I love you", and it means nothing because they don't know what love is.
At Church Ablaze we have started a 5 part series called God, Love, and, Relationships where we will explore the subject of love as it pertains to relationships. We have already shared the first part and you can download it here, called "Brotherly Love". There is a love that is shared between friends that can fill your love tank to the rim. "Love one another with brotherly affection..." Rom. 12:10a. This is a love that can be enjoyed no matter your marital status. Marriage is not meant to complete you, but rather to compliment you. Without friendship and companionship marriage gets boiled down to a contract and the single life can become wandering years.
Join us Sundays at 11am at Church Ablaze, 10600 N. Council, Oklahoma City, as we dig deep into the subject of singles, dating, marriage, and relationships. If you are a parent of teens, an adult single, married with kids, widowed, or divorced this message will be for you.
Here is a link to one of our most powerful messages I have ever heard on singles by Nathan Williams called "Looking For My Other Half". Next Sunday, Feb 17th Nathan Williams will be sharing more on the subject of singleness so visit us or join our podcast and listen online.
The Hill kids having fun after their Daniel Fast! We truly have some great children. As we did our church wide 21 day fast and prayer they would walk around talking about all of their favorite foods. We also fasted from TV, limited our internet browsing, and cut out video games. This spawned creativity in our children in a fresh way. The kids decided instead of being bored let's sing about the food we miss. I know I'm biased but I can't help but laugh each time I watch it. Whenever you finish a Daniel Fast in the future pull up this video and laugh!!
Click here for video: http://youtu.be/0DGNTu513X8
1) The fast may be over but the purpose of the fast is continual.
2) Don't gorge yourself, ease back into your regular eating.
3) Any new habits that you developed keep them throughout the year.
4) Continue to pray without ceasing
5) Stay attune for other times God may inspire you to fast
6) Take time to evaluate your fasting period by asking your self these questions:
-What have I learned about myself?
-What have I learned about God?
-What were some breakthroughs in my life or in the life of others?
-What contrary attitudes or behaviors came to the surface while fasting?
-What did I discover about my pace of life?
-What did I discover about my ability to focus on God?
-What were some obstacles that I had to overcome?
Biblical fasting is a means not an end. There is really nothing that you were doing while fasting that you should stop doing, short of abstaining from food or drink. The expereince of fasting may not be as good of a teacher as an EVALUATED fasting experience. Use the questions above to evaluate your fast. May your season of fasting be a platform for a fruitful year.
I had one of those God thoughts four years ago. Why don't I start praying for my Facebook friends. Over time, Facebook can loose it's thunder so why not put it to good use. So I started praying for my FB friends each year. See below for some tips on how I do it; you may consider doing the same thing.
Prayer transcends time, culture, gender, race, relationships, age, social status, geography, religion, politics, and mostly any barrier that it comes in contact with. Jesus taught us that prayer in His name grants us access to the Father, prayer is a vehicle for asking God, prayer is a catalyst for healing, prayer is a weapon of spiritual warfare, prayer is an expression of humility. The Bible teaches that prayer should be made for your family, your friends, your coworkers, your leaders, and even your enemies. (Luke 18:1 Matt. 21:21-22 Matt. 5:44)
With the far reaching capability of prayer why not use today's tools such as Facebook, Twitter, or blogs to pray and serve your friends or followers. Don't just be satisfied with the quantity on your friend or follower count. Put it to a good or should I say a "God" use. Jesus reached multitudes on foot. Didn't he say we would do greater works? (John 14:12) Our social network need more than what we can offer them; why not give them one of the greatest gifts, which is heartfelt, sincere prayer to the Father on their behalf. Facebook friends are real people with real needs not just a face and status updates.
Eight tips on praying for your FB friends:
Block out 21-26 days in a row for the campaign.
Specify a time each day for 30 minutes of prayer.
Pray for a letter of the alphabet a day A-Z (First initials); unless there are only a few names for a letter then you can combine some letters.
Notify the each group with the letter of the alphabet you are covering that day with a simple status update such as. "If your first name begins with an "__" I will be praying for you by name today. Message me any specific request. I'm praying thru my FB friends A-Z" Typically post in the morning between 7-8.
Go to your friends list with this prayerful aim. "Lord, show me how to pray for each of my friends today."
As you go down the list some are long prayers some are very short.
You may be inspired to send some a private message with your prayer included.
Respond to all request sent to your inbox or comments to your status.
It really is not that time consuming at all. Just imagine the impact that faithful prayer can have in the lives of your friends that you may never have knowledge of.
"...praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,..." Eph. 6:18
"And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Luke 18:1
There are some seasons in life where it seems like heaven is closed and God is not listening. I'm convinced that those seasons are just a build up for your breakthrough or the night before your dawn. God's blessings will spring forth over a person that is faithful during their night. For it is thru the night that character is formed and faith (without feelings) is forged. Daybreak is when the veil of darkness grows thin and heaven opens. The same efforts you toiled with thru the night become easier after your daybreak. The answer to prayers seem to be released like a ray of sun piercing through the dawn of the morning. The glorious power that is released after the buildup of prayers is a flood of grace that drowns your doubts, disappointments,and despair. "For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning." (Psalms 30:5) The night is like day to God so he abides in both seasons; your diligence is to hold on through the night and wait for your daybreak!
People fast for many different reasons. Some fast before a medical appointment, some fast because it is part of their diet plan, and others fast to refocus their body, mind and spirit on God. I am not addressing dietary or medical fast at all, they are effective and I have done them before. People need to stop fasting if you are doing it for the wrong motive. I wrote earlier about 27 Biblical Reasons to Fast, but now I also want to address what a Biblical fast is not.
8 things a Biblical fast is NOT:
1) A time to look sad, mean, and destitute. Matt. 6:16
2) A time to look for attention and rewards from people. Matt. 6:16
3) A time for you to showcase & boast in your deep spirituality. Luke 18:12
4) A time to seek your own pleasure. Isaiah 58:3
5) A time to argue, quarrel, and fight. Isaiah 58:3
6) A time to hide your self from the poor and needy. Isaiah 58:7
7) A time to twist God's arm to do what you want outside of his will. Acts 23:12,14
8) A time to manipulate God to overlook sin. Jeremiah 14:10,12
Fasting is an external act that is driven by the motives in your heart. Those motives must be laced with spirtual ends in mind. With fasting you may lose a few pounds and lose the taste for twinkies; however, if those are the initial motives you will miss out on the heart transformation that can come from fasting. To make a further disctinction, a biblical fast is often accompanied with prayer, confession, & Bible meditation (Neh 9:1-3; Acts 13:2-3). Fasting along with these things creates a recipe for spiritual transformation.
I met a person that got so busy at work that he missed lunch. Feeling the hunger pains, he then decided to take his act of missing lunch, wrap it up in spiritual fasting clothes, and offer it to God as a sacrifice. Wow! God can not be played for a fool? Keep in mind that the act of fasting and the physical byproducts it may produce are only means; the end should be to have your eyes fixed on God and to glorify your father which is in heaven. Most people fast because they want to move God but he is not the one that is stuck. Fasting is not to move God closer to you, but rather to move your heart closer to God. Happy fasting!