Monday, January 31, 2011

Refining Fire

           Lin Lopes "Refiner's Fire" -
"The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; he will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire." Isaiah 4:4
Fasting and Praying is like the refining fire that will bring the impurities to the surface and makes the impurities within us, available to be removed by the healing hands of God!. So, here we are, in the final stretch of the 21-day fast. There is something that is happening to not only me, but many people in our church. Just from this last weekend, there was a huge increase of people coming for prayer. There seems to be the purging of iniquities that is happening during the fast. I think of it as we make more room for God in our lives, then some of junk in our trunk begins to surface and it has to be dealt with. Fasting and praying is like that refining fire that comes down and purifies us. Just as in Isaiah 4:4, the cleansing comes from the spirit by judgment and fire. I am hearing more and more stories of people that are becoming aware of junk in their lives and they are getting rid of these old behavior patterns, mind sets, offenses and even oppressions. As we deny our flesh for God, He brings the impurities up to the surface as in the purification of silver/gold and then His hand skims the surface of all the dross and we become refined as gold/silver. This process is not pretty, for we often have to face some ugly truths about ourselves, like pride, self reliance, jealousy, rejection, unforgiveness and so many other impurities. But the beautiful thing is that the impurities that are brought to the surface are to be skimmed off by God’s wonderful healing hands to make us more refined and pure like Jesus. The heat is not pleasant but it is necessary for the refinement process. Therefore, let us rejoice when these issues come up for God is revealing them so He can take them away. I am grateful for this refining fire that falls upon us when we fast and pray for it is not only for a physical cleansing of our bodies but a spiritual cleansing. May all those impurities come to the surface and be removed by His mighty hands of healing.
Question: Have you been having issues come to the surface during this fast? Can you identify them and then repent and give them to God?

Friday, January 28, 2011

White as Snow - Forgive and Forget

 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
   says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
   they shall be like wool. " Isaiah 1:8

During this time of fasting and praying, we are to focus on being renewed and becoming new in our spiritual journeys. It is the awakening of our spirits within and drawing closer to God. As in Luke 5:37-39, we need new wineskins for the new wine. Am I doing the same old thing in my life? Am I beginning to be poured into by the Holy Spirit into a new relationship with God? Am I starting with a new beginning and new routine? I started a new devotional this morning in the book of Isaiah and what I read, really was in line with the new wineskin analogy. I look at what was happening in Isaiah 1 and I am aware of what was going on in this  time frame. This is when  the kings of that day were evil in the sight of the Lord. These kings had forgotten God and began to offer sacrifices to other idols and their eyes were set on evil practices. These were God’s chosen people and they turned their back on God. They did as they pleased. God used the Prophet Isaiah to give the words to nations of Judah and Israel to turn from their evil ways and turn back to God. God was giving them a second chance. We have a God of second chances. He gave us His son to die on the cross for us, and with that, it paid the price for us (atonement) and we can now have a relationship with the Father and can go to Him and ask the forgiveness of sins. This means that no matter what our sin, even if it be like “scarlet” ,that God will forgive us and make us as white as snow. It is like the illustration I got when I was in an individual prayer session. As I was explaining to the person,"it it like our sins are  written on a sheet of paper  and after we ask for forgiveness, God takes that sheet of paper off our notebooks of life, crumples it up and throws it away. Then He gives us a brand new, clean white sheet of paper to begin life anew. (We are new creations in Christ, where the old is gone and the new is here)The in sin in our life is being cleaned and turned from scarlet to white like snow. God forgets all our sins and we move on. We need to forget that old sheet of paper with our sins, because we as humans want to dig that paper out of the wastebasket but God has already thrown it away. What is gone is gone – as far as the East is to the West. (Psalm 103:12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.) Forgetting the past and pressing on to the new is part of the journey of having new wineskins.
Question: Is there any sin that God has forgiven and you are still holding on to? Can you give it to God and become white as snow?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Praying God's Will

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him." 1 John 5:14-15
 As I enter into day 8 of the 21-day fast, I am noticing some changes in me physically. As I went through the liquid fasting yesterday, my body began to get rid of the toxins that had been stored up in my body! I  have not been thinking of food, but kept pressing forward to hear His voice. Not only is my body getting rid of the physical toxins, but there are spiritual toxins that are being removed! Just as the refining fire purifies silver and makes the dross come to the surface, this is also happening in my life. The more that I press into  fasting and prayer, God seems to refine me more and more! I pray and sit in His presence and He ministers to me. He gives me words of encouragement, He shows me direction, He shows me how to pray and for whom I should pray. This is what this scripture tells me today, it is about knowing the Father’s heart and praying His Will. It is not prayers that I have authored, or what I call “controlling prayers”. Controlling prayers are when I want God to accomplish something for me and the prayers not to be in His Will. I want to always be in His Will and to  know how to direct His prayers so I can best  accomplish His work here on Earth. His Will be done and not mine!! As I heard John Bevere speak last week, he said that God’s Voice shows us how to pray and that we are His "second voice" when we express it in prayer. When we pray His Will,  God is so very proud of us to be able to speak His heart. What a beautiful communion between God and His children.  Beth Moore writes that there is power when we pray scripture. It is like taking two sticks of dynamite and tying them together to get an explosion in the Heavenlies. We tie scripture to prayer and we get a spiritual explosion! If we pray scripture, we know that we are praying God’s Word. Doesn’t this just give you a whole new perspective on prayer today? I am so grateful, to tears, this morning for this Word. I not only got so much from yesterday and hearing that God IS love and that He loves us first, but when we do come to Him in prayer, then we come in the presence of God and we can be His second voice to pray His Will. I will share this word this weekend as I begin my Prayer Series class at another church on Saturday. May God anoint my words and guide me, according to His Will!

Question: Are you praying God's Will or your will?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God's Love

"We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first." 1 John 4:19
 This morning, I started  "something new" on my 21-Day fast and today begins the first day for “liquids only”. I begin to think of the possibilities of what the day will hold for me and how the Lord can begin to unfold many words, phrases, confirmations, words of knowledge, scriptures and kairos moments. I sit quietly this morning with worship playing on my iPod and my Spirit is responding to His call. So funny, that clarity hit me and I realized that, God has always been there for me and I did not respond to His call. It is like this picture, He was always there with his love and all He wanted me to do was to reach for Him and to love Him back. You see, in devotions this morning, what jumped out on the page to me, is that God LOVED ME FIRST!! I didn’t have to do anything, He just watched, called, loved me and all I had to do is to go to Him and begin to open my own heart and to love Him back. God not only loved me first, but God IS love. God is perfect love and it is nothing I can earn, it is always there. It is a mind-set for me, to truly understand that HE LOVES ME. I had to stop, think and process this deeply like drinking it in. It is the love that the Father gives me that fills me up, day after day, but I need to go to the source in prayer and worship in order to have the relationship with Him. I was reading a book that Aimee Semple McPherson wrote and she said that the connection between God and us is like the electric wires on the poles and if there is a break anywhere along the line, there is no connection. Am I in connection with Him? Am I spending the quality time with Him? This fast has shown me that being in His presence is the place where I WANT to be. I love to sit, pray, love and be in His presence. It is not just a Sunday church relationship but a relationship that goes on all day long!! God loved me first and as I sense His love, I respond and love Him back with my whole heart! Love is so powerful and to know that God loved me first is amazing!! God is my everything and may I never get so far away from Him in the future that the wires of connection are broken. I want to keep that love flowing in my life, forever!
Question: Are you connected to the Father's love? What do you need to do to re-connect?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kairos Moment

   A Kairos moment is a God ordained moment where God speaks, gives a a revelation, an inspiration or encouragement. It is different than chronos time which is our time frame in the physical realm. It is when God intersects peoples lives for His purpose is a Kairos moment! 
  I want to share a Kairos moment with you. Since I am on a Daniel Fast for 21 days with my church (Hope Chapel West Oahu) I have been seeking God and waiting to hear His voice. What happened to me yesterday, showed me that God can use me anywhere, anytime and I don't need to do anything in my own efforts.
    So here I was, having lunch with a friend, at a well known health food deli  and I was sharing about my calling to do volunteer work at St. Francis Hospice. I shared how I would drive by St. Francis on the highway, I would hear “you belong there” and I would say “yes” but for about two years, I did nothing. I was like Jonah, running from Ninevah! I would hear "you belong there" and then I would store it in my brain, then I would keep on driving. Then, as I read Miles McPherson’s book, “Do Something”, where he said that we  need to stop thinking about doing something and start to put these callings to action, did I finally take that step. I got my application on line, submitted it and then I got called to go for my interview. When I went for the interview with the volunteer coordinator,  I received THE confirmation. During the interview, the coordinator shared with me about a new program where they needed more volunteers and it was the “NODA” program. "What is that?", I asked.  She responded, "NODA is 'No One Dies Alone' ". When she said that, I knew, deep in my spirit that this was the place I needed to be and confirmation  settled in my spirit. It was confirmed that this was where God wanted me to be. So, as If finished my story to my friend, we both heard behind us, “Excuse me”. We looked behind us and there was a young girl in her 20’s and she began sharing. “ I didn’t mean to over hear your conversation but I needed to share with you that I too have been hearing a calling and I have not acted upon it. After hearing about “doing something” I am going to do what God is calling me to do.” With that, she smiled, turned and walked away. My friend and I looked at each other, and tears flowed. God used us and we didn’t even need to do anything. God had our lives intersect  with a young girl in a powerful Kairos moment,  that was to launch into her into her calling, and He used us in a health food store over lunch!
   As I keep moving forward in this 21 day fasting period, I am asking God everyday to speak to me, to use me, to share with me more and more of His heart. I carry around a "fasting journal" and I write a word, a sentence, an experience that I sense God is telling me. They may not all be Kairos moments, but they may appear as a unique thought, an inspirational idea, for all of those may be God inspired and as I pray them through for confirmation, God reveals to me more and more.

Question: Do you desire to hear from God more? Are you willing to deny your flesh in fasting, so that there is less of you and more of him? Consider fasting and praying today.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lioness Arise

" But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 This verse tells me that we all  need to know our identity in Christ and to start walking in that confidence!
 Tomorrow, we have the Arise Women’s Conference at Hope Chapel West Oahu and we are to hear Lisa Bevere speak. She wrote a book about the Lioness Arising. It is about women rising up and being the lioness in the Kingdom. We are not the tame little kittens like this picture, but we are the daughters of the King, we are royal priests, we are all chosen people, a “special posession”. We are to always look at ourselves as God sees us and act that way!! We are not to have a spirit of intimidation, but we are to take our rightful place and walk as who we really are. The world may have tried to define us as less, as something that we are not – but we know that according to God’s Word, He is the one that defines us. Who are we? We are the apple of His eye, His masterpiece, created in His likeness and we are royal priests and daughters of the King!! We should not look at ourselves as kittens anymore – but as lioness arising! Once we know our identity, then we are to walk in the confidence that His Word give us. Once we get this, then we can walk as a lioness and not a timid kitten for His Kingdom. We are to be all that He has created us to be. We must always remember who we are in Christ and never settle for anything less!!

Question: How are you viewing yourself, a kitten or a lioness?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hezekiah - A Man Under Pressure

"Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew, “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, ‘The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 2 Kings 18:28-30

We are not to listen to the words of the enemy, but we are to stand on God’s Words. This rang true for me this morning as I was reading my devotions in 2 Kings. Here was King Hezekiah and he was living proof that we are to stand firm in our faith when we are under pressure. You see, Hezekiah not only spoke the truth about God but he put it into action. He DID what was pleasing in the eyes of the Lord! He not only tore down the places of idol worship but also told the people to stand firm on the faith that God was going to deliver them. He was a good leader that kept turning the eyes of his people, back to God. This is truly what we all need to do as followers of Christ. If one in our flock begins to get their eyes on things of the world,  listen to lies of the enemy or they are in a state of discouragement, I believe that it is our job to get their eyes to focus back on the Lord. No matter what challenges that face me, I know that I am to stand firm on the promises that God has given me, to live one day at a time and not get my eyes off the Lord. Hezekiah kept telling the people to trust in the Lord and not respond to the words of the commander of the Assyrian army – to not give in to fear – but to follow the Lord with all their hearts. Difficult? Yes! It is difficult to trust in God when everything seems to be falling apart, but then God never promised us that life was going to be easy...but He did promise us that He would always provide for us (Jehovah Jireh) and that we are to rest in Him – for He will fight for us (Exodus 14:13-14). The battle is not ours, but it is God’s. We are not to listen to the words of the enemy but we are to stand firm on God’s Words! So,  as I go through another day with the focus of Christ in my life, I am to put on my full armor and not let the storms nor the winds of life cause me to lose my faith in all that God has promised me. I choose Jesus and not the lies that the enemy wants me to believe. I am the daughter of the King, an ambassador of Christ and perfect in His eyes! This is also true of  every  Christian, they we all have been  adopted into God's family and we are new creatures in Christ. 

Question: Are you listening to lies of the enemy and losing your faith? Be like Hezekiah and keep your focus on God.