Yesterday after praying for a friend, God directed my attention to the devotion in My Utmost for His Highest for September 30th. After reading it I immediately knew it must be shared with my friend, because it spoke so clearly to her situation as well as mine. So, since we are all working on the wall together, I think it is appropriate that I share it with all of you.
The Assigning of the Call | My Utmost for His Highest | September 30th
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church . . . —Colossians 1:24
We take our own spiritual consecration and try to make it into a call of God, but when we get right with Him He brushes all this aside. Then He gives us a tremendous, riveting pain to fasten our attention on something that we never even dreamed could be His call for us. And for one radiant, flashing moment we see His purpose, and we say, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8).
This call has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine. Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us. We say, “If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!” But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object. Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom. If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.
I wonder what finger and thumb God has been using to squeeze you? Have you been as hard as a marble and escaped? If you are not ripe yet, and if God had squeezed you anyway, the wine produced would have been remarkably bitter. To be a holy person means that the elements of our natural life experience the very presence of God as they are providentially broken in His service. We have to be placed into God and brought into agreement with Him before we can be broken bread in His hands. Stay right with God and let Him do as He likes, and you will find that He is producing the kind of bread and wine that will benefit His other children.
Reprinted from utmost.org
Well ladies, we’ve completed a week! Give yourself a little pat on the back! This last week was about getting down to the bedrock. We came through the Sheep Gate, or perhaps we came in through the Fish Gate, but we are inside the city through what JESUS has done for us.
This last week, as we let the Holy Spirit examine us, we started to realize that there were some things we needed to heap up on the wheelbarrow to drive down to the Dung Gate in a couple of weeks. Our whole week may have been spent letting the Holy Spirit point out the messes. Perhaps some of the messes in our marriages or our kids lives have been compounded by our own messy condition. So this past week was a week of brokenness and repentance.
Today we looked at The Old Gate. This is where we begin to realize that we have a choice. We can either let Jesus do the digging and scraping in our lives so we get down to the root of our “stuff”, or we circle around and go out the Old Gate. The Old Gate represents the death of our “Old Man”. In some cases, our Old Man has been driving us for a long time. Oh, we met the Shepherd, and we have our ticket to get into heaven, but we haven’t done one bit of work on dying to self. We are still in bondage to our old habits and our sins of choice.
This coming week is the week of choice. We say to ourselves, “Now that I’m in this fast, and God is knocking down the last bit of rubble, will I stick in there even if the going gets even messier? Or will I turn to that Old Gate and go back out?” In Nehemiah 6, the enemy was telling them to retreat. But Nehemiah prayed one of my favorite prayers! He groaned out to the Lord, “Strengthen my hands”. (Nehemiah 6:9) Ladies, DO NOT QUIT! Keep letting the Holy Spirit dig! Keep scooping up the rubble. The GAPS ARE CLOSING! PRAY! Just like Nehemiah, let prayer be your FIRST RESPONSE! When the dust clears, you will see that there has actually been a lot of progress. Put on your respirator and safety goggles. It’s getting messy because we are getting down to bedrock. Remember that JESUS is our CAPSTONE. Just keep digging!
Today (Sunday), we talked about the Ancient Boundary Stone. Proverbs 22:28 tells us, “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers.” A boundary stone was a stone that designated where the boundaries were. These stones were to show everyone whose property began and ended at a certain point. Since we are looking at the “Old Gate” this week, we saw that it is tempting to give up on the Christian life and just go right back to our old ways. But if we will instead, dig down to the foundation, find those ancient boundary stones and let Jesus Christ be our focus, we will continue on with HIS rebuilding in our lives. The Old Gate was not one that Christ rebuilds. Instead, The Holy Spirit KILLS the deeds of our flesh through regeneration. Christ starts doing a NEW THING in our lives.
When someone moves an ancient boundary stone, they decide to abide by their own set of rules and this then leads to bondage. Bondage leads to sin and sin leads to more bondage. It is only Jesus Christ that can set us free from this cycle! 1 Peter 2:8 says, “A stone that causes men to stumble and rock that makes them fall. They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for”.
For some, Jesus becomes a stumbling block and they choose to reject Him altogether. God says, “I am laying a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone that trusts in Him (Jesus) will never be disgraced.” (Romans 9:33)
So how do we go back to the Ancient Boundary Stone? We look to JESUS. He was before the world was made. Jesus was always the “Plan” for our redemption. There was no “Ooops” moment for God. God knew we would sin; He knew we would need a savior; He had the plan for salvation all along; Jesus is that salvation.
This week, determine that you are not going to circle back out the Old Gate. Instead, dig down till you hit the bedrock of Jesus Christ. Start to think about Him. Read scripture and write on your cards the verses that speak to you. The assignment is to look for Scriptures that tell you that YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS. Look for how HE IS WITH YOU. Look for verses that you can meditate on where He is your focus.
Keep digging, ladies. This week we are digging to find that Ancient Boundary Stone…King Jesus!
We are closing in on a week of fasting…how’s it going for you? I have to give you true confessions. I blew it yesterday. I hate it that I have to say that because for some of you, you may think it is impossible to sustain this fast for 52 days if the leader can’t even do it. I had a couple of POTATO chips – I’m not undermining that this is BAD, but admitting openly that we can all try to wrap something up in a little bit of CHRISTIAN word semantics and wham, we’ve already fallen before we even blink.
Yesterday was a tough fasting day for me all the way around. We are doing a renovation in our house, in the second busiest room of my house (the Laundry Room). Last night was the first night of our “C-group” (i.e. youth group) for the year, and I had about 35 teenagers coming with a house that was filling with dust from the breaking-through-the-wall-project we were doing. So to say I was STRESSED, is an understatement.
Couple all of that with a lack of a PLAN for what I could eat, would eat, would make to eat yesterday and I was a train wreck by the time the kids arrived. I had not made myself any dinner and had made all the “non-fasters” in my house a new crock-pot type of chili. Because it was a new recipe, I did need to legitimately “taste” it once because it called for a LOT of chili powder and I had visions of using the fire extinguisher on the teens and my husband. So I had about three TINY licks of the spoon as I doctored that dish throughout the day. Not gonna lie, it seemed delicious by the time it was finished, but I did not have a bowl of it.Read More»
Before the wall could be built, they had to clear away the rubble (rubbish) because they had to be able to build on solid foundation (Christ).
As I ran across this scripture today, the word “Rubbish” jumped out at me. And I thought it might be a great scripture for everyone to meditate on – in fact to memorize and keep handy as they continue to clear the rubbish from their perspective
gates and walls:
As I flip over my daily devotional here at work, I just about fall out of my chair. I was just thinking/praying about this this morning! Perfect (for me) on this day 3 of The Call To The Wall!
I tend to argue with myself over what, when and how much to eat.
I have strongholds related to food that have kept my walk with Christ limited.
I have the ability to be obedient to Christ during this fast / call to the wall!
I will put my work glove on and have my sword at the ready to defeat the enemy, in the name of Jesus Christ!, trying to whisper anything different to me!
Fast on, girls, tomorrow we are in the 40s…we’re making progress!!
Can I just take a minute to say, “WAY TO GO!”? For some of you, today may have been the hardest day of your life. If you have never fasted before, day two or three is usually the hardest day in a fast. It is starting to really sink in that you are depriving yourself from your normal eating, and it’s not as fun as it was with the adrenalin of the first day in your system.
My advice? DRINK SOME WATER! Seriously, one of my biggest fasting mistakes is that I get so absorbed in my daily activities that I forget to drink enough water. My brain is so focused on maintaining a fast – in whatever form that is taking shape, that I am not telling myself to DO something, like drink water. Oh, and have some LONG sips of Living Water! Remember, the spiritual aspect of a fast is the most important point.
Another piece of wisdom here is to get enough sleep. I know that sounds so simplistic that it seems foolish to even say it. But in all seriousness, you need to take some extra care of the physical side of your life and water and sleep are a big part of that! Let yourself REST in the Lord. Rest in knowing that HE cares even more about the mess you are fasting over than you do! Rest in knowing He has a plan of exactly how to fix our messes and that He trades our little heaps of ashes for something beautiful.
So with those little kernels of advice, I will leave you with a few verses to munch on tonight:
The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. (Nehemiah 1:3b)
As we approach the 16th of September, we might be asking ourselves, “What does the book of Nehemiah have to do with me anyway?” I live in a house, or apartment, or condo that seems to be standing pretty well, thank you. My neighbors are friendly – we wave as we pass each other. Yes, give or take the normal repairs and maintenance that need to be done, my house, my family, my neighborhood seems to be functioning pretty well – we cut our grass once a week and even trim. My kids go to the best schools, they make good grades. My husband comes home every night – I have dinner on the table. We go to church on Sundays, and Wednesdays, and we even volunteer for some really good causes. Yes, I think we are functioning pretty well.
Actually, by all outward appearances, we can seem to be functioning pretty well. But, what if the Walls referred to in Nehemiah are symbolic of our own lives…the internal…the unseen…the parts that we keep hidden from the world, from ourselves: polished and shined on the outside, displayed by our smiling faces and well-groom exteriors, but falling apart on the inside?
I’m sure there are many of us that can fit that description, right? But, if we really take an honest look back on our lives and let the Holy Spirit shine His light, do you think there might be some gaping holes of wrong habits? Could there some hidden-rubble beyond the burned gates covered by our well-manicured lawns and sparkling privacy fences that have caused us some shame and old scars? Could these covered-over wounds be keeping us – me – a recluse of sorts? Deeper still…Have I been a victim of divorce or rape or some other bitter experience and feel betrayed or sabotaged? Do I have a wayward son – daughter. Do I have a secret sin that, perhaps began innocently, but has now formed into a habit that I cannot stop? Do I want to run and hide? Am I touchy and inaccessible? Do I have an attitude of mind or heart that limits me- that makes me difficult to live with? Am I feeling anxious, distressed accompanied by reproach and disgrace? These are the ruins that we need to seek God to repair.Read More»
I have a great sense of excitement growing. September 16th is only a few days away and I am filled with such a sense of anticipation for what we are going to see God do in our lives as we do this Daniel Fast Call to the Wall prayer and fasting project together! Have you been surveying your own little pile of mess in your backyard? I know I have. Mine encompasses some kid issues, some personal things I am asking Him to overcome and then of course, big things for my church and my country. Here is a little “packing list” of sorts for those of you that are just jumping in to this call to let God help you rebuild the ruins that are surrounding you.Read More»
God woke me up this morning. It’s Saturday and I really wanted to sleep in, but He was whispering to me that I needed to write you a letter in the form of a blogpost. So here I am, sitting at my computer trying to get the jumble of thoughts down on a page for you. If you are reading this, it is likely that you are being chosen to go on the 52 day adventure of a Daniel fast. God has been combining a couple of stories which are all interconnected and has been telling me to call for an Ezra/Daniel fast.
Ezra was trying to get the exiles through the desert to Jerusalem. He headed out the door with a few thousand people, all loaded down with treasure that was going to be put back into the temple. Refusing all outside help, he tromped out toward the desert and started on a God-adventure, only to promptly be faced with the hot, dry winds of desert sand. It was about that moment that he suddenly realized, “I am not cut out for this adventure, yet now I can’t turn back! So he did the only thing he could do…he prayed! He stopped the caravan and called for a fast. He openly admitted to God that he had no idea how to get this big job done and all the people shook their heads vigorously up and down in agreement with him as they fasted right along with him. Moral of that part of the story? God may be calling you to attempt something that seems bigger and more impossible than you realize at this moment. Maybe you just realized it. Here’s my pearls of advice: Stop, drop and PRAY!Read More»