Turning Point’s 21 Days of Consecration – Week 3 Focus: Church

At the beginning of each new year our church, Turning Point Apostolic of Rochester, MI embarks upon a 21-day journey of consecration. We dedicate each of the three weeks to a specific purpose in this order: God, Family, and Church. The 21 days is observed with fasting in a variety of ways; Food Fast, Daniel Fast, Workman’s Fast, Media Fast, Sugar Fast, etc. Due to the complex nature of everyone’s health we leave it up to the individual to commit to the fast that best suits their abilities.

Here you can find Week 3 of 3 complete with scriptural links compliments of Bible Hub

Week 3: Church

Scope: Our focus for the next 7 days will be your church, Turning Point Apostolic Ministries. We often envision our set of priorities, God, Family, and Church, in terms of a 3-tiered structure, or a ladder of sorts. Our structure is different at TPAM, it’s set up more like concentric circles.

The Outer Ring = CHURCH

The Inner Ring = FAMILY

The Core = GOD

We sing the song by Israel Houghton, “Jesus at the Center of my life…” and that’s truly how we must live our lives, with Him at the core of everything we do, and everything we are. The closer you get to the center, the higher your priority. Everything emanates from the core, or the nucleus of our lives; GOD. Everything revolves around Jesus! When we keep Him at the center, everything else that flows from the center, will be properly aligned.

Each day this week will focus on a facet of our church. Take the time to prayerfully read through each passage, and unify with us on each of the various aspects of the “Outer Ring” that encompasses our lives.

Monday – Leadership: This topic is the first one of the week intentionally because as is often stated, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Without strong leadership, the focus of the remaining week’s prayers will be in vain. We must have strong, dedicated, focused, and highly committed leadership at TPAM. Leaders must always be willing to both lead, and to serve. Laser focus on the things that matter to our lives, and our walk with God, is essential.

Leadership includes our directors, teachers, team members, deacons, elders, and our pastors and their wives. Their roles cannot be overstated. They’re under constant attack in their own lives by the enemy, and must have a hedge prayed around them, and their own families as they seek to serve the church and their community, and yet maintain the delicate balance of family life.

Scriptures: Proverbs 11:14, Ezekiel 33:1-9, Jeremiah 3:15, Romans 10:14-15, Ephesians 5:11-16, 1 Timothy 2:1-8, 1 Timothy 5:17-18, Hebrews 13:15 – 18, 1 Peter 5:1-6

Prayer: Pray for wisdom, discernment, and for vision for the leadership at TPAM. Pray for a hedge of protection around our leaders’ families, relationships, health, homes, and finances. Pray for a balance of boldness and sensitivity towards the body of Christ. Pray for awareness of the times, and for courage to hold the line of holiness and separation from the world and its influence.

Tuesday – Members: The Bible explicitly teaches we are members of one body, the body of Christ. That comes with a diversity of gifts, callings, abilities, and talents. No one is more important than the other, but we are all at different levels of personal growth in God, nevertheless, He loves us all the same, and we all serve an important function in the body. There is room for everyone’s gift in God’s Church, but there is NO room for bitterness, unforgiveness, rivalry, jealousy, or gossip in the body of Christ. We need to encourage, uplift, support, and even “submit to” one another. And, most importantly, pray for each other.

Scriptures: Matthew 16:18, John 13:34-35, Romans 12, Ephesians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, 1 Peter 2:1-3, 1 John 4:7-21

Prayer: Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray that God prosper and bless the church body. Seek God for ways to be a source of encouragement, growth, and support. Pray against the spirits that cause division. Pray for God to soften your heart toward anyone you have had a misunderstanding with. Pray for a spirit of humility, servitude, and love one toward another. Pray for the spirit of revival to stay steady in our midst, and for us to explode with growth in this new year!

Wednesday – Future Members:
As you look around our sanctuary each service there are a number of empty chairs. Those empty chairs don’t necessarily represent just current missing members of TPAM, they represent members that have yet to make our church their home for spiritual growth. Don’t be discouraged by the empty chairs, see that as a place for us to plant future members. God promised that if we planted and watered, He would give the increase. Let’s pray in hope. Let’s do our part to evangelize, invite, cultivate, and disciple future members. Remember, when we preach and pray to the empty pews of our church, we’re preaching in faith to the future members of God’s great church!

Scriptures: Matthew 28:18 – 20, Acts 2:36-47, Ephesians 5:8, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, 1 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, Titus 2

Prayer: Pray for God to open doors for you to win souls. Pray for opportunities to share the love of Christ. Pray for your family members, friends, co-workers, and those you interact with each day for your light to shine and for Christ to be in all of your conversations. Pray for in-roads to share Christ with someone each day. Pray for your sensitivity toward someone that needs love, joy, and hope. Pray for boldness to invite someone to your church. Pray for wisdom and words to tell someone about the Lord.

Thursday – Former Members: A tender spot for many of us, our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, moms and dads, who have fallen prey either to worldly enticements and entertainment, or to false doctrine. It’s like a knife to the heart of a parent to watch their son or daughter backslide form the truth they’ve been taught from their childhood. It’s like a constant churning in your stomach at the thought of those who once contended for the faith, who have fallen back into a world that will use them, abuse them, and kick them to the curb. There’s nothing that hurts more than to see the pain and heartache they needless endure, because they refuse to turn their heart again to God. But, they are not without hope. There is still a chance for them to return. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Never quit praying. Never quit believing. Never quit looking for them to show up one Sunday. Like the father of the prodigal, look for them while they’re a great way off; they’re on their way. We have a Heavenly Father that is in hot pursuit of them, and will overtake them with His love and mercy!

Scriptures: 2 Samuel 21:8-10, Job 1:1-5, Jeremiah 3:22, Joel 2:27-32, Luke 15:11-32, Luke 18:1-8, Acts 2:38-39

Prayer: Never stop praying for your unbelieving family and friends. Pray for the spirit of tenacity like the widow woman and the unjust judge. Pray in faith and hope that your children will be restored to the faith. Pray for God’s mercy upon them. Pray for all of those who have gone out from us, that God will once again tenderize their hearts, and that they will be restored to the family of God…before it’s too late.

Friday – Home Missions/World Missions: Our mission is critical. Our church is in the middle a tumultuous time. Workers are needed now more than ever, both at home and abroad. We must strive to be reaching the lost at all cost. God didn’t call us to be rich and powerful. He called us to reach our generation; to reach our world! Success in the world’s eyes fades. Success in God’s Eyes is eternal. Only what’s done for Christ will last. We need pastors and preachers, evangelists, Sunday School teachers, and worship leaders. We need missionaries, church planters, and new pioneers of the faith. We must have another generation of Apostolics coming up beside us and behind us. We ought to be inspiring our children and grandchildren to aspire to the work of the ministry. Plant the seeds early. The harvest is ready. Are you raising the next generation that will be changing the world? Or, have you taught your family to settle for worldly pursuits of fame, fortune and popularity? Challenge yourself today to align your priorities toward things eternal that cannot be taken away from you.

Scriptures: Matthew 7:13, Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25:31-46, Luke 10:1-3, Luke 10:42, 1 Corinthians 3:9, Hebrews 13:1-3, 3 John 1:5-8

Prayer: Pray for wisdom to raise the next generation of Apostolics. Pray for future pastors, teachers, soul-winners in our faith. Pray for God to call future missionaries. And, pray for the works over all over America, and throughout the World. Pray for the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all organizations that are faithfully proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for the World Missions Department of the ALJC. Pray for all of our missionaries, especially those in Europe. Pray for new works to start up all over the globe. Pray this End Time Harvest surpasses anything we’ve ever seen.

Saturday – Rochester:
Our beloved Rochester, Rochester Hills, Oakland County, Macomb County, and beyond, need the Lord. But, before they’ll ever receive what we’re preaching, they need to know we love them, and most importantly, God loves them. We need to seek new and creative ways of engaging our communities. We need to be a light that is set on a hill that cannot be hidden. God planted us in Rochester, and Oakland County, for His Divine Purpose. He’s given us a burden to reach them, love them, and introduce them to Jesus Christ. Let’s not be complacent with past success. Let’s move forward in Jesus Name!

Scriptures: Proverbs 11:30, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Corinthians 9:8-14, Jude 1:17-23, James 2:1-13, 1 Peter 4:7-19

Prayer: Pray the light of God’s love through us intensifies so strongly that our community cannot help but be drawn to it. Pray for God to reveal ways in which we can better serve, and demonstrate both our love and His love for our city. Pray God grant us a permanent church-home in Rochester/Rochester Hills that will be built as a refuge for our lost and hurting generation, a beacon of Christ’s Love to all; a place where Jesus is the center of it all!

Turning Point’s 21 Days of Consecration – Week 2 Focus: Family

At the beginning of each new year our church, Turning Point Apostolic of Rochester, MI embarks upon a 21-day journey of consecration. We dedicate each of the three weeks to a specific purpose in this order: God, Family, and Church. The 21 days is observed with fasting in a variety of ways; Food Fast, Daniel Fast, Workman’s Fast, Media Fast, Sugar Fast, etc. Due to the complex nature of everyone’s health we leave it up to the individual to commit to the fast that best suits their abilities.

Here you can find Week 2 of 3 complete with scriptural links compliments of Bible Hub

Week 2: Family

Scope: Our focus for the next 7 days will be on our relationship with FAMILY. From the onset of our church we set our priorities; GOD, FAMILY, CHURCH. We know when we have a strong relationship with God, and a strong family at home, we’ll have a strong church. It’s important however, as we pray and fast, that we ensure we don’t isolate these (3) elements from each other; each one is dependent upon the other.

Be sure and gain all the strength you can from each Sunday Service for the week. The message pastor preaches will be aligned to the particular focus of the fast, and it is expected that you spend time at the altar preparing yourself for that given week.

Monday – Our Homes

Scriptures: Joshua 24:14 – 15, Ephesians 2:19 – 22

Focus: Make the choice today. Be intentional. Make your home a sanctuary. Our homes must be dedicated to serving God. We are of the “household” of God; our homes should signify this in every way. This holds true for married couples, singles, and widows/widowers.

Singles – These principles and focuses are not unique to married couples. A single person’s home should be just as much of an example of godliness and holiness. In fact, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:32 – 35, a husband or a wife, if they’re not godly, can be a “distraction” from doing what God has called you to do.

Prayer: Seek the Lord for direction for your overall home. Ask God to reveal to you ways in which your home may better represent Him, His Kingdom, and His perfect will for you and your family. Pray for God’s protection and provision over your family, your home, and our health. 

Tuesday – Our Children

Scriptures: Genesis 18:16 – 19, Deut. 11:18 – 25, Psalm 127, Proverbs 22:6, Ephesians 6:1 – 4

Focus: Godly Children – Godly parents raise their children to love the Lord and be faithful to Him in every facet of life. Your role as parents, aunts, uncles, mentors, leaders, cannot be overstated. Sure the church must do its part, but it’s incumbent upon all of us to raise our children in the fear of the Lord. Encourage your children to join you on this fast, and instruct them about these scriptures. Children, honor and obey your father, mother, teachers, ministers, and leaders.

Singles – Just because you are single does not diminish your part as a role model. Our children need to know how to live godly lives both as a married or a single. Step up to the challenge. You can demonstrate for them profound lessons on trusting in God for all things even when facing them as a single adult. Your role is just as vital as any other in our church. Pray for our children, pray for those you mentor and lead, and perhaps, before you know it, you’ll be praying for one of your own one day. 

Prayer: Seek God’s direction for your child’s future. Through prayer, filter each decision you make for your children, nephews, nieces, and students through the perfect Will of God. Children should pray for God’s favor, protection, guidance, and wisdom. And, children should pray for their parents, their teachers, leaders, ministers, and pastor.


Wednesday – A Godly Husband

Scriptures: Genesis 2:18 – 24, 1 Corinthians 7:3 – 5, Ephesians 5:21, 25 – 32, Colossians 3:19, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Peter 3:7

Focus: Godly Husbands – We’re commanded to leave and cleave as husbands, making your relationship with your wife one of your highest priorities. We’re commanded to love, and even “submit” ourselves to each other. Usurping the Word of God as your weapon, or endeavoring to demand respect vs. command respect is a recipe for a broken relationship. Seek to be the priest of our home, the godly example of your home, and your wife’s best and ablest protector. Never let anyone or anything come between your relationship with your wife, regardless of how noble the cause. Your relationship should mirror that of Christ and His Church.

Single Men – you’re not off the hook here. You may not be married, but you have an obligation to either be preparing yourself for your future spouse, or to remain faithful unto God, by remaining pure from worldly lust and ungodly passions. If it’s a spouse you seek, pray for God to lead you to the one He created for you, and until that happens, keep yourself for your future Mrs. Christian!

Prayer: Pray for godly wisdom and sensitivity as your wife’s husband. Pray for God to reveal ways in which you can grow closer to your wife. Pray both that you are the humble and godly husband she needs, and that she be the godly and tender wife that you need.

Thursday – A Godly Wife

Scriptures: Genesis 3:15, Proverbs 31, 1 Corinthians 7:3 – 5, Ephesians 5:22 – 24, Colossians 2:18, 1 Peter 3:1 – 6

Focus: Godly Wives – While Eve is often blamed for partaking the forbidden fruit, she didn’t do it alone. But in the middle of God’s Divine judgment, women are given a promise that a redeemer (Gen. 3:15) will come from them and her seed “would bruise the head” of Satan! That’s prophetic of the work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Women, you are the continuation of God’s Divine Creation. You were literally created with a profound purpose; to be a help “meet” or suitable for her husband. What he lacks you supply. What you lack, he supplies. This is not a 50/50 proposal; rather it is a 100/100 proposal. While we all need love, men are told to love their wives, while wives are told to submit, or have respect for, your husband.

Single Women – you guessed it, you’re not off the hook either. You may not be married, but you have an obligation to either be preparing yourself for your future husband, or to remain faithful unto God, by remaining pure from worldly lust and ungodly passions. If it’s a spouse you seek, pray for God to lead you to the one He created for you, and until that happens, keep yourself for your future Mr. Christian!

Prayer: Pray for wisdom and sensitivity as a husband’s partner in your home and over your family. Seek to be the godly example to the younger women, and may your prayers be your family’s most vocal advocate before God’s Throne!

Friday – Our Finances

Scriptures: Leviticus 27:30, Proverbs 8:3 – 10, Proverbs 10:22, Proverbs 19:17, Micah 3:8 – 12, Luke 6:38, Hebrews 7:4 – 10

Focus: When giving to the Work of the Lord, be it your local church, or foreign missions, you’re not simply putting your money in a man’s hand, you’re returning a tenth of what God has blessed you with. Admit it, it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not destroyed. We have what we do, and can achieve what we do, because of God daily loading us with benefits. Acknowledge Him as your sole/soul provider by returning your tithes and offerings unto Him, and see if He won’t open the windows of heaven’s blessings and pour them out upon you and your entire household.

Prayer: Pray for a renewed sense of God’s goodness in your life. Pray God increase you in direct proportion to your generous heart. Pray God create in you a conduit through which blessings will flow so that you in turn will be blessed and can bless others.

Saturday – Our Work

Scriptures: Psalm 37:5, Psalm 75:6, Psalm 90:17, Deuteronomy 28:1 – 14, Matthew 6:33, Philippians 2:14 – 15, Colossians 3:23, 2 Thess. 3:10 – 12, 1 Peter 5:6 – 7

Focus: We must never forget the source from whom all our blessings flow. Our work will never prosper without God’s Divine blessing upon it. Our careers are important, how we make a living is critical to our survival, but “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Endeavor to be a wise steward with your talents, your giftings, and abilities. Use them for the glory of God and He will promote you in due time. And, remember nothing you do for Christ is a waste. He always rewards the faithful.

Prayer: Seek God first in all things. Ask for wisdom (James 1:5 – 8) and favor in the right areas of your career, your education, and your occupation. Pray for favor in the eyes of those you work for and with. Pray you properly represent Christ in the workplace and your profession. Pray for a spirit of integrity, honor, and excellence. Do not pray for wealth as much as for wisdom to be a steward with the blessings God has already granted you.

Turning Point’s 21 Days of Consecration – Week 1 Focus: God

At the beginning of each new year our church, Turning Point Apostolic of Rochester, MI embarks upon a 21-day journey of consecration. We dedicate each of the three weeks to a specific purpose in this order: God, Family, and Church. The 21 days is observed with fasting in a variety of ways; Food Fast, Daniel Fast, Workman’s Fast, Media Fast, Sugar Fast, etc. Due to the complex nature of everyone’s health we leave it up to the individual to commit to the fast that best suits their abilities.

Here you can find Week 1 of 3 complete with scriptural links compliments of Bible Hub

Week 1: God

Scope: Our focus for 7 days will be on our relationship with God. We will focus on aspects that will draw us closer to Him, by utilizing God’s Word to help us incorporate repentance, renewed focus on set times of prayer, creating a family altar, purging ourselves of fleshly things that over time have crept in unawares. Setting the stage here is critical for the success of the remaining 2 weeks. To optimize the effects of this fast, please avoid the usage of worldly media, social media, and entertainment f or this entire week. Give it all to God!

Be sure and gain all the strength you can from each Sunday Service for the week. The message pastor preaches will be aligned to the particular focus of the fast, and it is expected that you spend time at the altar preparing yourself for that given week.

Monday
Scripture: Exodus 20:1 – 17, Deuteronomy 6:1 – 9
Focus: Keep God FIRST in your life. Confess and repent for things you’ve allowed to challenge His Divine Authority. Renew your Family Altar.
Prayer: Pray for courage to keep God first despite worldly pressures. Pray for strength to overcome fleshly appetites and desires.

Tuesday
Scripture: Luke 12:25 – 34, Psalm 20:7, Proverbs 3:5, Isaiah 12:2
Focus: Godly pursuits. Fight worldly distractions. Build solid trust and faith in God.
Prayer: Pray for strength to entrust every facet of your life unto God. Pray to build your life on things eternal.

Wednesday
Scripture: Mark 12:28 – 30, Matthew 15:8, 1 Peter 1:13, Jeremiah 24:7
Focus: Loving God with all your soul, mind, heart, strength
Prayer: Pray for opportunities to devote every aspect of your being to loving God.

Thursday
Scripture: Micah 6:6-8, 1 John 4:16, Amos 5:14 – 15, 1 Corinthians 14:33
Focus: Simplicity in your walk with God. Love the things God loves. Focus on the things God focuses on.
Prayer: Pray against confusion and complication of God’s plan in your life.

Friday
Scripture: Malachi 3:16, Deut. 8:11 – 20, Hosea 4:6, Jeremiah 2:32, Revelation 2:4
Focus: Rememberance of God in all things. Not leaving your “first love.”
Prayer: Pray for awareness of God in your life; to always be mindful of Him.

Saturday
Scripture: 1 Thess. 5:18, James 4:14, Romans 12:1 – 2, James 4:7
Focus: Sacrifice, Thanksgiving, Submission to God and His perfect Will
Prayer: Pray for a new revelation of godly sacrifice. Express Thankfulness; Seek a new found devotion to God’s perfect will in all your life!

21-Day Fast (Days 18-21) Feasting on the Fast

Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Waiting on God

As I reflect over the past 21 days, I can’t help but criticize myself for my attitude during moments of the fast. I deliberately tried to absorb myself in the fast. Trying to glean as much as I could spiritually, while denying myself physically. I would catch myself though, wanting to hasten the fast. You know, “get it over with!” This was something of an endurance test to be sure, but I had a difficult time making the distinction of enduring the sacrifice, while enjoying it at the same time. If that’s too deep, let me say it like this. I have been known to “rush” things along in my life. Even as I type this, I’m in a hurry to get out how it is I’m feeling. Fasting forced me to wait. I had to wait out the hunger pangs (some people call them hunger pains…I see why). I had to wait on the presence of the Lord to sustain me. I couldn’t rush the clock, I wasn’t living meal to meal. When I would have loved to have been “waited on,” I was doing all the waiting on the Lord.

Don’t Dismiss the Fragments

There are many insights God has given me on this fast some of which will surface later. But when I took my first bite after the fast was over, it dawned on me how good each morsel of food tasted. Even the fragments, or crumbs that I would have ordinarily dismissed and shoveled into my mouth without thinking, tasted delicious. Part of the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000 wasn’t JUST the fact that he fed 5000 men (plus women and children). Don’t forget, there were 12 baskets of fragments that were picked up AFTER everyone was fed. So, I’ve learned during the fast, that yes, the meals are wonderful, but don’t dismiss the fragment; smaller things that are still quite tasty and deserve to delight my spiritual taste buds. They too work to sustain me, and are deliberate blessings God intends for me. I shouldn’t dismiss them as inconsequential. I should scoop them up, and savor each blessing, no matter how small.

It’s Not Over

I will not be able to close the chapter on this fast for a long time. I thought once I had eaten, I would be able to say that I have arrived at the end of a journey. I can’t say that. In fact, not only is it NOT over, it’s just begun. Laying aside your flesh for several weeks like that can leave an indelible mark on you spiritually, if you allow it. I’m going to allow it.

Paul said he didn’t consider himself to have apprehended perfection, but he was still pressing. While at one time I thought the end of the fast meant the end of a journey. I now know today, as odd as this sounds, I’ll be feasting on the effects of this fast for a long time to come. This fast has set my journey off on the right trajectory for 2008. I’m going to forget all the failings, faults, and trials of 2007, and I’m going to do what Paul did…I’m going to press on toward perfection.

21-Day Fast (Day 17) When God Gets Quiet

Scripture: Psalms 139:7-10

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If you’ve lived for God very long, you’ve likely had a point in your walk where you just couldn’t feel God’s presence. Try as might, whatever it was that you equated with God’s presence just wasn’t there. Doubt is quick to creep in and discourage you from praying, or waiting any longer on God presence. The Reality is…the Lord never leaves us.

David

By the time David penned this Psalm, he more than likely had gone through a great deal of turmoil in his career as king of Israel. His personal failures and challenges to his authority brought with them some dark and dreary days for David. If ever there was a man prone to highs and lows in his life, David was the man. So, who better to remind us that regardless of whether we feel it or not, God’s divinely inspired word through David, tells us…God IS THERE!

Paul

More than qualified to weigh in on this issue, the Apostle Paul defines for us the boundaries of God’s love in Romans. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39). Essentially, there are no boundaries. So if you’re “feeling” like God no longer loves or cares about you, get your nose in the Book and remind yourself of this glorious promise!

In Closing

We don’t base our walk with God on emotions or feelings. This is a walk of faith. We are all prone to emotional peaks and valleys. But, you can be certain, God’s presence in our lives, nor His love for His people, will ever change.

How Do I Feel?

Hungry! Yes, hunger has returned with a vengeance, but I’m still committed to this fast. I have to say, even though I have been on this fast, I have had days where it was still hard to feel God’s presence in my life. But, if I based it on feelings though, I would have given up a long time ago. I know God’s there, and I know He hears my every prayer!

21-Day Fast (Day 16) Cloud of Witnesses

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The 11th chapter of Hebrews chronicles for us some very key figures of faith in the Old Testament summing them up by saying, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40.

As chapter 12 opens up, we find that the work of these dear saints is far from complete. While their earthly tabernacle has faded, their representation and observation is still taking place today.

Can I Get a Witness?

Overcoming monumental obstacles that included, trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38), The scripture tells us they received not the promise. But they have a vested interest in our success, because the scripture goes on to say, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:40).”

Many of the witnesses Hebrews refers to were bludgeoned to death, tortured, dismembered, disemboweled, burned at the stake, and sawn asunder. In my wild imagination I envision patriarchs of old peering through the portals of Heaven watching as you and I now battle the forces of spiritual wickedness in high places. All those precious souls watch with baited breath as you and I face the enemy on a new plain. The persecution we face is real, but the brutality is different. While theirs was a physical anguish, ours is mental, and at times physical, with the added intensity of an enemy that is not content to just destroy this earthly vessel of our body, but the devil wants to destroy our soul as well.

The Cheerleaders of Heaven

This may be taking it a bit too far, but I believe the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are watching God’s grand design unfold, and are anxiously observing each battle we fight. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think we have a cheering section in the prophets, and in our family members who have gone on before us shouting…”You can make it! Don’t stop fighting! The enemy isn’t as tough as you think he is! God will see you through this! Don’t give up child, the battle is yours!”

Praise the Lord! As much as it means to me to have a cloud of witnesses that want me to make it, and that I know I can make it with the grace of God, having Jesus as my hero is of far greater importance. Yes, I admire my grandparents and loved ones that have gone on to their reward because of their faithfulness in this life. But having Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, standing guard over my life is of the greatest comfort. Apostle Paul must have felt the same way because he said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” With the patriarchs of old cheering me on and the power of Jesus to see me through…I can’t lose!

How Do I Feel?

With day 16 well underway, I’m able to see the proverbial light at the end of this tunnel. My muscles have stopped aching, but I get tired very easily. Reading some material on fasting, they said that natural hunger will return. I’m honestly, not looking forward to that day. You may wonder why. Well, I feel like I’ve finally captured and caged a part of myself that has been literally running rampant my entire life. More on that subject in my final thoughts on the 21st day.

21-Day Fast (Day 15) ALL or Almost?

Scripture: Acts 26:26-29

For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

As Christians, we have more than likely heard some of the same rhetoric. We spend hours with individuals sharing the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ with our friends and families only to hear the dreaded words spoken…Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. At least Agrippa didn’t lead Paul on by professing to believe, and refusing to change his life and completely turn it over to God.

Almost

Almost can be defined as, “slightly short of; not quite; nearly: almost time to go; was almost asleep; had almost finished.” How many of us, reserve a section of our heart for the “almost-factor.” As if to say, “just in case this doesn’t work, I have an out!” God’s not looking for people who almost love Him, and almost serve Him, and are almost faithful to Him. Because almost making it to church – isn’t making it at all. Almost telling someone about the Love of Christ – isn’t telling them at all. Almost living for God – isn’t living for God at all. And, almost making it to Heaven isn’t going to get you there. The key is, following through!

Golf Swing 101

I do not profess to be an avid golfer. I’ve made several attempts at it only to get a few good shots that make me keep repeating the frustrating game all over again, thinking that perhaps I’ll actually get good at it one day. A vital ingredient to a healthy golf swing in addition to keeping your head down, is to ensure you follow through with your swing. Not following through, will get your ball “almost” to the green. Which by now you’ve learned is not getting to the green at all. You need a solid follow-through on your swing to ensure you gain the optimal distance and height on your ball. Failing to do so will result in golfing like “Yours Truly!”

Commitment

On a more serious note, we must follow through if we expect to make to the Kingdom! Empty promises, vows, and unfulfilled commitments are not only an embarrassment (or should be), but they’re outright lies. I know situations arise that may interfere with our commitment, but they should never prevent you from completing it. God didn’t give you a limit on how many times to keep trying, but almost fulfilling our duty as a Christian – isn’t fulfilling it at all. No matter how many times you fail remember the scripture, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me (Micah 7:8). The difference in people that get back up and try again, and people who wallow in self-pity and defeat? Provebs 24:16 – For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. So keep getting up. Keep trying.

In Closing

Don’t almost follow through with the commitment you’ve made to Christ. Matthew 10:22 tells us,”And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

How Do I Feel?

I feel blessed! Because I know, Christ didn’t almost die on the cross for me. He didn’t almost rise from the dead. And, He didn’t almost fill me with His Spirit…Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Philippians 1:6)