Sunday, February 7, 2016

Spiritual Bravery Fast Day 1

"With my God I can advance against a troop...He trains my hands for war, my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me. Your gentleness made me great." 
Psalm 18: 29-35

Fasting is an act of spiritual bravery. It is a denial of the things we can see, feel and taste, in pursuit of that which is invisible and often intangible. At times it may feel fruitless, like nothing more than a hunger strike. But make no mistake, fasting results in the advance of God's Kingdom against the kingdom of darkness.

In Psalm 18, David reflects on how God rescued him from the hand of Saul, and he describes God as a mighty fortress in which he took refuge. This is a potent image for us of Christ, who is a refuge for us from God's wrath, death's sting and the devil's accusation. As the Psalm progresses, David describes God as his shield, which was not so much for hiding behind as it was for advancing. The shield is a picture of the faith Jesus gives us as we fight a spiritual battle against the devil and his demons who war against God's people.

Jesus described the devil as an illegal tenant who will take any little piece of territory in the Christian's life that he can get, even though he has no legal right to be there. (Matt 12:44) He gains an access or a foothold, through strategies like condemnation, intimidation, tempting us towards bitterness and malice,  patterns of generational sin and engagement in the occult. (Ephesians 4:26)
By recognizing these strategies as the devil's temptation, repenting of them and submitting to Jesus' loving authority, we give the devil a legal notice of eviction. Because of Jesus' humble death and powerful resurrection, we can advance against a troop. Now is not the time to retreat!

It was Jesus who said to his disciples, when they could not set a boy free from epilepsy brought on by demonic posession, "This kind only comes out through prayer and fasting." (Matt 17) For us, the foothold of the devil might not be as dramatic as the boy with epilepsy. Nevertheless, fasting still remains a means of grace that allows God to reveal and deal with obstinate areas of brokenness and bondage in our lives. Today as we fast and pray, let's bring those very places to God, asking Jesus to search us, convict us by his Holy Spirit, and free us by His power.

A reminder that we will be meeting at 5pm upstairs in the Lights Room for an hour of equipping in the prophetic with Layne Reading, and then gathering together in the Studio at 6:30pm for an hour of  worship and prayer. 

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