How Hungry Are You?

Do you ever ask yourself this question, “how hungry am I for God?” How do we measure our hunger? A few days ago, the Lord spoke to my heart and said “thousands will flock to hear a man speak, but few will come to hear me speak to them. “. I knew immediately, He was speaking of a time of prayer. He continued on and again said “Prayer is the indicator of our hunger.” When we are hungry for God we will pursue Him in prayer.

The Scriptures tell us in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first His kingdom or His ways of being righteous. But for some reason this seems so difficult for us. We spend so much time seeking after things that have disguised themselves as the true longing of our souls and we do not recognize that these things are not the innate longing that God placed within us when we were created, i.e., the longing for Him alone. For Christians, it is often difficult to recognize that we are pursuing the wrong thing because the things we often pursue are not evil things, but actually the very blessings God has given to us. So instead of being overcome with blessing because we have diligently pursued God (Deut 28), we become the pursuer of the blessing and God is removed from the throne of our heart as first priority. So we find ourselves always searching for that thing, that moment, that experience and we are never fully satisfied because God is the only One who can satisfy our hunger.

Why don’t we hunger more for God? There are parallels in our natural life that give us some answers and there are many reasons why we may have lost our hunger.    Here are just three of the potential hunger thieves:

First, we are feeding ourselves on junk food. Junk food is food that is empty in true nutrition, but provides a quick curbing of our appetite. Junk food is fast, attractively packaged, and easy to find. It’s on every corner in most cities and the children especially love to visit the places that provide junk food because there is usually a “toy” in every package that is designed just for them and the fact that the food is not healthy is not as important as the child getting the “toy” in their “kid’s pack”. Also, with junk food, you can “have it your way” and we become Burger King Christians who demand it our way or complain if we don’t get it. And if we don’t, we move around to find another place that will make it the way we want it. Junk Food Christianity is simply any diet of ministry that is outside of the truth of God’s Word. It’s the watered down message that is provided so as not to offend. Unfortunately the gospel will offend and thank God it does. It will offend us out of hell, poverty, sickness, bondage and misery. Junk food Christianity is the busy activities that are packaged in a way to attract but really do nothing to promote health and growth. Junk food Christianity is the powerless gospel that entertains and never changes lives and is more concerned about appearance than substance.

Secondly, distractions in life cause us to lose our hunger for God. Distraction is the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction and is caused by the inability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; and the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. (wikipedia) In Luke 10 Jesus told Martha she was very distracted with many things, but Mary who was resting at the feet of Jesus, had found the best thing and it would not be taken from her. Distractions are the cares and anxieties of life that choke the life out of us (Mark 4:19) and we find ourselves running around busy, like Martha, and not taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Instead of giving Him first place in our life, we give Him what is left over, if anything.

Thirdly, a cause of lack of hunger is complacency, or just being satisfied with the way things are. A.W. Tozer said: “Religious complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God.” Complacency will deceive us into thinking that all is well when actually we are lost in our very hearts. Five of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 found themselves without oil and not ready to meet the bridegroom. In Matthew 7, there were many who were deceived in thinking they were pleasing God because of the great works they were doing in Jesus name, yet they were not doing the will of God. And Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that the very elect would be deceived. All because of complacency and thinking all was well when in essence they had fallen asleep and did not have hunger enough for God to hear His voice and follow His will and way. God will always whisper before He roars and if we are complacent in our attitude toward Him, we will not hear the whisper and have to experience the roar as our lives become devastated because we missed all the signals that could have precluded disaster or destruction in many areas.

So what is your hunger level? How passionate are you in your pursuit of God? An indicator is your prayer life? How much time do you spend with Him and not in just giving Him your grocery list of “do this for me” but of actually spending time with Him, loving Him, adoring Him, honoring Him?

If you admit that you are not hungry, then find someone who is and get a whiff of the aroma of hunger for God and see how it affects you. Begin to eliminate distractions in your life that interfere with time with Him. Begin to eliminate junk food from your diet and get into the real meat of the Word of God and not just those quickie fast food meal packages that only satisfy temporarily and put on the fat. And finally, pray for a renewed first love. God will answer you because He is full of mercy and grace and wants to have relationship with you and He desires to “sup with you” on a daily basis.  Let’s get hungry for Him!

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

How Hungry Are You?

Do you ever ask yourself this question, “how hungry am I for God?” How do we measure our hunger? A few days ago, the Lord spoke to my heart and said “thousands will flock to hear a man speak, but few will come to hear me speak to them. “. I knew immediately, He was speaking of a time of prayer. He continued on and again said “Prayer is the indicator of our hunger.” When we are hungry for God we will pursue Him in prayer.

The Scriptures tell us in Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 6:33 tells us to seek first His kingdom or His ways of being righteous. But for some reason this seems so difficult for us. We spend so much time seeking after things that have disguised themselves as the true longing of our souls and we do not recognize that these things are not the innate longing that God placed within us when we were created, i.e., the longing for Him alone. For Christians, it is often difficult to recognize that we are pursuing the wrong thing because the things we often pursue are not evil things, but actually the very blessings God has given to us. So instead of being overcome with blessing because we have diligently pursued God (Deut 28), we become the pursuer of the blessing and God is removed from the throne of our heart as first priority. So we find ourselves always searching for that thing, that moment, that experience and we are never fully satisfied because God is the only One who can satisfy our hunger.

Why don’t we hunger more for God? There are parallels in our natural life that give us some answers and there are many reasons why we may have lost our hunger, but here are three potential hunger thieves:

First, we are feeding ourselves on junk food. Junk food is food that is empty in true nutrition, but provides a quick curbing of our appetite. Junk food is fast, attractively packaged, and easy to find. It’s on every corner in most cities and the children especially love to visit the places that provide junk food because there is usually a “toy” in every package that is designed just for them and the fact that the food is not healthy is not as important as the child getting the “toy” in their “kid’s pack”. Also, with junk food, you can “have it your way” and we become Burger King Christians who demand it our way or complain if we don’t get it. And if we don’t, we move around to find another place that will make it the way we want it. Junk Food Christianity is simply any diet of ministry that is outside of the truth of God’s Word. It’s the watered down message that is provided so as not to offend. Unfortunately the gospel will offend and thank God it does. It will offend us out of hell, poverty, sickness, bondage and misery. Junk food Christianity is the busy activities that are packaged in a way to attract but really do nothing to promote health and growth. Junk food Christianity is the powerless gospel that entertains and never changes lives and is more concerned about appearance than substance.

Secondly, distractions in life cause us to lose our hunger for God. Distraction is the divided attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction and is caused by the inability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; and the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention. Distractions come from both external sources, and internal sources. (wikipedia) In Luke 10 Jesus told Martha she was very distracted with many things, but Mary who was resting at the feet of Jesus, had found the best thing and it would not be taken from her. Distractions are the cares and anxieties of life that choke the life out of us (Mark 4:19) and we find ourselves running around busy, like Martha, and not taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Instead of giving Him first place in our life, we give Him what is left over, if anything.

Thirdly, a cause of lack of hunger is complacency, or just being satisfied with the way things are. A.W. Tozer said: “Religious complacency is encountered almost everywhere among Christians these days. Among the many who profess the Christian faith, scarcely one in a thousand reveals any passionate thirst for God.” Complacency will deceive us into thinking that all is well when actually we are lost in our very hearts. Five of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 found themselves without oil and not ready to meet the bridegroom. In Matthew 7, there were many who were deceived in thinking they were pleasing God because of the great works they were doing in Jesus name, yet they were not doing the will of God. And Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 that the very elect would be deceived. All because of complacency and thinking all was well when in essence they had fallen asleep and did not have hunger enough for God to hear His voice and follow His will and way. God will always whisper before He roars and if we are complacent in our attitude toward Him, we will not hear the whisper and have to experience the roar as our lives become devastated because we missed all the signals that could have precluded disaster or destruction in many areas.

So what is your hunger level? How passionate are you in your pursuit of God? An indicator is your prayer life? How much time do you spend with Him and not just giving Him your grocery list of “do this for me” but of actually spending time with Him, loving Him, adoring Him, honoring Him? If you admit that you are not hungry, then find someone who is and get a whiff of the aroma of hunger for God and see how it affects you. Begin to eliminate distractions in your life that interfere with time with Him. Begin to eliminate junk food from your diet and get into the real meat of the Word of God and not just those quickie fast food meal packages that only satisfy temporarily and put on the fat. And finally, pray for a renewed first love. God will answer you because He is full of mercy and grace and wants to have relationship with you and He desires to “sup with you” on a daily basis.

 

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

FAST2012: Day 21

Day 21: See His Glory

2 Corinthians 3:18 
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Today we complete our journey of twenty one days of fasting and seeking God for breakthrough. We have the promise of God that His Spirit will take us from one level of glory to another and from Glory to Glory, we are being transformed into His image. It is the will of God that we look like His Son. It is the predetermined plan that we be conformed to His image and it is by His Spirit that this transformation takes place.

Today is not the end, but the beginning of what lies ahead for us. We have completed this segment of our journey and now we continue on, moving closer and closer to His likeness. What have you gained in the past twenty one days? More power? More intimacy with Him? A calmer spirit man? More self-confidence? Maybe some of you feel that you have not been as successful as you would have liked to have been. Do not concern yourself because the Lord is there to continue the work He began nearly three weeks ago and He is committed to seeing it to completion (Phil. 1:6). Not a one of your failures has shaken God. Not a one of your failures caused a star to fall from the sky or the earth to shift its axis. Why? It is because all of creation is upheld by His Word of Power (Heb. 1:3) and is not dependent upon your success or failure. God Is! And we find our purpose and destiny in realizing He Is. All that we have is because He Is. Our desire to be like Him is because He Is and He gave us that desire.

His Spirit will take us from one degree of glory to another as we continue on in our journey of life. What a glorious experience to be privileged to come into His Presence and pursue Him. What a privilege to have the right to be called His child (John 1:12). What a privilege to behold His face and to be allowed to become like Him. What a privilege!

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

FAST2012: DAY 20

Day 20: Walking by Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7
for we walk by faith, not by sight.

“It was nighttime. The instruments indicated to the crew of the Lady B’ Good—a World War II bomber returning from her very first combat mission—that they had passed over their home base. According to the results of an investigation made many years later, the crew believed they were still far from their destination, failing to realize a tail wind had speeded their arrival. The pilot had climbed above the inclement weather, where a tail wind sent them whizzing past home base far ahead of schedule. Disbelieving the plane’s instrument readings, they traveled on until they finally ran out of gas over the Libyan desert—more than 100 miles past their mark. They parachuted to the ground, and for days, walked in the burning desert. Eventually they all died from hunger, thirst and exposure; their remains were found in the desert. When the wreckage of the Lady B’ Good was found by an oil exploration crew deep within the Libyan Desert 17 years later, their instruments were all in working order. She had been a loyal and true friend, but her crew had failed to trust her flight instruments. Their lack of trust resulted in death.” (Taken from “Harmony of Science and Scripture)

Do we every mistrust our flight instruments? The Bible and the Holy Spirit are our instrument panel and we must learn to trust in how they are guiding us or we may end up with similar results. The most important thing concerning any mode of navigation is knowing where we are at any given moment. As we plant the Word of God into our hearts and allow Holy Spirit to be our guide, they will keep us on route and moving in the right direction. Remember, we walk by faith and not by the things we see. It is faith in His Faithfulness that will keep us going in the right direction.

 Mark 11:22
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

FAST2012: Day 19

Day 19: Preparing to Cross Over

Joshua 1:11
Pass through the camp and command the people, Prepare your provisions, for within three days you shall pass over
this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.

It is now day 19 and in three days the fast will conclude. Three days and we will be crossing over to take that which we began our fast to accomplish. There’s nothing super spiritual about the word provision, it simply means a collection of food. The children of Israel were told to prepare to cross over…take what you need, get your food collected and get ready to go because the Lord IS GIVING you a land to possess.

We’ve been on this fast now for 19 days. Some days have been better than others, but we’ve continued the journey and it’s now time for us to prepare to take possession of the land we had in view from day one. We have the privilege of seeing in hindsight what the Israelites encountered as they crossed over into the land. Was it different than what they expected? I can only image what must have been in many of their minds as they were crossing over the Jordan River. Surely they had images of peace, rest, and plenty. But what did they find? Immediately they found their supernatural supply of food stopped and war was imminent for them. Their first battle was Jericho, followed by Ai. Here they learned some difficult lessons of trusting God and obedience.

How does this relate to us? As we wind down our fast and prepare to enter into the promise of God, we will encounter opposition. If you have been believing for breakthrough in areas of your life, you must move forward with God and take what is yours. Remember, there was an enemy occupying what God had promised Israel and they had to be displaced. With each battle, God gave Israel strategy and He will do the same for you. Listen to His voice as you move out of the time of fasting and wait for His instructions on receiving what has been promised to you. God sent a fear of Israel into the hearts of the enemy and He will do the same for you. You are coming out of this time of fasting in power and authority and the enemy knows you will prevail.

Let’s not back up or back down, but keep moving forward in what has been promised. Don’t stop until you have everything the Lord has promised to you. Much like children, we must learn “first time obedience” and we will see many walls fall in our lives. When the children of Israel finally crossed over into the land, it was only the beginning, not the end. As we conclude our fast, it is only the beginning, not the end. You will begin to receive the promise of God for you as you move forward with Him. You are better equipped than when you began your journey, so GET READY!


By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

Fast2012: Day 18

Day 18: PUSH

Psalm 44:5
Through You shall we push down our enemies; through Your name shall
we tread them under who rise up against us.

We are in the transition phase of our fast now with only 4 more days. Just before giving birth, women find themselves in this same stage called transition. It is the most difficult, but the shortest stage of labor and the most uncomfortable, with contractions coming more quickly and more intensely. It is during this phase that a woman will begin to feel the pressure of the new birth that is to come and will often not know what to do except to push.

You may feel the same way in your fast. You are now in the transition phase and you may be feeling the pressure to return back to some old habits, attitudes or mindsets. You may not know what to do, but just as the expectant mother, you can PUSH. The enemy will begin to attack your mind more quickly and more intensely as you progress toward the end. The enemy will want to convince you to give up in the last leg of your journey and he will put the pressure on you to fall back to your old ways.

But you can PUSH. The psalmist declares that through God you can push down your enemies and through His name, you can tread them under your feet. Don’t stop now, but PUSH. PUSH your way through the pressure and attacks of the enemy knowing that you have already been given the victory through Christ.   Declare your victory in Him.  Proclaim His Word over your life and think about what lies ahead. 

Psalm 108:13 
Through and with God we shall do valiantly, for He it is Who shall tread down our adversaries.

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

Fast2012: Day 17

Day 17: A Day of Emptying

Genesis 32:30
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God], saying, For I have seen God face to face, and my life is spared and not snatched away.

The story of Jacob’s return back to his own land is surely one of the most inspiring in OT history. He has been away from his homeland for nearly twenty years, acquired two wives and children of his own and now he is ready to meet the brother that drove him away two decades before. What great fear Jacob must have felt as he anticipated the reunion. But, before coming to that place of meeting, Jacob needed one more encounter with God and he finds himself at a crossing. The name of the place is Jabbok, which means in the Hebrew language “emptying”. This is symbolic of where Jacob was in his relationship with God.

Before Jacob could encounter God he needed to come to a place where he emptied all of self out of the way. Jacob was still Jacob the trickster, supplanter, schemer and this had to go. Jacob was a major part of the God’s plan for the history of His people because he was to be the progenitor of the twelve tribes of Israel, but Jacob the schemer had to go. God needed the new man Jacob instead of the old. So Jacob contended with God until the Lord let him go and in the process the old Jacob was destroyed and Israel was birthed.

As we are entering into day 17 of our fast, we are quickly approaching the final return back to the place we began. Are you still the same person who began the fast or have you contended with God? Do you need to empty yourself before God and let him wrestle out of you the old fleshly ways? Do you wonder what would have happened at the reunion of Jacob and Esau had Jacob not come to face to face with God? Jacob’s destiny was to become the patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel, God’s nation of people. But, Jacob the schemer could not fill that role. What in you needs to change before you can take your place in God’s planned destiny for you? As we wind down our journey, let’s empty ourselves and ask God to wrestle from us those fleshly ways that we are hanging onto and rise up new and ready to go forward in 2012.


By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

Fast2012: Day 16

Day 16: Holding On to the Word of God

James 1:21
.. and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

The children of Israel had been led out of Egypt by the hand of Moses. They had seen the armies of Egypt destroyed by the hand of God. They had experienced the bitter waters turned sweet and manna from heaven and now they find themselves at a place called Rephidim faced once again with no water and they become angry to the point that Moses fears they might stone him (Exodus 17:1-4). We read this story and wonder why the Israelites were so rebellious and unbelieving. Surely they remembered the great victories from the recent days. Yet, each new problem brings a fresh requirement of faith and once again the Israelites fail the test.

A little research reveals an interesting truth. Hebrew words usually carry a much deeper meaning that is generally seen at first glance. According to Jewish tradition, the word Rephidim is a contraction of Hebrew words that means literally, “they loosened their grip on the Torah (Word of God) . Do we ever loosen our grip on the Word of God, His promises to us? What happens to us when we let go of God’s Word? Exodus 17:8 tells us that Amalek came and fought with the Israelites. How interesting the timing of the enemy’s attack. Israel was in a place of testing and they chose to let go of the promise of God (Exodus 15:26) and then the enemy shows up. Sound familiar?

The Jewish Talmud teaches that Amalek personified all evil and was on the different end of life’s spectrum than the Jews. They believed there was no design or providence in life and everything happed by fate rather than God’s design. When we loosen our grip on the Word of God, we are throwing our life to fate, to happenstance and to uncertainty. We open ourselves up for the enemy to attack us in our area of weakness. Amalek attacked Israel in times past from the rear when the Israelites were tired and weary and least expecting the attack and Amalek did not fear God (Deut. 25:17-18). This is how the enemy will come at us today, when we least expect it and from our point of weakness.

This is a powerful lesson for us to learn concerning the importance of holding onto the Word of God. What do you need in your life today? The answer is found in the Word of God. It is not enough to have His Word in our heads, we must have His Word implanted in our hearts. It is the “implanted Word that is able to save our souls.” It is the implanted Word of God that brings deliverance, safety, provision, and promise. As you enter into day 16, ask yourself if you have a firm grip on the implanted Word of God. Stir up your faith by speaking His Word over your life and begin to see things change and don’t let go!

Deuteronomy 32:46–47 (Amplified)
46 He said to them, Set your [minds and] hearts on all the words which I command you this day, that you may command them to your children, that they may be watchful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is not an empty and worthless trifle for you; it is your [very] life. By it you shall live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to possess.

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

Fast2012: Day 15

Day 15: Pressing On

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

I am reminded of the great movie Secretariat that was in the theaters over a year ago.   In the final stretch at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat  pulled away from the others to create a record breaking distance from his nearest contender. What a great scene as everyone’s face showed their disbelief as Secretariat did what no other horse had ever done and what some thought was impossible.  Some believe that Secretariat knew how important it was to win that race and was showing the world his great strength and endurance.

We are in the final stretch of our twenty one day fast and it’s time to turn on the heat and leave behind those “contenders of our souls”. You may not think you have the endurance or the strength to finally let go of those things that have hindered your walk with God, but deep inside of you there is a reservoir of power that has been placed within you by the Holy Spirit and this power will explode in your inner man as you make the final turn toward your goal.

We can learn a few things from this true story. First Secretariat had an owner who believed in him. You too have an owner who has fully invested Himself to show you how much He values and believes in you. That owner is God and He sent His Son to reclaim you for His own and His Spirit to empower you for the race. (John 3:16; Acts 1:8).

Secondly, Secretariat was focused on the prize, the Triple Crown. During a race, a horse will wear side blinders to prevent him from becoming distracted and scared. You too must put on your spiritual blinders to keep your hearts and minds focused on acquiring the prize at the end of the final stretch.

Lastly, Secretariat had a competent guide, his jockey Ron Turcotte.  You have been given the Holy Spirit as your Counselor and Guide to lead you victoriously to the finish line. So, continue on and press in during this final stretch, knowing you will receive the great prize awaiting you. And, don’t forget you have your crowd in the stands as well. Hebrews 12:1 tells us there is a great cloud of witnesses pulling for you. These are the ones who have run their race ahead of you and who know it can be done and they are cheering you on from their seats above. RUN YOUR RACE!

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012

Fast2012: Day 14

Day 14: Turning Point

Romans 4:3
What we read in Scripture is, “Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point.
He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own.”

 A turning point is a point in time where a very significant change occurs. It is a decisive moment in our lives where something significant happens that will cause such a shift that we never return back to the old way. With the football playoffs underway, we may see a turning point such as an interception that turns the momentum and favor towards a particular team causing them to go on and win the game. Or a more serious turning point was the terrorist attack on Sept 11, 2001 in New York city. This event changed the way we live our life in this nation.

But there can also be numerous turning points in our life. Certainly births, marriages, deaths, graduations, and new careers are key turning points in our lives where one chapter ends and another begins. One of the most significant of any turning point should be the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The Scripture tells us that Abraham entered into what God was doing for him and that was a turning point in his life. . How did Abraham enter into what God was doing? We see in Genesis 15:6 And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.”  Abram believed what God said.

A simple decision to believe God will get us going in the right direction. Abram entered into what God was doing by believing His Word. What has God said to you that you have not fully embraced? His Word declares many things about you. For example, He declared you to be righteous through the blood of Jesus ( 1 Cor. 1:30), yet you may be believing that tape that plays in your head telling you the opposite.  A major turning point for your life will be when you fully embrace and enter into what God says about you. Regardless of past mistakes, God’s Word assures you of forgiveness and right standing with Him, through Christ (Col 1:22).

Have you entered into what God wants to do in your life or are you still bound by your own guilt, traditions, opinions and mindsets? As you enter into day 14, why not make a decision that today will be the turning point in your life when you choose to fully partner with God in bringing you to that place of destiny and purpose. Begin to see yourself the way God sees you and walk in that assurance and watch and see what God will do for you!

By Pastor Donna Wise Posted in Fast2012