Regaining the power of the Church

The rebukes of Jesus to his disciples constantly challenge me. I am especially challenged when he points out their “little faith” or “no faith.”

In Matthew 17, after Jesus has come down from the transfiguration event, the disciples have been confronted with a situation they can’t handle. The trouble they have is they experienced the spiritual battle with demons before and had cast out demons, but now this particular situation wasn’t working out the same.

Continue reading “Regaining the power of the Church”

New Wine, New Wineskins

21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.” (Mark 2:21,22)

The power of the Kingdom of God is knowing WHEN to do WHAT.

The Pharisees had a lot of man-made rules for good disciplines. Kingdom power is about knowing when to use those disciplines. It is about the law on the heart, not on stone tablets. There is a time to fast. There is a time to feast. (The subjects being addressed by the Pharisees in this passage.)

The new wineskin is this: knowing how to use good forms in timing with the rhythm of the Kingdom. Fasting is good. Feasting is good. Knowing when those forms take place is Kingdom power.

 

The urge to give up

The urge to give up a fast or some other deeper commitment comes early. It’s because we are soft. The enemy punches quickly to see if we can be pushed back into mediocrity. The earliest part of the spiritual commitment is the easiest place.

For me, when it comes to a fast, or a modified fast, the enemy punches early because I am indeed soft. If he can slap me back into my mediocre spiritual life quickly, it’s little effort on his part. It’s an easy win.

But if I will persist… and therein lies the rub.

Last week we had a Sacred Assembly and it was a powerful service. The Lord had given me some specific words to pray over the congregation. It caused a spiritual release… and a severe spiritual battle… all at the same time.

So as the week has progressed, it has done so horribly… at least from a human perspective. As the week has gone along and the battles intensify, the Spirit simply asks, “What did you expect?”

The urge to give up here is incredible. It is attractive. It is desirable. 

This is a key point in a battle. If the punch from the enemy stings enough, we may just slip back into our comfort zones.

In this stage, I’m not throwing many punches. I’m taking a few. But as I persist the reality comes: Those “punches” were more like slaps. While I think the enemy is really punching me at this point, I will look back on this and realize he was only flicking me in the ear. Tougher battles lie ahead if I persist.

Oh, joy.

That is the nature of walking with God. The closer you walk with him, the more severe the attacks of the enemy until the walk becomes so precious, the enemy is silenced. It’s not that he quits attacking, but the perspective changes drastically. I realize war is just part of the deal but my Deliverer has me.

I anchor my soul to this verse today:

You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Ps. 32:7)

I hate fasting

There. I said it.

People used to think I actually liked it. But it’s been so long since I’ve walked in intentional fasting, or a modified fast like this one for Lent, I now remember why I have let this practice slip.

I hate fasting.

When I step into this discipline with purpose there is nothing good that comes of it in the beginning. My attitude stinks. My wants go through the roof. I have a hunger for things I’d never eat otherwise, or I want to do stupid things that wreck my emotions.

What is the deal with fasting? Why does this bring the worst out in me? No wonder I quit doing this on a regular basis! It’s just silliness!

If you think I’m now about to reveal something “super spiritual” about the REAL reason for fasting… it won’t be happening today.

Today, I hate fasting.

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