No matter how deep you are now, wade in deeper still. Don’t worry about what’s going to get wet. Don’t stop at the point where you can keep your feet underneath you. Get swept away. What are you holding on to? What are your hesitations to living a more Spirit-led life of faith? What illusion of control are you clinging to? Go all in. Pray today that this fast will be just the beginning of a deeper relationship with God. Pray that He will continue to beckon you to dive in and let Him take complete control of your life.
Are you considering continuing your fast or maybe beginning new habits of regular fasting? In this chapter people are wondering if they should continue the fasting calendar they had kept and the Lord answers through Zechariah. Since Moses’ time, God instituted a whole calendar of fasts and feasts. Both were designed to draw His people closer to Him. If drawing closer to God is your goal every day, both times of fasting and feasting can be holy to the Lord. Take time to allow God to speak to you about your fasting experience. Ask God to help you reflect on the ways your fast has softened your heart and influenced you to treat others differently.
Do your heart and flesh feel faint? As you near the end of your fast, think of the marvelous joy of spending this one day in His courts. Praise Him for the ways you are growing and seeking Him more. No matter where you are, read this psalm out loud today as your prayer to God. Personalize it or add to it. Sing it loudly or just whisper.
Tear your hearts instead. You can finish strong by making sure you are weeping and mourning and tearing your heart open wide to allow God’s power and presence to sweep across the landscape of your life. Tell God today that you are baring your heart before His mercy, compassion, and unfailing love. Ask Him to give you the courage to join His advancing army. Ask Him to open your eyes to dreams and visions.
12“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.
15Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
16Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
17Let the priests, who minister before the Lord,
weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”
The Lord’s Answer
18Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
19The Lord replied to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations.
20“I will drive the northern horde far from you,
pushing it into a parched and barren land;
its eastern ranks will drown in the Dead Sea
and its western ranks in the Mediterranean Sea.
And its stench will go up;
its smell will rise.”
Surely he has done great things!
21Do not be afraid, land of Judah;
be glad and rejoice.
Surely the Lord has done great things!
22Do not be afraid, you wild animals,
for the pastures in the wilderness are becoming green.
The trees are bearing their fruit;
the fig tree and the vine yield their riches.
23Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.
24The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.
25“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm —
my great army that I sent among you.
26You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
The Day of the
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
30I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
31The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
32And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.
I can’t wait for this Sunday. We’ve been talking about Momentum for several months and now it’s finally here. While I’m very excited to have Rachel Ramsey Cruze as our guest speaker this weekend, I’m even more excited to see how God is going to use the next nine weeks to begin bringing hope, healing and peace to so many of us here at Cedar Creek and throughout our communities.
The two main questions I’ve been asked over these last few months are “What is Momentum?” and “Why are we doing it?” Those are great questions. For twenty years Cedar Creek Church has focused on providing practical Biblical teaching that people can use in their daily lives and on being a blessing to our community and the world. Momentum allows us to bring both of those core values together. Using Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University study, we can help teach people in simple and practical ways how to honor God with their finances and in doing so, we will be unleashing the generosity of Cedar Creeker’s to radically impact the lost and hurting people all around us for years to come. Imagine what the people of God could do for the Kingdom of God if they were financially free.
The video below gives a great example of how the FPU principles can change lives and leave a legacy for generations. I want everyone to be a part of this. It doesn’t matter what age or season of life you’re in or what your current financial situation is, this stuff will impact your life.
That’s why I’m asking you to make three commitments for Momentum. First, join us at one of our three campuses this Sunday (January 26th) for the kickoff service. Second, begin praying that God would move in your life and in our community over these next nine weeks. And third, get plugged into Home Group or FPU class at your campus to begin the road to financial freedom.
For more information, check out www.momentum.cedarcreekchurch.net.
See ya Sunday!
This is one of the most dazzling stories in the Bible. You can surely relate to the situation these three young men faced–when facts fly in the face of truth. The facts were that they had broken the law, the punishment was death, Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful man in the world, the fire was hot enough to kill a nearby guard, there were plenty more guards to throw them in, and they were either going to bow or burn. Period. But the truth opposed those facts, and truth was what the three men stood upon. The truth was that either their God was going to deliver them or they would willingly die in His service. The truth is that the Son of God walked with them through the flames. What facts are you facing that defy God’s truth? Take the facts to God in prayer today and believe with boldness that your God will be with you in the fire.
The title of today’s reading is A Psalm of Fearless Trust in God. It talks about seeking one thing. During this time of seeking, it’s easy to focus on seeking things from God instead of just seeking God–to seek His hand and not His face. Think of the difference between approaching a king to kiss his hand and approaching a loving father to kiss his face. God is both our King and Father. He is capable of meeting your needs and answering your prayers. But He also loves you more deeply than you can ever know. When you seek His face, you end up in a much closer posture to Him. Pray today that you will seek God’s face and get closer to Him than you ever have before.
You’re starting the third and final week of your fast. If you’re fasting with a group, take time to reflect together and celebrate what God has begun. If you’ve been fasting alone, be sure to write down your experiences. Even though you may feel like you’re in a groove now, for many this final week will be harder than the others. Ask God to search you and begin to shine a light on all the dark corners of your heart. Ask Him to use this last week to refine you and cleanse you.