This is my text of today’s Facebook Live devotional:
After the fast…
Good morning everyone – welcome to Day 19 of our 21-days of Prayer & Fasting. While I still dislike fasting as much as ever (maybe more so), I will be the first to admit that these days have created a momentum at CLC and hopefully for you in your walk with the Lord as well.
In fact, I want to talk to you about next week (and the weeks after) once the prayer & fasting is over. Too many times (at least in my personal experience), once an event is over, we have a tendency to move on to the next thing. It’s easy for us to go back to unhealthy eating habits and a lessening of spiritual fervor after the fast – but I want to encourage you to be like the shepherds in the first Christmas story.
Luke 2:15 says, “When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
See, it’s one thing to be excited, stirred or even dedicated while the angels are around (so to speak ) – during these last 19 days we’ve had special prayer events, early morning prayer meetings at the TP campus and the encouragement from others who are fasting with us – which all adds up to a heightened awareness of God’s Presence that made it easier (not easy, but ‘er’) for us to maintain our spiritual disciplines. By the way, if you experienced some spiritual warfare because of the fast instead of an angelic visitation, and you’ve been miserable the last few weeks, well, humor me, because the principle I’m addressing is still the same. Here it is:
I’m encouraging all of us to follow the example of the shepherds who had that amazing experience of seeing & hearing a multitude of angels, announcing the birth of their Savior, then had to deal with their absence after those angels returned to heaven. What did they do? They hurried to act on what they had heard about!
I’ve heard several wonderful testimonies from CLC’ers during the fast – stories of a new sense of self-discipline that spilled over to other areas besides eating; stories of physical healing (even victory in losing some stubborn pounds), and stories of answers to prayer that could only be a result of God’s intervention. But what I’m reminding us is that when the fast ends, what God wants to do with us is just getting started!
I’m determined to remain disciplined, not only for the final two days of our fast, but afterwards – by spending time with Him in prayer and with His Word, and I hope you will, too. And if you ‘heard’ some specifics from the Lord during this fast, be like the shepherds – don’t delay, but act on what you heard from Him.
I’ve thought several times in the last few weeks about the first church corporate fast I ever remember being a part of. I had fasted on many occasions before that, but in the fall of 1974 our pastor called our entire church on a 3-day juice fast that ended with a midweek service, and it’s that service that I still remember, over 43y later! In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a local church service as powerful as that night – with addictions broken, people baptized in the Holy Spirit, healings manifesting, and an overwhelming sense of God’s Presence in the room. I’m convinced that all of that was a result of the corporate UNITY during our fast!
That’s exactly what I’m expecting this Sunday when we gather at each CLC location. Our pastors have planned a service that allows plenty of time for prayer and a great move of the Holy Spirit, and I hope you’ll come expecting with me.