PT’s Blog

PT’s Blog

Save me from myself, O Lord

Here’s a great prayer for you today to stay focused!

Quiet your heart before you begin. Be still and know that He is God
(Psalm 46:10).

Father, thank You for the promise of Your Word that as I come near to You, You will come near to me. Thank You for the blessing that is mine as I seek hard after You. But I come to You Heavenly Father confessing that I have allowed other loves to stand in the way of my relationship with You. I have often come near to You with my mouth and have said the right words, and yet my heart has remained distant from You, hard and untouched by Your Spirit. Help me Father! Be merciful to me, for I long to be one who seeks You with all of my heart, and finds You.

May I not draw near to You and then retreat again to lesser loves. Save me from myself I pray – from self-righteousness, self-provision and selfishness. Strengthen me to remain in You, to learn to abide in You, so that I can bear spiritual fruit, for I know that I can do nothing unless I am abiding in Christ Jesus.

Empower me by Your Spirit to earnestly seek You. May my longing to draw near to You be reflected in my thought life, what I allow myself to read and see, the music I listen to, the conversations I engage in, how I conduct myself in my home, neighborhood or work, and when I think no one is watching. In all of these things and so many more-teach me what it means to live and move and have my very being in You alone. I invite You Holy Spirit, to break-up the unplowed ground of my heart, that it might become a fertile field in which Your Word can grow. Soften my heart again I pray, that I might more clearly hear Your voice and walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Read:
James 4:8; Psalm 34:10;
Isaiah 29:13; Jeremiah 29:13;
John 15:4, 5; Hebrews 11:6;
Acts 17:28; Jeremiah 4:3:
Matthew 13:18-23

From the Pray the Word mobile application. Download for free at the iOS App Store: http://bit.ly/1aGufFh or the Google Play Store: http://bit.ly/1HESroL . For additional Pray the Word resources visit our website: www.praytheword.net. Copyright 2015 Evangelical Church of Bangkok

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21 DAY FAST – DAY TWENTY-ONE

Congratulations you did it! – 21 Days of seeking God in prayer and fasting.

I would like to share  a blog with you from Jentezen Franklin that really says what I am sensing:

“As Christians, we love the Old Testament story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho because God teaches us so much through that miracle. The soldiers marched around the walls for seven days, then blew the Shofar horn, screamed and walls came tumbling down… just like God said it would.

As we’ve been going through the fast, I have strongly felt that many of you are at a crossroads or transition. And when God is going to do something powerful in your life, He will always challenge your comfort zone just as He did Joshua and the Israelites.

Even though the children of Israel were already in the Promised Land, they still had to fight the enemy to keep it. When you get close to your place of promise, the resistance gets greater. You can count on it!

Here’s what has been on my mind for you during this fast… inside those walls of Jericho was a “power relationship” for the nation of Israel that they didn’t even understand at the time. Inside those walls was the great, great grandmother of Jesus Christ. A harlot named Rahab whose destiny was tied up with the Jews, and she was a gentile. What if they had disobeyed? What if they decided the resistance was too hard? What if they had taken the easy route and walked away from their Jericho?

What miracles wait inside your wall of Jericho? For your business? Your marriage? Your family? Your health? Don’t give up! You’ve met walls of resistance, but during this fast those walls are already cracking. Trust Him. Praise Him in your personal time of worship today.”

Let’s expect Miracles in 2016! This fast has not been ordinary; it has encouraged and empowered us. I am hearing of reports on blessings, healing, breakthroughs, and miracles.

If your miracle hasn’t already happened, don’t give up. Believe that 2016 will be a year of growing closer to God than ever before and bringing answers for your BEST YEAR EVER. I will continue to pray for you.

Thanks for joining me on this journey,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY TWENTY

DAY 20!!!!!!
Can you believe it!! We’re almost there… congratulations!!  I am so thankful to have joined with you on this 21 Day journey. I want to encourage you today to stay focused on finishing strong and remaining strong for 2016.

This fast is not a religious event that we “check off” on a to do list, it is one of the seeds sown for a harvest for you to have THE BEST YEAR EVER!

I love the encouragement that Paul writes about in

Galatians 6:9 (MSG) 
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”

Fasting is not a tool for manipulating God to doing what you want, when you want. If you view it that way and “IT” doesn’t occur at your appointed time, you might give up and miss what God planned for you.

To get a harvest, there has to be a time of sowing. Don’t get fatigued in the season of sowing, miracles and breakthrough happen by your persistent sowing AND expecting a harvest in return.

You reap what you sow. The Bible says that whatever your hands find to DO, DO it solely as unto God. I simply want to encourage everyone to continue serving the Lord, and to stay strong in your fast until the very end.

God rewards those who diligently seek Him. To seek something requires action.

During these past 20 days you have been sowing some incredible seeds of faith and prayer. It will be at the RIGHT TIME that your GOOD crop will come in, but the key is to remember that God’s time is always the right time.

Don’t be discouraged if prayers aren’t answered when you think they should be. You must trust that God has everything under control and that He will release the good crop when it is time. Don’t allow yourself to get fatigued and tired while waiting for the answer.

I believe many answers will be experienced during this Sunday and First Wednesday Services – don’t miss it, prepare for it, and EXPECT great things from God!

Anticipating a harvest for THE BEST YEAR EVER!!

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY NINETEEN

Yesterday we examined Isaiah 58:8 and discovered some of the great benefits to those who fast and seek God. Today I want to continue to look at this chapter and discover additional blessings coming your way.

Isaiah 58:8-9 (NKJV) 
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

“The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard”
We often focus on the Lord leading us, but in this verse He is our rearguard or as someone said “The Backer-upper”. His favor goes before us and the glory of the Lord comes behind us as our protector. Nothing outside of His will can sneak up on us – He has your back!

“Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer”.
Because you have spent time in fasting and seeking God, He says that your prayers will be answered speedily. Fasting is one way to add persistence to our petitions. I love the power in this benefit – You call and He answers. During the fast, your will has been surrendered to His will so you are in agreement and alignment and you can walk out your assignment.

Isaiah 58:10-11 (NKJV) 
10 Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you continually…

“Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday”.
No matter how dark the day, your light will shine. If you have felt “lost” and unsure of your direction, God promises to shine the light on your pathway, the darkness fades away with the noonday brilliance.

“The LORD will guide you continually”.
After the season of fasting; guidance and direction become clear. I think that for the rest of the year you will walk in divine guidance. It will be clear to you exactly where God is leading you.

Begin to confess these promises in your daily prayer time. Draw your promise circle around these promises and don’t let these benefits slip from your focus.

Expecting GREAT things,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY EIGHTEEN

Isaiah 58 is the chapter in the Bible that tells about the type of fast that pleases God and it lists specific results to expect.

Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”

The first promise:
“your light will break forth like the dawn”.

I think this speaks of the dawning of a new day, a reawakening of spiritual insights and fresh revelation. I have been hearing many testimonies of this happening. As you read the Word, you see with revelation insight the things that you never realized before.

The second promise:
“your healing will quickly appear”.

I think this includes spiritual, as well as, physical healing. I anticipate miracles that will occur during and after this fast for the glory of God. I like the part “quickly appear”. I know many who have prayed and waited, but get ready for a quick appearing of your healing.

The third promise:
“your righteousness will go before you”.

I believe this speaks of the life of influence you will have as a result of fasting and praying. If there ever was a time the world needed to see godly examples to follow, it is today. There have been too many inconsistencies among believers.

We will examine the other promises in tomorrow’s blog. But take time now to pray for the rewards we see listed here. Not only pray, but begin to expect the unexpected to occur in your life and at TFH.

I am sensing an unusual expectation for our upcoming Sunday Worship Experience and 1st Wednesday Service. I hope you are planning on being with us for both!

Enjoying the journey,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY SEVENTEEN

Someone recently told me, “this week I have faced such temptation to quit.”

Day 17 is NOT the day to quit, we want to make it to the end and finish STRONG!

Quitting is not an option for us. When you begin to think about quitting, you start talking about quitting and usually it won’t take long before you actually quit.

I’m here to encourage you today that you don’t have to quit. Let God give you “Finishing Strength” today.

Hebrews 10:39 says,
“But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way”.

It starts with focus. We need to get our eyes off the immediate and see the reward ahead. It is possible to be so focused on what we aren’t eating that we spend the day looking down instead of up.

I love how this next scripture says it –

 Colossians 3:2
“Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.”

No matter what it is in life, if the option to give up and quit is available, you entertain the option of quitting when things get tough and challenging. We need to understand that we are in a spiritual battle and the enemy will throw everything he can at you because he doesn’t want you to pursue a greater knowledge of Jesus.

Today I remind you that you are more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ.

The writer of Hebrews gives us some encouraging thoughts,

Hebrews 10:35-39
“So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion… But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.”

Blessings,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY SIXTEEN

I am so thankful that you are continuing on this 21 Day journey of fasting and prayer. I think I need to remind you that not every day will be filled with extreme spiritual encounters, some days you just do what you have committed to do.

Yesterday was a day like that for me. My prayers weren’t filled with great emotional feelings or new revelations. It was one of those days I sowed the seed of prayer and commitment, knowing that one day I will reap a harvest from it.

Maturity as a believer in Christ is when I consistently make the decision to be obedient to what God’s Word says, rather than the way that I feel.  There are going to be times when obedience isn’t the easy thing or the fun thing… but it’s always the RIGHT thing.

Our feelings often change based on what we eat or DON’T EAT. But God’s Word DOES NOT CHANGE… it is both constant and consistent… and when we place ourselves in submission to HIS WORD rather than our world of feelings, greater things are in store.

I may not feel like forgiving someone because of what they have done to me. However, God’s Word commands me to love and forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32
‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’

Matthew 6:14,15
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I may not feel like sharing Christ with someone or inviting them to church. However, Jesus gave us a command to obey, regardless of our feelings.

Matthew 28:18-20
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” 

Mark 16:15
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 

Those are just a couple of examples to remind us that we can’t be dictated by our feelings.

So, let’s just choose to fix our eyes and thoughts on Jesus and His Word and always make the RIGHT decision.

Staying the course,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY FIFTEEN

Yesterday @ TFH we were reminded that we are to PRAY FIRST and prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word. It really is our task, but many times it is an all out battle against things that try to crowd out God’s Word.

Thank God that He has more than equipped us with weapons to fight the conflict that we are in, and fasting is one of the most powerful weapons that you can use.

We are in an “all out” battle! Satan wants nothing more than to destroy you and me.

He has three objectives;
to kill
to steal
to destroy

He wants to steal the Word, limit it, or choke it out. The enemy wants to keep us from believing God for Big things!

I think it’s time for us to seek God like never before, and believe God like never before! Let’s stop limiting God in what we think He can do and start asking Him for the big things we aren’t sure He can do! If Satan can convince us to not ask for the things we want God to do, then he has already won the battle.

Ephesians 3:20
God is able to do, “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or imagine.”

I have determined in my heart to ask God for big things this year! I know that when I have big requests, He is going to bless me with massive answers. If I bring miniature prayers, then I am going to get small results! He will do more than I ask or even imagine!

This year I am proclaiming

Habakkuk 1:5,
“I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

Along with fasting, the weapon of expectancy can shatter the Devil’s schemes for your life! Rather than doubting that you will receive that miracle, change your perspective and believe you will receive it. Rather than talk about how bad things are, talk about how good your God is.

Take away the enemy’s ammunition with a “spirit of expectancy.” Expectancy is knowing that God is going to show up in your life in 2016 and work miracles!

Thank Him that this time next year you will not be in the same place that you are now.

What big things do you need to declare war over?  What battles do you need victory in? What unanswered prayers do you have that can only be answered through fasting and prayer?

Believing with you that 2016 will be The Best Year Ever!

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY FOURTEEN

We have been on this Journey for two weeks. I know there have been some good days and some in which you felt like you couldn’t go on – but you did! Maybe you haven’t been as successful to your commitment as you intended, but remember this is not a competition.

Don’t allow guilt feelings to cause you to give up – this last week can be a special time for you. You may be saying, “If only” – but you don’t live there, you can pick yourself up and get back on the journey. Today is a good day to recommit to this last week!

When I think about the word “IF”, I think about the choices that I have to make. I remember when my mother would tell me when I was a little boy that if I would finish my music practice… then I could go out to play.

God proclaims another “IF” that we should focus on today:

2 Chronicles 7:14.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

We all need this REAWAKENING EXPERIENCE, where revival comes into the hearts of the people, and then it will come to our church as well.

Counting it all joy!
PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY THIRTEEN

Fasting is a time of emptying – a time of washing and cleansing. The body is emptied of food and cleansed of toxins and poisons. Our lives are emptied of entertainment and normal routine. Fasting is also a time of preparation for new anointing. It is one way to make room for God’s blessings.

Matthew 6:17-18
But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face… and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – 

Cleansing and Emptying
Part of preparing ourselves spiritually for a fast involves allowing God to wash our hearts. As we participate in this 21 Day Journey of fasting and prayer let’s make sure we are dealing with any personal sins.

Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your mind. Accept God’s forgiveness. (I John 1:9)

Ask forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17;3,4)

Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18 (and expect Him to answer, according to His promise in 1 John 5:14-15).

Surrender fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, refusing to yield to your worldly nature.

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah came to a woman during a time of famine. He asked her to bring him water and a piece of bread. (She was gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for herself and her son, that they might eat it and die.) Elijah assured her not to fear – to go home and do as she had said, but first to make a cake of bread for him, and then something for herself and her son.

When she emptied her barrel and gave away what she had, God supernaturally filled her barrel with food for next three and a half years. Fasting is giving away something you love o God can fill your life with Himself.

Fasting is a time for emptying ourselves of soda, junk food, time in front of the television – basically, the things we love.  But we must also be careful to rid ourselves of things we hate: pride, ego, flesh, unforgiveness, idolatry, carnality – anything unlike God – so that He might supernaturally inhabit our lives in the coming year.

As we are over half way through with our 21 days, here  are several things that are happening:

Experiencing surrender
Experiencing reawakening spiritually
Creating space for God to fill

Nothing is impossible with God – so let’s give Him some room to do His thing in our life!

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY TWELVE

We are now at Day 12 – this is a significant day. The number 12 represents divine order. It’s the number that shows God is in control and actively ruling over something as King. When God wants to show us that He is ruling and that there is a perfect plan, He likes to use the number twelve in His language.

During this time of seeking God, we have been praying for His Kingdom and Will to be done in our lives, that means seeking His divine order. I love this passage of scripture:

Revelation 12:10-11 (NLT)
10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.

Too many believers have been held captive in the enemy’s cell of accusation. He accuses them saying, “you don’t deserve… you will never… your situation is too far gone… you have tried before.”

Take another look at the passage, it says your accuser has been thrown down, he has no legal access to accuse you because you have been set free by the blood of the Lamb.

Testimonies are one way we overcome the enemy. If we don’t share the way God is at work in our lives, then we’re tempted to think God isn’t working at all. But when we begin to share testimonies of grace, testimonies of healing, testimonies of answered prayer, we are reminded that God is still on the throne!

One of the joys of writing this blog has been receiving testimonies of answered prayer. Each one is like a shot of adrenaline to my faith. They stretch me. They convict me.

Those testimonies remind me that “He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world”. They remind me that God is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine. They remind me that God wins, Satan loses, and I’m more than a conqueror through Christ.

I would to love to hear about your breakthrough, journey, healing, etc. It would be awesome to share some of the testimonies with others!

To share your prayer testimony, please email me – PastorTerry@thefathershouse.com

Step out with your words of testimony today!
PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY ELEVEN

Wow! You are doing great on this journey of connecting with God and disconnecting from the world. It seems that during a time of fasting and prayer, like this 21 day fast, we are able to refocus on things that are really important!  It actually becomes easier to not get preoccupied with things that really don’t matter.

We are over half way through our goal, and it is important to maintain our focus on the what we are doing. It would be very easy to start the countdown and focus on the event more than the purpose. For instance, “I only have 8 days before I can eat that burger” instead of saying “I will maintain my focus on seeking God.” Don’t take your eyes off the purpose!

I am praying for you every day. I am believing that God has great things ready for you. This year will be the Best Year Ever as you put Him first in your life.

In case you are running out of ideas for meals on the Daniel Fast… check out www.ultimatedanielfast.com and click on the recipes tab. There are other great resources there too.

Blessings,
PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY TEN

Yesterday we focused on “being available to our families”, today I would like to focus our attention on another important area – our marriages. Every day in my prayers, I ask God to touch and heal marriages at The Father’s House. I am tired of seeing broken hearts and upset lives because of marriages in crisis. Even if you are not married, please join me in praying for all of the married couples in our church.

I believe that marriage is the foundation of a strong family and a strong family is the foundation of a strong church. We believe that what God joins together, let no one pull apart. We believe in one man and one woman joined together in covenant under God for life. We know that marriage is not a contract between two people, it is a covenant between two people before God.

During this fast, let’s pray for God to bring healing into marriages and homes as never before. I want the next generation to see models of committed couples. I know the divorce rate in our culture and in the Kingdom of God is at an all time high but wouldn’t it be marvelous to see 0% divorce rate in our church. Why not?, according to Mark 9:23, “with God, all things are possible”!

Remember the glue that keeps your marriage together is His mercy and grace. Another thing that strengthens marriages is getting plugged in to the church – going through the growth track, being part of a small group, attending equip classes and serving in areas where there is a need.

Let’s stand together as we fast and pray and believe God for the spirit of divorce to be defeated. God hates divorce! And as Christians, so should we!

As we fast, we pray God’s richest blessings on your marriages and homes for 2016. We believe that every family and marriage has a specific mission together. We pray that God will reveal and make His divine assignment for your marriage and family clear. He brought you together for a reason and He is ready to use you to bring salvation, healing and deliverance to homes all over the world.

We stand together for happy marriages and against the plight of divorce in Jesus’ Name.

We are at the half way point of this fast, and you are doing great! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day (your goal should be 1 gallon!) and get enough protein by eating nuts, beans, tofu, etc.

Enjoy the journey,
PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY NINE

On day 9 of our 21 day journey, I am reminded of a phrase that can easily be overlooked in the fasting passage of Isaiah. Here it is – “… being available to your own families.” Isaiah 58:7 (MSG)

If we don’t stay sensitive to God’s direction, we can get so involved trying to reach and help others (which we are to do) that we neglect our own families. In this passage the Lord gives us detailed instructions of what we are to focus on during this time of fasting. He says be available to your family.

This is a great time to allow God to sensitize our hearts toward our family. Sometimes you begin to take those you are with the most for granted. They see you concerned and caring for others, but with your own family you are irritated, negative, fault-finding, always pointing out mistakes and neglect their mission. But consider this, everyone in your family has a God given purpose to fulfill – are you encouraging them?

As you fast and pray today, I am praying that you hear the words spoken to Queen Esther – that for such a serious and urgent time as this – you are living.

Who is it, that while reading this blog, God brought to your heart? That person you can focus on in prayer today?

When Nehemiah undertook the challenge to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem he spent many days fasting, praying, weeping and repenting over his sins and then the sins of the people before the reconstruction (REAWAKENING) began.

You may be thinking, I just don’t know if this really works. Listen to this conditional promise from God – If we… then He will.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NLT)
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.

We need to fast for early discoveries of the destiny of our kids, their salvation, direction for their life, wise decisions, right friends, for future spouses, and right teachers to speak into the lives of our sons and daughters.

During this fast we will fight spiritually by prayer and fasting. God promises to hear and answer, so begin to look for and expect great and mighty miracles and victories as a result of our seeking God on this 21 Day Journey.

Praying with you and for you,

PT

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21DAY FAST – DAY EIGHT

We are entering week 2 of our 21 day journey.  Sometimes during a fast we become focused on the physical hardship we are facing or feel overwhelmed with the needs we are bringing to God in prayer. And if we are not careful, we become more focused on the fast than on the One we are surrendering to.

Today, let’s spend time praising Him for who He is and giving thanks for things He has already done and will do. Why not use one of the Psalms and read it out loud as your praise to Him. Try singing a song of praise to Him, or turn on some praise music and get lost in the atmosphere of worship. Take some time and write down some things that God has already done in your life.

Here is a Psalm that might help you enter God’s presence with a thankful heart.

Psalm 100:1-5 (MSG)
A song of praise for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people, a psalm of thanksgiving:

1 On your feet now – applaud GOD!
2 Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into His presence.
3 Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD.
He made us; we didn’t make Him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank Him. Worship Him.
5 For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

To help you on this 21 day journey, check out our website www.thefathershouse.com/resources. and join us @TFH on Saturday nights at 5:00 pm for prayer.

Let’s keep building God’s Kingdom together!

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY SEVEN

I love the Sunday Celebration!

There’s always something amazing that happens when we gather together on Sundays to Experience the Presence of Jesus.

Today is the first day of a brand new week–  it’s never been used.
Today is first day of another week of our 21 Day Spiritual Journey.
Today is the day to celebrate what has happened and will happen!
Today is the day to realize that together we are better!

One of the most important ingredients in our Journey of Faith is to be a committed partner with a local church. In spite of many who devalue the local church, we at TFH realize the local church is the hope of the world.

The Church is not to be an entertainment center, in competition with other churches to see who has the best “show”. The church is a body of people called out from among the world, for the distinct and unique purpose of glorifying their Savior and Lord, JESUS CHRIST.

Christ has declared that He will build His church, and nothing, not even the powers of hell can stop Him. In truth, the battle has already been won. Christ will be triumphant in the end, and those of us who stand with Him and love Him will be victorious. That’s Good News!

So get involved, stay committed; be faithful where God has planted you. It’s really not about what you want, having all your needs met or being entertained every Sunday. It is all about Him –  

Find Your Place and Help Make a Difference in the World!
What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. She needs men whom the Holy Spirit can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men… He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer!   – E.M. Bounds

Church, I’ll see you at church!

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY SIX

One of the most important things we need to do is to stay clear on our focus for the fast.

In Isaiah 58, God responds to His people who were complaining that He was not answering their fast the way they wanted.

Remember, fasting is not a hunger strike to get God to do what you want, but to come into AGREEMENT with His Word, to be in ALIGNMENT with His will, to receive our ASSIGNMENT in His Kingdom.

In chapter 58 we discover what He wants for you during this fast.  Pray that God will empty you of all that is you and fill you with all that is Him.

Isaiah 58:4-8 (MSG)
4 You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.
5 Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, GOD, would like?
6 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.
7 What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
8 Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The GOD of glory will secure your passage.

Isaiah 58:9 (MSG)
9 Then when you pray, GOD will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins.

Take a few minutes to read chapter 58 in its entirety and let God show you promises that you need to claim. and write them in your journal.

Blessings,
PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY FIVE

What has Father been saying to you during the last several days? What scripture has He highlighted for you? I really have enjoyed reading your comments at the bottom of this blog, they have been very encouraging.

Maybe you are thinking all I am hearing right now is my stomach growling saying “feed me, feed me” or as I heard someone today yell, “I need a cheeseburger.”

Hang in there, turn that hunger toward a hunger to know Jesus better. At times like this we learn just how much our bodies try to dictate to us.

I promise you, as you continue on this journey, you WILL hear His voice with a reawakened awareness. I would recommend that you use a personal journal which will help you capture and record all the incredible things God is speaking into your life.

A great, simple way to journal your devotional time is to use the SOAP method. (Wayne Cordeiro has some great material about this in his book, Divine Mentor. Look to the banner at the right to order.)

SOAP stands for:
Scripture
Observation
Application
Prayer

It works like this:

S for Scripture.
Read prayerfully. Take notice of which scripture(s) catches your attention and circle it in your Bible. When you’re done, reread the verse you circled and rewrite it in your journal.

O for Observation.
Focusing on that scripture, then tune in and listen to what God is saying to you through His Word. What is it about this verse that especially stands out? What does God want to reveal to you or teach you? Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and show you what God is saying.

A for Application.
Think of how this verse applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or correction for a particular area of your life. Use your journal to write how this verse applies to you today.

P for Prayer. 
Wrap up your time in prayer. Talk to God about what you have just read. This can be as simple as thanking him for revealing a truth from the scripture, or it may be asking Him for greater insight or how to apply this to your life. Remember prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue.

This is the method I use daily, it’s as simple or deep as you want it to be. But you are able to record and cherish what God is saying to you. Many times I re-read the insights in my journal to bring encouragement by remembering His Words.

You are doing great!

I know God is sharing things with you because His word tells us if we abide in Him and He abides in us, we can ask anything and it will be done according to His will.

Blessings on you!

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21 DAY FAST – DAY FOUR

You made it to day four!  That’s awesome… the first three days are usually the hardest because of all of the changes you’ve made.

Now you can really start to focus more on God and less on the things you are giving up. Keep your Spiritual eyes and ears open as God will surely be revealing special things to you during this time.

I am praying for you,

PT

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21 DAY FAST – DAY THREE

Wow! Can you believe it? You’ve already experienced 2 life-changing days of our 21 Day Journey of seeking to draw closer to God. I am already receiving many testimonies of people hearing some awesome things from God. Why not take time to share with us what God is saying or doing in your life as we make this 21 Day Journey together by adding a comment below.

Sometimes people ask why 21 days? I guess there is nothing sacred or magical about this number, but many say it takes 21 days to establish a daily habit. That is what we are trying to do, establish a daily pattern of putting the Lord first in our life. 21 Days is also how long Daniel spent praying for his breakthrough. There is no greater habit that needs developing than this one.

Whatever “Fasting Zone” (see yesterday’s blog) you have committed to, I pray that you stay strong and finish the challenge. If you made a commitment to participate in the Daniel fast you can find some helpful information on our website. (www.thefathershouse.com/fasting)

Whatever level you have chosen, remember it is to be joined with prayer.Fasting without reading the Word is just a diet. As you subtract physical food, add in spiritual food.

I really think it’s less about your “Fasting Zone” Plan and more about your motivation. I believe that if you are passionate to know God more, He will honor whatever plan you are on.

I am praying for you today and want to help you complete your commitment.

Remember these helpful resources:

  • This daily blog. (share the link with someone)
  • Resources and suggested links on our website.
  • Corporate Prayer – Saturdays 5:00 pm @ TFH.

During this season of prayer and fasting, let’s continue  to focus on these areas:

  • Believing God for answered prayer to our specific needs.
  • Declaring our dependence on God in every area of our lives.
  • Asking for forgiveness for our sins and the sins of our land.
  • Praying for the completion of the Great Commission.
  • Inviting the Presence of God in our church and our lives.
  • Crying out to God for revival in our generation.

Keep up the good work!

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21 DAY FAST – DAY TWO

Well here it is – day 2 of our 21 Day Fast. I am really sensing the desire of God that we would be passionate in our pursuit of Him. I really think He wants us to remember to keep the main thing the main thing – that is using these 21 days to draw closer to Him in surrendering our all.

My hope is that you will not be legalistic by focusing more on the event than the process. The fast is a process to help us draw near to the Lord. Remember the goal of fasting is not just to do without food. The goal is to draw nearer to God. Disconnecting form the world allows you to connect with God!

In his book Awakening, Stovall Weems suggests that we find “Our Fast Zone”. It is important that you learn to fast in a way that works for you.

I personally drink smoothies, juices and even some coffee. (Stovall jokingly says “chill out- coffee is bean juice. Have a cappuccino and draw close to Jesus”) I have discovered that different seasons require different fasts. Listen to what God is saying to you about your fast.

Here is short list of different types of fasts, remember to find your “Fast Zone.

  • Specific Food or Soul Fast
    You will omit a specific items from your meal plans (sweets, junk food, etc). You may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit (television, social media).
  • Daniel Fast
    In Daniel chapter 1, we find that he only ate vegetables and water – and in chapter 10, although is there is no specific list of foods of what Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich foods, as well as no meat or wine. Check TFH website for more info – www.thefathershouse.com/fasting
  • Juice Fast
    During this fast, you only drink juices and water.
  • Total Fast
    This is no liquid or solid food, although I would recommend you drink water. This is only for a very short amount of time. Attempting to go without water for any period of time can be extremely harmful to the body.

Sometimes I do a combination of these. The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding your “Fast Zone”. There should never be a spirit of legalism attached to these 21 Days. I think God is more concerned with what is in your heart than what is in your stomach.

Keep the main thing the main thing, to know Jesus more and experience Him.

Don’t overcomplicate this time. Disconnect to Connect!

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21 DAY FAST – DAY ONE

What are your deep longings for 2016 — things you want God to do in your life, your family, and church? It is not enough to just long for things, it is time to DO something about it.

There is no better way to begin the year than with a Biblical fast. Just as beginning our day with prayer sets the course for the rest of the day and affects anything that might happen, so beginning the year with a fast affects our inner relationship with God and sets the course for the rest of the year.

Giving God the First
We give God the first of our day, the first of our week and the first of our income.  Why not the first of the year? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt. 6:33).

When we give God the first of our year in prayer and fasting… He gives to us all year long. During April, May, June… and even into December, we receive blessings that wouldn’t be ours if we hadn’t dedicated the first to God in January with a fast.

The Reward
The theme of Matthew chapter 6 is three main Christian duties: giving, praying and fasting.

Most Christians would accept without question that it’s our responsibility to give and pray. But it is equally our responsibility to fast. And just as God promised to reward those who give and pray, He has guaranteed a reward to those who fast!

”When you fast… your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17-18).

The Invitation
I would like to personally invite you to join me to experience this 21-day fast January 11- through January 31.  Beginning and maintaining a fast is much easier when we join with others and fast with friends.

Next Steps:

  • Prayerfully determine the type and length of fast to which you will commit.
  • Prayerfully determine your objective.
    (Why will you be fasting? For spiritual renewal, healing or financial provision, to regain your edge? For freedom from bondage and addiction?)
  • Spend time daily in prayer,  meditating in the Word and journaling what you sense God saying to you. (Join us Saturdays @ 5:00 pm for corporate prayer in the sanctuary)
  • Join me daily in this blog!

Be Blessed, I am praying for you!

PT

 

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Prepare for the Best Year Ever!

Prepare for the Best Year Ever!

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Prepare for the Best Year Ever!

 

Prepare for Your Best Year Ever!

What would you need to do to make 2016 the Best Year Ever?

I am sure that several things come to mind, but nothing is more important than our 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer.

Don’t get me wrong, fasting and prayer won’t force God to do something He doesn’t want to do – But it opens up the door for Him to move in your life in miraculous ways. Fasting is a spiritual cleansing that gets out the garbage! We can become so under the influence of our environment that our sensitivity to God is weakened. When we fast and seek Him above our own physical needs, carnal obstacles begin to break down.

Prayer is the way to connect or re-connect with God.

When we stop pursuing our way and our wants, and humble ourselves in fasting and prayer to diligently seek God, things change! In Joel 2:12, God calls His people to repentance saying to them, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning” (NKJV). And instead of destruction and devouring, Joel says in verse 14, “Who knows if He will turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind Him.”

Fasting isn’t about making demands and getting what you want. It’s about getting to a place where you’re ready for what God wants!

We begin the fast on Monday, January 11, 2016

Are you ready?

Ask God what HE wants you to fast, instead of what you want to fast. When you fast according to God’s direction, you will be successful!

When you humble your self in fasting before God, He can turn situations around! He can cleanse you of the sin that entangles you and rid your life of the garbage hindering you from seeing His way and hearing His voice.

He can bring the answers you’ve been waiting for and replace judgment with blessing!

LEAVE A MARK – A Carrot, an Egg, a Coffee Bean!

How do you handle disappointment and adversity in your life?  

Peter decided to quit the ministry and return to fishing (John 21:3).  But Jesus, after His resurrection, sent a special message to Peter to meet Him in Galilee. (Mark 16:7)  That meeting re-challenged Peter and the other disciples to finish strong and not give in to adversity and set backs.  

What about you?  

Where is it that you have settled and not continued the quest that you began? I am reminded of a story about a young lady who came to her mother complaining about all the adversity she was facing.  She confided that she was ready to give up, it was too hard to continue.  Her mother asked her to sit down.  Then her mom filled three pots with water. In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see?”

“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted the flavor and smelled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked. “What’s the point, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity–boiling water–but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I? 

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? 

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle Adversity? 

ARE YOU A CARROT, AN EGG, OR A COFFEE BEAN?

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LEAVE A MARK – Resurrection Reality

Jesus’ resurrection is a validation of the truth of Christianity.  Mark reminds us of this truth,  But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. Mark 16:6  

Anyone who wants to deny the actual resurrection of Jesus two thousand years ago has to deny too much. According to Knofel Staton they would have to deny:

  • the fact that no one in the 1st century denied the historical resurrection of Jesus
  • the crowds that saw Jesus, talked with Him, ate with Him, and touched Him after He arose
  • the beginning of the Church, rather than the ending of a movement
  • the change in the lives of the apostles from being terrified to being courageous
  • the fact that the soldiers were paid a large sum of money in order to make up a lie conerning the disappearance of Jesus’ body
  • the fact that 50 days later in Jerusalem, which was crowded with many people who had been there for the crucifixion and many of whom evidently saw the resurrection, did not, less than 2 months later, deny the resurrection when Peter preached that tremendous sermon affirming it
  • the fact that years later when Paul spoke to Felix and Festus about the resurrection, they did not deny its reality

Historical reality affirms that Jesus arose from the grave.  And the testimony of witnesses affirms that He ascended into Heaven.  He prophesied He would – and He did!

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LEAVE A MARK – Pray

What do you do when you find resistance in your life and you are unsure about what’s ahead?

Many people panic, others give up because it’s too hard to persist, and still others begin to murmur and complain.  Jesus gives us the perfect example of what to do.  At the worst moment of His life, in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed.  “And going a little farther, He threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.” Mark 14:35 (NRSV)

Critical situations arise and you find yourself at the end of your ability, and you feel inadequate and you don’t know what to do.  You know something more is needed.  But what?  A new translation of the Bible, a degree in counseling, listening to another sermon, take a study course?  No, most of all you need power from heaven.  If you want to see breakthrough in difficult – even seemingly impossible – situations, pray for courage to take another step forward.  We all need courage to face tough reality. 

Pray for courage to trust God completely through the pain and for the eventual victory ahead.  At His worst moment in life, Jesus prayed. 

Now He is your advocate in heaven – and He knows the courage you need – Pray!

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LEAVE A MARK – Persistence

After the supper given in His honor, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-50  ).  Gethsemane means “oil press”.  Gethsemane was an Olive Grove. Olive oil was a very precious commodity. Ancient peoples would use oil presses to crush the olives. The olives would be placed in large round stone basins, and then they’d be “crushed” by another large round stone that was rotated around the basin by oxen or other domesticated animals. Gethsemane represents a place of intense conflict and pressure.

Imagine the pressing that Jesus was feeling:

  • The Pressing of Broken Promises  – All of His disciples left Him and fled. Remember that these are the same men who just hours before had been fighting among themselves over which one would be sitting at His right hand. Men who had declared wholehearted allegiance and undying loyalty. Peter went so far as to say – “even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” Then they left the lighted upper room where they shared the Passover – and entered the “pressing”. When we are under pressure, what is in us comes out.  The truth is that the world is full of broken promises. Our faithfulness waxes and wanes. 

  • The Pressing of a Broken Heart –  He began to pray very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood.  Here in Gethsemane’s shadows the dark reality of the cross finally took shape.  He weeps because He knows that soon He will be enveloped in the shadows of the cross. He doesn’t weep for fear of the pain but His heart broken for a broken creation – Jesus will willingly lay down His life and take it up again. 

Regardless of the pressing trying to crush Him, Jesus clearly announces that He wants to yield to God’s will not His personal feelings but will remain persistent. 

In a sense we all go through a garden type place of pressing.  Every day we have to make the decision to deny self, take up our cross, and follow Jesus.  Every day we have to decide whether or not our commitments will withstand the pressing times and difficulties.  It seems that people all around us are not standing up to the pressure, but quitting, or giving up.

But let us make a decision to LEAVE A MARK OF PERSISTENCE!

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LEAVE A MARK – Extravagant not Shabby!

Mark tells the story of the open-house reception to honor Jesus in Mark 14:3-9.  The house was filled with people who had been changed by the power of Jesus.  John gives us more information about the event, we learn Simon the former leper, Lazarus the former dead men, the disciples, Martha and Mary, and many other people were all in attendance. 

It was a supper to honor Jesus.  While all the participants were focused on the meal and the people around them, Mary brought a jar filled with perfume.  The value was worth three hundred day’s pay-  that’s a year’s salary.  The jar probably represented her life’s savings – equal to an entire retirement account for today.  Then she did the extravagant.  She broke the jar and poured all the contents on Jesus.  She gave all she had. 

Although she was criticized for what she did, Jesus must have smiled and thought, “What an Extravagant Act of Worship”.  He commended her, “She has done what she could” Mark 14:8)

I have heard people criticize the church when something extravagant is done in honoring Jesus. Why is it that people can justify nice things for their own house, but want God’s House to be put on display with what looks like leftovers, afterthoughts, hand-me-downs, and second-hand stuff?  It’s one thing to be good stewards and another thing to be stingy and critical.  Why is it that people can expect excellence and nice for themselves, but put up with mediocrity and shabbiness in the church.

Extravagant love and extravagant  excellence in the presentation of God’s church does not have to be excessive and over-the-top, but it should honor the splendor and awesomeness of the one who has set us free and changed our life. 

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LEAVE A MARK –

In His private teaching to the disciples on Mt. Olive, Jesus breaks the news that He will be coming back using a patchwork of quotations and images from the Old Testament.  (Mark 13:1-37)  He warns them of the upcoming events, that we see in the fulfillment of today.  He said there will be religious deception, social and political upheaval, natural calamities, disloyalty, and persecution prior to His Second Coming.

The truth of His Second Coming has suffered from people that are obsessed with speculation of the “time” of the event and others who ignore the promise.

The first way to prepare for His Coming is not to engage in the pointless setting of dates for His return.  The truth is no one knows that day or hour (verse 32). The second way to prepare is be ready at all times for His Coming. 

Notice these verses of warning:

  • “Take heed” (verse 5,33)
  • “Watch out” (verses 9,23,33,35)
  • “Watch” (verse 37)

Jesus wants His followers to stay alert, keep their eyes open and stay focused.  There are over 250 clear references to the Second Coming of Christ in the New Testament.

We are to be ready for Jesus’ unpredictable return all the time.  There are signs to watch for, but not to become so preoccupied with them that we cease to live. The teaching of the new Testament concerning the return of Christ is not given to encourage speulation, or to excite our imagination, but to challenge the way we live here and now. 

Augustine said this, 
“He who loves the coming of the Lord is not he who affirms it is far off, 

nor is it he who says it is near;
but rather he who, whether it be far off or near, 
awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope and fervent love.”

 

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LEAVE A MARK – Bad Choice or Bad Choices?

Whether spoken or unspoken, people wrestle with the question.  Why did Jesus chose someone whom He knew would betray him?  Was it a bad choice or someone who made bad choices?  I am certainly not professing to know how to describe or make sense of the juxtaposition of God’s Divine Purpose and free will of man. There must have been a major battle in Judas’ mind. 

He was Judas Iscariot, meaning ‘Man of Kerioth’ which made Judas the only non-Galilean among the Twelve.  Perhaps he always felt like the one who really didn’t fit in.  John tells us that Judas, the ministry treasurer, made bad choices and stole money from the ministry.  (John 12:1-8)  In the end he made the evil choice to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.  So, we ask, was the love of money his downfall?

One suggestion has been that Judas grew impatient and wanted to force Jesus’ hand.  In other words back Jesus into a corner so that He would have to prove that He was the Messiah.  However, this opinion is hard to prove and is merely grasping at straws to explain something we really don’t know.  To believe this, one would see Judas as misguided and not understanding Jesus.

I don’t think we can diminish the sincerity of Jesus choosing Judas to follow Him. I think He viewed Judas as a potential disciple alongside the others.  Any other interpretation would misinterpret the character of Jesus or overlook the repeated appeals He gave to Judas.  He purposely protected Judas when the disciples wanted to know who was the guilty betrayer.  Judas heard the same teachings and saw the same miracles as the others, but slowly he became disappointed or disillusioned.  He lost focus of his role and became a pawn in the devil’s hand.

Judas’ story serves as a reminder to all of us who are Christ Followers that it is possible to know all about Him, be full of information, but not “know” Him.  Judas shared Jesus’ company but not His spirit.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you from this story?  

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LEAVE A MARK – Extravagant!

It probably would have made many church people a bit uncomfortable.  It certainly would have fanned the flames of those who say, “church only talks about money”.  It would have made it to facebook – “preacher watches and counts how much people give.”  The event is recorded in Mark 12:41-44:

“Sitting across from the offering box, He was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions.  One poor widow came up and put in two small coins – a measly two cents. Jesus called His disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together.  All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford – she gave her all.” 

She dropped in the two smallest coins available, but Jesus said “she gave extravagantly” – wow, what a compliment from Jesus.  

There were other givers who gave a greater amount of money, but she gave all she had.  They could not let go of what they possessed.  It is one thing to possess wealth but quite another to be possessed by wealth.   

Who is the extravagant giver – the one who has a lot, but is stingy or the one who has little, but is generous?  

Who is the extravagant giver – the one has to be constantly coaxed to give, or the one who gives voluntarily? 

Who is the extravagant giver – the one who will give up pleasures for the work of God or the one who will not contribute to the work of God if it costs him pleasures? 

The ones who “hold on” to what they have feel they are the owners of the wealth, but the extravagant givers know that God is the owner of everything they have.

Sometimes the work of God’s Kingdom is hindered by those who don’t have the heart of this widow.  They feel that things in the world should be nice, but things in the church should be “just get by”, and they oppose those who feel that God’s business deserves to have first-class equipment, facilities, and provisions.

The choice is yours:
Be rich in things and extravagant in self-indulgence or be extravagant in giving and rich in all things!!






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LEAVE A MARK – Blind but Seeing

Ever feel like you are in a crowd, with needs and nobody seems to see you, nobody cares, nobody wants to stop their “hurry”? We live a fast paced, get things accomplished world where everyone has to be some place quick.  We can get so focused on where we are going that we miss where we really need to be.

Mark gives us an example of this in Mark 10:46-52.  A great crowd is moving through Jericho in a hurry to keep up with Jesus.  Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem to lay down His life for the redemption of mankind.  But Jesus needed to be in Jericho for one man with a pressing need.  The crowd is preoccupied with being with Jesus but there is a blind man by the name of Bartimaeus sitting beside the road begging.  The man was blind, but he was able to see.

HE WAS BLIND BUT ABLE TO SEE THAT HE HAD A NEED
He was a poor blind beggar.  He was constantly dependent on others to tell him what they were seeing and give him direction. He had to beg for food and money, he had no way to improve himself.  He was an outsider, not a part of the “in crowd”.  He was not a member of their crowd.  He was one of those guys that people would pass by and shake their heads at and thank God they were not like that person.  No doubt Bart had heard many stories of this miracle worker and realized this could be a red-letter day for him.  He doesn’t pretend not to be blind or in need.  He was tired of not seeing, of not working, tired of only begging – he wanted his life to change and knew that Jesus was passing by.

HE WAS BLIND BUT ABLE TO SEE THAT JESUS COULD MEET HIS NEED
No doubt he heard the great multitude and asked someone what was going on.  “It is Jesus passing through our city,” someone replied. The crowd said it was “Jesus of Nazareth” (Luke 18:37) but Bart cried out, “Jesus, Son of David”. The term “Son of David” was a Messianic term, is it possible he could see clearer with his heart than the crowd could see with their eyes.  The crowd tried to silence him, after all they didn’t want someone like him to embarrass or take up Jesus’ time. But Bart cried out even louder, he was persistent, and the Bible says “Jesus stood still.” The cry of faith stopped Jesus in His tracks.  There was a great multitude in that crowd – perhaps three or four thousand people, but Jesus stopped for one man and gave him his sight. 

HE WAS BLIND BUT ABLE TO SEE THAT JESUS WOULD NEVER PASS HIS WAY AGAIN
What if Bart had let the crowd silence him?  What if he had said to himself, next time Jesus comes by I will be healed?  What if he thought, “I will work at getting worthy to be healed”?  The problem is Jesus would never pass through Jericho again. He was on His way to the cross.  Had Bart waited, he would have forever missed his opportunity for healing. 

What about you?  Are you willing to admit your need? Do you really believe Jesus can do something big in your life? Are you willing to risk all and be persistent?  Then maybe you will join Bart and change from sitting, begging, and crying to seeing, following, and glorifying God!!

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LEAVE A MARK – Greatness Jesus Style

How do you view greatness?

The disciples had a tough time understanding Greatness – Jesus Style.  They continually thought in terms of a powerful theocracy with Israel being victorious over all nations and Jesus being the Messianic King of all the earthly domain.

The other question they struggled with was who of them would be given the most authority and recognition in the new Kingdom.  Jesus tried to help them understand over and over that He would be Messiah most on the cross and that His victory would be over death and the spiritual powers of darkness. The Kingdom that Jesus would establish would be in their hearts, in their midst and through them in all of their life.

Jesus leads the men toward Jerusalem, which will be His death.  Jesus draws near His ordeal but the disciples do not draw nearer to understanding His Mission.

Mark gives us a picture in the Gospel of Mark 9:30-35 Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know He was there, for He wanted to spend more time with His disciples and teach them.  He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of His enemies. He will be killed, but three days later He will rise from the dead.” They didn’t understand what he was saying, however, and they were afraid to ask Him what He meant.  After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked His disciples, “What were you discussing out on the road?” But they didn’t answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to Him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” 

Jesus’ destiny was set and it would cost a great price.  Jesus does not discourage their ambitions for greatness, to make a significant mark on life, to be all they could be.  There is nothing godly about passionless contentment.  Jesus is attempting to bring clarity to their understanding of greatness – GREATNESS IS NOT POWER OR PRESTIGE, BUT SERVICE AND SELF GIVING LOVE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

GREATNESS IS OURS IF WE FOLLOW THE SON OF MAN WHO DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY.


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LEAVE A MARK – Pray

What was the secret to the miracles of Jesus? How was He so impactful and life changing? How could He accomplish so much? In His Gospel, Mark reveals the secret.  It was prayer.  Throughout the Gospel, Jesus is going to or coming from prayer.

“And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.” Mark 6:46

After a tremendously filled day, Jesus had to get away.  So He sent His disciples away in a boat and He went up  the mountain to pray.  Jesus didn’t just pray when He had time to pray, He made time to pray.

We must intentionally set time aside for prayer. 

Praying regularly:

  • admits our dependency upon God.
  • permits us to be honest with God by sharing our deepest feelings. 
  • feeds the inner self
  • causes us to be sensitive to God’s will for our life.
  • causes us to check our motives and goals.
  • causes us to be sensitive to needs of others.
  • puts us in to more of an awareness of the presence of God.
  • draws us closer to God.
  • empowers us for daily living.

Jesus went up the mountain to pray and He invites us to join Him.

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LEAVE A MARK – Truths From the Fish and Loaves

We have been examining the story about the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6 .  This is the only miracle that is recorded in all four Gospels. 

There are some important truths to be observed:

1.  Jesus was willing to be inconvenienced by the needs of people at the very time that He really needed some relaxing time.

2.  When people came demanding more from Him, when He was already tired, when the day had already been long, and when He was grieving inside, He had compassion.

3.  Jesus was willing to feed both souls and stomachs. We have no right to claim that only one of those functions should be the interest of the church. As a church, our responsibility is to spiritually and physically care for people in need.

4.  Jesus thinks BIGGER than excuses, and so should we! God is creative and so are we because we are made in His image.  

5.  God honors whatever amount we bring to Him. And He can multiply it.  If we give Him what’s in our hands, He can use it to meet the needs of others. 

6.  While the five loaves and two fish seem like little, from the standpoint of that boy who brought them, it was much.  It was all that boy had.  God sizes up how much we have left over, not just how little we bring. 

7.  Somehow, we must quit using the classic excuses of inconvenience and cost.  These two will always prevent God’s work from progressing the way God wants it to. 

WHICH ONE OF THESE TRUTHS WILL YOU “PRAY INTO” YOUR LIFE TODAY?

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Leave a Mark – Feed Them

Mark records a challenge that Jesus gave to His disciples – to feed the people who came a long distance to be with Jesus.  There were 5,000 men plus women and children (probably 15-20,000). (Mark 6:37) The disciples quickly calculated the cost and were convinced there was no way they could feed the massive crowd, the cost for the bread alone would be 200 denarii.  That’s a lot!

The cost was not the only factor in the disciples processing of the request.  They knew that if they were to buy the bread for this crowd that they themselves would have to go the nearest marketplace, purchase the food, transport it back, and then feed the crowd. 

How many times do these two issues raise their head in the work of the Kingdom of God? Inconvenience and cost are the reason for not doing certain things in the Church.  Some are so quick to say “I can’t volunteer to serve, that will take my time”  What is really being said is “I don’t want to be inconvenienced” Or “how can I tithe? I have so many bills”. 

But Jesus wants us to discover a truth from this story.  This is the only miracle that Jesus did that is recorded in all four Gospels.  Surely there is something we need to learn from this miracle.

The disciples had sized up the crowd and the lack of provisions.  Jesus thinks bigger than our excuses.  They were overlooking the Master of Provision that was in their midst.  While the disciples were looking at what they didn’t have Jesus asked, what do we have?  They said we have 5 loves and 2 fish. 

Remember, Jesus is in the multiplying business!  He is looking for people who will offer what they do have in their hand.  When we place what we have in His hands, miracles can occur.  Instead of not having enough, they had left overs from this miracle.  Could it be that God is wanting to do a miracle so big in your life that it will meet the needs of others and give you a surplus?

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you from this story? 

Maybe He is reminding you that God honors whatever you place in His hands. 

Inconvenience and lack of giving may be the reason you have not experienced your miracle. 

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Leave a Mark – Get Away

They happen!  I’m talking about those super tough days when you have received bad news and you are already exhausted and you want to say nothing, do nothing, think nothing and you just want to get away from it all.

Mark records in his gospel a time when Jesus had a day like that.  He just received devastating, shocking, heart breaking news of the execution of his special friend, John the Baptist.  But Jesus didn’t give up or throw in the towel out of fear that He would be the next one killed, there was more life to live, needs to meet and a God to serve.

So what did Jesus do?  He told His disciples, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. 32 So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.  Mark 6:31-32

We can get so pressed with helping others that we can hardly take a relaxing moment.  Even though it is difficult to find a place to withdraw, it is essential.  Mark records a phrase that is important for us to hear, “by themselves”. 

Before Jesus and the disciples got to that place, the crowds had gone ahead of them and were waiting for them.  So what was intended to be a time of R&R ended up time when people were bringing their needs to Jesus. They were totally indifferent to the grieving time for Jesus and His disciples, they were trying to position themselves to get from Jesus.

Mark is the only gospel writer who tells us how Jesus saw them on that day.  He didn’t see them as uncaring but as “sheep without a shepherd”and He was their shepherd (Mark 6:34). He was willing to be discomforted for the comfort of others.

Those people who crowded Jesus at an inconvenient time needed something for their hearts and, eventually, something for their stomachs.  So Jesus taught them and then decided to feed them.

Mark paints the picture of the ultimate One who came to serve and give His life.

How are you living beyond the comfort zone?

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Leave a Mark – Mountains and Valleys

In the Vatican Gallery hangs Raphael’s last painting, which some think to be his greatest.  It is entitled, The Transfiguration.  The uppermost part pictures the transfigured form of Jesus, with Moses on the left and Elijah on his right.  On the next level down are the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, recently awakened and shielding their eyes from Jesus’ blinding brilliance.  Then, on the ground level is a poor demon-possessed boy, his mouth hideously gaping with wild ravings.  At his side is his desperate father.  Surrounding them is the rest of the disciples, some of whom are pointing upward.  Raphael has brilliantly captured something of the overwhelming contrast between the glorious Mount of Transfiguration and the troubled world waiting below.  
That is the picture of the story from Mark 9:14-29.  Jesus, Peter, James, and John have just had an awesome divine encounter of the heavenly kind on top of the mountain.  In fact, it was so amazing that Peter wanted to build tabernacles there and stay and not come down from the mountaintop. 
But the Christian life is not just “spiritual mountain tops” of divine encounters but also valleys where people in dire need are awaiting a miracle.  Helplessly the father has watched his young son being tormented by evil spirit and his only hope was to bring the struggling son to Jesus’ disciples.  The disciples could not heal the boy but the father didn’t leave and go home, he waited for Jesus to come.
In this story Jesus told the father that “his faith” was the ingredient for healing. (Mk. 9:23) The issue was not Jesus’ ability but the man’s willingness to believe.  The man feels the struggle between faith and doubt and cries out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” 
That simple prayer of honesty touched the heart of Jesus and He healed the boy.
Maybe we need to pray a prayer like the father, “Jesus we believe, but forgive our lack of faith and daring.  Liberate us to believe for things that impossible for us but possible with Jesus. 
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Leave A Mark – Master Over Death

Mark paints the picture for his readers that Jesus is the Master.  He is the Master over disorder (4:35-41), Master over demons (5:1-20), Master over disease (5:21-34), and now Master over death (5:35-43).

It was not easy for Jairus, the ruler of the Synagogue, to come to Jesus publicly and ask for help.  The other Jewish religious leaders would not approve of his decision.  But he was desperate, as was the other people previously discussed by Mark. The disciples in the storm had done all they could and were desperate when they awakened Jesus. The Tombstone Terrorist had consigned himself to the graveyard and shackles and was desperate when he threw himself at the feet of Jesus.  Desperation drove the woman with the blood disease to do whatever she had to do to touch Jesus.  And now Jairus, risking his reputation and career, falls at the feet of Jesus begging Him to heal his daughter.  He would rather lose his friends and career than lose his daughter.

Jesus encourages Jairus with 3 statements:

  1. When the report came that his daughter had already died, Jesus assured him “Be not afraid, go on believing”.  In other words, the faith that caused you to come to me is the same faith that will see you to victory.  Don’t quit!  Keep believing!
  2. When they arrived at the home, they saw and heard the professional Jewish mourners, mourning the death of the little girl.  Jesus tells Jairus, she is not dead only sleeping.  In His presence anything that appears dead can be given life.  Jesus can transform a deadly storm into a great calm, a ferocious brute into a calm gentleman and a death into a calm sleep.
  3. Jesus looked at the little girl, and said Talitha cumi which is Aramaic for “little girl, get up”.  She not only came back to life but was also healed of her sickness.  He told them to give her something to eat.

Yes, Jesus is the Master over disorder, demons, disease, and death.  This series of miracles illustrates how Jesus met and helped all kinds of people and is able to help us today.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today?

Is there anything in your life that appears dead and needs the life giving words of Jesus?  

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Leave A Mark – The Tombstone Terrorist

Mark continues to prove that Jesus is the Master of anything that we face in life.  He tells us the story of a man with inner turmoil because of demonic activity in his life (5:1-20). 

We see the influence of satan on the Tombstone Terrorist.  The man lived among the dead, lost his self control, and was running around naked, screaming, and cutting himself. Society tried everything they knew to change this man.  They isolated him, put restraints on him, and used all their professional intelligence to bring freedom but it was to no avail.  It looked as if he would spend the rest of his miserable, tormented life among the tombs.

But Jesus came to him. 
Jesus instructed His disciple “let’s go to the other side” (4:35).  Jesus and His disciples had to go through a storm to get to this man.  Jesus showed up on purpose to bring freedom to the man that no one could help. 

Jesus spoke to him.
While others ran from this man, Jesus comes to seek him out and speak to him.  Jesus never sees an impossible situation.

Jesus set the man free. 
The man was drawn to Jesus. He ran out of the tombs toward Jesus and then fell at the feet of Jesus.  Imagine the frightful scene of a bloody, naked wild man running toward Jesus. We wonder, were the disciples trying to quickly get on the boat to sail back to the other side?  Unafraid, Jesus stands His ground and displays that He has power over any demonic strength. 

Jesus gave him purpose and a destiny. 
The former Tombstone Terrorist begs to go with Jesus. But Jesus sends him on a mission with purpose.  But Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been.” So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns of that region and began to proclaim the great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed at what he told them. Mark 5:19-20  Jesus didn’t send the man to seminary, give him a book to study, or a course to complete.  He said, go tell what has happened to you and start with those closest to you.

If you find yourself tormented by habits, attitudes, long standing hostility or demonic influence come to Jesus, let Him set you free and give you a life purpose. 

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Leave A Mark – Master Over Disease

Anyone who would suggest that Mark is an undisciplined writer of a string of unrelated events fails to understand the precision and the pattern of his writing.  He has shown that Jesus is the Master over the worst of physical nature(4:35-41) and psychological demons (5:1-20), Mark then  focuses on Jesus’ power to heal incurable disease (5:21-34).

Jairus, the ruler of the Synagogue, comes to Jesus on behalf of his 12 year old daughter is ill.  As Jesus journeys to Jairus’ home a great crowd of people began to follow. In the crowd is a desperate woman with an incurable blood disease.  She has suffered with the disease for 12 years.  As long as Jairus’ daughter has lived, this poor woman has battled the disease.  Drawing upon her last ounce of strength she pushes through the crowd to touch Jesus robe.  When she touches Him she is healed and Jesus stops as asks who touched Him.  One touch of need stopped Jesus in His tracks.   Mark wants us to see the sensitivity of Jesus who can sense the difference between an anxious tug of faith and the casual bumps of the crowd.  Jesus declares to her that her faith made her well.

The woman’s faith became a lever that engaged with the power of Jesus.   Jesus didn’t have to call her name or even be looking in her direction, the healing power was drawn from Jesus by her faith.  It was the grasp of her faith not the touch of her hand that secured healing.  Augustine said, “Flesh presses, faith touches.”

This woman represents many of us.  We are ill.  We have spent our resources trying remedies which do not work.  Christ comes to us from the cross.  We need to touch him by faith.  Do not fear that He ill not respond.  Do not fear that you are unworthy.  Fear only one thing – that you let Him pass without reaching out and touching Him by faith.

This passage reminds us that our healing i only given freely to us because of the price that Jesus paid.  Isiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 53:5 “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed“, comes true in Jesus’ gift to the woman and in the price for her healing.

What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today? 

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Leave A Mark – Trust Jesus in Your Storm

Jesus can be trusted in the storms of your life – that is what Mark is saying to us when he writes about the storm in the sea of Galilee (4:35-41).  The sea of Galilee rests 628 feet below sea level, surrounded by mountains with deep ravines.  These ravines serve as gigantic funnels sending whirling winds down onto the lake without notice.

Jesus instructed His disciples to cross the lake and He laid down and took a nap.  Suddenly out of nowhere, a storm threatened to sink the boat they were sailing in. The disciples were full of fear.  They frantically woke Jesus and accused Him of not caring they were about to sink.  Jesus rebukes the wind and speaks to the waves and a great calm came to all.  Jesus rebukes the disciples for their hysteria and encouraged them to use their faith when they are caught in storms.  Faith, not in themselves, but faith that Jesus’ presence brings peace in the midst of the storm.
I heard a story about a train traveling through the night in a very violent rainstorm. The lightning flashes were almost blinding, the rain hitting the windows was deafening and the strong gusts of  wind rocked the train from side to side. When the lightening flashed and lighted up the darkness, the passengers could see the rising water along the tracks. This created terror in the minds of the passengers. Several passengers noted that through all the noise, lightening and wind, one of the passengers, a little girl, seemed to be at perfect peace. The adult passengers couldn’t figure out why the little girl was so calm during all this excitement. Finally, one passenger asked her, “How is that you can be so calm when all the rest of us are so worried about what might or could happen?” The little passenger smiled and said, “My father is the engineer.”
What is the Holy Spirit saying to you today about the storms in your life?  
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Leave A Mark – From Words to Works

In Mark 4:35-5:43 we discover the Power of Jesus to Overcome.

The focus moves from the Words of Jesus to the Works of Jesus.  It is often said that seeing is believing but Jesus changes the order.  We read in Mark 11:23-24, I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.  Jesus tells us we must first believe and then we will receive (see) the miracle.

There are 425 verses in Mark – 200 of them are devoted to the miracles of Jesus, that is 40%.

In this passage of scripture we see how 4 miracles are arranged to show that Christ is the Master of every situation.  In each of these scenarios the people are driven by desperation.  There is a constant conflict between faith and fear.  But Mark wants us to realize that Jesus is willing and able to perform miracles in our life.

This week we will dig into each of these stories to learn truths that we can apply to our life.

The 4 Miracles to Demonstrate the Power of the Master:

  • Jesus is the Master over disorder (4:35-41)
  • Jesus is the Master over demons (5:1-20)
  • Jesus is the Master over disease (5:21-34)
  • Jesus is the Master over death (5:35-43)

Take time today to read each of these miracles and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you from the stories and write your response in your journal.  

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Leave A Mark – See Yourself in the Parable

German theologian Helmut Thielke says that we cannot comprehend the parables of Jesus until we see ourselves in the story. Like a small child recognizing himself in the mirror for the very first time, when we see ourselves represented in the story, we finally get it. 

Once we see ourselves in the story, the story takes on a whole new meaning, and then we understand. 

In Mark 4 we have discovered that the sower sowed the seed, but only 25% of the field was productive. The sower was the same, the seed was the same but the variable was the condition of the soil. The other variable in the parable is the strategy of satan make sure that the seed does not produce a harvest in the soil of our life.  

So let me suggest 3 ways to resist satan’s efforts to defeat the Word of God as you hear it.

1. Prepare the Soil of Your Heart
Verse 20 says that good soil is the key to a fruitful hearing of the Word. Devote some time Saturday night and Sunday morning to prepare your heart for hearing the Word of God at Sunday Worship Celebrations. If we formed the habit of conscientiously preparing our hearts for hearing God’s Word, we just might hear what the Lord is speaking with such power that amazing changes would come into our lives. 

2. Listen Actively
Focusing your attention on the Word of God is a constant challenge. Remember the Word is not just in the sermon, but the songs, prayer, and words given. Go hard after God. Don’t coast in worship. Again and again Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Strive to have those ears and not to be among those who “hearing do not hear and seeing do not see.”

3. Hear and Obey
Verse 20 says, “But those that were sown upon the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” We must listen actively but we also must obey the message heard. Set your mind to be open to the Word of God, even if it is new or challenging. Have a receptive attitude, not a resistant one. Love the Word of God. Snatch up the Word of God as precious pearls. 

At TFH, let’s be prepared soil; deeply plowed, free of thorns, free of rocks, and moist from the rains of the Spirit. As we receive the power-packed seed of the Word of God, this church will overflow with growth—thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and a hundredfold!

Let us be a fruitful people by His Word.



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Leave A Mark – Kingdom Serving

In an earlier century, a large boulder laid in the middle of the roadway. Traveler after traveler walked past the boulder, veering off the side of the road to get around it. 

All the while, they were shaking their head and muttering, “Can you believe that? Someone should get that big thing out of the way. What an inconvenience!” 

Finally, a man came along and, seeing the boulder, took a branch from a tree and pried the boulder enough to get it rolling and rolled it off to the side of the road. Lying underneath the rock, he found a small bag with a note. The man picked up the note and read it. 

It read as follows: “Thank you for being a true servant of the kingdom. Many have passed this way and complained because of the state of the problem and spoke of what ought to be done. But you have taken the responsibility upon yourself to serve the kingdom instead. You are the type of citizen we need more of in this kingdom. Please accept this bag of gold that traveler after traveler walked by simply because they didn’t care enough about the kingdom to serve.”

I wonder what “bags of gold” we miss out on, simply because we don’t bother to get involved in serving the Kingdom of God.  

Where can you Leave a Mark today by serving the Kingdom of God?  

Ask God to show you one thing you can do today. 

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Leave a Mark – Lessons from Growth Parables

There are some tremendous lessons to be learned from the Parables in Mark 4:

  • Kingdom Growth is God’s Business
    We plant the seed, like a farmer, and wait for God to do the work. We do the natural and He does the Supernatural. The farmer didn’t manufacture the seed, it was created by God. The potency of the seed is inside the seed. God’s Word is the seed and it will produce a harvest.
  • Growth is Intentional
    God expects growth. The nature inside the Kingdom is growth, as is the nature inside a seed.  God does not expect His Kingdom to grow accidentally or surprisingly.  Too many churches don’t expect growth, they are merely in a maintenance mode. But you know, no farm can stay in existence very long if it just keeps the machinery oiled, repaired and up to date. No farmer, that I know, is satisfied by simply saying, “We have a farm located in our community.”
  • Growth occurs during difficulties
    Preparing the soil, planting, watering, and weeding takes planning, time and energy.  Often setbacks occur because of storms, floods, drought, or pests. But difficulties do not mean that growth will be totally cancelled. Difficulties in life can cause us to do many things: spend more time in prayer, realize we need each other, share resources, realize our total dependency is on God.  We will reap if we don’t give up.
  • Growth is continuous.  
    The seed lies beneath the soil, unseen to the naked eye but growth is happening below the surface. Soon the blade will shoot up from the soil. There are times that we think nothing is really happening, but at those moments we cannot see what is happening in the unseen realm.  That is where faith becomes so valuable.  Even when we can’t see what we are hoping for we know without a shadow of a doubt that the growth process is continuing.
  • Growth means that smallness is not God’s intention
    Even though the mustard seed seems small and insignificant, it grows into a useful tree.  The mighty oak tree spanning high into the air started as a small acorn.  Anything that is not growing is dying!

Don’t be discouraged by the “smallness” of today, but rather be encouraged by the fact that God’s Kingdom plans can grow and will grow if He has faithful people who hear and obey His Word.  People who are lazy and full of excuses will never see things change.  They are looking for the supernatural, but are not willing to do the natural.  

Take time to apply these lessons to your life.  What is the Holy Spirit saying to you?  Write it in your journal and pray it into your life.

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Leave A Mark – New Teaching Style

In Mark 4:2 we discover that Jesus is using a new style of teaching, “Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching.” Someone said that parables are EARLY STORIES WITH HEAVENLY MEANING.

Parables (PARABOLE) comes from the verb PARABALLO, meaning to cast alongside.  So the use of parables was a form of teaching by which an earthly story was cast alongside a spiritual truth in order to give understanding to the latter.  It should be noted that a parable teaches one primary truth.  While many secondary meanings may be involved, they all contribute to the central truth.

Why did Jesus teach in parables? A parable both concealed and revealed.  It concealed truth from those who used Jesus’ teachings only as a means of criticizing Him, but also revealed truth to those who were prepared to receive it. In chapter 3, unbelief by the religious crowd was blatant and they were already conspiring to destroy Jesus. (Mark 3:6)

A parable is different than a fable. A fable is not necessarily true to life, but a parable draws spiritual truth from life as it was lived by its hearers.  Jesus used parables to interpret the nature, growth, fulfillment, and consummation of the Kingdom of God. 

In Mark chapter 4 Jesus teaches 3 parables of the seed, He is describing the Kingdom of God and how it grows.

Take time to read the parables:

  •  The Seed and The Soil (4:1-20) – It reveals how people respond to the Gospel.
  • The Seed and Strength (4:21-29) – It tells how the seed has ability and strength, the emphasis is on growing.
  • The Seed and Success (4:30-34) – The emphasis is on faithfulness.  The Kingdom may start out small but it will grow.  Growth of the kingdom and the Word of God can be assured success.  

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Leave A Mark – Bold Faith

Paul Harvey once said, “If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.”
You see, faith is never something just to be talked about – instead you Leave A Mark by living it. There’s a story in Mark 2 that demonstrates this principle. Verse 5 states, “Seeing their faith…” but how do you see faith? Faith is not in the visible realm.
This passage records the story of four men who brought their friend to Jesus. He was a paralytic, which literally means to be “loosed on one side.” In essence, his arms hung on his side and his legs were as limp as spaghetti. Now if he was going to get in to the presence of Jesus, somebody was going to have to take him.

But when they got near the house, they saw that there was no room to get through. The house was full. People jammed the doorways. Kids were sitting in the windows. Nobody could move. It was standing room only and this man could not stand.
The four friends would not be stopped, they decided to go to the roof and let their friend down into the presence of Jesus.  According to some scholars, the roof was usually made of beams about 3 feet apart. These beams would be filled with twigs, then packed with clay and covered with dirt. If that were the case, it would have been an easy matter to dig between the beams without doing much damage to the house.

The paralyzed man was lowered down to Jesus, and when Jesus “saw their faith”, he both healed and forgave the paralytic.

The action of bringing their friend showed their faith. It made their faith visible to Jesus and to any others who saw it.
Our actions will make our faith visible to the watching world. A visible faith is a faith that works. 
What does Jesus see in you?  Who are you bringing to the presence of Jesus? Is there anything bold about your faith?   
Let’s LEAVE A MARK!






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Leave a Mark – The Compassion of Jesus

He was a man who had leprosy and there was no cure in Bible days. The story begins in Mark 1:40. It simply says, “Now a leper came to Him…”

The society in which Jesus lived went to great lengths to separate the clean from the unclean. There were clear-cut boundaries between the two. The leper dressed like a mourner going to a burial service — his own burial service. And he had to constantly cry out, “Unclean! Unclean!” lest anyone get too close. And people did keep their distance. In his book, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Alfred Edersheim reports the standard practice of the day. He writes, “No one was to salute a leper… no less than a distance of six feet must be kept from a leper or if the wind came from that direction, a hundred were scarcely sufficient.”

And so, you can imagine that as this leper walked down the street, he was shunned.  Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If You are willing, You can make me clean.’” (Mark 1:40)

Notice that Jesus doesn’t come to the leper — the leper comes to Jesus. Remember that this was a violation of the rules and regulations concerning lepers. He was supposed to shout, “Unclean!” to keep Jesus away! But instead he runs to Jesus. And Jesus does not run away like all the rest. Like a mother welcoming her crying, mud-covered son, Jesus allows the leper to approach Him. 

“Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” (Mark 1:41)

The word “compassion” suggests a depth of feeling. In fact, the word “compassion” literally means “to feel with.  And Jesus touched him.  Imagine not feeling a human touch for years and then to experience the gentle touch of the Son of God.

We can come away from this story about the leper with the realization that Jesus still has the power to cleanse when we come to Him and allow Him to touch us with compassion. 

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Leave A Mark –

In Mark 1 we get an eyewitness account of the power of Jesus: He teaches with great power and authority in the Synagogue, commands unclean spirit to set a man free, heals Simon Peter’s mother in law, after the Sabbath ended (6PM Saturday Night) he stands in the doorway and heals a steady stream of suffering humanity that lined up in the street.

Then Mark pulls back the curtain to reveal the source of Jesus’ power, authority and miracles.  It is very late in the evening, Jesus has been ministering for hours but that didn’t keep him from a very important appointment – time with His Father in prayer. 

Prayer was the continual link in Jesus life, He prayed:

  • When He was baptized (Lk. 3:21)
  • When He dealt with the crowds (Lk. 5:16)
  • When He was transfigured (Luke 9:29)
  • Before choosing the twelve (Lk. 6:12)
  • When people tried to make Him king (Mt. 14:23)
  • When He prayed for individuals (Lk. 22:32)

Prayer in our life must be more than spontaneous, hit and miss prayer. Give prayer the priority it deserves.  Don’t let the busyness of life crowd out your daily time with Jesus, He is waiting for you.  Don’t keep Him waiting. 

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Arms of Prayer

Today, we are pausing in our study of the Gospel of Mark to pray for the victims of the storms in Oklahoma.  Prayer has a long arm.  It can reach all the way to heaven and to Oklahoma.

The Bible declares this truth.   
“Let’s lift our hearts and hands at one and the same time, praying to God in heaven:” 
Lamentations 3:41 (MSG)  

“Lord, I lift my hands to heaven and implore your help. Oh, listen to my cry.”  
Psalm 28:2 (TLB)

Whether we literally lift our hands or spiritually lift our hands, God hears the prayers of His people.

Our prayers not only reach heaven, but the arm of prayer can also reach to any part of the world through intercession.  In times of crisis, people want to respond in some physical way.  Although we never underestimate physical response, there is need for intercessory prayer in times like this. Not everyone is close enough to the crisis to respond physically.  Prayer can touch someone who needs you, even thousands of miles away.  This is not make-believe.  This is spiritiual reality. 

It is an amazing thought that we as finite human beings, saved by the grace of God, are given the almost unbelievable privilege of reaching our hands to heaven and to people in need around the globe. Prayer enables us to touch God’s throne with one hand and the needs world with the other!

Today let us lift our hands in prayer for the people in Oklahoma.  Pray for the victims and hope for survivors. Pray strength for the first responders. 

God Is Our Refuge

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.

(from Psalm 46)

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Leave A Mark – Jesus Sees What Others Can’t

Several years ago I ran across an example of the truth that man judges from what he can see but Jesus evaluates from what can be.  The principle is so powerful in His selection of His disciples.  It is a good thing that He didn’t allow a company to determine His disciples:

 Jordan Management Consultants’ Assessment of Jesus’ Disciples

Jesus, son of Joseph
Woodcrafter, Carpenter’s Shop
Nazareth, Galilee

Dear Sir,

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for managerial positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken a battery of tests and we have run them through our computers. It is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, educational and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would suggest that you continue your search for persons with experience and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has no leadership skills at all. The 2 brothers, James and John, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to inform you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James and Thaddeus have radical leanings and registered high manic-depressive scores. Only one of the candidates shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness who meets people well and has a keen business mind. He has contacts in high places and is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. We wish you every success in your new venture.


Sincerely yours,
Jordan Management Consultants
Jerusalem, Judea 
Today He sees you where you are for who you are but most importantly for what you can become.

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Leave A Mark – Authority of Jesus

Mark continues to describe the life of Jesus to help us see His great ministry and His compassionate heart of the Healer.  When the synagogue services ended, they were usually followed with a meal.   It was customary to take the main Sabbath meal immediately after synagogue, at the sixth hour (noon).

The disciples must have been so excited by what they had seen and heard in the synagogue.  They didn’t have a Wendy’s or a Taco Bell, so they went to Simon Peter’s house for the meal.

What they found when they got there is described in verses 29 & 30: “Now as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.” Instead of a great meal prepared, they found the cook in bed with a fever (fire as the text literally says).

Verse 31 recounts what happened next: So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.”  Notice what Jesus did, He took her by the hand.  We have a picture of Christ standing close to her bed, taking her by the hand, rebuking the fever and gently raising her up before Peter and his wide-eyed friends.

Jesus healed people in many ways, some times by a simple word or creating a spittle and mud compress, but here He takes the suffering woman by her hand.  By this single act we can see the compassionate heart of Jesus that meets someone at their point of faith and need. 

Jesus’ touch tells us volumes about what He like.  This is what He wants to do for you today.  I believe that Peter’s mother in law was so glad that Peter didn’t leave Jesus at church but took Him home with him.  We need Him in our homes not just visit Him at church. 

We can see a couple of applications for our life from this passage:

  • Jesus doesn’t need crowds to exert His healing power.
  • Disciples take their troubles to Jesus and their home was changed.

What about you?  Where in your home do you need His compassionate touch today?  Ask Him!

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Leave a Mark – Authority of Jesus

In Mark 1:21-28, we find Jesus teaching with such authority that the congregation was astonished at His teaching. While He was teaching in the synagogue, a man with an unclean spirit begins to interrupt the teaching.  I wonder how many services the man had attended previously without stirring up the evil spirit within him.  But in the presence of Jesus the unclean spirit was exposed but also commanded to depart from the man. 

The people were amazed (1:27) at the authority of Jesus to not only preach powerfully but power to cast out evil spirits and set a man free.  The people realized something new had appeared on the scene – a man who spoke with authority and demonstrated a new power.

His Words produce great Works!  For Jesus and the early church, exorcism was sign of the coming of God’s kingdom, signs of the redeeming power of Jesus.

His Word of command freed the man.  There were other exorcists in those days – they customarily identified themselves with some divine name and often used spells, incantation, and magic.  But Jesus used nothing but the Word alone.  A word from Jesus was invested with power for which there were no parallels in their experience. 

As the Church, the Body of Christ on earth today, we are to speak the Word of God authoritatively.  Jesus is with us!  His authority rests with His Church.  There are individuals in the world that are troubled by “unclean spirits” of torment, difficulty and trouble.  They need to hear the authority of Christ’s Word and experience the power of His deliverance. 

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Leave A Mark – The Authority of Jesus

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of Mark we discover Jesus teaching in the Synagogue. The Jewish synagogues developed during the nation’s exile when the people were in Babylon after the temple had been destroyed.  Wherever there were 10 Jewish men above the age of 12, a synagogue could be organized.  It was not a place of sacrifice but of reading the Scriptures, praising and worshiping God.   (Mark 1:21-28)

Other teachers spoke from authority, but Jesus spoke with authority.  Others would repeatedly quote the teachers of the past, “Rabbi so and so said this…” Their teaching was deliberately unoriginal.  They rarely gave personal views or independent judgments.  Jesus didn’t quote previous Rabbi’s or religious experts, His teaching were fresh and authoritative. We are not told what Jesus taught, but Mark focuses on the reaction of the audience.  “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22

The people were astonished and amazed at His teaching.  Literally the word astonished means “to strike with panic or shock”.  It means that His preaching struck them like a blow.  Barclay renders it that they were left “thunderstruck.”  Jesus’ preaching carried a powerful punch. 

When Jesus preached the Word, He was clear and painfully direct in His application, as we see again and again in the Gospels.

If we want to communicate in our walk and talk, God’s authority must be a part of our life.  We need not so much to possess the message, but rather to let the message possess us.

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Leave A Mark – Followers

The mission statement of TFH declares that “we are leading people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus”.  Everything we do is evaluated through the lens of this mission.  We are endeavoring to continue what Jesus started over 2,000 years ago on the shore of Galilee.

Jesus’ challenge was direct and convincing: “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 1:16,17 (NKJV) 

Disciples were a common feature of Jesus’ day.  The followers would seek out a rabbi or teacher whose message appealed to them.  But Jesus came and took the initiative to seek out followers.  He saw them where they were.  He saw them for what they were.  He saw them for what they could become as a follower. 

Fishermen were common in Galilee.  Josephus, the Jewish historian says that in his day as many as 330 fishing boats sailed the lake.  Fish was the staple diet for ordinary people who could rarely afford other meat.  

Jesus chose ordinary men (Acts 4:13) to follow Him, not the richest, well-taught religious leaders.  These fishermen were probably in their late teens or early twenties.  Christianity began as a youth movement!!

He did not call them to read a book, to enlist in a class or join an organization.  The basis of discipleship was to follow Him.  He didn’t say “there is a road, follow it”.  His challenge was to walk the road of the Kingdom of God with Him. 

CHRISTIANITY IS A PERSON WHO INVITES US TO A PILGRIMAGE FILLED WITH GREAT PROMISE AND POTENTIAL OF POWER. 

What are you doing today to follow Him more closely?

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Leave A Mark – Jesus’ Preaching

If ever a man spoke God’s truth with authority, it was Jesus Christ (Mt. 7:28,29).

It was said that the scribes spoke from authority but Jesus spoke with authority. Mark does not record the beginning of our Lord’s ministry, since He had already ministered in other places (John 1:35-4:4).  Mark is reminding us why Jesus left Judea and went to Galilee: Herod had arrested John and common sense would say it is time to move to another area.

Mark 1:14 and 15 explains to us what Jesus’ preaching was like: “After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.  ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near.  Repent and believe the good news!” The text literally says that Jesus heralded this truth, calling it out loudly. 

There were three powerful points Jesus emphasized: the Kingdom of God, repentance, and belief.

Kingdom of God
No doubt many of the Jews read “political revolution” into the phrase “kingdom of God,” but that was not what Jesus had in mind at all.  His kingdom has to do with His reign in the lives of His people; it is a spiritual realm.

Believe
The only way to enter God’s kingdom is by believing the Good News and being born again.  Specifically He called them to believe the good news that the King was here.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) 

Repent 
Jesus preached that people should repent (change their minds) and believe (Acts 20:21).  Repentance alone is not enough to save us.  Repentance and belief are inseparable. We must also put positive faith in Jesus and believe His promise of salvation.

The response to Jesus’ preaching was remarkable.  People began to follow Him.  They did not understand how, but were sure the Kingdom expansion had begun.  They had repented, and they were beginning to see that their beliefs were making demands on their life. 

There was a radical “now-ness” to Jesus’ preaching.  Now is the time to believe, and now is the time to repent.

Next Step: Examine your life today, have you repented and believed, if not “now is the time”!

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Leave A Mark – Memorize God’s Word

On yesterday’s blog I talked about the importance of journaling. Today I want to encourage you to write the Word on your heart through memorization. Proverbs 7:2,3 says this, “Guard my words as your most precious possession. Write them down and also keep them deep within our heart.”

There are Personal Benefits of Memorizing God’s Word

  • It helps me resist temptation. 
    “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.”  Psalm 119:11
  • It helps me make wise decisions. 
    “Your Word is a lamp to guide me and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105
  • It strengthens me when I’m under stress. 
    “Your promises to me are my hope.  They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!” Psalm 119:49
  • It helps me witness to unbelievers. 
    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15

How to Memorize a Verse:
(Choose a version that is easy to understand, i.e. New King James or New Living Translation)

  • Say the reference before and after the verse.
  • Read the verse aloud many times.  Record it!
  • Break the verse into natural phrases.
  • Emphasize key words when quoting the verse.
  • Write out the verse on a card to carry with you.
  • Review the card throughout the day.
  • Display your verse where you will see it often.
  • Put the verse to music. 

Next Step: 
Memorize Mark’s theme verse which summarizes his gospel  –
Mark 10:45
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

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LEAVE A MARK – How to Journal

I am so glad that you are studying the Gospel of Mark with us for the next several weeks.  My goal is that you will listen to the Sunday Sermon, follow the weekday blogs, read through Mark several times, and make observations in your journal.  

Here is what we use at TFHwe use the SOAP method!

S –  SCRIPTURE
O – OBSERVATION
A – APPLICATION
P – PRAYER

It works like this:

S for Scripture. 
Read the text prayerfully. Take notice of which scripture(s) seem to catch your attention and mark it in your bible. When you’re done, reread the passage you marked and look for one verse that particularly speaks to you. Write it in your journal.

O for Observation.
Focusing on that scripture, tune in and listen to what God is saying to you in His Word. What is it about this verse that specifically stands out? What does God want to reveal to you or teach you? Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and show you what God is saying. Write your observations.

A for Application. 
Think of how this passage applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise or correction for a particular area of our life. Use your journal to write how this verse applies to you today.

P for Prayer. 
Wrap up your SOAP time in prayer. Talk to God about what you’ve just read. This can be as simple as thanking Him for revealing a truth from the scripture, or it may be asking Him for greater insight or wisdom as to how it applies to your life. Remember, prayer is all about relationship. It’s a two-way conversation, so be sure to listen to what God has to say, and write out your prayer in your journal.

NEXT STEP:
Read the theme verse of Mark (10:45) and apply the principles above. 

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Leave A Mark – Kingdom of God

“The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” 
Mark 1:15

Jesus’ message concerned the Kingdom of God. We find that phrase 14 times in Mark’s Gospel and over 100 times in all four Gospels. The Kingdom of God is here is evident in His first recorded message and in His last messages according to Acts 1:3.

Jesus’ parables were parables of the Kingdom. What did Jesus mean by Kingdom of God?

At the time of Jesus, the idea of the Kingdom was common in Jewish thinking. Scholars looked forward to a new age of peace and material well being when Israel would be free from the oppression of Rome. The phrase had taken on a political tone. But Jesus’ presentation of the Kingdom was different.

Firstly, for Jesus, the Kingdom was not national but personal. It was about God’s rule in a person’s heart. It was not a territory to be found on a map, but God’s reign as King in an individual’s life.

Secondly, the Kingdom was not material, but spiritual.  It is not a place of earthly prosperity, but spiritual blessings.

Thirdly, for Jesus, the Kingdom was not only future, but also here and now. With the coming of Jesus, God’s rule among men had begun. The day the prophets had dreamed of had arrived. The Kingdom was here because Jesus was here.

How do we enter the Kingdom of God?  Repent and believe! 

NEXT STEP: As you are reading through Mark, underline every time you see “Kingdom of God”.

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LEAVE A MARK
A Study in the Gospel of Mark 
Mark, who was the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately all that he remembered, whether of sayingss or doing of Christ, but not necessarily in order of the actual events. 
Mark was young, perhaps in his teens, at the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Evidently his mother, Mary, was a well-to-do widow who had come to faith in Christ. Many surmise that Mary’s house was the site of the Last supper (14:12-26) and the home where the disciples gathered at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4); some believe that Mark was the young man who ran away naked when Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (14:51-52).  

Mark also enjoyed a very close relationship with Peter.  In fact, Peter may have led Mark to Christ because he calls Mark “my son” (1 Peter 5:13).  After Paul’s release from prison in A.D. 62, Mark may have stayed in Rome to work closely with Peter.  Mark probably left Rome in about A.D. 65 or 66, during Nero’s intense persecution.  Both Paul and Peter were executed by Nero in about A.D. 67 or 68.  According to tradition, Mark died soon after.

The outline of the Gospel of Mark closely follows the skeleton of Peter’s preaching (Acts 10:36-41).  

Mark presents the Gospel History.  The first 13 verses set it up with clarity.  It is the story of the life of the son of God who gave Himself redemptively for the world.  As you read the gospel you are challenged to discover the mystery of the Person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the point of Mark’s story.  

CHRIST’S SERVICE OCCUPIES THE BULK OF MARK
CHRIST’S SACRIFICE CLOSES THE BOOK


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Leave A Mark

Thanks for joining us for our study of the Gospel of Mark – Leave a Mark!

These blogs will add depth to our Sunday Teachings.

To get the most from this study:

  • Read the Gospel of Mark
  • Read the daily blogs
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you from your daily journey in the text
  • Add your insights to your Journal
  • Commit to attending the 10 week series

WHY STUDY THE GOSPEL OF MARK?
It is widely accepted that Mark’s Gospel was the first of the gospels written and was probably used by both Matthew and Luke when they wrote their books.  It is brief, gets to the point in a hurry, has an urgency about it.  It quickly moves from scene to scene revealing snapshots of the work of Jesus.

WHY FOUR GOSPELS?
Each writer had a specific audience in mind and wrote from a particular perspective to bring various views to the same truths about Jesus Christ. 

  • Matthew:
    Very logical, national, rabbinic in thinking, more Jewish in its nature. Includes the legal genealogy of Jesus.  Has birth narrative tracing Christ’s lineage back to Abraham.
  • Mark:
    An experiential Gospel, uses dramatic devices. Written for the young church at Rome who was being persecuted.  No genealogy, written to the Romans who were not interested in man’s origin but what He does. 
  • Luke:
    Very traditional, written with the universal world in mind.  The Prophet of Jesus is emphasized. Not written to Jews, or Romans but the whole human race, traces the linage back to Adam.  Shows Jesus as the Savior of all man. 
  • John:
    Profound, very poetical and beautiful, imaginative, reveals the theological perspective of the Word (Logos) of God.  No birth narrative, shows the lineage beyond Abraham, beyond Adam to the Eternal Word in the beginning.  

 NOW WHAT?  Read the Gospel of Mark.

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LIVING ON ASSIGNMENT

Paul reminds us of the motivation for our assignment as believers in 2 Corinthians 5:14 “Christ’s love compels us.”  Paul goes on to explain the love of Christ, the love that compels him, driving him forward in all that he does and says:  “He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.  Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them” (2 Cor. 5:15 NLT).

The focus of that love is summed up in Luke 19:10.  “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  As a follower of Christ all that we do should help to bring souls to Christ.  It is easy to get distracted by “good” religious activities which are noble callings and are not wrong.  But we must not engage in these “good” endeavors to the exclusion of what is most eternal; the salvation of the lost.  No other group on the face of the earth has been given the exclusive assignment to offer redemption to mankind.  It is the exclusive assignment given to the church.  

At TFH we are committed to this assignment.  We, as a church, know that in everything we do, no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem, there is an eternal purpose.  What matters most is that we are compelled by the love of Christ, that we find the lost and share this love, the truth of God’s forgiveness and grace revealed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, with them.  
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Glorify God in Your Body

At TFH we are participating in a  21 Day Challenge to Glorify God in our Body – by eating healthier and exercising. No one can do this for you, its your choice.  Many of us have a gap between our belief and our behaviors. We know what is right, but we don’t do it. this Challenge is not an issue of heaven or hell but has to do with this:
  • Will you be able to complete the mission God has on your life?
  • Will you be here to impart to your family? 
Think about it like this, just as the tithe belongs to God so does our body. There are many correlations of presenting our finances and giving our body to God. When we talk about giving the tithe and offering we are focusing on giving to give not giving to get

If we are honest, most of our dieting is like “giving to get”. The reason we have gone on a diet is to look better, or to fit into a smaller size, not really to present our body to God for His Glory – that is like giving to get. But when we do present our tithe/offering for the right reason, there is a blessing from God on that act of obedience.  And when we eat healthy and exercise for the right reason, it does help weight and appearance. But our goal for this 21 Day Challenge is to Glorify God in our Body.

Start your journey with small steps and those small steps will lead to a new lifestyle. A path to new life. Take time to read the following verses and write down what you feel the Holy Spirit is saying to you from the appropriate verses.

1. Our bodies belong to God.
    1 Corinthians 6:12–20

2. Give your body to God.
     Romans 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 7:4; 1 Corinthians 9:24–27
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Have you sown your 58:7 seed? 
No, I am not going to hype up some super exaggerated formula to get your money! But I want to challenge you to consider this verse: 
Isaiah 58:7 (NIV)
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
In the fast that God chooses, we are challenged to look beyond ourselves and see the needs around us. People are in need, hungry, homeless, and hurting. You don’t have to look very far to know this is true. Those needs are no longer in the far reaches of the world.  They are all around us!

At the conclusion of our Daniel Fast, Anita and I always try to sow a 58:7 seed to a ministry that is helping to meet the needs of hurting, needy people. This is not our tithe being redirected, but a separate financial seed beyond our regular giving. The tithe (10% of our increase) belongs to God and He asks that we return that to the local church where we are committed.

But an offering is an amount of money that you give over and above your tithe to meet a need. I have found that when I ask God what He wants me to do, I always receive an impression of where and what I am to sow. Sometimes that amount is a faith stretch but I have never sown a seed in good soil but that it eventually returns a harvest in my life. Sometimes it is a financial harvest and other times it’s a spiritual harvest. My responsibility is to give, my Father decides the the increase. That’s all right by me!

On Sunday, I gave several suggestions of good soil in which to sow:

Open Door Ministries –
Barry & Penny Compton ministering to girls in Honduras

Involved Group –
Daran & Tera Hinnant helping missionaries around the globe

Emerge Family Ministries Building –
reaching the next Generation

TFH Benevolence –
meeting practical needs

(You can send your seed to TFH or go to www.thefathershouse.com/giving and we will be sure to send the money to the proper place)

I know there are many other great places, but these are areas that are impactful and caring.

So Here’ What I Am Thinking… 

Together we can make a difference in people’s lives – so let’s sow a 58:7 seed today!
You are blessed to be a blessing!
PT
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DAY TWENTY ONE

Congratulations you did it! – 21 Days of seeking God in prayer and fasting. I would like to share  a blog with you from Jentzen Franklin that really says what I am sensing:

“As Christians, we love the Old Testament story of the Joshua and the battle of Jericho because God teaches us so much through that miracle. The soldiers marched around the walls for seven days, then blew the Shofar horn, screamed and walls came tumbling down… just like God said it would.

As we’ve been going through the Fast 2012, I have strongly felt that many of you are at a crossroads or transition. And when God is going to do something powerful in your life, He will always challenge your comfort zone just as He did Joshua and the Israelites.

Even though the children of Israel were already in the Promised Land, they still had to fight the enemy to keep it. When you get close to your place of promise, the resistance gets greater. You can count on it!

Here’s what has been on my mind for you during this fast… inside those walls of Jericho was a “power relationship” for the nation of Israel that they didn’t even understand at the time. Inside those walls was the great, great grandmother of Jesus Christ. A harlot named Rahab whose destiny was tied up with the Jews, and she was a gentile. What if they had disobeyed? What if they decided the resistance was too hard? What if they had taken the easy route and walked away from their Jericho?

What miracles wait inside your wall of Jericho in 2012? For your business? Your marriage? Your family? Your health? Don’t give up! You’ve met walls of resistance, but during this fast those walls are already cracking. Trust Him. Praise Him in your personal time of worship today.”

Let’s expect Miracles in 2012. This fast has not been ordinary; it has encouraged and empowered us. I am hearing of reports on blessings, healings, breakthroughs, and miracles. This 21 Day Journey is not an event that we check off – done, it is the first step in putting God first in our life for all of 2012. 
If your miracle hasn’t already happened, don’t give up. Believe that 2012 will be a year of growing closer to God than ever before and bringing answers to your best year ever. I will continue to pray for you. 
Thanks for joining me on this Journey,
PT

 
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DAY TWENTY

DAY 20!!!!!! Can you believe it!! We’re almost there… congratulations!!  I am so thankful to have joined with you on this 21 Day Journey. I want to encourage you today to stay focused on finishing strong and remaining strong for 2012. 
This fast is not a religious event that we “check off – done”, it is a seed sown for a harvest during the rest of the year!
 
I love the encouragement that Paul writes about in

Galatians 6:9 (MSG)
“So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”

Fasting is not a tool for manipulating God to doing what you want when you want. If you view it that way and “It” doesn’t occur at your appointed time, you might give up and miss what God planned for you.

To get a harvest, there has to be a time of sowing. Don’t get fatigued in the season of sowing, miracles and breakthrough happen by your persistent sowing.

You reap what you sow. The Bible says that whatever your hands find to DO, DO it solely as unto God. I simply want to encourage everyone to continue serving the Lord, and to stay strong in your fast until the very end.  

God rewards those who diligently seek Him. To seek something requires action.
 
During these past 20 days you have been sowing some incredible seeds of faith and prayer. It will be at the RIGHT TIME that your GOOD crop will come in, but the key is to remember that God’s time is always the right time.  
Don’t be discouraged if prayers aren’t answered when you think they should be. You must trust that God has everything under control and that He will release the good crop when it is time. Don’t allow yourself to get fatigued and tired while waiting for the answer.

I believe many answers will be experienced Sunday during  our time of breaking bread together – don’t miss it, prepare for it, and EXPECT great things from God!

Anticipating a harvest!
PT
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DAY NINETEEN

Yesterday we examined Isaiah 58:8 and discovered some of the great benefits to those who fast and seek God. Today I want to continue to look at this chapter and discover additional blessings coming your way.

Isaiah 58:8-9 (NKJV)
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

“The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard” 
We often focus on the Lord leading us, but in this verse He is our rearguard or as someone said “The Backer-upper”. His favor goes before us and the glory of the Lord comes behind us as our protector. Nothing outside of His will can sneak up on us – He has your back!

“Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer”. 

Because you have spent time in fasting and seeking God, He says that your prayers will be answered speedily. Fasting is one way to add persistence to our petitions. I love the power in this benefit – You call and He answers. During the fast, your will has been surrendered to His will so you are in agreement and alignment and you can walk out your assignment.
Isaiah 58:10-11 (NKJV)
10 Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday. 11 The LORD will guide you continually…
“Then your light shall dawn in the darkness, And your darkness shall be as the noonday”. 
No matter how dark the day, your light will shine. If you have felt “lost” and unsure of your direction, God promises to shine the light on your pathway, the darkness fades away with the noonday brilliance.

“The LORD will guide you continually”. 

After the season of fasting, guidance and direction become clear. I think that for the rest of the year you will walk in divine guidance. It will be clear to you exactly where God is leading you.

Begin to confess these promise in your daily prayer time. Draw your promise circle around these promises and don’t let these benefits slip from your focus.

Expecting GREAT things,
PT 
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DAY EIGHTEEN

Isaiah 58 is the chapter in the Bible that tells about the type of fast that pleases God and lists specific results to expect.  

Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)
“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”

The first promise: “your light will break forth like the dawn”.
 
I think this speaks of the dawning of a new day, a reawakening of spiritual insights and fresh revelation. I have been hearing many testimonies of this happening. As you read the Word, you see with revelation insight the things that you never realized before.

The second promise: “your healing will quickly appear”. 

I think it includes spiritual as well as physical healing. I anticipate miracles that will occur during and after this fast for the glory of God. I like the part “quickly appear”. I know many who have prayed and waited, but get ready for a quick appearing of your healing.
The third promise: “your righteousness will go before you”. 
I believe this speaks of the life of influence you will have as a result of fasting and praying. If there ever was a time the world needed to see godly examples to follow, it is today. There have been too many inconsistencies among believers.

We will examine the other promises in tomorrow’s blog. But take time now to pray for the rewards we see listed here. Not only pray, but begin to expect the unexpected to occur in your life and at TFH. 

I am sensing an unusual expectation for our Sunday Worship Experience as we break this fast together with communion.
Enjoying the journey,
PT
 
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DAY SEVENTEEN

Someone recently told me, “this week I have faced such temptation to quit.” 
Day 17 is NOT the day to quit, we want to make it to the end and finish Sunday during communion.

Quitting is not an option for us. When you begin to think about quitting, you start talking about quitting and usually it won’t take long before you actually quit.

I’m here to encourage you today that you don’t have to quit. Let God give you “Finishing Strength” today. 

Hebrews 10:39 says,
“But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way”.

It starts with focus. We need to get our eyes off the immediate and see the reward ahead. It is possible to be so focused on what we aren’t eating that we spend the day looking down instead of up.
 I love what Colossians 3:2 says,
“Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”
No matter what it is in life, if the option to give up and quit is available, you entertain the option of quitting when things get tough and challenging. We need to understand that we are in a spiritual battle and the enemy will throw everything he can at you because he doesn’t want you to pursue a greater knowledge of Jesus.

Today I remind you that you are more than a conqueror in Jesus Christ.

The writer of Hebrews gives us some encouraging thoughts, 

Hebrews 10:35-39“So don’t throw it all away now. You were sure of yourselves then. It’s still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion… But we’re not quitters who lose out. Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive, trusting all the way.”

Blessings,
PT
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DAY SIXTEEN

I am so thankful that you are continuing on this 21 Day Journey of fasting and prayer. I think I need to remind you that not every day will be filled with extreme spiritual encounters, some days you just do what you have committed to do.

Today was a day like that for me. My prayers weren’t filled with great emotional feelings or new revelations. It was one of those days I sowed the seed of prayer and commitment knowing that one day I will reap a harvest from this day.

Maturity as a believer in Christ is when I consistently make the decision to be obedient to what God’s Word says, rather than the way that I feel.  There are going to be times when obedience isn’t the easy thing or the fun thing… but it’s always the right thing.

Our feelings often change based on what we eat or DON’T EAT. But God’s Word DOES NOT CHANGE… it is both constant and consistent… and when we place ourselves in submission to HIS WORD rather than our world of feelings, greater things are in store.

I may not feel like forgiving someone because of what they have done to me. However, God’s Word commands me to love and forgive others.

Ephesians 4:32

‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’
Matthew 6:14,15
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I may not feel like sharing Christ with someone or inviting them to church; however, Jesus gave us command to obey regardless of our feelings. 

Matthew 28:18-20

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Mark 16:15

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.
Those are just a couple of examples to remind us that we can’t be dictated by our feelings.

So, let’s just choose to fix our eyes and thoughts on Jesus and His Word and always make the right decision.

Staying the course,
PT


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DAY FIFTEEN

Yesterday @ TFH we were reminded that we are responsible to prepare our hearts for the reception of God’s Word. It really is our task, but many times it is an all out battle against things that try to crowd out God’s Word.

Thank God that He has more than equipped us with weapons to fight the conflict that we are in, and fasting is one of the most powerful weapons that you can use. 

We are in an “all out” battle! Satan wants nothing more than to destroy you and me. 
He has three objectives; 
  • to kill
  • to steal
  • to destroy
He wants to steal the Word, limit it, or choke it out. The enemy wants to keep us from believing God for Big things!

I think it’s time for us to seek God like never before, and believe God like never before! Let’s stop limiting God in what we think He can do and start asking Him for the big things we aren’t sure He can do! If Satan can convince us to not ask for the things we want God to do, then he has already won the battle. 

Ephesians 3:20
says that God is able to do, “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or imagine.”

I have determined in my heart to ask God for big things this year! I know that when I have big requests, He is going to bless me with massive answers. If I bring miniature prayers, then I am going to get small results! He will do more than I ask or even imagine! 
This year I am proclaiming 

Habakkuk 1:5, “I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

Along with fasting, the weapon of expectancy can shatter the Devil’s schemes for your life! Rather than doubting that you will receive that miracle, change your perspective and believe you will receive it. Rather than talk about how bad things are, talk about how good your God is. 
Take away the enemy’s ammunition with a “spirit of expectancy.” Expectancy is knowing that God is going to show up in your life in 2012 and work miracles!

Thank Him that this time next year you will not be in the same place that you are now.
 

What big things do you need to declare war over?  What battles do you need victory in? What unanswered prayers do you have that can only be answered through fasting and prayer?  
2012 is going to be a year of miracles. It will be a year where we see God do more than He has ever done before.
Believing with you,
PT
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DAY FOURTEEN

We have been on this Journey for two weeks. I know there have been some good days and some in which you felt like you couldn’t go on – but you did! Maybe you haven’t been as successful to your commitment as you intended, but remember this is not a competition. 
Don’t allow guilt feelings to cause you to give up – this last week can be a special time for you. You may be saying, “If only” – but you don’t live there, you can pick yourself up and get back on the Journey. Today is a good day to recommit to this last week and we will break the fast next Sunday together during our Sunday Service.
 
When I think about the word “IF”, I think about the choices that I have to make. I remember when my mother would tell me when I was a little boy that if I would finish my music practice… then I could go out to play.

God proclaims another “IF” that we should focus on today: 

2 Chronicles 7:14.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
We all need this REAWAKEN EXPERIENCE, where revival comes into the hearts of the people, and then it will come to our church as well. 
Counting it all joy!

PT
 

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DAY THIRTEEN

Fasting is a time of emptying – a time of washing and cleansing. The body is emptied of food and cleansed of toxins and poisons. Our lives are emptied of entertainment and normal routine. Fasting is also a time of preparation for new anointing. It is one way to make room for God’s blessings.

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face… and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:17-18

Cleansing and Emptying
Part of preparing ourselves spiritually for a fast involves allowing God to wash our hearts. As we participate in this 21 Day Journey of fasting and prayer let’s make sure we are dealing with any personal sins.
 
Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your mind.
Accept God’s forgiveness. (I John 1:9)
 
Ask forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17;3,4)
 
Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to Ephesians 5:18 (and expect Him to answer, according to His promise in 1 John 5:14-15).
 
Surrender fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master, refusing to yield to your worldly nature.
 
In 1 Kings 17, Elijah came to a woman during a time of famine. He asked her to bring him water and a piece of bread. (She was gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for herself and her son, that they might eat it and die.) Elijah assured her not to fear – to go home and do as she had said, but first to make a cake of bread for him, and then something for herself and her son.
 
When she emptied her barrel and gave away what she had, God supernaturally filled her barrel with food for next three and a half years. Fasting is giving away something you love o God can fill your life with Himself.
 
Fasting is a time for emptying ourselves of soda, junk food, time in front of the television – basically, the things we love.  But we must also be careful to rid ourselves of things we hate: pride, ego, flesh, unforgiveness, idolatry, carnality – anything unlike God – so that He might supernaturally inhabit our lives in the coming year.
 
As we are over half way through with our 21 days, here  are several things that are happening:

Experiencing surrender
Experiencing reawakening spiritually
Creating space for God to fill

Nothing is impossible with God – so let’s give Him some room to do His thing in our life!
PT

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DAY TWELVE

We are now at Day 12 – this is a significant day. 12 represents divine order. It’s the number that shows God is in control and actively ruling over something as King. When God wants to show us that He is ruling and that there is a perfect plan, He likes to use the number twelve in his language.

During this time of seeking God, we have been praying for His Kingdom and Will to be done in our life, that means His divine order. I love this passage of scripture: 

Revelation 12:10-11 (NLT)

10 Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, “It has come at last— salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. 11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.

Too many believers have been held captive in the enemy’s cell of accusation. He accuses them saying, “you don’t deserve… you will never… your situation is too far gone… you have tried before.”

Take another look at the passage, it says your accuser has been thrown down, he has no legal access to accuse you because you have been set free by the blood of the Lamb.

Testimonies are one way we overcome the enemy.  If we don’t share the way God is at work in our lives, then we’re tempted to think God isn’t working at all. But when we begin to share testimonies of grace, testimonies of healing, testimonies of answered prayer, we are reminded that God is still on the throne!  

One of the joys of writing this blog has been receiving testimonies of answered prayer. Each one is like a shot of adrenaline to my faith. They stretch me. They convict me.

Those testimonies remind me that “He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world”.  They remind me that God is able to do immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine.  They remind me that God wins, Satan loses, and I’m more than a conqueror through Christ. 

I would to love to hear about your breakthrough, journey, healing, etc. It would be awesome to share some of the testimonies with others!  

To share your prayer testimony, please click on the word comment below this entry and then enter your comment.  If you don’t have any of the listed profiles, you can submit as anonymous – if you want to add your name, you can put it at the end of your comment before you hit publish.

Step out with your words of testimony today!

PT
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DAY ELEVEN

Join us at noon @TFH if you can for a teaching on prayer. I will be posting the video later today for you to watch if you can’t make it…
In case you are running out of ideas for meals… check out www.ultimatedanielfast.com and click on the recipes tab.  There are other great resources there too.

PT

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DAY TEN

Yesterday we focused on “being available to our families”, today I would like to focus our attention on another important area and that is marriages. Every day in my prayers, I ask God to touch and heal marriages at The Father’s House. I am tired of seeing broken hearts and upset lives because of marriages in crisis.  Even if you are not married, please join me in praying for all of the married couples in our church. 

I believe that marriage is the foundation of a strong family and a strong family is the foundation of a strong church. We believe that what God joins together, let no one pull apart. We believe in one man and one woman joined together in covenant under God for life. We know that marriage is not a contract between two people, it is a covenant between two people before God.

During this fast, let’s pray for God to bring healing into marriages and homes as never before. I want the next generation to see models of committed couples. I know the divorce rate in our culture and in the Kingdom of God is at an all time high but wouldn’t it be marvelous to see 0% divorce rate in our church. Why not, according to Mark 9:23, “with God, all things are possible”.

Remember the glue that keeps your marriage together is His mercy and grace. Another thing that strengthens marriages is getting plugged in to the church, being part of classes and serving in areas where there is a need.

Let’s stand together as we fast and pray and believe God for the spirit of divorce to be defeated.  God hates divorce!  And as Christians, so should we!

As we fast, we pray God’s richest blessings on your marriages and homes for 2012.  We believe that every family and marriage has a specific mission together. We pray that God will reveal and make His divine assignment for your marriage and family clear.  He brought you together for a reason and He is ready to use you to bring salvation, healing and deliverance to homes all over the world.

We stand together for happy marriages and against the plight of divorce in Jesus’ Name.

 
We are at the half way point of this fast, and you are doing great!  Don’t forget to drink plenty of water every day (your goal should be 1 gallon!) and get enough protein by eating nuts, beans, tofu, etc.

Enjoy the journey,
PT
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DAY NINE

On day 9 of our Reawaken Journey, I am reminded of a phrase that can easily be overlooked in the fasting passage of Isaiah. Here it is – “… being available to your own families.” Isaiah 58:7 (MSG)

If we don’t stay sensitive to God’s direction we can get so involved trying to reach, and help others (which we are to do) that we neglect our own families. In this passage the Lord gives us detailed instructions of what we are to focus on during this time of fasting. He says be available to your family.

This is a great time to allow God to sensitize our hearts toward our family. Sometimes you begin to take those you are with the most for granted. They see you concerned and caring for others, but with your own family you are irritated, negative, fault-finding, always pointing out mistakes and neglect their mission. But consider this, everyone in your family has a God given purpose to fulfill – are you encouraging them?

As you fast and pray today, I am praying that you hear the words spoken to Queen Esther – that for such a serious and urgent time as this – you are living.

Who is it that while reading this blog God brought to your heart? That person you can focus on in prayer today?

When Nehemiah undertook the challenge to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem he spent many days fasting, praying, weeping and repenting over his sins and then the sins of the people before the reconstruction (REAWAKENING) began.

You may be thinking, I just don’t know if this really works. Listen to this conditional promise from God – If we… then He will.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15 (NLT)

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.

We need to fast for early discoveries of the destiny’s of our kids, their salvation, direction for their life, wise decisions, right friends, for future spouses, and right teachers to speak into the lives of our sons and daughters.

During this fast we will fight spiritually by prayer and fasting. God promises to hear and answer, so begin to look for and expect great and mighty miracles and victories as a result of our seeking God on this 21 Day Journey.

Praying with you and for you, 
PT
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DAY EIGHT

We are entering week 2 of our Reawaken Journey.  Sometimes during a fast we become focused on the physical hardship we are facing or feel overwhelmed with the needs we are bringing to God in prayer. And if we are not careful, we become more focused on the fast than the One we are surrendering to.

Today, let’s spend time praising Him for who He is and giving thanks for things He has already done and will do. Why not use one of the Psalms and read it out loud as your praise to Him. Try singing a song of praise to Him, or turn on some praise music and get lost in the atmosphere of worship. Take some time and write down in your Journey Journal some things that God has already done in your life.

Here is a Psalm that might help you enter God’s presence with a thankful heart.
 

Psalm 100:1-5 (MSG)
A song of praise for the Lord’s faithfulness to His people, a psalm of thanksgiving:

1 On your feet now – applaud GOD!
2 Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into His presence.
3 Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD.
He made us; we didn’t make Him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.
4 Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank Him. Worship Him.
5 For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

To help you on this Reawaken Journey, there are several resources on our website www.thefathershouse.com. Why not join us @TFH on Thursday at noon for the teaching on Prayer, you can catch up by watching last Thursday’s teaching by scrolling down to DAY FOUR.
Let’s keep building God’s Kingdom together!
PT
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DAY SEVEN

I love the Sunday Celebration! There is always something amazing that happens when we gather together on Sundays to Experience the Presence of Jesus.

Today is the first day of a brand new week–
it’s never been used.

Today is first day of another week
of our 21 Day Spiritual Journey.

Today is the day to celebrate
what has happened and will happen!

Today is the day to realize
that together we are better!
One of the most important ingredients in our Journey of Faith is to be a committed partner with a local church. In spite of many who devalue the local church, we at TFH realize the local church is the hope of the world.
The Church is not to be an entertainment center, in competition with other churches to see who has the best “show”. The church is a body of people called out from among the world, for the distinct and unique purpose of glorifying their Savior and Lord, JESUS CHRIST.
Christ has declared that He will build His church, and nothing, not even the powers of hell can stop Him. In truth, the battle has already been won. Christ will be triumphant in the end, and those of us who stand with Him and love Him will be victorious. That’s Good News!
So get involved, stay committed; be faithful where God has planted you. It’s really not about what you want, having all your needs met or being entertained every Sunday. It is all about Him –  
Find Your Place and Help Make a Difference in the World!

What the church needs today is not more of better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. She needs men whom the Holy Spirit can use – men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men… He does not anoint plans, but men – men of prayer!

E.M. Bounds
Church, I’ll see you at church!
PT
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DAY SIX

In my 21 day fast daily reading from YouVersion.com, I was reminded about staying clear on our focus for the fast.  In Isaiah 58, God responds to His people who were complaining that He was not answering their fast the way they wanted.

Remember, fasting is not a hunger strike to get God to do what you want, but our coming into AGREEMENT with His Word, to be in ALIGNMENT with His will, to receive our ASSIGNMENT in His Kingdom. 

In chapter 58 we discover what He wants for you during this fast.  Pray that God will empty you of all that is you and fill you with all that is Him.

Isaiah 58:4-8 (MSG)
4 You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.
5 Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, GOD, would like?
6 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.
7 What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
8 Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The GOD of glory will secure your passage.

Isaiah 58:9 (MSG)
9 Then when you pray, GOD will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins.


Take a few minutes to read chapter 58 in its entirety and let God show you promises that you need to claim.  Write them in your journal and BRING THEM WITH YOU TO OUR SUNDAY CELEBRATION  tomorrow – I will be talking about those promises. 

As you prayerfully prepare for tomorrow why not be a BRINGER, and bring someone with you. 


Blessings, 
PT
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DAY FIVE

What has Father been saying to you during the last 5 days? What scripture has He highlighted for you? I really have enjoyed reading your comments at the bottom of this blog, they have been very encouraging.

Maybe you are thinking all I am hearing right now is my stomach growling saying “feed me, feed me” or as I heard someone today yell, “I need a cheeseburger.”

Hang in there, turn that hunger toward a hunger to know Jesus better. At times like this we learn just how much our bodies try to dictate to us.

I promise you, as you continue on this journey, you WILL hear His voice with a reawakened awareness. I would recommend that you use a personal journal which will help you capture and record all the incredible things God is speaking into your life.

A great, simple way to journal your devotional time is to use the SOAP method. (Wayne Cordeiro has some great material about this in his book, Divine Mentor. Look to the banner at the right to order.) 

SOAP stands for:

Scripture
Observation
Application
Prayer

It works like this:
S for Scripture. 
Read prayerfully. Take notice of which scripture(s) catches your attention and circle it in your Bible. When you’re done, reread the verse you circled and rewrite it in your journal.

O for Observation
Focusing on that scripture, then tune in and listen to what God is saying to you through His Word. What is it about this verse that especially stands out? What does God want to reveal to you or teach you? Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide and show you what God is saying.

A for Application
Think of how this verse applies to your life right now. Perhaps it is instruction, encouragement, revelation of a new promise, or correction for a particular area of your life. Use your journal to write how this verse applies to you today.

P for Prayer.  
Wrap up your time in prayer. Talk to God about what you have just read. This can be as simple as thanking him for revealing a truth from the scripture, or it may be asking Him for greater insight or how to apply this to your life. Remember prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue.

This is the method I use daily, it’s as simple or deep as you want it to be. But you are able to record and cherish what God is saying to you. Many times I re-read the insights in my journal to bring encouragement by remembering His Words.

You are doing great! I know God is sharing things with you because His word tells us if we abide in Him and He abides in us, we can ask anything and it will be done according to His will.

Blessings on you!

PT
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DAY FOUR

You made it to day four!  That’s awesome… the first three days are usually the hardest because of all of the changes you’ve made.  
Now you can really start to focus more on God and less on the things you are giving up.

Check this blog again later today for a video on intercessory prayer.  I will be teaching it live today at noon at the church, and then I will post it here.

I am praying for you,

PT

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DAY THREE

Wow! Can you believe it; you have already experienced 2 life-changing days of our 21 Day Journey of seeking to draw closer to God. I am already receiving many testimonies of people hearing some awesome things from God. Why not take time to share with us what  God is saying or doing in your life as we make this 21 Day Journey together by adding a comment below.

Sometimes people ask why 21 days? I guess there is nothing sacred or magical about this number, but many say it takes 21 days to establish a daily habit. That is what we are trying to do, establish a daily pattern of putting the Lord first in our life. 21 Days is also how long Daniel spent praying for his breakthrough. There is no greater habit that needs developing than this one.

Whatever “Fasting Zone” (see yesterday’s blog) you have committed to, I pray that you stay strong and finish the challenge. Maybe you made a commitment to participate in the Daniel fast (you will find information at our website www.thefathershouse.com). 

Whatever level you have chosen, remember it is to be joined with prayer. Fasting without reading the Word is just a diet. As you subtract physical food, add in spiritual food.
I really think it’s less about your “Fasting Zone” Plan and more about your motivation. I believe that if you are passionate to know God more, He will honor whatever plan  you are on.
I am praying for you today and want to help you complete your commitment. Remember these helpful resources:
  • This daily blog. (share the link with someone)
  • Resources and suggested links on our website.
  • Thursday Noon intercessory prayer training @ TFH.
  • First 10 days of noon prayer @ TFH.
  • Corporate Sunday Celebration, where you will hear testimonies of breakthrough.
During this season of prayer and fasting, let’s continue  to focus on these areas:
  • Believing God for answered prayer to our specific needs.
  • Declaring our dependence on God in every area of our lives.
  • Asking for forgiveness for our sins and the sins of our land.
  • Praying for the completion of the Great Commission.
  • Inviting the Presence of God in our church and our lives. 
  • Crying out to God for revival in our generation.

Keep up the good work!

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DAY TWO

Well here it is – day 2 of our 21 day Daniel Fast. I am really sensing the desire of God that we would be passionate in our pursuit of Him. I really think He wants us to remember to keep the main thing the main thing and that is using these 21 days to draw closer to Him in surrendering our all.

My hope is that you will not be legalistic by focusing more on the event than the process. The fast is a process to help us draw near to the Lord. Remember the goal of fasting is not just to do without food. The goal is to draw nearer to God.


In his book Awakening (order from our website), Stovall Weems suggests that we find Our Fast Zone. It is important that you learn to fast in a way that works for you.

I personally drink smoothies, juices and even some coffee. (Stovall jokingly says “chill out- coffee is bean juice. Have a cappuccino and draw close to Jesus”) I have discovered that different seasons require different fasts.

Here is short list of different types of fasts, remember to find your Fast Zone.
  • Specific Food or Activity Fast 
    You will omit a specific items from your meal plans (sweets, junk food, etc). You may also find it extremely beneficial to fast from a regular activity or habit (television, social media).
  • Daniel Fast
    In Daniel chapter 1, we find that he only ate vegetables and water – and in chapter 10, although is there is no specific list of foods of what Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich foods, as well as no meat or wine. Check TFH website for more info – www.thefathershouse.com
  • Juice Fast 
    During this fast, you only drink juices and water.
  • Total Fast
    This is no liquid or solid food, although I would recommend you drink water. This is only for a very short amount of time. Attempting to go without water for any period of time can be extremely harmful to the body.
Sometimes I do a combination of these. The goal to having a successful fast is all about finding your Fast Zone. There should never be a spirit of legalism attached to this 21 Days. I think God is more concerned with what is in your heart than what is in your stomach. Keep the main thing the main thing, to know Jesus more and experience Him. Don’t overcomplicate this time. Disconnect to Connect!
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DAY ONE


What are your deep longings for 2012 — things you want God to do in your life, your family, and church? It is not enough to just long for things, it is time to DO something about it.

There is no better way to begin the year than with a Biblical fast. Just as beginning our day with prayer sets the course for the rest of the day and affects anything that might happen, so beginning the year with a fast affects our inner relationship with God and sets the course for the rest of the year.

Giving God the First
We give God the first of our day, the first of our week and the first of our income.  Why not the first of the year? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt. 6:33).

When we give God the first of our year in prayer and fasting… He gives to us all year long. During April, May, June… and even into December, we receive blessings that wouldn’t be ours if we hadn’t dedicated the first to God in January with a fast.

The Reward
The theme of Matthew chapter 6 is three main Christian duties: giving, praying and fasting.

Most Christians would accept without question that it’s our responsibility to give and pray. But it is equally our responsibility to fast. And just as God promised to reward those who give and pray, He has guaranteed a reward to those who fast!

”When you fast… your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:17-18).
The Invitation
I would like to personally invite you to join me to experience REAWAKEN 21 – a 21-day fast January 9 through January 29.  Beginning and maintaining a fast is much easier when we join with others and fast with friends.

Next Steps:
  • Prayerfully determine the type and length of fast to which you will commit.

  • Prayerfully determine your objective.
    (Why will you be fasting? For spiritual renewal, healing or financial provision, to regain your edge? For freedom from bondage and addiction?)

  • Spend time daily in prayer,  meditating in the Word and journaling what you sense God saying to you. (Join us M-Sat @noon in the sanctuary)

  • Join me daily in this blog, and don’t forget to check the fasting resources at thefathershouse.com
Be Blessed, I am praying for you!
PT
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