As we turn our faces toward the journey we will take through 2018 (ready or not, here we come), we as a church family are choosing to pause this month at the beginning of the journey to be intentional with Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be in partnership with heaven. We want to reap heavenly fruit that only God can make happen in our individual lives and in our church. We want to be wise, not foolish, with the gift of this year, which all of heaven has already prepared for us—things we would not believe, even if we were told. We are taking on the attitude of the wise virgins who made sure they not only trimmed their lamps but had plenty of oil as they head into the unknown with certainty for encounter with the One Who is coming with blessing and eternal promise.
(If you have not read all of Isaiah 58, take a moment to read it now before reading the rest of this.)
Every great journey worth taking begins with great preparation. You may know what you want to see and experience when you get there (or what you want to take away with you that made the journey worth the investment). But even though you may gather all the maps and google all the potential places to go, you check in with Trip Advisor or other websites that give you the inside scoop on what is the best and things to avoid, so your takeaway is optimum.
This is why we are pressing into Isaiah 58 this year as we ponder what God will do in us, for us and through us, and what we might do with Him to change the world and bring Him glory. In this chapter we find a marvelous list from God's heart of all that He would like to do in our lives through His love, things we are seeking after: light in the darkness, recovery, restoration, more glory, protection, direct line to heaven, guidance, desires fulfilled, health, and our nation healed! Wow! This could be the best year ever!
But you find from the prophet Isaiah something that is hard for many of us: correction, confrontation, a call to repentance and change. Ouch! Is this any way to begin a great journey with God? Is this what love looks like from our Papa Creator? Actually, absolutely yes! If you read Revelation 3:14-19 you will see not only one of the biggest corrections in the New Testament from Jesus to his people but, you will see the motivation: Love.
As we start out FOCUS 2018, can we stop and do a heart check in our relationship with God? Am I willing to hear His voice that lovingly speaks correction, adjustment, needed changes that will help me to focus on what really matters? Am I willing to let Him drop a plumb line over my life and heart to see what is out of alignment with His perfect created purpose for my life? Will He find a big "yes" in me all along the journey of this year? Can He lead me into some places and with certain people to do particular things that might be challenging to me and push me out of my comfort zone, because I trust Him and His word?
Fasting is not a natural choice for us. It carries a cost in various ways. It is a choice you make by your will to trade one thing for another, to lay aside one thing to gain another, to pursue things that are not easy to come by. And there are the kinds of fasting that we choose according to what we think will be effective. But then there is fast that God calls us to. It may be totally off your map and surprise you. As you work through the FOCUS 2018 booklet handed out on Sunday, give your heart to hear from God about what He is calling you to do this week, this month, and commit yourself to the things you write down to fulfill this fast unto the Lord. Amazing things await us!
If you didn't get a copy of the FOCUS 2018 booklet, you can still pick one up at The River. We look forward to seeing you for our 3 special gatherings for the The River or Cowboy Church.
- Tuesday at 7pm
- Thursday at 7pm
- Friday at 7pm
- Monday at 7pm
- Wednesday at 7pm
- Saturday at 7pm