Approaching Trouble Differntly


The opening of John 9, has the disciples asking Jesus about a man born blind. They wondered who was at fault?  Who sinned and is responsible for his blindness, he or his parents?  Jesus said neither sinned “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life (John 9.3).”

Later, Jesus spit on the ground rubbed it in the man’s eye and told him to go and wash. When he did, he was healed of his blindness.  The work of God displayed in him was the healing of his blindness, thus showing that Jesus is the Messiah and God, the Father works through him.  The former blind man, testified the work of God, told the story to friends and the inquiring Pharisees. God was glorified and His goodness proclaimed.

Many times the “work of God” to be displayed in our lives is not just healing. He shows himself in how he changes and transforms us from the inside out. He shows himself by unconditional love, forgiving others, caring, compassion, and a life committed to glorifying God and not self, during the wonderful times of life, and through the lowest points also.

We go through tough times in life. Our reactions are different. We suffer, complain, post, mope, get depressed, and try to “play through”.  What if every good and bad thing in life we experience, we decide to display the glory and goodness of God?  We look to learn, remain grateful, and to deepen our character and commitment to God.

I believe our approach to challenges, tragedy, and struggle could be change our life and our person. We would become better people in Christ and not bitter people.  We would be encouragers and inspirations to others.  We would display the works of God, and how He is helping us through the ups and downs of this life.

When tragedy strikes, when disappointments mount, when hearts are broken, maybe no one is at fault.  It is an opportunity for you to “display the works of God.”  Take a moment and read John 9 and see if this is not a truth for then, but also for out lives now.

The opening of John 9, has the disciples asking Jesus about a man born blind. They wondered who was at fault?  Who sinned and is responsible for his blindness, he or his parents?  Jesus said neither sinned “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life (John 9.3).”

Later, Jesus spit on the ground rubbed it in the man’s eye and told him to go and wash. When he did, he was healed of his blindness.  The work of God displayed in him was the healing of his blindness, thus showing that Jesus is the Messiah and God, the Father works through him.  The former blind man, testified the work of God, told the story to friends and the inquiring Pharisees. God was glorified and His goodness proclaimed.

Many times the “work of God” to be displayed in our lives is not just healing. He shows himself in how he changes and transforms us from the inside out. He shows himself by unconditional love, forgiving others, caring, compassion, and a life committed to glorifying God and not self, during the wonderful times of life, and through the lowest points also.

We go through tough times in life. Our reactions are different. We suffer, complain, post, mope, get depressed, and try to “play through”.  What if every good and bad thing in life we experience, we decide to display the glory and goodness of God?  We look to learn, remain grateful, and to deepen our character and commitment to God.

I believe our approach to challenges, tragedy, and struggle could be change our life and our person. We would become better people in Christ and not bitter people.  We would be encouragers and inspirations to others.  We would display the works of God, and how He is helping us through the ups and downs of this life.

When tragedy strikes, when disappointments mount, when hearts are broken, maybe no one is at fault.  It is an opportunity for you to “display the works of God.”  Take a moment and read John 9 and see if this is not a truth for then, but also for out lives now.contemplationnn

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Fear Lies to you


Fear always hold back God’s people.  Fear hold you back. Fear of failure, what people think of you, and fear of looking foolish.  Many people don’t take chances or live by faith out of fear.  Fear has stopped people from going back to school, starting that business, or asking out that potential spouse.

The enemy loves to work on us with fear.  I have seen some people be so consumed by fear they are paralyzed, and almost lose all desire and motivation to accomplish anything at all. Fear has stopped people from apologizing and asking other’s forgiveness, and they have missed out on relationships that could have been healed.  Some of dreams in their hearts, put there by God, but fear prevents many from pursuing their God-given dreams.

Fear stops us from obeying God.  We need greater faith in God to extinguish fear.  I am so glad that my brothers who told me about Christ did not let fear hold them back.  Because of their boldness and faith my life is changed by Christ forever.  I am glad Billy Graham did not let fear stop him from the dreams of being a preacher of the Gospel. His ministry has changed the lives of literally millions of people.

Are you falling victim to fear?  Let the faith of God rise up in you. Be consumed by boldness and do not fear.  Live without regrets, get out of your comfort-zone, and don’t let the lies of fear diminish what God wants to do in your life.

Remember this verse, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1.7)”.

Check out this music video  by Zach Williams, “Fear is a Liar”

 

 

Are you “Self-Aware” of the Need for Change?


There is a leadership principle called “Self-awareness.”  This means you a have conscious knowledge of one’s own character, communication, presentation,  feelings, motives, and desires.  Seems simple? It is not.  Many do not possess this quality.   They don’t realize how they are perceived, they way they communicate, or character flaws. If you are a supervisor, or business owner of employees, that have no self-awareness.  They just don’t seem to know when they offend others, speak caustic, act inappropriately, or continue to present themselves in an unprofessional and bizzarre manner.

As we grow in faith, the desire and goal of the believer in Christ it to change and be more like Christ.  For that to happen, one must need “self-awareness” to know where their lives, character, communication, or relationships are not Christ-like.  This is where we need God’s help.  Sure, we all know some obvious things where we need change, more sleep, less weight, and the like.  But the Lord wants to change us deeper in our hearts that don’t just affect our behavior, but our character and who we are.

This is where we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. He is God, lives in us, and shows us in many creative ways that changes in our hearts are needed.  Deep change happens when “self-awareness” meets the person of the Holy Spirit, and his nudgings and leadings show us where we need to be more like Christ, more loving, patient, kind, joyful..etc.

These verses at the beginning of Romans, show that deep change comes and the Lord renews how we think, therefore how we act, how we talk, what we value, and what we worship.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12.1-2

Where could you use some change and transforming?  Are you self-aware of areas in your life you need God’s help to change.  This starts in the heart, in faith, in giving our lives over to the Lord, and cooperating with him for changes that will reflect Christ.change1

Expanding Faith May Meet Resistance


For the month of Feb. I am reading Ezra and Nehemiah.  In the book of Ezra we see that Cyrus is going to allow the Israelite people, who have been in exile for 70 years, to return from Persia, back to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple.  They returned and began to rebuild.

A moving scene is found in chapter 3 of Ezra when the foundation of the temple is laid. The Levites praised God with thanksgiving, the people shouted, but the older priests, Levites, and fathers, that had known the former temple wept.  The joy of being “home” and having the building of the Temple begin, moved them deeply, as they had prayed for decades for that day to come (v.12).

Soon after, enemies came to distract them.  As they were building for God these enemies tried to discourage them, frustrate them, and to fill them with fear (Ezra 4.4,5).

When we begin to expand our faith, to grow it, opposition seem to come.  This comes from those that do not understand our godly priorities, the ungodly system and culture in which we live, and the enemy of our souls.

As your faith expands, know that many things, and forces will try to discourage you to steer you away from the things of Christ.  Do not relent in your quest to seek and know the Lord.  Do not let any setback persuade you on your journey to serve and know God.  Keep growing and expanding every day.  For the days acts of devotion will expand your faith, even in the face of opposition. Faith in Christ is greater than any asset this world has to offer.

Blessings Nate Elarton

Back to the Altar – Fasting Information and tips


A  week ofSeeking the Lord with fasting

  • For personal renewal and revival
  • For Compelled Church ministries to reap spiritual and Kingdom fruit.
  • For our communities.
  • For people to be saved
  • For your life and family.
  • For our pastors and their families.
  • For the church to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • Missions and our Missionaries
  • The Holland Campus
  • All the prayer cards that were filled

Commit to prayer, and seeking, and participating with your church.

Fasting is also encouraged.  Read Below for helps

 

Come early in the morning to seek God, read the Word, and soak in his presence. Come at noon to pray a psalm.  Come and pray with our church family because “Without Him we can do nothing.” John 15.

I am praying we will have more people involved than ever. I encourage you to be part.  Break out of the mold and thought that you are not a person of prayer. God is calling us all to prayer and we will reap the benefits if we take the challenge.  If you can’t make it to the church, fast, and pray at home more than ever.

Pastor Nate

 

 Physical and Spiritual  Benefits Of Fasting

The benefits of fasting are innumerable. Here is just a partial list of the many benefits of this most powerful of spiritual disciplines.

* The Word of God comes alive

* Addictions and strongholds are broken

* We become more sensitive to God’s presence

* The physical body is purged of toxins

* It becomes easier to trust and obey God

* The sanctifying process is accelerated

* Faith increases

* Doubts and fear vanish

* God reveals to us our sinful attitudes

* Decrease of self-indulgence

* Decrease of self-righteousness

* Emotional scars are healed

Practical Tips for Fasting

 

* The early church gave themselves to fasting and prayer for a time. If they needed it then, we need it now! Every time you pray and fast for a certain amount of time, you are investing in a powerful kingdom – the kingdom of God.

* Set a definite time for your fast so you know in advance how long you will be fasting. Keep in mind fasting changes your heart. A one-day or one-meal fast can be very powerful when submitted to God as a sacrifice of yourself.

* Since you are denying your flesh and seeking the Lord, you may find yourself in the midst of spiritual warfare and thus becoming irritable or unwilling to pray. Some of these feelings may be physically induced just because of a physical reaction. Plan beforehand to “pray through” the spiritual battle.

* On longer fasts (2 or more days) the body is cleansing itself from physical impurities. Possible side effects from toxins include bad breath, headache, nausea, hunger, weakness, and leg cramps. To help prevent these problems, abstain from caffeine, sugar, and junk food five days prior to your fast. Drink pure water (distilled if possible) throughout your fast, it helps with elimination of toxins. The cleaner your system, the less discomfort. The less waste that is stored in the body when you begin your fast, the fewer toxins will be released.

* Try to rest if you feel weak and get some fresh air every day.

* Spend time in prayer, worship, repentance, and read your Bible. Use the time you would normally spend eating or preparing food for “spiritual exercise”. Many people have noticed that the Bible simply comes alive while they are fasting.

* Have specific spiritual goals that you desire to obtain while praying and fasting. Without prayer and a set purpose, fasting is only a glorified diet.

* Break your fast with grape juice, fresh fruits, and steamed vegetables, adding other foods in a day or two. Avoid meat, bread, and fats for several meals or days depending on the length of the fast. Keep in mind your stomach has been inactive and it takes a while to restore essential digestive enzymes and acids. Fasting is a very healing process for your body so do not undo your efforts with unhealthy foods.

* Some medical conditions are prohibitive to fasting. Get the advice of your physician if you have a medical condition. These conditions include diabetes, hypoglycemia, and heart disease. Pregnant and nursing mothers also should not fast because toxins will be passed on to the baby. Also, some medications need to be taken with food so use discretion. In these cases where you are unable to do a complete fast (water only) consider abstaining from television and dedicating yourself to prayer during this time.

    * Other types of fasts include:

o Water, Honey and Lemon – This is considered a cleansing fast. Squeeze 1/2 lemon in a cup of hot water and add honey to taste. Drink water throughout the day. This can be used for an extended fast.

o Juice Fast – This is self-explanatory. No food, coffee, soft drinks, etc. Juice only–fresh carrot juice is excellent.

o Daniel Fast – Fruits, vegetables and water. This is a good fast for those who have physically demanding jobs.

Questions and Answers Regarding Fasting

* Is fasting for everyone?

Fasting is beneficial for anyone who desires to draw closer to Christ. Every Christian should do some sort of fast at least once a month. The Apostle Paul fasted often.

* What if I don’t feel called to fasting?

Fasting is a spiritual discipline, just like prayer and reading the Bible. It is not something we are called to do, rather we choose to obey Christ and sacrifice some of the pleasures of this life in order to please God. Fasting trains us in self-control and produces fruits of peace and righteousness.

* Why is fasting so important?

It reduces our appetite for carnal pleasures and creates a hunger for God’s treasures. We are commanded to walk in the Spirit so we won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh. Fasting helps us to resist the flesh and walk uprightly before the Lord – to live a life which is pleasing to Him.

* How do I get started?

Begin with a one meal fast and go from there. Some of the most powerful fasts can be one or two meals if you enter into it with pure motives and a desire to spend time with the Lord Jesus.

* What should I do while fasting?

Spend as much time with Jesus as possible. This is how we become more and more like Him. Read your Bible, worship with song and thanksgiving, be silent and listen. Silent reverence with repentance is powerful!

* Should I fast if I have dietary restrictions or am on medication?

You should seek the Lord and consult your physician if you have any concerns. Medical science has known for some time that our bodies purge toxins while we fast. Chapter 58 of Isaiah mentions healing as one of the many benefits of fasting. However, use discretion when doing a food fast and consider an alternate fast if you are medically restricted in any way.

* I really enjoy eating; do I have to do a food fast or are there other types of fasts?

The most beneficial fast for your body and spirit is water only. However, God will honor any type of fast if you have a sincere desire for personal revival and holiness. Here are some alternatives to a food fast.

o Daniel Fast-  fruit, vegetables and water

o Juice Fast-  fruit and vegetable juices only. If you are hypoglycemic, you might want to use a 50% water mix with the juice, especially if using bottled or canned juices. Fresh juices, however, are best. They may be purchased from a health food store or use a juicer.

o TV/Entertainment Fast/Facebook/computer games/

God will bless you mightily if you’ll shut your TV and computer off for a time to seek Him. You should also set aside newspapers, talk radio, video games and movie theaters. Instead, spend time with your family and the Lord. The purpose is to focus on God and avoid distractions.

* Why do I get headaches when I try to fast?

Your body is purging toxins which have accumulated from years of a poor diet, prescription drugs and bad habits. Headaches are one of the results of this cleansing process (usually the second day). Prepare your system prior to a fast by eating healthier. Avoid red meat, sugar, caffeine and bread. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables three or four days before going on a fast of more than one day.

* How will I benefit from fasting?

The benefits of fasting are many for those who continue faithfully in this discipline. Here are just a few (Is. 58).

o A significant increase of understanding and revelation from the Word of God

o Addictions and strongholds are broken–permanent changes take place

o Recognition of sinful attitudes or conditions of your heart that you haven’t noticed before

o Decrease of self-indulgence and self-righteousness

o An increase of faith; Fear and doubt diminish because of confidence in God rather than your flesh

o Supernatural release from bitterness and an ability to forgive others

o A much greater sensitivity to God’s presence

o The ability to hear God is greatly enhanced

o You increasingly become more like Jesus with a notable increase of love, humility and wisdom.

* Will all of my prayers be answered if I fast and pray the right way?

No, probably not. Fasting does not force God to do something He otherwise wouldn’t do. Your circumstances may actually worsen at first. If you’re fasting for God to change a particular person, it may not happen. However, there is no wasted time or energy when seeking God through fasting, prayer and worship. He will change YOU! He will soften your heart and give you a healthy perspective of your circumstances and relationships

 

 

What The Bible Says about Prayer and Fasting

Fasting Scriptures

* Moses (Exodus 34:27,28)

* Samuel (1 Samuel 8:5,6)

* Christians (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23)

* Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1-3)

* John’s disciples (Mark 2:18)

* Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1-3)

* Paul (2 Corinthians 11:27)

* Ninevites (Jonah 3:5-10)

* Apostles (2 Corinthians 6:4,5)

* Israelites (Judges 20:26)

* David (2 Samuel 12:16)

* Darius (Daniel 6:9,18)

* Anna (Luke 2:36, 37)

* Ezra (Ezra 8:21-23)

* Esther (Esther 4)

* Jesus (Matthew 4:1,2)

* Elijah (1 Kings 19:8)

* Daniel (Daniel 9:3)

Bible Characters Who Fasted

* Moses fasted twice for 40 days-Following his first fast, Moses received the Law. The second was to turn God’s wrath away from God’s sinful people. Deuteronomy 9:9,18,19

* Hannah, for a child. She was barren and deeply distraught. God gave her release from inner turmoil. Then He gave her a baby boy, Samuel, who grew into a mighty man of God. I Samuel 1:7,8

* Elijah fasted for 40 days while fleeing in fear from wicked Jezebel, who threatened to have him killed. God gave him comfort, boldness and instructions to go back the way he came and anoint new prophets. 1 Kings 19

* King David for seven days that God might heal his dying, infant child, conceived illegitimately with Bathsheba. The baby died, yet David experienced God’s wonderful peace through this incredible trauma. 2 Samuel 12:16-23

* Proclaimed by King Jehoshaphat – When he and his army were surrounded by enemies and destruction seemed imminent. After proclaiming the fast, they rejoiced with praises and God destroyed their enemies. 2 Chronicles 20

* Proclaimed by Ezra – Prior to a very perilous journey to Jerusalem. Ezra 8

* Nehemiah – For restoration of the city he loved (Jerusalem). Nememiah 1:4

* Proclaimed by Queen Esther – For the entire nation to fast for three days without food or water. They were on the brink of annihilation. Esther 4

* Daniel’s partial fast of 21 days – He received a vision and revelation of end times. Daniel 9

* Proclaimed by the King of Ninevah- With national repentance to avert disaster through God’s wrath. Jonah 3

* Jesus for 40 days. If God in human flesh fasted, how much more ought we? Matthew 4:2

* John the Baptist – He and his disciples fasted often, as did the Pharisees. Matthew 9:14,15

* Anna – A widow who dedicated herself to prayer and fasting and is honored in the eternal Word of God. Luke 2:37

* Paul the Apostle- He fasted for three days after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus (while still known as Saul of Tarsus). Acts 9:9 He later wrote in 2 Corinthians 11 that he fasted often.

 

* Isaiah 58 is the fasting chapter. Read and study it to discover the many benefits of fasting when done God’s way

Deep Change


As 2018 as arrived so have all the New Year’s Resolutions and goals.  The gyms will be filled the next couple weeks, and more Paleo diet books and the like will be downloaded and fly off the shelves.  We will pledge more time with family, less time on Netflix and social media.  Thousands will announce their new goals to give up things, like sugar, smoking, gluten, etc. and sadly, most people will abandon these resolutions withdeep change 2018in a couple weeks.

But what kind of change do we really need and how can it happen?  This verse in Old Testament gives us some insight of what the Lord is able to do.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”  (Ezekiel 36.26).   True change is a change of our heart.  Deep change comes from the inside out.  So changing our hair and weight might be noticeable, change in our character and choices are more beneficial.  These changes on the inside that manifest on the outside, make the greatest difference in our lives and the lives of those closest to us, those we love and need in our lives.

What deep change would be the greatest for you this year?  More time with family?  Freedom from temper?  The way you talk to your spouse?  How you use time and resources?  Do you need free from addictions?  Be less grumpy?  Have more joy, less fear?  The Lord can do a work in our hearts and deep change can happen through Christ if we will be humble and ask Him for help. He can give us the strength for all these kinds of changes and more.

I love the verse in Proverbs 4.23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”  Only the Lord can change a heart by His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy.

Nate Elarton

 

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 4:23). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Personal Christmas Post


We are having a great Christmas with family here. Abby, Justin, Gabe, and Levi all home.  It was different this year not having the 3 Christmas Eve services in the evening, but we had our 3 weekend gatherings at Compelled, Abby and Justin arrived and we took Christmas Eve dinner over and had dinner with dad, who now lives in Temperance at Moongate apartments.  I sure love him being so close, but we all miss him in Morenci also.  We spent a couple hours with him on Christmas Eve.jim  Wendy made one of our favorites, “Alice Chicken” and we love it with mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, rolls and salad. it was a feast.

Christmas morning was our family together. Priceless and special. We then load up and head to Hudson, to Wendy’s folks for another feast with our precious family, presents, and good time.  Lots of Dutch blitz, laughing, and overeating.  We love our time at Randy and Carol’s and enjoyed staying the night, and man did we sleep in.

Christmas this year seem nostalgic, and meaningful.  Every year I am alive, Christ become more alive to me, and His work I see more clearer in others, including my family, which I am fiercely devoted to.  My amazing wife Wendy, makes this time so special for our family.  Here hard work, thought, and detail attention, always stuns me with peace and happiness.  What a gal. We celebrate 31 years together January 3.  What a blessed guy I am!

I pray your Christmas was special and the presence of Jesus was close.

Selah,  Nate