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

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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.

Is it a holy night?


We have been singing and listening to this Christmas song “O Holy Night” for 159 years since it was written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau.

I love the words, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.”  Meaning we were getting worse and worse and our error was continuing to degenerating us until.  Until Christ arrived to save us, “Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.”  The gift of salvation has amazing and priceless value. Jesus, and know Him personally, is so  worthy.

We have designated worth to so many things in our culture that are not really all that worthy.  And trash compared to knowing God.  Our newest phones, our vehicles, our social media fake personality, ourselves, and our happiness.  We have given worth, and they have consumed our lives. Is this stuff really that worthy? Do they deepen our character? Make us more like Christ?  Do they help us be emotionally healthy so we have meaningful relationships?  The answer is no of course.

Does your soul know the worth of Christ?  Do you treasure Him and His ways beyond anything else?  Sin and error will “pine” in our lives without Christ.  It will just get worse.  Only Christ should get our lives. Only he is worthy.

I pray that we know and reflect the worth of Christ this Christmas and every day.  That we would treasure him far above anything else in this life we have the blessing of enjoying.  May your soul know His worth, this Christmas Eve.  If you do, it is a Holy, sacred, and special night.

Merry Christmas

Nate

Five Dangers of Resisting Change


Yesterday, we moved most of the last of dad’s furniture from his house. We moved him to Temperance last October.  He lived in that house almost 50 years. Of course, I grew up there.  The old brick house on Gorham in Morenci holds a lot of memories,every room has a story, every part of the yard a chapter in childhood. I looked out the window to the hosue next door, where mom lived the last years of her life (yes you read correctly)  Last Friday, my daughter graduated from college, my oldest son will graduate from high school in a couple weeks, our youngest will be a senior. Lots of change, more on the way. Most I celebrate with joy and parental pride for my kids.

What changes are you experiencing in life? Job? Family? Aging parents? Empty nest? Loved one called home? Health? Registering your baby for pre-school?

Change can be hard, and most people resist it. Here are some reasons why.

  1. We fear the unknown.  We want to have control and we control the present.  We think we have it mastered and we love the predictability. Change moves us into the unknown, which we can interpret unsafe, and our assumptions are usually wrong.
  2. We are comfortable in the present. Change rocks the boat. We want our lives to be consistent, routine, and the same.
  3. Our flesh, resists growing our faith stronger. Change requires more faith because we have topped our faith out in the present.  We, for some dumb reason, mostly resist spiritual growth because it makes us go to uncomfortable places….the unknown future, or a new ministry, or a new season of life.  Each change requires our trust in God to go deeper. Let’s not resist let’s embrace.

The danger of resisting change.

  1. You miss out on a chapter in your life that was meant to be.  Don’t fear, the Lord never leave us!  Don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate change.
  2. It happens anyhow and you live in denial, anger, sadness, or ambivalence. This will affect everyone around you and your most precious relationships.
  3. You hijack your future.  Joy and contentment can be robbed from us as we look back with sadness at the change, and not forward with faith. How many people did not experience their future, as they stubbornly held on to the past.
  4. We can miss something special God has for us.  He moves us forward through life, and He is there will his plan, power, and presence to guide us.
  5. Your faith become stagnate.  Change grows us whether we like it or not.  We learn the Lord is always with us. We sense his strength and courage. We learn to trust him deeper in the unknown. Don’t rob yourself the opportunity of having greater faith in the Lord.

In the changes of life remember Proverbs 3.5,6 and live in this truth.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Pr 3:5–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

FIVE Reasons why we still need a lifestyle that includes repentance.


Many times the word “repentance” brings up a negative connotation or an intense revival-type situation.  But may I encourage you to have a daily lifestyle of repentance?  I believe it is healthy, and will cause you to grow in Christ deeper, and quicker.

Repentance means to have a response of sorrow that lead to a changed mind, life, and direction.

So when the Lord, by His Spirit reveals to us that we are  “off course” in honoring God, or that we are in need of change, in attitude, heart, or behavior, we need to engage in this spiritual discipline called “repentance”

This would include a chat with Jesus that would include 3 components.

  1. An acknowledgement of sin (confession) with asking forgiveness.
  2. Praise and thanksgiving for God’s mercy, grace, and total forgiveness.
  3. Asking the Lord for the power and strength to overcome and not repeat the sin, but to continue to be like Christ.

A growing Christian is sensitive to the voice of God that lets us know when we need some “repentance”

Let me give you FIVE reasons we need repentance as part of our lifestyle.

  1. We become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and direction
  2. We become more sensitive to since, thus we get more victory.
  3. We grow closer to Jesus and the relationship become more intimate.
  4. You become more like Christ as unChrist-like behavior, speech, and attitudes are weeded out of your life.
  5. You experience a few things, joy, peace, contentment, and the mercy and love of Christ.

Would you consider, if you are not, making “repentance” part of your lifestyle? You will never be the same,  you will never stop growing, and you will never regret what Christ can do for a heart that always wants to be totally right with him, and sin free.