Often we have experiences in life that in the moment shape us drastically for the good. Think about a conversation with a good friend that reminds you of who you are and what you are made to do in this world. Or maybe it's a vacation that comes right on the heels of a busy season that allows you to get caught up on rest and have time to re-order the priorities in life that got out of place. So often in these times of centering, you are focused, determined to do and be better and you're hopeful about the future.
Yet have you ever experienced these "mountain top moments," and noticed how quickly they are followed by what Oswald Chambers calls, "the demon filled valleys?" It seems like Satan, our enemy, loves to come at us when we're at our strongest. He gets in our heads, in our relationships, in our marriages and he comes at us at all of the places we are susceptible to temptation.
There is good news though, because Jesus tells us, "Greater is He who is in you that he who is in the world," (1 John 4:4).
I'm not sure how this season of prayer and fasting went for you. I hope that it was eye opening and invigorating, getting to see how near the Lord is to you. I hope it propelled you into a greater desire of wanting to know the LORD and live into pursuing the lost more fully with Him. I hope it was a mountain top moment for you.
Even if you didn't have a great experience with it or you didn't find exactly what you were looking for, trust that God was working. My hope is that you can see through some of the frustration you might have felt to see what God was and is doing in your life, because He's always working.
As we move out of the intense season of prayer and fasting, how do we not lose our focus? How do we "leave the mountain-top" but not leave the one we met there and what He gave us there?
I have often found that if I all have is intentions but don't have a plan for how to maintain what I gained on the mountain, everything that I found quickly gets lost as life settles back to normal in the valley. I want to invite you to do four things in order to not let everything slip away.
Take 30 minutes or a few hours and look at what GOD did in you over the past month. If you used the Prayer Guide that Dave wrote, read what you wrote down. If you used a journal, read through the things you wrote this past month. If you didn't write anything down, then think back. Give some time to let what GOD did soak in. You might also discover that GOD spoke to you about some places He wants you to start participating with Him. Let's be sure we don't just MOVE into what's next before we take time to MARK what GOD did.
One of the best gifts we can give each other, the Lord, and the lost is by telling what God has done. Seriously, don't hold back on this. God moved in you this past month and it's faith building when we tell others about what God has done and is doing. Whatever you discovered as you examine, don't keep it private, go public with what GOD has done. Tell your friends, families, co-workers, don't be afraid to boast about the Lord!
3. DON'T ISOLATE
Do you know the best way to put out a camp fire? Simply move the burning pieces of wood away from each other. That's it. It's simple. And the same is true with God's fire that is burning in us. No doubt, we will stumble in the next week or so. You're going to do that thing, in a moment of weakness, that you promised on the mountain, that you'd never do again. The question is will you allow Jesus to cover it by forgiving you or will you run and hide and try to cover it up yourself? Let's be people that REFUSE to run when we stumble. Confess your sin to a trusted brother or sister and let the fire keep burning in us as we keep walking together.
What made the fast so good was the thing we all know, but have a hard time consistently doing...just entering the Lord's presence. How will you continue to enter into His presence not just in the public places (Sunday church, House Church, etc) but also in the private places? How can you move into places of prayer and reflection daily? Think through your daily schedule and times you are alone...and make a plan to encounter the Lord in those times and places!
I love that God is moving in such power in our city, church and in us. Do you think God wants to stop? Do you think God has hit His quota of souls? Do you think God is satisfied? Or do you think maybe God is longing to pour out more of His Spirit to help us? Do you think God is longing to reach every person in our city that doesn't have hope?
I know He's not. You're still breathing, so let's keep going. Let's give our lives, until the very last day He gives us, doing what He's asked us to do: Love GOD and Love PEOPLE and we'll see the Movement continue to awaken!