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Hey there friend,
So glad you're here today. It's been a full week for me. I've not been home for 7 days. They've been filled with wonderful ministry opportunities and exhausting summer fun with my boys. The highlight of this time has been participating in ministry with my brother, Anthony Evans Jr. He led worship and I taught a packed auditorium. It was delightful.
More than anything I love allowing my children to be a part of our ministry. I was so excited to take them with me, hoping they'd enjoy experiencing worship led by their uncle, and watching "mama" speak to those gathered.
On the way to the church, Anthony asked them how they felt about this opportunity (that we thought was so grand). Lest you wonder how the Lord ensures that we stay humble, please watch this video and you'll soon see.
Priscilla is in Nashville, having spoken at the Kairos ministry of Brentwood Baptist Church last night. I haven't talked with her yet, but I know it was an exciting evening. In the meantime, we thought we'd share a clip of her recent conversation with Kirk Franklin. Priscilla asked Kirk which worship/gospel artists he listens to....and as usual, Kirk never disappoints with his response. Enjoy!
This morning, several of us "Going Beyond People" are fasting breakfast. If you haven't already poured your bowl of cheerios, I invite you to join us! We are taking a step of obedience to do something that God has been prompting us to do, but for whatever reason, we've put it off until now. I would guess that each of us has a unique reason for wanting to participate today....from drawing near to God, to interceding for someone, to repenting, to simply turning our focus from ourselves to the One who is beckoning.
Romans 12:1 says this: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."
Let your life be be worshipful, and prayerful today - despite the work and commitments that will inevitably fill it. There is an underlying purpose to your morning quiet time that will carry on throughout the day. The fact that you are setting aside your desire for toast and cheerios this morning, and replacing it with earnest prayer and focus is a statement that you mean some business. This is not just lip service, this is the real thing. I know God will honor that and will begin to work in your situation.
Priscilla, Linnae and I will be lifting you up in prayer as you step out in obedience today. Some of you may see an immediate answer to prayer or a release in the spirit...while others will simply know that they have completed an act of discipline as unto Him. Hey, that's huge! It's a tangible form of worship that we are participating in - we are honoring the Living God by sacrificing something our flesh craves. It may seem small, but I believe it is mighty.
We'd love to hear testimonies from this morning. If you'd like to share your experience, what God is speaking to you, a scripture, a victory, or even your struggle, I hope you'll feel free to do that in the comments. We have a wonderful circle of friends, here, and we can bear one anothers' burdens and celebrate the victories together.
In Him, Rachel
Tomorrow, many of you, our sweet online friends and readers, will be taking a step of faith together. We are going to be doing something outside our comfort zone - fasting breakfast.
Maybe you, like me, have found every reason to avoid fasting, but are at a point at which you are getting tired of giving God the run-around. If you have felt Him nudging you to do a fast, this is a perfect opportunity to act in obedience, because you won't be alone.
Now, let me first say that if God is NOT tugging on your heart to participate, please don't feel guilty or coerced. This is not going to be for everyone - and it SHOULDN'T be. Remember, it is simply an opportunity - if you'd like - to join with others as we bring our hearts before Him in prayer.
Let's go through a few steps as we think about tomorrow morning.
Know your objective: What is your purpose in this fast? Maybe it's repentence, an act of obedience, an urgent prayer request, preparation for a spiritual task, direction, or just spiritual discipline - all are reasons to fast. Is something weighing heavily on your heart? This is a chance to lay it all out there. Since we will be only fasting one meal, I am going to focus on just one thing. Remember, we are going to keep this simple. Yeah, I probably have enough issues to fill a 40-day fast, but I'm just not able to do that yet. Baby steps.
Prepare spiritually. Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ, offers some excellent guidelines:
"The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
- Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
- Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4).
- Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
- Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.
- Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
- Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).
- Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6).
- Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17)."
Prepare your physical body: Eating a huge meal at night pretty much guarantees that I'll wake up starving - why is that?? So tonight, I suggest eating a smaller meal and limiting sugary foods. If you have health issues, please consider those before you skip a meal: i.e. certain medications need to be taken with food, diabetics have dietary needs etc. Consult a doctor if you have concerns.
Self-discipline is not something that comes easily to me. But I'm drawing a small line in the sand tomorrow, and I'm determined to do a difficult, but achievable, act of discipline and obedience. I'm excited that so many of you are going to be right alongside me! Knowing that we are in this together gives me courage and backbone. Do you feel it, too?
Prayerfully expectant, Rachel
It's Rachel, here. Priscilla's photos yesterday were so darling! I LOVE the one of Jude sleeping standing up! I could eat him up.
It got me to thinking about all the photos of Priscilla and the boys in MY phone....and what a story they tell.
to hanging out with the boys,
....the thing I appreciate most about Priscilla is that she is the same person in any setting. Her life is filled with the stuff of the regular world, and whether she gets up to speak to three people - or ten thousand people, her genuine-ness comes through.
May I just say how blessed we are to get to know her through this blog and through her ministry? Let's keep her and Jerry and the boys in our prayers. As Priscilla "goes beyond" what she ever imagined God would do through her, we are all inspired to do the same in our own lives. That's pretty huge!
Hope you all have a great weekend, and don't forget to consider fasting breakfast together on Tuesday. This will be your time to "test the waters" of fasting, and simply step out in faith that God will meet you where you are. I'm excited, because I believe he will.
Glad to chat with you today. I hope you're having a great one.
I've just been sitting here scrolling through pictures on my iphone. My intention has been to delete as many as I can but I just can't seem to find any I want to delete. I feel like I need them all.
But delete I MUST! So, before I get rid of some, I thought I'd share
them with you. . . this way I'll feel better about canning them later. So, here's some random pics for your enjoyment. . . .
1. Here's Jude enjoy the festivities of our church picnic. He wouldn't take this balloon off of his head for days.
2. Jude looks like he's having fun now but as soon as this sucker started moving, he hollered at the top of his lungs. They had to stop of the ride so I could get him off. JC stayed on and enjoyed himself . . .
3. I took this picture of a pillow on a chair in my house so that I'd always have it handy just in case I run into any potential rugs for the room it's in. The room is pretty "tan" and needs some livening up BIG TIME! Any suggestions?
4. This is the snake Jerry found at our office and promptly beheaded.
5. Here's what I'm doing most days. Not standing on a platform speaking, but sweating profusely while I unhook poor fish from my son's poles. Only 1 thing to say, "Thank God for gloves!
6. This is my grandmother. . .my sons' great-grandmother. Why are they making faces and messing up the picture?
7. My son's not too big for this stroller. . . . is he?
8. When you refuse to obey and LAY DOWN IN YOUR CRIB. This is what happens . . .
9. Ok. . .I'll come clean. I took this photo while I was visiting someone's home (they probably thought I was sending a text, not taking photos). . .. because I'd love to have a kitchen like this in my home one day.
10. This is the street right outside my house. AHHHH. . .it makes me happy.
Bless you, today! Priscilla
Several of you have commented that you are right in there with me when it comes to fasting. We are convicted that it is a powerful spiritual action, but our fear of going hungry is keeping us from following through. Maybe you (like me) have done it in the past but are trying to avoid it doing it again. You find reasons to leave the room when the subject comes up. I hear ya.
Here is what I'd like to do: without making a huge production out of it, I'll ask you if you'd like to join me next Tuesday morning - to simply fast breakfast. We'll take the time that would normally go into food preparation and eating, and replace it with focused prayer and scripture reading. Is there something in particular you are seeking God about? This would be a perfect time to set aside part of a day to lay it before him.
On Monday, we will post some encouragement and instruction, and in the meantime, just ask the Lord if this is the time for you to grab ahold of this discipline. Because we are doing it together, and since it is only for one meal, it is a great way to start.
Feel free to leave a comment, letting us know if you'd like to participate. We'll join with you in prayer, and will believe for breakthroughs in each of our lives. That's what sisters (and brothers) in Christ are for.
You are in our prayers, Rachel
Yesterday, we were talking about learning the "language" of God, or how to become accustomed to how he speaks. I wish I could say that I clearly hear him speak in an audible voice, but I must admit that I am still learning how to hear and understand him. So much is still a mystery to me.
And there are things I've been praying about that seem to have no forthcoming answer whatsoever. I sure do wish I knew why. I mean, I feel like I've done all I can to get clear direction.
Or maybe not. On Saturday, I attended a wedding and found myself randomly sitting next to an old friend I had not seen in at least a year. We got to talking about praying for our kids, and she said something in passing that stopped me in my tracks.
She said, "I remember hearing Dr. Tony Evans say that if you haven't fasted about an issue, you really haven't done all you can to get God's attention." Now she may have been paraphrasing a sermon she heard long ago, but her simple sentence has gotten stuck in my head. Then Sheri left a comment about fasting on yesterday's post. Hmmm.
So last night I wondered if Dr. Evans had some resources online about fasting that I could find.
Uh, yeah. Just a few.
Check this out, I just found this! Good gracious, a whole catalog of messages on fasting!
You know, it's been awhile since I've done a REAL fast. I've managed to skirt around doing it because I just love food so much. I really do. I don't like the thought of being hungry on purpose. I don't even like the thought of being accidentally hungry! But I'm thinking maybe it's time to get serious about the things I "say" I'm serious about. I think I've got some business to attend to.
Today, I'll be fasting breakfast, and will use the time to pray instead. I know that's not much, but this is hard for me, people! Please pray that I'll be more concerned about seeking God than seeking out a McDonald's, would you?
Thank you! Rachel
Back when I first moved to the great state of Texas, I had no idea that the people here spoke a whole different language. On my first day in a new dorm room, a girl knocked on the door and asked, "Kin Ah borrah a paw-pan?"
"Excuse me, a what??" I leaned forward to understand.
"A paw-pan! Ah'd lahk ta make a paw." She saw my puzzled expression and continued. "Ya know, a cherry paw, with a crust and a fillin'."
"A PIE! You want to borrow a PIE PAN!" And that was my first introduction to speaking Texan.
I've since learned a colorful vocabulary, which includes:
- Lot: God made a bright lot to rule the day, and lesser one to rule the "not."
- Lot bub: The electricity-powered device used for illumination.
- Bob War: Wire fencing to keep them cows whar they b'long.
- Janes: Denim pants, worn everywhere, from baseball games to weddings.
- Tot Janes: Denim pants that have become snug from eating too much BBQ.
It took quite awhile for my ear to become accustomed to the cadence and inflections of the southern accent. I had to say "Pardon me?" often, and had to memorize which consonants were dropped regularly, and which words got stre-e-e-tched into more syllables than you could imagine. But eventually, I caught on to the language, and have even been accused of speaking with a bit of a twang myself, after all these years of southern immersion.
It reminds me of learning to hear God's "language," or voice, when he speaks to you. When you are first introduced to him, you might not understand what he is saying...simply because you aren't accustomed to his cadence, his inflections and tone.
"Pardon me, Lord? Could you repeat that...only slower??"
It seems confusing, because your ear hasn't been used to spiritual things. But as you spend time with him, getting to know him in his word, and listening for his voice, his language starts to become familiar to you. The scriptures that were once so foreign begin making sense. You hear patterns and see gestures that communicate his message to you....through his word, through other believers, through events he's orchestrated, and through the leading of the Holy Spirit. And after awhile, you even pick up a bit of his twang, as your own speech becomes sprinkled with scripture and "amens!" Funny how that happens.
- John 10:27 says, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me."
You know, spending time in his word is the place to start, to get your ear accustomed to hearing his voice. It familarizes you with his speech and cadence, so that you'll be able to recognize his leading when it happens.
Are you learning God's language? How is he leading you? How have you learned to recognize his voice?
Rachel - still in language school
I went to a funeral yesterday.
The church was crowded with people who came to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman.. . .and it was indeed a celebration. Her name was Gloria, and I've known her since I was five years old. In recent years, our paths hadn't crossed as much. Her family had long since moved on to another church so we weren't as involved in each other's lives. But our hearts were always knitted. She was a sweet and wonderful woman who had a gregarious personality and a smile that had enough voltage to light a small village.
I would have never thought, when I ran into her at Chick-fil-A last month (which was the first time I'd seen her in a few years), that it would be our last conversation. I was on my cell phone when we caught each others eye across the restaurant. We waved frantically and enthusiastically. I held up one finger, indicating that I'd only be a couple more minutes.
I was on my phone talking with a store about drapes.
You heard me. . . drapes for my living room.
The call dragged on and on: color, length, texture, hanging rod. There were so many decisions to be made so that the order could finally be placed. I'd been waiting on this phone call all day, and now with the vendor finally on the phone, I wanted to get all the details taken care of.
I was so engrossed in my phone call on drapery, that a half hour went by without me even realizing it. I'd had enough. Ms. Gloria, whom I hadn't seen for years was there and I needed to chat with her before she left. Business unfinished, I told the vendor I'd have to call him back later.
How glad I am that I did. For little did I know that I'd be at Ms. Gloria's funeral one measly month later.
I could've kicked myself as I peered down into her satin laced casket yesterday morning. Those moments of intense conversation over drapes could have been spent with her. I'm glad for the moments I'd gotten, but would give anything to get a few more.
Is there anybody you need to make time to connect with today? Drapes....or Deep relationship? Plants....or People?
Take your opportunity. You'll be glad you did.