Once again, God showed up at our prayer time this morning...and showed us He wants to change us. As we talked, we realized there was a reoccurring theme in our conversation--offenses. This led us to examine Matthew 24 where it talks about offenses in the last days. It actually says (Amplified Bible),
"And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred. And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error. And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, But he who endures to the end will be saved."
We were kind of stunned after we read it. We just looked at one another. This is happening...all around us. People in the church are being offended in record number and have just quit going to church. The love is growing cold--including ours. But we agreed that we want to "endure to the end."
So....we agreed to fast for 30 days in November from Fear, Anger & Offenses. We'd like to invite you to join us. We believe these things start out of fear. Fear we won't get our way, fear people won't like us, fear others won't see we're "right," fear of losing our position, fear of self not being served. Fear leads to anger which leads to offenses. So we decided to start at the root and fast from all of it.
Isaiah 30:15 says, "For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning [to Me] and resting [in Me] you shall be saved; in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength." God is going to have to do this through us. I know I can't do it on my own. I don't even realize when I start getting angry sometimes--or what I'm fearing! But I'm trusting the Holy Spirit to quicken my spirit--quickly! It's only through His power I can fast these things. God wants to rid me of fear, anger and offenses. Fear is such an opposite of Who God is! And He desires more than anything for us to live in unity--not divided over offenses. Isaiah 30:18 says this, "And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!" He wants us to have victory in these areas of our lives.
I don't know about you, but I'm weary of offenses--both in taking them up and in offering them. It's kind of like what the serpent said to Eve, "Has God really said...?" He offered her fear before he ever offered her fruit. And he's still doing the same today. Don't accept the fruit of offense--and don't offer it, either. Remember: Eve was drawn away by her emotions and was deceived.
James (1:19) says it best, "Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry." We three prayer partners tried it out today and we've already found it to be a hard thing. It's not going to be easy. But I know a fast from these three things which are tripping us up will only be beneficial. So we've committed to fasting for 30 days. And we invite you to join us. The November Fast--For 30 Days. We want to start a movement of Endurers! Spread the word.