Joel 1:14-15 – “Consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.  15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.”  NASB

Saying that we live in a troubled world is an understatement of understatements.  However, it is something we must acknowledge.  We need reminders, from time to time, of the times we live to prevent us from drifting into complacency or adopting a “Que, Sera, Sera” attitude.  We dare not think they will dissipate or disappear if we ignore the conditions.  They will not! 

When a lion is in the street ignoring, the lion won’t make the street safe.  When there is a wolf at the door, denying his existence and seeking to isolate ourselves inside won’t take away his threat.  When the world plunges into chaos, corruption, disruption, and evil raises its ugly head, the church’s silence only facilitates, empowers, and emboldens that evil. 

Paul advised us that we are in a spiritual battle, and to combat that foe; we must utilize spiritual weapons of war, which we have through Jesus.  In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle tells us that these weapons are supernatural; through them, we can ‘pull down strongholds’ the enemy has and is erecting.  We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We can do all things through our Lord Jesus Christ; nothing is impossible with God, and in Him, nothing is impossible.

As many of us have learned, the power of prayer is wonderfully evident and apparent in both the Bible and life.  It is not a desperate attempt to sway God from taking some action or get Him to take some action He is reluctant to do.  It conditions our hearts, develops our faith, emboldens our witness, and reminds us of God’s promises.  

Prayer, when effectual, inspires a change of heart and mind and propels into action to achieve what God, through His Word and Spirit, has and does promise.  It becomes a mighty weapon to combat the assault of the wicked, enabling us to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and, having done all to stand, to stand firmly on God’s Promise and Person.

Fasting was a much-utilized weapon in the Old Testament and New Testament and has been a cornerstone of the church for centuries.  The diminishing of that weapon or practice is a more recent phenomenon, and we have allowed that weapon to be lost to our own hurt spiritually. 

Fasting is not simply abstaining from food for a specified period of time; it is an endeavor in which the Spirit of God takes control of the fleshly mind and desires and turns our focus singularly upon God and His Purposes and Plan.  It is a means whereby we can ‘humble ourselves’ before God.  It is a means whereby we can focus on God first and foremost.  It facilitates a renewed or new yieldedness in our lives and often produces a brokenness that moves us nearer to God and helps us realize our dependence upon Him.

In natural warfare, successful participants know their enemy, resources, weapons, and how to use them.  When we set aside time for ‘fasting and prayer’ for whatever reason, we engage in spiritual warfare.  Because of our world’s current condition, unrest, upheaval, and depravity, we must wake up and realize, this is War! 

In war, there are casualties, and there are victors and vanquished.  If we genuinely care about what is happening in America and worldwide and are Christians, we should be inspired, encouraged, and challenged to discover the root cause of this destruction.  We should desire to utilize our weapons most effectively and consistently.  We should be willing to die for the cause of God and Freedom. 

This call is for us if we love God, love people, and want to see as many salvaged and saved as possible.  We are being called to “National Fasting and Prayer.”  Let’s bring in 2023 with a commitment to intercession, proclamation, profession, and pursuing the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.  

God bless you as you focus on Him and His Purposes for your life and world!

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