Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Call to Sacrifice

We are coming upon a critical juncture in our Nation: The Call Nashville. This clarion call for a massive prayer and fasting to be mobilized prior to the solemn assembly on 07-07-07 has the potential to bring about a shift. It is the shift of the hearts of men and women coming into alignment with the will of heaven. In essence the shift represents a generation after God’s own heart. Lou Engle is calling forth the young and old to embark upon a forty day fast (May 28-July 7) that will precede this holy convocation. The culmination of this fast will take place in LP Field, a stadium in Nashville.

I believe that this prayer and fasting movement is quite significant. I had a dream in 2005 that speaks of prayer and fasting:

I was playing a real football game in a stadium. At one point, my opponent became stiff, statue-like, without any hint of life before regaining movement. I noticed that his pupils were dilated and I mentioned to him that he needed to see a doctor. It seemed that he was looking far off to the horizons behind me. When I turned around, I saw what looked like a gigantic generator what was being carried by several helicopters in the air. Mayhem broke loose as people became fearful that it was an atomic bomb. I started running up a hill praying for my wife. As I reached the top of the hill I realized that it was not an atomic bomb as people misconstrued. Revelation came to me as I started prophesying: “This [generator] is the atomic power of praying and fasting!” Faith rose in my heart as I made this prophetic declaration.

How can you participate in this?

I believe God is calling the generations to engage this call to prayer and fasting. Although we ourselves have no ability to generate authentic change in of ourselves, we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit to bring forth the Father’s will. A generator is someone who originates or causes or initiates something. What does the Father desire to generate through your life during this 40 days of prayer and fasting? What are the tangible results that you believe God wants to birth through your life? What shift does God want to bring about in your life?

Remember that this call to sacrifice through prayer and fasting is not about us. It is about the ultimate Sacrifice that Jesus Christ gave us – His very own life. We can only sacrifice because God sacrificed His Son – the perfect Lamb of God – on the Cross so that we may have life through Him. Meditate on the following verses:

I John 4:10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
v. 19 – We love because he first loved us

We must focus on Him during this time of fasting. It isn’t about us or even our “sacrifice” that we make during these forty days of fasting. Our hearts must be steadfast in His Sacrifice. We cannot love God within our own abilities – rather, we must allow the Lord to embed deep within His love for us.

So, if you are participating in this fast, I would like to present a question: What is your motivation? I like what Stephen Arterburn writes in Surprised by God:

We can only love, the Bible tells us, because we were first loved by God. Unfortunately, when we obey God’s call to give ourselves away, it is often because w e feel that we have to, or because we want to portray the image of a good person, or because that is simply what a Christian is supposed to do. This is lifeless, joyless obedience. Unless our obedience springs from knowing God’s deep love for us, we will simply be going through the motions of keeping rules.”

Hmmm…lifeless, joyless obedience…for forty days!?!

I read a story recently in Pleasures Evermore by Sam Storms, a Christian hedonist. In 1972 he married his bride Ann. After a short honeymoon, they returned to Norman, Oklahoma to work and to finish their last year of college. In order to make ends meet, Sam was working as a headwaiter at a local steak restaurant. Prior to getting married, Sam’s Friday night routine after work consisted of playing poker with the other co-workers at the owner’s house until about five or six in the morning. However, since he was married he thought it would be wise to call his bride at 12:00 to let her know that he would be home soon. Finally four hours later Sam was tiptoeing into his apartment when his wife broke the stillness as she shouted “Where have you been?” “Soon” meant to her 30 minutes at the most. She had been frantically driving around town trying to find him because she was worried about him. From that day forth, Sam quit gambling immediately although he enjoyed the thrill immensely. He was motivated to stop because of love. Sam Storm writes – “The joy I felt in feeling her delight in me and my delight in her was worth any sacrifice I might have to make.”

Any sacrifices we make during this forty day fasting must be grounded in love: Affirmed in Christ’s love for us while reciprocating that love back to Him. Our sacrifice(s) for Him should be motivated by love because His sacrifice was “generated” by love for us. If we fail to understand this, it could hinder the overall release of the “atomic power of praying and fasting” during this critical season.

I want to close with the love passage in I Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child. I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see buy a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith , hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Go, and fast in love!


Cathy said...

Ha! I just posted the same scripture on my blog..a couple days ago. I have been hearing exactly the same thing..

Thanks, Brian - excellent post.

Darrian said...

I like that....lifeless, joyless obedience…for forty days!?! God help us....

Good stuff Bri,