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Intentional Growth 5: The Challenge

  • Intentional Growth 5: The Challenge from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    We have been covering growing in godliness during the "Intentional Growth" series by doing things intentionally instead of just hoping something good will happen. If you want to get better at something, you practice. That is how you learn to play guitar, piano, sing, write, paint, or a million other things. You learn by doing it, and as you practice, you improve. What if we were to seek growing closer to the Lord with the same diligence? Too many of us are waiting on Him to do something for us first, but His best promises are for those who seek Him. Consider these:

    (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB)  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

    (Proverbs 8:17 NASB)  I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.

    (Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB)  ...seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

    This word is not for everyone but for those who are thirsty. Those who are desperate to experience the powers of heaven while we live here on the Earth. It will bring the power of God into your life and unblock a river of living water.

    (John 7:37–39 NASB)  Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    Why did the Apostles walk in such power? Partly because they took their faith seriously. The Apostle Paul was like us, and he didn't meet Jesus until years after His resurrection and ascension. Yet, Paul raised the dead. In 1859, Smith Wigglesworth was an uneducated plumber. Yet, after he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and began ministering, they say he raised the dead at least 14 times.

    Miracles still exist for those who diligently seek Him today. I am not trying to hype you up but simply sharing what I believe to be the truth. We practice doing the same things that I am sharing with you. We intentionally pray and listen. We intentionally give a percentage of our income before anything else. And we practice fasting for a set time which brings the fire.

    We often see mini-miracles take place here. When we felt we should start an online church, we calculated what it would cost using an excel spreadsheet. If we repurposed some of the equipment we already had, we figured we could get started with $2,500. Now at the start of Refreshing Hope, Sylvia and I were nearly the only tithers, and we had never had a donation of more than about $50. We prayed and felt that we should go ahead with it. So I pulled an old Dell server out of the closet and began to format it on our kitchen table. Within thirty minutes, someone came to our website and donated precisely $2,500. We had not told a soul about our plans. What I am telling you works, and I could probably share a hundred more stories like that.

    If you want to experience the Lord in your life, then begin to seek Him intentionally. Put Him first, instead of last. Pray like you mean it, give like He is watching, and fast for a season. Discipline your body and make it learn the meaning of "no". Set aside bad habits and make your body listen to you. It works.

    I am not talking about forever, but for a season with a beginning and an end. For the last ten years, we have fasted the months of April and August. Each time, something life-changing has happened. This year I felt led to share it with Refreshing Hope. This is an invitation from the Lord to those who are thirsty to come and seek Him, and I am expecting great things to come from it.

    (Isaiah 55:6–7 NASB)  Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts...

    The April Challenge: During His sermon on the mount in Matthew chapters 5 through 7, Jesus said, when you pray, when you give, and when you fast. These are all things that His disciples should be doing. Yes, there is much more in there, but let's keep it simple and stick to the basics for now. These are the three things I want to focus on.

    When You Pray: All of us can pray, right? If you don't believe in prayer, then this is undoubtedly not the sermon for you! If you do, then for thirty-days, set aside time to get somewhere quiet, pray, read the Bible, listen, and write down what you learn. I plan to do thirty-minutes each morning. If you need to get up earlier, then do so, for He will meet you there. You could do it in the afternoon, but I prefer to give Him the first part of my day as it makes the rest go better. If you have trouble reading the Bible, I have recorded a copy-right free audio version of the Sermon on the Mount. It contains Matthew chapters 5 through 7, and you can download and listen to it for free here.

    When You Give: All of us can give something to someone. Now to be clear, you don't have to give to Refreshing Hope, though we do appreciate our supporters! Pray and give where He tells you. If you cannot give anything, then it means you are putting God last instead of first. I encourage you to test Him for thirty-days by giving Him a percentage of your income. Yes, intentionally tithing, not a tip. The word "tithe" means tenth, the first 10% of all of your increase.

    (Malachi 3:10 NASB)  "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows."

    You can make excuses as to why you cannot, but it won't fool Him. He has heard our reasons for centuries and has made it clear that no one is to come before Him empty-handed.

    (Deuteronomy 16:16–17 NASB)  ...and they shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.

    (Exodus 34:20 NASB) ...None shall appear before Me empty-handed.

    The Lord will force an election to see who you love the most, Him or your money. He did it to me, and He will do it to you. You will have to choose the God you will serve, and if He cannot trust you in your finances, you will never see the true riches He has in store.

    (Matthew 6:24 NASB)  No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

    (Luke 16:11 NASB)  "Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?

    When You Fast: All of us can fast from something. Consider it a time to set aside bad habits—a time of cleansing spiritually and physically. Reboot your life. We plan to do a fast like Daniel and abstain from meat, coffee, alcohol, dairy. Basically, a vegan type fast where we live off fruit, nuts, vegetables, and water. It is very healthy. Before one of our fasts, my cholesterol had climbed to 275. At the end of the fast, I had it tested again, and it had dropped to 100.

    (Daniel 10:2–3 NASB)  In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.

    There are so many ways to fast, and you can find what works for you. One person I know gave up eating potato chips. Apparently, she liked them a lot. Some people give up television. I won't bother to mention all the ungodly things we could give up, but suffice it to say we each have something we can surrender to Him. Tip: It's that thing that just popped into your mind.

    A critical factor in fasting is to build discipline. It is teaching your body that no means no for a season. Especially for bad habits, it is imperative to set rules you will follow before the fast and stick to them all the way through. If you do happen to stumble, get back up and continue on.

    Jesus said: (Luke 6:46 NASB)  "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

    Being a Christian is more than words. How thirsty are you? Is your heart prepared for the latter rain, or do you have need of nothing? (Joel 2:23 / Revelation 3:17).

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please draw my heart to You during this season and reveal Yourself to me. I want to know You better. I want to experience the powers of heaven on the Earth. May Your will be done on Earth and in my life, as it is in heaven. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

    Note: If you would like to participate in the RHM month of Intentional Growth, which starts April 1st, we encourage you to join our special event, even if you would simply like to pray for those who are. This is the place where we will share recipes, encourage each other, and build each other up in prayer. All are welcome!


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19 comments
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jacksonedited: Mar 28

Amen!!

Mar 28
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen 

Mar 28
  • 1
Elena Vasquez
Elena Vasquez

Amen

Mar 29
  • 1
Brenda F
Brenda F

Amen

Mar 29
  • 1
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen!

Mar 29
  • 2
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen. Heavenly Father,  Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.. I trust in You Lord. Amen

Mar 29
  • 2
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Amen. Thank you for your blessings dear God. I will try to increase my giving and fast. Praise God Praise Jesus Amen

Mar 29
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen Father

Mar 29
  • 1
Narciso Salas
Narciso Salas

Alleluia!!!!

Mar 29
  • 2
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Father, please be with us all here at RHM in this Easter season and during our fast in April. May Your will be done in our lives. Amen!

Mar 29
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Amen please draw all of RHM followers hearts closer to you bless our efforts to get closer to you with real miraculous healing in every way in Jesus'name I pray amen

Mar 29
  • 1
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen,praise Jesus for all our blessings.

Mar 29
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Great  message  praise God  amen 

Mar 29
  • 1
Catrina  Patrick
Catrina Patrick

Where can I find the link to be added?

Mar 29
  • 1
Dion Todd
Dion Toddedited: Mar 31

There is a link at the bottom of the devotional in the note. The event page is here:   https://www.refreshinghope.org/event/87/april-intentional-growth

Mar 31
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father that my heart be drawn to You at all times, to do  those things I forget to do and to always be thankful to You by following Your will. Many things I've to change in my life, I need Your help to lead me where I am supposed to be, in the name of Jesus Christ I humbly pray, Amen. Lord without You I'm nothing, help me. Amen. 

Great devotional reminder to prepare ourselves for the Lord Pastor, God bless you and Sylvia, Amen. 

Mar 29
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Yes amen Lord 

Mar 29
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen and Amen !!!!!!! Lord please fill my thirst for You, please fill me up and keep me on the straight and narrow, in the name of Jesus, Amen!

Mar 30
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Apr 1