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    This is a group for RHM sponsored events like corporate fasts. Everyone is welcome to join and participate in things currently going on in the ministry. We love you and thank you for being a part of Refreshing Hope!
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The April Challenge

  • The April Challenge from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    Well, it's that time of year again! For over ten years, Sylvia and I have fasted for the months of April and August and witnessed life-changing events. In fact, RHM was born from fasting. We went into a fast one month, became unemployed halfway through it, and on the last day, the Lord pushed us into starting Refreshing Hope Ministries. This is the way.

    Anytime you see the term "Afflict" or "Humble Yourselves" in Scripture, it's referring to fasting. In its simplest form, fasting is denying your body something it desires. I will mostly be talking about abstaining from food. There's something about denying your flesh its desires that brings humility, and that has great advantages:

    (Matthew 23:12 NKJV) "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

    (James 4:6 NKJV)  “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

    (James 4:10 NKJV)  "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."

    (1 Peter 5:6 NKJV)  "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."

    How do we humble ourselves? Through fasting and prayer.

    Typically, we say nothing to anyone about our fasting. Yet, last year we felt led to do a corporate fast and invite willing RHM members to do a month of intentional growth with us. The discipline fasting brings to your life can't be obtained in any other way. Any addiction, bad habit, or bondage, can be overcome with a month of spiritual bombardment from prayer and fasting. Fasting supercharges our prayers and brings deliverance.

    For 2022, we planned to return to private fasting, but we had members inquire this week and ask us if we planned to host it again. They said they had gained so much from it that they wanted to join us in our fast. So, who am I to say no. Once again, we plan to do a corporate fast and invite the members of Refreshing Hope to join us.

    We have created a new group here on the RHM website called "Ministry Events", where we will post and discuss official events hosted by us. At the top of the group's page is a tab called "Discussion". This is a place to discuss our ongoing progress during the events and encourage each other.

    I plan to focus on the Sermon on the Mount and the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the core of discipleship, the center of the Bible. In His sermon, there are three things Jesus began with, "When you..."

    Jesus assumed that His disciples would do all three of these, and He tells us how. I have created an audio version of the Sermon on the Mount here for those who want to listen to it. You can also download it from the website: Here.

    1. When you give (Matthew 6:3). You don't have to give to us, but be open to His guidance and be generous when you do. I never experienced miracles in my life until I became a giver. The amount you give away will be multiplied and given back to you:

    (Luke 6:38 NKJV)  "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

    The Lord loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). Yet, don't assume that because someone is homeless, they are a good investment. Seek out the good ground instead. Pray about your giving first and see if you have peace about it. Invest in the Kingdom of God and His people, for it is the good ground that will bring a multiplied return.

    Why do I have to give? (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."

    For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son (John 3:16). If you want to be more like Him, then you will love, and you will give. Money is merely a tool the Lord can give us or take away. Yet, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10). People kill for it. Money can become an idol in our life if we begin to value it more than obeying Him. The biblical way to defeat the love of money is by giving some of yours away. You don't even have to be wealthy to have greed. In fact, most of the Lord's wealthy servants are very generous, while many in poverty won't give Him a dime.

    No one was to come before the Lord empty-handed (Deuteronomy 16:16); even the poor widow at the temple could give two mites (Mark 12:42). If you can't afford to give anything, it merely means you have put Him last in your priorities. You reap what you sow, and if you give a whopping zero, your return will be zero. "Oh, but my sweet Jesus would never expect me to give what little I have!" Check this promise out, tape it to your refrigerator:

    (Malachi 3:8–10 NKJV)  “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try 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 such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it."

    A tithe means the first tenth of your income, not what's leftover. The challenge for the month of April is to take Him at His word. We give what He tells us to who He tells us, at least 1/10th of your income. Let's remove the curses so the blessings can start. Then watch Him open the windows of heaven and pour blessings over you.

     2. When you pray (Matthew 6:6). (James 4:2 NKJV) "...You do not have because you do not ask."

    God answers prayer, but what if we don't bother to pray? We are instructed to pray and make our requests known to God and not "assume" that He will just take care of it for us. The Apostle Paul wrote this:

    (Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV) "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

    Jabez prayed, and God gave him what he asked. Yet, what if he hadn't asked?:

    (1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV) "And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested."

    Jesus taught His disciples to pray always and not give up:

    (Luke 18:1 NKJV) "Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart."

    Praying is simply talking to God. The more that you do it, the easier that it will become. God invites us to pray, and you should make it a part of your life every day. Also, when you pray, take a moment to listen, for sometimes the Lord may speak back. Remember, Jesus said: "My sheep hear My voice."

    We hope to collect all the requests from our prayer network and send them out to the members who are fasting and praying with us during the month. So if you need prayer, now is the time to make your needs known and we will pray over them each morning.

    The challenge for the month of April is to start each morning with prayer before we begin our day. If this means we must get up a little earlier, then do so. This is the way Jesus did it:

    (Mark 1:35 NKJV)  "Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed."

    3. When you fast (Matthew 6:16). Fasting is all through the Bible, but let's focus on Jesus, who lived as our example. Jesus Christ fasted for forty days before He began His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:2). He probably drank water and fasted from food because it mentions that He was hungry but not thirsty at the end. When asked why His disciples were not fasting, Jesus told them this:

    (Luke 5:33–35 NASB)  And they said to Him, "The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink." And Jesus said to them, "You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? "But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days."

    Jesus said that the Bridegroom (Which is Him) would be taken away one day, and in those days, His disciples would fast. He has now been taken away, and these are the days He spoke of.

    Some strongholds require fasting and prayer together. In Matthew 17, the disciples of Jesus ran into a demon of epilepsy they couldn't cast out. When they brought the boy to Jesus, He cast it out effortlessly. Later, when the disciples asked Him why they couldn't, He said this:

    (Matthew 17:19–21 NASB)  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

    Jesus prepared Himself for ministry with a forty-day fast. Fasting brings the power of God into your life. Jesus was baptized and full of the Holy Spirit in Luke 4:1. But after fasting forty days and beating the temptation, He came out of the wilderness in the "Power" of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14). Then He began His ministry on Earth. There are no recorded miracles before His forty-day fast.

    (Luke 4:1–2 NASB)  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

    (Luke 4:14 NASB)  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

    Fasting is all through the Bible:

    * The Apostles fasted and prayed before making big decisions, sent out missionaries (Acts 13:3).

    * The first church fasted before they appointed leaders (Acts 14:23).

    * David fasted for mercy (2 Samuel 12:22).

    * Judah fasted when he got in trouble (2 Chronicles 20:3).

    * Ezra fasted for protection (Ezra 8:21).

    * Nehemiah fasted in repentance (Nehemiah 1:4).

    * Esther fasted for divine favor (Esther 4:16).

    * Daniel fasted for wisdom and insight (Daniel 9:3).

    * The people of Nineveh repented with fasting, and God spared their city (Jonah 3:5).

    As with many other things, when religious people show off their good works to call attention to themselves, they get no reward from God. If you fast to be seen by men, then you already have your reward. The word "Hypocrite" means "Actor."

    (Matthew 6:16 AMP) Jesus said: "And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites, for they put on a dismal countenance, that their fasting may be apparent to and seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already."

    I began fasting in the mid-eighties, which has been around thirty-five years now. At first, I was very paranoid about telling anyone, but that became bondage in itself. When you are on a fast, and someone asks you to dinner, you shouldn't have to make up lies about why you can't go. So now we operate on a need-to-know basis. If a friend invites us to dinner during a fast, we just tell them honestly that we are fasting right now. Maybe we can catch up later. They understand, and we don't have to come up with excuses.

    The fast we are leading up in April will be a corporate-type fast like the people of Nineveh did. The entire city fasted and prayed, and God spared their city from destruction. Like when Esther, her maidens, and all the Jews who lived in Susa fasted for three days before she went to speak to the king, and God granted them a miracle deliverance (Esther 4:16). It's a group event where we all fast, pray and encourage each other.

    The challenge is to fast the month of April 1-30. It will be a month of intentional growth for those who want to participate in spiritual discipline. I already have an hour-long teaching on fasting if you want to know more here. If you're going to fast with us, I recommend that you watch or read it for inspiration. Don't try and set out on a forty-day water fast if you are new to fasting. Also, drink lots of water; lots and lots and lots of water, your body needs it to flush out toxins. At least 1/2 to 1 gallon of water a day is great.

    I intend to start with a week of vegetables and fish, followed by a week of only water, then repeat. I plan to abstain from meat, dairy, and coffee for the month. Our diet will mostly be water, vegetables, bread, and fish like salmon or tuna. We have learned to make things like vegan chili and portobello mushroom burgers on the grill. So it's not the end of the world. It's a very healthy and cleansing way to fast and detox your body. It will also lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels naturally. Also, it has a set beginning and end. It's not forever.

    For thirty consecutive days, I plan to get up a little earlier than usual, to go into my room, shut the door, put on some instrumental soaking music, set a timer for 30 minutes, and pray and read scripture until it's done. Then I will write whatever has come to me during that time.

    So a quick summary:
    1. Give at least 10% of your income and remove the curses from your life so the Lord can bless you.
    2. Pray every day and make your needs known to God. Also, pray for those whom the Lord puts on your heart.
    3. Fast and add rocket boosters to your prayers.


    It would take about 835 hours to walk from our home state of South Carolina to California.
    Praying alone is like walking.
    Yet, you can jump on a plane and arrive there in about 5 hours.
    Fasting is taking the plane.

    If your diet limits abstaining from food, there are other ways to fast, but honestly, who couldn't live without meat and coffee for a month?
    If you feel stalled in your walk, face seemingly impossible things that have been resistant to change.
    if you have struggled to overcome areas of your life or want to see a breakthrough.
    If you want to see the power of God manifest in your life in an unmistakable way, then I encourage you to join us. 

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for the opportunity to draw closer to You. Please guide me and speak to me in a way that I understand. Help me see the world through Your eyes and get in tune with what You are doing on the Earth today. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!

    Note: In today's message, we linked our new group, Ministry Events. If you are interested in participating in the April Challenge, or if you would like to be notified of future events, be sure to select the "Join" link on the page. It should be on the left or at the top, depending on what device you are using. We will also be praying as a group throughout the month for member needs, which you are welcome to post on our prayer page.


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17 comments
  • 2
Kevin J. Eck
Kevin J. Eck Amen, I will Humble myself Lord!
Mar 28
  • 3
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Lord, I pray this in Jesus's name, amen. 

Mar 27
  • 3
Celeste Strenn
Celeste Strenn

Amen 

Mar 28
  • 3
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen

Mar 28
  • 4
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

In Jesus Name I'll do what you want me to do. Amen

Mar 28
  • 2
Candy Laventure
Candy Laventure

Amen!

Mar 28
  • 2
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen 

Mar 28
  • 3
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walkeredited: Mar 28

AMEN.  Heavenly Father, I Thank You for Blessing me & my family.. You are an awesome God.  Amen

Mar 28
  • 1
Dana Rozell
Dana Rozell

Yes Amen Thank You Lord

Mar 28
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen Good Morning Everyone 

Mar 28
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Mar 28
  • 1
Lynn Brown
Lynn Brown

Thank you for that important message, Pastor. I look forward to this corporate fast and all that the Lord has for RHM and it's members. Amen.

Mar 28
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simoedited: Mar 28

Heavenly Father I humbly ask You to lead me to overcome my anxiety and to focus on You, to focus on Your design. Make myself worthy of Your blessings and care that You are giving me. In Jesus Christ name I pray, Amen. 

Thank you Pastor, great devotional, God bless you both . Amen. 

Mar 28
  • 1
Liesel  aka  Lisa Wardle
Liesel aka Lisa Wardle

Amen and Amen!!! Timely call for a corporate fast, Pastor Dion, considering what all is going on locally and globally!! It's time for fasting and praying, time for changing our mind set from the inside out, physically and mentally! Thank you so much!! (h5)

Mar 28
  • 1
David Krull
David Krull

Yes Lord. 

Mar 28
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen! 

Mar 28
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Amen

Mar 28