Published on 08 September 2020
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“Disciplined. Determined. Destined”
More than just a catchy phrase, these are the words that have been declared over our Planetshakers Church family—that we will be disciplined, determined and destined to see the prophetic vision of “ACCELERATION” come to pass over our personal and corporate hopes and dreams, this year. Our prayer is that these characteristics become your personal conviction, and help create a lifestyle that propels you further into the destiny that God has planned for your life!
A great biblical example of a person who modelled these character traits in his everyday life, is Daniel. He was disciplined in his education of Babylonian language and literature, determined to not defile himself with the food that was being served to him, determined to pray unceasingly—despite opposition, and disciplined to pursue God every day— despite his busy schedule. He had great determination because he knew that he was destined to make a difference for God’s Kingdom.
But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
At the beginning of my personal challenge to be healthier and fitter, I kick-started a fitness regime with a program called F45. Every day, the program demanded a different type of exercise to target different parts of the body. To be honest, I wasn’t particularly fond of “leg days” which consisted of a series of intense exercises designed to tone the muscles in your legs (some you didn’t even know existed). These exercises inflicted such intense pain that climbing stairs became a great feat in itself! It would be understandable that some people would choose to skip these “leg days” because not only are leg exercises pure torture, but they don’t even tone muscles that are visibly impressive — like biceps. Nonetheless, these exercises are vitally important in building endurance, stamina and core strength, all of which are hugely beneficial in the long run. In the same way, if we stay disciplined in building our “spiritual muscles”—even when we don’t “feel like it”— we know that we are working on our inner-strength that will allow us to keep growing, and remain strong and immovable when faced with any of life’s storms.
Although these three characteristics (disciplined, determined and destined) are vital to living a life of purpose, God’s love and favour is not withheld in the absence of them. God’s love is unconditional and nothing can ever separate us from it (see Romans 8: 38-39). Our salvation is a free gift and can never be earned by our good deeds. Thank you Jesus! Knowing that we have access to His love, however, should stir up a desire to know God more, inspire us to change to become more like Him, and to cause us to hunger more to hear His Voice. We should want to live our lives in such a way as to please our Heavenly Father. God desires to be known by us and He rewards us when we are disciplined, determined and destined in our pursuit of Him.
Let’s look at some of the disciplines of faith that will help deepen our relationship with our Father. Also included below, are some challenges that Pastor Russell has encouraged Planetshakers Church to participate in together during the pandemic lockdown. We pray that this season will be one of preparation for acceleration!
Reading God’s Word
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
In God’s Word, we find wisdom, direction and guidance for our life. This is the foundation of truth that we should build our lives upon. By choosing God’s way of doing things, His promises of life and blessings are ours to inherit. (see Deut 30:15-20)
# 40 Day Challenge: Set up a Bible Reading Plan and follow it for at least 40 days
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts, knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.
Prayer is a great privilege we have been given: the ability to speak directly to God and hear Him answer us faithfully. Above all, it is an act of surrender— giving over all of our worries to God, knowing that He will bring the breakthrough. Why strive to solve matters with our own efforts when we can be assured that although we are limited in our abilities, our God is limitless in His!
# 40 Day Challenge: Pray and speak in your spiritual language for at least 40 minutes per day. Seek help from a church leader if you are not yet baptised in the Holy Spirit!
Worship & Encounter
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
God never leaves you or abandons you in life’s ‘storms’. He is the source of all comfort, strength, faith, love, hope and joy that we will ever need. These can only be found in His Presence. Time and time again, we hear of people who have encountered God’s tangible Presence in a powerful and life-changing way, when they set aside time, and turned their affections towards Him. Why? Because in these moments of worship, we abandon our worries and cast them on God, magnifying Him and reminding our problems how BIG our God really is.
# 40 Day Challenge: Set aside at least 40 minutes per day to praise & worship God.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
God’s love for this world is undeniable and most evident in His rescue plan for humanity, which saw Him sacrifice His one and only Son— Jesus Christ. We will never fully understand the depth and measure of God’s love for us, but this increasing revelation should drive us to share the good news of Jesus Christ with everyone around us. Every person needs a Saviour and is waiting for news of His great love for them!
# 40 Day Challenge: Find one person per day to share God's love with, for at least the next 40 days.
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.
I like the saying, “Everyone likes a clean house, but not everyone likes to clean”. The House of God is made up of many people—each with a unique gifting and calling. Our gifts were given for a purpose—to serve those around us. Many shy away from serving and hold back, thinking that others will do what is needed. Sadly, they miss out on the opportunity and privilege to partner with God to help (in big or small ways) to create environments where people can encounter Him. Jesus set a perfect example of servanthood for us. Known as the “Servant King”, He set aside His royal privilege and humbled himself to wash His disciples’ feet (see John 13:1-17). Our prayer is that we will all desire to be more like Jesus, humbling ourselves to serve those around us with a greater understanding that the gifts we have been given, were given with purpose in mind.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.
"With great power, comes great responsibility." This is a quote from the Spiderman movie, but is just as applicable to us, as Christians, in stewarding the gifts and blessings that God had graciously poured into our lives. To quote Pastor Russell, “You are called to be a river, not a reservoir”, so the question is, Will you choose to hold tightly to these blessings for yourself, or choose to use those blessings to bless others? When we are generous, we are most like God who is always the FIRST to give.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
Then the Lord said to me, “Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed”.
It can be helpful to document, in writing, the visions and revelations that we receive from God, the prophetic words spoken over our lives, testimonies of battles we have won and fears we have conquered, and the prayers that we are believing to see answered. Journaling is a great discipline to practice because these notes become reminders of our hopes and dreams, spurring us on to keep fighting with God on our side. Sometimes, written testimonies trigger praise and thankfulness to God for being so faithful, and inspire us to believe that we will see the miracle repeated in our own lives and the lives of others.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Never stop being a student. Even in our older years, there is always something new to learn. God desires to take us from glory to glory (see 2 Corinthians 3:18) and always has more truth and secrets to reveal to us. So let us continue to keep leaning in, listening and learning from the greatest teacher we have—Holy Spirit!
# 40 Day Challenge: Write down your personal vision and goals to see change and growth in all areas of your life over at least 40 days
And when Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Moses remained there on the mountain with the Lord forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the Lord wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets.
Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river Ahava, so that we might humble ourselves before our God to seek from Him a safe journey for us, our [children, and all our possessions...So we fasted and sought [help from] our God concerning this [matter], and He heard our plea.
Jesus, Moses and Ezra showed the power of prayer and fasting. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights to strengthen His Spirit so that He could overcome every temptation that the enemy would present to Him. Moses did the same, and after his fast, received the blueprint for our lives—The Ten Commandments. Ezra proclaimed a fast so that he could humble himself and pray for God’s protection and favour. Fasting stirs up faith to believe once again that God is able, powerful and greater than anything that we may face. With humility and by persistently knocking on Heaven’s door— through fasting and prayer— we capture God’s attention and He rewards us by answering our prayers!
Why did most biblical fasts last for 40 days? What is significant about the number 40? Sprinkled amongst the above disciplines, are challenges attached to the number 40 (40 minutes or 40 days). That is because the number 40 in the Bible, symbolizes preparation for the fulfillment of God's promises. As mentioned above, Jesus fasted for 40 days and Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai waiting for the 10 Commandments. In addition, Moses and the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. The number 40 is also significant in our lives today—a full term of pregnancy is 40 weeks and it is often said that it takes 40 days to start a new habit (20 days to unlearn a bad habit and next 20 to establish a new habit). So, let us take the challenge to let this season be a time of preparation for our acceleration in God.
Admittedly, our own will might fail us sometimes, despite our best efforts. When that happens, dust yourself off and start again in the morning! Each day presents a new opportunity to receive God’s mercies and faithfulness (see Lamentations 3:22-23). We must rely on the Holy Spirit—first and foremost— to bring about our spiritual growth, and not our own disciplines which can quickly move from acts of passion to ‘works of the flesh’, if we’re not careful. The ultimate aim of any spiritual discipline is, afterall, to draw us closer to God and shift our focus towards Him— not to boast in our own works. Holy Spirit is our Helper and Teacher, and will give us the strength we need to remain determined.
Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced.
Therefore, I have set my face like a stone, determined to do his will.
And I know that I will not be put to shame.
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