This is week 2 of our community fast.  How are you doing?  What is the Lord showing you as you purpose to pursue Him deeper than before?  I’m repeating the directions in case you need a refresher.  😊 Marlyn 

Welcome to our community fast! Over the next 21 days our CA family will be using this guide to seek the Lord through prayer, scripture study, and meditation. I am soooo excited to see how God encounters you as an individual as well as our church body as we set this time aside to allow the Holy Spirit to transform our lives!

This guide was written by members of Christian Assembly, so as you walk through this, embrace the idea that we are ministering to each other. This is truly an example of what the bible calls “iron sharpening iron”. I encourage you to take every opportunity to discuss what you have read and your thoughts on it with others when you are around other CA family during the fast. One of the coolest things about writing our own stuff is that if one day impacts you, in particular, you can track down and have further conversation with the author!

May the Lord bless your time seeking Him and expect BIG things! Blessings, Pastor Jeremy 

Stuff you will need: Bible (digital or analog),Pen,2-3 Times set aside in your day

Using the Guide: Each day begins with a “morning and evening meditation”. This section contains scripture and a prayer focus for the day. Decide on a specific time at the beginning and end of your day to spend at least 5 undisturbed minutes reading the scriptures, thinking about them, and praying.

You will also need to set aside a time during your day to walk through the devotional section. This is a short reading based on that days’ focus, followed by a question, a prayer challenge, and a next step you can take to apply what you have just studied. HERE WE GO!!

 Feb. 12 - Jesus loves me too much to leave me this way    By Sharon E. Thrower

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read Jeremiah 18:1-12

Pray: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there be any offensive and wicked way in me.  Lead me in the way everlasting.”  Psalm 139: 24, 25

Devotional: Read:  Jeremiah 18:1-12

    The Bible uses many things from everyday life, to teach about the principles and character of God.  A recurring illustration throughout Scripture is that of a vessel, jars, pots, etc.  It’s a very powerful illustration of the relationship between the Creator and the created. It beautifully illustrates that God has a purpose, plan and destiny for which, He, The Creator made us.  It also has many other layers of meaning, including who/what shapes us, who/what we contain and how useful we are in the course of our life and service to others in our designated roles. 

     Today’s Scripture reading, shows that God is in control.  This message was clearly portrayed to Jeremiah, as he watched a potter start over on a pot.  Jeremiah noticed that the vessel did not take the shape that the potter wanted it to take.  During that time in history, the Israelites had gradually come to think that God—because He had chosen them as His people—was obliged to protect them.  But their constant, disobedient behavior towards Him, had brought God to the point of “starting over.

    God is The Potter in our lives.  We are not in the hands of “chance” or “blind fate,” but we are in the hands of the Person of God Almighty. He is not just our Creator, but He is our Heavenly Father.  As our Father, He is personally concerned for our lives, and wants the best for us.

     Notice in this reading that the clay could not, nor did it mold itself.  Only God has the power to properly shape and guide our lives.  God, as The Potter, not only has the perfect plan for our lives, but He also sees the finished product in His mind. He knows the end from the beginning! He sets in motion a perfect plan for our lives.

      We may not be able to see the finished product, but God has already envisioned it and He promises an excellent result, if we would only trust Him and surrender every area of our lives to Him.  Notice from today’s reading that the potter never threw out the lump, but he re-makes the clay again.  This is a wonderful picture of God’s grace. Jesus loves us too much to leave us this way: broken, torn, and in a sinful condition. He may use difficult tests or even discipline to get us to yield, but in the end, we will become a useful vessel in His image. 

Question: Are you living a yielded life unto God?  What things, negative emotions, wrong attitudes, wrong thought patterns, bad habits, wrong relationships, sinful behaviors, etc., do you need to surrender to Him? 

Prayer challenge: Pray, unto God, the words of this hymn, entitled Have Thine Own Way.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Thou art The Potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me, after Thy will.  While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Search me and try me, Master today.  Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now; as in Thy Presence, humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!  Power, all power, surely is Thine!  Touch me and heal me, Savior Divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way! Hold over my being, absolute sway!  Fill with Thy Spirit, till all shall see; Christ only, always, living in me!

Next Step: Go to YouTube and listen to the song called: “The Potter’s House”, by Tremaine Hawkins.  After listening to this song, write down what the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart. Expect Him to minister to you.

“Now unto Him, Who Is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fail and with great joy; to the only Wise God our Savior, be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!  Amen.”  {Jude 24, 25}

Feb. 13 - God calls me His son   By Torry Gligora   

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: Galatians 4:4-7

Pray:  For a fresh awareness that you are a son or daughter of God the Father.

Devotional: There’s no greater privilege, next to salvation, than to know we are sons and daughters of God, through faith in Jesus.

To be redeemed from under the law was miraculous enough (v5a). But the goodness of God didn’t stop there.  Our text goes on and tells us, He redeemed us so we could receive the adoption of sons (v5b). Listen to that!  When you receive Christ into your life, the Father receives you into His family.

The Apostle John affirms, “Now we are the sons of God…” (1 John 3:2) It’s not something we have to aspire to become; the “adoption papers” are signed and finalized through Jesus.  You belong to God--His child.

The most powerful part of being a child is having a father.  A child looks to a father (and mother) to find identity, acceptance, attention, provision, security and affection. Take a moment to give thanks for each of these expressions of love the Father has for you. 

Then the text says, “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’”  Our nature begins to reflect that of a child of God.  We cease to see God as unapproachable, judgmental, or unavailable, but rather with childlike sincerity, we call on Abba (Daddy).

And it gets better still!  As an adopted child, we’ve not only been given “son-ship,” but “heir-ship.” We are entitled to every blessing the Kingdom of God affords.  All the riches the Father has given Jesus are ours as well.

Question: How would some areas of your life change if you managed them as a child of God?

Prayer Challenge: Ask the Lord to help you believe and live according to who you are in Christ – A child and heir of God.

Next Step: Pick a present situation or relationship and make a plan of what a child/heir of God would do. 

Feb. 14 - Jesus calls me his bride   By Metty Nyang’oro

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: Hosea 2:16-23

Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal to you what it means to be chosen by Him. Ask the Lord to show you the beauty of His salvation in your life.

Devotional: Read: Hosea 2:16-23

I am not aware of any culture that doesn’t celebrate marriage in one form or another. Do you know about 2 million weddings take place in the United States each year? Now image the number of weddings taking place in the world each year. Amazing! I think weddings are fun because there is something for everyone - from the bride’s dress, tear-jerking moments, food, dancing, etc. However, I believe weddings are great, because they serve as a visual representation of love.

However, the text in Hosea, is drawing our attention to a different kind of wedding. This one is a glorious wedding to come, with us - the Church, as the bride, and Jesus Christ as the bridegroom. In Tanzania, where I grew up, it is customary for a bridegroom to pay a dowry. A girl is considered betrothed once a dowry, which could be money, a herd of cows, sheep, or goats, is accepted. Betrothal, therefore, must cost a bridegroom something. As a church, we are betrothed to Jesus through his costly and precious blood poured out on the cross for us!

For the “dowry” Jesus paid on the cross, Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:25-27) reminds us that a bride betrothed to Jesus is expected to be holy and without blemish. For the majority of us, the idea of maintaining holiness is scary, because we are typically aware of our shortcomings. Nevertheless, as we read in Ephesians 5:25-27, Jesus has taken upon Himself to maintain us as His bride! He is the one who is sanctifying and cleansing us.

So what should our response be as we reflect on our charge and identity as Jesus’ bride? I think our response should be that of worship and thanksgiving, because our position as Jesus’ bride implies being chosen, deeply loved and relentlessly pursued by Him. The best part of all is, as we wait for the wedding day, we don’t have to search for a perfect wedding dress. Jesus has already clothed us with garments of salvation and has wrapped us with His robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). How awesome is He!

Question: Think of all the things in your life – attitudes, ambitions, emotions, possessions, etc. How are they hindering you from committing to a life of holiness?

Prayer Challenge: Pray that the Lord will reveal to you all the things that have become a “baal” to you. Pray that the Lord will help you turn your heart completely to Him.

Next Step:Reflect on your walk with the Lord. For those areas that are no longer a struggle for you, find at least one person with whom to share your testimony.

Feb 15 - Jesus calls me his disciple   By Eric Cochran

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: John 13: 34-35

Pray: Ask the Lord what His love looks like in each facet of your daily life. Pray outside of the box here. What does it look like in my church life? My work/school life? How about in relationships with immediate and extended family? My causal interactions with co-workers/classmates, neighbors, strangers, etc.? What does it look like with people with whom I do not agree? How about with people who do not like, or perhaps, even hate me?

Devotional: Read: John 13: 34-35

There are many things that can be written about our identity as a disciple of Jesus. A few too many for one devotion, that’s for sure. However, if there is one recurring theme throughout Scripture that defines a disciple, it’s love. After all, it is 1/9 of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)  If you have been to a wedding you are likely familiar with the “Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13). In today’s passage, we are specifically talking about Christ’s love for us; that we, in turn, are to give away to others.

Jesus tells us that as His disciples, we are to love one another just as He loves us. This applies to believers and unbelievers alike. Scripture teaches that God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Pre-disciple, if you will. He loved us first and there was nothing we did to earn His grace and love.

So, how exactly do we love others with His love? The answer is simple yet daunting. We are to show His love unconditionally and equally to all people, sinner and saint alike. Our human love tends to be positional and conditional. We love our children because they are our children and we love others because we agree with them or like what they say or do. It’s convenient and comfortable. However, Jesus’ love for us was neither convenient nor comfortable. It led Him to the cross. His love is not a response to anything we say or do. It does not mean that He likes our conduct if it is contrary to His Word, but He loves us just the same.

Now, I understand that some people can be challenging to love, especially when we disagree with their beliefs or some aspect of their life. However, when we begin to love these “challenging” people, we are truly loving as Christ loved, unconditionally and equally. I am quite certain that I have been someone’s “challenging” person more than once in my life.

Question: Who do you find difficult to love? In what practical ways can you begin to show them Jesus’ love?

Prayer Challenge: Ask the Lord to help you express His love equally with everyone, especially with those you may find difficult to love. 

Next Step:Take an inventory of those you find difficult to love. Prayerfully, begin to jot down some ideas on how you can show them the love of Jesus and ask God for opportunity to put these ideas into action.

Feb. Feb. 16 - Jesus changes me from weak to strong   By Harriston Wilson

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: 1 John 4:16-19

Pray: Pray that we will not rationalize things when God may be leading us somewhere entirely different than what our intellect says.

 Devotional: Incredible though it may seem, the weak are admonished to say they are strong. But in order to ascertain a more in depth knowledge and understanding of weak and strong, let us determine how and where we may be weak or strong.

Mankind is a triune being: spirit soul and body.  Therefore if man is weak or strong, it would have to be in one or more of man’s beings. May I submit that the spirit of man is either dead or alive, never weak.

(1) The spirit of man is the lifeline and if the lifeline is severed from God, man is a dead, walking being. The spirit of man must be restored to God through Christ. Then man’s spirit is alive, strong and well; not weak.

(2) The soul, (mind, will and emotions) determines whether body or spirit will have dominance. It is the soul that will dictate the mental state of man as it relates to being weak, growing, or strong toward the will of God.

(3) The physical body of man contacts the world. We come into this world as a baby (weak), growing physically stronger each day. (That is not to deny that a senior moment may avail itself in our senior years.)

With that being said we have an intercessor, Jesus, who took our illnesses and carried our diseases. Jesus did not die because He was weak.  He died because He was strong, and was resurrected to challenge the weak to become strong.

Question: Am I ruled by my emotions, instead of making them bow to Him?

Prayer Challenge: Pray with the mind of Christ__ “As He is, so am I in this world!”

Feb. 17 - Jesus changes me from independent to reliant   By Tammy Botkin 

Morning and evening meditation :Read:  Ephesians 3:20, Psalms 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-7, Jer 29:11-14

Pray: Ask the Lord how to be dependent on/trusting of His will in all areas of life. Ask Him to reveal areas that are functioning independent of His control…so you can be totally dependent and confident in His provision.

Devotional: Read : Ephesians 3:20, Psalms 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-7

 Giving up control can be scary. It’s like the old trust trick; a person behind you is standing, ready to catch you, and then you fall backwards. If you’ve ever done it, you might have had a quick conversation with yourself…”Can I rely on this person?...What if I fall?”

Independence means: “free from outside control; not depending on another's authority”. It’s the leaning on one’s own understanding and ability. The world often seeks after this…it ties independence to success, self-esteem, self-discipline. It’s no wonder there is temptation for self-reliance. Yet the most “independent” people in the world have been left in personal ruin…it’s just too heavy to bear. We can try to create a half-way decent life, dependent on our own ability, but God says a life fully reliant in Him is so much more than we can hope for or imagine.

Power and Freedom. Ephesians 3:20 says; “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”.  You’re either working via your own power or His. Which option is secure? Promising? Full of hope? God has more for us when we’re dependent on Him, than we can ever obtain on our own. Reliance actually brings freedom. Freedom from worry, doubt, burdens. Ps 37:5 says “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you”.

We are designed to depend on God. We need fellowship with Him, security, direction and hope. Proverbs 3:5-7 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom…Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

When we rely on God, blessings follow. Proverbs 3:5-7 says “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. 8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Not something we can ever promise ourselves...without Him.

Question: Am I really trusting the Lord with every area of my life? Or just the ones where my hands are tied?

Prayer challenge: Lord I want to rely on You. Help me to seek You first; trusting Your path for this (and all) area/s of my life. For You have plans for me! A future and a hope. (Jer 29:11-14)

Next Step: Look at areas of your life that may not be producing fruit. Bring focus to these areas during daily prayer time. Give them/trust them to God.

Feb. 18 - Jesus changes me from fearful to confident   By Kelly Chakra

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: Matthew 10:26-33

Pray: Heavenly Father you are wonderful, and I praise you because you are the Lord Almighty, the Holy One, and the everlasting God of love. Your will be done in my life today as I read your word and hear from you. Renew my mind with your heavenly perspective. Help me to understand your Word when you said, “perfect love casts out all fear”. Search me and show me if there is any fear in me that is keeping me from your perfect, unfailing love.  Forgive me and deliver me from fear. I take authority over fear in my life in the name of Jesus and by the blood of the lamb that was slain.  Father, Your's is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, amen.

Devotional: Fear is a word I can relate to. I was so shy growing up that the thought of attending youth group or even having casual conversations with anyone outside of my circle of friends gave me great fear and anxiety. My first taste of true confidence in life was when I discovered I had a talent that made people think highly of me. That confidence quickly turned to pride. Then, the Lord allowed that talent to be taken away from me for several years. My only confidence and identity was lost.

After this season, a confidence that could never be lost was discovered in turning to my creator and experiencing His perfect love in spite of my shame. But I learned that a relationship with our God is mutual. In order to fully experience His love, we must learn to love Him back. To love Him back is to obey His Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching” and “the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:23, 26)

In order to overcome fear, we must stand on the Word of God. Choose to stand on an encouraging word from Jesus, “Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt 10:19-20) If I am fearful in obeying God, it means I have not fully received or understood His perfect love.  If I do not obey the Holy Spirit on a daily basis when He is leading me to say or do something, it means I fear what man’s words or actions can do to me more than I fear the God who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Question: Thinking back to yesterday, did the sum of your actions prove your fear of man or fear of God?

Prayer Challenge: Ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal what’s true about you today. Confess any fear of man, and repent. Decide before God that you are turning away from that fear. Ask the Holy Spirit for direction today. Keep asking until you hear clearly. He usually doesn’t show you until you are in the moment of needed direction.

Next Step: Choose today to obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting. Allow God to get past the limitations of your human mind. Do not reason in your mind but obey as He shows you what is needed for each moment. If you delay, you may miss the opportunity. During fasting is a great time to practice hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit, because instead of being full with food, you are full with the Spirit. I’ve found I can see and hear more clearly during fasting. Every time you choose to obey the Holy Spirit, your confidence in God the Father grows. Soon we will be like Jesus doing and saying only what the Father has told us to do and say (John 12:49-50). It just takes one step, one act of obedience to walk away from fear.