I hope and pray Fast Wednesdays achieves its goals to be a source of encouragement, enlightenment and empowerment for all as we deepen our relationships with God. Also, I hope it challenges you reading as much as it challenges me writing and reading! All donations of song, scripture, prayer, insights, etc. are welcome … as we face the beginning of a New Year, a new President and his administration, etc., I recommend we spend more time “Drawing Near to God” for it is amazing what we learn, how we find strength and comfort, and grow when we do.
I am listing today’s scripture in a couple translations as I believe we develop more insight into God’s word when we look at the scripture using a variety of interpretations.
James 4:8-10 New International Version (NIV) 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
James 4:8-10 King James Version (KJV) 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
James 4:8-10 The Message (MSG)
7-10 So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.
Our song selection for today is provided by Mrs. Karen Pleasant Gonzalez…smoochies!
Lord, I draw close to You today, grateful that You will draw close to me as You have promised in Your Word (James 4:8). I long to dwell in Your presence, and I want to know You in every way You can be known. Teach me what I need to learn in order to know You better. I don’t want to be a person who is “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). I want to know the truth about who You are, because I know that You are near to all who call upon You in truth (Psalm 145:18) from The Power of a Praying Woman, Book of Prayers, Stormie Omartian.
Below is a teaching provided by Dr. Charles Stanley centered on today’s scripture for your information.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” That is an amazing promise! As we open ourselves up to the Lord, He opens up to us. If we come to Him in submission, repentance, and brokenness, He rushes in with forgiveness, love, and faithfulness. There is no room for self-sufficiency or self-protection in this interaction. Only in the humility of helplessness will we discover the sufficiency of His presence.
At first glance, it may seem that we were the ones who began the relationship, but in reality, God took the initiative; we merely responded to His overture (John 6:44). Many times He uses situations and difficulties to get our attention and stimulate our thirst for Him. What appears to be a painful or desperate situation is often His invitation to draw near.
Even our greatest failures and sins can lead us to Christ, as we seek forgiveness from the Father. With an attitude of humble repentance, we can enter into a more intimate relationship with God. However, if you and I continue living in rebellion and are unwilling to confess and repent, He will not reveal more of Himself to us. Sin always blocks our ability to know the Lord.
Have you allowed adversity or failure to pull you away from God rather than toward Him? To put distance between you and Jesus, Satan will misuse the very situations that the Lord can utilize to draw you to Himself. Don’t let the enemy win the battle. Instead, “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Love, Joy and Peace,
Debra J. Ellis
Reminder AND/OR for those of you just joining us either by contacting me or I personally added you: The purpose of Fast Wednesdays is to draw near to God on this specific day of the week fasting and praying in whatever manner the Holy Spirit is leading you as sisters in Christ…some have fasted from social media, coffee, or observed a traditional fast with no eating from sunrise to sunset with only liquids for the day, no deserts, etc. I know many of us for various reasons participate every week but in different manners. This has still been beneficial and the sisterhood continues to grow!
The key ingredient is that we are doing this together as sisters, of all ages, in the Lord both chronologically and spiritually in accordance to: A God-Filled Life Titus 2:3-5 “Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior.”
Note: Please share Fast Wednesdays with your friends and/or send me names to add to the distribution list. For now, I will post in three places: email (email@example.com), Facebook (Debra Fuller Ellis) and blog https://fastwednesdays.wordpress.com