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Day 12 - Lane Decker

When You Don’t Understand

Hi Church, I’m Lane and I’m so excited to bring you today's devotional as we continue our 21 Day Fast.

Isaiah 55:8-9

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

   neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

   so are my ways higher than your ways

   and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Something I have been dwelling on is just how big our God is, how vast He is, how great He is. He is all powerful and all knowing. We are not able to understand all that God is or all that He does. Now, some people take that and say they can’t believe in a God that they can’t fully understand. However, I encourage you to take comfort in that. Take comfort in the fact that we cannot always understand His plan. He is a big God

I do not know what you are facing or what you are fasting for but I encourage you to find your comfort in Him. Don’t turn to the things this world has to offer, it leaves you empty. It is amazing to me that when you feel like there is no end in sight to what you are going through that you can still have a peace that you do not understand, you can still have a joy that the people that surround you in your life do not understand.

Also, I want to encourage you in this; in Isaiah it talks about God's understanding, that it is unsearchable. Recently I have been going through a time of not understanding and that verse has brought me so much peace. God understands exactly what you are going through and what you are feeling. He is right there beside you to comfort you, to bring peace, to bring joy, and to see you through.

Our God is big, and we do not always understand His plan, but take comfort in the fact that His ways are so much higher than our ways (and better)! He is in the trial with you. He loves you. He will bring you through.

Love you Church,

Lane Decker

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Day 11 - Pastor Mike

Jesus said, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”  
Matthew 17:21

I remember about 10 years ago coming around the corner at my house and seeing Dawson (my then 5 year old) and Madi (Pjeff’s daughter) playing next to my house.  They were talking about moving our golf cart, because it was in the way of where they wanted to play.   I was amused at the confidence they seemed to have that they were just going to be able to push that HUGE thing off of the concrete so they could play there.

I watched as they dug their heels in, got nice and low….and… nothing happened.  They tried again, this time squinting their eyes to give them extra strength…nothing.  Then…they agreed they would try one more time, with all their might.
But this time, I came up above them, and gave a little push where they couldn’t see….and OFF the thing went at least 6 feet!
Boy you should have seen their eyes gaze at each other at their newfound strength!  Until they looked up and saw me smiling.   We all laughed.

I have to tell you that every Awakening Fast I see this very thing happening. When people buckle down in faith for something big, God always does some real effective work!

In our passage, the disciples had trouble casting this demon out.  But Jesus said that some of the hardest things to do for the Kingdom require prayer and fasting.   Now the disciples didn’t fail because they didn’t believe God.  They just didn’t place enough of their trust in Him at the time to do the big things.

In another passage, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don’t doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen.”

Jesus is referring to our ability to go deeper, through prayer and fasting, to trust Him even more with the biggest of things.

Our time of fasting allows the Holy Spirit to do a great powerful work in us.  As we strip away the desires of our flesh, and we commit to reading, praying and fellowshipping, God does a work of change in us….and our faith is strengthen by it.  And when our faith in a powerful God is strengthened, He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”  (Ephesians 3:20). More than we can Imagine?  Yes!  Even moving HUGE objects out of our way, like golf carts!

The question is – as you feel God doing a work in you, and your faith is strengthened, are you asking for God to do something more than you would normally not even dream about?   Dare I say – a miracle?

We started this 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting 13 years ago.  Let me share just a few of the miracles that I have seen since then:

  1. A family member far from the Lord received Christ and is radically transformed! SAVED!

  2. A struggling young lady battling depression for years was released of demonic stronghold as one of our prayer partners prayed over her.  (Ya, just like you read in the Bible.)    DELIVERED!

  3. A cantankerous Atheist listened to a testimony of his friend, a Lifecoaster, and his heart was softened to God and is now considering a relationship with Jesus.

  4. A Dad of a Lifecoaster who had cancer was found to have no traces of the cancer anymore.  HEALED!

  5. A Lifecoaster was able to defeat her cigarette habit of 20 years during her fast!

  6. A workmate of a Lifecoaster received Christ after a few days of testimony and discussion.  SAVED!!

God moves when His people press in and pray big prayers and believe for big things to happen.

So, what about you?

Are you asking for BIG THINGS?  Are you trusting God for HUGE Kingdom things?

We’re on Day #11.
Pray and fast for those in our own body who are sick. Pray for those trying to kick addiction!   Pray for those around you who do not believe in Jesus.  Pray Hard.  Trust Greatly!   Pray for miracles!

Who knows – when you dig your heels down enough, squint like Dawson and Madi – you might just see God push really big golf carts right out of your way!  Or maybe even a Mountain!

I believe it!

Do you??

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Day 10 - Jamie Ballou

It’s All About Trust

It wasn’t so very long ago that I was feeling I had no purpose. Paparay (my husband) and I followed my youngest son, Pastor Mike and his family to Florida about 14 years ago to help them plant Lifecoast Church, and it was a very scary step for us. But we had faith and stepped out of our comfort zones. That move was one of the best decisions of our lives. We really felt we had purpose and were doing what God wanted us to do.

Things change, however, and Lifecoast was no different. Young people stepped into leadership positions. So much of what I was involved in was now the responsibility of people who were young, full of great ideas and had lots of energy. I truly believed this was best for the church and for advancing the kingdom, but suddenly I felt useless, lonely and left out of everything. I felt “over”. I developed severe hearing loss that made it difficult to communicate in a group, so I avoided situations where there were a lot of people. I was embarrassed when I couldn’t hear. My grandchildren, who were such an important part of my life, were all grown up and had their own lives. I was stuck.

I then attended the Lead Yourself classes and they really got me thinking that maybe there was some purpose in my life after all. Shortly after that I attended the Lead Others classes and it all came together for me. I found my passion was not in sitting alone on my computer doing numbers all day and isolating myself from others. My passion was not to feel I needed to be a part of the decision – making and all of the inner workings of the church. The Lead classes helped me find vision and helped me get the negative thinking and fear out of the way so that I could pursue the vision of working with others, one-on-one and in small groups. I began to trust in what God had for me, yes, even at my age!

Romans 8:28 We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.   

Nothing is said about age. I had to learn to trust that God has purpose for everyone. I had to trust that God really loved me and had purpose for my life, no matter what my age. I had to learn not to worry. I believe this will be a life-long process.

Are you stuck? Do you feel God has no plans for you because He hasn’t clearly shown you what that plan is? Do you feel stuck in a job, stuck in your bad financial situation, stuck in your relationships? Are you lonely and feel no one really cares about you? Are you living from day to day waiting for the weekend, waiting for someone to call you and be your friend, or waiting for the winning lottery ticket?

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; for I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I pray you can use this time of fasting to get honest about your situation and ask Him for help. Believe and trust and get help. Go to the Lead Yourself classes. If you are unable to attend them on the nights they are held, there are several people who can do the Lead Yourself class with you one-on-one. Get connected. Trust – no fear!

Jamie Ballou

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Day 9 - Leo Salgado

“Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.”  Galatians 6:4-5


Hey Church, this is Leo, your worship leader here at Lifecoast Church. I am so honored to be able to bring today's devotional for our 21 days of Prayer and Fasting. My wife (Cori) and I pray and really hope that as your reading this, God is already moving and showing you how great and mighty he is.

I’ll get right to the point. How many of us live perfect lives? The perfect home, the perfect job, the perfect car, the perfect children, the perfect spouse and etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. We often get on Facebook or Instagram (or whatever your social media of choice is) just to “browse”. We see people we don’t know or even our very own friends posting things and they just seem “oh, so perfect” and that they have just got it all together. We then just think that our very own lives are just boring. Next thing you know, you’ve just wasted an hour (or more) making yourself unhappy. That can make anyone depressed!

This is what the enemy wants. He wants all our focus to be on comparing ourselves to someone else instead of focusing on the only one that actually matters: GOD! When we compare ourselves to others, we create ENVY (I want what they have), or PRIDE (I’m better than they are). Envy and pride do NOT honor God.

Every single one of us has a purpose. We are all uniquely made. God has created us in his very own image. Perfect in his eye. So comparing ourselves to others would be telling God that what he created (which is us) is not perfect. God loves us just the way we are! God wants us all to have a grateful heart for who we are and what he has already given us. Understand that you have everything you need this very moment.

God has a very unique plan for each of us. His plan for you is greater than you could possibly imagine. Stop looking at his plans for other people so that we can walk in the plans HE has for us so that we may receive the blessings they bring.

Leo Salgado


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Day 8 - Pastor Jeff

Run and NOT Grow Weary

Isaiah 40:27-31

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

I find it interesting how the human condition carries on from generation to generation. Isaiah 40 was written more than 2700 years ago, and yet it is conveying how the people of Israel seem to be complaining and feeling like God is not looking out for them.

The prophet has to convince them that God is still watching and reminds them that He Is The Creator. He doesn't get tired and He has a plan far beyond what we could possibly understand.

During this fast I have seemed to hit a fatigue point a bit earlier than in years past. I probably would not classify myself as a "youth," Today was not a good day for my personal energy.

My morning started great as I got out with Boston (My Black Lab) for a nice, brisk power walk, which I thought would start my day off strong. Boy, was I wrong!

But even though it would be easy to ask questions like, "God, can't you give me some supernatural energy? Can't you supply me with strength for today?" I am not asking those questions. Why? Because I settled my understanding of God a long time ago. I have come to the firm foundation that God is God and I am not. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts are higher than my thoughts (also in Isaiah by the way 55:9).

So if He chooses to let me feel tired and weary, and even if He allows me to stumble and fall, I will trust in Him. I will embrace the weariness and I will look for His best. Yes, even from the ground after I fall. Why can I be so positive in weariness? If you've read verse 31 then you probably know, but if you just skimmed over it, here it is again. Read it, Believe it and Plant your Faith Firmly on This Verse.

but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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Day 6 - Pastor Mike

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children. Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us.  Ephesians 5:1-2

I read this verse this week and I had to wonder something: If My Heavenly Father listed all my activities for the week...how many of them would stack up on the side of "imitating Him," and how many would fall on the side of "imitating someone else"?

Holly and I have raised 5 kids!   Though most of them are grown, there was a time when they wanted to be with us.  (I know, eventually they get cooler friends, or spouses!).

I remember a time when my youngest Dawson was 5, and he caught me by surprise as I found him "imitating" me. I was in my office getting things done, multitasking, calling people, listening to worship and tapping my foot and I'd look over and notice he has been mirroring me the whole time. 

He had his foot tapping, singing a little song, talking on a dead cell phone, and smiling the whole time! And when he noticed that I was finally "catching on," he just giggled and gave me that "I'm awesome" smile! (He is).

But there were times that he doesn't imitate me...he's 14 now and he's "finding himself." (Insert sad face).   BUT, there are times I surely do not imitate my Heavenly Daddy either, though I'm ___ years old! 

The word "imitate" in the Greek comes from mimetes, from which we get our word mimic. I like that word, mimic, because for me it really spells out what I am to do. To mimic someone or something really requires careful observation. You can not mimic without watching someone carefully, getting all the movements and details down. If you do not, you'll merely portray a sample, or a likeness...but you won't have that person's exact movements down. You won't be an exact representation.

Dawson had my movements down...from the toe tapping, the phone in hand, and even had the correct hand reaching back to scratch his neck, just like mine. He was good at mimicking me! You could say he was my exact representation.

Of course, this brings us to Jesus, who in Hebrews 1:3 is said to be the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being." He told His disciples that He and the Father were One, and He only did "what he sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does." (John 5:19)

It's as if Jesus was being like Dawson, watching carefully what His Daddy does, and then mimics it perfectly!   What a picture!

So how do we start "mimicking" Jesus?  

Well, since we are fasting as a church, and carving out more time to read the Bible, start by reading the Gospel of John.  

Remember, the first task of mimicking is to observe carefully.  So as you read about Jesus, jot down every time He loved people in the hardest of situations, when people seem to be the most aggressive against Him. Note the life of love he led, and start to apply those circumstances to times in your day or week where you could respond as an exact representation of Jesus.

But Paul tells us in Eph. 5:2: "live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." 
Or, "Mimic Jesus!"

Watch how your response of love turns a bad argument into a soft discussion. Observe how an act of kindness changes a workmate who ignored you out of envy into a new friend. Better yet, rejoice when your "deeds" bring hurting people around you to a knowledge of the Loving Savior! Now you're "representing"!

Observe and Mimic! Watch and Imitate. Change situations and people with the love of Christ.  
And when it happens (and it will), smile and giggle like a 5 year old.  
Because mimicking Jesus should be fun!

Blessings...

Mike Wehde
Founding Pastor

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Day 5 - Pastor Caleb

Save me

Do you ever find yourself relying on yourself too much, even during a fast? You may ask God for help here and there, but for the most part, you rely on yourself.  I know I do. I think for me, it comes from a “pick yourself up from your bootstraps” mentality that has been poured into me my whole life, from my family and from culture. This mentality has a lot of benefits, but one major downfall is the tendency to not ask for help even when we need it, like not asking for directions when I’m lost. I insist that I can do it on my own, I don’t need help from anybody. Even in harder situations where I don’t just need help, I actually need saving. In those situations, I have to fight the urge to handle it myself and identify that I need saving. If you’re identifying with what I’m saying, there’s hope for us do-it-ourself-ers (I just made that up).

When I read our Bible reading today, a passage in Psalms 54 stood out to me:

Save me, O God, by your name;

   vindicate me by your might.

2 Hear my prayer, O God;

   listen to the words of my mouth.

3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;

   ruthless people are trying to kill me—

   people without regard for God.[c]

4 Surely God is my help;

   the Lord is the one who sustains me.


David has postured himself, humbly before God. David, who is one of the manliest men in history, humbles himself and says, “Save me, O God.” David who at this point has fought Goliath, and is leading an army of 400 men, writes this song out of a need for a Savior.

Now I think we all KNOW that we need a Savior, but if you’re like me, you sometimes forget to ask for that saving. We forget to posture ourselves in humility. We keep trying to get out of whatever hole we’ve dug ourselves into. But we need to stop and realize that we need a Savior. That we have one and his name is Jesus. And he’s not far away, but he’s close and probably already reaching his hand toward us to pull us out, we simply need to identify our need, reach out and grab his hand.

During the rest of these 21 days, let’s not let our pride, our grit, or our bootstrap mentality get in the way of asking for our Savior to save us. I need saving and I know you do too.

Here are a few things I hope you can take away from this:

  • You need a Savior

  • His name is Jesus

  • He is willing AND able to save you

  • You just need to ask

Pastor Caleb

Family Pastor

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Day 4 - Ryan Antos

Getting off on the wrong foot.

Our culture puts a lot of emphasis on starting things well and for good reason. We are more likely to finish something we start when we get off to a good start. We are more likely to finish a book, a movie, or even a fast when we get off to a good start. 

The downside to putting so much focus on good beginnings is that we tend to feel like we should call it quits when we don’t get off to such a hot start. We tend to adopt the mindset that if we don’t start something well, then there isn’t much value in trying to finish it. However, our daily Bible reading today from Ecclesiastes says otherwise. 

When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.

The underlying thought in verse four is that we should not delay fulfilling a vow no matter what “foot” we get off on. The value is in seeing the commitment through, and not having a perfect journey along the way. The same may be true with your fast. Maybe you haven’t gotten off on the right foot with your eating, your personal time with God, or staying off social media. That doesn’t mean it’s time to quit, it’s even more of a reason to see it through. God has always loved “Us” the imperfect creation and saw us through by redeeming us. Reflect the love of the father today and refocus on finishing your vow/fast strong!

Ryan Antos

Executive Director

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Day 3 - Greg Schnepf

Greg.jpg
 

Greg is our facilities manager and he also chairs our Lifecoast Foundation Board

Another year, another Fast; yikes, I hope this one goes better than past years.  Does that thought enter your mind? Maybe you know for certain that this year is going to be a new beginning and even better yet, you’re going to get through the 21 days and then continue on with the significant changes you’ve made.  

One definition I came across defined a Fast this way: “fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.”

My past Fasts have normally not continued beyond the 21 days and quite honestly were not life-changing nor was I willing.  So, let me go on record and state that this year is definitely going to be different; I am willingly entering into a period of a change in direction with respect to both my diet and my spiritual appetite.  I desire to enter into a year of spiritual and physical health – you are encouraged to hold me accountable.

So, I just made a type of vow (promise) and I stated something that I intend to hold onto; you can trust that I’m going to fulfill what I just said.  That is really scary because I put a great deal of trust in what others promise to do, so I’d better hang in there. That leads me to this week’s Bible reading in Ecclesiastes 5. Like so many individuals, I tend at times to be rather flippant in my comments. In other words, I tend to not take seriously those things that come out of my mouth and even more often I tend to talk too much and not listen as much as I should.

What does God say about the words that we utter?  My attention moved to today’s reading and specifically Ecclesiastes 5:2 – “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God” and 5:4 & 5 – “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”

After reading these few verses I will be reminded to:

  • Pray before making a vow (promise)

  • Do nothing in haste

  • Consider the ramifications of what I promise (vow)

  • Consider who would be disappointed if I didn’t fulfill my promise (vow)

  • Acknowledge the blessings from fulfilling my promise (vow)

I continue to pray for each of our Lifecoast family members to willingly and joyfully enter into this 21 Days of Fasting; God will be faithful as you continue to submit to His leading.

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Day 2 - Heath Sanford

Heath Sanford

Heath Sanford

I’ve been attending Lifecoast Church since 2011, I’ve been serving at Lifecoast Church since 2015. I serve with the Worship Team, Guest Services and have been volunteering as a youth leader for our Lifecoast Encounter youth group.

 I’m very excited for this year’s 21-day fast, I will be doing a close to no carb diet which, anyone who knows me knows, when I open a fridge I see 30 things to make a sandwich with. But the biggest part and most important part of my fast is: I will be cutting mostly all social media and television out of my life for 21 days. The reason for that is I want to eliminate mostly all possible ways for negativity, temptation and stinking thinking to be in my life so I can be more focused on what God has in store for me and for me to take some time to get more in tune with God just to better myself a little more every day so that I’m more equipped to walk people into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

This is a quote from Pastor Billy Graham:

Psalm 32:7    You shall surround me with songs of deliverance

- Out west an old sheepherder had a violin, but it was out of tune. He had no way of tuning it, so in desperation he wrote to one of the radio stations and asked them at a certain hour on a certain day to strike the tone of “A”. the officials of the station decided they would accommodate the old fellow, and on that particular day the true tone of “A” was broadcasted. His fiddle was thus tuned, and once more his cabin echoed with joyful music. When we live apart from God, our lives get out of tune – out of harmony other and with God. But if we live in tune with the master, we, too, will find ourselves surrounded by his beautiful music.

As this year begins, ask God to help you tune your life every day to His Word, so you can bring harmony and joy to those around you.   

  • Are you feeling worn?

  • Are you desperate for something to change?

Ask God to reveal where your life may be out of tune. He will be faithful to you.                 

Heath Sanford          

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When you fast - Pastor Jeff

When You Fast

Each January Lifecoast begins the year with 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. I know, for those of you who may be looking into Fasting as a spiritual exercise for the first time, this may seem a bit extreme. But let me assure you that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, and you believe the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant Word of God (in its original text), then actually fasting is spoken of as a "normal" part of a Christians life. In The Book of Matthew in chapter six, Jesus speaks of three separate disciplines. And as He speaks of each of them He uses the same term all three times; WHEN you give, WHEN you pray and WHEN YOU FAST (verses 2, 5 & 16).

I want to share honestly, that even though I had heard of Fasting as a part of a spiritual journey, I had been led to believe that it was for those who felt "led" by the Holy Spirit. But nothing in this portion of Scripture speaks of such a process. As a matter of fact, scripture seems to be filled with circumstances that work the other way around. When we Fast & Pray, the leading of the Spirit seems to be invited in to move in our life and in our spirit.

So Let me encourage you to pray and seek how God might stir you toward engaging in this spiritual discipline. If you are feeling like God is not pointing to anything at all and you don't know what you should Fast from. Here's my advise to you; You Pick! Select something! If you have never done this before start small; sweets, snacks, deserts anything. Perhaps you can start by Fasting from a negative behavior; drinking, swearing, smoking (although smoking would be a tough one). What I'm saying is this; Don't wait for God to tell you what to Fast from. Fast from something a He will meet you there.

WHEN YOU FAST - God Will Meet You There. That's what this is all about.

#overcomingguilt #guiltandthechurch

Pastor Jeff

Lead Pastor

Blog: https://pastorjeff9.wixsite.com/website

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