As we enter 2020, we are asking God to help us to continue to be people who bring transformation into our world.
To become what we envision we are asking God to start with me!
This is why we encouraged all of us to begin a time of prayer and approaching God through the discipline of fasting.
Before you get wigged out - Fasting reminds us to turn our attention to God.
You can fast a meal or a particular type of food. You can fast an activity. You can fast anything that would remind you to turn your attention to God in prayer.
Fasting is not meant to punish yourself, it is meant to remind you to pray and focus on your relationship with God.
During this fast, I want you to pray that we would be people that God would use to bring transformation into our world.
God can use us, in big and small ways, to bring transformation into our world.
You and I can make a difference in the lives of others!
Do you believe God can use you to bring transformation into our world?
One of my all-time favorite classic movies demonstrated this very truth.
It is about a man who wanted to take the world by storm. His plan was to travel the world and make his mark on history.
He was well on his way until his dad suddenly died forcing him to take on the family business.
Due to this unforeseen responsibility, he made the choice to give his travel money to his younger brother so he could get his education.
This began his lifelong pursuit of putting others before himself.
He fell in love and was married and lived a life of sacrifice ensuring others' needs were met often forgoing his own.
In a moment of despair, when things were piling up against him, he contemplates taking his own life when he was given a gift.
He met an angel who gave him the gift of seeing how the world would have been different if he had never been born.
The stark reality was, his existence brought about a transformation in a way that would have been noticeably different if he never existed.
George Bailey received a gift – He was able to see that he indeed had lived a wonderful life!
And the angel gets his wings! (ring the bell)
Many of us will never know the impact we have on our world until we get the chance to see the rewind of our life on the big screen of heaven.
Yet, before we become people of transformation, we must embrace a solid truth.
Transformation in our world begins with transformation in ourselves.
You cannot experience external transformation until you have experienced internal transformation.
This is why after ending 2019 with the packing a feast we are beginning 2020 with a fast encouraging you to pray.
I am encouraging you to seek God, and ask for a supernatural, internal transformation so we can then transform our world.
Let’s not allow ourselves to get to the bridge of life where we contemplate ending it all in despair like George Baily.
Let’s intentionally seek the spirit of God asking Him to transform ME so we might become an agent of transformation in our world!
If you’re here today and you’re new to this whole Christianity thing, this is one of the biggest reasons Christians celebrate Christmas and Easter.
Because we know that the arrival of Jesus and the work He did to break the chains of broken thinking and living can bring transformation.
And Jesus is inviting us all into a relationship that changes everything!
Transformation is the promise for every person who has an encounter with Jesus is 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV) … if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
In Christ, we become inwardly new persons who then have the opportunity to become change agents in our world.
Take the challenge to begin fasting and praying the prayer, “God Transform ME!”
We want to help you with this, you have a fasting guide and you can get daily prayer reminders.
When you download our app we will give you daily reminders for prayer.
And throughout this month, we will be looking at a prayer prayed by David!
David, the notable second king of Israel, you can find his life story in the old testament of the Bible in 1st and 2nd Samuel.
David wrote prayers that are archived for us in the book of Psalms.
In Psalms, we find a prayer David prayed not long after being crowned king that would shape the direction of his life.
We find this in Psalm 139.
It is a 24-verse powerful prayer that speaks of the omnipotent (unlimited) omnipresent (everywhere) power of God and ends with an invitation for transformation!
I want us to hone in on verses 23 and 24 and consider this invitation of transformation David prayed.
Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV) 23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
David’s prayer begins with an invitation asking God to bring transformation into his life, we can pray this prayer, we can invite transformation into our lives.
This invitation begins with an appeal for God to perform an all-out inventory of our hearts, minds, and actions!
“Search me, O God”
That is a request for an inventory of your soul, thoughts, and way of life.
It invites God to search your attitudes, probe areas of hurt, and get into every crevice of our lives.
In Celebrate Recovery, there is a worksheet that walks you through a complete moral inventory of your life.
It has questions like:
- Who is the person, place or institution that is the object of my resentment or fear?
- What is the event or specific action that a person did that caused my hurt?
- What effect did that action have on my life: both in the past and present? How does this make you feel?
- What damage did that action do to my basic security, social interactions and or sexual instincts?
- What was affected in my beliefs, what losses and insecurities do I have because of this event?
- What part of the resentment am I responsible for, who did I hurt, what are my character defects and negative behaviors and choices?
Think about the vulnerability you experience when you consider these questions in the presence of an Almighty God who sees and knows everything about you.
Think about the humility necessary to pray this bold prayer:
"Search me, O God"
Before the conclusion of this prayer, David made it clear in his opening remarks that he understood the unlimited power of God.
Psalm 139:1-7 (NIV) 1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
This confession begins to build the right frame around David’s "search me" prayer.
It begins with Humility.
Humility is “right-sizing” yourself before God. Making yourself the right size compared to the presence of Almighty unlimited God.
Illustration: You have heard me talk about my high school football experiences with all the success we achieved.
We played a team in Henryetta Oklahoma; their mascot was a hen, the Henryetta hens!
Our battle cry was "eat more chicken!" This was before Chick-fil-a took our slogan!
They had a little known quarterback by the name of Troy Aikman.
When we played this team we killed them, I sacked Troy Aikman, took him out of the game. We were all that!
I thought we are awesome! I bragged about how great we were! I beat my chest and relished in our accomplishments.
But when I went on to play in college, it was a whole new ball game!
I was no longer a “big fish in a little pond.” I was a “little fish in a big pond.”
I was the one getting the stuffing knocked out of me! I was humbled!
When we address God in prayer, we need to begin by “right-sizing” ourselves or rather “down-sizing” ourselves in His big presence.
We are “little fish” in His big pond.
David begins to humble himself by confessing the greatness of God.
Look at verses 2 -3 again: “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
Here David confesses the omniscience (unlimited power) of God.
God knows everything about us! He knows where I go, He knows what I’m thinking. He knows all my attitudes and ways of behavior.
Sometimes we pray like we need to inform God of all our circumstances and describe to Him all our needs.
We need to tell Him why He needs to understand what we are going through.
Sometimes I think our prayers insult God. We pray like we believe that God is not omniscient.
David didn’t pray like that. He exalted God, “You KNOW… you PERCEIVE…You DISCERN…you are familiar with all my ways!”
God knows everything. We don’t need to explain anything to God. He knows.
So as we begin our time of fasting and prayer we need to begin framing our prayers with humility acknowledging that God is unlimited and we are not!
As you pray, “Search me O God” it’s not as though God is looking for something that He doesn’t already know about you.
The “Search me O God” is a request for God to reveal to us all the areas of our lives that God wants to transform.
God transforms us as we give Him access to our lives.
God knows what needs to change but we don’t! So, we are asking God to search us and reveal to us what needs to change.
Transformation begins with a knowledge of what needs to change.
This can only happen when we humble ourselves before God and ask Him to search us and reveal to us what needs to change.
David humbles himself by confessing that God is not only omniscient, but God is omnipresent.
There is no place where David can go where God is not present.
Look at verses 7-12
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
God is omnipresent! Which means He is everywhere with unlimited power!
God is here today and God is everywhere you are going to be tomorrow and next week, and the week after… God is there!
As we begin January of 2020, we don’t know where this month or this year is going to take us.
But God does! He is omnipresent!
We need to remind ourselves like David did, that God is going to be everywhere that we find ourselves in 2020!
You don’t need to fear 2020 because God is going to be everywhere that you go: from the heights of the heavens to depths of death itself - God is there.
From here to the other side of the sea – God is there.
From dawn to dark- God is there
Our God is omnipresent!
We need to humble ourselves before a God who is omniscient (unlimited) and omnipresent (everywhere).
This is the God to whom we are praying this “Search Me” Prayer!
Throughout this month as we begin to pray, “Search me, O God,” we are asking Him to reveal to us the things in our lives that He wants to transform.
“Search me and reveal to me the areas of my life that need your transformation.”
The areas of our lives that need transformation also need our permission and our engagement.
You see, we are made in the image of God with a free will to love God or reject God.
We were not created as robots but as free-will agents.
The image of God in us requires that we engage our will with God’s will. When we do this, we are linked to His power.
We get a glimpse of this through the many miracles Jesus performed when He walked the planet.
Jesus would ask people questions that He already knew the answers to.
For instance, there was a man named Bartimaeus.
Jesus walked by him and asked him a strange question. We find this encounter and the question in Mark 10:46-52 (NIV)
46 Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (that is, the Son of Timaeus), was sitting by the roadside begging. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" 49Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. 51 "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus asked him. The blind man said, "Rabbi, I want to see." 52 "Go," said Jesus, "your faith has healed you." Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Jesus asked him a question that He already knew the answer to.
So why did He ask him the question?
He wanted, Bartimaeus to confess his need and then gave him the opportunity to engage his faith in Jesus.
There you see the two components at play here.
- Admit your need. – the first step to any part of recovery is admitting there is a problem!
- Confess your faith in Jesus to meet that need – stating with our mouths the need to an unlimited ever-present God who has the power to transform!
Jesus healed Bartimaeus!
But it required the confessional faith of Bartimaeus before Jesus would release the healing power.
In what areas of your life do you need to God’s power released this year?
Maybe it’s already obvious to you like, Bartimaeus. You know you need your eyes opened, you know what needs to be transformed.
Or you maybe like David, you need God to reveal the area that needs His transforming power?
The God who is unlimited and everywhere is inviting you to pray the prayer “Search me O God,” to have your eyes opened to see the areas that need His transforming power in your life!
Do you have faith to believe that God can transform you?
Today you can cry out like Bartimaeus "have mercy on me, Jesus."
He will come to where you are and lift you to your feet and ask you, what do you want me to do for you?
This is when you say, search me of God, help me see the areas in me that need transformation.
Jesus tells us what will happen when we pray like this!
Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV) 7 "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
- Do you need answers this year?
- Do you have areas your seeking wisdom this year?
- Do you need some doors that need to be opened this year?
Where do you need and unlimited everpresent God to show up for you!
Then let’s run to an unlimited everywhere God and pray a transforming prayer!
In fact let’s all pray, God “Transform me so that I may bring transformation into my world.”