For the month of January Take the City pushed a pause button and sought the Lord together in fasting, prayer, and worship. This meant we did not go out for our Redeem monthly outreach. Even so, the Lord was at work recalibrating the hearts of his people.
Fasting is not a way for us to get what we want or to manipulate God. Instead, fasting is a way to empty ourselves of worldly comforts and pleasures and to tenderize our hearts to the deep realization that we truly need God. We don’t just need God to answer our petitions, even though that is part of prayer, we need God to be our greatest delight and desire. God has made us for himself, and our ultimate satisfaction and purpose is found in beholding the beauty of the Lord.
In the year 2021, at the end of our previous 21 Days of Fasting, we worshiped, prayed, celebrated, and went home to break our fasts. That evening our family was in for a heart-wrenching night when our beloved family dog, Selah, was tragically hit by a car right in front of the Take the City building. I, Ellen, was deeply upset because Selah was a gift that I was given by God several years before I was married. She entered into my life during a time of pain, rebellion, and unforgiveness. I remember taking her for walks and feeling the tender loving-kindness of God softening my heart to his presence once again. Selah was in a way a picture of God’s faithfulness and goodness in my life.
Fast forward to this year, the 1 year anniversary of Selah’s passing, I woke up from a strange dream. In the dream my husband, Andrew, was dead and I was weeping uncontrollably. In the dream I went to a church and got up before the congregation weeping and shouting “We don’t worship God because of all the good things He gives us. We worship God because He himself is good”. Then the dream suddenly ended…
Later on the next day, during our worship night at Harvest, I received the revelation of what God was saying to me through the dream. I felt like what the Lord was saying to me is that He does give good gifts, yet receiving good gifts is not the highest form of knowing Him. If we only worship God when things are going our way then we will be tossed to and fro when the promised sufferings and trials come our way.
We worship God because He himself is good. We were made for Him and when our souls stop filling up on the lesser comforts around us and start enjoying God we truly enter into union and oneness with the Lord. Fasting is one of the harder spiritual disciplines but it is so enriching to our spiritual journeys. We don’t fast to get what we want but we fast to know God more. The more we know God the more we love Him and the more we love Him the more we will worship Him. May we know God’s goodness in and out of every season for surely the Lord is with His people.
-Ellen Chalmers, Interim Redeem Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
My experience with the Take the City crew was like coming into a family. Our team was welcomed in with open arms with like-hearted believers who love Jesus and have laid down their lives to serve the broken of the city! It was an honor to come alongside them, be welcomed into their homes, share meals, and experience the transformational work that God is doing in and through them to see His Kingdom come.