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ASCEND 2020 Pt. 1

Week 1: Personal Repentance, Change, and Restoration

There’s an old saying, “Never put the cart before the horse.” Although the saying does not fit in modern times in a literal sense, it speaks volumes regarding many things we do or face in life. We can even apply it to our Christian walk.

Over the past few years, people have been praying and asking for revival. They attend events, go to countless services, read as many books as possible, and pray constantly for revival. However, they miss the crucial point of what revival first entails.

Many people quote Joel 2 when they discuss revival. Honestly, I have preached an entire message about the chapter and gained some deep wisdom from study. Joel 2:12-14 states “Even now — this is the Lord’s declaration — turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind him, so you can offer grain and wine to the Lord your God.” This scripture serves as the first step of the fresh outpouring of God’s spirit as described in the later verses. For revival to happen, personal repentance must come first.

I know that many people think that their walk is insignificant in the greater plan of God and that insignificance creates apathy towards God. That apathy creates a doorway for sin to come and become a part of your life. Here’s the thing about sin— it spreads. When God called the nation to repentance in the Old Testament, everyone had to participate. Everyone was covered in sackcloth and ashes (this is where we get the tradition of ash and Ash Wednesday from) and repented for their individual sins as well as the sins of the nation. They knew that God wanted his people to be pure before him so that he would be pleased with them and hear their prayer. The mechanism for revival has not changed. We hold back the move of God when we fail to reconcile our fleshly desires with what God wants from us. Sin causes separation from God. He doesn’t walk away from us; we walk from him.

True repentance is crucial for reconciliation with God. It cleanses us from the impurity of sin and turns us back to God. Repentance brings about change and refreshing. Acts 3:19-20 challenges us to repent and change so that we may be refreshed. The refreshing comes from reconnection with God. Lastly, repentance restores our desire and hunger for God. Now that we are back in alignment with him, we hunger and thirst after the things of God and pursue our relationship with him in a deeper and more meaningful way.

As we begin this consecration and ask God to take us to a higher and deeper place in him, we must first prepare ourselves for the journey through repentance. The focus scripture of the fast is Psalms 24. Verses 3 through 6 read ““Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not appealed to what is false, and who has not sworn deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who inquire of him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah.” We cannot access the very presence of God if we are unclean.

Prayer Targets:

Repent for anything that you have done intentionally or unintentionally

Pray for freedom and deliverance from habits that separate you from God.

Ask God to reveal to you the areas in your life that need healing and restoration.

Pray for a refreshing of the Holy Spirit

Pray a hedge of protection around you during this conscecration so that nothing that the enemy tries will prosper against you, your family, and those connected to you.

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