Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Faith Zone Challenge Kickoff

If you are visiting my blog today, July 23rd, because you linked over from the Proverbs 31 Devotion, "Running By Faith", then welcome! If you are a frequent visitor or subscriber, then welcome back! This is a great day to drop by!

Today I am beginning something exciting - a five day journey of faith - will you join me?

Several years ago, God called me out of my comfort zone and into the unknown zone. God, of course, knew where I was headed, I just had to put my trust in Him and watch His plan unfold. And guess what? His plan was amazing! Who knew! (just kidding, I always knew He had it in Him. Smiles.)

As a result of seeing firsthand the miracles that God can do in someones life simply by trusting God and being willing to say yes to His call, I now have a passion for encouraging others to experience that same excitement. I want everyone to experience the joy that can be found from stepping out in obedience, despite sacrifices, fears, shame and doubts.

So..... for the next five days, I want to make you think. I pray that God will speak through me to inspire you to take some time and do things that would normally be out of your comfort zone.

"But why should I?", you may ask. "What's in it for me?"

Let's look at it this way - when you are sitting in your favorite recliner, remote in hand, focused on the TV; all snuggled up and comfy with your pillow and throw blanket, a few magazines on your lap or a good book; a soda in your hand and a popcorn bowl on your knee, and maybe a few kids - is there room for anything else? I doubt it. That recliner is probably getting rather crowded.

In the same way, when we get so comfortable with our life the way it is, and with the things that are filling our life, then there is no room for God to introduce anything new. He desperately yearns to give us new things, but there simply is no room for them!

While we think we are safely sitting in our comfort zone, we are actually sinking into a dead zone. A zone where we dont see God working, because we are focused on life itself. A zone where we dont hear God speaking, because our ears are full of earthly noise. A zone where God cannot be felt, because we are too comfortable to make room for Him.

The result: we stay stuck in our recliner, a.k.a LIFE, all alone, uninspired, unchallenged and unfulfilled.

God calls us to be all we can be, and more than we think we can be - through Him. However, our doubts, busyness, insecurities, lack of faith and attempts to fill our hearts with earthly pleasures, often prevent us from fulfilling our true purposes.

This five day challenge is certainly not the answer to all our problems, but my prayer is that it will motivate someone to take that first step of faith towards a stronger relationship with Christ, help them begin to build a habit of listening for God's voice, and maybe even empower someone to jump right into God's will for their life, which they may have been hesitant to do before.

Consider Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

It takes great faith to do amazing things - it takes God sitting in the chair with us. It takes us being willing to make room for Him, maybe even sit in His lap, and ask Him to begin reading us the beautiful story that He has laid out for our lives.

If you believe that He is calling me, and you, to trust Him, leave our comfort zones of our daily lives and enter THE FAITH ZONE, then this challenge is for you.

For everyone who is willing to take a chance, and commit to the challenge, please post your blog on Mr Linky below. If you feel led, post your commitment on your blog and challenge your readers to not only hold you accountable, but also get involved themselves! (note: you do not have to have a blog to get involved, you can simply leave a post that you want to participate, or just do it on your own!)

As an extra motivation to get involved, each person who responds on all five days and comments about their experience with each daily faith zone challenge, will be entered into a drawing for a $15 Starbucks card, to be drawn on Monday, July 28th .

I pray that when the 5 days are up, many of you will leave me a comment about how the challenges worked for you, or what struggles you encountered, as God changed your heart and mind, and maybe your life, as a result. Im excited!


So... are you ready to take the challenge? If you answered yes, then.....Get ready - set - go!


___________________________________________________________
Challenge 1: Spend 30 minutes a day in quiet time with God for the next 5 days.

Mark 1:35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.


Okay, okay - I know what you are thinking - 30 minutes??!! I barely have time to brush my teeth, get dressed or even breathe! Much less spend 30 minutes alone in quiet time every day, for five days straight?! (I realize for some of you, this may be an every day habit, but please have patience with the rest of us.)

Your next thought may be this - "how is quiet time stepping outside of my comfort zone?"

Most Christians understand how important daily quiet time with God is, however, I dare say that most of us do not do it on a consistent basis - myself included! Life gets noisy, daily tasks take priority, and quiet times seem impossible. That is exactly why it is a challenge !!

If you are willing, turn down the noise tomorrow morning. Get up earlier than normal for the next 5 days, find a place of solace, and spend time with your heavenly daddy. Pick a Bible chapter or use a devotional book. Breathe, slowly, deeply, using your diaphragm, focusing only on Gods word. Your body will react to this relaxation, including muscle tension fading and even blood pressure dropping. Your mind will ease too, leaving you free to hear Gods whispers.

Quiet time is more than just a daily appointment with God. It's more like a visit with your closest friend. Just like a friendship cant flourish if you never spend time together, neither can our relationship with Christ. The more dedication and time we devote to our faith walk, the closer we will feel to Jesus. The closer you are, the more likely you are to hear Him speak, see Him move, and feel Him near.

Prayer for today:
Dear Lord, please forgive me for not making you a priority in my every day life. Forgive me for getting so busy with life, and so bogged down by earthy noises, that I forget to spend quiet time with you. I earnest ask that you call me into Your Presence, and give me a burning thirst for your Word that can only be quenched during our quiet time. Grant me perseverance over these next five days, despite the hurdles that the enemy tries to throw my way to prevent me from keeping my commitment. Lord, help me make a permanent habit when this challenge is done.

In your name I pray, Jesus, Amen.


PS - if this sounds easy today, dont get too comfortable just yet.....the best (and most challenging) is yet to come! Come back tomorrow for Faith Zone Challenge #2.







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56 comments:

Becky said...

Mornin",
I spend about 15-20 minutes each morning with God...I'll try the challenge....:)
Thanks, Tracie!
Becky

donna said...

I am ready for a greater challenge. The "Faith Zone" sounds like the place I want to be and so I am game!
Thanks for the opportunity.
Peace and God Bless,
Donna

momsal13 said...

I know this is something I need to do...not solely for me but for my family as well. I will be a much nicer person to be around, and I know I will get the things accomplished that I have been dreaming of, when I put God first.

Thank you for the reminder...I accept the challenge!

Sara

Kay Martin said...

This is my usual way to begin the day, but I am concentrating on how I can surrender more of me to embrace more of Him. What is it that holds me back from the all of Jesus Christ in everything I do?

godsown said...

Tracie
I do not think it is coincidence,that i read this challenge ....Just the last 2 days we discussed in one of the online groups of p31 our daily quiettime with the Lord...
I go for this challenge the coming 5 days...

Thanks and blessings

Karen said...

I have been praying for God to change my life. This is just what I need. I'm in!!
Thanks!!
Karen

Leebird said...

Good morning Tracie! Thank you for this. In my quiet time, I read Matthew 17:1-2 about the time when Jesus took Peter, James, and John to the mountain of transfiguration. I just prayed for God to take us up to that mountain so we could truly see Jesus in all His glory shining brighter than the sun (and brighter than our circumstances!) I'm in for the challenge....Again...thanks for spurring us on to a stronger and more vibrant faith.

Digging for Pearls said...

Tracie,
Thank you for your devotional today. It touched my heavy heart. I just have been praying and fasting for my dear husband who has been experiencing tremendous stress at work. We feel that God is leading him to seek a new job. So please pray for us as he works on resumes and hits the job market. We are praying that God will clearly lead us to the job He has for him, and that it will be a quick and smooth process.

Thank you for praying.

Blessings,
Pearls

Barb said...

This challenge is just what I need to snap out of what I call a hormonal low day. JUST this morning I found myself telling the Lord that it was going to be a walk by faith day without counting on the feelings of enthusiasm and joy that normally reside in my heart. I find these days very challenging and I was most encouraged by your message and opportunity to join you and others in abiding closer to the Lord during these days ahead. In His grace, Barb

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

My husband's company has been bought out and his job will be moving. We live on a family homestead, so that's not an option. I can't wait to live in this Faith Zone. The Lord is always SO faithful to keep us on our toes and surprise us with the most unbelievable rewards (just not always on our timetable.:) I look forward to what HE is going to reveal to us.

Karan said...

I was fortunately taught this lesson a long time ago, and have incorporated into my life. However, we all need to be sure that what we do flows out of a heart of love, and not duty. I am looking forward to being challenged, but maybe not so much out of my comfort zone!!! Seriously, we talked about this in church Sunday and decided that is why most people don't run hard after God - it would be uncomfortable. May God move us all out of ourselves - our comfort zone - and into His will.
In His Love and Hope,
Karan

melaniek said...

I want to do the challenge. This is coming at such a perfect time. ( God's time ) My husband is about to begin a new job and he will have ownership in this company. This is something we have wanted for awhile but we have not had the opportunity until now. Thank you for listening to God and including us in the challenge.
Thanks,
Melanie

Deb said...

Hi Tracie,
I spend around 15 minutes a day with God. I am willing to try the challenge and spend more time with him each day. Thank you.

Deb

Felicity said...

Thanks so much for the challenge! I can't wait to see what God has in store for me! I truly hope that through this my relationship with my Heavenly Father grows stronger and stronger!


Thanks Tracey, for being obedient to God in extending this challenge!

God Bless,
Felicity

Anonymous said...

I accept your challenge. I am currently going through a divorce after 38 years of marriage. My husband left me for another woman. This is the 5th time he has done this and I can't deal with it any more. Spending time with God is what is giving me peace and comfort.

Wendy Pope said...

Tracie
God is so funny! I just sat down in my comfy recliner. On the table is a big glass of water. In my lap, some fig newtons and my computer.

I love this challenge. Thanks for calling us to the next step in excellence.

Cindy said...

Tracie,
I'm all in! I have already started the preparations for a 90 day challenge that begins Saturday - so this will be a great addition to my prep!
Can't wait for tomorrow challenge.
Cidy

Anonymous said...

This challenge comes at just the right time. I struggle w/ being consistant in spending time in the word & in prayer...because it really shows when I miss it!
Thank you for the challenge, and the words of encouragment!

jennmit said...

Tracey,
I accept your challenge! This is something that I have always struggled w/..and really beaten myself up over! I want to & need to make it a habit to get up earlier...before the maddness of the day begins and just spend time w/ my Father.
Thanks for bringing waht God has done in you, to us.

Lisa Ford said...

I know that I need to get out of my comfort zone, so I believe this is the jump start to get me out! I'm already nervous...and that is what usually stops me from getting out of my comfort zone. So...here it goes...I'm in!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your Faith Zone Challenge! Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE for us to please God! What if, by faith we believed Him? I sure want to get to the place where, if He said it I believe it! It is my tendency to listen to what people say, or to listen to my experiences, more than believing what God has so clearly said to me in His Word! May God pour you out a blessing for giving us this challenge! Elaine

Anonymous said...

I try to begin my day in quiet time, but today, I overslept and had to leave for an appointment in a rush. I told myself I would do it later. I can definitely tell a difference in me when I don't. I am in a situation where I know that God is calling me to a higher level of faith and trust, so this is perfect for me to keep accountable and inspired. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

your devotional really struck a chord today; which is why I'm here - I'm sure the Lord knew that! I'm needing to learn to "walk by faith, not by sight" more. In the midst of this crazy, mind-numbing divorce struggle, custody dispute and sexual assault case against my ex, I'm so oft-times frustrated with the court battles and the financial drains and strains. And now the bogus allegations being tossed around of attempted murder! I just wonder where God is in all of this! But, in my heart, I know He's there. I just need to calm down, and trust Him, and not let the "noise" of the world drown out His still-small voice. With this challenge of finding 30 quiet minutes, I may be able to right my wavering ship, and be able to sail into calmer waters- which will benefit myself and my children, and help me to be a testimony for anyone else going through similar trials.
Let's uphold each other in prayer these next five days!
God Bless!

Mandy Turner said...

I am very excited to join the Faith Zone Challenge!!! I know God will reveal Himself to me in ways I can't imagine these next 5 days and I pray that I will continue to devote at least 30 minutes every morning to Him after this challenge as well.
Thank you for this,
Mandy Turner

Alichia said...

I woke up this a.m. an hour earlier than alarm set for. I knew God was calling me to that quiet time. I'll take the challenge!

Becky said...

My husband and I made the decision several months ago to step out of our comfort zone to adopt a baby. The decision seemed easy because we both felt such peace about it and our 3 biological kids are really excited about it too. Btu, now that I just turned in the last bit of paperwork to the agency, we are in the waiting phase.... Waiting for someone to choose our family to raise their baby, waiting to see what the chances are that they will be drug affected, waiting for God's perfect timing.... So, this challenge will be good for me to learn to fully rest in his peace and will. So far it's been a huge blessing to obey the Lord. It will be even more of a blessing when the baby actually arrives!

Becky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hi,
I'm needing this. I LOVE the idea of getting out of comfort Zone!! I'll do the challenge!
Thank you
Amie

Kate said...

I've been trying to pray throughout the day and have definitely increased my prayer time, but I don't really have any set quiet time with God. That's something I need to make more of a priority of. Thanks for the nudge. I'm looking forward to see what the next 5 days hold. :)

Joy in The Truth (Sharon Sloan) said...

Tracie:

I am SO in for the challenge! I am excited! Thank you for inviting us to join you out of the comfort zone! :)

God has been speaking to my heart so much lately about FAITH! Through my quiet time and through serman messages I listen to. He is FAITHful!

Your FAITH CHALLENGE is His sweet confirmation to my heart once again. He is beyond good!

Thank you!

jessie said...

I am in!! I am truly excited.

Kelli said...

I'm in. I try and do this the very first thing in the morning before work.. but it's not as consistant as it should be. I do want to make it more of a habit.

Thanks for sharing this challenge.

Kelli

Julie Wolfe said...

I've already been doing 'Give Me 40 Days' by Freeda Bowers. I'm on day 28 and the faith part of it is getting a little challenging. When I saw this, through the devotional, I thought "Well, this will step it up a notch - can't hurt!" Thanks!

Laura said...

I know that I have more to give to family and others when I spend time filling up with HIM first. I look forward to the challenge!

Anonymous said...

Count me in. I'm all for being closer to my Jesus!
Deanna

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracie!

I sign on and believe God for a
testimony concerning my present
circumstances. Out with a quick
prayer while in the shower and in with spending some quality with God.
Vickie, Nigeria

gallerhea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gallerhea said...

Tracie,

I have been really struggling for consistency in my walk with God, which has been challenged even more lately with some very difficult situations, and with my own lack of faith at times..."I believe. Lord help my unbelief!"

I seem to struggle with confusing my feelings with my faith...I don't FEEL God's presence one day, so God must be mad at me, right?? I buy into that lie far too often!!!!

I feel so unworthy of God's blessings, because I AM UNWORTHY! That is why grace is a GIFT!

Thank you for this challenge, and a reminder of where my hope is.

:) gallerhea

Laurie Ann said...

I'm so looking forward to taking this challenge! I'm struggling with my quiet time right now. My prayer life is strong but my quiet time is weak! Looking forward to being in the Faith Zone with ya'll.

dy said...

thanks for the challenge...sometimes we need motivation.....I need the focus....life is a challenge.

Anonymous said...

I meet with 2 dear friends every 2 weeks to discuss our “spiritual journeys”. Lately, we all seem to be struggling one way or another with spending time in devotion. This is a timely challenge for me, and to hopefully pass along to them as well. I thought I’d get a jumpstart on this by taking some time before I posted (because the house was empty) and God is speaking to me already! I found an old devo booklet from last year (for the months of July and Aug no less!) and looked up July 23. It spoke to something I am presently struggling with that involves my son and responsibility. And just for good measure, I read from another book of daily meditations and what do you know….July 23 is about moments of solitude, referred to as “soulcaring” times. Tracie, I am looking forward to taking those steps of faith and building the “habit of listening for God’s voice”.
Susan

Tiff said...

I have to admit, I haven't done a quiet time since who knows when. I read a devotion from Journey, as well as the P-31 e-mails, but that's about it. This will be the motivation that I need to get started. Thanks!

Tiff

Mari said...

Yeah! I am doing an online study of Lysa's book "What Happens When Women Walk In Faith". This could not tie in better to that study than if y'all had planned it.

I'm excited to see what God will do.

Thank you Tracie!

In Christ,
Mari

Dawn said...

Girl, I'd say that Mr. Linky is working just fine. :-)

Nancy said...

God's timing is always perfect... although praying for some time that the Lord would lead me back to our wonderful early morning quiet times, just recently I have known that I am desperate for them once again! Faith has feet... so I step forward, remembering also that my (real) Comfort Zone is IN Christ alone!
THANKS - I accept this challenge!
Many Blessings,
Nancy

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Count me in!

peace~elaine

cceeyore said...

Tracie ... I did the challenge yesterday, but didn't get a chance to post! Thanks for this! It's a total God thing because this very subject keeps coming up in my life lately. I decided the other day that I was going to start giving God what was His every day again. And now, I have challenges from 4 different directions to do so! OK, God! I am listening!

Cindy said...

Thank you for sharing yourself and what God is doing in your life. I'm looking forward to growing in my faith - the Lord knows I need it.

Thanks,

Cindy C

Runner Mom said...

Hey, Tracie!
This is a great challenge--5 days!
Thanks so much for doing this.
Blessings,
Susan

Christy said...

Well I am with those of us who know it's so important but because of three children, a husband, and two dogs (which we need to get a new home for because $ is tight)... finding quiet time is really hard. I am going to do this challenge... I know that I am a day off.. but I am going to anyway.
This morning without knowing about the challenge I woke up in prayer... which was so awesome... I stayed there for about 40 minutes... so I guess the Holy Spirit had already prompted me to start the challenge without having read the devotional from yesterday. Thank you Lord!

Bridget said...

Thanks for the challenge! I love having the accountability. For my quiet time right now, I'm working through 90 Days with Jesus by Beth Moore. It has been perfect for the summer and the lack of schedule that we have around our house! The real test for me is in seeking Him first, first thing every day. Like I should have joined this challenge yesterday when I saw it, but chose to wait...not a good idea.

Heather Conrad said...

What a great challenge - thank you Tracie for being obedient to Him! I've actually have internet gliches lately, so I read this yesterday, yet didn't have a chance to respond. I had a simply amazing time with God last night, he had me reading, writing, making lists, flipping through OT and NT, note taking, praying, I just couldn't get enough. Finally around 1:30 my eyelids gave up, and sweet sleep came. I am SO on board for this challenge, simply awaiting what he has in store.

schwich said...

What a great idea! Thank you for this challenge. I found it by visiting Micca's blog. You can thank Micca for the referral!

Charlene Kidd said...

I am chiming in a little late. I have been on vacation, I will come along behind you.
Charlene

Joyful said...

Well, I'm several days late finding this and starting, so guess that Starbucks gift card is out of the question ;o), but, I'm so looking forward to these next few days!

Having an early morning quiet time is nothing new for me. I've been getting up before 6am for so long I can't remember a time I DIDN'T start my day with the Lord.

Although I have just enjoyed a very recent "faith step", my desire is a life of "faith walking" so this challenge is so perfectly timed. I love what you wrote about the danger of our comfort zone becoming a "dead zone" and the comparison of that comfy chair. A perfect visual.

I'm really seeking God's direction right now - especially regarding Fall activities. Do I stay with the familiar, or is God calling me to something new. My desire is to be doing something so much bigger than my capabilities that without God I would fail. I want my life to give testimony to my BIG God!

Looking forward to reading your next post tomorrow! (Part of me wants to race ahead and read them all now, but I'll wait. I'll spend extra time praying now for Him to speak to me, through you these next few days!)

Seeking Him,
Joy

Shelley said...

I too, spend about 20 minutes a day with the Lord in the mornings. I am going to start in the morning on the Challenge. Thank you, Tracie!