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In February of 2006 the Lord led Traci Alexander on her first 40-day prayer and fasting journey.  Desiring to understand why many believers live defeated rather than victorious lives, she set out on a quest to discover the key to living the abiding and abundant life Jesus died to give His children (reference John 10:10).  In response to her heartfelt cry the Lord called Traci to an intimate and personal pilgrimage.  Unsure of what to expect, and uncertain of why forty days of fasting was the necessary path, she set out believing God one day at a time, and one meal at a time, with Bible open and journal and pen in hand. 

Within days the veil began to lift as the Lord revealed Himself in a deeply personal and intimate way through His Word as His child waited patiently upon Him.  The process, however, was not without pain as the Lord began the work of stripping, cleansing and refining His child in preparation for His ultimate purpose for her life.  All the distractions and once seemingly important pursuits melted away as the Lord tore down unnecessary layers that were restricting the heart from receiving the fullness of His love for His child.  Each new day provided greater opportunity for intimate time with the Lord as the cravings and enticements of day to day pursuits were replaced with a hunger for the things of God.  With each passing week vision became clearer and hearing more in tuned as the Lord revealed Himself through the pages of His Word. 

The final day of this intimate journey was bittersweet.  Never wanting this time with the Lord to end, she realized this was the answer to the question that prompted this pilgrimage.  This is the Lord's desire for all His children:  an intimate, abiding, fully dependent relationship with Him as the utmost and highest priority and pursuit.  The Lord revealed through His Word that the victories achieved in the Bible came through periods of consecration and fasting as God's people responded to His prompting to return to Him with all their hearts and trust Him with whole-hearted devotion to accomplish His will for their lives and deliver them from their enemies. 

The 40-day journey was a key to unlocking the door to this depth of intimacy and abiding love with the Lord.  Forty days is the time frame the Lord uses to transform people and nations for His purposes and glory.  The Lord revealed His purpose in Traci's personal journey as He called her to use her own personal journal as the framework for a 40-day devotional to lead other believers through their own period of personal consecration; providing them the spiritual nourishment of His Word and daily words of encouragement from someone who had walked the same path before.  Following the pattern the Lord laid out in Deuteronomy 8:2-3, "Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD," Traci obediently responded to the Lord's call to write a meal-by-meal devotional to guide believers as they humbly submit to His call to sit at His table in prayer and feast upon His Word.  Fasting is not meant to be done apart from the Word of God and prayer; the Lord graciously provided a resource to help believers take this step of faith and obedience; helping to ease the difficulty and challenges these 40 days would bring.

When the transcript was complete the Lord revealed the vision for a website to reach the masses with His trumpet call: "Return to Me,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'and I will return to you." (Zechariah 1:3). His desire: to purify and prepare His Bride (the Church) by washing her with water through the Word (reference Ephesians 5:26), to encourage her not lose faith, but to remain faithful in prayer (reference Matthew 26:41, 45), and to wait expectantly for His return (reference Matthew 25:1-13).  Equipped with a new vision and a call to "rebuild the temple" (reference Ephesians 2:19-22), the Lord's servant and secretary stepped out by faith and with obedience standing on Isaiah 58:12, believing God would restore the spiritual foundation of this nation and revive and restore the Church to complete the task of bringing in the "full number of the Gentiles" before His return with His long-standing remedy of the Word of God, Prayer, and Repentance (2 Chronicles 7:14).


THE WEBSITE DESIGN

The website design itself was a vision from the Lord.  He revealed the beautiful image of a flaming shofar against the backdrop of a red sky at dawn - awakening His sleeping Bride to respond to His call to take up their positions as the "light of the world" with lamps burning brightly through the power of His Holy Spirit and wielding His mighty Sword of the Spirit as they achieved victory in building the Kingdom of God through a life of humble dependence and prayer.

The Scriptural background for the logo design came from the life of Gideon (Judges 7) who was called by God out of the winepress, and was transformed from an unlikely hero into a mighty warrior because of His commitment of faith and humble trust in God.

The story of Gideon provides an encouraging look into the life of a faithful and humble farmer chosen as an unlikely warrior for the Lord and equipped with the most unusual weapons.  The true battles we face daily are spiritual in nature and the only way to face these dark forces is to allow ourselves to be equipped with the presence and power of God.  It is by resting in the confidence of His power that we experience the courage to allow Him to use us for His glory.

First Corinthians 1:27-29 shows us that God's ways are not our ways, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things-and the things that are not-to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."   The battle plan of God calls for us to grow in faith as He displays His power in our lives and results in Him receiving all the glory, honor and praise!
        

Throughout Scripture, the beginning of a new season or new era was announced with a trumpet sound or a great light breaking forth:

The Creation of the World (Genesis 1:3
The Ten Commandments (Exodus 19:16)
The Battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:20)
The Battle of Gideon (Judges 7:19-20)
The Birth of Jesus (Zechariah 9:14,16; Luke 2:9)
The Beginning of Jesus' Earthly Ministry (Matthew 4:16)
Saul's Conversion (Acts 9:3)

We are in desperate need of a new beginning for the Church. We have lost connection with the Head, which is Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:19), because our hearts are not fully committed to Him. We must respond to the sound of the trumpet and return to the Lord with whole hearts and dedicated lives. We must turn from our wicked ways and be about our Father's business, speaking the truth in love and sealing the gap that has separated us from being wholly His (2 Chronicles 7:14; Ephesians 4:15-16).

THE SHOFAR

The shofar (a ram's horn trumpet) was a symbolic and important instrument in the Old Testament. It was sounded to signal the start of a new season, the beginning of festivals, or the start of the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:9-10; Numbers 10:10). The shofar signaled the call to assemble for war, announced the call to repentance, and warned of approaching danger (Judges 3:27, 6:34 Nehemiah 4:20; Isaiah 58:1; Hosea 8:1; Ezekiel 33:3-6, Numbers 10:9, Isaiah 18:3). It reminded people that God is sovereign, and it was used in temple ceremonies for praise and worship (Psalm 47:5; Psalm 98:6, 150:3-6). The sounding of the shofar confused enemies and conquered armies (Joshua 6:20; Judges 7:15-22). The shofar was sounded when oaths were taken and when kings were crowned (2 Chronicles 15:14; 1 Kings 1:34,39).


The shofar says, "Wake up from your sleep.  You are asleep.  Get up from your slumber.  You are in a deep sleep.  Search for your behavior.  Become the best person you can.  Remember God, the One Who created you" (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance 3:4).

The Jewish encyclopedia tells us this instrument was made from a ram's horn and the curve of the ram's horn represents the bending of a contrite and repentant heart.  It is a symbol of repentance.  The sounding of the shofar alerts us to the need to make a new start within ourselves; to return to the beginning.  It is an individual response to return, in essence, to the garden where we rejected our first Love to pursue of own selfish and fleshly desires.  This call is an opportunity from God to enter into His presence and experience the fulfillment of a restored and intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.  David knew first hand the blessings of making his relationship with the Lord his number one pursuit when he penned the words, "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple" (Psalm 2:4).  God is jealous for this same response from all His children.

The opening of the ram's horn represents the windpipe through which food flows.  The Lord exhorts us to, "Open wide your mouth and I will fill it" (Psalm 81:10) and He does so through the reading of His word and the daily seeking of Him in prayer.  He desires to feed us because He knows no other source can offer the fulfillment that He has to offer.   He is our provider and our sustainer.  The food He has to offer is our true source of light and life - "Jesus declared, 'I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty' " (John 6:35)


THE FLAME

The flame coming out of the mouth of the shofar represents the Holy Spirit.  It is a symbol of the Divine presence of God (Genesis 15:17; 1 Kings 18:24). When Jesus Christ was in the world He was the Light of the World.  As believers, we are to be ambassadors of Light in this dark world, equipped with the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that mission.  We are the visible representation of Christ in this world - our actions should exemplify Christ and we should speak the Truth in love

Throughout Scripture the powerful presence of God was represented as a pillar of fire or a flame of fire.  Our God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29).  His light leads us; it illuminates the path we are to walk in.  His light goes ahead of us and clears the way.  His light was so important that Jesus told the disciples that they were to remain where they were until they were anointed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).  The Holy Spirit is the indwelling presence and power of God - an internal light that is our constant guide.

First Corinthians 4:7 tells us, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."  When we accepted the Lord's gift of salvation we received eternal life and we also received the power to walk through this present life.  The fragile facade of our earthly body is meant to be a thin veil through which the light of God radiates His glory and power.  We are called to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Hebrews 12:1).

Within the flame is the symbol of the cross.  Only through the atoning and sacrifice death and subsequent resurrection of our Lord Jesus do we receive the gift of salvation and experience the knowledge of His power and the working of His grace in our lives. 

This fire represents the presence of God that the Israelites witnessed when they left Egypt and wandered in the desert for forty years (Exodus 13:21-22); this fire gave the Hebrew children confidence to walk through a furnace and not be consumed because they were consumed by a greater power (Daniel 3); this fire is what came to rest on the heads of the apostles as they were anointed to go out into the world (Acts 2); and this fire is the power the Lord desires to unleash in the world today if His children will allow Him to take down the wall we've built around our hearts (2 Timothy 1:6-7).



THE RED SKY

The sun rising against a back drop of a vibrant red sky symbolizes the beginning of a new day - the inauguration of a new era for the Church, the Body of Christ.  He is calling His children to awaken, to remember the work He has done and is doing, and to return to Him with humble and obedient hearts.

When the rooster crowed three times at the dawn of a new day, Peter was immediately struck with a deep remorse for denying His Lord (Luke 22:60-62).  The Lord, however, wanted him to see the start of a new day - to realize the errors of his ways - and to experience forgiveness and to walk in the path of righteousness.  The rooster is crowing again, yet this time the sound is that of a trumpet, calling the children of God to assemble, to wake up to the dawn of a new day, to cast aside all that has hindered us from being a light unto the world and gaze upon the beauty of the Son and find rest and peace in the light of His presence and the warmth of His love.

The flames of revival fire are being rekindled in the hearts of God's children as we return to His Word and humbly seek Him in prayer, repentance and praise.  May we heed the sound of the shofar and respond as an obedient child to the call of our loving Heavenly Father to make Him the priority pursuit of our lives.  May we wait with expectancy to see the dawn of a new day in the Church and respond with urgency to purify and prepare ourselves by returning to the Truth of God's Word and recommit our lives as holy, living sacrifices to the Holy One of Israel.

Trumpet and Torch - Setting the World on Fire for Christ - One Heart at a Time!
 


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