This is the fourth message in the series: Simple Discipleship.
Here is what we will be studying for next week:
Holy Spirit/Power of God
Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 4
Here is the Audio Sermon: Prayer and Fasting
As we begin to look at prayer and fasting, we must first ask two important questions:
What is Prayer?
What is Fasting?
In studying this topic, my definition of prayer would be inviting God into our lives and situations by bringing things to Him.
We are encouraged to pray without ceasing. We are not supposed to go around with our eyes closed and heads bowed all the time, but wherever we go and whatever we are doing, we are to be in constant communication with God inviting Him into our situations and surroundings and making Him a part of our everyday activities.
In coming to understand more about it, my definition of fasting is giving up legitimate pleasures as a sacrifice to gain breakthrough and a deepening relationship with the Lord.
God has given us necessary things, and it is the blessing of the Lord to us for them to be good. However, in talking about sacrifice, we saw that we were to give up something important to us to gain a deeper relationship with God. Fasting is a sacrifice of something that we enjoy (Food, Entertainment, Sleep…) so that we get breakthrough and walk into a deeper communion with the Lord.
Fasting always works together with prayer. Everywhere that fasting is mentioned it is in combination with prayer. Fasting without prayer is just dieting. The point of fasting is to give up a legitimate pleasure and use the extra time that we have to spend praying.
In Daniel 10, in is clearly evident that as Daniel was praying and fasting, he was empowering God’s spiritual forces to bring about change. Something happens as we fast in conjunction with prayer that empowers heavenly forces to win spiritual battles. As a result of this, Daniel was strengthened, encouraged, and given answers that he was seeking. You have the ability to empower heavenly forces to win spiritual victories through fasting and prayer!!!
In Isaiah 58, it is even more evident that fasting with the wrong motives and wrong heart is no good and not even accepted by God. As we fast, God brings revelation to us and we then have the choice whether to repent and be obedient or to ignore the revelation. When we ignore what God is saying, our fasting and praying is not powerful or effective but our hearts become increasingly hardened to the voice of God. Fasting and prayer is powerful when we repent and walk in obedience to the revelation of the Lord.
Look at a few of the benefits of the right type of fasting and praying from v. 12. God is able to build where there was once destruction. The enemy is constantly trying to bring destruction in our lives, but through fasting and prayer, God is able to build something that lasts on top of this destruction. God strengthens our foundations, revitalizes our spiritual heritage for us to pass on in greater measures to our children, fortifies our defenses and clarifies our paths. This is the kind of fasting and prayer that I want to be a part of!!!
In Matthew 6, we come to find the importance of not being religious. In regards to both prayer and fasting, Jesus mentions the secret place. The thoughts and intentions of our heart is what God judges so we should never do these things out of obligation or for other people to be proud of us. We should have a genuine desire to grow closer to the Lord and out of that heart in the secret place, God is able to give spiritual treasures. I would rather be rewarded by God rather than men any day!!!
It is also important to realize that the prayer and fasting that we do right now affects eternity. When we are in heaven, there will be no need to pray or fast because we will be partying with Jesus face to face. Right now, we have the unique ability to affect eternity with our pure prayer and holy fasting!!!
In Habakkuk 2, we find out that it does not matter how you pray, but that you are actually communicating with God. The prophet says clearly that he was waiting to be corrected. Habakkuk’s prayers would raw and filled with emotion. He did not come with proper words and civilized emotions. He came as he was and expressed himself honestly and was willing to repent and be corrected.
We also find the importance of prophetic revelation or vision. Revelation from God gives us tiny glimpses into our God-sized destiny and this compels us to align ourselves with Him and move more into it. As we write these things down, it is an encouragement to us when it takes longer to get here than we want (which is 99.99% of the time), an encouragement to others when it does finally come about, and a testimony to the glory and faithfulness of God.
The most important lesson from Mark 9 and Matthew 17 is that in the middle of our hopeless situations that we do not feel as if we can pray or have the faith to pray for complete deliverance and healing, we pray for the grace to overcome our doubt and for God to strengthen our faith.
I encourage you to pray and ask Holy Spirit to bring revelation as you meditate on these questions:
What am I praying for right now?
What are the things I have given up praying for?
Is my secret place worthy of being rewarded?
What has God revealed and called me to that I am not being obedient or repentant to?
What legitimate pleasure am I willing to give up that I might receive a spiritual breakthrough in myself and the lives of others and be launched into a deeper communion with the Lord?
I pray even now that God would give us all hungry hearts to know Him in deeper and mightier ways than ever before. Help us all to repent of the things which you reveal in our hearts and surrender to walk in full obedience to what He is calling us to. May our secret places be worthy of reward, and may God bring forth mighty spiritual rewards because of our faithfulness and perseverance in the secret place.
I would like to encourage you to pray and give something up in fasting so that you are able to step into a deeper walk with the Lord and that greater spiritual breakthrough would come in your life!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
One week from today, my wife and I will have been traveling for five months. Now when we spoke about what God had called us to do, many people talked about us having an extended honeymoon. Whether they were joking or serious, I do not know. However, The Lord knows the reason He called us out immediately. So many people have commented as we travel that they wished they could do the same thing, but were so tied down it would be impossible. It seems that when people are young enough to travel and do the work of The Lord that they are discouraged by their lack of money. However when they do have money to travel, they are normally tied down until they are older, and their children are grown. After that, they do not have the life and energy they once did.
God called us out at exactly the right time. Many people think that mission work is all roses and honey, but it is not. For me, one of the constant things I have had to battle is not worrying about money. God has called us out to do this work, and I know that He has promised to provide. He has done this in many ways, but in the day to day it is hard to see where the provision is coming from. He has promised to provide for us in both our physical as well as spiritual needs. It seems like it is easier to trust The Lord for the spiritual things, because there is not much I can do differently to acquire these things. Yes, discouragement comes and attacks the vision, purpose, and the actions we are taking, but for me, this is easier to overcome. In the realm of the physical, I can see where money is coming from and where it is not. Should we write more blogs, make more videos, sell more things, (I actually own almost nothing now, my wife is richer in the world’s eyes because she has a car), ask more, pray more…? I do not know. But one thing I do know is that God is in control.
Recently, God opened a door for us to travel to Kosovo. As you may remember, only 15 years ago, there was a major war and genocide that took place here. The door that opened was obvious and had nothing to do anything we did. Because Kosovo is in a unique situation, the cost of travel from Spain to get there is about the same as if we went straight to India, which is the next place we know that we are going. Because of the money, we talked and prayed about if we got the right amount of money during one week’s time, we would see that as God sending us there. Six days passed and we received only $50 from some people in England. I was talking with The Lord in the bathroom how it did not seem possible that we could travel to Kosovo because of the added cost. Right now, we have no regular supporters and live one day at a time, and I did not see how we could bear this added expense. My spirit was overwhelmed by a word that I believe is from The Lord. As we have traveled, even before we left, we have prayed for three specific things: protection, provision, and open doors. I could see very clearly that this was an open door, but was disheartened because of the expense. The word I felt was from The Lord was this. “Why would we not walk through an obvious open door just because we did not see the provision?” I know in the eyes of the world, this does not make sense. However, this is the faith that we are all called to live by. We are to walk in obedience and not look at the circumstances of the world when our Heavenly Father is the One that gives us everything we need. It only takes a little pavement from the Heavenly Kingdom to provide for an all expense paid ministry trip around the world for two.
Now, I do not want anyone to think that this is a plea for financial support. It is not. If God speaks to you about giving to us, give. If He speaks to you about building up His Kingdom in a different way, than be obedient to that.
I want to encourage everyone that has a clear word from The Lord to follow that calling. Do not worry about the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that stand in the way of what He is saying. If The Lord has called you to follow Him in His work, He will easily melt the mountains like wax and make rivers come forth in the desert. It is not difficult for Him to move the obstacles out of our way. We cannot do it, but if we could, we would deserve the glory. All glory, honor, and power be to The Lord. As the Men and Women of God, we lift high His name and walk in obedience. He gets the glory when we are able to walk through impossible situations no matter what they may be.
I encourage you to keep on asking and keep on seeking the direction that God wants you to move and where He wants you to partner with Him in His Kingdom. When He speaks, be fully and completely obedient to everything He is calling you to do. The best thing about being in partnership with God is that He is the one that does all the hard work, all we do is walk with Him in obedience!!!
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who draw back in fear or sin, but we are of those who press in and believe to the salvation, healing, and deliverance of the souls in all the world!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
The Lord gave us the privilege of sharing a nice Christmas meal, centerpiece of bacon-wrapped turkey, with a great family of the faith. We were welcomed in and had such great fun and fellowship with them. This was our first Christmas away from our physical family, but we were elated to spend it with such great spiritual family. As we were talking, Robin was talking about Fenwick’s window. (Here in Newcastle, this store spends copious amounts of money to decorate their window, and people stand for hours to see it. It is big part of the Christmas season here). He commented that in a previous year, one of the displays had been a Nativity. Apparently, a child looking at the window asked what this had to do with Christmas. For us, this was an unthinkable tragedy. The real meaning, the Truth about Christmas, had been taken out of the season. The way the world celebrates Christmas, we might as well rename this season Mas-presents or some such nonsense. In reading this week, I came across these verses from the final chapter of Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 13:8-10 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. Therefore I [Paul] write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.
As Followers of Christ, we must live by these verses. We must be careful not to ever do anything against the Truth, but for it. The world has launched a concentrated attack on Truth and are trying to replace it with personal relativism (whatever is right for you). It seems that it is the mission of some to exhaust themselves in service of the Truth so that many more might be made strong in it. No one can ever be whole or complete without the Truth, which is Jesus. We stand and battle for the Truth with all that we have in us, but at the same time, we cannot use or authority or knowledge to destroy or bring destruction. We must always bring the Truth in a way that encourages. Everyone knows that if you bring the Truth and beat someone over the head without, it does not help them. It can be likened to an ambulance driving up to someone who has been injured backing up and running over them. It is there to help them, but can cause a lot of damage to them if it is not properly handled. We must do all that we can to stand for the Truth and speak it in Love!!!
Do not forget to apply this to yourself as we also seek to. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any area in your life that you may not be fully standing in the Truth. Seek to stand wherever He reveals. Also, ask Him to reveal how you can stand and speak the Truth in love and encouragement and not cause harm to those who need it the most.
We continue to love and pray for the Family of God as a whole and pray that you are blessed and encouraged by everything that we are a part of. If these blogs have been an encouragement to you, think about following them and sharing them with friends so that others may be encouraged and experience the Truth in a new way.
Blessings of Jesus, the True Reason for the Season!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
The last week has been crazy and full of crazy revival fire being poured out upon us and upon Norway!!! Circuit Riders in Grimerud, Norway was awesomely epic. We met so many amazing people and told our story multiple times, at least 10 times, every single day. It seems that our obedience is an encouragement all over the world. We made some great contacts and we will see if God opens any doors with the people we met here. I also got to see some old friends from my time in Hawaii. It was truly a God filled week!!!
During worship, and the personal time I had with The Lord, I was meditating on the word He had given me for Norway. You can check out the previous word In the post titled “News from Norway”. While I was thinking about this, He gave me a phrase “Run to the Battle!!!” The Christians in Norway, and everywhere else around the world for that matter, cannot sit back and let the enemy do whatever he wants. We are called to run to where the battle is and attack the enemy so that he is unable to take any more ground. On top of that, we are supposed to push him back and cast him out of the places that are rightfully the Lords.
God blesses us when we run to the battle with miraculous victory! He will not let us fall or allow us to be overcome when we stand and fight for Him!!! Joshua 10:1-15 tells us of a time when Joshua led the people to run to a battle. It says that they traveled all night to get to where their allies were being attacked before it was too late. They arrived and The Lord put the enemy into confusion and then sent a hailstorm and killed more people with hail than they did with the sword. Then, God made the sun stand still in the heavens so that they could defeat the entire army before they escaped. God miraculously defeated a 5 army combined force because Joshua was willing to run to a battle that he probably did not really want to get involved with (See Joshua 9).
In our own lives, we must not sit back and watch as the enemy takes ground or destroys our allies. We cannot sit back and do nothing while the enemy gains power around us and takes away our strength. The minute that we quit fighting or running to where the battle is, that is when we get overrun. It reminds me of Lord of the Rings where they were fighting to hold the wall. The enemy was ever attacking and changing tactics and coming from different sides. The heroes were protected inside the wall as long as they ran to where the enemy was attacking and fought them off. When they were unable to do so, the wall fell!
Be strong and full of courage because The Lord fights our battles for us! He gives us the strength to run and the wisdom to know where to run and it is our duty to run to the battle and destroy the works of the enemy!!! When you fight with The Lord, even against impossible odds, He will bring about an awesome victory because of who He is!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
It becomes more and more evident as we are here the spiritual battle that is taking place all around us. I may not be the most spiritually discerning Man of God, but I can tell when things are happening. I mentioned in a previous post how the evidence of people being influenced by the demonic is more evident especially as we walk the streets. On top of this, both my wife and I are physically more tired than we have ever been, and this seems to become more true after we are out on the streets for any length of time. I believe that the spiritual atmosphere here is so alive with the battle for this city that it spiritually drains us.
I want to share something that happened at a Bible study I was privileged to be a part of. When we arrived, this Bible Study was already well under way with 30ish businessmen in a circle in an office building talking about how we can love God more and become better husbands and fathers as it applied. The group had a special person, who is involved with Bethel, sitting in and sharing about how God had told them to set their eyes to the NorthEastern coast. God was starting to do great things in NYC with the evidence of Bethel and all the other Christian organizations that have recently been getting involved here.
After the gentleman from Bethel had finished speaking and encouraging the men that they were doing a great thing and that God was about to move in great ways in NYC, another man began to share. He began to share about how God’s wrath and judgment were coming to NY and that it was going to be crushed by China and that the people of this city were like the Israelites that had to be judged by the Assyrians. After this man was done sharing, another man began to share about how we needed to reach the people with love and forgiveness. When this man began to speak, the Judgment Man began to raise his voice at him and talk more loudly about God’s judgment and wrath. So the Love guy stood up and went over to the judgment guy and asked him if they could step outside and talk about it so the rest of the group was not disrupted. He explained that this was not a debate but a Bible study but he would be glad to discuss it with him outside.
Apparently, the calm manner of the Love Guy did not sit well with the judgment guy and he started getting very loud and angry. He began to rebuke Love guy and say that He was the devil. It was very apparent to all the rest of us in the room that the love guy and the way he was dealing with things was the correct way, and the judgment guy was angry and out of control. Eventually, they had to call security to escort judgment guy out because he did not want to calm down or quit disrupting the group. Even as he was escorted out the door, judgment guy was calling the people of the group hypocrites because they were such loving Christians to have him removed by security. The response of the group was a proper one. They prayed for him and then continued on with what they had been discussing previously.
It seemed to me that this was a direct assault against what God was doing. He had just brought encouragement to his people that something great was happening in New York, and this judgment guy began to try to bring in despair and the negative. It can be easy to be sucked into the lies of the enemy, because there is an element of truth in them. However, even if everything that man was saying was 100% true, he was not speaking it in a loving or respectful way and was therefore outside of obedience to God.
I encourage you not only to be on the look out for how the enemy would try to come in and snatch away the Word of God that He is trying to speak to His people, but also to be sure that when you are speaking the truth that you are speaking with love. So many people are hurt and broken because well meaning people have spoken words that may have been true, but were not given in order to encourage and build up. Please be sure that as you speak, you are encouraging and strengthening everyone around you. You should be known, just as Jesus was, as the one who has the “words of life”. Speak truth, but speak it so that life comes forth and not death!!!
Please continue to pray for New York City! This is a place that touches so many different kinds of people from so many different countries that the missions done in NYC will literally affect the whole world. Pray for us that we are continually strengthened and obedient to everything God has for us here and as we prepare for our next journey. Partner with us in prayer and finances and pray for our protection and provision as we continue to serve the Lord!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!