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Humble Yourself 23/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement.

I want to release a song that God gave me for my sons 2 and 4 years old.  “It’s a good, good, good, good, good, good, dayyy. It’s a good, good, good, good dayyyy!” Its kind of a catchy little tune that gets in your head, and I often sing it when they, or I, am not in the greatest mood.  So, if you are struggling today on day 23 or if you are doing great, may you be blessed with knowing, “It’s a good, good, good, good, good, good, dayyyy.  It’s a good, good, good, good dayyyy!”

As we press deeper into The 40, we must remember to focus on Jesus for our strength and sustenance. We need him today more than we ever have whether we are fasting or not.  When we admit our need for Jesus and that we cannot do anything on our own, in agreement with John 15:5, we are stepping into humility.  As we continue to fast and pray The 40, humility is one of the greatest virtues we could gain.  Humility partnered with prayer and fasting has an indescribable power that begins to release itself in us and flow out from us.  

Let’s examine a few places in scripture where humility is partnered with repentance, prayer and fasting.  In 1 Kings 21, you actually find the only place of fasting without prayer, humility or repentance.  The wicked queen Jezebel actually calls a demonic fast as she schemes to murder Naboth and take his vineyard from him (1 Kings 21:9, 12). This is done through pride for personal gain and results in false accusation.  No humility here.  

As King Ahab goes to survey his newly acquired vineyard, Elijah is sent to him with a message. Ahab, Jezebel, and all their children will be completely destroyed and wiped out.  This is a judgment because of their wickedness, rebellion, and constant disobedience to turn from God and his ways.  The following verses contain Ahab’s response:

1 Kings 21:27-29 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”

Even though the judgment of The Lord had been pronounced; repentance, fasting, and prayer were evidence of a humbled heart before God, and the judgment was delayed until a later time. Fasting and repentance were proof that Ahab had truly humbled himself and submitted himself to God. It was too late to avoid judgment, but God recognized and had mercy, for a time, before judgment took place.  

As we continue looking at humbling ourselves, repentance, fasting, and prayer, we move to a passage we discussed in Touching Heaven.  Here, we see the prophet Daniel has moved from repentance prayer in chapter 9 into fasting and prayer for 21 days.  He is pressing in for revelation and desires to gain understanding. As this happens, he sees, hears, and is touched by the heavenly realm:

Daniel 10:2-3, 12 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three full weeks were fulfilled…  Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

The angel recognizes that Daniel is seeking understanding and humbling himself in prayer. This humbling of self was evidenced by the fact that he was repenting, fasting, and praying.  These are only two of the verses that can be found that provide proof that fasting is a fruit that comes from a repentant and humble heart. 

How much more should we seek to have a heart of repentance and to humble ourselves through fasting knowing our God of great grace and mercy that works mightily on our behalf?!

The final passage I want to pinpoint is one that we all probably know and may even have memorized. We have used this scripture for years because of the promise contained within, but I did not understand the full meaning until just recently.  God opened my eyes to a revelation that was hidden right in front of my eyes. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

During the National Day of Prayer and other regular prayer meetings, this passage will come up frequently because everyone knows we need our land to be healed.  Now, more than ever, we can see the division and disunity the enemy is trying to bring into the whole earth. 

What is the solution? The people of God must come together in true repentance, humility, prayer, and seeking God. In various other places humbling yourself is equated with the action of fasting that evidences your need for God.  

Is it possible that this passage that is referenced over and over actually is a call to the people of God to repentance, prayer, and fasting in a spirit of humility that the sin of our land be forgiven and for our prayer to be answered?

There is true power in corporate humbling ourselves through fasting, prayer, and repentance. We must tap into this power if we want to gain the benefits that result.  

Vs. 15-16 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

My encouragement for you today is to come seeking God with a heart of humility and repentance. Just because we are fasting does not mean we are humbling ourselves. However, when we realize our need for Holy Spirit to help us and recognize that He is the only one that can do supernatural work in our lives and in the healing of our land, the eyes and ears of heaven will be open and attentive to us. God’s holy name will be on us to sanctify us, draw us closer than ever before, and heal our land. As this happens, The Kingdom of Heaven will be accelerated in and through us!

Jesus, I desire to humble myself before You today. I recognize my utter dependency on You.  Without You I can do nothing. Thank You that I can come boldly before Your throne of grace and ask for all I need. Do a mighty healing in me and in the land as I come to You in humility and repentance.  Make me a sanctified place of residence for Holy Spirit and use me to do Your work.

Practical – 

  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you your need for Him
  • Humble yourself by coming to Him in repentance and humility 
  • Ask for the strength and sustaining power to walk in obedience today
  • Obey all He calls you to do

Be blessed with new revelations of humility and your need for God, and the ability to walk into deeper levels of humbling yourself. May your land be healed and your people restored as you humble yourself and are accelerated in The Kingdom with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Touching Heaven 21/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement.

Well, here we are at the end of week three. Day 21 is important because we have a biblical precept in Daniel.  There is great spiritual benefit in fasting The 21, but let’s not stop and settle on less than God intends.  If you have been prompted to go The 40, or desire to partner with us who have, come along on this wild adventure of seeking The reward of Jesus.  Let’s reap the benefits together of commitment, obedience, humility, and hunger. 

Sometimes in our lives, we have such a desire to know, understand, or even hear a specific word that we will do whatever it takes to get an answer.  This is where we come upon the prophet Daniel.  He needs an answer and has been doing whatever it takes for three full weeks.  Let’s see what that entailed for him:

Daniel 10:2-3 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

The answer Daniel was seeking did not come from his regular lifestyle of praying and fasting that we see him involved in throughout his life.  So, it seems he goes back to the first fast we see him involved in, a fast for purity from the pagan culture (Daniel 1:12-15). This fast allowed him and his friends to receive the blessing of heaven after 10 days and beyond.  Daniel returns to this fast to purify himself from the pagan culture around him.  However, he does not stop when nothing occurs after 10 days.  What he is seeking is so important that he continues on and more than doubles what he had originally done.  

What is the result?

Daniel 10:5-6 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

Daniel’s eyes are opened to see a heavenly revelation. Some scholars differ as to who this is, some say Jesus, others say Holy Spirit.  I do not think that Daniel had this debate going on in his head.  Neither did those around him at this time, because the men around Daniel did not see anything.  We find in the next verses that there were men with Daniel, but they see nothing.  They had not been praying and fasting for an answer and because of this, their eyes are not opened to the heavenly realm. They were not hungry, did not humble themselves, and their spiritual eyes were not opened.  

Daniel 10:7-9 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.  Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. 

Not only did the men with Daniel not see what he saw, but when they did sense the supernatural coming close, it caused them to fear and flee for their lives.  They were unable to see, unable to hear, and unable to stay in the presence of God that was being revealed to Daniel.  Daniel himself could not stand; but he saw, he heard, and he stayed!

Daniel 10:10-12 Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

Not only did Daniel see heavenly vision and hear heavenly words, Daniel was literally touched by heaven.  As he was touched, he was encouraged, strengthened, and given understanding that would not have come any other way.  That is what I want!  Daniel humbled himself in prayer and fasting and received exponentially more than what he had given up for the 21 days. 

This is where we are today on day 21. If you go on reading in chapter 10, Daniel’s persistent prayer and fasting empowered the heavenly warriors to break past the demonic entities over the region that he might receive the revelation he was seeking.  My, what great power came about from three weeks of praying and fasting! 

Jesus, I want to see You in the heavenly realm in the fullness of Your glory. I want to hear You speak in the complete revelation of Your voice. I want You to touch me with Your hand of encouragement, strength, and understanding that I may continue to seek You in greater and deeper ways than ever before! Help me to go beyond what others have done and seen. Give me the hunger and desire to search for You in increasing measures for all of my days. 

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to fully understand Him
  • Study Daniel 10
  • Ask for the hunger and ability to go to the deeper places with Him
  • Obey whatever He speaks to you

Be blessed with revelation and strength to continue on and receive the fullness of the spiritual blessings in store for you, the one who is seeking The Lord. May this accelerate The Kingdom in and through you in an increasing way!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Build A Memorial 20/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement.

Well, here we are at day 20, the halfway point.  At the beginning of the fast, it may have seemed impossible to fast The 40, but now we are halfway to completing our commitment.  If you have been here from day 1, congratulations. If you jumped in some time along the way, good job. If you fell and messed up, no problem.  Let’s get up and continue on together in God’s great grace and mercy.  We have the eternal reward of seeing Jesus in a special way today.  Let’s run this race to receive the prize! 

Today, is a special day that we remember and mark as a memorial.  We see it as an encouragement to continue, but it is an important spiritual marker as well. God looks on and remembers all the special times we give to seek Him in a special way.  If God is truly “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him“, then special times of seeking Him will receive a special reward.  I am sure we would all like to see some scripture backing up this encouragement.  For this, let us look at Acts 10.

 This chapter is pivotal for Acts and especially for us as Gentiles.  Until this point, we have seen the apostles going out and ministering to God’s children in Israel only.  At this moment, God changes the mind of the apostles to include all people everywhere in the preaching of the good news.  God was opening the door for them to go out and preach the gospel to the uttermost part of the earth. To do this, God needed someone that was seeking Him.  Someone who was doing something special in The Kingdom. He needed Cornelius. 

Acts 10:1-2 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always

Cornelius was a well-respected Roman leader who was known for fearing God, giving and praying always.  Here was a Gentile seeking God.  He had built a reputation as one who would seek God in a special way, so apparently, he had been doing this for years.  We find out later in the chapter, that not only was he seeking God, giving generously, and praying continually, he was also fasting. 

Acts 10:30 So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 

Cornelius, a non-Jewish person, had built a lifestyle of seeking God in a special way.  Here was a man that God could use to bring about the most radical change in The Kingdom since Holy Spirit fell in Acts 2

Acts 10:3-4 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, “Cornelius!” And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, “What is it, lord?” So he said to him, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 

What does this verse say?  Cornelius’ fasting, prayer, and giving went up as a memorial before The Lord. The eyes of The Lord were looking for someone, who was seeking Him, to change the very course of history for the rest of eternity.  Unknowingly, Cornelius had built a huge neon sign in the spiritual realm that said, “Here I am, use me!” God did not have to look far or hard to see the great memorial that had been built up for years by this man that had no real guarantee of receiving anything for any of these things he did.  His desire and intention was to seek God and bless His people.  God sees the memorial and says, “Here is a man I can use.” Cornelius obeys the instructions above and beyond what the angel speaks, it seems even better than Peter.  

A reluctant Peter comes and cannot even finish a proper sermon before the hunger and expectation in the people that Cornelius had gathered together was rewarded with the outpouring of The Spirit. 

How long did Cornelius cry out, “Here I am use me”?  

How many years of continuous prayer, fasting, and giving were being built up before the time was right for God to move in a mighty way?  

How much time did he spend in the secret place not seeming to receive anything?  

Was Cornelius fasting and praying somewhere while the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles in the upper room?  

How big was the memorial that was built up before God? 

On that day, when Holy Spirit fell on him and all the people he had gathered together in obedience to the word, it was all worth it.  He would not have traded one shekel, one meal, one hour that went into the building of this memorial in The Kingdom.  At this point, his spirit was crying out more than ever, “Here I am use me!” 

This is my encouragement for you. No matter how you may have struggled during the first 20 days, Jesus is worth it! The memorial being built in your life is greater than you could imagine. How many have been willing to go The 40 that God might look on the earth and see these memorials all over the earth saying, “Here I am use me!”?  This is who I want to be. I want to be used for The Kingdom. I want to be a laborer in the harvest. I want to be the most useful instrument in The Kingdom. If there is no one else willing to do the dirty work, may my sign continue to say, “Here I am, use me!!!” I know this is your heart as well. 

What can God do with a community of people who say “Here I am use me” with their lips and their lifestyle???

Jesus, give me the strength of spirit and resolve to continue throughout the rest of The 40 and beyond in a memorial building lifestyle.  I desire to be the one whose lips and lifestyle loudly proclaim, “Here I am use me!”  Use me to build your Kingdom even as these memorials have been built through my heart to seek and serve You!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to strengthen you to continue in your daily commitment
  • Continue to pray “Here I am use me” with your lips
  • Become increasingly obedient in your day to day life in all Holy Spirit reveals for you to do

Be blessed to receive revelation of the memorial you have created by recognizing the answered prayers and receiving the promises of God in an increasing measure.  May you be used mightily for The Kingdom as your heart and character line up with The King’s!

 Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Treasure The Word 13/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement.

As we near the end of the second week, I want to encourage you to continue to return to The Lord for strength and life.  Some may have incredible will power, but the point of fasting and prayer is to humble yourself and say, “God, I need You!”  I would not have been able to make it this far without supernatural strength.

Here is another encouragement from Jesus’ words:

Matthew 5:3 Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever]. 

Those of us who realize our need for God are blessed and will be spiritually prosperous because we know it is His work in us and not the work of our hands.  Continue to trust in the grace and mercy of a loving God, and look to Him for all that you need.

As we continue to press in to The Lord and seek Him, we come to a realization.  Most of the time, food becomes built up in our lives as an idol, in the very least as a great treasure.  It is what we think about.  It is what we talk about.  It is what we build our gatherings around.  “Which restaurant do you want to go to?”, “What is for dinner?“,  and “What are we going to do for food?” are common questions, especially in the American society.

Our culture is built around the value of food, and often our waistlines reflect it.  You probably find this out more when you are fasting than any other time.  It is almost necessary to become a recluse because family time, hospitality, and all social gatherings are food-centered.  When this comfort is taken away, it can be hard to figure out what to do, for the one fasting and for those around them.  If you are not eating, for whatever reason, often your own family does not even know how to treat you.

In Matthew 4, Jesus elects to go The 40 to strengthen Himself spiritually to stand up against the temptation of the enemy.  What does the enemy tempt Jesus with first?  Food!  Here is Jesus’ answer quoting from the scriptures:

Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3 “It is written,‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

Food is necessary and important for the body to live, but Jesus puts His focus on what really matters, treasuring the Word of God.  Even though your body may be sustained physically, you can still become sick and even die of a broken heart or spirit.  However, The Word of God brings life to you that you cannot get any other way.  Your value has to be on what really matters.

As we are fasting, I pray that even though the comfort of food has been taken away, you replace it with the life giving Word of God.  When we read The Bible and seek Him in prayer for a personal word, this is what will sustain us through every situation in our lives.  If you have not already, I encourage you to set aside some extra time to read The Bible and pray, especially while you fast.  This will help you not only grow spiritually, but sustain you during The 40.

Someone else who knew the importance of the word is someone we know for going through some of the most difficult trials anyone has ever had to face, Job.  In the middle of his difficult situation where everything is taken away and even his wife and friends are turning against him, this is what He says:

Job 23:12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.

Everything that God has to say is vitally important.  Job says it should be treasured more than the food that is necessary to survive.  In his situation, he did not need food.  Food could not help him out of his grief, discouragement, and loss.  It could do nothing for Him.  However, he was hoping, clinging, and longing for The word from the mouth of God.  Life comes from Him!  Hope comes from Him!  Strength comes from Him!  As we seek The Lord, we must have ears to hear His word.  When we hear His word, we must be obedient to receive the true blessings He wants to pour out upon us.

Jesus, help me to truly treasure the words of your mouth more than anything in my life.  Open my ears to hear You.  Open my heart to obey You.  I want to base my life upon Your life-giving, life-sustaining word spoken to Me.

Practical – 

  • Commit 15 – 30 mins extra time to spend seeking The Lord each day.
  • Read The Bible, 1-5 chapters a day
  • Ask Holy Spirit to open your ears and help you to truly value The Word

Be blessed with eyes to see the face of God, ears to hear new revelations of His glory, and a heart to be truly transformed by His presence!  May this accelerate The Kingdom of God in and through your life!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Precipitate The Latter Rain 11/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement

It is time once again to examine our reasons to commit to The 40.  We must constantly refresh the reason behind the fast or we will be drawn away by the enticements of the world to what may seem better. 

Why have you committed to press in to The Lord through fasting? Whatever your reason may be for going into this fast, today, I want to give you another one. 

Fasting precipitates the Latter Rain.  The former generation experienced what they refer to as the Latter Rain and there have been many prophecies about the former and latter rain coming together in these days ahead using the passage Joel 2:23.  Though this is the passage used by so many about the coming releasing of The Spirit in a mighty way, few know the context in Joel during this time.  Another passage of scriptures you may know well is Joel 2:28-32.

Joel 2:28-29 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and  on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

This may be one of the most referred to passages in the charismatic church especially since it is referenced by Peter in Acts 2:17-21 when the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples in such a powerful way.  Again, it seems that no one knows the context of what is happening in the book of Joel preceding this.  We often overlook “minor” details that can lead us to a true revelation to how God wants to bring about what He has promised conditionally.  It is especially important to view the context because this passage starts with, me paraphrasing, these things will take place after something else happens.

 If you read the book of Joel, this is a time of tremendous devastation in the entire land of Judah.  An enormous plague of locusts had come and stripped the entire country of all vegetation.  Famine and drought as well as starvation and death of man and animals was taking place.  This was the worst possible moment in the people’s lives, and they needed a solution.  The prophet Joel came with a solution:

Joel 1:13-14 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail, you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord.

The solution for this crisis is humility, repentance, prayer, and fasting.  This plague was a result of the people’s constant refusal to turn to God and follow His ways.  Therefore, He allows the effects of their disobedience to come upon them.  Turning back to Him is the only way to change their situation, and fasting is a sign of a true repentance and humbling of the heart.   In case the people did not want to take the advice of a mere prophet of God, The Lord Himself gives the solution for their problem in the very next chapter:

Joel 2:12-13 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord“Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”  13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.

Here, God calls for repentance, fasting, and prayer.  Fasting is a true evidence of a desire to change and come into line with God and His purposes instead of partnering with our own flesh.  This is what will cause the grace and mercy of Heaven to be made evident in our lives.  This is not just a call for certain group of people like the holy priests or pastors.  Vs. 15-17 tells us that it is for:

  • People
  • The Congregation
  • Elders
  • Children
  • Babies
  • Newlyweds
  • Priests

No one is left out of this call to come to the Lord in repentance, fasting, and prayer.  No this is not a mandatory thing.  However, this is what it is referring to in Vs. 28 AFTER you come as an entire people in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer THEN God will pour out His Spirit.  The apostles received The Holy Spirit after waiting in unity in The Upper Room for 10 days.  We know they were praying together, but I believe they were fasting as well.  The outbreak of The Spirit at Azusa was a result of 10 days of fasting and praying together. Here we are, committed to The Lord and each other for The 40.  What can God do with our hearts that come to Him in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer? 

Jesus, I ask that you will take this simple offering of my life, my commitment to you and use it for Your Kingdom.  I desire for The Great Outpouring of The Spirit that has so often been talked about.  I come to you in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer right now.  Come and move in a mighty way that you may receive the glory that is due Your name!!! 

Practical – 

  • Read Joel 1-2
  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal how you can partner with Him in your personal prayer time
  • Ask Him to reveal how to call your community into humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer
  • Be obedient to all that He speaks.

Be blessed with the power to partner with Holy Spirit in precipitating the Latter Rain.  May this lifestyle accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Freedom, Breakthrough, and Blessing 10/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

Congratulations, you have made it to double digits, and by the end of the day, you will be a quarter of the way through the fast.  For those who have elected to fast on only water, the experts say that today or tomorrow all hunger and weakness should be gone and the physical health benefits should begin to be readily seen over the next few days. 

Whenever I am called to fast, I return over and over to Isaiah 58.  This is an amazing chapter that focuses on two things: 

1. Fasting the proper way 

2. The many personal benefits of fasting 

Vs. 1-5 are speaking of a people who had regularly scheduled fasting days.  Set times each months, they would fast, supposedly to honor God, and expect to receive the heavenly blessing from these fast.  However God rebukes them because of their selfish and evil motives:

Isaiah 58:5 Do you think I’m impressed with that kind of fast?  Is it just a day to starve your bodies, make others think you’re humble, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast?  Do you think I, Yahweh, will be pleased with that?

A proper fast is not for others to see, but for God to come in and purify our heart and our desires.  If we continue fasting to hear from God, but are not obedient to bring our other fleshly desires into control as He reveals them to us, our heart is wrong and we forfeit all the spiritual benefits that we would have received.  A change must take place and a humbling of our hearts where Holy Spirit is given the right to search out and place His finger on any area that is out of order.  When He highlights this area, we must say, “Yes sir, I give this to you right now.  Change me and make me new that I may never return to that old selfish, sinful way.”  

As our hearts are set right and our focus is to allow Holy Spirit to renovate and restore our hearts and desires, we will reap the benefits of the fast that follow. Vs. 6 begins this way ““Is this not the fast that I have chosen…“, and what follow are the many varied benefits of fasting with a right heart:

  • Loose the chains of wickedness
  • Undo heavy burdens
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Break every yoke
  • Share your bread with the hungry
  • Shelter the poor homeless
  • Clothe the poor naked
  • Recognize and provide for those around you in need
  • The light and favor of God will shine upon you
  • Healing will come forth quickly
  • Righteousness will lead you
  • Glory of God will follow you
  • The Lord will answer your cries
  • He will continually be your Guide
  • He will faithfully satisfy your soul
  • He will constantly strengthen your bones
  • You will be given the right to
    • Rebuild long-deserted ruins
    • Raise up foundations of generations
    • Repair the cities
    • Restore the communities

The list of benefits in these seven verses is almost overwhelming.  You could write books on each one of these topics and God’s amazing power to work through one whose heart is set to follow him in obedience, humility, prayer and fasting.  

I encourage you as you continue to walk The 40, return to this passage over and over for encouragement when difficulties arise.  Confess and repent of anything revealed by Holy Spirit, and return to the place of right fasting with a right heart. God has designed you for a plan and purpose.  You are called to be totally free and walk in Kingdom breakthrough in every area of your life.  Partnering with Holy Spirit in fasting and prayer with a true heart of humility and obedience will bring about freedom and breakthrough in a way that will accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!

Jesus, I pray that you will help my heart to be continually set on you.  May my desires line up completely with You and Your word, and my actions continually be obedient to what You speak.  I want to lay down my life as a sacrifice that you may use me as an instrument of righteousness to build Your Kingdom however You see fit.  Help me to partner with you today in humility and obedience. 

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any selfish or ungodly desires in your heart
  • Bring these before the Lord in confession, repentance and humility
  • Meditate on the benefits listed in Isaiah 58
  • Ask yourself, “What can God do through my life given to Him completely with a heart of humility and obedience?”

Be blessed today with the ability to walk in new levels of humility and obedience to every leading of Holy Spirit.  May this humility and obedience propel you in receiving all these benefits and more that you may accelerate The Kingdom, and advance into the next level with Him. 

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

From Holiness to Harvest 7/40

You are invited to join us for the Celebrate to Accelerate fast! Please review Celebrate to Accelerate and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

On the final day of week 1, I wanted to align our focus once again upon the things on God’s heart.  God’s heart is for all of His children to become one with Him.  Because of this, there are two areas of focus I want to highlight today. 

1. Holiness – Please read 2 Corinthians 6:16 -18 for context.

2 Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

God yearns for us to live and walk in increasing holiness in body, soul, and spirit.  He requires continual advancement of purity of heart if we are to be allowed access into the secret places with Him.  Too many times, holiness and purity can seem to be some sort of stoic legalism that keeps us from doing all the “fun” stuff.  All of this supposed “fun” stuff creates barriers between us and a Holy God.  He cannot allow the filthiness of the world to enter the Holy of Holies for it would be consumed in His Holy Fire and us along with it. It is for this reason that Father God is continually calling us to holiness that we may truly come close to Him.  The more we are cleansed from the sin and death of the world, the closer we can come to our Holy Father.  Repenting, confessing, and continuing to walk in purity and holiness give intimate access into a holy relationship between The Holy Father and His sons and daughters.  His longing is to dwell continually with us.  He craves to walk with you and Father you as true sons and daughters. Sons and daughters are forever becoming like their Father.

2. Harvest – 

Matthew 9:36-38 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

The heart of The Father flowing through The Son caused him to see a lost humanity waiting to be gathered into His family.  What is the solution to this problem?  Pray for the laborers! God needs His representatives, His sons and daughters, to go and bring in The Great Harvest of souls.  God desires all of His children to become sons and daughters. 

Immediately after this in chapter 10, Jesus sends out the disciples to do exactly what He had been doing and to bring in The Harvest.  When sons and daughters draw close to The Father, they will receive His heart of compassion for the lost.  My former youth pastor calls them pre-Christians, because they have not yet come to know Jesus, but they will in Jesus’ name!!!

Read Isaiah 6:1-6 for context

Isaiah 6:7-8 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.” Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

One final example that connects holiness and harvest together comes in the call of Isaiah.  Isaiah actively places himself in a position to receive from God.  He sees The Holiness of God and is immediately driven to repentance for himself and his people.  God is faithful to cleanse him completely.  After that, he accesses a secret conversation taking place in the heavenlies.  Having received a new heart, his desire is to immediately go for God without any information or limitation.  Our desire should be no different.  When we are touched, cleansed, and restored; our heart will be for others to receive the same no matter what kind of effort it may take from us.

Jesus, I pray that You will help me to become truly like You. I want to be free of all the filth of the world that I might have intimate access to the secret place with You.  Draw me closer than ever before even as I confess and repent of everything that has taken me far from You.  

Father, transform me to have Your heart for all Your lost and wayward children.  Use me as a laborer in The Great Harvest that all the multitudes of pre-Christians may become part of Your family because of my love and obedience to You.

Practical – 

  • Ask Holy Spirit to examine your life and reveal anything out of line with His Holiness.
  • Confess this and ask to be cleansed and purified by Jesus’ blood
  • Ask for The Father’s Heart of compassion for souls
  • Obey all that God asks you to say or do

Be blessed with the ability to walk in holiness and access the secret places of The Kingdom!  Be blessed to truly receive the heart of The Father and live a lifestyle laboring in The Great Harvest of souls!!! 

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!