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!!!
In the last post, Simple Discipleship, I tried to bring you up to speed on where we are at the moment. I also encouraged you to study several key verses and see what God was saying through them.
In the post, I have included the main points of my notes and the link for the live teaching I did at Living Water Church. I would like to invite you to comment with your observations and what God was saying to you while studying this teaching.
Before we get started with the discussion, here is the topic for next week:
Intimacy/Love of God
Scriptures for Study: John 15:1-17, 1 Cor 13:1-13, Eph 3:16-21, Deut 7:6-9
This is the first discussion in the Simple Discipleship Series.
Here is the Link: Being a Leader/Disciple
Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 1
Since I have included my full notes, I will try to make this more of a coherent summary.
As we study what a disciple and leader are from scripture, we need to understand the definition of each.
What is a Disciple? .
Are you a Disciple?
What is a Leader?
Who are you leading? What are you leading them to?
A leader is to be more of a father that walks with you through the day to day struggles of life than an instructor. Anyone can tell you what you should be doing, but a father will take you hand and work through the hard times with you to make sure you come out the other side.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore I urge you, imitate me.
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
It is the job of a father and leader to encourage, comfort, and challenge the people following them to walk more in line with God.
Every single one of us is created to be a good disciple and a good leader. How are you doing? You will be discipled by something and you will lead others into something. What are you being discipled by? Where are you leading others?
From the scriptures we studied, we can see a few characteristics of good disciples and leaders.
We must be do everything out of love!!! Jesus even loved Judas who he knew would betray him.
We must have Humility!!! Jesus took the lowest job and did it well even when no one else wanted to do it.
We must Serve others!!! We do not get to choose who we serve or how we serve them. We must humble ourselves and honor all those we are leading.
We must be the Example and Pioneer!!! Do as I do. Lead others by doing it first not just talking about it. God blesses us when we act, not just when we know or say the right things.
A Good Leader is a Good Follower!!! We must follow Jesus first and foremost and have a close personal relationship with Him. We must look like Him, smell like Him, walk like Him, and talk like Him so that we can lead others in the right way. And so they never go astray.
We must give God the Glory!!! Everything we do is through His power and authority so he gets the glory and honor that He rightfully deserves. We may get some honor and blessing for being obedient, but God gets the ultimate glory and honor for making it happen.
We are Influencers of Heaven!!! Our actions influence heaven when we are walking in line with Jesus. Heaven has influenced us and transformed us into sons and daughters. Because of this, we have the influence of heaven on this world.
We must be Selfless!!! We deny ourselves legitimate (and illegitimate) pleasures of this world so that we can be truly free and filled with the Presence of God!!!
We must know True Value!!! First, we have to know the true value that God has for us, and then we have to know the value He places on the souls of all mankind.
1 Timothy 4:8 godliness is profitable for all things
We must be Faithful and Steadfast!!! The only time for us to test our allegiance is right now. Will you stand for Jesus when no on else does?
We must Know God!!! This is the key to being a disciple and leader. Seek to know God in a deeper way!!!
We must Be Strong!!! When we know God, He makes us strong
We must be Adventurers!! When we know God in a deep way, we have what we need to do great things, and He can trust us to be obedient in doing great things.
We must be Lead Others into Knowing God More!!! Part of us knowing God is us sharing that knowledge and relationship with others. Part of us growing in God us teaching others what we are learning.
We must Understand our Authority!!! God has given all authority to Jesus, and Jesus has given it to us. Jesus’ authority is ours if we will only walk in it.
We must Go!!! God calls His followers to action and doing. What are you doing for Him right now?
We must be Disciple Makers!!! We are called to make disciples of nations. This comes by us raising up others who can reproduce the discipleship we have instilled within them.
We must be Carriers of Christ!!! Jesus goes with us, and His power, His Presence, and His authority works in us and through us.
We must be Lovers of Jesus!!! We must love Him first and foremost in all things, and this love should eclipse all other loves
We must be Willing to Sacrifice!!! We must lay down our junk and take up what God has for us. We must lay down our very lives.
We must be Finishers!!! Being a disciple and being a leader are not easy things, but we do not start what we cannot finish.
We must be Spicy and Full of Flavor!!! People recognized Jesus because of what He said and did and people should recognize us because we are just like Him.
What are we worth if we no longer look like Jesus???
What is a Disciple? A disciple is someone who leaves everything behind and follows Jesus out of a heart of love.
What is a Leader? A good leader is a disciple, who is leading people to do the same thing that He is daily doing.
Our position in the Kingdom is not made up of what we have, it is determined by what we are willing to give up out of love and obedience to our Father.
What does this study mean if we do not make it personal??? I want you to meditate on these question:
Who am I leading?
Who is leading me?
Who can I disciple?
Who do I want to be discipled by?
Is it worth it to you to be a disciple and leader?
Ask Holy Spirit to bring revelation to you how you can follow Him more closely. Anything that you need to confess and leave behind, do it now and never look back!!!
Remember that we are all walking through this together. May the Lord Bless you and Keep you!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!