Tag Archives: done

Heart to Obey 37/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement

With only 5 days left of the fast, I am sure I am not the only one counting down until the end.  As much as I have loved going through The 40 together, I am ready to celebrate and enjoy good things once again, as I am sure we all are.  In the final days of this fast, there will be a shifting from talking about the importance of giving God glory in fasting, humility and repentance to glorifying Him in feasting, celebration, and obedience.

Today, I want to look at a place in scripture where the people were fasting out of a wrong heart but expecting good results. They were also feasting our of a wrong heart.  Everything was all about how it made themselves feel and not what God wanted.  Let’s examine the book of Zechariah:

Zechariah 7:2-3 when the people sent Sherezer… to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?” 

The people in captivity are away from their homeland, but are still trying to cling to their heritage, history, and traditions. They sent this man to the priests to ask if they should continue their ritual of fasting as they always had.  This is the response they get from God:

Vs. 5-7 “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months  during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets… ?’ 

God is not impressed with their act of fasting, because they are doing it for their own benefit. God is not getting the glory.  Even in their eating and drinking that God could be receiving some sort of thanksgiving, praise, or honor, it is all about themselves instead of Him.  Whether you are fasting or feasting, obedience to The Lord is what allows you to worship and glorify Him!  If your heart is right, you will be able to praise The Lord whether you are fasting or feasting.

Vs 8-10 ” Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’ 

The practical things God reveals to Zechariah for the people to do are not difficult, but neither are they easy for a people used to pleasing their own selves.  God must be the center, the main goal, and aim of our hearts if we are to truly worship Him in every area of our lives.  

Vs. 11-12 “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.

The revelation of The Lord was streaming forth from the mouth of the prophet, but they would not obey, turned away, and would not even hear what God was calling out of them.  Selfish people with selfish hearts were unwilling to change and come into line with The God of grace and mercy.  This made their heart hard, and they had to suffer the consequences of their disobedience.

The 40 has been all about the softening of our hearts and the opening of our ears to hear. This becomes easier to do as we have a special time set apart to seek Him.  However, as we near the end of the fast, and will soon return to our normal way of life, what is to keep us from hardening our hearts and continuing to walk in our own ways?

Obedience! Obedience is key to daily walking in worship.  God is continually speaking forth His revelation, and we will continue to hear as we obey what we have been given. When we are disobedient to the Word of The Lord, our hearts will become hard.  The more we disobey, the more we will walk in our own way. God longs to pour out His mighty blessings upon us. He always has the best for us, but this is dependent upon our obedience to come into line with Him.  

My encouragement for us today is to seek The Lord for a new heart to walk in continuous obedience.  We will not always want to obey.  We will not always feel like obeying. In these times, we must truly believe that Jesus is worth our complete and total obedience. A heart of obedience will always lead us to worship and glorify our God and Father of grace, mercy, and love no matter what may be going on in us or around us.

Jesus, right now, when my heart is more receptive to you than ever, I want to be completely obedient to You, Your plans, and Your purposes.  I want to follow You and walk in Your way no matter what may be taking place in my life.  Whether it is something I want to hear or do, I want to totally obey all that You speak that You may receive all the praise, glory, and honor possible from my life. 

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to give you a willing and obedient heart
  • Glorify Him in your obedience today
  • Thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do

Be be blessed today with the ability and willingness to walk in obedience to all God is revealing. May you be released and propelled into the next level with Him as you obey to the best of your ability!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Increase Our Faith (Act) 34/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement

One week from now, we will have completed The 40. Praise The Lord for His grace and mercy. Whatever God has called you to fast, you must be very careful in breaking the fast. A total fast must be broken with small amounts of juice every 4-6 hours. A juice fast should be broken with small amount of light fruit gradually adding in more complexity and quantity of food.  After fasting for so long, our bodies stop producing certain enzymes and it can have disastrous effects if we lack self-control at the end of the fast.  May God give us all the strength not just to pray and fast for His glory, but to break the fast and eat in a way that glorifies Him.

A few days back, we started talking about being God’s witnesses.  This starts from a place of knowing and growing in Him.  As we grow in Him, we will gain his heart and desires and begin to pray and ask for what is most valuable to Him. Souls and nations would be at the top of this list.  In our asking specifically for the lost in our family, neighborhood, sphere of influence, and nations, we must begin to speak out the wonderful works of God.  This is how all people will come to know who our Great God is.

Today, we move on to the next phase in being a witness: Act.  When we know God deeper, are praying along with His desire for souls, and speaking out our testimony and witness for His glory, we must begin to act on what Holy Spirit has called us to do.  Words without action are hypocrisy and will never lead to the next level with Him. Let’s look at what The Word has to say about this.

Joshua 1:3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.. 

Here, Moses has just died and Joshua has become the new leader over all of Israel. I am sure Joshua is a little bit apprehensive in trying to follow in the footsteps of such a great man of God.  In the first chapter of Joshua, both God and the people tell Him not to fear multiple times.  In the middle of God’s encouragement to Joshua, He reveals this promise to him.  God has given Joshua and the people all of The Promised Land, but they have to go and take it.  They had to act in obedience with the word of God for this promise to take effect.  Let’s dig a little deeper into this.

The word tread in this verse comes from the Hebrew “Darak” which means to tread, lead, guide, wield, shoot, aim, march.  If we study this out, we find that God is giving us every place we have aimed our hearts in line with His will to seek. He is giving us every place we have followed Him in obedience to lay hold of.  It takes our action added on to our speaking, praying, and knowing that will allow us to be the witness that God has called us to be. You have to walk the walk not just talk the talk.

That is what God says in the Old Testament, but let’s see what Jesus has to say on the same subject:

Luke 17:5-10 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’? But will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for my supper, and gird yourself  and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded  him? I think not. So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ”

The apostles come to Jesus and ask for Him to increase their faith, as we probably have done ourselves. Jesus reveals that it is not the size of their faith that is most important. The smallest mustard seed of faith is enough to do seemingly impossible things.  Jesus then gives an illustration of masters and servants.  There is a reason these verses say “The Lord said”. The issue is not about increasing and gaining faith, it is about increasing obedience.  Contained in the promises and revelation of Truth we have been given, are conditions according to our obedience. Noah was instructed to build and ark.  Abraham was called to go out.  Moses was to go and speak to the Pharaoh. We could go through the scriptures proving what Jesus reveals here.  Actions and obedience are what take us to the next level.

My encouragement for us today is to take our witness to the next level. We must continue on with knowing God, asking for his heart of compassion for the lost, and even past speaking out His wonderful works.  We must begin to act in obedience to whatever He calls us to do. We do not need to be rewarded for being obedient to God, but we He is the rewarder! We will be rewarded whether we see it now or not. However, we must not be obedient to Him because of the reward we will get, but because He is worth it, and we love Him!  Practical action combined with speaking the word and asking for what God desires, because we are growing in knowing Him, will lead us to be propelled into the next level with Him.

Jesus, I want to be obedient to everything You have called me to do. You are my Lord and Master and what You say help me to always obey.  I know that Your power and promise depend upon my obedience to You. Help me never to limit what You are wanting to do in or through me because of my disobedience.  I want to love You with my “YES” and with my obedience!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you to know Him more
  • Seek to know The Father’s heart
  • Speak out what God has done for you, your testimony
  • Act in obedience to everything He tells you to do

Be blessed with knowing and growing in God, receiving His heart, speaking The Truth of your testimony, and becoming increasingly obedient to everything you are called to. As this happens may you be propelled into the next level with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Your Inheritance (Ask) 32/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

It’s week 5, and we are still alive. We are down to single digits until the end of the fast. Some may not have thought it possible to go this long, but God has been faithfully going before us, walking beside us, and He will bring up the rear with His glory.  Let’s continue steadfastly seeking The God of heaven for all He wants to do in us and through us! This is what you were made for, an eternity of seeking Him!

As we have been praying, fasting, and seeking the Lord to be propelled to the next level in Him, there has been a shift.  Yesterday, I shared about being God’s Witness and how this comes from the secret, quiet intimacy of knowing God and receiving His heart.  When this takes place, His desire to be made great in our lives turns into the worship of us being witness of the testimony He has done in us. Knowing God and growing in your relationship with Him is the first step of being a witness.  

Today, I want to discuss the second step of being a witness, you must Ask!  God desires to use everyone everywhere to be his witnesses.  However, when we come to truly know God and His desires begin to grow inside of us, we will begin to ask and pray to be a witness.  

Do you pray daily for specific lost people around you in your family, at your school or workplace, in your neighborhood?

Although this is something that we should do, because of the cares of this world, often we do not.  The cares of the world choke out the life of the seeds of prayer that are never sown into the hearts of those who have no knowledge of The King or The Kingdom.  

Somehow in seeking The Lord, David comes into a place where he hears a heavenly conversation taking place.  This conversation takes place in Psalms 2. God The Father is speaking to His son and this is what He says:

Psalm 2:7-8 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

The Father says to The Son because You are My Son, I will give you an inheritance.  What is this inheritance? The nations and the ends of the earth.  These are God’s to give and He says ask me, and I will give them to you.  If God is our Father in heaven and holy is His Name, His kingdom must come and a His will must be done on earth as it is done in heaven.  You and I are his children, begotten in the gospel.  

How much more should we ask Him for the nations and ends of the earth for our possession?

Have you asked Him for souls, cities, or nations?

Knowing this, let’s jump forward to when Jesus came to the earth. He was surrounded and submersed in all the things we are today. Poverty, sickness, darkness, sin, and death surrounded his every day life. One day these things overwhelm Jesus’s heart of compassion gained by spending time seeking The Father. He sees the hopeless scattered sheep, but He sees a great harvest for the Kingdom. There was more work than any one man could ever do just bringing them into the Kingdom.  

What was Jesus’ solution?

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

Jesus said pray and ask The Lord of the harvest to call, equip, and send forth laborers.  We are not just supposed to spend our days in prayer and seeking God, but we are to pray that we may become witnesses, laborers, vessels of righteousness used by God.  When we know God’s heart, we will ask that His desires be made manifest in the earth. 

My encouragement for today is to begin to ask for souls, pray for an inheritance of nations.  Together we have been seeking to know The Father and growing in Him. Now, let’s begin to pray and ask to be His witnesses, and that He would give us souls, cities, regions, and nations. This is the inheritance of the saints, the saving and discipling of all nations, tribes, and tongues. Over 3 billion people still have not heard, it is time to pray for the Lord of The Harvest to send forth laborers into the field and be willing to go ourselves!

Jesus, I love you! I desire to grow in knowing You and developing Your heart and Your desires. I ask for the nations as my inheritance and the ends of the earth for my possessions. Use me to reach the unreached. May those in darkness see Your light shining brightly out of me and been drawn to You. I am willing to go. Send out Your workers to bring in the harvest that I may not be alone in bringing in this great harvest of souls!!! 

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to draw you deeper in to knowing Him and give you a heart of compassion
  • Ask for the nations as your inheritance
  • Ask for souls of specific people in your family, workplace, school, and sphere.
  • Pray The Lord of The Harvest to send forth laborers into the field

Be blessed today with knowing God in a greater way than ever before and gaining a true heart of compassion! May you receive an amazing inheritance of souls coming into The Kingdom as you are propelled into the next level with the King!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

God’s Witness (Know) 31/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement

As we move into the last 10 days of The 40, do not forget to focus your eyes on The King of The Kingdom. He rewards us as we diligently seek Him.  If you are able to give more to The Lord, let’s do it together. He is worth so much more than we could ever give. Let us worship Him in a special way the last 10 days of this fast. 

Yesterday’s encouragement was a shift in what God has been speaking and revealing.  God is speaking about seeking Him and growing into the powerful witness, He has created us to be. Over the next several days, we will see how we can become Holy Spirit filled witnesses of the good news!!!

Today, we will start at a place that we are familiar with, but it can never be neglected, forgotten or emphasized enough.  We must come to know God more and more and grow in our relationship with Him. When I speak of knowing God, I am not just talking about a head knowledge that we are accustomed with.  I am speaking of the old Biblical sense of know.  “Adam knew his wife and conceived a son” (Genesis 4:1).  This kind of intimate relationship goes far beyond a mental aspect of knowing.  Jesus is the vine and we are the branches without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). 

What is the key to bearing fruit? Abiding, remaining, knowing Him!

This is not a new concept that Jesus brings us during his time on earth. Let’s move back to the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus and see the constant, faithful, unchanging heart of God for us to know Him.

Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

God is our creator and redeemer. He has a plan and purpose for designing us and creating us. He has called each one is us by name to come to Him.  We are His.  We may not live walk or act like it, but we have been called and chosen by the Creator of the universe.  He did not make us and leave us on our own as some believe, but He is always with us.  Even in the darkest, most difficult times in our lives He is with us!  The flames of the enemy will not destroy us when we are near to Him. When we are near to The Lord we will not be overcome. 

Why does He do all these things for us?

He is The Lord our God, our Savior!!! Before we move on, know this, you are never alone when you are seeking The Lord.  It may seem like your prayers are going unanswered.  Situations are difficult, the storms, floods, and fire may be coming against you, but you will stand firm as you stand with God in His strength for you are His!

As we walk through the fires, floods, and storms of this life, we have come to know God our Strength, our Sustainer, our Provider, our Savior.  From this place of real life revelation and testimony of what God has done for us, we are called to be His witnesses.

Vs 10-12 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God.

There is nothing wrong with Christian apologetics and logical historical evidence that gives witness to the reality of a historical Jesus, but your very life and the testimony of what He has brought you through is an undeniable witness on display that brings glory to God.   The more each of us come to know God, trust in Him, and are transformed into His image, the greater testimony we have. As we come to know Him and our testimony increases, we become a growing witness to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and are able to give Him greater glory from our lives.  Nothing and no one else can cause such a transformation as has taken place in the lives of those who are daily coming to know Jesus more.

This is the first step of being a Holy Spirit empowered martyr-level witness and my encouragement for you today.  Come to know The Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer more than ever before.  Come to know Him, and recognize what He has taken you through and out of. This has caused your very life to be a witness of who God is.  You are God’s undeniable witness right where you are today. Never be afraid to share who He is that has done such a mighty work in your life!

Jesus, help me come to know You more than ever before! Than, you for touching, changing, and transforming me from a rebellious, selfish sinner into a faithful, righteous saint. Use my life as a witness and testimony of You for Your glory. Even in the middle of the storms of life, I want my life to radiate Your glory because You are with me keeping me from harm.  I want to be Your witness and testimony in every aspect of my life!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you come to know Him in a greater way today
  • Remember where you have come from, and what He has brought you out of
  • Thank God for His mighty work in Your life
  • Ask to be used as a greater witness and testimony for His glory

Be blessed today with revelation of the life-changing power of knowing Jesus more. May you see clearly where you have come from and how He has been with you through the journey.  May you be a living testimony and witness that continually gives glory to God!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Revival in our Bondage 29/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

Well done! We have completed week 4 and moving on to week 5. As we grow nearer to ending the fast, I want to remind you to refocus and recommit to press in to Jesus like never before.  Do not grow weary in well doing, we are not the coasting type of community.  I encourage you not to coast the rest of the way through the fast.  The last 10 days of the fast, let’s really go after what God has for us. Personally, I am being led to go much deeper in the last 10 days and I would invite you to join me, if you are willing.  It is time to increase expectation, increase seeking Him, advance in every area and increase in the spiritual reward of sowing into The Kingdom!!!

A few days ago, I started a discussion, that was not planned, with a word Revelation of Truth.  This led to the discussion Repent and Worship, and now we are finally coming to what we really want to talk about. Revival. This is what we long to happen. We crave for the revival we have heard about and maybe seen in part to come to us, our family, neighborhood, region, and nation.  We hunger for an unprecedented move of God that brings in multiple billion soul harvests.

How will this take place? 

What brings revival?

As the revelation of Truth comes forth from God, we must respond rightly in repentance which is an act of worship to God.  This leads to revival taking place right where we are.  Let’s return to Ezra to find out more. If you remember, the people of Israel were led back to their homeland after release from captivity. They were in bondage because of their constant rebellion against God and his plans. Ezra was the spiritual leader at this time and Nehemiah was more of an administrative leader who was walking deeply with The Lord!  

Ezra 9:4-5 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God…

The remnant of God’s people that were allowed to remain in the land had continued in the same sins that had led the people into captivity in the first place.  The revelation of truth had been so implanted in Ezra’s heart that when he saw the people engaging in rebellion and sin it shocked and grieved him to his very core. He quickly goes to God in humility, repentance, and fasting. It seems he is so grieved that he cannot even pray for the rest of the day. The passage that follows is a small part of his prayer of repentance:

Ezra 9:8-9 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.

Ezra acknowledges his sin and the sin of the people, but also recognizes that even in the midst of their bondage to sin, God has given them “a measure of revival”.  There was a righteous remnant in Israel that were seeking the Lord. Even though the majority of the people were living in continued disobedience and rebellion, the people of God seeking Him and crying out for mercy brought about a revival and restoration in the land that would not have taken place any other way.  They had been given favor, protection, direction, and provision not only to return to their homeland, but to repair the house of God and rebuild the ruins of their city. 

Ezra 10:1-2 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah… said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God… yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.

Ezra and the people all have the same revelation of truth. However, Ezra and a few certain others are the righteous remnant that see the sin and seek the Lord in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer.  They are walking in a small portion of revival even though the rest of the people are still in bondage to their sin. Ezra and the remnant’s example of right response, repentance, and revival of heart and soul lead the people to repentance themselves. As they gather in weeping, repentance, and worship before the Lord, one of the leaders gains the revelation that there is hope for revival for them all right where they are.  

This is my encouragement for all of us today. We have constant revelation of Truth from Holy Spirit as we seek Him.  May we seek to respond rightly in repentance, confession, and worship. As we do this, we will be walking in revival in our own lives no matter what may be going on around us. Walking continually in this place, God is able to use us as catalysts to bring about revival in those around us. May we all walk as the catalysts of revival in The Kingdom, sons and daughters that we were created to be.  

Jesus, I desire to be your true child constantly moving forward in right response to Your continuous revelation. As I walk out revival right where I am, use me as a catalyst for change in the world for Your Kingdom!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you stand firm and walk out the revelation of a Truth he has given you
  • Acknowledge sin and weakness and bring these to him in repentance and confession
  • Act in the obedience of standing firm in seeking Jesus and walking with Him

Be blessed to receive new revelation of Truth today, walk in the right response of repentance and worship, and be a change agent of revival right where you are as God propels you into new levels with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Advance 22/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

Well done!  We are now past the halfway mark, past Daniel’s precedent of 21 days, and beginning week 4 of The 40.  Do not waver! Do not falter! Press into Jesus, and be propelled into the next level with Him!!

This morning, I felt The Lord highlight one word, “Advance“.  This word means a lot to me for different reasons, but one of the reasons is this is an official military term, in my mind at least.  As we move forward into uncharted territory, God is leading and guiding.  He has gone before us to direct us in the right way we should go (John 10:4). Yesterday, the focus was on Touching The Kingdom, and the seeking of direction and revelation through humility, hunger, repentance, prayer, and fasting.  This should be our way of life until we receive our orders.   Then, we must “Advance” into all God has for us.  

Even understanding a proper definition of advance gives us a clue into what God is speaking to us today. 

Advance: 

  • Move forward in a purposeful way (Help us all to move forward with Your plans and in Your purposes Lord!)
  • Accelerate growth or progress of (We desire to progress and grow in You, Lord)
  • Raise to a higher rank (Thank you for raising us up to higher ranks in The Kingdom as we faithfully carry out our assignments at the level we are now.)
  • To lift up (Lift us up into heavenly realms with You)
  • Bring forward in time (Bring us all forward in time that we may be mature believers on mission with You!)
  • My personal definition would be the effective assisting in hastening a process or bringing about a desired end.  May we all be advanced in our own lives, and be used to advance The Kingdom of God today!

    In the Word, we can see this happening throughout the entire Bible, but we will focus on what is taking place in Acts 13.  The setting of this passage is the rapid growth of the church.  If you remember, they were first called Christians at Antioch, literally meaning “little Christ”.  The gospel is being proclaimed, and persecution has taken the life of James the apostle.  This was the first of the apostles to be martyred.  Peter was set to be killed as well, but through constant prayer, God miraculously delivers Him.  This is where we pick up in our reading.  

    The church is at a pivotal point in history. They must come to a decision if the persecution and death is too much and they should calm down in what they are doing, or if they should continue to advance The Kingdom in spite of all this.  

    Acts 13:1-2 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 

    The response of the early church to the persecution and death of James and near martyrdom of Peter is to gather together and minister to The Lord. 

    How was this done? In Acts 2:42, 47 and 6:4 we find some clues: continue steadfastly in apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer, praising God, and ministry of The Word.  In this passage we see, they also fasted.  Fellowship, worship, prayer, and fasting are literally ministry to The Lord. As they ministered to The Lord, Holy Spirit revealed what they were to do next.  

    It is interesting, they did not have a vision-casting meeting. They did not form a committee to talk about business. They did not try to figure out the most logical business model to follow. They gathered the leaders to worship, prayer, and fasting.  It is a sad fact that in many churches today, call a church business meeting and everyone shows up, but call a church prayer meeting more crickets show up than people.  However, if you call a prayer meeting without food and call a people to fast, this is like what happened in the early church. Only hungry people allowed.  This is where Holy Spirit brought revelation of what was to happen next.  

    When Holy Spirit released this revelation, they did not end the meeting and say lets get to work. Why? Because this was not the point of the meeting.  They were there to worship God with everything they had to give.  As a result, when they received revelation this is what they did:

    Vs. 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

    They continued in worship, prayer, and thanksgiving. What Holy Spirit revealed in a time of worship, prayer, and fasting was commissioned and sent out by worship, prayer, and fasting.  The focus was ministering to God and the commissioning and sending out of Barnabas and Saul for the advancement of The Kingdom was part of this ministering to God.  No man or even church was glorified in the sending out of these men. 

    Verse 4 begins with “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit…”  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a work of Holy Spirit for the advance of The Kingdom.  This is before Saul had prove himself to the church.  He is still in the care of Barnabas and there is probably still those who do not fully trust him.  That did not matter when Holy Spirit had set him apart to send him out. In the very next chapter Saul is violently persecuted and stoned. The strength knowing Holy Spirit had called him and sent him out enabled him to return to the very cities that this took place.  

    My encouragement for us today is that as we gather together daily to worship, pray, and fast, whether together in body or spirit, Holy Spirit will bring wisdom, understanding, and revelation that only comes from Him.  As He does, may we all be strengthened with might to advance The Kingdom and walk in what He has called us to.  Nothing can hold you back from advancing to the next level with Him if you are living and walking as His partner.

    Practical –

    • Ask for revelation of how you can minister to God today
    • As you minister to Him, seek wisdom, revelation, and understanding that only comes from Him
    • As He reveals, ask for the strength and ability to obey
    • Continue in Worship and ministry to Him
    • Obey all He directs you to do

    Be blessed with the ability to truly advance The Kingdom in partnership with Holy Spirit. May you receive wisdom, understanding, revelation and might as you minister to Holy Spirit.  May this propel you to the next level with Him!

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

    The Heavens Declare 17/40

    You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

    As we approach the halfway mark of The 40, know this, God is with you.  He has promised to never leave you or forsake you.  Another tactic of the enemy to pull you out of The 40 is to make you feel alone.  I pray that you are encouraged by the community and words that are being shared here.  It is always easier to share struggles with someone who is going through everything right alongside you, and that is why we are here.  However, Jesus is even closer and able to help far more than those in your spiritual family.  Never forget, He is here to help, love, and support you no matter what.

    I encourage you today to focus on the goodness of GodHe is faithful to us and every one of the promises he has spoken over us.  He blesses us with His abounding grace and abundant mercy. He overwhelms us with the gifts of heaven, and too often, we forget to be thankful.  In some way, we think that we deserve for God to be this good to us or that we have earned it by our right living.  We must learn to be thankful at all times and declare the wonderful works of God continually.  What did Jesus say about this?

    Jesus reveals something interesting when He is told to make his disciples be silent:

    Luke 19:40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

    The rocks in creation who have done nothing but sit there from the beginning of time are thankful for who God is and would cry out giving glory to God in their own way if we they were able.  How much more should we worship Him, who have been given wisdom to see the glory and speech to say it?  David also has some interesting things to say along these lines:

    Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.

    Creation itself is continually declaring the glory of God just in the day to day things that happen.  Sadly, we get used to seeing the beauty of nature and it no longer impresses us.  The beauty of a sunrise is eclipsed by the fact that we have to get up early again and go to work.  We are tired and inward focused and rarely catch the beauty of God’s creation declaring His glory.  The majesty of a rain storm is drowned out by our complaints that now we are going to get wet and be uncomfortable.  Selfishness and inconvenience often cause us to overlook the glory of God being manifest in our midst.

    After an extended time of bearing the punishment of their people by being in captivity in a foreign land, the people of Israel return to the land of their inheritance.  Everything is broken down and in disrepair.  Nehemiah leads the people into a time of returning to the law.  They read the law for seven days straight and agree to obey it.  They set about to keep the feasts in the word and worship God.  This is when we see the people worshiping God in a special way:

    Nehemiah 9:1-3 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, in sackcloth, and with dust on their heads. Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for one-fourth of the day; and for another fourth they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.

    The people have been reading the word for day, and this causes them to come to God in worship by repentance, confession, prayer, and fasting.  They read more of the word and then worship more, and then they begin to bless the Lord:

    Nehemiah 9:5-6 “Blessed be Your glorious name, Which is exalted above all blessing and praise! You alone are the LordYou have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.

    Your fasting is worship to God.  Your prayers are worship to God.  Your repentance and confession is declaring the glory of God.  As we spend time seeking Him and pressing into all that He has for us, true worship with come forth from our hearts and our lives that will declare God’s glory in a way that no other thing can.  How can the choice to give up a legitimate pleasure as a sacrifice give glory to God?  By this, we are saying, “Jesus, I love you more!  You are worth it!”  What joy comes to The Father’s heart when his children voluntarily give Him a gift from what little they have to give.  This is true worship and truly declares the glory of God to all the hosts of heaven.  Today, we choose to worship God once again with the sacrifice of our humble hearts.

    Jesus, I choose to declare Your glory today.  In my thoughts, words, and actions, help me to recognize and declare Your glory.  Help me to continually give you worship in everything I say and do.  In all I do may I glorify Your Name!

    Practical – 

    • Set a time to watch a sunrise, sunset, or spend time watching at the stars
    • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal the glory that creation is declaring to you in this
    • Commit to worship God in thought, word, and action today

    Be blessed with the God given ability to recognize the glory of God in the tiniest of details.  May your very life declare the glory of God in all you think, say, and do!

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!