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The NOW Harvest: Part 1

Two mornings ago in my 5 a.m. groggy state, I felt a stirring in my spirit of what was on the Lord’s heart that morning. As I sleepily tried to focus and clutched my authentic Indian Masala Chai (of which we adore and keep readily on hand because it reminds us of ‘home’) for joy and warmth from this sudden and brisk change in weather, I turned to John 4 that we were reading from while discipling a friend the evening before. I had that night realized something that I had never knowingly noticed before. I will be sharing about this in a two part word of which the second half should be up soon, so be on the look out for it! Now, on to the meat!

The first half of John 4 is telling the account of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well. Just as Jesus revealed to the Samaritan woman that He was the Messiah that the world had been searching for, His disciples returned to Him with lunch. Instead of being intrigued and interested in what was taking place in that very moment, they were distracted and possibly even offended to find Him not only conversing with a woman, which was culturally unacceptable in those times; but more so with a woman who was not a Jew.

After the woman ran off to town to tell everyone about Who she had just encountered, the disciples urged Jesus to eat the lunch that they had brought. Jesus’ response is, 34My food (‘nourishment’ in NLT) is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to completely finish His work. 35Do you not say, ‘It is still four months until the harvest comes?’ Look, I say to you, raise your eyes and look at the fields and see, they are white for harvest.” The first thing I want to point out is what Jesus said in verse 34. Jesus and His disciples had been traveling for quite some time leading up to this and when He stopped at Jacob’s well, it says that He was weary from the walk. It only makes sense that after a strenuous, exhausting activity that one should drink and eat to regain strength for the journey. Instead, Jesus responded that His nourishment comes from Heaven, doing the will of the One Who sent Him and completing His work in the earth.

My question for you is, do you like to fast? I never enjoyed it and it definitely felt like dying to self; for I realized how much I enjoy chocolate and meat. Jesus told me about five months ago to begin intentionally and frequently fasting if I truly desired to see many things I had been seeking Him in prayer about as well as for global revival to come to full fruition. I will be honest and tell you, I was disobedient up until Jeremiah went to Southeast Asia two months ago. I was caught up in the ‘now’ nourishment and sustenance. I am so grateful that He is such a gracious and patient Papa and sees where we are and will also come to meet us there and call us upward.

Before Jeremiah left, He gently reminded me of His last call and with a great desire and hunger for Him and His will in Asia, I fasted for the duration of Jeremiah’s leave and forsook my ‘good’ chores to sit at His feet. Let me tell you, in my ‘dying to self’, I came alive in the manifest Spirit of God and encountered more of Jesus and heavenly activity than in the culmination of my walk with the Lord. I will not be fake and pretend that since then I do not struggle in my days of consistent fasting, nor do presume to make it perfectly through every day without fail, whether intentional or not. I do recognize there was a special grace upon those first weeks; but fasting is warfare. I will, however, say that I have found a realm far beyond any earthly substance that would sustain. I now understand what Jesus meant when He said what He did. 

Recently, I have noticed the purity of my son, Azariah’s bold faith in increasing levels. It has been his practice for about a year and half of praying himself before bed after we do. Over time, his prayers have become interesting, precious, spirit-led, and awakening as we have seen him grow and his love for Jesus increase. Since Jeremiah returned from Southeast Asia in which they saw 4,612 souls reaped in Jesus’ name into the Kingdom of Heaven, we have faced varying levels of attack and warfare. It is no mystery to us for we know the enemy is angry and threatened at our obedience in seeking His face and doing His will. We do not question where these trials originate, for we stirred up and ransacked hell in warfare over every one of those souls.

Two weeks ago, I had to take Elam, our 19 month old to get 5 stitches on his nose after a freak accident and I was emotionally worn. The enemy took the next day to hit me at every turn, including enduring a freak accident and injury myself. That night while experiencing a unwarranted attack of vertigo while praying with Azariah in bed, I encountered the love of the Father through my three year old and gained much understanding in His ways.

Azariah’s nightly questions before bed are, “How was your good day today?” and “What was your favorite part?” Truthfully, I responded, “Mommy did not have a good day today, baby; nor do I have a favorite part.” I began to explain why, including Elam’s accident the night before. He responded, “I’m sorry, Mommy. I’m so sorry.” I asked why. He stated, “I should’ve prayed for you when the cheerios spilled.” (Right after my own accident, in pain, I got the boys a snack to try and distract them as I cleaned it up. As I handed Elam his cup, the container of cheerios crashed in a massively dispersed mess on the kitchen floor. Azariah ran in upset thinking he wouldn’t get a snack now…never fear, there’s another box.)

Shocked at his statement in bed, I told him it wasn’t his fault. He said again that he should’ve prayed for me because I was hurt and having a hard day. He then proceeded to hold me, rub my back, and pray the most powerful and precious prayer over me. As I wept an ugly cry, the love of God entered this bubble and invaded every place of pain, brokenness, anxiety, and fear; completely uprooting and replacing them with His love. It was then as I reflected what we are really fighting for, what we are really fasting for…a whole other dimension. This was the nourishment that I desperately needed. Each of these things are not to be done out of selfishness, but out of a whole-hearted, genuine desire to see the totality of His Kingdom invade the earth; and to see the coming generations operating in the fullness of the Spirit and power, from the youngest of age. These things can only be done by first doing it yourself, then setting an example for those coming after you to follow. THIS is true discipleship. THIS will change the world. The battle and the sacrifice is worth it.

(NLT) 35“But I say, WAKE UP and look around. The fields are ALREADY ripe for harvest.” (emphasis added)  The harvest is truly RIPE all around us, if we will only WAKE UP and look at what is right in front of us. The hearts of our children are ripe. If we do it right, if we will seek His face and ascend the hill of the Lord, our children will see where we are going and the why behind it; and they will develop the desire to follow right behind, for the prize of Jesus here on earth will be the why behind their ‘yes!”

Soon, I will share the “The NOW Harvest: Part 2” with the rest of the revelation from John 4 as well as the Word the Lord spoke to me that morning while resting in His wonderful Presence.

I leave you with these final reflections:
What are you willing to give up in your ascent to the mountain of the Lord?
All of the baggage can sure weigh you down and prevent you from receiving the full nourishment needed to complete the will of the Lord for your life and in the earth. I implore you to be seeking out ways to be intentional in sitting at His feet in ever-increasing heights, receiving your replenishment, furthering the Gospel and discipling those around you, especially the children in your life!

Katie, Pure Fire of Yahweh

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Call to Go (Southeast Asia)

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I remember now why I do not take showers in the morning in Asia. The bone-chilling cold water should be reserved for after sweating all day in the heat. However, I am truly awake now as I write this.  This is just one of the few things when God has called us to go, we must give up to say yes.

Your will, your way, your wants and desires are always difficult to give up. “I want it my way.” You may not ever say it out loud, but this is the way you are. I know this, because this is the way I am.  Graciously, the Lord granted me several confirmations that this was a trip I was supposed to be on. I do not often get such clear direction and continually receive confirmation I am supposed to go. I usually just give Him my Yes out of faith.

After the 30+ hours of travel, I can say thank the Lord for giving me the ability to say Yes. Sitting on a plane for any extended amount of time is physically uncomfortable, to put it mildly. However, for me, it has always been hard to sleep so it becomes that much more difficult. But none of this matters because I have said Yes to Jesus and His call for me to go. Unfamiliar places, faces, food, accommodations… None of this really matters for I have given my whole-hearted Yes to Jesus and His way.  

The people here are worth it because He loves them. Even more than that, He is worth it and I love Him!!! Right now, in your life, what is of the greatest value? What do you love the most? What would you hold on to if everything else was stripped away? What if God called you to give that up to Go for Him?  Could you do it? 

My prayer for you is that you hear the call of the Lord to Go and that you say as Isaiah did, “Here I am, send Me!!! No matter the cost, no matter the price I will follow You and say Yes!!!” Jesus is worth flying to the other side of the world and giving up so much! In the same way, He is worth it to lay down your fear, pride, selfishness, to walk next door, up the street, down the fruit aisle… Or wherever else He may have you. He is worth it to give all that You have to speak His good news!!! He gave first, and He gave His best for you.

What do you have to give the Creator of the Universe??? 

I give You my, Yes and my obedience!!! Here I am!!! Send Me!!!

Isaiah 6:8 Then 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!” 

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Don’t Show Your Backside!!!

Daily Encouragement –

Do you know Me? Have you heard and obeyed My word? Have you turned away to hide your face from Me? Do you know I love you no matter what? 

Anger, fear, shame, selfish lust… these things and so many more cause you to turn from Me. You may be trying to hide the guilt of your sin, but in turning from Me, you turn from The Way, Truth, and Life and begin down another path. 

Your sin does not surprise Me, but it does hurt. I sent Jesus to pay the price for your sin so even in the midst of it, you may come to Me and receive forgiveness. You never have to turn away from Me. I always desire you to come to Me and speak face to face. I want to cleanse your heart and give you one way to follow Me. 

No matter what happens, I desire you to turn to Me, fully and completely!!! I will not turn from you if you do not turn from Me. I will joyfully plant and bring forth fruit in you and bless you with all I have if you walk with Me and never turn away!!! I love you My child!!!

Jeremiah 32:33 “And they have turned to Me the back, and not the face; though I taught them, rising up early and teaching them,yet they have not listened to receive instruction.”

Vs. 38-41“They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’”

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Strength to Strength

Daily Encouragement – 

My child, I am giving you strength for today as you come close to Me!!! No matter the circumstances you may face today, draw near to Me, and I will cause you to move from strength to strength. 

In the middle of darkness, suffering, weeping, and weakness; come close to Me and receive strength to live, fight, and advance the Kingdom. When you are in a time of blessing and increase is all around you, do not forget where this comes from. Press in to Me so you do not turn aside in times of blessing but continue to grow and be strengthened in Me. 

You are My mighty warrior, and I am with you no matter what you may go through. Turn to Me and watch as you take up a new position of strength in Me!!! I love you My child!

Psalm 84:5-7 “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca, They make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength…”

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Prayer and Fasting

Simple Discipleship

This is the fourth message in the series: Simple Discipleship.

We have already discussed, Being a Leader/Disciple, Intimacy/Love of God, Worship and Sacrifice.

Here is what we will be studying for next week:

Holy Spirit/Power of God

Scriptures for Study: 1 Sam 10:1-13, Joel 2:28-32, John 16:5-15, Acts 1:4-14, 2:1-11, 1 Cor 2:9-16.

Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 4

Here is the Audio Sermon: Prayer and Fasting

fasting and prayer

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.

fasting

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!!!

prayer

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?

fat and pray

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!!!

 

 

False Faces of Friends and Foes

Our God is truly amazing!!! After our flurry of activities in Scotland, we were able to take a kind of chill week to relax and get into the rhythm of things here in Newcastle. It was a short train ride from Stirling to Scotland, but it was incredibly beautiful along the way. We have been completely welcomed into the family of God at St. Luke’s, and I have gotten to connect with many friends from last year. The vicar here Robert, has commented several times that he hopes we stay for a really long time. We will see what happens, but at the very least, we know that we can be close to friends and family over the holidays, which is always a blessing.

We have the privilege of staying with Paul, a friend I met from last year, who has a unique perspective on things. He was not raised in the church and did not have the most pleasant of lives growing up. However, Jesus found him and brought him to St. Luke’s just like he brought us here. He is one of the most honest people I know. He talks about how he feels and openly admits when he is wrong. That is not something that is found today, an open transparency.

As we were walking our customary 45 minutes to the church last week, we began to talk about the people here in Newcastle. For those who do not know, Newcastle was rated the third in most popular European nightlife destinations only beaten out by London and Berlin and 7th in the world category. In other words, Newcastle is a huge party city. The funny thing is that for the “normal” person, being out in the daytime, you may never know this. However, the nighttime, especially weekends, is when the craziness begins.

As Paul and I began to talk, we discussed the different masks that people choose to put on and how it is evident here. He mentioned how a lot of his friends all looked nice and began to dress in the same stylish manner and how they would give other people a hard time. I remarked how that had never been a big deal to me. It was easy to see how some people have so many faces that they put on for other people, they may not even know who they are any more, or perhaps they do not like who they really are so they use masks to fit in. We suggested some of the false faces people put on, one for work and school, one for friends and partying, one for church, one for looking good and one for relaxing… There are an infinity of masks that people will put on and there are a plethora of reasons why they may put these on. I think it comes down to one basic reason. Fear! We are often afraid to let people know who we really are. Will they like us? Will they judge us? Will they hurt us? Will they accept us? Will they be open with us or give us a cold mask of superiority?

I have found that some of the best masks can be found in the church. We like to present ourselves perfect, even though we all know that we are not. We dress nice, act our best, and are on our best behavior. Often, those who have not come to Christ yet, come in hurting and see all these perfect plastic people and decide they can never be a part of this perfection. Sometimes, our masks are so good we almost begin to believe them. Outsiders coming in would never believe that the church is made up of hurting broken people and so they often do not feel welcome there. We are afraid that others will judge us and who we really are if we let them know we are broken. Why is this, because we judge the imperfections in others. I know for me, this was one of the sins I struggled with for so long. I could look at someone and see myself as better than them even though I was struggling with my own stuff. God led me through a place where I did a lot of work with young people in the prison system and people of all walks of life and this helped me to learn to be real, honest and transparent.

I want to encourage you to be yourself. Be real, honest and transparent. The church should be where we get together as transparent people and reveal Christ shining through all of our situations and failings. People should feel more welcome in the church than anywhere else in the world. We show the love of Christ to all who are caught up in the ways of the world, because we too were ones such as this. And even now, when we know the Truth, we do not follow Him as we should. We fail! How much more can we expect those who do not know the Truth to walk like they do? You are accepted by God who will never hurt you. You are free to be yourself. I am not perfect at this, but I am learning more and more how to be my own strange self.

Final story – Yesterday, we went out to celebrate our three month anniversary (you would be celebrating too if you were me and had such an awesome wife!!!). We decided to see a movie, and as we were buying tickets, I was having fun being myself. The guy asked me if I was a student or had anything that would discount the tickets. I was just messing with him and said “No, we are foreigners though. That should be worth something. Or you could give me the redhead discount.” He also happened to be a Ginger so I guess he thought it was funny or something. Anyway, I realized that after I had bought the tickets, he had given us a student discount, which was actually quite a big one. I had not actually been trying to get a discount, but was just being myself and got blessed.

Just remember, God made you. He accepts you, no matter how strange you might be (believe me, I know from experience). He loves you and will never leave you alone or love you less. Who else’s opinion matters?

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!