Tag Archives: follow

Celebrate Good Times!!! 39/40

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.

Here we are, the last two days of The 40.  If you have not already, you are probably dreaming about what you will eat first.  Please remember to break the fast simple and slow. Your stomach will have shrunk and food will be more difficult to digest.  Chew food throughly and eat small portions.  It should take at least three days to get back to eating what you were eating before the fast.  Be conscious of what your body is doing, and any discomfort means you should slow the breaking of the fast.  All that being said, the day of celebration is almost here.  We have sought the Lord together in the fasting, let’s continue to seek Him together in the celebration!

Too often, we become people of extremes.  We are either completely for something or totally against it.  In issues of morality this may be good, but this can get us into trouble in other areas.  Jesus was a man of grace and truth. If you are too full of grace, anything goes and truth gets thrown out the window. If you are totally focused on truth, there is not room for the grace that abounds to do its work in you.  

Another area we see this evident is the Spirit and The Word.  Some people focus so much on the Spirit, they end up doing whatever they want and the Word becomes useless to them.  However, some people are so focused on The Word that they get bound up in religious rules and doctrine and do not allow the Bible to be The Living Word.  

In the same way, we could become so focused on the power, blessing, and benefits of fasting that we begin to believe that this is the only way God will work.  Often, people think that I am the fasting one and do not eat or do not like food, because they do not take the time to get to know me.  One reason I have focused so much on fasting is because it seems that their is almost no teaching on it in the American church.  There is so much focus on fellowship, feasting, and celebration and almost nothing about the benefits and blessing of prayer and fasting.  Both have their time and place, but one does not cancel out the other.  

This was a problem during the life of Jesus.  Which is better: to eat and drink or to fast and pray?  Let’s see what Jesus has to say about it:

Luke 7:33-35 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a  winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by all her children.”

John the Baptizer was Jesus’ cousin who came at a time that needed a message of humility and repentance.  He was in line for the priesthood and therefore never would lack a meal in his life if he continued in the natural order of things.  However, God called him to a life set apart from the culture in order that he could not only be a man of humility and repentance, but so that he could share this message from a transformed life and by being a living example.  Repentance and humility was needed in the people to prepare the way for the new revelation of The Truth, Jesus.  

Because of his lifestyle, those who did not agree with John said he had a demon and was not from God.  They would much prefer to eat, drink, and be merry.  No need to repent and humble yourself when you could enjoy the pleasures of this world.  Often, we ignore the present word of The Lord because we do not want come into line with it.

However, these same people had nothing good to say when Jesus came along either.  Nearly every time we see Jesus, He is with people in their houses or sitting around a table at a meal.  He is constantly celebrating and feasting as He ministers to the people.  He also multiplies food to make sure that everyone gets plenty even to abundance.  The people who wanted John to be more free and to celebrate more begin to accuse Jesus of being too free and celebratory.  They said he was sinning by giving into the lust of the flesh.  Too much food, too much wine, and too much grace must be in his life.  He cannot be from God.

These people have no wisdom, only a desire to follow the lust of their flesh to do what they want, and the desire to make themselves look better than everyone else.  It is easier to criticize people for how they act than to examine our own lives and submit them to God that He may transform us into His image.  Let’s humbly offer our bodies to The Lord Jesus as living sacrifices to do what He wants in us and through us.  Whether we are fasting or feasting, we will sin if we have wrong hearts, wrong words, or wrong actions.  

My encouragement for us today is to focus on Jesus and be obedient to what He is calling us to do.  We do not need to look around us and degrade or exalt ourselves because of how they look or what we may be doing.  We are called to examine ourselves and submit ourselves to God.  As we walk in submission and obedience we will be transformed into the children of The Kingdom that we were created to be.

Jesus, help me to always look to You and You alone for approval.  I do not desire people of this world to consent to my actions, but I want to align with You, Your Word, and Your Way!  I want to praise, honor, and glorify You in my actions, words, and even thoughts that You may be glorified in me and that Your heart would be exhibited from me.

Practical –

  • Submit to Holy Spirit
  • Ask to hear His Words
  • Walk and live in obedience to all He reveals

Be blessed today to walk constantly coming more into line with Jesus and His way and to exhibit the same grace and truth that He walked in.  May you truly become the child of God you were created to be as The Kingdom is accelerated in and through you!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Are You Getting Soft? 37/40

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.

With only 4 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. However, they were also feasting out 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, God should be receiving some sort of thanksgiving, praise, or honor, but 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 in repentance or feasting in celebration.

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 flesh.  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.  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 blessed today with the ability and willingness to walk in obedience to all God is revealing. May you be accelerated and released into The Kingdom more and more as you obey passionately and wholeheartedly all that you have been given both in The Word and by The Spirit!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Partnered To Possess (Live It Out) 35/40

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.

The end is near! We are close to the completion of our commitment. Do not falter or waver from what God has spoken for you to do. Paul encourages us to run the race to win. What are we gaining? What is our prize? Jesus is our Great Reward! Let’s never forget that.  

We have been encouraged to be a witness in four increasing steps. We must:

  1. Know God, more and more each day.
  2. Ask and Pray for Him to give us His heart and to be a witness.
  3. Speak and Share the wonderful works of God and our daily testimony of His work.
  4. Act in Obedience with everything we are given to do.

Today we will discuss the last step:     

5. Live a life in accordance to The Word.

Let’s unpack this a little more. Today, more than ever, we have seen and know people who are much less than authentic.  The daily scams and identity thefts happening all the time have bred a general distrust of our fellow man.  In one sense, when we meet someone new, we are trying to prove that we are who we say we are instead of taking each other at our word.  At one time, you could shake hands and make a deal on that alone.  We trusted each other.  The vows and convenant that took place at a marriage ceremony would never be broken “until death do we part“. Because our society as a whole has become untrustworthy, everyone is looking for hypocrites and holes in your story before you ever meet them.  

Because people want The Truth so badly, they try to prove the authenticity of everything and everyone they come into contact with.  When we come and begin to tell someone about The Way, The Truth, and The Life, they will be looking at us and our lives as a litmus test of what we are saying. 

If we are not walking in The Word and living a life of obedience, what makes us any different than the telemarketer that calls them 10 times a day? 

Let’s move to the Word to see what God has to say about this after Moses has died.  Joshua has taken over as leader to bring Israel into The Promised Land, and God has promised to be with them and given them the land. However, they have to partner with Him, acting in obedience, and go in and take the land, little by little.  After many years of battle and taking the land, the people grow weary and begin to slack off in taking the land from their enemies. Joshua has this to say to them:

Joshua 18:3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you? 

This should be a stiff rebuke to us as we examine what it means to be a witness. As we have seen, God says “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations…”Psalm 2:8.  As we have asked, God has faithfully given, but we must live a life of continually partnering with Him to fully receive what He has given us.  

If you look at the word possess in the original Hebrew this is what it means:

to own, to seize and take control of, have complete power over and be manifested through their speech and actions, to make the owner, to enter in and control firmly,

We must not just go into the harvest, but we must possess the souls and nations that God has given us.  Holy Spirit does the work, but we must do our part in continually being obedient to Him and His word.  As this happens, we will be true, authentic witnesses for The Kingdom! 

Do you possess all that God intended and has given you??? 

Jesus says something similar regarding this subject:

Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

Every single one of us should be desiring to come after Jesus in doing what He did while He was on the earth, and greater! Jesus says, we must deny ourselves, our own sinful, selfish desires that would cause us to walk in the ways of the world. We must take up our cross, our connection to Jesus which has brought us into unbroken fellowship with Him. We must do this every single day without fail.  Then, we must follow Him!  This is where we live and walk out our faith practically with Him every day.  

God has given you influence, responsibility, authority! What are you doing with it?  

Are you neglecting it fully or in part

My encouragement for us today is to live out The Truth in our daily lives. We must follow Jesus and do all He is calling us to do in daily life. We must remain humble and repentant as Holy Spirit reveals issues that need to be dealt with. We must be obedient in doing all He calls us to do. We must live our lives every day coming more into line with the revelation of Truth we have been given.  This is who we are; we are his true, authentic witnesses. He has given us a harvest of souls and nations to possess. May we partner with Him in a real way by becoming increasingly obedient every single day. 

Jesus, I desire to truly follow in Your footsteps. Help me to deny the fleshly desires within me that cause me to want to please myself. I want to take up The Truth of The Good News You have given and walk in obedience to what You are saying. I want to do this every single day even as You have given me a great promised harvest to go in and possess. Help me to live out the gospel even as I speak it forth and act in obedience to what You are revealing! 

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you to know Him deeper than ever before
  • Pray that you receive the Father’s heart of compassion for souls and nations
  • Speak out the wonderful works of God, the testimony you have been given
  • Act in obedience to do everything God has called you to
  • Live a life of continual obedience, renewal, and following in Jesus’ footsteps

Be blessed today with the ability to live faithfully in following Jesus in all He said and did! May you fully possess the land God has given you as you are accelerated in The Kingdom!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Active Faith (Obey) 34/40

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.

One week from now, we will have completed The 40. Praise The Lord for His grace, mercy, and strength. 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 and grace 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 further on past 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, but God is the Great 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 to the acceleration of The Kingdom in and through each one of us.

Jesus, I want to be obedient to everything You have called me to do. You are my Lord and Master.  Whatever 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 accelerated in The Kingdom more than you could possibly imagine!

 Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Catalyst of Change 29/40

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 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 The Truth.  This led to the discussion Real Repentance is Real 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, friends, 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 wherever 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. When he is finally able to speak, thus 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 was 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 accelerates His Kingdom in and through you!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Daily Direction 24/40

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.

May the strength of The Lord be upon you today! I know I need it. It seems that in the midst of my fasting, every little thing becomes a major deal. Sleeping less is usually not a big deal, but in the middle of fasting, it becomes even harder to continue the commitments we have made to The Lord with a right heart.  Do not let the weakness of the flesh or the enticements of the enemy draw you to the lesser thing, but it is time to go up and go higher to the place where we can touch and be touched by heaven. Supernatural strength be upon us all today!

We have discussed some major life changing fruit that prayer and fasting can produce in our lives.  This power-packed duo has the ability to do so many things that are super big and majorly important, saving a city, healing a land, shifting the heavens…  However, let us not overlook the ways that fasting and prayer aids us in everyday life.  

As we look at a passage from the book of Ezra, let me set up the background for you.  Israel, God’s chosen people, had rebelled and walked away from God. Because of this, judgment came upon them through the Babylonians, and they are taken into captivity.  During captivity, we find Daniel faithfully serving the Lord through fasting and prayer out of a heart of repentance and humility.  Grace and mercy come at the set time, partnering with the prayers of Daniel and others, and God uses Cyrus to set the people free and allow them to return and build Jerusalem.  

Ezra was of the priestly class and takes it upon himself to lead one of the groups of people back to their homeland.  Nehemiah the cup-bearer to the king also brings people back to the land during the same time period.  Ezra is preparing to lead this large group of Jews on a long journey to their home.  This is where we pick up the story:

Ezra 8:15 Now I gathered them by the river that flows to Ahava, and we camped there three days. And I looked among the people and the priests, and found none of the sons of Levi there. 

As they were preparing to leave, Ezra found that none of the designated spiritual leaders of the people were with them. Ezra was the only one who had volunteered to go with the people.  How disheartening this must have been to be the only spiritual leader around that was being voluntarily obedient to press into the freedom and return to the promised land that God had given them. All the other “men of God” had decided to remain in bondage, captivity, and comfort rather than press through to breakthrough and walk in the freedom and blessing that God had given them.  

After compelling some of his brethren, other priests, to come with him he must realize that the task of traveling with all these people and an abundance of silver and gold, to be used as an offering to God and to pay for the work of rebuilding their cities, will be more difficult than he thought. Therefore, this is what Ezra does:

Ezra 8:21-23 Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.

Ezra is being faithful and obedient in his daily life to do what God has sent him to do. He is walking in wisdom to gather other leaders to care for the people going with him, others that will follow, and those that are already in the land.  It seems that Ezra is walking as a wise leader, full of faith, obedience, and wisdom; but he realizes that he needs God’s help.  Without His protection, they will be easy prey for their enemies.  So, Ezra humbles himself and asks for help from the Almighty God.  Obviously God is with him.  God set it up for all these things to take place. Clearly, Ezra is continually declaring the goodness of God and His hand of protection upon them even to the king.  However, Ezra calls the people to humility, fasting and prayer that he might lead them and protect them in a special way.

Today, you and I can be walking with God completely and totally full of faith and obedience.  We can trust the Lord and be walking fully in his calling, but this does not mean that we do not need Him to be continually with us to strengthen us and keep us from going astray.  Right now, more than ever, you need him right where you are. You need Jesus to invade your home, your neighborhood, your workplace, your school, your church, your city and nation. No matter how spiritually mature you may be or how good things may be going, pride is the only thing that will cause us to walk our daily lives without asking God for supernatural protection and direction.

What is the result of Ezra’s call to humility, prayer, and fasting for direction and protection?

Ezra 8:31 Then we departed from the river of Ahava on the twelfth day of the first month, to go to Jerusalem. And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us from the hand of the enemy and from ambush along the road.

God faithfully directed him and the people the way they should go and protected them along the way.  There may not have been any amazing sign or wonder displayed, but this small group of poor, former slaves and their families, traveling with all their herds, possessions, and an abundance of gold and silver, were protected daily as they traveled more than 900 miles over four months.  

My encouragement for you is to intentionally invite The Lord into your daily life today and every day. As we fast and ask God for the “big”, “spiritual” requests, do not forget your need for Him to strengthen, guide, and protect your daily, routine, coming and going.  Holy Spirit must be infused into every moment of our lives that the glory of God may be constantly and continually flowing into and out of us for all those who need Him to come and drink!

Jesus, I thank You that You are The One who does mighty signs, wonders, and miracles.  I also thank You that you are The Good Shepherd that walks with me in my everyday life. I need Your protection and direction in every moment of my life. I invite You to lead me and guide me every single day to walk in Your way. May I never forget to recognize and honor You in every part and every seeming small part of my life!

Practical –

  • Invite Holy Spirit to be with you right now
  • Acknowledge your need for Him to guide and protect you today
  • Ask Him to reveal Himself in a special way within your daily routine activities
  • Recognize and Glorify God in the “small” as well as the “big” blessings today

Be blessed with the ability to know and recognize with increasing perception the amazing blessings God is working on your behalf in your daily life! As this happens, may you glorify Him and be accelerated in The Kingdom !

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Advance The Kingdom 22/40

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 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 may His Kingdom be accelerated in and through you!

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!

    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 great a sacrifice.  Should they calm down in what they are doing, or should they 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 eating and meeting and everyone shows up, but call a church prayer meeting more crickets show up than people.  However, if you call a prayer meeting and call 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.  The commissioning and sending out of Barnabas and Saul for the advancement of The Kingdom was part of this same 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 advancement of The Kingdom.  This is before Saul had proven 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 truly accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!