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Direction & Protection 24/40

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!

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 day to day 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.  The 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 alone 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 and captivity 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 and wisdom, but he realizes that without God’s help, they will be easy prey for their enemies to take advantage of.  So, he 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 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.

For us, we 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, neighborhood, your workplace, your school, your church, your city and nation. Not 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 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 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 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 propelled to new levels with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

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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!!!

    Deeply Devoted 18/40

    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 continue to press in toward the halfway point, we must choose to remember that Jesus is worth all that we have to give and so much more.  Whatever you have chosen to fast, it is a pleasing offering to Him.  We do it because we love Him and want to give Him even more worship in our very bodies.  May you be reminded of Jesus’ worth. He is worth giving up our very lives that He may be exalted and glorified above every idol in the land.

    Today, I want to challenge you and “spur you on toward love and even greater works.”  Whatever level of devotion to The Lord you find yourself at this moment, Jesus deserves so much more.  Too many times, we may look at the people around us and gauge our level spiritually.  We are doing pretty well compared to Joe Shmoe over there.  We have been praying, fasting and seeking The Lord in a special way for almost 3 weeks now.  We must be doing pretty well.

    Personally, this is one of the areas that I have to constantly war against, spiritual pride and judgment.  In order that we do not think too highly of ourselves, remember Jesus’ story of the tax collector and the Pharisee.  The Pharisee came boasting at all of his accomplishments and what he was doing for God, while the tax collector cried out for God’s mercy. Jesus says this about the tax collector:

    Luke 18:13 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” 

    Let us never forget our place in The Kingdom.  All of us must come to the feet of The cross; then we are “raised up together to be seated in heavenly places with Him.”  He is worthy of more than I could ever give to Him.  Our bodies, efforts, hearts and lives are poor in comparison to what He is worth, however, I gladly give all that I have.  

    We must never compare ourselves to other people and gain some sort of feeling of spiritual superiority.  We are humble creatures in need of Jesus.  We should always have more that we desire to give.  For God’s pleasure, I was designed to worship.  May He forever receive even more worship from our lives.  

    In Luke 2, we find the story of a lady names Anna:

    Luke 2:36-38 A prophetess named Anna was also in the temple court that day. She was from the Jewish tribe of Asher and the daughter of Phanuel.  Anna was an aged widow who had been married only seven years before her husband passed away. After he died she chose to worship God in the temple continually. For the past eighty-four years she had been serving God with night-and-day prayer and fasting.

    After being married for only 7 years, her husband died. She did not live in regret, grief, or anger at God.  She gave deep devotion to The Lord and served night and day in the temple.  She was seeking The Lord out of a pure humble heart for more than 84 years. 

    What was her reward for all this? She got to see Jesus!!!

    Lord, let that be my reward.  You are worth it to me!!!

    You may be doing more than some, but there is always a deeper level of devotion to go to.  You can never make God do anything, but you must desire to see the deep secret places of God.  Imagine the depths of the Lord that few have been able to reach because they cannot go the distance or give up the junk that is in the way.  May this be the cry of your heart, “I will give up the junk in deep devotion to Jesus so that I may gain access to the deepest places with Him!”  

    Jesus, I want to see Your face.  I desire to hear Your voice.  I long for new revelations of Your love.  You are the source from which all things flow.  If I have to give up everything to see You, You are worth it! May this ever be the longing of my heart. 

    Practical – 

    • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal and remove any spiritual pride
    • Ask for revelation of Jesus’ worth
    • Commit to a deeper level of devotion
    • Obey whatever Holy Spirit speaks

    Be blessed with new revelations of Jesus’ worth and the desire and ability to advance to deeper levels of devotion with Him.  May you access the deepest place with Him that few ever find!

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

     

     

    Accomplish The “Impossible” 9/40

    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!

    Most of us have started The 40 with high expectations, however, now the real work begins.  The day to day living it out can be hard since we must constantly seek to overrule our flesh and give ourselves to the Lord.

    Now is the time to encourage ourselves in The Lord the benefits of keeping The 40 and continuing to walk with Holy Spirit in spite of what our bodies might be telling us.

    Prayer and fasting gives us the power to accomplish the “impossible”.  Of course, we know that “nothing shall be impossible with God”, yet we still live our lives with “impossible” situations which do not seem to respond to us.

    Jesus’ disciples had this same problem while He was on the mount being transfigured.  A man whose son is assaulted by demons asks for their help.  Though they try, they can do nothing about it.  When Jesus returns, He easily casts out the demons and heals the boy.  He does not seem to be impressed with His disciples’ efforts either.  The disciples come to Him and ask why they could not do the same.  This is His response:

    Matthew 17:20 “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

    We do not know what was going on in the disciples’ minds, but Jesus did not ever shy away from directly addressing what people said in their hearts.  I believe the disciples did not see a response and had blamed it on not having enough faith.  Jesus directly confronts this with The Kingdom Truth that the smallest amount of faith can do the mightiest things in His Kingdom.  They had let doubt creep in and this kept them from pressing in to see transformation take place.

    Then, Jesus says something else interesting that some translations completely leave out.

    Matthew 7:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

    What kind is Jesus talking about? 

    Some would say demons, but I think He is talking about the unbelief.  Unbelief is a pesky little problem that constantly assaults our media-driven culture.  If we cannot see or hear something happening, it is quite hard for us to believe.  We can never see the shifting in the heavens when our eyes are on worldly circumstances.

    If unbelief keeps us back from doing mighty work in The Kingdom, we should be quick to follow Jesus’ cure for it, prayer and fasting.  This dynamite duo is able to demolish and disintegrate the demonic unbelief that has built up in our lives.  This is how we say, “God I trust You to take care of the unseen as I partner with You in the physical.  I need you to do the “impossible” work of overcoming these spiritual obstacles in me while I do the possible work, with Your help, of prayer and fasting.”

    Jesus, help me to know that you have given me a measure of faith.  This faith has the power to overcome every seeming impossible thing in my life and those around me.  Help me to join with you in prayer and fasting that all unbelief within me will be destroyed and Your mountain-moving faith will be displayed for all to come and glorify You. 

    Practical – 

    • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal the things in your life and around you that you have labeled as impossible
    • Pray that every ounce of unbelief is removed from your life
    • Participate with Him in doing the impossible whatever He shows you to do

    Be blessed with the power to remove all doubt and do the impossible as you walk with God in obedience and humility.  May this propel you into new levels in The Kingdom!

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

    High-Yield Investment

    Daily Encouragement – 

    Do you have what it takes? Is it in you? Are you a good investment?

    I have planted many good seeds of My Kingdom within you. I have cultivated and fertilized each one of these investments with My blessings from Heaven. Every blessings, promise, and word are investments I have placed within you to bring forth a good return for The Kingdom. I have not blessed you because you have earned it or deserve it (you do not). Your life is an investment for Me and My Kingdom. 

    I expect a high-yield return from the continual blessings I have lavished upon you. You will always bring forth some type of fruit in your life. Make sure you are bearing the good fruit of The Kingdom and not the wild fruit of the world.  Your purpose and destiny is to bear good fruit. My blessings will not continue forever to bring forth wild crops. 

    Come to Me and bear the fruit you were designed to. Watch as My blessings increase in your life. I will continually sow My blessings into good investments. You are a good investment as you walk with Me more and more. I love you My child!!!

    Isaiah 5:1-2 “… My Well-beloved has a vineyard On a very fruitful hill. He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a winepress in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes

    Vs. 4 
    What more could have been done to My vineyard That I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, Did it bring forth wild grapes?

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

    Better than Ice Cream!!!

    Daily Encouragement – 

    I love you My child. I am doing great things in all the earth, and I want to make you a part of it. 

    Right where you are, there is a need for action to be taken and My words of Truth to be spoken. You do not have to have a pulpit or an audience. Everyone needs to hear. 

    You need to be like an ice cream truck arriving wherever you are. Continually share the words of Truth and Life. As you lift Me high, I will draw all men to Me.

    What joy and good news you have to bring better than the fleeting pleasure of an ice cream you have to pay for yourself. I paid the ultimate price so everyone could have the good news for free. 

    Do not hold back or keep My gift of good news to yourself. Broadcast it to everyone around you and share the good news that is free for all who will receive it. I love you My child.

    Romans 10:14-17 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

    Worship and Sacrifice

    Simple Discipleship

    This is the third week is the Simple Discipleship series.  Here are the first two messages in this series.

    1. Being a Leader/Disicple
    2. Intimacy/Love of God

    Here is the topic of study for next week:

    Worship and Sacrifice

    • My notes can be found here: Simple Discipleship Week 3
    • Here is the Audio Teaching from Feb 17, 2016: http://lwcburleson.sermon.net/main/main/20609931

    men-raise-hands-to-worship-God

    As we begin learning about Worship and Sacrifice, we must first ask ourselves,

    What is Worship?  

    What is Sacrifice?

    If we do not have a proper understanding of these things, then as we discuss them, we will never come to a true understanding.  My prayer is that as we investigate the scriptures, that we will understand even more the meaning of these and how we can apply them to our lives.

    Worship – Honoring and lifting high another as higher than yourself out of a heart of love in response to God’s word, act, or nature.

    Sacrifice – Giving up completely something that is greatly important to you for the benefit of another because you love them.

    Here, I am talking specifically of the worshiping God, but we worship and lift high so many things that are undeserving.  Food, sleep, money, fashion, entertainment, sports, people, can all be worshiped in spite of not being worth it.  In this one statement, you may be feeling judged and your toes may feel stepped on, but this is the reality of the matter in my life as well as the lives of so many others.

    We have a struggle in the morning when our alarms go off whether we will rise and spend time with the Lord worshiping Him or worship the god of sleep that is so seductive especially when it comes time to make the decision.  I could go on and on about each one of these, but every time we choose these things over obedience to God and love for Him, we are worshiping them and lifting them high as the important things in our lives.

    Worship

    In 2 Chronicles 21, we come to learn that we worship God when we accept His word and are obedient without doubting or questioning what He says.  Jehosophat had no direct command of God to put His worshipers on the front lines.  They did it out of an act of obedience and thus worshiped God by being obedient and trusting in the word of God.

    In Genesis 22, Abraham is called to sacrifice his son that God had just revealed was the son of promise.  Abraham trusted God in such a way that as they went to the mountain in Vs. 5 Abraham says we go to worship.  Abraham’s heart of sacrifice is a true act of worship to God.  He was willing to give whatever God asked in obedience out of his great love for Him.

    In John 4,

    What Jesus mean to worship God in Spirit and truth?

    • God wants a constant communion with you in the day to day.  He does not want you to worship Him in a church or at your house only, but in the Spirit everywhere you go in every situation that you are in.
    • God wants you to be honest with Him.  You cannot fool God.  He sees the thoughts and intentions of your heart.  If you are giving Him something small and seemingly mediocre out of a good heart, it is greater worship than giving the very most you have out of a wrong heart. (1 Cor 13:3)

    In Malachi 1, God desires our very best.  If we bring God half-hearted worship out of duty, these things are not pure and holy and actually dishonor and disrespect God.  He would rather no one worship than to have duty-filled worship out of grudging hearts.  He wants pure and holy worship that is a true witness to who He is.  This only comes when we are giving God our best out of a willing and loving heart.

    In 2 Samuel 24, David reveals that God is blessed by our sacrifice more than he is blessed by our excess.  We see this concept over and over throughout the Bible that when we give God something valuable to us, that is true worship.  Those giving because they have extra does not impress God.  Jesus states this in a different way when talking of the widow in Mark 12:41-44. God desires our pure and holy sacrifice so He can bless us with better than our very best!!!

    men-raise-hands-to-worship-God

    Finally, in Luke 7, a “sinner” probably a prostitute comes in to the middle of the pastors and elders of their day.  She humbles herself completely to the judgmental and critical thoughts and stares and worships Jesus.  This “sinner”  sacrificed more and gave more in worship than anyone else around.  Because of her sacrifice and true heart of worship, her sins are forgiven, and she is saved.  She was forgiven much and so loved much.  The fact that she loved much caused her to sacrifice her most valuable possession and her pride as an act of worship to Jesus.

    Does you love cause you to sacrifice your pride and valuables in worship to the Lord? 

    Nothing I have spoken is out of judgment or condemnation, but Holy Spirit has even convicted me in studying these things.  Our love for God will always lead us to a true worship which is displayed in what we are willing to sacrifice for our True Love.

    Ask Holy Spirit these questions and be obedient in what He is speaking:

    Are you giving your very best to God?  This is true worship.

    What is God calling you to sacrifice to love Him and worship Him in a deeper way?

    worship1

    May you be blessed with knowing more of the Love of God than ever before, and may you receive the fullness of the blessing that comes through true worship and sacrifice.

    Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!