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Glutton & Drunkard 39/40

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!

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 a 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 man 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 others because of how they look or what they 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 you are propelled into new levels with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Propelled Into The Next Level

It has been a great to joy to sit back and watch how God has used Katie to take over most of the encouragement this year.  With what God is speaking now, I felt it necessary to share this encouragement that will help propel you to the next level in your relationship with God.

Are you in a place of weary waiting?  Have you stood on the promises of God and cried out for so long and nothing seems to happen?  Do you desire a change of circumstances? Are you desperate for doors to be opened? Are you hungry for new power to be released?

Do you desire to be propelled to the next level?!?!

Many may not receive this as a word of encouragement.  Most will ignore it and continue in the same old way of life. Some will accept it as truth, but few will take this word of encouragement and put it into practice and be powerfully propelled into new levels with the Lord.

The principle I am going to speak of was followed by every major player in both the Old and New Testament. Moses, David, Elisha, Peter, Paul, John and so many more all followed this principle and were propelled into new levels of power when they did.  It seems strange in knowing all this that anyone who truly follows Christ would be unwilling to participate in this practice.  It is never easy for any of us to deny our flesh and follow in the footsteps of Christ.  However, obedience will rocket us into the exponential increase that we all desire. 

For those who truly desire to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, let us hear what He has to say about this great power available for all who partake in it.

Matthew 6:16 “…when you fast…”  

What did He say?  Is that in red? Did Jesus actually say the “F” word?  Why didn’t He say IF you fast”? Isn’t fasting just an option for true extremists?

How many of you have been in church for years and never heard anything about fasting?  Obviously, this verse must be taken out of context or some obscure part that no one ever reads.  I am sorry to say that this is right in the middle of probably the most famous sermon of all time “The Sermon on the Mount”.  From this discourse we get, “The Beatitudes”, “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Love your enemies”, and many of the other more famous words of Jesus.

You can read the context for yourself in Matthew 6, but here is a quick refresher.

Matthew 6:3-4But when you give, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your giving may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.”

“When you give” is a passage that probably comes up regularly during offering time in the church. Here, the Father rewards the giving that is done out of a right heart.  Nobody would deny these words of Jesus as being essential to growth in the Lord.

Matthew 6:6 “…when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Here is another widely known passage that is followed by the Model Prayer.  Everyone would affirm that it is necessary to pray and learn how to pray more and better to proceed in your walk with God.  The Father who sees these prayers will reward you for the time spent praying and crying out to Him.

The passage from Matthew 6:16-18 continues in the same parallel repeating twice, “…when you fast…”. The thought is completed as verse 18 ends your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Surely Jesus would not put fasting on the same level as giving and praying in the essential steps to being propelled into the next level in The Kingdom.  Whenever I bring up this topic, people groan and look at me like some sort of alien. “I like food too much”, or “that is too hard,” or “you are crazy”, are some of the common responses that I have received just by bringing up one or two verses as I have mentioned above.  I encourage you to study fasting throughout the New and Old Testament and see the great men that walked it out and what they gained as a lifestyle of fasting with prayer out of a right heart.

img_6674.jpgIf nothing else, Jesus Himself left us the perfect example. After Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3, He was led by The Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This was the time of testing that would prove who Jesus really was.  What did Jesus do to prepare and continue to stand strong in the midst of the greatest onslaught of the enemy? At the beginning of Matthew 4, we see plainly that Jesus fasted forty days. He gave up the worldly way of gaining strength and power and took up the spiritual empowerment of fasting and prayer.  Because of this, He was ready for all the enemy had to throw at Him.

Later in Matthew 17:20-21, prayer and fasting come up again as a dynamite combination that allows the impossible to be accomplished through your life.  So many of us want a secret formula that will help us overcome the enemy, or the secret weapon that will destroy the enemies’ hold on our lives. Here it is:

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.  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.

If you need more incentive here are just some of the benefits of fasting and praying with the right heart:

  1. Corporate Freedom (The Salvation of a City) Jonah 3:1-10

Here an entire city, over 120,000 are saved because of repentance, fasting and prayer

2.  The Healing of the Land2 Chronicles 7:13-14

If you study it out, the main outward expression of humbling yourself before God is fasting.

3. To Influence Government and Save a PeopleEsther 4:16-17

Esther, Mordecai, and the Jewish people fasted and prayed and God brought deliverance.

4. Personal Freedom and BreakthroughIsaiah 58

This is probably the best place to view many of the numerous blessings of fasting and prayer out of a right heart.

5. Empowerment of the AngelicDaniel 9:3-4, 20-21

6. Opening of the Eyes to Spiritual RealmDaniel 10:2-11, Acts 10:30

7. Gaining UnderstandingDaniel 9:3-10:12

There are many more benefits and blessings that can be found throughout Scripture if you care to study the topic further.

Before I end, I want to give a few simple definitions of fasting.

Lou Engle states “Fasting and prayer is designed to humble yourself, reveal your flesh, and purify your worship“.

David Hogan says “Fasting is a good way to get hungry“.

A personal definition that I have come up with is giving up a legitimate pleasure as a sacrifice to gain breakthrough and a deepening relationship with the Lord.  We do this because we love Jesus, and He is worth it!

I want to encourage you to begin cultivating a lifestyle of prayer and fasting into your Christian walk.  Every new level in my personal life has been marked by a new commitment to prayer, fasting, and spending time in The Word.

THIS IS YOUR INVITATION TO INCREASE!!!

From Monday, August 26th – Friday, October 4th God has called me to consecrate a 40 day fast for several reasons not the least of which is Revival and souls for The Kingdom.  I encourage you to fast one, two, or all of the three major areas that we are controlled by:

  1. Food
  2. Media
  3. Sleep

Allow God to lead you into the next level of fasting that you may be propelled into the next level with Him.

A word of advice when fasting food more than three days, please study the right way not only to fast but also to break a fast. Often the world understands the health benefits of fasting better than Christians understand the spiritual benefits. Because of this, there are many websites that can aid in fasting and breaking extended fasts.

If you would like to carry on further study here are the three best books I have found on prayer and fasting;

  1. The Atomic Power with God thru Fasting and Prayer by Franklin Hall
  2. Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting by Derek Prince
  3. The Jesus Fast by Lou Engle

May the Lord truly bless you as you prepare to be propelled into the next level with Him.  Always remember:

Hebrews 11:6 “…He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

May you receive the fullness of The Great Rewarder!!!

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!!!

 

 

True Ministers of God

Are you a True Minister of God? Read on to find out everything this entails…

This morning, while reading in 2 Corinthians, I stumbled across some very interesting verses that are important for us to dwell on that our lives may be lived as God desires. For those of you who have decided to become a True Follower of Christ, you are called a minister of Christ (2 Cor. 3:6). Although you may never be called to be a full-time minister or pastor as I was eleven years ago, you are a minister right now!!! In His letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives each one of us an idea of how we should be living, and what we should expect as we follow Him!!!

2 Corinthians 6:3-4a “We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.”

This is something we must always be wary of. Our lives as representations of Who God is must not give Him a bad light in anything that we do or do not do. We must be always living as His children. No pressure! I am thankful that the grace of God covers my failures, but I must be open and say that I am not perfect…and neither are you. So I am in good company 🙂 Our openness and transparency about our faults allows others to grab ahold of the truth of grace working in us.

4b “We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food.

Most of us have experienced at least some of these, but we have much more to expect if we are truly following in the footsteps of Christ!!!

6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love.

How are you proving yourself this week? Ask Holy Spirit to help you be the proof of Christ in the midst of every negative situation.

7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

The Truth of God radiating from us, the power of God working through us, and His righteousness working in us are the weapons and defense against the enemy and his forces!!!

8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”

It does not matter where we are, what we are doing, what people’s response to us, or accusations against us are. Our situation does not dictate how we are to act or conduct ourselves. As we rely fully upon The Lord, He will give us the ability to triumph in any circumstance and shine forth His glory in every trial.

Remember, that no matter where you are or what you are doing, you are being a minister of Christ!!! Are you proclaiming the Truth of who He is and what He is doing for you no matter what is going on around you? Are you being a light of hope in a dark world? Are you giving and accurate representation of who He is? Or are you causing others to view Christ falsely or making Him seem powerless and puny?

You are a minister of Christ and I bless you with the ability to radiate His truth, walk in His righteousness, and bring glory to God through the working of His power and sharing of His love!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!