Tag Archives: Jew

Fasting & Feasting 38/40

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 are on the homestretch to finish the 40, I want to remind us that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do great things in our lives because of our faithfulness to walk out obedience.  God looks on the smallest of acts of obedience and rewards mightily as we set our hearts to glorify Him. Let’s continue all the way to the end because He is worth it and we love Him!

Most of The 40, we have discussed the benefits and blessings of fasting.  Amazing things come from presenting our bodies as loving and living sacrifices to be used by God.  However, yesterday we began to talk about glorifying God in our feasting as well as our fasting.  People that hear me talk about fasting might think that I do not like to eat.  They would be completely wrong.  However, I have found the value in fasting to the glory of God as well as eating to the glory of God.  As we prepare our hearts to return to our normal lifestyle, let’s focus on glorifying God in every area of our lives.  

Today, I let’s return to the prophet Zechariah.  He comes upon the scene at a time in Israel’s history after they have been released from captivity. The people are in their own land finally and cannot seem to continue on rebuilding the city because of the opposition.  Complacency and lethargy set in and they go about their normal way of life not really doing anything spectacular or impressive.  Even in the midst of their indifference, they continue the religious fasting that has been set up for them to carry out.  

Let’s look at the words of Zechariah to the people:

Zechariah 8:19 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace…

The people of Israel have four set times during the year that they are fasting and setting apart to The Lord.  However, the temple has not been rebuilt and all of their daily life is languishing cause God is not glorified in their daily routine.  The people are admonished to love truth and peace and be joyful and glad even during the feasts.  As they are obedient, even in their daily feasting and eating, a great reward wil be given them.  

Let’s read more:

Zechariah 8:21-23 The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, “Let us continue to go and pray before the Lord, And seek the Lord of hosts. I myself will go also.” Yes, many peoples and strong nations Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, And to pray before the Lord.’ “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’ 

The inhabitants of peoples, cities, and nations will be drawn to Israel as they continually pray and seek The Lord.  Our daily life is not devoid of divine interaction.  Every moment of our lives should be submitted in obedience to The God of the universe.  As we lay our lives down before Him, He will draw all men to Himself.  

The other thing that is important in this passage is that people are coming from all around because God is with His people.  Wherever we happen to be, grocery store, gas station, school, workplace, or somewhere else, people should realize that God is with us.  We carry the very Spirit and presence of an almighty God inside us as we are submitted in obedience to Him.  He should ever be radiating His glory from us and effecting the atmosphere around us.  

As we talk about the glory of God continuously emanating from our being, Here is a final caution from Psalm 78:

Psalm 78:41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.

The day to day lives of the Israelites after they were freed from Egypt were rebellion and disobedience.  Because they did not live in obedience and humility, they actually limited the God of the universe from doing what He wanted to do through them.  We must continually seek to remove anything our of our lives that would get in the way of Him moving in us and through us.  We must seek to never limit God in what He wants to do no matter whether we are fasting or feasting!

My encouragement for us today is to continually seek The Lord and His way.  As He reveals a himself to us, may we walk in humility and obedience that He may move how He wants to move, big or small. If it is our heart to seek Him, love Him, and glorify His name at all times, God will be glorified in our fasting as well as our feasting as well as all the time in between.

Jesus, here I am! I desire to be used mightily by You. May every area of my life be completely surrendered to You!  I love You and desire for You to be glorified continually through my life.  Help me to always lift You up and allow You to have free reign to do whatever You want to do in and through my life. 

Practical –

  • Set your heart to seek The Lord
  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you
  • Walk in continual obedience 
  • Invite Him to speak and move in your daily routine as well as your specialized time with Him

Be blessed to experience and release the power of The Resurrected Lord in your daily life. May you never limit him because of disobedience but release a him in all of His fullness to work through you.  As you allow God to move in greater ways during your daily routine, may this propel you into the next level with Him.

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Inherit The Promises 36/40

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

Now, we are so close to the end. The end is in sight.  Do not give up or surrender to the enemy. Press on and obtain the prize of knowing Jesus in a greater way.  The 40 has been a special time of sowing seed together, and we will fully complete it together if we do not lose heart!

Today, As we press on toward the end. I was reminded of something that needs to be shared.  Lou Engle, a man who is known for fasting and praying as a lifestyle, has said that often, we do not see the fruit of 40 days of fasting until afterwards.  My wife and I have been seeking the Lord diligently for a long time with varying degrees of success in hearing and seeing.  However, it seems that during The 40 there have been no dreams, visions, or life-changing words yet.  I know that if we are experiencing this, others are as well. It can be discouraging to be in a time like this, but know this, you are not alone, and the best fruit takes a little longer to grow.  

As we look at faith and patience partnering together to bring forth fruit, we must recognize the entire book of Hebrews was written for this purpose. I encourage you, the last few days of The 40, read through Hebrews a couple chapters at a time.  This book was written to Jewish people that had converted to Chrisitanity, but were not seeing the benefits and blessings they had been told about.  Because of this, they were considering returning to religious Judaism which they were more accustomed to and familiar with.  

Hebrews 6:12 “…do not become sluggish [lazy], but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

In this chapter the writer of Hebrews reveals that the great fathers of the faith, such as Abraham, inherited the promises of God by faith and patience.  The promises that God gives are not received by a one time prayer and here you go.  The greatest promises took years of enduring faith for the people of God to see take place.

Vs. 15 “And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”

Abraham being the example here, had to wait until he was well past the normal point of having children to receive the first fruit of his promise Isaac. God promised to give him more than the stars in the sky multitude of descendants and he had to patiently endure just to see Isaac.  Through faith and patience, he obtained and inherited the first part of an amazing promises that is still being fulfilled today!

Over in Hebrews 11 is the other half of the story:

Hebrews 11:11 By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

Sarah also had to have a persevering faith to believe that what God said he would bring forth through her would take place. The good thing that we see here is that her unbelief, she laughed at the word of The Lord, is not recorded.  Only the faith and patience that inherits the promise is recorded in the history of heaven.  

Even after Abraham and Sarah received the primary fulfillment of their promise Isaac, God tested them to see if they would still have faith that would be supernaturally obedient and endurant to give God glory through the seed.  This is what is recorded about Abraham’s faith:

Hebrews 11:17-19 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.

Abraham had such an assurance in the faithfulness of God to bring about the promise that He had spoken Abraham believed God would raise Isaac from the dead to complete it. This faith was that much more incredible, because no one had ever been raised from the dead yet.  This is just one of the fathers of our faith who is a great example of inheriting the promises of God by faith and persevering patience.

My encouragement for us today is to never give up and never lose heart. Maybe you have seen some fruit already from The 40, maybe not.  Look to the faithfulness of God to bring forth the seeds that have been sown and grown during this season to bring them forth at exactly the right time.  I got news last night that my unborn nephew that was supposed to come early because of complications is doing better and being allowed to go full term.  My family has been fasting and praying for him since we found out.  His full healing may not be there yet, but praise the Lord for a good testimony.  Look for the fulfillment of your prayers, big or small, and let them spur you on to faith and patience in obtaining the promises of God and never giving up on what God has spoken!

Jesus, I desire to truly be one of Your children of faith. No matter what I may see with my eyes, I will look to You to fulfill Your promises. Help me to have continually increasing faith and patience in You that You may bring forth all that You have for me and want to do through me. May I never give up on You because You are faithful!!!

Practical –

  • Read through Hebrews over the next week
  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal promises that God has spoken to you
  • Ask for an increase in faith, patience, and obedience
  • Walk out all God has called you to do

Be blessed today to stand strong and be the person of faith you were created to be!  May you stand strong in faith and persevere through every obstacle to lay hold of the promises of God as you are propelled into the next level with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

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!!!

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!!!

 

 

Shifting The Heavens 8/40

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!

Today starts week 2, we thank God for His grace and mercy to get us this far, and we ask for divine strength to continue The 40 as we have purposed in our hearts.

Right now, you may not notice anything happening in the earth, but there is a shifting taking place in the heavens. The heavenly realm is moved when a son or daughter of God humbles themselves and lays down their life for The King.  

2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

God’s eyes are upon you to strengthen you and sustain you.  Invite Him to come and strengthen you even now.

God responds to faith, as we see in Hebrews 11, and fasting is true faith in God as your sustainer.  Humility causes God to move in a mighty way, and fasting and prayer actually turns God’s heart to mercy, grace, and compassion for those crying out to Him.

Consider my two-year old’s favorite story, the story of Jonah.  An unwilling prophet is compelled to obedience to speak a word of judgment to a horribly wicked city.  He speaks a simple word “yet forty days and the city of Nineveh will be overthrown”, and the people believe God.  These are not righteous God-fearing Jews, but pagan idol-worshiping, murdering, adulterous people.  In spite of all this, they believed God.  These people who did not even know our God turned to Him and cried out in repentance, fasting, and prayer for every man and beast.  The king offers this statement, “Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”  the heavens were shifted over the region of Nineveh (more than 120,000 people), and God relented from what He said he would do.

How is this possible?  How is this even fair?

Humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer shifted the heavens from judgment to mercy and grace.  God has both justice and mercy, grace and truth in His nature.  However, you have the power to shift the Heavens in your life and even the city or region you live in.  God has placed you where you are for a reason, and He has called you to The 40 for a reason.

As you continue into week 2, let this be an encouragement to you.  You are contending for you, your family, your neighbors, your city, your nation, and the nations around the world.  You have been given the ability to shift the Heavens!  Don’t give up! Don’t back down!  Press in to fulfill your purpose in The Kingdom even if you cannot see the change taking place in front of your eyes.  

Jesus, help us to be the ones that come to you in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer. We desire to transform our homes, neighborhoods, regions, and nations.  We desire Your Kingdom to come in a mighty way, help us to be the ones that bring about this change, even as you change our hearts to come more into line with Your heart.

Practical – 

  • Read Jonah 3
  • Ask Holy Spirit to give you a heart for where he has placed you
  • Ask to be the change
  • Be obedient to all that God speaks

Be blessed to be the change that transforms every area of society as Holy Spirit propels you into the next level with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Press on and Press In 4/40

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!

The fast is beginning to get real. I would venture to say that most people who have undertaken a complete food fast have not gone past three days.  The good news is that it should begin to get easier now.  The physically hard part should be over soon if it is not already.  A word of wisdom, the spiritually and relationally hard part will probably remain throughout the fast.

The enemy does not want you to go the 40.  Temptations will arise.  Also, friends and family will inevitably find out and can be your greatest hindrance to completing the fast.  While trying to love and take care of you, they will pressure you that it is not healthy to fast, especially 40 days.

My encouragement for you today comes from –

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Press on and Press In! Jesus Himself laid down his life that you may be completely saved, healed, and delivered. Can you continue to lay down your flesh for the rest of the 40 days?

There is a secret in the 40 day time period that I will share soon, but now you should recognize that Jesus set the example of the 40 before He began His ministry.  Press on and press in for the prize of Jesus Christ! Exponential increase will come as you press in past the normal way of life or even past the normal way of fasting.  Relationship increase and depth as well as spiritual insight will be continually advanced as we press in to Him.

Jesus is The Reward!!!

Jesus is Worth it!!!

Jesus is the Prize!!!

I also want to encourage you from –

Esther 4:16-17 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” 17 So Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him.

Here, Esther calls a three day fast of all her people.  There were many fasting before this time if you read vs. 3, but this is an intentional time of fasting and praying together.

What was the result of this three day corporate fast?

The government of the day was influenced to overthrow a demonically inspired law and an entire people group were saved.  That is the power of the three day fast that we are now advancing past.

Nations and people groups will be changed as you press on and press in to Him.

What transformation can take place in you, your family, your neighborhood, city, and nation as a result of a simple 40 days of fasting and prayer?

Jesus, give me the strength and ability to press on through the struggles that I might press in to knowing Your heart.  I desire to see supposedly impossible things and people transformed as I press in to you!!!

Practical – Let Holy Spirit guide your Godly dreaming of what can take place through this 40 day fast.

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!!!