Tag Archives: John

Jesus The Bridegroom 40/40

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!

You have made it! Today is the last day of The 40! Whatever else has taken place over the duration, we have set our hearts to seek The Lord, and together we have reached the finish line.  Even though The 40 will be completed tomorrow, I pray that we have all gained something that will stay with us throughout the rest of our lives.  

May the hunger and humility of seeking Jesus first and coming to Him for everything we need only increase as we are propelled into new levels with Him!  Begin even now looking for the change, the increase, the revelation, and recognize that it comes straight from The throne because of His faithfulness as The Rewarder.

The last few days, we have been talking about feasting, celebration, and obedience.  We must always have a right heart no matter what we are doing so that only God will get the glory.  Today, I want to look at some of the words of Jesus that not only give us hope for today, but help look to the future as well.

Matthew 9:14-15 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. 

Contained in these words of Jesus are some very important things we need to see.  We, as disciples of Jesus, are called “friends of the bridegroom”.  We are Jesus’ friends if we are his disciples.  It is always important to realize that we move from being servants and slaves to friends and heirs.  We will take joy in what Jesus takes joy in.  Whatever He sets His heart on will be on ours as well.  We should be completely full of joy in the presence of Jesus. As we seek Him, we come into a place of celebration even though their may be depression, despair, and darkness all around.  

Jesus also lets us know in these passages once again that we are supposed to fast. Currently, we do not have Jesus with us in the body.  In our fasting, we are longing for Him, The Great Bridegroom to return just as He said He would.  Fasting prepares us to receive Jesus in the right way at His second coming.  Then Jesus goes on to say:

Matthew 9:16-17 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Again, we see that fasting prepares our hearts to receive the new things that Jesus wants to release to us in preparation for His return.  If we are not filled with Holy Spirit over and over again, we will become crusty, dried out, and useless for the Kingdom.  The more that we fast and seek Him, we will be prepared to receive The Great Bridegroom at His second coming.  

We also need to realize that through fasting and prayer, seeking Him, and being obedient we will hasten the return of Jesus.  

Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

In this chapter, Jesus is asked when the end will come.  Jesus tells a lot of signs that will indicate the nearness of the end.  However, this passage tell what must take place before then end.  Once again, we return to The Father’s heart for souls.  The gospel must be preached in every nation or tongue and then Jesus The Bridegroom will return.  Fasting, praying, seeking The Father and being obedient will give us His heart for those who do not know Him. By His Spirit, we are enabled and empowered to be His witness everywhere that we go, across oceans and across the street.

My encouragement for today is not to stop seeking The Lord and to ever remain obedient to Him even after The 40 ends.  We are friends and therefore will desire to show our love in practical ways even beyond our intitial commitment.  If we truly desire Jesus The Bridegroom to return in all of His glory, we will seek Him, gain His heart, and be an obedient witness to share Him anywhere and everywhere that He may take us. 

Jesus, I desire to see you returning in all of Your glory! I want to walk on this earth as your friend ever working to prepare the way for Your second coming. Do a work in my heart and my life that I will never stop seeking to know you and help others to know you and well. Help me to prepare my heart and this land for your return. I love you and know that You are worth so much more than I could ever give.  So, once again, I give you my heart and life to do with as You will!

Practical –

  • Ask for revelation of Jesus as your friend and bridegroom
  • Seek Him for His heart
  • Live in obedience to all that He asks if you

Be blessed today with the ability to truly be propelled into the next level.  May your heart and life come more into line with Jesus, and may you give Him all that He deserves, today, tomorrow, and forever!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

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!!!

God’s Witness (Know) 31/40

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 move into the last 10 days of The 40, do not forget to focus your eyes on The King of The Kingdom. He rewards us as we diligently seek Him.  If you are able to give more to The Lord, let’s do it together. He is worth so much more than we could ever give. Let us worship Him in a special way the last 10 days of this fast. 

Yesterday’s encouragement was a shift in what God has been speaking and revealing.  God is speaking about seeking Him and growing into the powerful witness, He has created us to be. Over the next several days, we will see how we can become Holy Spirit filled witnesses of the good news!!!

Today, we will start at a place that we are familiar with, but it can never be neglected, forgotten or emphasized enough.  We must come to know God more and more and grow in our relationship with Him. When I speak of knowing God, I am not just talking about a head knowledge that we are accustomed with.  I am speaking of the old Biblical sense of know.  “Adam knew his wife and conceived a son” (Genesis 4:1).  This kind of intimate relationship goes far beyond a mental aspect of knowing.  Jesus is the vine and we are the branches without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). 

What is the key to bearing fruit? Abiding, remaining, knowing Him!

This is not a new concept that Jesus brings us during his time on earth. Let’s move back to the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus and see the constant, faithful, unchanging heart of God for us to know Him.

Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

God is our creator and redeemer. He has a plan and purpose for designing us and creating us. He has called each one is us by name to come to Him.  We are His.  We may not live walk or act like it, but we have been called and chosen by the Creator of the universe.  He did not make us and leave us on our own as some believe, but He is always with us.  Even in the darkest, most difficult times in our lives He is with us!  The flames of the enemy will not destroy us when we are near to Him. When we are near to The Lord we will not be overcome. 

Why does He do all these things for us?

He is The Lord our God, our Savior!!! Before we move on, know this, you are never alone when you are seeking The Lord.  It may seem like your prayers are going unanswered.  Situations are difficult, the storms, floods, and fire may be coming against you, but you will stand firm as you stand with God in His strength for you are His!

As we walk through the fires, floods, and storms of this life, we have come to know God our Strength, our Sustainer, our Provider, our Savior.  From this place of real life revelation and testimony of what God has done for us, we are called to be His witnesses.

Vs 10-12 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God.

There is nothing wrong with Christian apologetics and logical historical evidence that gives witness to the reality of a historical Jesus, but your very life and the testimony of what He has brought you through is an undeniable witness on display that brings glory to God.   The more each of us come to know God, trust in Him, and are transformed into His image, the greater testimony we have. As we come to know Him and our testimony increases, we become a growing witness to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and are able to give Him greater glory from our lives.  Nothing and no one else can cause such a transformation as has taken place in the lives of those who are daily coming to know Jesus more.

This is the first step of being a Holy Spirit empowered martyr-level witness and my encouragement for you today.  Come to know The Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer more than ever before.  Come to know Him, and recognize what He has taken you through and out of. This has caused your very life to be a witness of who God is.  You are God’s undeniable witness right where you are today. Never be afraid to share who He is that has done such a mighty work in your life!

Jesus, help me come to know You more than ever before! Than, you for touching, changing, and transforming me from a rebellious, selfish sinner into a faithful, righteous saint. Use my life as a witness and testimony of You for Your glory. Even in the middle of the storms of life, I want my life to radiate Your glory because You are with me keeping me from harm.  I want to be Your witness and testimony in every aspect of my life!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you come to know Him in a greater way today
  • Remember where you have come from, and what He has brought you out of
  • Thank God for His mighty work in Your life
  • Ask to be used as a greater witness and testimony for His glory

Be blessed today with revelation of the life-changing power of knowing Jesus more. May you see clearly where you have come from and how He has been with you through the journey.  May you be a living testimony and witness that continually gives glory to God!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Humble Yourself 23/40

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!

I want to release a song that God gave me for my sons 2 and 4 years old.  “It’s a good, good, good, good, good, good, dayyy. It’s a good, good, good, good dayyyy!” Its kind of a catchy little tune that gets in your head, and I often sing it when they, or I, am not in the greatest mood.  So, if you are struggling today on day 23 or if you are doing great, may you be blessed with knowing, “It’s a good, good, good, good, good, good, dayyyy.  It’s a good, good, good, good dayyyy!”

As we press on in The 40, we must remember to focus on Jesus for our strength and sustenance. We need him today more than we ever have whether we are fasting or not.  When we admit our need for Jesus and that we cannot do anything on our own, in agreement with John 15:5, we are stepping into humility.  As we continue to fast and pray The 40, humility is one of the greatest virtues we could gain.  Humility partnered with prayer and fasting has an indescribable power that begins to release itself in us and flow out from us.  

Let’s examine a few places in scripture where humility is partnered with repentance, prayer and fasting.  In 1 Kings 21, you actually find the only place of fasting without prayer, humility or repentance.  The wicked queen Jezebel actually calls a demonic fast as she schemes to murder Naboth and take his vineyard from him (1 Kings 21:9, 12). This is done through pride and for personal gain and results in false accusation.  No humility here.  

As King Ahab goes to survey his newly acquired vineyard, Elijah is sent to him with a message. Ahab, Jezebel, and all their children will be completely destroyed and wiped out.  This is a judgment because of their wickedness, rebellion, and constant disobedience to turn from God and his ways.  The following verses contain Ahab’s response:

1 Kings 21:27-29 So it was, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.”

Even though the judgment of The Lord had been pronounced repentance, fasting, and prayer were evidence of a humbled heart before God and his judgment was delayed until a later time.  The fasting and repentance were proof that Ahab had truly humbled himself and submitted himself to God. It was too late to avoid judgment, but God recognized and had mercy for a time before judgment took place.  

As we continue looking at humbling ourselves, repentance, fasting, and prayer, we move to a passage we discussed in Touching The Kingdom.  Here, we see the prophet Daniel has moved from repentance prayer in chapter 9 into fasting and prayer for 21 days.  He is pressing in for revelation and desires to gain understanding. As this happens, he sees, hears, and is touched by the heavenly realm:

Daniel 10:2-3, 12 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three full weeks were fulfilled…  Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

The angel recognizes that Daniel is seeking understanding and humbling himself in prayer. This humbling of self was evidenced by the fact that he was repenting, fasting, and praying.  These are only two of the verses that can be found that provide proof that fasting is a fruit that comes from a repentant and humble heart. 

How much more should we seek to have a heart of repentance and to humble ourselves through fasting knowing our God of great grace and mercy that works mightily on our behalf?!

The final passage I want to pinpoint is one that we all probably know and may even have memorized. We have used this scripture for years because of the promise contained within, but I did not understand the full meaning until just recently God opened my eyes to a revelation that was hidden right in front of my eyes. 

2 Chronicles 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

During the National Day of Prayer and other regular prayer meetings, this passage will come up frequently because everyone knows we need our land to be healed.  Now, more than ever, we can see the division and disunity the enemy is trying to bring into the whole earth. 

What is the solution? The people of God must come together in true repentance, humility, prayer, and seeking God. In various other places humbling yourself is equated with the action of fasting that evidences your need for God.  

Is it possible that this passage that is referenced over and over actually is a call to the people of God to repentance, prayer, and fasting in a spirit of humility that the sin of our land be forgiven and for our prayer to be answered?

There is true power in corporate humbling ourselves through fasting, prayer, and repentance. We must tap into this power if we want to gain the benefits that result.  

Vs. 15-16 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

My encouragement for you today is to come seeking God with a heart of humility and repentance. Just because we are fasting does not mean we are humbling ourselves. However, when we realize our need for Holy Spirit to help us, and recognize that He is the only one that can do supernatural work in our lives and in the healing of our land, the eyes and ears of heaven will be open and attentive to us. God’s holy name will be on us to sanctify us, draw us closer than ever before, and heal our land. As this happens, we will daily be propelled into the next level with Him!

Jesus, I desire to humble myself before you today. I recognize my utter dependency on you.  Without you I can do nothing. Thank you that I can come boldly before your throne of grace and ask for all I need. Do a mighty healing in me and in the land as I come to you in humility and repentance today.  Make me a sanctified place of residence for Holy Spirit and use me to do your work.

Practical – 

  • Ask Holy Spirit to reveal to you your need for Him
  • Humble yourself by coming to Him in repentance and humility 
  • Ask for the strength and sustaining power to walk in obedience today
  • Obey all He calls you to do

Be blessed with new revelation of humility and your need for God, and the ability to walk into deeper levels of humbling yourself. May your land be healed and your people restored as you humble yourself and are propelled into new levels with Him!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

        –

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!!!

    Spiritual Alignment 16/40

    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!

    Patience, persistence, and perseverance are words we like to avoid.  We have moved past the need for longsuffering to patience because that is a nicer way to say it.  However, longsuffering is a much more descriptive term to what is taking place.  Whatever you happen to call it, it takes work to continue in the faith of believing for your breakthrough into the next level.  I encourage you to look to Jesus from Whom comes your help.  May you be long-prospering even as you move past longsuffering.

    Every single one of us are walking through this life.  No one is exempt from the troubles and hardships the world has to bring.  I would love to tell you that as you seek the Lord, you become perfect and can live somewhere in a bubble of perfect communion with God that will take you out of the world and make everything okay.  This is not the case.  In fact Jesus said:

    John 17:15I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.”

    At one time, the followers of Christ thought to create a separate culture like a monastery or convent that was set apart from the world, but Jesus never meant for this to happen.  You are meant to be His shining light in the middle of a dark world that many may see His light shining through you and be drawn to Him by your words and actions.  The way you respond in the same negative situations that others are going through should be a testimony to the greatness and glory of God in you. 

    Sadly, we often do not handle the circumstances of life much different than the people in the world.  Because of our weak humanity, we fall into complaining, pain, despair, and even the depression and darkness that plagues the world.  This happens because our flesh and soul have not yet come into line with The Holy Spirit yet.  It is a process to ‘work out our salvation”  that we may truly become one with Him.

    The heroes of the faith did not have it any easier than we do, and we even have recorded many of David’s passionate prayers and cries for help as he was going through terrifying life ordeals.  From him, we discover a key to bringing our flesh and soul into line with God’s plans and purposes even in the middle of the daily struggles.

    Psalm 69:10 When they see me seeking for more of you with weeping and fasting,
    they all just scoff and scorn at my passion.

    Vs. 13 But I keep calling out to you, Yahweh! I know you will bend down to listen to me,
    for now is the season of favor. Because of your faithful love for me, your answer to my prayer will be my sure salvation.

    David reveals a secret into aligning our flesh and soul with Holy Spirit that many would pass over.  He is seeking more of God with passionate prayer and fasting.  Even when others would make fun of him for it, he is persistent.  He continues on.  David has so much confidence that God will come through to help in the situation, he does not care what others may say about his “pitiful cries for help”.  Prayer and fasting cause our soul to come into line with Holy Spirit in a way that nothing else can.  Fasting reveals our flesh and the prayer helps us give those things that arise over to God in the correct way.  These two together help us to truly become longsuffering.  A transformation begins to happen within us that creates the ability to weather the storms of this life and even be a witness in the most tragic circumstances.  This process continues as we continually seek Jesus and are changed by Him.

    Jesus, I need you today.  My flesh and soul are constantly trying to pull me into world ways and earthly thinking, but I desire to be like you.  As I pray and fast, strip off the ways of the world and help me come into perfect alignment with You and Holy Spirit.  Even in the trials and tragedies of life, help me to shine brightly who You are because I run to you quickly for help in my time of need.  Give me the ability to be a true longsuffering light in the darkness!

    Practical –

    • Ask Holy Spirit to help you see where He is working
    • Ask for strength and assurance that He is with you
    • Live your life with the perseverance He brings
    • Shine the glory of God in the dark situations

    Be blessed today to see the glory of The Lord in the land of the living.  Even in the intense darkness, may you know He is with you and shine brightly His glory as you are propelled into the next level 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!!!