With only 5 days left of the fast, I am sure I am not the only one counting down until the end. As much as I have loved going through The 40 together, I am ready to celebrate and enjoy good things once again, as I am sure we all are. In the final days of this fast, there will be a shifting from talking about the importance of giving God glory in fasting, humility and repentance to glorifying Him in feasting, celebration, and obedience.
Today, I want to look at a place in scripture where the people were fasting out of a wrong heart but expecting good results. They were also feasting our of a wrong heart. Everything was all about how it made themselves feel and not what God wanted. Let’s examine the book of Zechariah:
Zechariah 7:2-3 when the people sent Sherezer… to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, “Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?”
The people in captivity are away from their homeland, but are still trying to cling to their heritage, history, and traditions. They sent this man to the priests to ask if they should continue their ritual of fasting as they always had. This is the response they get from God:
Vs. 5-7 “Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? Should you not have obeyed the words which the Lord proclaimed through the former prophets… ?’
God is not impressed with their act of fasting, because they are doing it for their own benefit. God is not getting the glory. Even in their eating and drinking that God could be receiving some sort of thanksgiving, praise, or honor, it is all about themselves instead of Him. Whether you are fasting or feasting, obedience to The Lord is what allows you to worship and glorify Him! If your heart is right, you will be able to praise The Lord whether you are fasting or feasting.
Vs 8-10 ” Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.’
The practical things God reveals to Zechariah for the people to do are not difficult, but neither are they easy for a people used to pleasing their own selves. God must be the center, the main goal, and aim of our hearts if we are to truly worship Him in every area of our lives.
Vs. 11-12 “But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts.
The revelation of The Lord was streaming forth from the mouth of the prophet, but they would not obey, turned away, and would not even hear what God was calling out of them. Selfish people with selfish hearts were unwilling to change and come into line with The God of grace and mercy. This made their heart hard, and they had to suffer the consequences of their disobedience.
The 40 has been all about the softening of our hearts and the opening of our ears to hear. This becomes easier to do as we have a special time set apart to seek Him. However, as we near the end of the fast, and will soon return to our normal way of life, what is to keep us from hardening our hearts and continuing to walk in our own ways?
Obedience! Obedience is key to daily walking in worship. God is continually speaking forth His revelation, and we will continue to hear as we obey what we have been given. When we are disobedient to the Word of The Lord, our hearts will become hard. The more we disobey, the more we will walk in our own way. God longs to pour out His mighty blessings upon us. He always has the best for us, but this is dependent upon our obedience to come into line with Him.
My encouragement for us today is to seek The Lord for a new heart to walk in continuous obedience. We will not always want to obey. We will not always feel like obeying. In these times, we must truly believe that Jesus is worth our complete and total obedience. A heart of obedience will always lead us to worship and glorify our God and Father of grace, mercy, and love no matter what may be going on in us or around us.
Jesus, right now, when my heart is more receptive to you than ever, I want to be completely obedient to You, Your plans, and Your purposes. I want to follow You and walk in Your way no matter what may be taking place in my life. Whether it is something I want to hear or do, I want to totally obey all that You speak that You may receive all the praise, glory, and honor possible from my life.
- Ask Holy Spirit to give you a willing and obedient heart
- Glorify Him in your obedience today
- Thank Him for all He has done, is doing, and will do
Be be blessed today with the ability and willingness to walk in obedience to all God is revealing. May you be released and propelled into the next level with Him as you obey to the best of your ability!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
- Know God, more and more each day.
- Ask and Pray for Him to give us His heart and to be a witness.
- Speak and Share the wonderful works of God and our daily testimony of His work.
- Act in Obedience with everything we are given to do.
Today we will discuss the last step:
5. Live a life in accordance to The Word.
Let’s unpack this a little more. Today, more than ever, we have seen and know people who are much less than authentic. The daily scams and identity thefts have bred a general distrust of our fellow man. In one sense, when we meet someone new, we are trying to prove that we are who we say we are instead of taking each other at our word. At one time, you could shake hands and make a deal on that alone. We trusted each other. The vows and convenant that took place at a marriage ceremony would never be broken “until death do we part“.
Because our society as a whole has become untrustworthy, everyone is looking for hypocrites and holes in your story before you ever meet them. Because people want the Truth so badly, they try to prove the authenticity of everything they come into contact with. When we come and begin to tell someone about the Way, Truth, and Life, they will be looking at us and our lives as a litmus test of what we are saying. If we are not walking in The Word and living a life of obedience, what makes us any different than the telemarketer that calls them 10 times a day?
Let’s move to the Word to see what God has to say about this after Moses has died, Joshua has taken over as leader to bring Israel into The Promised Land. God has promised to be with them and have given them the land. However, they have to partner with Him, acting in obedience, and go in and take the land, little by little. After many years of battle and taking the land, the people grow weary and begin to slack off in taking the land from their enemies. Joshua has this to say to them:
Joshua 18:3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?
This should be a stiff rebuke to us as we examine what it means to be a witness. As we have seen, God says “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations…” (Psalm 2:8). As we have asked, God has faithfully given, but we must live a life of continually partnering with Him to receive what He has given us. If you look at the word possess in the original Hebrew this is what it means:
to own, to seize and take control of, have complete power over and be manifested through their speech and actions, to make the owner, to enter in and control firmly,
We must not just go into the harvest, but we must possess the souls and nations that God has given us. Holy Spirit does the work, but we must do our part in continually being obedient to Him and His word. As this happens, we will be true, authentic witness for The Kingdom!
Do you possess all that God intended and has given???
Jesus says something similar regarding this subject:
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Every single one of us should be desiring to come after Jesus in doing what He did while He was on the earth, and greater! Jesus says, we must deny ourselves, our own sinful, selfish desires that would cause us to walk in the ways of the world. We must take up our cross, our connection to Jesus, what has brought us into unbroken fellowship with Him. We must do this every single day without fail. Then, we must follow Him! This is where we live and walk out our faith practically with Him every day.
God has given you influence, responsibility, authority! What are you doing with it?
Are you neglecting it fully or in part?
My encouragement for us today is to live out The Truth in our daily lives. We must follow Jesus and do all He is calling us to do in daily life. We must remain humble and repentant as Holy Spirit reveals issues that need to be dealt with. We must be obedient in doing all He calls us to do. We must live our lives every day coming more into line with the revelation of Truth we have been given. This is who we are; we are his true, authentic witnesses. He has given us a harvest of souls and nation to possess. May we partner with Him in a real way by becoming increasingly obedient every single day.
Jesus, I desire to truly follow in Your footsteps. Help me to deny the fleshly desires within me to please myself. I want to take up The Truth of the good news You have given and walk in obedience to what you are saying. I want to do this every single day even as you have given me a great Promised harvest to go in and possess. Help me to live out the gospel even as I speak it forth and act in obedience to what you are revealing!
- Ask Holy Spirit to help you to know Him deeper than ever before
- Pray that you receive the Father’s heart of compassion for souls and nations
- Speak out the wonderful works of God, the testimony you have been given
- Act in obedience to do everything God has called you to
- Live a life of continual obedience, renewal, and following in Jesus’ footsteps
Be blessed today with the ability to live faithfully in following Jesus in all He said and did! May you fully possess the land God has given you as you are propelled to the next level!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
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!
- 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!!!
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
We can see here that this power comes from, with, and through Holy Spirit. This power comes as we wait and seek him. However, this power comes for a purpose. The power of Holy Spirit that comes as we wait and seek Him is the power to be a witness. If you study out this word “witness“in Greek, it is where we get the English word martyr. The Holy Spirit revival power that we have been pressing in to receive is the power to be a martyr. Now, when we say martyr we are literally talking about someone who has died for the gospel. However, the original meaning of witness is one who believes, speaks, and lives with the genuine, strength, faith, and conviction that what they have seen and know is true and will stand by it even unto death. This is next level stuff. This is the step up that we are seeking! This is where the rubber meets the road!
Some may not have realized that as we press deeper into knowing Jesus and walking with Him, we are gaining His heart and being empowered to walk as martyr-level witnesses. This is the stepping up and stepping out. Some may have for years sought to know God, in the secret place, in the quiet place, and grown holy and in knowing The Father’s heart. Feel free to review Holiness Leads to Harvest from day 7. The secret place of knowing God’s heart will always lead to the next step up of stepping out and sharing who He is!
Some of you may not know me personally, but I have always been an introvert that in the past was bound up by fear and insecurity. As God has led me through years of coming to know Him and getting free of the baggage and bondage, that we all carry, and coming to know Him more and more in the secret place, He is releasing a gift of evangelism to me. I do not understand it, and honestly am extremely uncomfortable in everything He is continuing to ask me to do and walk in. However, I am no longer saying I am an unwilling evangelist, because it is my delight to do His will. In this process, especially more recently, God is continuing to develop in me His heart for souls. He is constantly reminding me that the fields are ripe for the harvest. Both the field outside our door and around the world are ready to receive the wonderful works of God from Holy Spirit power-filled martyr-level witnesses.
- Ask Holy Spirit to reveal God’s heart in the secret place
- Ask for power to be a Witness
- Walk in obedience into the harvest today
Be blessed with the peace and power from Holy Spirit today. May you receive a heart for the harvest and the boldness to walk in the power you have received as you are propelled into the next level with The Lord!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Well done! We have completed week 4 and moving on to week 5. As we grow nearer to ending the fast, I want to remind you to refocus and recommit to press in to Jesus like never before. Do not grow weary in well doing, we are not the coasting type of community. I encourage you not to coast the rest of the way through the fast. The last 10 days of the fast, let’s really go after what God has for us. Personally, I am being led to go much deeper in the last 10 days and I would invite you to join me, if you are willing. It is time to increase expectation, increase seeking Him, advance in every area and increase in the spiritual reward of sowing into The Kingdom!!!
A few days ago, I started a discussion, that was not planned, with a word Revelation of Truth. This led to the discussion Repent and Worship, and now we are finally coming to what we really want to talk about. Revival. This is what we long to happen. We crave for the revival we have heard about and maybe seen in part to come to us, our family, neighborhood, region, and nation. We hunger for an unprecedented move of God that brings in multiple billion soul harvests.
How will this take place?
What brings revival?
As the revelation of Truth comes forth from God, we must respond rightly in repentance which is an act of worship to God. This leads to revival taking place right where we are. Let’s return to Ezra to find out more. If you remember, the people of Israel were led back to their homeland after release from captivity. They were in bondage because of their constant rebellion against God and his plans. Ezra was the spiritual leader at this time and Nehemiah was more of an administrative leader who was walking deeply with The Lord!
Ezra 9:4-5 Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because of the transgression of those who had been carried away captive, and I sat astonished until the evening sacrifice. At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God…
The remnant of God’s people that were allowed to remain in the land had continued in the same sins that had led the people into captivity in the first place. The revelation of truth had been so implanted in Ezra’s heart that when he saw the people engaging in rebellion and sin it shocked and grieved him to his very core. He quickly goes to God in humility, repentance, and fasting. It seems he is so grieved that he cannot even pray for the rest of the day. The passage that follows is a small part of his prayer of repentance:
Ezra 9:8-9 And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage. For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
Ezra acknowledges his sin and the sin of the people, but also recognizes that even in the midst of their bondage to sin, God has given them “a measure of revival”. There was a righteous remnant in Israel that were seeking the Lord. Even though the majority of the people were living in continued disobedience and rebellion, the people of God seeking Him and crying out for mercy brought about a revival and restoration in the land that would not have taken place any other way. They had been given favor, protection, direction, and provision not only to return to their homeland, but to repair the house of God and rebuild the ruins of their city.
Ezra 10:1-2 Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah… said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God… yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this.
Ezra and the people all have the same revelation of truth. However, Ezra and a few certain others are the righteous remnant that see the sin and seek the Lord in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer. They are walking in a small portion of revival even though the rest of the people are still in bondage to their sin. Ezra and the remnant’s example of right response, repentance, and revival of heart and soul lead the people to repentance themselves. As they gather in weeping, repentance, and worship before the Lord, one of the leaders gains the revelation that there is hope for revival for them all right where they are.
This is my encouragement for all of us today. We have constant revelation of Truth from Holy Spirit as we seek Him. May we seek to respond rightly in repentance, confession, and worship. As we do this, we will be walking in revival in our own lives no matter what may be going on around us. Walking continually in this place, God is able to use us as catalysts to bring about revival in those around us. May we all walk as the catalysts of revival in The Kingdom, sons and daughters that we were created to be.
Jesus, I desire to be your true child constantly moving forward in right response to Your continuous revelation. As I walk out revival right where I am, use me as a catalyst for change in the world for Your Kingdom!
- Ask Holy Spirit to help you stand firm and walk out the revelation of a Truth he has given you
- Acknowledge sin and weakness and bring these to him in repentance and confession
- Act in the obedience of standing firm in seeking Jesus and walking with Him
Be blessed to receive new revelation of Truth today, walk in the right response of repentance and worship, and be a change agent of revival right where you are as God propels you into new levels with Him!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!