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Increase Expectation 25/40

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 at day 25!  It is hard to imagine before The 40 that we could be so far in and a little over two weeks from completing the commitment God has placed in our hearts.  The spiritual benefits that come from the daily overcoming of obstacles to remain faithful in worship to The King of The Universe will one day astound us all.  Never give in to the fleshly desires now in exchange for the eternal reward that is being built up for you and everyone around you.  Let’s press on and press in together.

By this time, the weight of the impossible has probably tried to crush you or in the very least discourage you.  Several people have indicated to me this week that they were worried about me physically.  One even said that I was crazy and out of my mind.  However, as long as we are partnered with Jesus and what He has for us, I would rather be walking in the mind of Christ than my own mind anyway.  

It should not be a surprise to any of us that trusted spiritual and especially worldly influences around us do not understand the depth of what is taking place.  The God of great grace and mercy has called us out, or we have submitted to Him out of worship, in order for the impossible to take place.  When God moves, it is not understood completely by the most spiritual people we could ever think of.  We desire the perfect grace and mercy of God to be made manifest in us, our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, regions, and nations.  As much as we think we may understand Him and His ways, we do not.

We can see clearly that hunger and expectation has the ability to change the situations around us.  The woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48) only wanted to get close enough to touch Jesus’ garment.  She did what was illegal and could have gotten her stoned to death by pushing,maybe even crawling, through a crowd of people and just to put her “unclean” hands on Jesus.  It was her hunger and expectation that drove her to do what others would not.  This was the faith that healed and restored her.  This is where we are today. We are all believing for the “impossible” things to happen for the glory of God!

But what if these things do not happen during or after The 40? 

What if we go through The 40 and do not see anything change? 

What if our hunger and expectation are seemingly not rewarded?

Take heart, my brothers and sisters, this will align us on the same level as one “after God’s own heart”, David.  David was hand picked by the Lord and anointed to be king long before it actually takes place. David has to live a life of character and actually doing the job of the king, like challenging Goliath, before he ever saw the promotion that God had anointed him for.  Eventually, he became king and did great for a while.

However, it seems David had a weakness for women.  Because David decided to give in to this weakness just one time, it led him to deception, adultery, murder, and pain.  The prophet Nathan reveals that God has seen it all and finally David repents.  What is the judgment for all of this sin? David’s recently born son would die. This is where we pick up in the scripture reading for today:

2 Samuel 12:15-16 And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.

Even though David knew he deserved the judgment and punishment that God had said, he increases his expectation that God’s great mercy and grace is greater than his sin.  David comes in humility, prayer, and fasting and cries out to God for mercy for his baby.  He does this for 7 days until the baby dies.  His servants do not even want to tell him that his baby has died because they are unsure what he will do when he finds out the worst has happened.  David’s hopes, desires, and expectations for the life of his baby because of the mercy of God are about to be crushed.  What will his response be?  

I do not know what the physicians were telling him and Bathsheba, but God had told him the baby would die.  That seems to be a very definite thing to me.  Surely, trusted and godly people came in after a few days of prayer and fasting and felt the need to prepare him for the worst.  There was no reason for him to expect that God would do anything different than He Himself had said.  However, David increased expectation in The God of grace and mercy. Throwing himself at the feet of The Great Shepherd and walking through the valley of the shadow of death, David is rewarded with seemingly nothing.  Here is David’s response when he finds out this baby is dead:

Vs. 20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. 

He cleans himself up, puts on his best worship attire, and goes to The house of The Lord and worships.  Great expectations unmet did not crush David and cause him to turn away, but causes him to be able to praise through the pain of unmet expectation.  This does not make sense to anyone and they ask him about it.

Vs. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”

His expectations and prayers were unmet, and he chose to worship and adore God anyway because he knew His God. The Great God of Mercy and Grace was still the same whether David got what he desired or not.  

Vs. 22-23 And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

David knew the value in hunger and increasing expectation to work mighty things in the heavenly realm.  It had not happened the way he wanted.  However, because of a right heart of hunger and expectation to pray the greatest prayer he could think of, he was prepared to praise even through the pain.  Immediately after this, Solomon is born and God names him Jedidiah which means beloved of the Lord. David’s hunger and expectation caused a blessing to take place that was not the way David prayed or wanted, but came about at a different time and different way. 

This is the kind of hunger, expectation, and faith that I want!

No matter the difficulties, trials, and impossibilities that we bring to the Lord during this time, may we all increase our hunger and expectation to see the impossible made manifest into reality. Even if these things do not take place how we want or think they should, we must pray for the best and cry out to God. Today, increase your hunger and expectation and may this increase your worship through both met and unmet expectations.

Jesus, increase my hunger and expectation today. I want to have faith for the impossible miracles to take place no matter what I see or hear.  Help me to trust You to bring about the greatest good as my expectations are increased, and I cry out to You for the greatest good. Help me to never be discouraged or back down from believing the best no matter what I may see with my eyes or hear with my ears.  

Practical –

  • Take a good look at what you are praying for.
  • Ask Holy Spirit to help you increase expectation and hunger to believe in the greatest possible good
  • Ask for strength, grace, and mercy for the faith to continually believe for the impossible
  • Ask for worship and fresh faith to replace discouragement or unbelief that tries to come in

Be blessed with an exponential increase of expectation and hunger to continuously believe for what seems impossible to man. May all discouragement and unbelief be replaced with worship and even more increased expectation because of new revelations of The Great God of Mercy and Grace in your life..

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!!!

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!!!

    Expect the Unexpected (Southeast Asia)

    Headhunter warriors

    Headhunter warriors give their lives to Jesus!!!

    Often, our expectations, true or false, will determine our reality. All of us have expectations of the way things will be especially when outside of our routine. Often, I will tell my wife to expect the unexpected; but today, God decided to remind me of this and shatter some of my false expectations.

    Many things have already happened on this trip that were better than I had expected. We were told there would be no AC and I did not expect hot water… Hence the way I started out the last post (I just did not know how to work it right). Surprisingly, we have both. I am thankful for them, but God knew they were not necessary for me.

    Another thing I did not expect was the opportunity to try some new foods. Both dog and bat were served at a service I went to. Everything was so spicy that through the sweating, tears, and raging fire in my mouth, I could not taste much. I have decided that I do not like bat though because there are way too many bones and not enough meat.  Somehow, I survived.

    But really, none of that really matters. What would take place after this service is beyond what I ever expected. Originally, the team I am with had prepared the way by speaking to the pastors and having them prepare homes to visit where the lost would get saved.  The Pastor I was with was not there so he did not receive these instructions. Instead, he decided for us to go out witnessing on the street. When I found this out, I immediately began praying for strength and ability. Those of you who know me could easily surmise I do not have the gift of evangelism, and mass evangelism in public is rather intimidating to me.  I had to give the situation to God and ask Him to give me grace to do something that was entirely outside my comfort zone and expectations.  I am sure I will have to do the same thing tomorrow.

    All the way from the service to the first place we would go out, I was praying silently and feverishly. God gave me grace in an excited couple that gathered the people into groups and then had me come over and share. This made it a little easier, but not really more comfortable.  The picture above was the first group they had me come share with.  The intimidation factor is way up there when four people in full headhunting warrior dress are standing there with swords and skulls hanging from their waists looking at you.  God gave me the grace to go all in and all of those red warriors and a few other people around got saved.  We ended up sharing for around an hour and 19 people, that I know of, prayed to become born again.  This was far more than I expected as uncomfortable as I was going in. I praise God for His grace, strength, and boldness to share.

    So, what about you? What expectations do you have that need to be broken down? The enemy will always try to put false expectations on you to hold you back from the fullness that God has. What comforts do you need to release? What fears need to be broken? What expectations need to change to come into line with what God wants? Only He can change your wrong mindsets. But, you have to be willing to step out of the boat!!! If I had said no for any reason, I would not have seen these souls enter the Kingdom. If Peter had said no, he never would have gotten out of the boat. Yes, you may fall, but Jesus will be right there with you to save you and put you back on your feet.  

    I invite you to ask God right now, to change your expectations to expect what was once unexpected to you. My God “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask for hope for or imagine through His power working in me.” I pray that you allow that same power to work through you as you follow and obey Him!!!

    Matthew 14:28-31 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 

    Jeremiah, Man in Fire!!!