Tag Archives: religious

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!!!

Fasting & Feasting 38/40

You are invited to join us for The Propel Fast! Please review Propelled To The Next Level and other words for the reasons behind the fast as well as daily encouragement!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s read more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practical –

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

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

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Revelation of Truth 27/40

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!

On this day, day 27, we have come to know we cannot walk alone especially in our outlandish commitments to The Lord.  It is by His grace and mercy and walking with a community of faith that we are able to accomplish everything He has for us.  I pray that you have a close community that will be praying and standing with you especially when the enemy comes in to distract, deceive, divide, and destroy.  Please know that this community is here to spur you on to greater love and greater works in The Kingdom. You are not alone!

Something happens when we fast that opens us up to receive in a way that nothing else can. We are caused to look past our own selfish desires and look to God for everything that we need.  We become little by little less self-sufficient and increasingly God-sufficient. He has everything that we need and gladly gives us it all as we seek Him.  It may not come in the time or way that we want, but God’s blessings are continually being poured out upon us, and it is easier to recognize this when we are fasting.  

We are going to focus on one of these blessings today that is the birthplace of repentance that leads to revival.  We have heard that often a revival of repentance precedes a spiritual revival, but how does a desire for repentance come?  The prophet Jeremiah lived in a time of great rebellion, disobedience, and stubborn hardness against The Lord.  Somehow, Judah thought that since they were God’s chosen people that He would bless whatever they did and be with them however they lived.  Jeremiah was sent to repeatedly warn them to turn from such thinking.  If they would turn from their sin and seek The Lord, He would forgive and truly bless them the way He desired.

This is the setting of today’s reading. Jeremiah is confined and cannot go out to the people. So he writes the words of The Lord and sends Baruch with the revelation of Truth:

Jeremiah 36:6-7 You go, therefore, and read from the scroll which you have written at my instruction, the words of the Lord, in the hearing of the people in the Lord ’s house on the day of fasting. And you shall also read them in the hearing of all Judah who come from their cities. It may be that they will present their supplication before the Lord, and everyone will turn from his evil way. For great is the anger and the fury that the Lord has pronounced against this people.” 

Even though the people of Judah are not living according to God’s standard or law, they have regular times of fasting where they would gather at the house of The Lord.  These religious acts did not do much because their hearts were wrong.  Because of this the full blessing of the Lord could not come upon them.  However, in the fasting, Jeremiah knows they are receptive to the revelation of Truth more than at any other time.  The purpose of the revelation of Truth is to bring the people to repentance.

Vs. 9-10 Now it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people who came from the cities of Judah to Jerusalem. Then Baruch read from the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the upper court at the entry of the New Gate of the Lord ’s house, in the hearing of all the people. 

All the people come together for the religious fasting and Baruch is obedient to do what he is commanded. All the people are gathered in religious fasting in their most holy place, and they receive the revelation of Truth.  The land had recently undergone a reformation and cleansing of the land under the reign of King Josiah, however, they are quick to turn their hearts away again.  They gather to fast, probably instituted by The previous king, but are devoid of understanding and obedience.  Next, we see some of the people and officials response to the revelation of Truth.

Vs. 16 Now it happened, when they had heard all the words, that they looked in fear from one to another, and said to Baruch, “We will surely tell the king of all these words.”

Conviction comes to the hearts of these leaders of the people in such a way that they know they must present this revelation to the king.  They are truly convicted by this revelation of Truth and bring it to the King.  It seems the king is convicted by these words as well, but his response is anger not repentance. He cuts up the scroll, burns it, and tries to have Jeremiah and Baruch killed.  Sadly, even after the revelation of truth brings conviction to some and the people are already gathered in fasting, repentance never comes and Judah goes into captivity not long after this.  

As we continue in fasting and prayer, God will bring continuous revelation of Truth as we seek Him.  However, we must be quick to repent in every area we are out of line and come to Him.  In this way, revelation of Truth leads to repentance, and repentance brings revival.  The revelation of Truth cannot bring revival on its own.  Our hearts proper response to this revelation will be repentance for our own actions, and the lifestyle of our people.  This proper response by us will lead to a change in the people around us, and then God can send a mighty revival to the land.  

My encouragement for today is to continue to set your heart to seek God.  As you do, be carefully listening for Him to bring the revelation of Truth, because it will come.  As these words come may your heart be soft and pliable to align even more fully with God’s great purpose and plan.  A right heart response to the revelation of Truth will be repentance that leads to revival.  Even though it may seem that this revival is only taking place within you at the moment, know this.  Revival within you will come out of you.  The people with revival continually flowing inside them are the ones that God uses to ignite revival in their families, regions, and nations. These are the ones that are propelled into the next level with Him.  This is who we are designed to be!

Jesus, here I am Your child. I come to You and ask for new revelation of The Truth. I know that You are The Truth, and I am asking for new revelations of You. As this revelation occurs, help me to be able and willing to align myself even more fully with You. Give me a heart of repentance for every area that is out of order, and bring me into a revival of relationship with You. Jesus, give me new revelation of who you are and draw me closer than ever before!

Practical –

  • Ask Holy Spirit for revelation of Truth
  • Ask Him to give you a soft and pliable heart
  • Walk in a heart of repentance
  • Align yourself to obey all He asks of you

Be blessed to receive continuous revelation of Truth. May you receive revelation that leads to repentance in the mind, body, and soul.  May this revelation lead from repentance to revival in you.  May this blessing transform who you are and flow out of you to bring transformation in your family, region, and land!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Shortcomings or Successes?

Daily Encouragement – 

My child, I love you. I see your heart and know you want to please Me. There may be many distractions, difficulties, and desires for other things, but the true you shines through it all. 

You bring joy to Me when you seek to follow Me fully. Even though you may struggle, I see you coming to Me, and it brings Me joy. Even through the struggles and difficulties, I see your desire to bring Me glory and love and trust Me with all things. 

You have done well, My child. You may measure yourself by your failures and shortcomings, but I look at your successes and praise you for continuing to walk with Me even when it is hard. Thank you for returning to Me when you have walked away and choosing again to stand with Me until the end. 

Keep it open, real, and raw. No falseness or religiosity is needed with Me. I know you so just be honest with Me. I love you My child.

Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Prayer and Fasting

Simple Discipleship

This is the fourth message in the series: Simple Discipleship.

We have already discussed, Being a Leader/Disciple, Intimacy/Love of God, Worship and Sacrifice.

Here is what we will be studying for next week:

Holy Spirit/Power of God

Scriptures for Study: 1 Sam 10:1-13, Joel 2:28-32, John 16:5-15, Acts 1:4-14, 2:1-11, 1 Cor 2:9-16.

Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 4

Here is the Audio Sermon: Prayer and Fasting

fasting and prayer

As we begin to look at prayer and fasting, we must first ask two important questions:

What is Prayer?

What is Fasting?

In studying this topic, my definition of prayer would be inviting God into our lives and situations by bringing things to Him.  

We are encouraged to pray without ceasing.  We are not supposed to go around with our eyes closed and heads bowed all the time, but wherever we go and whatever we are doing, we are to be in constant communication with God inviting Him into our situations and surroundings and making Him a part of our everyday activities.

In coming to understand more about it, my definition of fasting is giving up legitimate pleasures as a sacrifice to gain breakthrough and a deepening relationship with the Lord.  

God has given us necessary things, and it is the blessing of the Lord to us for them to be good.  However, in talking about sacrifice, we saw that we were to give up something important to us to gain a deeper relationship with God.  Fasting is a sacrifice of something that we  enjoy (Food, Entertainment, Sleep…) so that we get breakthrough and walk into a deeper communion with the Lord.

Fasting always works together with prayer.  Everywhere that fasting is mentioned it is in combination with prayer.  Fasting without prayer is just dieting.  The point of fasting is to give up a legitimate pleasure and use the extra time that we have to spend praying.

fasting

In Daniel 10, in is clearly evident that as Daniel was praying and fasting, he was empowering God’s spiritual forces to bring about change.  Something happens as we fast in conjunction with prayer that empowers heavenly forces to win spiritual battles.  As a result of this, Daniel was strengthened, encouraged, and given answers that he was seeking.  You have the ability to empower heavenly forces to win spiritual victories through fasting and prayer!!!

In Isaiah 58, it is even more evident that fasting with the wrong motives and wrong heart is no good and not even accepted by God.  As we fast, God brings revelation to us and we then have the choice whether to repent and be obedient or to ignore the revelation.  When we ignore what God is saying, our fasting and praying is not powerful or effective but our hearts become increasingly hardened to the voice of God.  Fasting and prayer is powerful when we repent and walk in obedience to the revelation of the Lord.

Look at a few of the benefits of the right type of fasting and praying from v. 12.  God is able to build where there was once destruction.  The enemy is constantly trying to bring destruction in our lives, but through fasting and prayer, God is able to build something that lasts on top of this destruction.  God strengthens our foundations, revitalizes our spiritual heritage for us to pass on in greater measures to our children, fortifies our defenses and clarifies our paths.  This is the kind of fasting and prayer that I want to be a part of!!!

prayer

In Matthew 6, we come to find the importance of not being religious.  In regards to both prayer and fasting, Jesus mentions the secret place.  The thoughts and intentions of our heart is what God judges so we should never do these things out of obligation or for other people to be proud of us.  We should have a genuine desire to grow closer to the Lord and out of that heart in the secret place, God is able to give spiritual treasures.  I would rather be rewarded by God rather than men any day!!!  

It is also important to realize that the prayer and fasting that we do right now affects eternity.  When we are in heaven, there will be no need to pray or fast because we will be partying with Jesus face to face.  Right now, we have the unique ability to affect eternity with our pure prayer and holy fasting!!!

In Habakkuk 2, we find out that it does not matter how you pray, but that you are actually communicating with God.  The prophet says clearly that he was waiting to be corrected.  Habakkuk’s prayers would raw and filled with emotion.  He did not come with proper words and civilized emotions.  He came as he was and expressed himself honestly and was willing to repent and be corrected.  

We also find the importance of prophetic revelation or vision.  Revelation from God gives us tiny glimpses into our God-sized destiny and this compels us to align ourselves with Him and move more into it.  As we write these things down, it is an encouragement to us when it takes longer to get here than we want (which is 99.99% of the time), an encouragement to others when it does finally come about, and a testimony to the glory and faithfulness of God.

The most important lesson from Mark 9 and Matthew 17 is that in the middle of our hopeless situations that we do not feel as if we can pray or have the faith to pray for complete deliverance and healing, we pray for the grace to overcome our doubt and for God to strengthen our faith.

I encourage you to pray and ask Holy Spirit to bring revelation as you meditate on these questions:

What am I praying for right now?

What are the things I have given up praying for?

Is my secret place worthy of being rewarded?

What has God revealed and called me to that I am not being obedient or repentant to?

What legitimate pleasure am I willing to give up that I might receive a spiritual breakthrough in myself and the lives of others and be launched into a deeper communion with the Lord?

fat and pray

I pray even now that God would give us all hungry hearts to know Him in deeper and mightier ways than ever before.  Help us all to repent of the things which you reveal in our hearts and surrender to walk in full obedience to what He is calling us to.  May our secret places be worthy of reward, and may God bring forth mighty spiritual rewards because of our faithfulness and perseverance in the secret place.

I would like to encourage you to pray and give something up in fasting so that you are able to step into a deeper walk with the Lord and that greater spiritual breakthrough would come in your life!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!