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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!!!

Inherit The Promises 36/40

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Practical –

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

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

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!