As we near the end of the second week, I want to encourage you to continue to return to The Lord for strength and life. Some may have incredible will power, but the point of fasting and prayer is to humble yourself and say, “God, I need You!” I would not have been able to make it this far without supernatural strength.
Here is another encouragement from Jesus’ words:
Matthew 5:3 Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are the poor in spirit [those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for theirs is the kingdom of heaven [both now and forever].
Those of us who realize our need for God are blessed and will be spiritually prosperous because we know it is His work in us and not the work of our hands. Continue to trust in the grace and mercy of a loving God, and look to Him for all that you need.
As we continue to press in to The Lord and seek Him, we come to a realization. Most of the time, food becomes built up in our lives as an idol, in the very least as a great treasure. It is what we think about. It is what we talk about. It is what we build our gatherings around. “Which restaurant do you want to go to?”, “What is for dinner?“, and “What are we going to do for food?” are common questions, especially in the American society.
Our culture is built around the value of food, and often our waistlines reflect it. You probably find this out more when you are fasting than any other time. It is almost necessary to become a recluse because family time, hospitality, and all social gatherings are food-centered. When this comfort is taken away, it can be hard to figure out what to do, for the one fasting and for those around them. If you are not eating, for whatever reason, often your own family does not even know how to treat you.
In Matthew 4, Jesus elects to go The 40 to strengthen Himself spiritually to stand up against the temptation of the enemy. What does the enemy tempt Jesus with first? Food! Here is Jesus’ answer quoting from the scriptures:
Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3 “It is written,‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Food is necessary and important for the body to live, but Jesus puts His focus on what really matters, treasuring the Word of God. Even though your body may be sustained physically, you can still become sick and even die of a broken heart or spirit. However, The Word of God brings life to you that you cannot get any other way. Your value has to be on what really matters.
As we are fasting, I pray that even though the comfort of food has been taken away, you replace it with the life giving Word of God. When we read The Bible and seek Him in prayer for a personal word, this is what will sustain us through every situation in our lives. If you have not already, I encourage you to set aside some extra time to read The Bible and pray, especially while you fast. This will help you not only grow spiritually, but sustain you during The 40.
Someone else who knew the importance of the word is someone we know for going through some of the most difficult trials anyone has ever had to face, Job. In the middle of his difficult situation where everything is taken away and even his wife and friends are turning against him, this is what He says:
Job 23:12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food.
Everything that God has to say is vitally important. Job says it should be treasured more than the food that is necessary to survive. In his situation, he did not need food. Food could not help him out of his grief and loss. It could do nothing for Him. However, he was hoping, clinging, and longing for The word from the mouth of God. Life comes from Him! Hope comes from Him! Strength comes from Him! As we seek The Lord, we must have ears to hear His word. When we hear His word, we must be obedient to receive the true blessings He wants to pour out upon us.
Jesus, help me to truly treasure the words of your mouth more than anything in my life. Open my ears to hear You. Open my heart to obey You. I want to base my life upon Your life-giving, life-sustaining word spoken to Me.
- Commit 15 – 30 mins extra time to spend seeking The Lord each day.
- Read The Bible, 1-5 chapters a day
- Ask Holy Spirit to open your ears and help you to truly value The Word
Be blessed with eyes to see the face of God, ears to hear new revelations of His glory, and a heart to be truly transformed by His presence! May this propel you to the next level in Him!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
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!!!
I know, it has been three weeks since our last post and it was just a video. You might think that coming back to the U.S. that we would be finished with full-time ministering. However, the Lord wants us just as much here as everywhere else we have gone. We hit the ground running with speaking at youth groups, Fire by Night, connecting with churches and reconnecting with old friends. A lot has changed since we have been gone and that is not only us but what has been going on here as well. Many people need encouragement and strengthening and that is what God sent us out to do. This ministry does not stop because we are back at home now. Everything we have been doing has been full-time ministry, but people are now more reluctant to support us since we are back in the U.S. We have no desire to get jobs and split our time between ministry and working to survive, but it looks like we have no choice.
The Friday after we got back, we were able to connect with a small group that became our family and that truly supported us while we were away. There, God gave me a good word to share and Katie got to see two legs grow out, and someone who had crooked feet her whole life got them straightened by the Lord. It was amazing to see the Spirit working powerful here at home within our spiritual family.
Monday through Friday was a youth camp, Encounter God’s Presence, that we have been a part of helping with for three years and we got the opportunity to serve and speak. God used us mightily to encourage the youth to listen for the Word of the Lord and be completely obedient to what He has to say. Again, we saw God working in the lengthening of shortened legs and even a young man who was said to have a broken leg walked out of the building 10 minutes after we prayed for him. God is awesome!!!
God is moving here in amazing ways. Our job is to listen for what God is speaking and be obedient to whatever He is staying. We were obedient to go out because of the word spoken to us. But many people are called to stay and minister here and at their jobs and schools to those they are around. In the end, you will be blessed as you listen to the Lord and be fully obedient.
Ask Holy Spirit to give you a word today and be obedient to whatever He has to say no matter what it is. No matter if it is BIG or small, our obedience brings blessings!!! May the blessings of the Lord be released upon you mightily this week as you are obedient to His word to you!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!