It is time once again to examine our reasons to commit to The 40. We must constantly refresh the reason behind the fast or we will be drawn away by the enticements of the world to what may seem better.
Why have you committed to press in to The Lord through fasting? Whatever your reason may be for going into this fast, today, I want to give you another one.
Fasting precipitates the Latter Rain. The former generation experienced what they refer to as the Latter Rain and there have been many prophecies about the former and latter rain coming together in these days ahead using the passage Joel 2:23. Though this is the passage used by so many about the coming releasing of The Spirit in a mighty way, few know the context in Joel during this time. Another passage of scriptures you may know well is Joel 2:28-32.
Joel 2:28-29 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
This may be one of the most referred to passages in the charismatic church especially since it is referenced by Peter in Acts 2:17-21 when the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples in such a powerful way. Again, it seems that no one knows the context of what is happening in the book of Joel preceding this. We often overlook “minor” details that can lead us to a true revelation to how God wants to bring about what He has promised conditionally. It is especially important to view the context because this passage starts with, me paraphrasing, these things will take place after something else happens.
If you read the book of Joel, this is a time of tremendous devastation in the entire land of Judah. An enormous plague of locusts had come and stripped the entire country of all vegetation. Famine and drought as well as starvation and death of man and animals was taking place. This was the worst possible moment in the people’s lives, and they needed a solution. The prophet Joel came with a solution:
Joel 1:13-14 Gird yourselves and lament, you priests; Wail, you who minister before the altar; Come, lie all night in sackcloth, You who minister to my God; For the grain offering and the drink offering Are withheld from the house of your God. 14 Consecrate a fast, Call a sacred assembly; Gather the elders And all the inhabitants of the land Into the house of the Lord your God, And cry out to the Lord.
The solution for this crisis is humility, repentance, prayer, and fasting. This plague was a result of the people’s constant refusal to turn to God and follow His ways. Therefore, He allows the effects of their disobedience to come upon them. Turning back to Him is the only way to change their situation, and fasting is a sign of a true repentance and humbling of the heart. In case the people did not want to take the advice of a mere prophet of God, The Lord Himself gives the solution for their problem in the very next chapter:
Joel 2:12-13 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
Here, God calls for repentance, fasting, and prayer. Fasting is a true evidence of a desire to change and come into line with God and His purposes instead of partnering with our own flesh. This is what will cause the grace and mercy of Heaven to be made evident in our lives. This is not just a call for certain group of people like the holy priests or pastors. Vs. 15-17 tells us that it is for:
- The Congregation
No one is left out of this call to come to the Lord in repentance, fasting, and prayer. No this is not a mandatory thing. However, this is what it is referring to in Vs. 28 AFTER you come as an entire people in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer THEN God will pour out His Spirit. The apostles received The Holy Spirit after waiting in unity in The Upper Room for 10 days. We know they were praying together, but I believe they were fasting as well. The outbreak of The Spirit at Azusa was a result of 10 days of fasting and praying together. Here we are, committed to The Lord and each other for The 40. What can God do with our hearts that come to Him in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer?
Jesus, I ask that you will take this simple offering of my life, my commitment to you and use it for Your Kingdom. I desire for The Great Outpouring of The Spirit that has so often been talked about. I come to you in humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer right now. Come and move in a mighty way that you may receive the glory that is due Your name!!!
- Read Joel 1-2
- Ask Holy Spirit to reveal how you can partner with Him in your personal prayer time
- Ask Him to reveal how to call your community into humility, repentance, fasting, and prayer
- Be obedient to all that He speaks.
Be blessed with the power to partner with Holy Spirit in precipitating the Latter Rain. May this lifestyle accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Most of us have started The 40 with high expectations, however, now the real work begins. The day to day living it out can be hard since we must constantly seek to overrule our flesh and give ourselves to the Lord. Now is the time to encourage ourselves in The Lord the benefits of keeping The 40 and continuing to walk with Holy Spirit in spite of what our bodies might be telling us.
Prayer and fasting gives us the power to accomplish the “impossible”. Of course, we know that “nothing shall be impossible with God”, yet we still live our lives with “impossible” situations which do not seem to respond to us. Jesus’ disciples had this same problem while He was on the mount being transfigured. A man whose son is assaulted by demons asks for their help. Though they try, they can do nothing about it. When Jesus returns, He easily casts out the demons and heals the boy. He does not seem to be impressed with His disciples’ efforts either. The disciples come to Him and ask why they could not do the same. This is His response:
Matthew 17:20 “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
We do not know what was going on in the disciples’ minds, but Jesus did not ever shy away from directly addressing what people said in their hearts. I believe the disciples did not see a response and had blamed it on not having enough faith. Jesus directly confronts this with The Kingdom Truth that the smallest amount of faith can do the mightiest things in His Kingdom. They had let doubt creep in and this kept them from pressing in to see transformation take place. Then, Jesus says something else interesting that some translations completely leave out.
Matthew 7:21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
What kind is Jesus talking about? Some would say demons, but I think He is talking about the unbelief. Unbelief is a pesky little problem that constantly assaults our media-driven culture. If we cannot see or hear something happening, it is quite hard for us to believe. We can never see the shifting in the heavens when our eyes are on worldly circumstances.
If unbelief keeps us back from doing mighty work in The Kingdom, we should be quick to follow Jesus’ cure for it, prayer and fasting. This dynamite duo is able to demolish and disintegrate the demonic unbelief that has built up in our lives. Through a lifestyle of repentance, humility, prayer, and fasting we are able to say, “God I trust You to take care of the unseen as I partner with You in the physical. I need you to do the “impossible” work of overcoming these spiritual obstacles in me while I do the possible work, with Your help, of repentance, prayer and fasting.”
Jesus, help me to know that you have given me a measure of faith. This faith has the power to overcome every seemingly impossible thing in my life and those around me. Help me to join with you in prayer and fasting that all unbelief within me will be destroyed and Your mountain-moving faith will be displayed in me for all to come and glorify You.
- Ask Holy Spirit to reveal the things in your life and around you that you have labeled as impossible
- Pray that every ounce of unbelief is removed from your life
- Participate with Him in doing the impossible whatever He shows you to do
Be blessed with the power to remove all doubt and do the impossible as you walk with God in obedience and humility. May this accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Keep up the good work! You can do it! Day 2 has in the past been my hardest day to overcome. It is helpful during these first three days of struggling, to overcome our flesh’s addictions, that we keep our eyes on the prize. What is the prize? What is the reward? Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” My own personal interpretation of this passage is that God will reward us as we seek Him even when we do not really want to.
At this point in the fast, it is probably where we all are. What is the reward? The writer of Hebrews says later in Chapter 12 verse 2 that Jesus endured the cross because of the “...joy set before Him…” What is this joy? What is it that will keep us going in the middle of this fast, but also the troubles of this life? 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 talks of the momentary light afflictions working for us an exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
That is what I want! I desire the reward from The Father! I crave the joy in the middle of the troubling times! I am looking for the eternal weight of glory that I gain in the heavenlies as I give up a few things for a few days here on this earth. You! You were the joy that caused Jesus to endure the cross. Your soul was worth it! Jesus! He is my reward! More of His presence! More communion with Him! Deeper relationship and knowing of The Creator of The Universe as my friend! Souls! Family, friends, neighbors, and nations is what I am claiming for my heavenly inheritance and eternal reward!
Jesus, I thank You that You are my reward! I ask for an increasing eternal reward of family, friends, neighbors, and nations for You and Your Kingdom!!!
Practical – Write down the rewards you are looking for and review them when your soul needs to remember why you are fasting.
- What reward do you hope to gain from this fast?
- What are you claiming as your eternal inheritance?
Be blessed with the great reward from heaven, encountering Jesus, as you celebrate to accelerate The Kingdom!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
You have made it! Today is the last day of The 40! Whatever else has taken place over the duration, we have set our hearts to seek The Lord, and together we have reached the finish line. Even though The 40 will be completed tomorrow, I pray that we have all gained something that will stay with us throughout the rest of our lives.
May the hunger and humility of seeking Jesus first and coming to Him for everything we need only increase as we are propelled into new levels with Him! Begin even now looking for the change, the increase, the revelation, and recognize that it comes straight from The throne because of His faithfulness as The Rewarder.
The last few days, we have been talking about feasting, celebration, and obedience. We must always have a right heart no matter what we are doing so that only God will get the glory. Today, I want to look at some of the words of Jesus that not only give us hope for today, but help look to the future as well.
Matthew 9:14-15 Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
Contained in these words of Jesus are some very important things we need to see. We, as disciples of Jesus, are called “friends of the bridegroom”. We are Jesus’ friends if we are his disciples. It is always important to realize that we move from being servants and slaves to friends and heirs. We will take joy in what Jesus takes joy in. Whatever He sets His heart on will be on ours as well. We should be completely full of joy in the presence of Jesus. As we seek Him, we come into a place of celebration even though their may be depression, despair, and darkness all around.
Jesus also lets us know in these passages once again that we are supposed to fast. Currently, we do not have Jesus with us in the body. In our fasting, we are longing for Him, The Great Bridegroom to return just as He said He would. Fasting prepares us to receive Jesus in the right way at His second coming. Then Jesus goes on to say:
Matthew 9:16-17 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Again, we see that fasting prepares our hearts to receive the new things that Jesus wants to release to us in preparation for His return. If we are not filled with Holy Spirit over and over again, we will become crusty, dried out, and useless for the Kingdom. The more that we fast and seek Him, we will be prepared to receive The Great Bridegroom at His second coming.
We also need to realize that through fasting and prayer, seeking Him, and being obedient we will hasten the return of Jesus.
Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
In this chapter, Jesus is asked when the end will come. Jesus tells a lot of signs that will indicate the nearness of the end. However, this passage tell what must take place before then end. Once again, we return to The Father’s heart for souls. The gospel must be preached in every nation or tongue and then Jesus The Bridegroom will return. Fasting, praying, seeking The Father and being obedient will give us His heart for those who do not know Him. By His Spirit, we are enabled and empowered to be His witness everywhere that we go, across oceans and across the street.
My encouragement for today is not to stop seeking The Lord and to ever remain obedient to Him even after The 40 ends. We are friends and therefore will desire to show our love in practical ways even beyond our intitial commitment. If we truly desire Jesus The Bridegroom to return in all of His glory, we will seek Him, gain His heart, and be an obedient witness to share Him anywhere and everywhere that He may take us.
Jesus, I desire to see you returning in all of Your glory! I want to walk on this earth as your friend ever working to prepare the way for Your second coming. Do a work in my heart and my life that I will never stop seeking to know you and help others to know you and well. Help me to prepare my heart and this land for your return. I love you and know that You are worth so much more than I could ever give. So, once again, I give you my heart and life to do with as You will!
- Ask for revelation of Jesus as your friend and bridegroom
- Seek Him for His heart
- Live in obedience to all that He asks if you
Be blessed today with the ability to truly be propelled into the next level. May your heart and life come more into line with Jesus, and may you give Him all that He deserves, today, tomorrow, and forever!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
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.
- 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!!!
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!!!