This is the fourth message in the series: Simple Discipleship.
Here is what we will be studying for next week:
Holy Spirit/Power of God
Here are my Notes: Simple Discipleship Week 4
Here is the Audio Sermon: Prayer and Fasting
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.
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!!!
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?
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!!!
This is the second week in a series called Simple Discipleship:
The topic for next week will be Worship/Sacrifice and we will be discussing:
2 Chronicles 20:1-30, Genesis 22:1-19, John 4:20-24, Malachi 1:6-14, 2 Samuel 24:18-25, and Luke 7:36-50
This week, we are learning about Intimacy/Love of God.
Here are my notes: Simple Discipleship Week 2
Here is the recording of the teaching, Feb 10, 2016: Intimacy/Love of God
This week’s teaching is what I would consider as the most important one to come to understand in the whole series. The love of God and the relationship that we have with Him will affect every other aspect of our lives.
What is Intimacy? to know deeply, completely and have a greater love for then when you did not know as much.
What is Love? A deep, selfless, pure closeness and knowing of a person no matter what their words, actions, or behavior. This closeness is promised with words, but proven by action.
Our revelation of the Love that God has for us will color every other thing that we come into contact with. How can we love others if we do not love God? How can we even love God if we do not understand the enormity of His love for us?
In John 15 Jesus speaks of an illustration of how close we should be in relationship with Him. He is the vine and we are the branches. We must be in such a relationship that we are a part of Him, and we are getting everything we need for us to live from Him . Without this relationship with Him, we can do nothing. I know that all of us want to be doing great things for the Lord. However, if we are not constantly and consistently connected with Him, we are doing absolutely nothing no matter how great we may look.
If you don’t remember anything else remember this, everything we do flows from our relationship with Jesus!!! You want to do great things? You must have a great relationship with Jesus.
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a picture of the perfect God kind of love. Paul is very clear at the beginning that no matter what you may be doing, saying, or giving to the Lord if it is not done in love, it is worthless.
Paul is very intentional about describing the God kind of love because it is so different than our view of love. This love is God’s love for us and the kind of love we should be seeking to have for him and for each other. We have a long way to go until we are able to obtain a love that begins to look like this perfect God kind of love.
Ephesians 3 speaks even more to how important this love is for us to have and know. We are strengthened in our inner selves by this love. In fact, this power, the Love of God and our revelation of this love, is the power with which God works out exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask for, hope for, or imagine. Our faith opens the door for this love to come in and each new revelation of this love that we have unlocks a greater power to work in and through us in every area of our lives.
It is evident in Deuteronomy 7:6-9 that God has chosen you as a special treasure and set you apart for holiness. There was nothing that you have done or ever could do to deserve this, but God did it because He loves you. God is full of mercy or he never would have chosen any of us sinful creatures. He is faithful because He continues to pour out His mercy when over and over again we prove that we do not deserve it.
I challenge you to sit down in a quiet place by yourself with a pen and some paper. Ask Holy Spirit to come and speak to you. Ask Him a simple question “How much do You love me?” Then, simple write or draw whatever He speaks to you. The voice of God is always loving, encouraging, and full of life. This is what He will speak to you.
After you have completed the above exercise, I would encourage you to pray and ask Holy Spirit:
Do I have a deepening relationship with you? Does my life sustaining force flow from my relationship with You?
Am i being obedient to You out of love or am I trying to prove I am worthy of Your love?
Am I glorifying You through my love for You?
Finally, pray this with me: “Father, bring a new revelation of the love that you have for me. Show me how much you truly love me and help me to do better at showing that love to the people around me.”
May the Lord bless you with new revelations of His love ever-increasing and ever-strengthening you with power for great and mighty works.
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
This past weekend, we had the privilege to take a small group of people to a conference in Austin. While this conference was amazing in every way, God was speaking to me something deeper and more profound than I could ever learn at the conference.
While we were in Austin, I got the opportunity to look up some of my parent’s good friends who are pastoring a church in Round Rock. In fact, this couple Jim and Sylvia Patterson, were my first pastors. That was about 21 years ago though, so I really had no relationship with them, but with their daughters. Since that time, we had all but lost contact with them until the advent of the Facebook. I reconnected with them in July and had the desire to reconnect with them. God opened the door and we were able to eat lunch with them and then attend their church on Sunday before returning home.
Now, I could have reasoned within myself that I do not really know them and it might be kind of awkward. I will probably even miss part of the conference that we are attending. I could have explained away all the reasons to meet with them, but I thank the Lord that I did not. Meeting these pastor friends was such a blessing to me and the people with me. We were able to share our hearts and get to be inspired by theirs. In the end, we encouraged and blessed one another just because we were willing to go out of our way and off our regularly scheduled programming.
Yesterday, I was reading Romans once again and rediscovered a passage that was so central to our journeys around the world. Romans 1:11-12 “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established— 12 that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Contained within this passage is our heart for the people of God all over the world. We desire to come to them and encourage and be encouraged and help them out in any way that we can. This is what being a family is. We went out of our way to meet with this couple that I barely knew, and my wife and friends did not know at all. In the end, we had a great God moment in the middle of the restaurant praying and blessing each other. We were truly family even though we had barely met.
I want to encourage you in two ways today. First, do not allow silly things to keep you from relationship with the family of God. We can allow inconvenience, awkwardness, earthly divisions, and other earthly things to keep us from getting to know the true family of God. When Jesus is the center, we have the ability not only to encourage, but be encouraged by our brothers and sisters. Seek to be in unity with the family of God so that the blessing of unity may come upon you. Practically encourage someone today, not because they are your friend, but because they are a brother or sister in Jesus. Secondly, we must be willing to be inconvenienced so that Holy Spirit can lead us into obedience and blessing. We got to hear a lovely couple from Africa speak about how inconvenience had led them into more ministry in South Africa. People interrupting them while they were building ended up getting saved and discipled because they took the time to be with them and realized the true treasure in people. We make special time for our physical family, and we must be willing to take time for the children of God. If not, we are throwing away not only the very treasure that God wants but the treasure that He wants to bring us!!!
Look for the treasures of the Lord today and do not let inconvenience, selfishness, or fear keep you from receiving these blessings from the Good Father!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!