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!!!
- Know God, more and more each day.
- Ask and Pray for Him to give us His heart and to be a witness.
- Speak and Share the wonderful works of God and our daily testimony of His work.
- Act in Obedience with everything we are given to do.
Today we will discuss the last step:
5. Live a life in accordance to The Word.
Let’s unpack this a little more. Today, more than ever, we have seen and know people who are much less than authentic. The daily scams and identity thefts have bred a general distrust of our fellow man. In one sense, when we meet someone new, we are trying to prove that we are who we say we are instead of taking each other at our word. At one time, you could shake hands and make a deal on that alone. We trusted each other. The vows and convenant that took place at a marriage ceremony would never be broken “until death do we part“.
Because our society as a whole has become untrustworthy, everyone is looking for hypocrites and holes in your story before you ever meet them. Because people want the Truth so badly, they try to prove the authenticity of everything they come into contact with. When we come and begin to tell someone about the Way, Truth, and Life, they will be looking at us and our lives as a litmus test of what we are saying. If we are not walking in The Word and living a life of obedience, what makes us any different than the telemarketer that calls them 10 times a day?
Let’s move to the Word to see what God has to say about this after Moses has died, Joshua has taken over as leader to bring Israel into The Promised Land. God has promised to be with them and have given them the land. However, they have to partner with Him, acting in obedience, and go in and take the land, little by little. After many years of battle and taking the land, the people grow weary and begin to slack off in taking the land from their enemies. Joshua has this to say to them:
Joshua 18:3 Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers has given you?
This should be a stiff rebuke to us as we examine what it means to be a witness. As we have seen, God says “Ask of Me and I will give you the nations…” (Psalm 2:8). As we have asked, God has faithfully given, but we must live a life of continually partnering with Him to receive what He has given us. If you look at the word possess in the original Hebrew this is what it means:
to own, to seize and take control of, have complete power over and be manifested through their speech and actions, to make the owner, to enter in and control firmly,
We must not just go into the harvest, but we must possess the souls and nations that God has given us. Holy Spirit does the work, but we must do our part in continually being obedient to Him and His word. As this happens, we will be true, authentic witness for The Kingdom!
Do you possess all that God intended and has given???
Jesus says something similar regarding this subject:
Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
Every single one of us should be desiring to come after Jesus in doing what He did while He was on the earth, and greater! Jesus says, we must deny ourselves, our own sinful, selfish desires that would cause us to walk in the ways of the world. We must take up our cross, our connection to Jesus, what has brought us into unbroken fellowship with Him. We must do this every single day without fail. Then, we must follow Him! This is where we live and walk out our faith practically with Him every day.
God has given you influence, responsibility, authority! What are you doing with it?
Are you neglecting it fully or in part?
My encouragement for us today is to live out The Truth in our daily lives. We must follow Jesus and do all He is calling us to do in daily life. We must remain humble and repentant as Holy Spirit reveals issues that need to be dealt with. We must be obedient in doing all He calls us to do. We must live our lives every day coming more into line with the revelation of Truth we have been given. This is who we are; we are his true, authentic witnesses. He has given us a harvest of souls and nation to possess. May we partner with Him in a real way by becoming increasingly obedient every single day.
Jesus, I desire to truly follow in Your footsteps. Help me to deny the fleshly desires within me to please myself. I want to take up The Truth of the good news You have given and walk in obedience to what you are saying. I want to do this every single day even as you have given me a great Promised harvest to go in and possess. Help me to live out the gospel even as I speak it forth and act in obedience to what you are revealing!
- Ask Holy Spirit to help you to know Him deeper than ever before
- Pray that you receive the Father’s heart of compassion for souls and nations
- Speak out the wonderful works of God, the testimony you have been given
- Act in obedience to do everything God has called you to
- Live a life of continual obedience, renewal, and following in Jesus’ footsteps
Be blessed today with the ability to live faithfully in following Jesus in all He said and did! May you fully possess the land God has given you as you are propelled to the next level!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
As we move into the last 10 days of The 40, do not forget to focus your eyes on The King of The Kingdom. He rewards us as we diligently seek Him. If you are able to give more to The Lord, let’s do it together. He is worth so much more than we could ever give. Let us worship Him in a special way the last 10 days of this fast.
Yesterday’s encouragement was a shift in what God has been speaking and revealing. God is speaking about seeking Him and growing into the powerful witness, He has created us to be. Over the next several days, we will see how we can become Holy Spirit filled witnesses of the good news!!!
Today, we will start at a place that we are familiar with, but it can never be neglected, forgotten or emphasized enough. We must come to know God more and more and grow in our relationship with Him. When I speak of knowing God, I am not just talking about a head knowledge that we are accustomed with. I am speaking of the old Biblical sense of know. “Adam knew his wife and conceived a son” (Genesis 4:1). This kind of intimate relationship goes far beyond a mental aspect of knowing. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).
What is the key to bearing fruit? Abiding, remaining, knowing Him!
This is not a new concept that Jesus brings us during his time on earth. Let’s move back to the prophet Isaiah long before Jesus and see the constant, faithful, unchanging heart of God for us to know Him.
Isaiah 43:1-3 “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior…
God is our creator and redeemer. He has a plan and purpose for designing us and creating us. He has called each one is us by name to come to Him. We are His. We may not live walk or act like it, but we have been called and chosen by the Creator of the universe. He did not make us and leave us on our own as some believe, but He is always with us. Even in the darkest, most difficult times in our lives He is with us! The flames of the enemy will not destroy us when we are near to Him. When we are near to The Lord we will not be overcome.
Why does He do all these things for us?
He is The Lord our God, our Savior!!! Before we move on, know this, you are never alone when you are seeking The Lord. It may seem like your prayers are going unanswered. Situations are difficult, the storms, floods, and fire may be coming against you, but you will stand firm as you stand with God in His strength for you are His!
As we walk through the fires, floods, and storms of this life, we have come to know God our Strength, our Sustainer, our Provider, our Savior. From this place of real life revelation and testimony of what God has done for us, we are called to be His witnesses.
Vs 10-12 “You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior. I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses,” Says the Lord, “that I am God.
There is nothing wrong with Christian apologetics and logical historical evidence that gives witness to the reality of a historical Jesus, but your very life and the testimony of what He has brought you through is an undeniable witness on display that brings glory to God. The more each of us come to know God, trust in Him, and are transformed into His image, the greater testimony we have. As we come to know Him and our testimony increases, we become a growing witness to God’s goodness, faithfulness, and are able to give Him greater glory from our lives. Nothing and no one else can cause such a transformation as has taken place in the lives of those who are daily coming to know Jesus more.
This is the first step of being a Holy Spirit empowered martyr-level witness and my encouragement for you today. Come to know The Savior, Redeemer, and Sustainer more than ever before. Come to know Him, and recognize what He has taken you through and out of. This has caused your very life to be a witness of who God is. You are God’s undeniable witness right where you are today. Never be afraid to share who He is that has done such a mighty work in your life!
Jesus, help me come to know You more than ever before! Than, you for touching, changing, and transforming me from a rebellious, selfish sinner into a faithful, righteous saint. Use my life as a witness and testimony of You for Your glory. Even in the middle of the storms of life, I want my life to radiate Your glory because You are with me keeping me from harm. I want to be Your witness and testimony in every aspect of my life!
- Ask Holy Spirit to help you come to know Him in a greater way today
- Remember where you have come from, and what He has brought you out of
- Thank God for His mighty work in Your life
- Ask to be used as a greater witness and testimony for His glory
Be blessed today with revelation of the life-changing power of knowing Jesus more. May you see clearly where you have come from and how He has been with you through the journey. May you be a living testimony and witness that continually gives glory to God!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Here we are at day 25! It is hard to imagine before The 40 that we could be so far in and a little over two weeks from completing the commitment God has placed in our hearts. The spiritual benefits that come from the daily overcoming of obstacles to remain faithful in worship to The King of The Universe will one day astound us all. Never give in to the fleshly desires now in exchange for the eternal reward that is being built up for you and everyone around you. Let’s press on and press in together.
By this time, the weight of the impossible has probably tried to crush you or in the very least discourage you. Several people have indicated to me this week that they were worried about me physically. One even said that I was crazy and out of my mind. However, as long as we are partnered with Jesus and what He has for us, I would rather be walking in the mind of Christ than my own mind anyway.
It should not be a surprise to any of us that trusted spiritual and especially worldly influences around us do not understand the depth of what is taking place. The God of great grace and mercy has called us out, or we have submitted to Him out of worship, in order for the impossible to take place. When God moves, it is not understood completely by the most spiritual people we could ever think of. We desire the perfect grace and mercy of God to be made manifest in us, our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, regions, and nations. As much as we think we may understand Him and His ways, we do not.
We can see clearly that hunger and expectation has the ability to change the situations around us. The woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43-48) only wanted to get close enough to touch Jesus’ garment. She did what was illegal and could have gotten her stoned to death by pushing,maybe even crawling, through a crowd of people and just to put her “unclean” hands on Jesus. It was her hunger and expectation that drove her to do what others would not. This was the faith that healed and restored her. This is where we are today. We are all believing for the “impossible” things to happen for the glory of God!
But what if these things do not happen during or after The 40?
What if we go through The 40 and do not see anything change?
What if our hunger and expectation are seemingly not rewarded?
Take heart, my brothers and sisters, this will align us on the same level as one “after God’s own heart”, David. David was hand picked by the Lord and anointed to be king long before it actually takes place. David has to live a life of character and actually doing the job of the king, like challenging Goliath, before he ever saw the promotion that God had anointed him for. Eventually, he became king and did great for a while.
However, it seems David had a weakness for women. Because David decided to give in to this weakness just one time, it led him to deception, adultery, murder, and pain. The prophet Nathan reveals that God has seen it all and finally David repents. What is the judgment for all of this sin? David’s recently born son would die. This is where we pick up in the scripture reading for today:
2 Samuel 12:15-16 And the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and it became ill. David therefore pleaded with God for the child, and David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground.
Even though David knew he deserved the judgment and punishment that God had said, he increases his expectation that God’s great mercy and grace is greater than his sin. David comes in humility, prayer, and fasting and cries out to God for mercy for his baby. He does this for 7 days until the baby dies. His servants do not even want to tell him that his baby has died because they are unsure what he will do when he finds out the worst has happened. David’s hopes, desires, and expectations for the life of his baby because of the mercy of God are about to be crushed. What will his response be?
I do not know what the physicians were telling him and Bathsheba, but God had told him the baby would die. That seems to be a very definite thing to me. Surely, trusted and godly people came in after a few days of prayer and fasting and felt the need to prepare him for the worst. There was no reason for him to expect that God would do anything different than He Himself had said. However, David increased expectation in The God of grace and mercy. Throwing himself at the feet of The Great Shepherd and walking through the valley of the shadow of death, David is rewarded with seemingly nothing. Here is David’s response when he finds out this baby is dead:
Vs. 20 So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate.
He cleans himself up, puts on his best worship attire, and goes to The house of The Lord and worships. Great expectations unmet did not crush David and cause him to turn away, but causes him to be able to praise through the pain of unmet expectation. This does not make sense to anyone and they ask him about it.
Vs. 21 Then his servants said to him, “What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food.”
His expectations and prayers were unmet, and he chose to worship and adore God anyway because he knew His God. The Great God of Mercy and Grace was still the same whether David got what he desired or not.
Vs. 22-23 And he said, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”
David knew the value in hunger and increasing expectation to work mighty things in the heavenly realm. It had not happened the way he wanted. However, because of a right heart of hunger and expectation to pray the greatest prayer he could think of, he was prepared to praise even through the pain. Immediately after this, Solomon is born and God names him Jedidiah which means beloved of the Lord. David’s hunger and expectation caused a blessing to take place that was not the way David prayed or wanted, but came about at a different time and different way.
This is the kind of hunger, expectation, and faith that I want!
No matter the difficulties, trials, and impossibilities that we bring to the Lord during this time, may we all increase our hunger and expectation to see the impossible made manifest into reality. Even if these things do not take place how we want or think they should, we must pray for the best and cry out to God. Today, increase your hunger and expectation and may this increase your worship through both met and unmet expectations.
Jesus, increase my hunger and expectation today. I want to have faith for the impossible miracles to take place no matter what I see or hear. Help me to trust You to bring about the greatest good as my expectations are increased, and I cry out to You for the greatest good. Help me to never be discouraged or back down from believing the best no matter what I may see with my eyes or hear with my ears.
- Take a good look at what you are praying for.
- Ask Holy Spirit to help you increase expectation and hunger to believe in the greatest possible good
- Ask for strength, grace, and mercy for the faith to continually believe for the impossible
- Ask for worship and fresh faith to replace discouragement or unbelief that tries to come in
Be blessed with an exponential increase of expectation and hunger to continuously believe for what seems impossible to man. May all discouragement and unbelief be replaced with worship and even more increased expectation because of new revelations of The Great God of Mercy and Grace in your life..
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
Even understanding a proper definition of advance gives us a clue into what God is speaking to us today.
My personal definition would be the effective assisting in hastening a process or bringing about a desired end. May we all be advanced in our own lives, and be used to advance The Kingdom of God today!
In the Word, we can see this happening throughout the entire Bible, but we will focus on what is taking place in Acts 13. The setting of this passage is the rapid growth of the church. If you remember, they were first called Christians at Antioch, literally meaning “little Christ”. The gospel is being proclaimed, and persecution has taken the life of James the apostle. This was the first of the apostles to be martyred. Peter was set to be killed as well, but through constant prayer, God miraculously delivers Him. This is where we pick up in our reading.
The church is at a pivotal point in history. They must come to a decision if the persecution and death is too much and they should calm down in what they are doing, or if they should continue to advance The Kingdom in spite of all this.
Acts 13:1-2 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
The response of the early church to the persecution and death of James and near martyrdom of Peter is to gather together and minister to The Lord.
How was this done? In Acts 2:42, 47 and 6:4 we find some clues: continue steadfastly in apostles doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, prayer, praising God, and ministry of The Word. In this passage we see, they also fasted. Fellowship, worship, prayer, and fasting are literally ministry to The Lord. As they ministered to The Lord, Holy Spirit revealed what they were to do next.
It is interesting, they did not have a vision-casting meeting. They did not form a committee to talk about business. They did not try to figure out the most logical business model to follow. They gathered the leaders to worship, prayer, and fasting. It is a sad fact that in many churches today, call a church business meeting and everyone shows up, but call a church prayer meeting more crickets show up than people. However, if you call a prayer meeting without food and call a people to fast, this is like what happened in the early church. Only hungry people allowed. This is where Holy Spirit brought revelation of what was to happen next.
When Holy Spirit released this revelation, they did not end the meeting and say lets get to work. Why? Because this was not the point of the meeting. They were there to worship God with everything they had to give. As a result, when they received revelation this is what they did:
Vs. 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
They continued in worship, prayer, and thanksgiving. What Holy Spirit revealed in a time of worship, prayer, and fasting was commissioned and sent out by worship, prayer, and fasting. The focus was ministering to God and the commissioning and sending out of Barnabas and Saul for the advancement of The Kingdom was part of this ministering to God. No man or even church was glorified in the sending out of these men.
Verse 4 begins with “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit…” There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that this was a work of Holy Spirit for the advance of The Kingdom. This is before Saul had prove himself to the church. He is still in the care of Barnabas and there is probably still those who do not fully trust him. That did not matter when Holy Spirit had set him apart to send him out. In the very next chapter Saul is violently persecuted and stoned. The strength knowing Holy Spirit had called him and sent him out enabled him to return to the very cities that this took place.
My encouragement for us today is that as we gather together daily to worship, pray, and fast, whether together in body or spirit, Holy Spirit will bring wisdom, understanding, and revelation that only comes from Him. As He does, may we all be strengthened with might to advance The Kingdom and walk in what He has called us to. Nothing can hold you back from advancing to the next level with Him if you are living and walking as His partner.
- Ask for revelation of how you can minister to God today
- As you minister to Him, seek wisdom, revelation, and understanding that only comes from Him
- As He reveals, ask for the strength and ability to obey
- Continue in Worship and ministry to Him
- Obey all He directs you to do
Be blessed with the ability to truly advance The Kingdom in partnership with Holy Spirit. May you receive wisdom, understanding, revelation and might as you minister to Holy Spirit. May this propel you to the next level with Him!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!
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!!!