Scripture: Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.” So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8:29-30)
Thought for Today: “Spiritual Urgency”
One of the most powerful stories of the New Testament is when we see the Evangelist Philip leave a city moving in great revival, to minister to an Ethiopian on his way out of Jerusalem. His ability to respond to the Angel of the Lord shows great sensitivity to the Will of God Acts 8:26-40. Its a wonderful example of living life with spiritual urgency, because history tells us that through this encounter a Nation was turned toward God.
We were made to do the works of God and manifest God’s Glory in the Earth. While we all recognize that God’s Will must come first in our life, few have developed the ability to recognize the opportunities the Holy Spirit sets in front of us. Discernment is a vital key to walking in sync with God and manifesting His Glory.
The Christian who develops a lifestyle of prayer and fasting will tend to respond with spiritual urgency when they feel the Holy Spirit’s nudge. This is because they have trained their hearts to move in faith, rather than routine or human reason. What the Bible calls discernment, Jesus calls being sensitive to the Spirit’s “quickening”.
Jesus tells us, “It is the Spirit which quickens, the flesh profits nothing: the words which I have spoken unto you are spirit and are life.” (Jn 6:63)
Feeling the quickening of the Holy Spirit is a powerful faith activity, a strong sense of “NOW” or being present in a Divine Opportunity. Its the heart’s response to supernatural life becoming activated by a Word from the Mouth of God. We can become engaged in God’s timing, simply by believing; not tomorrow or when we have time available, but right now! We are called to live in the moment, to move with an unction of Holy Spirit activity. In God’s timing we need spiritual urgency.
Spiritual Urgency comes from three levels of awareness:
- Our Identity: The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are a Child of God (Rom 8:16). Jesus modeled this for us, to value and respond from the identity of a Son or Daughter makes us more sensitive to the heart of God. Jesus said “The Son only does what He sees the Father doing” (Jn 5:19).
- Our Compassion: The Holy Spirit’s love compels us to move according to the will of God with great urgency (Mt 9:36). The Apostle Paul spoke of being “bound in the spirit” to go to Jerusalem, even though the Holy Spirit had told him he would find tribulations there (Acts 20:22-23). Yet, Paul felt compelled on the inside toward others.
- Our Convictions: The belief that God would desire all men to be saved births an urgency in the person who aims to please God (1 Tim. 2:4). To know that Jesus said that we will do even greater works that these, stirs the believer to go after signs and wonders (Jn. 14:12). To trust in the power of prayer creates an urgent response when someone we love is struggling (Jms. 5:16). When we know and abide in the Truth, the Truth will set you free (Jn. 8:32)… free to walk the walk with urgency.
Remind yourself what Jesus said “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). …With Passion, Purpose and Power!
Scripture: “…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. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls. (Joel 2:28-32)
Thought for Today: “Becoming A Power Team”
The Church that we see spoken of consistently in Scripture is a people of power. Jesus said the very gates of hell shall not prevail against Her (Mt 16:18). She is a people of Promise (Lk 24:49), called out of darkness and established upon a platform of supernatural love (Col 1:13-14) and Holy Spirit activity (Acts 2:4). She has stood in the midst of persecution and multiplied in the midst of division. Her character has been challenged from every angle and She has advanced in every culture. Yet, She fights Her greatest battles from within, from the very people who carry Her Promise. She will prevail, but not without a people who know how to maintain that Promise.
The Promise of the Father:
We, as God’s People; cannot emphasize this enough – The Promise of the Father is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Jesus told His disciples to go wait in Jerusalem until they were endued, or clothed with power from on high (Lk 24:49)(Acts 1:4-8). This is the Promise that was experienced on the day of Pentecost and continues even today, and it is the force that has made the Church most effective in the modern world. Power was released that made those early followers “witnesses” in their world and that same power is alive today if we will maintain the Promise of the Father.
Maintaining the Promise of the Father: (2 Chron 7:14)
If My people who are called by My name will… 1st) humble themselves and pray… 2nd) seek My face… and 3rd) turn from their wicked ways.
God’s Response: Renewal, Revival and Restoration
Then I Will… 1) hear from heaven… 2) forgive their sins… and 3) heal their land.
Please notice that God’s Promise is conditional, meaning we must maintain its reality. God will only do what He can do, when we do what we have been called to do. The Church is responsible for the spiritual condition of our neighbors, city and nation, because God has given us delegated authority to advance His cause in our World. We are the Power Team in the Earth. We are the carriers of revival to different spheres of society. We maintain the Promise of the Father by fervent, persistent and faith-filled praying. When we as God’s People humble ourselves and seek His face, He will hear and respond. God will not fasten our destinies to a dead end vision or lifeless system maintained by religion. Remind yourself that it is still His Church… He is simply wanting to rule and reign in it again!
Another Great Awakening:
I believe there is gonna be another great awakening, but it starts right here with us… God’s People; humbling themselves before God, praying and fasting, turning from their wicked ways and seeking His face!
God says through the Prophet Joel; “…afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.” (Joel 2:28)
The question to ask is; “after what?” Please do not forget what precedes the promise. “Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning…”(Joel 2:12) “Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly…” (Joel 2:15). God was saying, assemble a people who will fast and pray to recover what has been lost. This was God’s call to His People for the recovery of their Promise.
John the Baptist was a burning and shining lamp. It was the quality of his life and the fire of his devotion that captured a Nation. His authority to be a voice was in his lifestyle. Through prayer and fasting he prepared the way of the Lord. The same applies to us, through prayer and fasting we will prepare the way of the Lord. For Him to do a great work through us, He first has to do a great work in us. We carry the Glory of God within us… we are His Image Bearers; called to awaken and respond to His purposes in the earth (Hab. 2:14).
Revival starts with us, because we are the commissioned ones… we must maintain the Promise!
Scripture: “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’. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:1-3)
Thought for Today: “Kingdom Leadership”
When we talk about the Kingdom of God, we must speak in terms of the Holy Spirit’s leadership and timing (Rom 14:17). God has a plan and purpose for raising up leaders and ministries. Yet the greatest challenge that we face is discernment… how will we know the most effective ways to reach new territory? Prayer and fasting can become one of the most effective disciplines in raising up ministries and leaders. Because the early Church valued this discipline, the book of Acts offers us several examples where the Holy Spirit takes the initiative by calling and anointing leaders that establish new territory… offering new opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance. When we, as the Body of Christ minister to the Lord first and position our hearts to hear His voice, amazing things begin to happen (Acts 13:2).
Notice, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted while appointing leaders in the churches they had planted (Acts 14:23). We must not overlook the fact, our ministry to the Lord will always give us a more effective platform for commissioning Kingdom leaders. The reason is simple, our ability to know the will of God becomes more clear the more we know the heart of God. Our Father is looking for worshipers (Jn 4:23-24) and speaking to those with an ear to hear (Rev 3:20).
Gifts, Grace and Anointing:
The Apostle Paul explains that Christ has given gifts to men, some as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11). God gives us a “grace” for the work (Eph 4:7), which means we are to respond from that grace to the ministry by His direction, encouragement and strength. No matter how gifted or popular a person might be, it will always fall upon God to anoint the leader He desires. While we are being equipped, God is refining our character. It is a beautiful work of Holy Spirit transformation, when disciples are released into Kingdom Leadership.
Jesus said “… he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn 14:12).
Scripture: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Thought for Today: “Hitting the Mark”
Jesus is in essence saying… “ask and keep on asking, knock and keep on knocking, seek and keep on seeking… something will be open to you.” The spiritual disciplines of our Christian faith should be done for the purpose of developing our focus. Like an archer who takes aim at their target, we can only hit the mark if we are able to get our arrow and the “bulls eye” to line up. The goal is to hit the mark from any distance, any angle and in the midst of any distractions. So many things can become a hindrance to our spiritual life, but disciplines like prayer and fasting sharpen our aim by stabilizing our stance.
Identifying the Mark:
The Apostle Paul said that we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). This means we are very familiar with what it feels like to “miss the mark”, because of where we stood… without Christ.
However, today by standing in Christ, we are fully capable of walking by faith and trusting in His power. We hit the mark by manifesting His Glory in the Earth. All fruitfulness and blessing flow from the work of God inside of us and through us. He has given Holy Spirit discernment, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) to equip us and train us in hitting the mark every time. We might need comfort, wisdom or healing. The Holy Spirit will lead us in all Truth and make His power effective to our need. James tells us that the passionate prayer of a righteous man is effective and hits the mark (Jms 5:16).
Fasting to Hit the Mark:
Here are a few ways in which fasting can elevate our effectiveness in hitting the mark. By fasting with a purpose we can focus and aim at significant needs and bring forth results that are supernatural.
- To Strengthen Prayer (Ezra 8:3)
- To Seek God’s Guidance (Judges 20:26)(Acts 14:23)
- To Express Grief (1 Sam 31:13)(2 Sam 1:11-12)(1 Sam 20:34)
- To Seek Protection (2 Chron 20:3-4)(Ezra 8:21-23)(Esther 4:16)
- To Repent or Return to God (1 Sam 7:6)(Joel 2:12)(Jonah 3:5-8)
- To Humble Oneself before God (Ps 35:13)
- To Express Concern for the Word of God (Neh 1:3-4)(Dan 9:3)
- To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Oneself to God (Mt 4:1-2)
- To Express Love and Devotion to God (Lk 2: 37)(Zech 7:5)
I want to encourage a focused aim on those things that hinder or distract from manifesting God’s Glory everyday. Your lifestyle of prayer and fasting is a uniquely powerful arrow for hitting the mark set before you!
Scripture: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Thought for Today: “Reaching Forward & Pressing Toward the Goal”
This lifestyle of prayer and fasting is really all about the exercise of reaching forward to lay hold of Christ! We are letting go of our past, counting all things as loss and pressing toward the upward call of God. He has apprehended us through salvation and He wants us to become His Kingdom Agents in the Earth. This call is not an occupational choice, we are not working for Him… we are working with Him. We are becoming a people in step with His purposes.
The Prize that is Ahead:
The Apostle Paul emphasizes this reality as he speaks to us about reaching forward to those things which are ahead (Philippians 3:7-16). There is an obvious prize in his efforts… “Christ”. He speaks of four key principles in the prize set before him:
To know “Christ”.
To gain “Christ”.
To be found in ”Christ”.
To walk with “Christ”.
That word, “Christ” is a significant title that means “Anointed One” and points to more than just a person named Jesus. Jesus carried something with Him everywhere He went… the anointing of the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:18)(Acts 10:38). By calling His followers “Christians”, all the world now assumes that we too are called as “little anointed ones” to carry something everywhere we go.
Carrying the Christ Anointing:
We should and we must carry the anointing everywhere we go(2 Cor 1:21)! It is the Holy Spirit’s power poured out (Acts 1:8) that breaks yokes (Isa 10:27) and destroys the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8). Yet this will require a lifestyle of reaching forward consistently for more of Christ. Its not information, but power; life transforming power. Its not inspiration, its purity and a wealth of spiritual integrity. Its not desperation, its supernatural faith and trust in a God who still does miracles. We are not working out our religious service, we are reaching forward to carry the same anointing that rested upon Jesus (Jn 14:12).
The flame that burns within our heart, is fueled by that which we see through the eyes of faith. We are reaching and gaining a more excellent prize than gold or human favor. Our reaching forward is to lay hold of Christ…