Archive for January, 2012

Living for Jesus

Today is day 21 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Acts 4:27-32
Thought for Today: “Living for Jesus”

Our highest prize is to be found living for Jesus. God is offering us the invitation to walk in spiritual prosperity and release His love to the world around us. Our enemies are God’s enemies, our difficulties are God’s difficulties and yet, our victory is God’s testimony. We are beginning to understand that we have full access to everything for which Jesus died. Its not about the bigger, better or more popular life, its about gaining Christ. He has captured our hearts, by loving us in the midst of discovery!

“We cannot, but speak of what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20) 

Prayer and fasting can lead us to believe that our Christian faith is more about dying to self than living for Christ. Yet, we are exchanging the ashes of a misguided life for the beauty of abiding in His Presence. Though darkness lasts for the night, fresh joy gets released in the morning. The Lord, Himself becomes our Everlasting Light and shapes the way we see our world. It truly is Christ in us that is the hope of Glory (Col 1:27).  

The Unveiling: 

Yet, Glory goes unseen, because flesh is a veil that the devil uses to hide what is available to us (2 Cor 4:4-6). The inward, spiritual man is so much more wonderful than the outer, natural man of flesh and blood. Its the Holy Spirit’s influence that begins to delight our heart and remove the veil of flesh, so that blessing, purpose and fruitfulness can emerge as our treasure (2 Cor 3:16-18). And treasure it, we will… just try to still our voice, shift our vision or hold us back! We have understood the call to go forth in power and it is now inside us, to endure all things with bold perseverence (Heb 10:35-39). 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Rom 8:31-37) 

Spiritual Urgency

Today is day 20 in our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Acts 8:26-40 
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. Its a wonderful example of spiritual urgency, because history tells us that through this encounter a Nation was turned toward God.

Discernment:

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)

A Quickening:

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, not when we have time available, but right now. We are called to live in that moment, to move with that unction of Holy Spirit activity. In God’s timing we need spiritual urgency.

Spiritual Urgency comes from three levels of awareness:

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 somone 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!

A Power Team

Today is day 19 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Joel 2:12-32
Thought for Today: “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:

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 Promise was experienced on the day of Pentecost and continues even today as 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; “And 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 their recovery of the Promise.

Another Example:

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.

Revival starts with us, because we are His Power Team!

Kingdom Leadership

Today is day 18 in our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: 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. The challenge that we face is discernment. The book of Acts has several examples where the Holy Spirit takes the initiative to call ministers and speak to the Body of Christ about sending them into their ministries (Acts 13:2).

Commissioning:

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 is clarified when we know the heart of God. He 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).

Hitting the Mark

Today is day 17 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting

Scripture: Matthew 7:7-8
Thought for Today: “Hitting the Mark”

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!

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