Posts Tagged ‘fasting’

Pulling On God’s Heart

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among My people… If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chron 7:13-15).

Ministry Breakthrough:

Our Lord Jesus said fasting would be necessary for His disciples when He was no longer with them in person. “The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Mt 9:15). Notice Jesus is giving the impression that the disciples would need to fast in order to pull information out of the spiritual realm after He was gone.

The early disciples remembered the words of Jesus and made fasting a vital part of their spiritual lives, especially when breakthrough was needed. The outstanding work God accomplished through them speaks for itself. They could easily hear God speak to them through prayer and fasting and so their activities in ministry were more effective.

Just imagine the scene as those disciples were worshiping and fasting. The Holy Spirit spoke with amazing clarity. “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them“. So after they fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them into ministry (Acts 13:2-3).

Personal Breakthrough:

We must recognize the value of fasting and prayer, as we consider our own heart toward God. Many times in my life, I have seen wilderness experiences turned into opportunities for promotion, simply because of fasting. Turning sorrows into joy and mourning into dancing, must not be left to chance or opportune times. We must move into our responsibility as stewards of our spiritual destinies, because we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Prayer and fasting will separate us from spiritual laziness, where we stop expecting God to bring success and lay it at our feet. Jesus told His disciples that when they prayed and fasted, God would reward them publicly… openly (Mt 6:18). I have watched God move with Kingdom resources when I gave myself to fasting.

“Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and He relents from sending calamity” (Joel 2:12-13).

Agents of Transformation

True revival from the Holy Spirit inspires both the will and power to live as agents of transformation… to be in the world but not of the world.

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psa. 85:6)

Defining Revival:

Revival in Hebrew is Chayay {khaw-yah’-ee}. It means to be quickened, to be made alive, to be restored to life or health… from sickness, from discouragement, from faintness and even from death! It refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. In other words, revival in the heart of a believer is to be awakened from spiritual slumber or even revived and raised from spiritual death! It encompasses the resurfacing of a greater love and passion for a Holy and Righteous God than they usually have ever experienced. Revival moves beyond the heart of nominal, complacent Christianity and is usually marked by a life that is lived in holiness… because He is Holy.

Initiated by the Holy Spirit:

True revival is always initiated by a prompting of the Holy Spirit! It creates an awareness of something missing or wrong in the person’s life that can only be transformed by a Holy God. In turn, the person must respond from the heart, acknowledging his or her need. Then, in a powerful way the Holy Spirit draws back the veil the enemy has cast over the truth, allowing that person to fully see themselves in comparison to God’s glory, majesty and holiness. Obviously, such comparisons bring great humility and repentance, but also bring an awareness and awe of God in relation to His great love for them personally and His truly amazing grace. For the believer, unlike the original conversion experience that brings about a new relationship to God; revival represents a restoration of fellowship with God. It always takes them to a new place, a new level, a new depth of intimacy and love with God. After salvation, the first tactic of the enemy is to distract you with the cares of this life or busyness of new ministry or even a religious lifestyle. We can become weighed down with the cares of life, rituals of religion, even ministry, and we soon find ourselves just going through the motions… thereby losing our first love. It’s then that we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. True revival initiated by the Holy Spirit helps restore that first love, passion and intimacy towards Christ.

What it Produces:

Revival stimulates an aggressive hunger and passion for His Word and a desire to be with those of like precious faith. It brings conviction… an awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and always deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to spiritual truth. It marks a new beginning of obedience to God… through intense worship, devotion, prayer and fasting, fellowship and reading God’s Word. Revival produces agents of transformation by taking the focus off of ourselves. We experience the fascination of loving God and freely move in the power of the Holy Spirit to resist the temptations of the world. Revival is an awakening… and a fresh way of seeing that enables the believer to renounce all that blinds the eyes and dulls the hearts of men (Isa. 44:18)(2 Cor. 4:4).

Spirit of the Age

You are invited

The word “another” in the New Testament is translated from two different words in the Greek. They are similar and yet very different. One is allos, which expresses merely a numerical difference. It literally means “another of the same kind”. For example… a second apple would be another apple, but it would be the same kind – both are apples. The other Greek word that is translated “another” in the English is heteros. It means “another of a different kind”. An orange; for example, would be another fruit of a different kind from the apple. Its basic nature is different, even though it is in the same group with other fruits.

So what’s the thought here?

Jesus makes a big deal out of this concept when He defines our calling to become His disciples.  “And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord suffer (wait for) me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said unto him, follow Me and let the dead bury their dead.” (Mt 8:21-22)

At first glance this would seem to be a strange reply. A person could come away with the idea that Jesus was a bit demanding. This man was a disciple of Jesus; not one of the twelve, but he certainly had potential… didn’t he? He was called by the Lord to follow, but was unsure in the immediate future that he wanted to see the impact of Christ’s teaching in his own life, family and community. He felt unable to commit to follow the Lord “at once”, or at this “opportune time”. He felt it was more important to bury his father; who many scholars believe, may not have even been close to death yet. His dedication to Jesus Christ was not great enough to walk away from the cultural responsibilities of his personal life. He was not free to commit.

After all, what would the neighbors say about him not being there to bury his father?

James and John walked away from the life they had as fishermen, to begin a new life with Jesus (Mt 4:21-22); but this man could not. He was a disciple of “another” (heteros) kind. He probably felt justified in his reluctance to follow the Lord. His reasoning was bound to his values and those values were set by natural realities, not Jesus’ invitation. He could justify staying at home and fulfill his duties there and still serve the Lord in some way.

He did not realize, he was enslaved by a “spirit”.

What this helps us to see is that often demonic spirits do not work to get you to reject the Lord. What they tend to do is enslave you to a lower level of discipleship than what God has called you to attain. Jesus tells us, “strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Lk 13:24).

Remember Gates hold authority in Scripture.

The strait gate is the entrance; where a threshold of personal authority and agreement must be stepped over or broken through, in order for us to reach that higher calling… that opportune time in Christ. Many individuals sense their invitation to experience a closer walk with the Lord, but find they are not able to break free from the spirit of the age. Wow, that is an important word, because it tells us of a limitation that is often hidden in our soulish desires and cultural allegiances. The dedication and commitment to the Lordship of Christ will not be great enough to make the transition.

They want to and they seek to enter in, but are unable. They don’t realize a spirit has enslaved them to a lower form of following… “at a distance”.

This “spirit of the age” must be broken.

If we are not guarding our commitment to Christ, stretching our spiritual muscle and growing in our knowledge of Him, we can find ourselves seduced by this spirit of the age. In a media driven nation like America, this is an easier thing to fall into than we would like to believe. I am convinced (as are many) in our conservative Church culture that our lifestyles do not reflect a truly Biblical world view.

The Apostle Paul said this would be based upon the spirit of the age blinding people’s minds through unbelief, so that they do not comprehend the glory in the face of Jesus (2 Cor 4:4-6). Its not a new thing at all; in fact, he also gave this warning to the Church of Galatia, “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (heteros) gospel” (Gal 1:6).

This “another gospel” carries the seductive spirit of compromise and will cause you to feel you are doing fine on your present level of commitment and growth. You may never hear yourself say “I do not need to grow spiritually”. It may be that you just lose that fire in your belly… the hunger is gone. Maybe you intend to commit more someday, follow through with that call sometime, but right now your life is just too full to earnestly seek after God. This spirit will lull you to sleep and make you unable to follow God’s original call upon your life. And it does become stubborn.

Breaking free requires radical repentance and fasting!

Radical repentance and seasons of fasting are often needed, to reveal the chains and crush their hold around our ankles. In order to believe the Word of God, we must capture every thought and renew the mind with Truths that will set us free to live for Him and commit to Him. This is the Spirit of Life in Christ that brings joy and peace.

Revived and Rejoicing

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psa. 85:6)

Revival in Hebrew is Chayay {khaw-yah’-ee}. It means to be quickened, to be made alive, to be restored to life or health, from sickness, from discouragement, from faintness, from death! It refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. In other words, revival in the heart of a believer is to be awakened from spiritual slumber or even revived and raised from spiritual death! It awakens greater love and passion for a Holy and Righteous God than we have ever experienced. Revival moves beyond the heart of nominal, complacent Christianity and is usually marked by a life that rejoices in holiness because He is Holy.

Initiated by the Holy Spirit:

True revival is always initiated by a prompting of the Holy Spirit! It creates an awareness of something missing or wrong in the person’s life that can only be transformed by a Holy God. In turn, the person must respond from the heart, acknowledging his or her need. Then, in a powerful way the Holy Spirit draws back the veil the enemy has cast over the truth, allowing that person to fully see themselves in comparison to God’s glory, majesty and holiness. Obviously, such comparisons bring great humility and repentance, but also bring an awareness and awe of God in relation to His great love for them personally and His truly amazing grace. For the believer, unlike the conversion experience that births the new relationship to God; revival represents a restoration of fellowship with God. It always takes them to a new place, a new level, a new depth of intimacy and love with God. After salvation, the first tactic of the enemy is to distract you with the cares of this life or busyness of new ministry or even a religious lifestyle. We can become weighed down with the cares of life, rituals of religion, even ministry, and we soon find ourselves just going through the motions… thereby losing our first love. It’s then that we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. True revival initiated by the Holy Spirit helps restore that first love, passion and intimacy towards Christ.

What it Produces:

Revival stimulates an aggressive hunger and passion for His Word and a desire to be with those of like precious faith. It is a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and always deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to spiritual truth. It marks a new beginning of a life lived in obedience to God through intense worship, prayer, fasting, repentance and the reading of God’s Word. Revival breaks the fascination, deception and power of the world in which we live, which blinds the eyes and hearts of men. (Isa. 44:18)(2 Cor. 4:4).

True revival from the Holy Spirit generates both the will and power to rejoice…

As agents of transformation… to be in the world but not of the world.

Defining Revival

“Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?” (Psa. 85:6)

Revival in Hebrew is Chayay {khaw-yah’-ee}. It means to be quickened, to be made alive, to be restored to life or health, from sickness, from discouragement, from faintness, from death! It refers to a spiritual reawakening from a state of dormancy or stagnation in the life of a believer. In other words, revival in the heart of a believer is to be awakened from spiritual slumber or even revived and raised from spiritual death! It encompasses the resurfacing of a greater love and passion for a Holy and Righteous God than they usually have ever experienced. Revival moves beyond the heart of nominal, complacent Christianity and is usually marked by a life that is lived in holiness because He is Holy.

Initiated by the Holy Spirit:

True revival is always initiated by a prompting of the Holy Spirit! It creates an awareness of something missing or wrong in the person’s life that can only be transformed by a Holy God. In turn, the person must respond from the heart, acknowledging his or her need. Then, in a powerful way the Holy Spirit draws back the veil the enemy has cast over the truth, allowing that person to fully see themselves in comparison to God’s glory, majesty and holiness. Obviously, such comparisons bring great humility and repentance, but also bring an awareness and awe of God in relation to His great love for them personally and His truly amazing grace. For the believer, unlike the original conversion experience that brings about a new relationship to God; revival represents a restoration of fellowship with God. It always takes them to a new place, a new level, a new depth of intimacy and love with God. After salvation, the first tactic of the enemy is to distract you with the cares of this life or busyness of new ministry or even a religious lifestyle. We can become weighed down with the cares of life, rituals of religion, even ministry, and we soon find ourselves just going through the motions… thereby losing our first love. It’s then that we no longer experience the joy of serving Christ. True revival initiated by the Holy Spirit helps restore that first love, passion and intimacy towards Christ.

What it Produces:

Revival stimulates an aggressive hunger and passion for His Word and a desire to be with those of like precious faith. It is a convicting awareness of personal and corporate sin, a spirit of humility, and a desire for repentance and growth in righteousness. Revival invigorates and always deepens a believer’s faith, opening his or her eyes to spiritual truth. It marks a new beginning of a life lived in obedience to God through intense worship, prayer, fasting, repentance and the reading of God’s Word. Revival breaks the fascination, deception and power of the world in which we live, which blinds the eyes and hearts of men. (Isa. 44:18)(2 Cor. 4:4).

True revival from the Holy Spirit generates both the will and power to live as agents of transformation… to be in the world but not of the world.

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