Posts Tagged ‘Prayer And Fasting’

Change is Coming

Scripture: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

Thought for Today: “Welcoming the Crucible”

God knows the secrets of the heart (Ps 44:21). In fact, He knows us better than we know ourselves. Yet we still feel a bit vulnerable yielding our lives to change. We ask God to use us and we know changes are coming, but being in the crucible of spiritual discipline can feel uncomfortable even to the most mature Christian.

Our Resistance:

When God tests and tries our heart, there are always things that firmly resist, because they have become our safety net. We have relied upon ourselves and trusted in own strength at times when we could not see clearly. The Apostle Paul tells us that many have exchanged the Truth of God for lies by serving and the worship of things that offer no real peace (Rom 1:25). He reminds us that we have all gone astray and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). These issues represent the baggage of idolatry and must be rooted out for us to enjoy the freedom found in Christ.

Real Transformation:

As much as we would like to believe we can change, transformation is not really something we can do for ourselves. It takes the power of the One who knows us best. We can change habits and shift our focus, but it is God who changes the human heart. When we step into the crucible of prayer and fasting, we make the most important move toward God’s best for our lives. The refining process frees us from sinful behavior, renews our thinking and enables us to discern the will of God more clearly (Rom 12:1-2).

God Loves and Receives Us:

Transformation happens in the safe place of His Presence, where the Holy Spirit gains access to those things that hinder our progress. God knows what is best for us and He always acts in our best interest by treating us as sons and daughters (Heb 12:4-11). We are reminded that when we are chastened by God, it is because He loves us and receives us as a father cherishes and loves his child. Remind yourself today that God loves and receives you as His very own son or daughter.

“Why do you spend money on what is not bread and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me and eat what is good and let your soul delight itself in abundance.” (Isa 55:2)

Sudden Breakthrough

Scripture: “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mt 11:28-30)

Thought for Today: “Releasing Suddenlies”

Every person I know needs a breakthrough in some area of their life. I am no exception. I need breakthroughs all the time. I find myself stuck or tempted, confused or confined and in need of wisdom and revelation. The challenge for most of us is that getting a breakthrough means changing how we see. I often hear people say, ”You might have to get serious about spiritual disciplines if you want to see any impact in your life”. What I would like to propose is that the key to getting your breakthrough is more about striving for rest, than fighting for your life (Heb 4:9). Jesus said, “Come to Me… and I will give you rest. Take My yoke… learn from Me… and you will find rest for your souls.” The key is to stop relying on your own understanding (Prov. 3:5-10)

Trust God!

What I have seen repeatedly through the years in Scripture, personal experience and the testimony of others, is that prayer and fasting produces great spiritual results. Yet those results were tied to trusting God. When we give ourselves to intense seasons of seeking, we must lean on Jesus, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the counsel of God’s Word. God is always up to something and your breakthrough is on His mind… in fact, He wants it more than you do!

Enter In:

I want to encourage you to stop leaning on your own understanding. You might never discover how problems or difficulties will be resolved in your life. Try to enter a season of rest. Go to the Throne of Grace and let God love you. Let His mercy pour out upon your heart and just soak it in… stay there and begin to enjoy His Presence. Let Him wash away your worry, cleanse you of all fear and wrestling. Now simply direct your trust toward Him… speak it out. Tell Him that you love the way He meets your needs and praise Him in this moment in the midst of all that is going on around you.

Suddenlies will Begin:

Then… what was offering no impact, suddenly does. What was making no difference, suddenly will. That unwanted situation or mountain that stood in the way, suddenly is removed. The relationship that was broken, suddenly gets restored. The pain in your body, suddenly is healed. The job that hadn’t come through, suddenly opens up. Suddenlies are God’s specialty!

The Reward of Seeking: Believe that God is the “Rewarder” of those who diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)

Its the anointing that breaks the yoke (Isa 10:27), but it must settle in on us. Its God’s power that releases the suddenlies in our lives (Acts 2:2). Those miracles, the breakthroughs and the revelation of purpose, did not show up simply because we got the words right in our prayers last night. It was because God moved on our behalf. We sought Him in a season of prayer and fasting – yes, but it was God who showed up, brought the breakthrough and the suddenly you needed.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:16)

Serious Alignment

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!” (Ephesians 6:10)

Thought for Today: “Becoming Armed and Dangerous”

The Apostle Paul makes it clear that we have been given supernatural tools for warring against spiritual forces (Eph. 6:13-18). He first says, “put on the whole armor of God so that you can stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph 6:11). We find ourselves wrestling with principalities and powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places. I believe we can be armed and dangerous. We can be equipped, shod and gird about with the most impressive sounding weapons God has in His arsenal, but it all works through prayer and fasting. Praying, watching and persevering with all kinds of prayers.

Not by Human Might:

We are ambassadors of Christ with amazing potential to do exploits and achieve the impossible things Jesus did, but it only happens with the help of the Holy Spirit (Zech 4:6). You see, we are battling invisible forces. Spiritual enemies that cannot be seen with our natural eyes. We can see the effects, but never get to the source of the real battle unless we are trained through prayer and fasting.

The Apostle’s Boldness:

Notice how the Apostle Paul writes these words to the Church in Ephesus while he was in prison, saying “I am an ambassador in chains”. He is making the point that his warfare is not fought in the flesh, but in the spiritual realm (Eph 3:10). His boldness was based upon an awareness that God’s grace was flowing through his life (Eph 3:8). Being armed does not necessarily make us dangerous to the devil, unless we are trained in the use of the weapons of our warfare… trained in prayer and sharpened by fasting.

Delegated Authority:

Its all about knowing who you represent! God has chosen you, called you by name and He will work in and through you… but your standard of training is up to you. Jesus was always calling His disciples up higher! He lived with them and taught as one holding the authority, but in a new season, new skills are needed. In John 15 a new season was about to begin. They would no longer be called “servants”. They would begin to discover what their Master was doing (Jn 15:15). As servants, they followed according to commands, but as “friends” they would follow the “heart” of their Master. Jesus was now shifting the relationship, deepening the responsibility and trusting that they would begin to live from what they understood – heart to heart. Friends discover the secrets that give them an advantage in how they walk together. Jesus wanted His disciples to achieve victory in every area of their spiritual journey. Knowing the heart of God is a key to real spiritual trained and impact in the spiritual battles we face. When we know the heart of our friend Jesus, we are able to carry our delegated authority into any challenge. One of the greatest spiritual truths is that your authority gets established through your intimacy with God.

Representing Heaven on Earth:

Becoming a dangerous threat to the devil means you will need some serious alignment with heaven. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God… you must represent heaven on earth in a way that makes the devil nervous and demons flee. That is what prayer and fasting will produce in you… the capacity to be armed and dangerous.

Submit to God (through prayer), resist the devil (through fasting) and he will flee from you (Jms 4:7).

Anointing and Increase

“Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’” (Luke 4:14-19)

“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)

Jesus was anointed by God… indeed “God was with Him” in increasing measures by a lifestyle of prayer and fasting. His example is designed to be our model of spiritual discipline. It was Jesus’ experience even as a youth to increase in His favor with God and man (Lk 2:52). Yet even in the transition of Jesus into His Earthly ministry, we can see a direct connection between a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and His increasing anointing (Lk 5:12-13)(Lk 6:12)(Mk 9:29). This reality is both inspiring and instructional.

Notice how God moves Jesus into His public ministry:

  • He is baptized in the river Jordan, where He is filled with the Holy Spirit and hears the voice of His Father from heaven (Lk 3:21-22).
  • Immediately (it would appear to me) Jesus establishes a posture of prayer and fasting as He is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil (Mt 4:1-2).
  • While in the wilderness, Jesus feels the challenges of the Devil, the hunger in His body and the threat of wild beasts. He becomes aware of the ministry of angels as well as the strength given by the Words that proceeded from the mouth of God (Mk 1:12-13).
  • He experiences increase in the anointing and breaks through the challenge victorious, because the Devil left Him until a more opportune time (Lk 4:13).
  • Jesus would return to Galilee in the increased anointing and power of the Holy Spirit bearing evidence with signs following, because people give Him glory and praise for His teaching ministry (Lk 4:14-15).
  • Now that the temptation was over His ministry would begin with a journey to Nazareth and an announcement of how He was anointed by the Holy Spirit to preach, heal, bring deliverance and freedom to the captive heart (Lk 4:16-19).

Defining the Anointing:

The anointing is God being “with us” or God’s Glory manifest upon our lives. Glory is defined best as God’s “Weighty” Presence or abiding spiritual power made known through our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I have often said the anointing is God’s hand of favor upon our lives for the advancing of His activity in the world around us. We see this in how Jesus carried the anointing. He went about the Judean countryside advancing the Kingdom of God, because the anointing was on His life. God was with Him, empowering and leading Him, breaking the grip of the Devil and advancing the activity of His Father’s heart.

Why Prayer and Fasting:

Prayer and fasting increases our ability to know and sense the supernatural Presence of God, by awakening our spiritual senses and diminishing our emphasis on flesh desires. His power and His Glory begin to increase as we meet with God and experience fellowship in an unhindered way. God’s will and His ways become more recognizable when we are sensitive to His heart. I would describe the anointing as an actual physical experience whereby we feel the internal warmth of His Presence upon our body. That is why it increases as we pray and fast. By yielding our hearts in greater measure to the Holy Spirit’s activity we can welcome and value the anointing and make room for increase in our lives. It is like a signal that God sends to us saying that He is with us. He is showing Himself to us and approves of what we are saying or doing (Jn 14:21)(2 Cor 1:21).

There is nothing so important to our Christian walk than our faith in God (Heb 11:6)! It pleases Him when we step out in ways that give Him greater opportunity to reach the world through us. It is my desire to encourage prayer and fasting so that we may increase in the anointing of God and be more effective as Kingdom Agents in the world around us.

We are ambassadors for Christ {The Anointed One} as though God were pleading through us… Be reconciled to God! (2 Cor 5:18-21).

Heavenly Solutions

The most incredible moments in life are often those that come by surprise. Its not so much that I find myself unprepared as much as… some moments just sneak up on me as new information.

I like the Bible story about the man who comes to Jesus for the healing of his son. His son had dealt with an issue of epilepsy for many years and it had often caused enormous trauma to the whole family. Unfortunately the father had to settle for the ministry of some of Jesus’ faithless disciples. Jesus was up a mountain being transfigured before Peter, James and John (Mk 9:2-13). As the mountain top experience comes to an end; the three disciples, with Jesus come down the mountain to find an argument over the healing of this boy. Those remaining 9 disciples hadn’t accomplished much, so they began to argue about theology with some local scribes.

Isn’t that just like so many of the church services we have been to… we are prepared to meet with God and all we find are the empty words of men who hold onto faithless theological discussions. Jesus made the most accurate statement, “Oh faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Life problems must be answered… with heavenly solutions!

Life problems must be answered… with heavenly solutions!

We must never settle for talking about solutions… How often we explain the “stuff” of God, (the miracles, the healing of sickness and the authority to cast out demons) rather than host an invasion of the Spirit into the impossible situation?

Jesus now has the father in front of Him with a question… a question that I believe was not in his mind until he was presented with the frailty of human reasoning. He asks Jesus, “If You can do anything – have compassion on us and help us?” Without hesitation Jesus addresses the impossible situation with the touch of Heaven and the boy is made whole. But there is a surprise for the disciples and for us as we peer into this story from the outside.

Solutions require us to carry something! Note: Some things can only be accomplished through prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29).

  • First: We all need a fresh spiritual revelation that helps us see our situation with discernment… notice this was an unclean spirit and Jesus called it “a deaf and dumb spirit” as He rebuked it and cast it out (Mk 9:25). The revelation leads to the correct response. We know that revelation is given as we tune into Heaven… thus the need for prayer and fasting.
  • Secondly: When faced with life issues, we are always called upon to rise to the occasion and believe for God’s perfect solution to the problem. Although we may have a great amount of knowledge about how it all works; God is looking for those who can carry the glory and release it into the impossible.

The “Faithless”:

What we forget sometimes is that we carry heavenly solutions to life’s biggest problems. To rid ourselves of the harsh label as the “faithless generation” requires that we become a people who release what we carry. Earthly problems offer us an invitation to move with God’s supernatural compassion, authority and power… Heavenly solutions! God wants to bring freedom, but has given authority and power to us to tread upon serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy (Lk. 10:19). We must shake ourselves free of faithlessness, so that we experience more of the solutions Heaven offers to human frailty. Its the Promise of God’s Heart…

“On Earth as it is in Heaven.”

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