Who is your Iron? Do you have one? Who is sharpening you and who are you sharpening? In a world where many love to do things on their own, a lot of people find out they don't go as far as they can without mentors or friends. Today we need to pray and fast for Kingdom Friendships. The wisdom of Proverbs teaches us that a real friend sticks closer than a brother (18:24), and Jesus teaches us that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends (John 15:13). Friendships among believers are important as you grow in your faith. No friendships are perfect, but one with likeminded pursuit can propel you to new heights in your walk with Christ.
Why did Jesus tell us that there is no greater love than to lay down one's live for one's friends? He shows us what it takes to be a true friend. One that loves you with a love that it would sacrifice oneself for another. That's why it's important to find true Kingdom Friendships. As our churches get bigger and bigger and some of us only spend a hour a week there, it may be difficult to find true friendship inside the four walls of our churches. That is why we have to be intentional in our pursuit of friendships. Some of us are introverts and just hate the thought of interacting with someone else. Some of us are extroverts and love that one on one social interaction, but don't take the time to develop that friendship in a meaningful way because we are on to the next person that will talk to us. What ever you may be, it's time to get intentional with your friendships. Step out and meet new people in your church. Join a small group that meets outside of church and see the possibilities of developing friendships with people that are different than you. Volunteer in a ministry of the church and you can develop new friendship with other volunteers. There are many ways you can gain true friendship inside and outside the church.
We need Kingdom Friendships to begin to cultivate and prosper inside our churches, and show the world we love each other with a sacrificial love. The same love that Christ had for us. My saying I have on the home screen of this website says, "Pursuing People The Way God Pursues People, With A Love That Is Divine." It's the Divine Love He gave that is in all of us. Now we have to go out a share it, and participate in it. It starts with you, and it starts now.
The book of Proverbs was written by Solomon, who was known as the wisest person in the world, and is considered to be the book of wisdom. But the book of Proverbs is not just a collection of wise sayings, it is also a collection of collections. The book's purpose statement found in verse 1:2-4, indicates the desire to confirm and pass on wisdom. The book's unifying theme is, " Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom" (9:10), and you see it in another form as, "Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge" (1:7).
Why am I telling you this? I want you to consider reading the book of Proverbs every month, so your wisdom will grow. I love the saying by author and pastor Mark Batterson that says this, "Work as if it depends on you, and Pray as if it depends on God." If you want to gain wisdom, don't just pray, but also work on it. One way you can do that is through Godly resources expanding your thinking and learning values through this book in the Bible. We can get a diversity of truths time and time again like these.
I am so glad you are reading these blogs, which are really devotionals to help strengthen you during this time of Prayer and Fasting. I pray they lift you up, and become a word for you to encourage others. These are not just for you, but for you to share with others so you can give life to those that need it. If you have comments or encouragement for me, please comment on the devotional that really encouraged you. It in turn encourages me to hear from you and see what God is doing supernaturally in you.
Today we are praying and fasting for Work and Promotions in your life or in the life of someone that has been on your heart. God wants to give you all you need and Jesus tells us if we ask we will receive. Pray today that God will bless you with Work that is fruitful and will give you more than enough to live. He is the God of more than enough. Pray for Promotion in your work so you can go farther in the blessings of the Lord. Ask God to help you do everything in excellence as if you are doing it for Him. Ask for Work and Promotions so you can give more to the Kingdom of God and to others. Also ask God to give you strength to work hard and not take short cuts. Make sure you ask all these thing in Jesus name and even be specific in things you want to see at your work or the job that is on its way.
Proverbs 21:5 tells us, "Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty." There are plenty of people that work hard. Believers and non-believers alike work hard for their money. In our verse for today found in Colossians 3:23, Paul introduces Christ as the new goal and dynamic of the Christian's life and behavior. We participate equally in His redemption, and through Christ all corrupt prejudices and all injustices are weakened and are destined to crumble. So we need to work willingly as if you are working for the Lord and not for people. I challenge you to set goals and put Christ first in your job (work). He wants to give you an "inheritance as your reward" (v. 24). Trust Him in all you do and see what great works He can do in you and through you.
What do you Delight in? To some this is an easy question to answer, and to others you might have to think about it. To confess a little, I really delight in Chocolate, and the darker the better. It's also good with peanut butter, but anyway. You might delight in something you really enjoy, like a type of food, a certain vacation, or an individual you like spending time with. What ever you delight in doing, it's not hard to COMMIT TO delighting in it often. Our verse to help us in our Prayer and Fasting today comes from Psalms 37:4, "Take Delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." Have you ever considered taking delight in the one who created you? The one who created the universe, who gives us all we need and lets us enjoy those things He gives us. Well, today I hope you consider it.
Isaiah 58 sheds some light into how we can Delight in the Lord, and teaches us what true Worship and Fasting are. I challenge you today to go and read this chapter. Through the prophet Isaiah, God is blasting the Israelites because they are fasting, not to please or delight in God, but to please themselves. They are being pious and irresponsible with the concept of fasting. In this chapter Israel worshiped and sacrificed with regularity, but their works negated their religion. They were being selfish and ignoring the real needs. You can read for yourself some examples of what they were doing, but one example was in verse 4. Their fasting days turned into times of fighting and quarreling, and God tells them that "this kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me." What He tells them in verses 6-14 helps us see how we can delight in Him and truly worship in our Fasting.
Fasting is a powerful and effective part of the Christian life. Jesus taught that some things are resolved only through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). However, fasting and personal holiness are acceptable to God only when we have our priorities straight. God tells us through this chapter that sharing with the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, and caring for our own families are the prerequisites of godliness. We learn here that fasting becomes offensive in God's sight when we ignore the people closest to His heart, which are the poor, the oppressed, and the needy.
At the end of chapter 58, God tells them what will be their delight. Verse 14 says, "Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the Lord, have spoken." This chapter is a great example of how and what we should delight in, and how our desires don't have to be dictated by others. God knows your desires, He created you, He created you in His image. He has fitted you with a personality that is your very own. No one else has what you have. With that, you have all you need to delight in Him and receive all your heart desires.
We live in a world that worries so much of what others think. Have you considered what God thinks of you. He Delights in you, Loves You, and went to great links to call you His own. All you need to do is Delight in Him. Don't sacrifice your desires on what other people think of you. Take Delight in God, and He will most definitely give you what you so desire.
As we start week 2 of Prayer and Fasting my question to you is, "How's it going?" Are you finding breakthrough yet? Is God teaching you anything through the decluttering of you mind and heart? Is He teaching you Patience, Endurance, giving you understanding and knowledge through this time? What ever the Lord has for you, my encouragement is, It's On Its Way! Keep striving in Prayer and Fasting for More Vision for your future, More Love for everyone, and More Faith to see this thing through. You have it in you, let it come out in great Faith!.
What we are Praying for today is to "Overcome Temptation". Our verse to help us out in this area comes from the book of James.
"So humble yourselves before God. Resist
the devil, and he will flee from you."
If we want Freedom from the assaults of the Devil and his oppression, it's accomplished by submitting ourselves to God. The next verse (v.8) tells us to do this in full obedience to His Word and in complete dependence and trust. When we do this we bring ourselves in agreement with God's Word and Will, rejecting the lies of the Devil and accepting God's promises and evaluation of our situation. When we "Resist" we are standing against the strongholds the Devil wants to put on us, and we are renouncing his lies and forsaking our own mind-set toward sin. Because of this we are given the promise of God's Word that the Devil will run or flee from us. Remember this, there is no place of comfort for a demon in the presence of a Joyfully submitted believer who has determined to fully embrace the Lord Jesus and stand for His Word!
Jesus lets us know that if we hold on to this truth, the truth will set us free (John 8:32). Do you need freedom from the Devil's oppression and attacks today? As I said before, one way to humble yourself is to obey His Word, and in His Word there is a command that sums up the Christian walk. That command is to "Love Each Other" (John 15:17). There is a saying that says this; "If I want something I've never had, then I need to do something I've never done." I challenge you today to pray to overcome temptation, help in humbling yourself, and help to Love everyone! You can do this! Your Help is on its way!
You might get excited for what we are praying and fasting for today. There are many of us who need breakthrough in our Finances. The verse above is from the passage of scripture found in Matthew 6:19-34. I challenge you to go there and read the passage out loud. There is something about reading the Word of God aloud. It extraordinarily lifts your spirit when you hear yourself read it. In the passage we visit Jesus on the mount as he is teaching a great multitude, and along with other things He teaches, He also teaches about money and possessions. Jesus' teaching on this subject is very important because money is a needed commodity in the world today, but many people can get caught up in its allure of what it can give you instead of truly knowing God gives us all we need for our enjoyment.
It might be a coincidence that He teaches about Prayer and Fasting right before this passage, but I think it highlights the importance of prayer and fasting for your finances. God can't bless what you don't allow him to bless. Give Him the keys to your finances through praying for wisdom and understanding on all His principles He teaches us through His Word. There is so much to learn and apply just by reading His Word and getting biblical resources that can help you take control of your finances. Through this passage Jesus warns against extreme greed and the anxiety it brings. He does this by contrasting the uncertain temporary earthly treasures with heavenly treasures that are lasting. Jesus does not prohibit material possessions though, nor the enjoyment of material things (1 Tim 6:17). But He does forbid a selfish and extravagant materialism that ties a person to this earth.
These words from Jesus teach us how to live in uncertain financial times without fear. This passage tells us that financial fear is Unreasonable, Unnatural, Unhelpful, Unnecessary, and Unbelieving. It's unreasonable because we are not to become distracted from the substantial issues of life over less important matters like what to eat or wear (verse 25). It is unnatural because we are the only creation of God who worries. God provides for the birds He created, and we are more valuable than they are. We are outside of God's natural design when we worry (verse 26). It's unhelpful because worry and fear do not produce anything worthwhile (verse 27). It's unnecessary because God provides for His own promises to care of our needs (verse 30). It's unbelieving because we are acting as if God does not exist when we live in financial fear (verse 31, 32). Our Heavenly Father Knows Our Needs, and He Will Provide!
Instead of being preoccupied with material things, our ambition should be to "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else", and "Live Righteously", knowing that as we do so, He has pledged Himself with a Covenant. And because of this Covenant and through Jesus' faithfulness, He will respond and "He will give you everything you need."
Peace is something many of us have sought after. Peace in our home, Peace in our marriage, Peace in our jobs, Peace in our hearts. It's something we long for but some never find. To give you a little back ground on Peace in the Bible, we see it comes from the Hebrew word "Shalom", meaning "completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony; the absence of agitation or discord". I know many of you pray diligently for that last statement. Shalom comes from the root verb Shalam, meaning "to be complete, perfect and full." That tells me Shalom is way more than the absence of war and conflict, but it's the wholeness the entire human race is looking for.
We can see the word shalom occurs 250 times in the Old Testament. We see in Psalms, God takes delight in the shalom, which is the wholeness, the total well-being of His servants. In Isaiah, we read the prophesy of what the future Messiah well go through for us. It says in Isaiah 53:5 that He was beaten to bring us shalom. The angels understood that the birth of Jesus was to be the great Peace bringer, as they called out, "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased," (Luke 2:14-17).
In the New Testament Jesus Christ becomes our "Prince of Peace". In Luke 1:79 Zechariah prophesies that He will "guide us to the path of Peace." Jesus as the Prince of Peace gives Peace to those who call upon Him for personal salvation. We can see from the verses I gave you above, Philippians 4:6-7, Prayer and Peace are closely connected. The person who entrusts their cares to Christ instead of agonizing or worrying over them will experience the peace of God that will guard them from all their nagging anxiety. This all tells me that God has provided everything necessary for our spiritual well-being. He has already provided your Peace. As you pray and fast today give all your worries, anxieties, frustrations, agitations, squabbles and quarrels to Him, and let Him be your Prince of Peace.
The word I want to focus on today during our Fast is the word Obedience. When we Fast we learn a truth about God that will change our perspective on Obedience. God's Word tells us that Biblical Fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. When we eliminate food for a number of days, our spirit becomes uncluttered and leaves room for intimacy with God. The clutter that once was the world's infiltration of self vanishes, and we can begin to fill our life with the things of God.
During this time it is very important to listen to God speak to you. That is why it's important we learn about Obedience. The word "Obey" in the New Testament comes from the Greek translation "hupakoe"; hupo which is "under, and akouo which is "to hear". The word signifies attentive hearing, to listen with compliant submission, assent, and agreement, It is used for obedience in general, for obedience to God's commands, and for Christ's obedience.
As you Fast this season and give God your First Fruits, learn to listen to His voice and Obey what He speaks to you. It won't be in an audible voice like we want. It may be through reading His word, or through a friend speaking, or through seeing someone in need and God urging you to meet that need. What ever way it is, we must learn to Obey what He is speaking to us. I sometimes miss great opportunities because I don't obey when He speaks.
Fasting gets the clutter out of the way so you can truly hear His voice speak to you and know it's truly Him. Pray today that God will give you more vision, more love, and more faith in the area of Obedience.
"Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end."
The Verse for today is found in Matthew 7. Jesus is teaching what is known as the Sermon on the
Mount. This teaching spans from chapter 5 all the way to the end of chapter 7 of Matthew. Jesus
starts the Sermon by giving them the Beatitudes and ends it by painting a picture with words
about what it means to do everything He says. In between that you have the greatest sermon
ever preached. Jesus goes from teaching about being the salt and light, to teaching about the law.
Then He goes from teaching about anger, to teaching about adultery. He goes from there to
teach about divorce, to teaching about vows. But wait, there's more. He teaches about revenge,
giving to the needy, prayer and fasting, and money and possessions. That's just chapters 5 and 6.
In chapter 7 He gives the applications of all He just taught. Here He tells us how to treat others,
what is effective prayer, the Golden Rule, how to bear good fruit, and what true disciples are.
It's in this chapter we find our verse for today. If fasting is getting hard or you don't see any
evidence of what you are praying for, look to this verse to give you hope. The words come from
Jesus Christ Himself.
"Keep on ASKING, and you will receive what you ask
for. Keep on SEEKING, and you will find. Keep on
KNOCKING, and the door will be open to you."
Don't stop with this verse. Keep on reading in chapter 7 to see what else Jesus says about how
God wants to give good gifts to His children.
This week kicks off my 21 days of prayer and fasting. There might be some that are asking
themselves what that might be. At the beginning of every year I take the first month of the new
year and dedicate it to God. I fast, which means for me I don't eat for 3 days and only eat
vegetables for the rest of the 21 days. I also pray during the times I normally eat and read God's
Word seeking fresh Vision and renewed Faith. I do this not just for me, but for my family and
those I get to minister to through this platform God has provided. I challenge as many as I
can to seek the Lord during this first month of the year. Give Him your First Fruits and see God
Bless the rest of your year.
As you seek the Lord during this time I want to encourage and lift you up. It is hard to give up
something that you are accustomed having, like food, TV, candy, coffee, your gaming system, Etc.
God has so much for you, and I want to make sure you don't miss out on all of it. Give Him your
everything, and see your everything become so much more than you ever imagined.
Everyday I'll have an encouragement and scripture, then it's up to you to take what I give you and
study it more. God has so much for you, so determine in your mind to seek after Him and receive
all He has for you. I've been doing this Fast for over 13 years now and I've learned it's all about the
mind. You must determine in you mind first that you will do this fast, and when it gets hard, let
God be your strength. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul tells us, "Christ's power works best in weakness".
Pray during this season that God gives you more Vision, more Love, and more Faith. Not 10x
more, not 100x more, but 1000x more.
As you start your Fast the First thing to do is put your "Reliance on God". John 3:30 tells us "He
must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less". I encourage you to pray that
today. Just say "Lord, I give you everything in my life. I am nothing without you. Become my
everything and let me decrease and You increase."
Are you ready for more?
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