What About Fasting? part 2

ezra8

By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 6:16-18, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” 

Want to ruin any Fast? Just do what it says here; by openly making a scene you take what God could use to change your life to just a hunger strike. Attitude is the key to entering the presence of God in anything we do, prayer, giving, preaching, and fasting if we are doing it just to look good before man, it is of no effect with the Kingdom of God. James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” I mentioned Moses before as an example of someone who not only fasted for forty days once, but twice, and scripture says this about this man, Numbers 12:3, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)”It was this meekness (humility) that allowed God to use this powerful man to deliver His people from Egypt.

There are different types of fasting, we find one God chooses for us Isaiah 58:6, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” You may be impressed by the Spirit of God to enter a fast which as stated here can do great things not only in your life but others! Some set a particular day every week, every month or more to fast to put power to our prayer life, Luke 2:36-37, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Because of her dedication she got to witness the newborn Savior of the World Jesus Christ.

Then are those that a leader of the Nation, a church leader, may in response to a situation, a answer that they may be seeking will call a period of fasting and prayer, 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Many other fast are found in the Bible such as with the city of Nineveh,  Nehemiah, King David, as well others.

In the next lesson I will discuss the different types of Fasting.

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What About Fasting?

ezra8

by Pastor Jeff,

When you ask any believer about prayer and they will undeniably tell you that they pray regularly and earnestly, but when you mention fasting we often fumble to find an adequate response.

The word fasting is referenced over seventy times in the bible with some memorable fasts by Moses who twice went forty days in the presence of God without any natural food. Jesus also fasted forty days in the wilderness before His temptation by Satan, Luke 4:1-4, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

One of the most powerful examples of what can happen when we chose to fast is when Jonah warned Nineveh of impending doom, Jonah 3:5, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” God responded with mercy, Jonah 3:10, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

Now I want to be careful and tell you that fasting does not change God’s mind for eventually Nineveh was destroyed, but what fasting does is allow God to remove our unbelief, Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Fasting was often used in the selection of missionaries, Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Elders, Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed”

Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” 8:23, “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.” Fasting unleashes the faith that is in us and we Apostolic’s should never take it lightly. In future blogs I will discuss the different types of fast and even its benefits for us physically, thank you for your time.

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Walking by Faith

walkbyfaith

By Pastor Jeff,

2 Corinthians 5:6-7, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 

How many times have you heard this scripture? I would venture to say that even recent and non-Christians have heard many times and we that have been saved by His grace for any length of times, hundreds, or even thousands!

I recently was having a little pity party (I know most of you have never endured one or two of them). I found myself reminding God about what He said in His word concerning our prayers. How He said in John 14:12-15, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” We’ve been asking in Jesus name for certain things to happen and pretty much the opposite of what we been praying for was what we were seeing.

I wonder how many times our Lord Jesus the Christ looks down on us and has a good laugh as we attempt to tell Him how things should or shouldn’t happen. I can picture Jesus calling His angels over and telling them, “Would you look at this, my beautiful creation is trying to tell me the Creator how to run things!” Chuckle, chuckle…

Then as I shut my mouth for a bit, the Lord Jesus Christ brought this verse in 2 Corinthians 5:7  to my heart and mind, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” We are so dependent on our senses which is just the opposite of how Jesus operates and we need to not be so quick to judge others and even God by those senses. I know I will be reminded of this many more times before I go to see my Lord but I hope that I will learn to trust Christ more and more. I want to know as someone who will WALK by FAITH!

 

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Do You Know of Him or Do You Know Him?

knowhim

By Pastor Jeff,

Do you know Him or do you know of Him? That is the biggest question we can ask anyone who claims to be a Christian? We have people that wear t-shirts, crosses, go to church, carry bibles (that seems to becoming less and less of a thing), and even get tattoos expressing their Christianity but the fruit we are supposed to bear is not apparent!

Many years ago I was going through a very dry period in my walk with Jesus Christ. I was pretty much going through the motions, I was teaching Sunday School, going to service pretty much at every opportunity but inside my heart was far from him. I was baptized in His name, filled with the Holy Ghost but I had come to the point of knowing about Him, I could quote scripture, do a Sunday school lesson like no other. Inside I was dead which I unfortunately see in so many of so-called believers today. This reminds me of this parable in Luke 13:6-9, “He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” I’m so glad Jesus waited to cut me down for one day I made the decision to not just know about Jesus but to Know Him, the scripture that I fell in love with is found in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

I have fallen so much in love with Jesus Christ that I have run out of words to describe my passion for Him. I will declare to the world that I would surrender my life before I would ever turn my back on or deny His love for me. It deeply troubles me that shallow Christianity has become the norm in our world today. I don’t care if you can talk the talk, I care if you can walk the talk. That old phrase that says “I rather see a sermon than hear one any day” is so applicable in our circles today.

Remember this scripture found in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” If that doesn’t send a shiver up your spine I don’t know what will!

Don’t be satisfied with knowing about our Savior Jesus Christ, please come to know HIM!

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Are You SOLD?

For-Sale-And-Sold-Homes-In-Alpharetta-GA

By Pastor Jeff,

Romans 14:8, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Are you totally sold out for the Lord or are you just for sale? That is a question that I have asked myself several times in my walk with Jesus Christ. If I’m honest I would have to say that many times I was a participant but not fully committed to serve my Lord and Savior.

It wasn’t until that I had drifted away to the point I was contemplating suicide when the Lord spoke to me and His words made me do a complete 180 when He stated that “My Grace will only go so far!” Some may argue that the Grace of God never ends but I can state that can lead to one falling into sin and eventually death, Hebrews 6:4-6, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” You can say it was God’s grace that allowed me to hear His voice before I veered to far away from Him to my destruction and I’m so thankful for it but if I had ignored that voice, I dread to think what would of happened to me.

Since that day I have settled in my heart that no matter how difficult the path that Jesus would chose for me, I would walk it because I know He is with me and in me! I will never tell anyone that if you chose to live for Jesus Christ that your life will be a bowl full of cherries, but it will have pits in it and for many of us the journey will be tougher than  your walk would be if you stayed in the world. Luke 14:7-8, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?” Matthew 16:24-25, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” 

Don’t be for sale for you never know who will purchase you, be sold, fall completely and madly in love with Jesus Christ willing to do whatever He asks of you for His retirement plan is definitely out of this world!

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Too Much Jesus?

knowing-jesus-too-much

By Pastor Jeff,

So, can you have too much Jesus? Of course the answer is NO! I will state that I wake up thinking about Jesus, I go throughout my day thinking about Jesus, and I go to bed thinking of Jesus. Would I want more of Jesus in my life? Absolutely! The Apostle Paul said it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 

So, with saying that, have you ever encountered someone who seemed so overbearing in his speech about what he or she knows about Christ that after a while you either cut his conversation off or avoided this person? I have, and I’m not debating someones relationship or dedication to serve and share the gospel. But when I look at the disciples and Apostles they were also able to have a conversation that befriended others rather ostracizing them. Most of the disciples were fisherman and I think that they were very at ease talking about fishing, giving advice, and maybe even joining others out on the boat here and there. Paul by Luke’s account in the Bible was a tentmaker Acts 18:1-3, After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.” He also could discuss the law and had knowledge of how government was run.

I love Jesus Christ and love telling others of His greatness and love for them, but I also can carry a conversation on other things, such as sports, politics, recent news, and other things that may help me to build a relationship with someone which will allow me to share the “Good News” with them. If I just brow beat them with what God says it may and I’ve seen it happen close the door to any future conversations with them. Apostle Paul gave us this insight in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.”

Jesus is my Lord and my Savior and I will shout His name to the nations but I will be open to conversations that show that I care about what others care about and when the opportunity comes will switch the conversation about Jesus Christ. Too much Jesus is I believe impossible but like Paul I will to whatever I can to win others to the gospel!

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Jesus Loves Me!

jesus loves

By Pastor Jeff,

Romans 5:6-9, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 

What a powerful declaration of Jesus’ love for me! I make this a personal statement because the one thing I’ve learned in my 34+ years of being a Born Again Christian is that He really is a personal God. I know God so loved the world and it’s 7.6 billion people currently living on this planet, but when it comes to salvation and having a relationship with the creator of all things, it’s mono to mono! Nobody can make the day to day to decision to live for Christ for me and I can’t make that decision for anyone else even those I whole dear.

Jesus died for ME! Jesus loves ME! Jesus cares for ME! If I was the only sinner on this earth, I believe sincerely that God would took on the form of man, would of suffered, died, and been resurrected so that I could have eternal life! What an awesome God we have the privilege to serve.

I was recently was picking black raspberries in our back yard and had this revelation that of all the places I could of moved to. The one one place Jesus picked for us had wild raspberries on and around it. You may say big deal and probably most would never think a second thought about it. For me it is a big deal, for when I was growing up I had the great opportunity of spending many summers at my Grandparents house up North. I had an uncle a little more than a year older than me whom I spent these summers trying to keep from being bored; which didn’t seem to be an issue if my memory is correct. One of the things we did every summer was go out and pick wild raspberries as time to spend in the outdoors and they sure tasted good in our cereal (when my grandmother didn’t steal them on us and make jam). Of course for me picking them today brings back those wonderful memories as well as the fun of making jam and giving it mostly away to the ones we love. That, to me showed how much Jesus loves me and would care enough for those memories to put me right smack in the middle of several gallons of raspberries!

I love Jesus Christ very much, but His love for me preceded my love for Him from the beginning of time, 1 John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

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