Prayer

About My Father’s Business (A Fighting Spirit)

“Nehemiah prayed, “Oh listen to us, dear God. We’re so despised: Boomerang their ridicule on their heads; have their enemies cart them off as war trophies to a land of no return; don’t forgive their iniquity, don’t wipe away their sin—they’ve insulted the builders!”

We kept at it, repairing and rebuilding the wall. The whole wall was soon joined together and halfway to its intended height because the people had a heart for the work.” – Nehemiah 4:4-6

In the past few blogs, we have been talking “About My Father’s Business.” Today I want to talk about a man that was sold out to His Father’s Business.  His name is Nehemiah.  If you know his story, you know where I’m going with this.  In the beginning of the book of Nehemiah, he receives some really big news.  I don’t really want to focus on the news…but on his reaction.  He responded to this news in a way I hope we all can one day respond to things that God is telling us.  He really took it to heart, he digested it, he thought intensely about it…but ultimately, he prayed about it.

There was an action behind it.  Let me ask you a question, “are you putting action behind the news (vision, purpose, etc.) that God has given you?” Has God been sending people your way to deliver some important news? Maybe a loved one? A spouse? A friend? God sent Hanani (his brother) to tell Nehemiah some important news.  Nehemiah could of thought, “What does that have to do with me? That’s in another city, why would I care? What am I going to get out of this?” and many other thoughts.  But the key here is that he took it to prayer.  And it was in prayer, where God birthed a vision for him to rebuild the walls.  Could it be possible that God has been trying to birth a vision in your prayer time?

Not only did Nehemiah begin this journey in prayer…but throughout his ENTIRE journey we see him often return to prayer.  The scripture above (half the journey later), we see him talking to God about his enemies.  Let me throw this thought in for free: whenever you are doing something great for God, you’re going to have a few enemies along the way.  But one thing I want to tell you, is that they are not fighting against you, they’re fighting against God! God could be calling you to start a business, restore your marriage, step out into ministry or many other things.  Those are all great things, and when God is behind it…even birthing that into your heart…he’ll help you achieve those goals.  I’ve always believed that where God guides, He provides.

Just recently, God birthed a big vision into my heart.  People told us to “go away.” Our response was very similar to Nehemiah…”WE KEPT AT IT.” People told us “can’t you find somewhere else?” You know how we responded? WE KEPT AT IT.  They even said, “it’ll never happen.” You know how we responded? I think you’ve caught on by now.  And it’s the same in your life.  If God has been the one pushing you, tugging at your heart or whispering in your ear…just keep at it.  He’ll help you see that vision come to pass! It was after 52 days, when Nehemiah was able to step back and say, “Look at what the Lord has done!” Stay encouraged today, He’s on your side! And greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world!

 

 

 

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Push Away the Plate

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. 
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? 
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? 
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: 
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, 
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— 
when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; 
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. – Isaiah 58: 1-8

If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs, then you know that our church just came out of 21 days of prayer and fasting.  I have to tell you that it has been a blessing! Now, fasting doesn’t come easy to me (if it does for you…then praise God) but I know what the results of fasting brings.  That’s one of the main reasons why every year we take the time to do this.  And not only now but throughout the year we’ll be fasting as well.  Why? Because like the scripture says above…it humbles us! Now why do we need to be humbled? Because when we’re humbled…it brings us into the presence of God. And that’s what fasting is.  It’s a time where you can just get alone with God.  It’s time where you can block everything else out and just focus on Him.

I’ve been receiving so many reports of what God has been doing in the lives of so many people.  I have heard reports of healings, promotions, open doors, marriages that are being restored, we’re about to get into our new building and that is just the beginning!  Fasting pleases God and it gives you strength.  Fasting brings you into a realm that you can’t see, touch or feel…but you can sense it.  Fasting will make you sensitive to the Holy Spirit. If you can learn to push away the plate…you’ll be able to push away sin.  Let me say that again…if you can learn to push away the plate…you’ll be able to push away sin. Those little secret bondages will no longer be an issue and you’ll have true victory.  There are some things that will only go away through prayer and fasting.

If you want 2011 to be different than 2010…then it’s time to fast and pray! “When you have a time of prayer and fasting, you’ll be an intercessor. You’ll stand in the gap.  You’ll come into a place of warfare. You’ll have power over the enemy.  You’re a child of God.  You’re a son or daughter of God. There’s power in your words when you say ‘Satan you’re a liar, I bind you in Jesus’ name, you take your hands off my unsaved loved ones, get your hands off my money, get your hands off my body.  There’s power! Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.  God is looking for people to rise up and take their place.”

When you’re praying and fasting…you’re at your best! The armor protects the front of you but the Lord protects behind you.  The enemy can’t sneak up behind you because you are covered. And that’s exactly what will happen for all those who choose to step out and trust God this year.  I pray that as you’re reading this right now that the Lord will begin to touch your heart to accept the challenge to fast this year.  Believe me…it will change your life and bring you into a realm where God will really move in your life.  If you want change this year…I encourage you to fast.

“It’s Our Time”

It’s a New Year and I’m believing now more than ever that “It’s Our Time!” I don’t just mean it’s our time for my family, or even just for my Ministry & Church but I believe that It’s Our Time for everyone that loves God to experience all that God has in store for them this year.  God is Opening the Windows of Heaven in 2011! And to kick this year off, I believe that we have to start out on the right foot.  The right foot meaning for us to seek God like never before.  If we want to do all that God has for us this year…I think it’d be great for us to take the time for us to hear from God ourselves.  We’ve declared a 21 day fast from January 10th – January 30th to really get a hold of God for this year.

Over the next few blogs, I’m going to be putting a few tips on fasting to help you become successful during this time:

DANIEL FAST GUIDELINES AND RECIPES

The Daniel Fast is a plant-based partial fast. It is based on the Prophet Daniel when he was under the rule of Babylonian kings for their personal service. Daniel recorded three occasions of fasting, though he likely fasted many more times since he was a man of God.

Daniel 10:2, 3 is where we find the model for the 21-day Daniel Fast. From this passage, a guidelines have developed over the years, primarily by Christians who use this as a form of fasting.

No Pleasant Food: This would include breads, sugars and sweet foods.

No Meat: All animal products are restricted on the Daniel Fast. That includes meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products (milk, eggs, cheese, butter, etc.)

No Wine: This restriction, coupled with previous fasts where Daniel drank only water (which is typical for biblical fasting), is where today’s Daniel Fast finds its roots for water only. Fruit and vegetable juices are acceptable.

One of the great things about the Daniel Fast is that you are not limited to any specific amount of food, but rather to the kinds of food you can eat. The Daniel Fast is limited to vegetables (includes fruits) and water.

Special Note: if you have health issues, please be sure to contact your health professional for advice before committing to any fast including the Daniel Fast.

Please make sure to READ THE LABEL when purchasing packaged, canned or bottled foods. They should be sugar-free and chemical-free. Keep this in mind as you review this list of acceptable foods.

Foods to include in your diet during the Daniel Fast

All fruits. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Fruits include but are not limited to apples, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, figs, grapefruit, grapes, guava, honeydew melon, kiwi, lemons, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums, prunes, raisins, raspberries, strawberries, tangelos, tangerines, watermelon

All vegetables. These can be fresh, frozen, dried, juiced or canned. Vegetables include but are not limited to artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chili peppers, collard greens, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, ginger root, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, parsley, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, scallions, spinach, sprouts, squashes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, yams, zucchini, veggie burgers are an option if you are not allergic to soy.

All whole grains, including but not limited to whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, oats, barley, grits, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat tortillas, rice cakes and popcorn.

All nuts and seeds, including but not limited to sunflower seeds, cashews, peanuts, sesame. Also nut butters including peanut butter.

All legumes. These can be canned or dried. Legumes include but are not limited to dried beans, pinto beans, split peas, lentils, black eyed peas, kidney beans, black beans, cannellini beans, white beans.

All quality oils including but not limited to olive, canola, grape seed, peanut, and sesame.

Beverages: spring water, distilled water or other pure waters.

Other: tofu, soy products, vinegar, seasonings, salt, herbs and spices.

Foods to avoid on the Daniel Fast

All meat and animal products including but not limited to beef, lamb, pork, poultry, and fish.

All dairy products including but not limited to milk, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.

All sweeteners including but not limited to sugar, raw sugar, honey, syrups, molasses, and cane juice.

All leavened bread including Ezekiel Bread (it contains yeast and honey) and baked goods.

All refined and processed food products including but not limited to artificial flavorings, food additives, chemicals, white rice, white flour, and foods that contain artificial preservatives.

All deep fried foods including but not limited to potato chips, French fries, corn chips.

All solid fats including shortening, margarine, lard and foods high in fat.

Beverages including but not limited to coffee, tea, herbal teas, carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and alcohol.

The Prayer-Driven Life

To pray is to change.  Prayer is our spiritual breathe.  Prayer is also our spiritual strength.  One person put it as such, “When we work, we work…but when we pray, God works.”  If that’s the case, shouldn’t we pay just a little bit more attention to our prayer life this year?

Matthew 6:9-13 says, “This, then, is how you should pray:  “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily break.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Let’s look at 6 things in this passage:

  1. Praise (Hallowed be your name): Jehovah Tsidkenu, Jehovah M’Kaddesh, Jehovah Shalom, Jehoavah Rophe, Jehovah Jireh, Johovah Nissi & Jehovah Rohi.  So many reasons to give God all the praise…take your pick!
  2. Priorities (Your will be done): “Every choice you make, makes you!”
  3. Provision (Give us this day our daily bread)
  4. Pardon (Forgive us as we forgive others)
  5. Protection (Lead us not into temptation)
  6. Praise

The Lord left us a model on what our Prayer Life should look like.  If yours doesn’t quite match up, it’s ok…but you shouldn’t be satisfied on it staying there.  God desires to have a deeper and closer relationship with you this year than ever before.  Over these next 40 days of Prayer & Fasting, take some time to get alone and hear the voice of God for your life.  I believe he has a divine word for each and every single one of us…but it all starts with living a PRAYER-DRIVEN LIFE.