Tag: prayer and fasting

Appointing godly leadership!

Scripture reading for May 24th:  Acts 14

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 14:21-23  “They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples.  Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.  “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.  Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.”

Paul and Barnabas understood the need to make disciples.  They were interested in fulfilling Jesus’ mandate, not just getting converts!  Because of this, they revisited the churches that they had founded and encouraged the disciples to ‘remain true to the faith.’   It was possible to drift away and be lost!  Also, they warned and taught these new followers of Jesus that hardships would await them on their journey.  Following Jesus would not always be easy and would require perseverance!  To help equip the churches they had founded, they sought the Lord for leadership who would set godly examples and teach the disciples the way of the Lord Jesus.   Elders, pastors and teachers were appointed and set in place!

Observations for over-comers:  Healthy churches are equipped and encouraged with leadership and teaching of the truth.  Prayer and fasting are foundational to  selecting godly leaders.  “But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.”  (Exodus 18:21)

 

 

 

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A Word of Knowledge!

Scripture reading for November 11th: Acts 13-15

“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene,  Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.  While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”  “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hand on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3

In this account of the early church at worship and prayer, we find that the Holy Spirit used one of the prophets to give a word to Barnabas and Saul.  This was not a directive word, but a confirming word.  Note that the Holy Spirit had already called them to this work personally previous to this time.  This word came during a time of corporate worship and the church obediently responded.  They laid on hands and sent them off on the ministry journey laid out for them by the Holy Spirit.  We find that God has prepared the “good works” and all we need to do is respond in obedience.  (Ephesians 2:10)

When we get a word of knowledge or prophesy spoken over us, we must test it.  Does it line up with what the Lord has been saying to us?  Does it line up with the Word of God and purposes stated in Scripture?   Words must always agree with the written word of God or at least not be in conflict with the revealed will of God.   Is the Spirit in you in agreement with that word?  Do others with the Holy Spirit agree and bear witness with the word?  These tests are important before moving on a word.

Mary and I experienced this when God spoke to us through two different people about having children in our old age!  One of the words was written down and our son reminded us of it years later.  It helped us confirm our direction to adopt our girls!  May the Lord direct your life each day by His Holy Spirit!  May you learn to properly discern the will of God!

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Willing to die!

Scripture reading for May 15th: Esther 3-4

As God’s people, we should try to be the best citizens we can be.  We are to be known as people who obey the law and serve and pray for those in authority.  We  promote respect for those in authority and aid their proper rule.  However, when a civil authority gives orders to disobey the law of God, we must respectfully decline and obey God!  This can bring trouble and wrath from authority!

Haman was a man who was exalted by King Xerxes to a place of honor above all others.  All officials in the king’s palace knelt down and paid honor to Haman  (Esther 3:2)  except one man.  Mordecai, Queen Esther’s Jewish uncle, would not bow his knee before a man because of his faith in God and God’s word. (Esther 3:4)   This infuriated Haman and he devised a plot to eliminate all Jews from Persia.  He offered the king 375 tons of silver to allow him to eliminate these disrespectful people.  (Esther 3:8-9)  For those in authority to feel secure, any threat to their power or position must be removed! (Remember that King Xerxes removed Queen Vasti for her disrespect!)

How did Mordecai react to the decree to kill all Jews?  He immediately began to fast and pray, calling other Jews to join him.  (Ester 4:1-3)  He asked his niece, Queen Esther, to help.  She would have to exercise some wise “civil disobedience” herself if she were to approach the king.  She asked for prayer covering as she prepared for this potentially life-threatening task of asking the king for help.  (Ester 4:15-17)  Her attitude was one of faith and of willingness to die to protect her people!

Queen Esther could be a type of the Church.  The Church has been placed by God in places of influence to be a witness for God and His people.  The Church is to be submissive to the authorities of the world in all things except where that compromises faithfulness to God.  The Church is to be willing to die for what is right, rather than compromise the truth for the passing pleasures of sin for a season.  The Church must speak up or loose its place of influence for God!  Ask God what other lessons might be here for you as you read this story of God working through ordinary people to accomplish His purposes!

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Come out!

Scripture reading for February 27th: Mark 9:1-29, Psalms 43:1-5, Proverbs 10:18

Jesus was a man who spoke with authority and was not afraid to rebuke demons or His own disciples!  Mark records an incident in which a man had brought his son to the disciples.  The son had an evil spirit that often tried to kill the boy by throwing his systems into symptoms of a seizure or stroke.  The disciples tried to cast the spirit out but were unsuccessful. (Mark 9:17-18)

“O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you?  How long shall I put up with you?  Bring the boy to Me.” (Mark 9:19)  Jesus rebuked the people and especially the disciples for their unbelief.  Jesus had demonstrated their authority to cast out demons and they had been sent out and also had experienced people getting delivered.  (Mark 6:7, 12-13)  The problem was not with the evil spirit, but with those who should have had faith to see it leave!

When the boy’s father brought his son to Jesus, he asked Jesus to help him if He could.  “If you can?” said Jesus.  “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  “Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”” Jesus again corrected the father’s doubting request with a question.   “If” is a word indicating doubt, not faith in the possibility!  According to Jesus, there is nothing that is not possible for the person who will believe!  This man cried out spontaneously for help with dealing with the unbelief!  This was an honest prayer and Jesus answered by rebuking the spirit in the boy.  “You deaf and mute spirit,” He said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” (Mark 9:25b)

When they left this family, the disciples wanted to know from Jesus why they could not drive out the demon.
“He replied, “This kind can only come out by prayer.”‘ (Mark 9:29)  Some manuscripts added “fasting” after the prayer.  Our power comes only from God through faith in Him and His ability to do anything.  These disciples were encouraged to focus on prayer as they dealt with situations like this.  Only prayer will drive out unbelief and enable us to successfully confront Satan’s power.

Take some time to pray today for help with driving out your unbelief.  Jesus wants His disciples to walk in authority and power that comes through faith in God!  (Mark 11:22-24)

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Civil disobedience!

Scripture reading for May 15th: Esther 3-4

As God’s people, we try to be the best citizens we can be.  We should be known as people who obey the law and serve and pray for those in authority.  We should promote respect for those in authority and aid their proper rule.  However, when a civil authority gives orders to disobey the law of God, we must respectfully decline and obey God!  This can bring trouble and wrath from authority!

In today’s reading, we have a man who is exalted by King Xerxes to a place of honor above all others.  All officials in the king’s palace knelt down and paid honor to Haman.  (Esther 3:2)  One man would not.  Mordecai, Queen Esther’s Jewish uncle, would not bow his knee before a man because of his faith in God and God’s word. (Esther 3:4)   This infuriated Haman and he devised a plot to eliminate all Jews from Persia.  He offered the king 375 tons of silver to allow him to eliminate these disrespectful people.  (Esther 3:8-9)  Do you notice the common thread of insecurity with the disobedience of Queen Vashti?  For those in authority to feel secure, any threat must be removed!

How did Mordecai react to the decree to kill all Jews?  He immediately began to fast and pray.  (Ester 4:1-3)  He called on other Jews to join with him.  He even asked his niece, Queen Esther, to help.  This was not going to be easy.  She would have to exercise some wise “civil disobedience” herself if she were to approach the king.  She asked for prayer covering as she prepared for this potentially life-threatening task of asking the king for help.  (Ester 4:15-17)  Her attitude was one of faith and of willingness to die to protect her people!

Queen Esther, as I see it today, is a type of the church.  The Church has been placed by God in places of influence to be a witness for God and His people.  The Church is to be submissive to the authorities of the world in all things except where that compromises faithfulness to God.  The Church is to be willing to die for what is right, rather than compromise the truth for the passing pleasures of sin for a season.  The Church must speak up or loose its place of influence for God!  Ask God what other lessons might be here for you today as you read this story of God working through ordinary people to accomplish His purposes!

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