Connecting with Heaven and disconnecting from bondages of this World

605374893The early evangelist Smith Wigglesworth knew the power of fasting and prayer. At the age of sixteen, he was impacted by the power he saw in the Salvation Army’s workers that others didn’t have. He was led earnestly to pray and fast for salvations. Much later in his life Wigglesworth recalled, “We used to have all nights of prayer. He said, “I fasted all day every Sunday and prayed, and I never remember seeing less than fifty souls saved by the power of God in the meetings with the children.”

Isaiah, 58:8 tells us, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Here we see the victory of fasting in the scripture. Strongholds are broken with prayer and fasting. This would seem to tell us that there is an added power and maybe a spiritual overdrive when we combine prayer with fasting.

This is what Jesus tells His disciples, “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting,” (Matt. 17:21). While Jesus and three of His disciples were having an incredible visitation on the mountaintop, unanswered prayers deflated the others. A father had brought his demonized child to the disciples and when they failed at bringing deliverance, the father approached Jesus as He came down from the mount. After Jesus rebuked the demon and set the young man free, the disciples asked why they couldn’t help the child. In verses 20-21 Jesus answered them, “Because of your unbelief… However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Jesus declared that in cases like this, nothing happens unless there is prayer and fasting. So, according to Jesus, fasting and prayer will build our faith and align us with His will. Jesus lets us know that when our prayers fall flat and when our flesh is weak that added power is available when we deny and humble ourselves through fasting. Prayer with fasting is a mixture of supernatural components that will change situations from ordinary to extraordinary. It transports us from fleshly strength to God’s supernatural power. Every believer should participate. As I have suggested, fasting is not trying to twist God’s arm but it is about the individual humbling and aligning himself with God’s will. Whether you fast short-term or for an extended length of time, you must be wise. Scripture highlights various lengths and types of fasts.

I often hear, “I will fast when God tells me to fast” or “It’s wrong to fast without God telling you to do it?” Those are statements from individuals who aren’t familiar with the scriptures. In Mathew 6:1-18, Jesus exhorts the believers to serve in three areas: “When you do acts of love, when you pray and when you fast; do it unto the Lord, not in a self-serving attitude.” The key word in doing these three disciplines is when you do them. It does not say if you do them. When you do them indicates it is not an optional discipline, but it should be a common practice. I think most would agree that doing acts of love and praying are definitely actions that Christ’s disciples should be doing. But, how can we then separate those two acts from the third exhortation that Jesus gave? He said, “When you fast,” just as He said when you pray and when you do acts of love. Therefore, we must conclude that the believer should have a lifestyle of fasting just as they should have a lifestyle of prayer and serving. Let’s do it!

 

Connecting with Heaven and disconnecting from

the things of this World

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. We see various types of fasting in the scriptures such as complete fast (No water or food), normal fast (No food) or partial fasting (different times or limited foods). What type of fasting have you done in your life? Please explain.
  1. When you have fasted in your life have you saw immediate results or has it taken a while to see any results? Give an account if you can.

 

  1. How would you interpret what Jesus was saying in Mathew 6:1-18? How would you reply to believers that say they will only fast when Jesus tells them?

 

Quotes to Tweet:    

  • Prayer connects us with Heaven and fasting disconnects us from the bondages of this world – billvirgin.com

 

  • There is an added power and spiritual overdrive when we combine prayer with fasting     –   billvirgin.com

 

  • The believer should have a lifestyle of fasting just as they should have a lifestyle of prayer and serving   – billvirgin.com

 

#PrayerAndFastingLetsDoIt     #SolemnAssembly     #JoinTheFastingMovement

 

 

 

 

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I am going to do it even if I have Screaming Eagles in my Stomach!

Thankfulness - sunsetFew Christians have seriously pressed into the realm of prayer and fasting. The church has nonchalantly looked the other way and has stopped talking about this biblical principle. Denying ourselves isn’t convenient or enjoyable to our flesh. I know when I fast it seems as if there are screaming eagles in my stomach!

God is awakening courageous believers to the understanding of the empowerment of a fasted lifestyle. Unfortunately, that will never happen until we crucify our flesh and combine fasting with our prayers. They go hand-in-hand. Hunger is one of the body’s strongest cravings. When the believer seeks God and His


I am going to Fast even if it gives me Screaming Eagles in my Stomach! –


kingdom by going without food it demonstrates self-humbling and a sacrifice of personal pleasure. (Ps.35:13)  It is a dynamic principle that every believer needs to practice throughout his or her lives. It can’t be just a quick fix button that we use when we are in a jam or a medal we wear to proclaim our self-righteousness.

In Isaiah 58:6 we read, “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke”? The scriptures openly tell us that God has chosen the fast as a way to loose bondages and release those who are oppressed. We see today many renowned ministers and ministries promoting fasting and prayer such as, Jentzen Franklin, Mike Bickle as well as, the late Dr. Bill Bright and his ministry, Campus Crusade for Christ International, have stirred churches, pastors and their congregations around the world to pray and fast for godly change. These men also live a fasted lifestyle and have seen the power and impact of it. Dr. Bright said, “Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.” Joel 2:12 says, “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’” Fasting is in the same category as wholeheartedly turning toward Him. Derek Prince said, “Fasting breaks down the barriers in man’s


Fasting can’t be just a quick fix button or a medal we wear to proclaim our self- righteousness.


carnal nature that stand in the way of the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence. With these barriers removed, the Holy Spirit can work unhindered in His fullness through our
prayers”.

Fasting gets the believer serious about God’s will. In the book of Acts, we see the early church practiced and was vigilant in fasting. Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having fasted and prayed and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” Matthew Henry says about this passage, “We see here a divine warrant and commission to Barnabas and Saul to go and preach the gospel among the Gentiles, and their ordination to that service by the imposition of hands, with fasting and prayer.” The early church understood the seriousness of fulfilling God’s will and His calling; therefore, they denied themselves and fasted.

There is a moving of God’s Spirit upon the community of believers all across the world to live a life of prayer and fasting. Humbling ourselves before the Lord will bring a desire to hear His heartbeat and know His will. Isn’t it time for every believer to return to Biblical truth and practice this lifestyle? Getting serious in prayer and fasting will bring the powerful results that we so desperately need in our culture. Are you ready to get back to the Biblical principles of fasting?

   Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. What do you think of when you hear the word fasting? Maybe going in for a medical procedure, or a hunger strike? In your own words define what you and your friends think about fasting

 

  1. What do you think the biblical principle of fasting’s part is in the church today. Is it a thing of the past ? Does it bend God’s arm to answer us?
  1. Other than the scriptures mentioned above do you know of any other Biblical stories of fasting? Explain the Story?

 Quotes to Tweet:    

  • I am going to Fast even if it gives me Screaming Eagles in my Stomach! – billvirgin.com
  • Fasting can’t be just a quick fix button or a medal we wear to proclaim our self-   righteousness. – billvirgin.com
  • Getting serious in prayer and fasting will bring the powerful results that we so desperately need in our culture.   – billvirgin.com

#FastingGivesMeScreamingEaglesInMyStomach     #JoinTheFastingMovement

 

Are you living your Life in the Rearview Mirror

images-61The holidays were right around the corner and the memories were beginning to be made without me, as my family was already in Chicago waiting for my arrival. I was rushing around trying to get the office closed and get home so I could pack and head out of town to be on time for the family annual gathering.

Even though it was mind boggling because of everything that needed done, yet some how I had locked the office door and was now in my car driving away. Then out of nowhere came a thought like an enemy arrow that pierced my already tired mind, “I hadn’t turned off the lights in my office”. I began looking in my rearview mirror trying to see if I could tell if they were on or not. Needless to say, I


You cannot go forward as long as you’re looking behind you!


wasn’t looking forward any longer. It’s amazing how a person might think he could go forward safely and be looking in the rearview mirror. Well, it doesn’t work! Ahead of me was a line of cars waiting for a train to finish crossing the road. When I finally looked ahead, I immediately tried to swerve but ended up crashing into the stopped cars.

I learned a valuable lesson that day that has helped me throughout my life. You cannot go forward as long as you’re looking behind you! Paul says, in Phil 3:12-13, “I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead”. Paul exhorts the believers in Philippi to not look behind. They were like so many people in our day that are so fixed on the past that they are hindered from going forward in their lives.

Whether it was a bad decision when they were young, maybe an abortion, a bad marriage and act of violence or possible many different things. One thing for sure is that not dealing with the past will keep our eyes looking behind us and hinder us from going forward with our lives. In verse 14, Paul continues by saying, “I


Only when we have rightly dealt with the past can we face tomorrow with confidence and triumph.


press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is saying that he keeps his eyes on the things ahead and where God’s blessings abide. Paul pushed forward to achieve the very reason God had apprehended him. Unfortunately, many of us can’t go forward because our past failures are holding us down. But that is a plot of the enemy in your life: To make you dwell on your failures and not move on. He wants to keep you in bondage to your past so you are useless for what God has for you in the present.

How we deal with our disappointments will determine whether they destroy us or make us stronger. It’s natural to examine ourselves and deal with areas of our lives. (2 Cor 13:5) But, it is totally wrong to be held in bondage to our past. We must bring our failures (1 John 1:9-10) and successes before the Lord and ask Him to forgive where it’s needed and be Lord over even the things we have achieved success in. (2 Cor 10:5-6)

Only when we have rightly dealt with the past can we face tomorrow with confidence and triumph. We must be about His business. But, you can’t go forward by looking in the rearview mirror.

 

Thoughts to Ponder:

1.)    Do you have times when you are bombarded by things in your past? Or maybe you have a friend that seems to be in bondage to some events in their past? Explain?

2.)    Paul was accustom to the Greek athletic races and therefore used them to bring out what point in Phil 3:12-14 that applied to a believers life? Explain how 2 Cor 10:5-6 can help those who seem to always allow the past failures or successes to hinder what God may have for their present lives.

3.)    What things would you say to anyone that was living their life in bondage to  their past? What does 1 John 1:9-10 exhort those that are followers of Jesus?

 

Does A Spoonful of Sugar really help the Message go Down?

images-56I refuse to think that I was the only kid that would fake being sick for the sole purpose of getting a spoon full of sugar. It wasn’t until sometime later when I saw the popular Disney movie called “Mary Poppins” that I realized that my mother along with many probably adapted the same method of dowsing a little medicine with sugar just like the song in the movie. It was such a catchy jingle that most of us can sing it to this day, “A spoon full of sugar helps make the medicine go down”. My


Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception


question is does the little bit of sweet really help or hurt in the long run? Have we sweetened the medicine so much that now society doesn’t want the medicine anymore just the sweets? What seemed like a good idea might have had some serious consequences.

I believe in a similar way we have done the same thing in the church today with the message of the cross. Repackaging the Gospel so that it will not be offensive is a dangerous and slippery slope of deception. When we take the power of God out of the message of the cross, it becomes empty and hollow. Paul in his letter to the Corinthians said, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) I believe


The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!


we have put so much sugar on the message of Christ that we have lost the power of the cross in the church today! Some of our worship services have become nothing more than a Disney production! It might look as if they are useful and productive, but are powerless and un-effective. Salt that has lost it’s usefulness is how Jesus described it. (Matt 5:13) He says we are the salt, but when the salt looses its flavor it’s useless and should be tossed out. The flavor is the message of the cross, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ! The message that Sin destroys but the Savior restores when there is Serious repentance must be preached!

Many have veered from scripture and jump on the bandwagon of “feel good tickle my ear messages”. It might line up people at the door of the church but does it really bring a lasting change in peoples lives? I believe it’s time for the church to wake up and line up with the Word of God. We are called to be reflections and ambassadors of Christ.

In His letters to the seven churches Jesus tells the church of Laodicea in Rev 3:16-17 “…because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth”. Jesus goes on to say that this church was basically coasting along with a mentality of satisfaction and contentment. They arrogantly thought they had everything they needed yet Jesus says in verse 17 that they “…are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”. What they thought and what was reality was very opposite to the truth. Because of this self-sufficient attitude Jesus declares He will spew them out of His mouth, representing His disapproval as one does with bad flavored food. Have we produced congregations with that same type of attitude and ineffectiveness?

We need to have such a passion and love for God’s word that we will cry out saying, “give it to us straight with no additives”. Our message doesn’t need to be covered in sugar or ear tickling, but full of truth. In John 8:32 it says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

 

 

 

The Identity Theft that Changed the World

images-55One of the most pointed and enlightening statements of Jesus in scripture is found in John 10:10, where he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. In this small short statement Jesus gives us the agenda of the enemy and God the Son’s plan for our lives. The enemy wants to steal from us and ruin our lives, but Jesus says He Himself has come to give us life to the fullest. Yet, we must realize this abundant life Jesus is talking about is to be lived out in a real world filled with pain, rejection and failure. Jesus isn’t talking about


Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems.


a perfect heaven but a “heaven on earth” reality in the midst of the storms of life. Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of these problems. Scripture warns us that we live within a warfare that can destroy our faith, devastate our self-worth and send us into depression. That’s been the plan of the enemy from our beginning.

I remember the feeling that came over me when I found our shed had been broken into and the power equipment had been stolen out of it. It was feelings of violation and confusion, let alone the anger that rose up, because someone had the nerve to trespass against me. In this world there are those that look and connive to steal from others!

One thing is for sure; to those that have never had identity theft happen to them it might seem a very small and distant thing. Yet the reality is that the rise of identity theft is running rampant through our society. Whether it is a headline news story or a person that we know, we have all been made aware of this evil scheme to steal from the innocent.

In Gen 3:5-7 we see the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s epic sin in the garden. We have heard the story many times over of the original sin that sent man headlong


Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.


into a spiritual spiral through life. The enemy stole their identity through his deception. But, unless we examine the nature of their life before the fall we can’t comprehend the magnitude of the result of the enemy’s plot, which caused them to lose their significance.

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God. They were living in intimate fellowship with God where they were secure and free. Created to reign over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Their purpose was to reflect God’s glory and demonstrate His holiness through humankind. (Ps. 99:3-5) To meet their spiritual needs God walked and talked with them personally. Through intellect, free will, and emotions, God showcased His glorious character through mankind.

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them. Through this sin all of mankind has lost his secure status with God and began to tumble down a miserable slope of distorted and warped feelings of inadequacy, rejection and shame. This tragic event has robbed man of his original identity and plunged him into a struggling journey of searching for significance.

Yet, that’s not the end! God has sent His son, Jesus to redeem us and restore us back to that original position with Him. We are His sons and daughters made in His image! Jesus has restored our true identity on the cross. (Jn1:12, Rom 5:8, Gal 4:6, Eph2:6) Will you receive the truth or are you still listening to the lie of the serpent?

 

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you or anyone you know ever been stolen from or had their identity stolen? How did it make you or them feel? Explain?

 

  1. When you read the story of creation and Adam and Eve’s life in the garden how do you picture it? When it says that God walked and talked with them, how does that make you feel knowing that is exactly how God planned for you and Him?

 

  1. Do you realize the privilege we have in Jesus? When Paul calls us children of God in Rom 8:16   and heirs of the God in , what does that mean to you?

 

 

Quotes to Tweet: 

Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems. – billvirgin.com

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.    – billvirgin.com

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them – billvirgin.com

 

#RejoiceWhenTheHeatIsBeingTurnedUpInYourLife

The Highest Call to a Believer is …

images-53Whether it’s dreaming to be a lead singer of a band or a top billed movie star or MVP of the Super Bowl we are infatuated with importance and becoming what we believe is success! Isn’t it amazing how we, as well as our whole society identify with what we feel is the most important position.

Unfortunately, we have allowed that exact thought pattern to invade the church. In an era of a mega churches on ever channel and ministers of the Gospel being exalted as we do to rock stars, it can distort our understanding of what is


What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart.


viewed a success in God’s eyes. We have been deceived in thinking the most important thing we can do to honor our Lord and Savior is found in the limelight. We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous.

I am reminded of God’s word in Isa 55:8 that says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.” What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart. Even though being a successful minister, and ambassador is important and needed in the body of Christ it is not the highest call of God for us.

Jesus sets the record strait in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, where Martha had welcomed Jesus into her home. I can only imagine like most women Martha was getting things ready and wanting to serve Jesus with the best of


We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous


her abilities. I am sure that Martha wanted nothing less than to please and honor Jesus. But when she saw her sister whom was just sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping with the serving she was distracted and became agitated and frustrated going to Jesus to complain. We read in verse 40 where Martha says, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Martha’s words reveal that she was not only distracted from what was important, but discouraged at Jesus for not helping and disconnected from Mary due to offence. I think if we are honest we can all identify with how she was feeling and reacting.

Jesus addresses this viscous cycle that we find ourselves often caught in with what is important to Him. He says to His host, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Jesus calls Mary on the carpet and gets her focus on what is important. Her heart was in the right place; Martha was trying to be a good host and desired to please Him. Yet, even though her motive was right her method was off.

Jesus’s words in vs. 42, “only one thing is needed” expresses the necessity of what Mary was doing. He lets us know that her action was needed, was good, was her choice and ends with a promise that would never be taken from her. What was Mary doing? She was sitting at Jesus feet, listening to His words. This isn’t about a posture but is about the priority of Gods people positioning themselves in God’s presence, pondering His words and understanding His promises.

It is our intimacy and worship before the Lord, which is of most importance to God’s heart. (Ex. 28:1-4, Deut. 10:8-9) We are created to worship Him. (Jn. 4:23-24) I encourage you to be established in what God thinks is priority and not be distracted. Then and only then should we venture out to be about His business!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:

  1. Do you remember growing up wearing your NFL teams sports jacket or dressing like your favorite movie star? What kind of things did you do to mimic those you thought were successful? Explain? 

 

  1. What do you think are some of the most import jobs you can do for God? How would you describe sitting or standing before the Lord? Is it talking about a posture or position?

 

  1. Describe what kind of benefit there is in ministering to God? Are we wasting Time? Shouldn’t we be about His business? How would you encourage others to value a place of prayer and worship before the Lord?

 

 

The Ultimate Parade of Victory!

images-47As far as you could see there was a sea of blue clothed fans packed in the streets. The atmosphere was filled with excitement and resounding shouts of victory as the crowds pressed in to see the oncoming parade. It was the fall of 2015 and the Kansas City Royals had just clinched the World Series pennant. The city couldn’t have been more committed in the celebration parade; schools were closed as well as some businesses and many took the day off to make a family day of it. The parade was filled with local marching bands, ticker tape and most important, the bigger than life team players.

After being involved in this city-shaking event it makes Paul’s words to the Colossians come alive more vividly. He says in Col. 2:14-15 concerning Jesus work on the cross, “…having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the


At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance!


cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it”. The word “triumphing” Paul uses here and also in 2 Cor. 2:14 is a figure of speech drawn from the ceremony that greeted a Roman general who had won a decisive victory over a enemy. This “Via Triumphalis” parade usually featured a display much like our “parade of champions” in our sports enthused societies.

The parade would wind through the most occupied places of the city. At the front would be musicians, dancers and maidens carrying perfumes and incense, throwing flower petals along the way, much like the flower girl at a wedding. The air and atmosphere would be filled with the smell and sounds of victory! Then in a chariot pulled by white horses, came with the conquering general wearing a crown on his head given by Caesar, and in his right hand a palm leaf symbolizing victory. Behind him came his son’s and officers sharing in the victory.

Yet there was one more group following and it was those captured. They were being displayed before the citizens of the city, stripped of weapons, armor, clothing, bound in chains and tied to the conquerors chariots. These defeated foes would be revealed as humiliated and powerless opponents in front of the cheering crowds.

The apostle Paul used this triumphal procession as an analogy of Christ’s victory at the cross. He was painting a picture for us so we could see that the enemy


 If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!  


was totally defeated through Jesus’ work. Therefore, as a Christian we need to see the enemy of our souls as just that, a defeated foe! To often we still imagine the devil as a big bad threat in our lives instead of the humiliated spectacle beheld on the parade route!

Peter describes in his letter the devil as someone that roams around acting like a roaring lion. (1 Pet. 5:8) And if we look further at some other passages in scripture we can even paint a broader picture of satan being nothing more than a toothless fake lion on a leash with a bashed in head eating dirt! (Gen 3:14-15, Ps 3:7, Job 1:12) He is nothing that we should be intimidated by as sons and daughters of God. (Gal. 3:26) In Isa 14:12-17 it tells us concerning the devil at the “End of the Age” that we will “gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms”. We will be shocked at his weakly appearance! So let’s not wait until then to get a right perspective. He is defeated and we are victorious through Jesus our Lord! So live like It!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you been one of those that have imagined wrongly the devil as a big bad scary enemy?   Why do you think you have believed that?
  2.  If the enemy of our souls is already defeated why do you think many people are in bondage by him?
  3. What must a person do to be included in the triumphant parade behind Jesus? In other words how do we become a son and daughter of God?

 

Quotes to Tweet:

At the End of the Age we will be shocked at the devils weakly appearance! www.billvirgin.com

If the devil was defeated at the cross and we are victorious through Jesus why don’t we live like It!    www.billvirgin.com

 

#TheDevilIsNothingButADeafeatedFoe        #WhyShouldIBeAfriadOfTheDevil