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

 

I Have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

images-11Have you ever gone through a tough situation and cried for help and no one responded? It can be very discouraging. How about when you cry out to God and it seems He is not hearing you. You might feel a sense of despair and all alone.

David recorded many of his emotional valleys in his Psalms to the Lord. In Ps 39:12 he says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears”. I believe many people can relate to his cries for help. David like many others have come to a place that they are desperate for God to hear their cry for help. It reminds me of an incident I heard where I grew up.

A adventurous hiker was hiking up a rugged Idaho creek some years back. He was going down the path all by himself enjoying his journey when the rock he stepped on shifted and sent him tumbling down the steep rocky ravine. As his body slammed up against a tree and settled in an outcrop over-looking the creek, He knew


God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer!         (tweet)


that his leg was badly broken. Unable to walk and being much to far to even crawl he lay hopeless in the back-country of the Rocky Mountains with the curtain of the day closing.

Barely surviving the frigid cold night he began to yell for help until he hardly had any voice. His journey had come to an abrupt stand still and his future was becoming more hopeless as the day went on.

Then, across the creek and up the ridge came the noise of a chain saw cutting wood for the soon coming winter. The man collecting the fire wood was getting frustrated at his kids who were constantly interrupting him as he cut the fallen tree, shutting off his saw he began to scold them. As his children defended their case they said, “we thought we heard someone yelling for help”. He listened and heard nothing so he continued with the chain saw.

The hurt and almost lifeless hiker knew this was his only hope and began to scream even more. The wood-cutter’s kids knowing they heard a cry for help risked getting in trouble and interrupted their dad agian. Seeing the urgency in their eyes he stopped and walked to the edge of the ravine. He listened and moments before he gave up he heard the faint cry for help.

Though this story ended with a good ending it is unfortunate that in our society there are multitudes of individuals that are crying out for help. Many have gone down a path in their life thinking they are fine and then abruptly interrupted by tragedy. These circumstances will bring the most independent person to cry out for help in desperation. But will there be a answer?

We read in Ex 3:7-8, where God speaks to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people … and have heard their cry … I know their sorrows.” God had heard the cry of His people and understood their sorrows, for they were in bondage to the Egyptians as slaves. God sees the oppression of those that are in desperate situations. In this passage God says, “So I have come down to deliver them”. God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer! (Lk 11:11-13) If you’re in that place now, hang on for He hears and will deliver.

Praying Prayers that Shake Things

108220532We get a snap shot of the disciples praying in Acts 4:29–30. Peter and John had gone to their own Because of the threats from the Sanhedrin. Then all of them began asking the Lord to move in their behalf with power from on high, praying that they might see signs and wonders, enabling them to speak the Word with boldness. When they had finished, the place began to shake, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Resulting with them going forth in power.

When was the last time the place where we were praying began to shake from the power of God? Maybe we haven’t been touching God in prayer like we should. Lord Tennyson said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”

Prayer is to revival and God’s outpouring as evaporation is to a cloudburst of fresh rain. You can’t have the one without the other. As we pray, it’s like the evaporated water, ascending to the heavens. The clouds of heavens fill full of the prayers of saints. Then the clouds move to a dry and thirsty place, to pour down the


What we sow is what we shall reap. So then, let me ask, what are we sowing? (tweet)


rains of revival on the cracked desert soil of humanity. Hosea 10:12 says, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” It is through prayer that we sow, cultivate the hard soil and reap a plentiful harvest. What we sow is what we shall reap. So then, let me ask, what are we sowing?

When the church begins to press in, laying hold of the promises of God, then we will finally come to the place of reaping God’s best. D.L. Moody once said, “The world has not yet seen what God can do through a person completely dedicated to Him.”

Will we stand in the gap before the Lord? Well, it is time that we answer that question with a thundering yes! This country is in need of a militant, praying church, possessing the land that the Lord has given us through tenacious prayer. Let me end with an inspiring story in history from David Shibleys’ book, A Force in the Earth.

“In 1806 a group of students at Williams College in Massachusetts sought refuge from a sudden rainstorm in a haystack. As the rain beat down, they turned their retreat into a prayer meeting. They asked God to use their lives. As they prayed, their


When the church begins to press in and lays hold of God’s promises, then we will reap God’s best.       (tweet)


faith rose to believe God could use them significantly to fulfill Christ’s great commission. When the rain subsided, they left with the rallying cry, “We can do it if we will!” This unobtrusive meeting went down in history as the Haystack Prayer Meeting. Today, this spontaneous prayer time is seen as the beginning of the mission Continue reading

God Interrupt our Politics with your Glory

US-VOTE-DEBATEI know I am not alone when I say, I am concerned with what I see in this nations political process. The low stooping mud slinging and aggressive tactics to win by character assassination of the other candidate has me agitated to say the least.

But on the other hand it is no time at all to back away from our privilege and responsibility to vote for the right person. We must look beyond their childish actions and investigate the platform that they are running on. The agenda of their party will inform us of the right candidate. Is it an agenda that will make way for God’s blessing on our country? No candidate is perfect but what he or she chooses to promote can open the door for righteousness in our land. Therefore as believers we need to cry out to God for His help as we elect our leaders in our nation.

Isaiah 21:6-8 says, “For thus has the Lord said to me: ‘Go, set a watchman, Let him declare what he sees.’ … I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime; I have sat at my post every night.”.  It is Unfortunate, but over the years,


Make the decision to seek the Lord for an intervention in our Nation   (tweet)


believers have grown weary. Many have fallen asleep, grown spiritually weak and slipped into religious apathy causing this tailspin in our nation. It’s now time to shake off this lethargic spirit of apathy and get back on the wall as intercessors and watchmen. For God has called you and I to be watchmen for His people and this nation.

Whatever has caused you to be distracted, whether mud slinging or personalities of those running for office, enough is enough! If it’s broken down and needs restored, we must roll up our sleeves and build it back up.

When Hezekiah saw the enemy’s onslaught, he realized the need to strengthen himself and his kingdom, (II Chron. 32:5). Things had gotten relaxed, the walls had eroded and were weakened; therefore, the King was alerted to set things in


The inheritance that we have in Christ can only be experienced if we respond to His invitation with contending    (tweet)


order. Where the walls of protection had fallen down, he restored and reinforced them Continue reading

Knowing God’s Heart

Let’s revisit one of the most encouraging stories in the scriptures I believe—Matthew15: 22-28, the Canaanite woman, who would not settle for anything but a miracle for her daughter. This courageous mother was willing to press in to Jesus no matter what the consequences. Mark 7:25 states that she “Heard about Him.” She must have heard of the wonders and miracles that followed Jesus. It was this deep understanding and undeniable confidence that drove her to humble herself and not take offense. This mother would not give up for she knew Jesus was the answer for her afflicted daughter. I believe she was persistent and unrelenting because she got a glimpse of His heart and knew He was merciful and loving. The end result of this sometimes-misinterpreted story declares His heart is truly to heal and set the captives free.

History has documented mothers, which have done extraordinary things for their children. But, how many mothers today have caught a glimpse of His heart to the point that they are just as willing and persistent for their children’s healing? Our families would be eternally changed if we all caught a revelation of who He is and what is in His heart.

Mary who was sitting at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42) listening to His words wasn’t there asking for her lists of wants, but was intent on knowing what was in His heart. So often, we spend our precious prayer time focused on what is burning in our hearts. Then we get busy doing things for Him and never just listen to His words. I believe God has so much He wants to share with us and He wants us to partner with Him in His purposes. In John 13:23 I love where it says, “there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” I can imagine John with his head on Jesus’ chest wanting to understand the secrets of His heart. To me this is such a good picture of the kind of deep spiritual intimacy that we should have with Jesus. I believe as we commune with Him in prayer that He invites us through His great love to lay our head on His chest, and hear His heartbeat and learn of His will. That is the greatest honor and privilege that we will ever attain to—knowing what is on the heart of our Creator and King.

Paul himself reveals this same desire as he writes to the Philippians saying, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,” (Phil. 3:10). He didn’t want the shallow acquaintance and unhealthy religion that he was raised with. He desired a understanding of what was on God’s heart. In other words, Paul wanted to know everything about Him, whether in His suffering, His death and definitely in His powerful resurrection.

Do we have that same hunger to know Him? Or, are we so caught up in our life goals and religious duty that we aren’t really concerned about His heart. The scriptures clearly reveal God’s desire to be among us. Communing with His children has always been at the center of His heart. The Holy Spirit woos us to seek after Him and pursue knowing Him as He knows us. Only then will we be as the young gentile mother and never be discouraged or offended at Him.

Blessed is the Nation that Comes Together in Prayer

praying in a huddleAs the clock struck twelve, the crowds had only one thing on their mind—getting to the place of prayer. The whole city was shut down, businesses closed their doors, schools dismissed class early, and even the legislature had called it a day. The year was 1905, and from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., the eyes of the city were looking to God for his guidance. The mayor of Denver had declared a day of prayer, resulting in more than twelve thousand in attendance in downtown prayer meetings.

During this same time, over two hundred businesses closed for three hours of prayer in Portland, Oregon. In Burlington, Iowa, many stores and factories closed to allow their employees to go to prayer meetings. There seemed to be a yearning and anticipation for a fresh move of God sweeping through people of every social and ethnic level. Churches were bulging full of people praying and seeking God. The news of the great Welsh revival spread through the land like wild fire, causing a hunger to be aroused in America. The result of this great move of prayer was powerful. Many denominations recorded a significant increase in their membership. Things were beginning to be stirred and get in place for the soon coming Azusa Street Revival in 1906.

Nearly fifty years earlier, a similar movement of prayer took place, bringing our country to its knees. It all started in 1857, in Manhattan, New York, area, with an individual named Jeremiah Lanphier, who had a burden from the Lord to start a noon prayer meeting. He advertised and promoted it, which soon brought a steady increase in attendance. Before long, prayer meetings began to spring up in almost every public building downtown. The local newspaper’s publicity thrust a landslide of prayer, beginning a movement that spread throughout New England

The revival that followed had no boundaries going out in every direction changing lives. Shortly after the revival had begun, the country found itself in the middle of the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil. Yet, due to the moving of God, many of the men who lost their lives had been prepared for eternity through God’s grace and mercy.

The effects of this revival touched even the White House. President Lincoln, being concerned about America and how it had become too successful and self-sufficient, full of pride, gave his Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer. On April 30, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said, “It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.” The results of this great revival not only carried on, but also lasted for many years. It had begun in a passion for prayer and was sustained with faithfulness of prayer!


When God’s people come together in persistent powerful prayer, God breaks in with radical results!       Tweet


Mathew Henry once said, “When God intends a great mercy for his people, he first sets them a praying.” We must find the place of prayer! Revival has never come through great preaching or successful programs. We must set ourselves to prayer, seeking to be changed by the power of God. Only when we have touched the hem of his garments will we see a visitation of God!