Keeping the fire of God burning in your life

hqdefaultIn the midst of the early wintery conditions I found that my fire was essential during my time high on the mountaintop. It was at the foot of the summit overlooking a crisp mountain lake on one side and a steep intimidating ravine on the other, where I chose to set up camp. I had taken time out of my schedule to clear the clutter of the daily routine in my mind and refresh my passion for the Lord. Over the years I have found it necessary at different times to disconnect from the white noise of our society so to reset and re-ignite the fire of God in my daily walk with Him.

We read Gods instructions for the priests that He gave through Moses in Lev 6. It says in verse 12-13, “And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, … it shall never go out.”

In like manner as it was the priest’s responsibility to keep the fire burning it is our responsibility to keep a spiritual fire burning on the altar of our hearts, since our lives are to be “living sacrifices” as Paul declared. It was God who started the physical fire on


God Starts the Fire but we must maintain the Fire


the altar as we read in 2 Chr 7:1, the “…fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices…”. Therefore, it is the same spiritually; God starts the fire, but it is you and I who must keep it burning.

This simple but over looked responsibility became very real as I began my adventure on the mountaintop. That fact is when the fire goes out after the Sun goes down, it quickly becomes cold, dark and so quiet it becomes deafening. It is the same for the believer when our spiritual fire goes out we become spiritually cold, our lives become darkened by our surroundings and the things of God become silent to us.

The pile of wood that I thought would last all-night rapidly diminished in the grips of the consuming fire. I can’t help but think King Solomon himself must of experienced this same phenomenon when he wrote in Prov. 30:16 “… the fire never says, “Enough!”.

The intensity of work that it took to keep a fire burning in my camp was totally amazing. I have always loved sitting and enjoying the soothing crackling and popping of a campfire, but when it is a necessity you find that it goes from enjoyable to just plain work. A fire demands your time, strength and attention to keep it going. Getting plenty of firewood to last through the night must become a priority. You see once the fire goes out it is much harder to remake a completely new fire than nurturing one already burning or at least having embers that you can blow on to rekindle the flame.

In the same manner, as believers we must make fueling the fire of passion for the Lord, a priority! Though it can be exhausting and even inconvenient at times, it is our responsibility. It will take “roll up the sleeves” kind of work to tend the fire of your souls. Prayers, communion, worship and Bible study are all part of keeping the fire burning on the altar of our heart. For God calls each of us to be His ministers a flame of fire. (Ps 104:4) We must do our part! Remember, it is God who started the fire within us but we must keep the fire burning!

 

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The Convenience of Instant everything has Brought a slow death to Tenacious Prayer

a1 InstantA society surrounded by the convenience of instant everything, brings a slow death to the tenacious spirit. Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way. The scriptures teach us in Colossians 4:2, “to continue earnestly in prayer,” and in Romans 12:12, it says “continuing steadfastly in prayer.” We are exhorted to be persistent in our prayer life. Jesus shares a parable in Luke 18:1-8, driving home the point of persistent prayer. It says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily…” When I was young, I was told that if I asked or prayed for something more than once I would be


Many people want prayers answered before their lips stop moving, unfortunately, many times, it doesn’t happen that way


praying in unbelief. That’s totally contrary to scripture! The continual knocking or coming to the judge brought the widow’s answer. The Bible does say in James 1:6-8, that we must have faith when we pray, but being continuously in prayer doesn’t mean you have unbelief. On the contrary, I think it indicates that you do have faith in God. Your action of continual asking shows you believe He will answer. I like what Marilyn Hickey says, “Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.” If you think about the farmer’s process, he plants his seed then waters it day after day until he sees a sprout breaking through the soil. The farmer is like the diligent believer who plants his seed and then through continual prayers of faith waters it until the answer breaks through and comes to pass. Keeping with this analogy, if praying continually is wrong then the farmer watering his seed daily would also be wrong. Let’s look at I Kings 18:41-45. We see Elijah telling Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of an abundance of rain.” Then Elijah went to the top of Mt. Carmel to pray. That’s when this story gets very interesting. After Elijah prayed, he sent


“Prayers are like seeds that are watered daily. Different ones take different lengths of time to sprout and to grow.”


his servant to look for rain clouds. Six times his servant checked and didn’t see anything, Elijah continued in prayer. The scriptures say, “Then it came to pass the seventh time that he said, ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!’ The downpour from that small cloud broke three and a half years of drought. This all happened because Elijah wouldn’t quit praying—he had faith to be steadfast in prayer. Living a life of prayer will always be a life of adventure and power. Ephesians 6:18 tells us, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication … with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” In other words be tenacious and persistent in prayer. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see the answer to your prayers immediately. Keep knocking on Heaven’s door.

Mother’s are the Greatest!

IMG_3737I have a hard time finding the appropriate words to describe how grateful I am of my mother and the mother of my children. These two women have done more for me in my life than anyone else other than my Savior who is the one who has graciously given them to me in the first place. As I reminisce of their impact over the years I truly understand that I will most definitely fall short of properly honoring them. In A Little Spoonful of Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul, Marion C. Garretty is quoted saying,“A Mother’s love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible”.

In Prov 31:29-30 we read a King’s mother sharing her wisdom to the King and brings honor to the women who has shaped him as well as us. We read, “There are many fine women in the world, but you are the best of them all!” Charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn’t last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be greatly praised.(NLT)

I want to say I acknowledge that my wife and mother of our children, as well as, my mother are great gifts from God and I can only hope to live a life that brings them the honor that they deserve. I remember some of the attributes that I saw in my wife when we first met and began a friendship, it was a deep love that seemed to ooze from her for God and His word. We began our relationship by going on outreaches together where we


I Stand in Awe as I think How Much of a Blessing Mothers Are to Us!  


would have to spend time fasting and praying with the team. It was during these times of seeing her great reverence for the Lord that I saw her beauty inside and out. And let me say she was a knock out beauty on the outside, but the inside beauty was the substance that raised our children to live Godly lives and help countless other people that were in need along the journey. I remember many nights of her going and holding the hand of different ones that were dying or sitting and interceding with so many others whom were tormented and abused in their darkest hours before their healing came.

I so agree with what President Abraham Lincoln believed and said about his mother, “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother. I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I remember often my own mother’s prayers would awaken me in the mornings or they would get my


I am so Glad God gave me a Mother that Reflected Him!


attention as she took her common prayer walks through our ranch property. I chuckle often when I am reminded about the times that her bold prayers for people in restaurants or around town would embarrass me and make me feel uncomfortable. Yet, now I think back on how those prayers must have been so impacting, not only to me but also to many others.

In 1 Sam 25:1-42 we see the unfolding story of Nabal and his wife Abigail, and how her righteous character stood in the gap before David to spare her husband and workers od death, because of Nabal’s foolishness. She risked her own life to protect others.

A mother is one that stands in the gap with intercession and moves with wisdom as she holds together the family in midst of turmoil and shakiness. One person said it best when they said, “No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life”. We know that no mother is perfect but one thing for sure is her actions and sacrifice deserves to be praised and honored. So join me as we do it this week!

 

Window Rattling Prayers will Change Cities!

images-71In the book of Acts we see believer’s praying so intensely that they shook the very building they were in. Peter and John had been arrested for teaching and preaching the Gospel (Acts 4:31). We read in the chapter before this where a lame man was healed at the gate Beautiful resulting in five thousand people believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:4). Then after being released, Peter and John reported to their friends what was told to them and they began to tenaciously pray. so hard that the walls began to trembled. It was probably similar to when a storm moves in with cracking thunder that rattle your windows and shake the house.

The story continues in Acts 4:31-32, when they had prayed together not only was the place shaken, but they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word with boldness. Prayers that shake foundations and rattle windows come when we understand God’s love toward us and have a personal relationship with Him. It’s because of those kind of prayers that they saw the evidence of His power in their midst and brought change in their cities.

Gordon Lindsay was the founder of Christ for the Nations Institute and also the key organizer of the Voice of Healing Fellowship along with being an author of the magazine by the same name. Many mornings as his wife was getting the kids off to


We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


school Gordon was just going to bed after being up all night praying and fasting. His accomplishments such as the many books and bible school he founded are a direct result of his life of prayer.

There are many different elements to praying, “window rattling” and “building-shaking” prayers but let me highlight a few. The first element is to be surrendered to God’s will when we pray. We read in John 5:14-15 that we will have confidence when we pray in His will. Why? Because He will hear us and if God hears us then we know He will answer us. Knowing God’s will is knowing the very heartbeat of our heavenly Father.

Second, we must be serious in prayer. In James 5:16-18 it says that Elijah was earnest in prayer. He was a serious prayer warrior and because of it the clouds were shaken to rain. We must be people who bring down the rain of Heaven with our prayers.


When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings.  


Third, we must be relentless in prayer. We can’t have a wimpy, quitter’s attitude. In Colossians 4:2 we read, “Don’t be weary in prayer; keep at it; watch for God’s answers, and remember to be thankful when they come,” (TLB). Let us be relentless when we pray!

Fourth, we must have a humble spirit as we pray. A person who is puffed up with an ego or pride will hinder their prayers. Self-exaltation will cloud our perspective and will position our will before His will.

Fifth, we must not pray with idle words. Religious jargon and empty words are useless and insulting to God’s love. In Matthew 6:7-8 we read Jesus’ words, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do…”.

The bottom line is this, when we pray with a pure heart and press in with a tenacious spirit we will connect with God’s heart. Effective prayers come from individuals who live a life of communing with Him. When we bring our prayers in line with God’s thoughts and desires, then and only then will we see radical results in our surroundings. The course of cities and nations will be supernaturally changed before our eyes and God’s purposes will become reality. God is looking for those who will surrender their agendas for His.

Living a Life in light of the Resurrected Christ

images-70Isn’t it amazing how the weeks following the Easter holiday just slides back into routine? We find our children crashing from their sugar buzz from all the chocolate eggs and the new clothes aren’t new anymore. The family festivities all pass into sweet memories as well as the inspiring messages and church celebrations. The reality of the whole purpose also seems to fade so quickly into the next appointment on our agenda. I can’t help but think that this isn’t all Easter should be. A matter of fact, I believe the scriptural theme backs up a total different outcome. Easter wasn’t ever intended to be over and done with, but to increase more and more.

Several days of celebrating Jesus being falsely accused, scourged, crucified, buried and then risen from the dead for us, doesn’t fulfill the scripture purpose. Don’t get me wrong it’s good to celebrate and have a day of focus; but the whole reason for Christ dying and rising again is to give you and I a life more abundantly (Jn 10:10) as He intended not just an annual event. All of us were caught in inherited sin from Adam in the Garden of Eden, and plunged into a spiraling devolution. Paul describes all humanity


Christ’s death and resurrection is to give you and I a life more abundantly as He intended not just an annual event.


in Rom 3:10 as, “there is none righteous” and in Eph 2:17 “you who are far off”.   Bottom line is that we received a sin problem that separated us from our Heavenly Father, which we inherited through Adam. (Rom. 5:12) But through the incredible gracious and merciful free gift of God through Jesus sacrifice we are declared righteous and reconciled back to God. (Eph. 2:13, 1 Cor. 6:11)       Yes, we definitely have a great reason to be thankful and to celebrate our deliverance from enslavement of sin. But scripture teaches that being justified isn’t the end but a beginning of a glorious journey. Paul describes it as a great transfer. (Rom. 5:19) In what most acknowledge as Paul’s finest and most thorough work on doctrine, we find where he says in his letter to the Roman’s, in chapter 5:18 “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, … even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life”.

The purpose of Easter celebration, which is about our justification through Christ’s death and resurrection, is much more than a holy week or day. God’s intent was a change in the way we live, “a justification of life”. We are purchased from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, from death unto new life. Paul says in 2 Cor 5:17 “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away…” and in Rom 6:4 he says “…even so we also should walk in newness of life”. The cross is the beginning of


I choose to live a life of victory not just be a Easter believer


every Christian’s walk of faith. God doesn’t want us to stay at the tomb of Jesus who died for us. Jesus wants us to identify with His resurrection and live a life unto righteousness. We shouldn’t go back to the humdrum of mediocrity after Easter, but we need to move forward in victory of life. (Rom 12:2, 2 Cor 3:18) If we have been purchased by Christ’s own blood shouldn’t we live a life that reflex’s His great mercy and power. Yet, that can only be achieved when are eyes are opened to the living Christ. The two disciples were sad and perplexed in their journey to Emmaus until their eyes were opened to the risen Savior that walked with them. (Jn 21:13-35) It’s time to walk each day in the power of the risen Lord! (Titus 2:13-14)

 

What do you see … In Easter?

cross_4_edit_2There’s just something about this time of the year. The trees are beginning to bud and the flowers are pushing through the soil. Weekends are filled with neighbors busily working in their yards getting ready for the celebration of Easter Sunday. Stores are filled with mothers shopping for their children’s Easter outfits and many children are excitedly decorating baskets and coloring eggs for the annual Easter egg hunt.

I know you can relate with me that it’s almost impossible to walk in the super market without seeing the many Easter candies, decorations and not buying a cart full. Yet the many different ways people see this holiday is as numerous as the many different kinds of candy for the day itself. Some see it as a day for family fun and others see it as games in the sun, while still others a time for spiritual communion. No matter what age people might be many will look at Easter differently.

In John 20:1-8, we see three different views of the empty tomb from three individuals who had been followers of Jesus. Mary Magdalene who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities (Lk 8:2), faithful John the beloved (Jn 21:20) and Peter who


The tomb is Empty because He is not there for He is risen


had days earlier denied Jesus three times (Jn. 18:17-27). Jesus had been falsely convicted and scourged to inches of His life and then violently crucified before all Jerusalem. Then as if to cover and seal this horrendous demonic act He is buried in a tomb to be forgotten, or is He?

In verse one we read where Mary rises before dawn to go to the tomb where she finds the stone rolled away making the tomb open and alarming. She looks and immediately runs back and with the announcement that Jesus had been taken from the tomb arouse the disciples. Franticly, Peter and John run to the place where Jesus had been laid and John being first looks in the vacant tomb with out entering. When Peter arrives he goes on in and sees the empty space with the intriguing evidence of the folded headscarf. They all three looked at the situation and drew their conclusions resulting in their different responses.

If we inspect a little deeper the words that are used in Johns account we see that there our three different words used to describe how these three looked at the empty tomb. Mary, who came first with spices as well as John in the beginning looked with a


I owed a debt I could not pay and Jesus paid a debt He did not owe.


casual glance, which brought Mary to tears and grief (Jn.20:11-15). Peter as he arrived passed up John and went into the tomb and looked as a critical spectator, which resulted in him going back to his old lifestyle. Finally John who started out looking casually now goes into the tomb after Peter and inspects the evidence and remembering Jesus words perceives with understanding, which leads him to believe.

Now this leads me to the day we live in where there seems to be so many people with so many different perspectives about the Easter story, which will result in many different outcomes in their lives. Those that see it as just chocolate bunnies, chicks and eggs seem to live with no eternal perspective and without hope. Then there’s those that have a slight grasp of its religious meaning, yet because of their lack of understanding live with a critical and cynical view point. But, there’s one more group that have ventured to go in deeper with faith filled vision choosing to believe the message that Jesus is risen as the angel declared! (Lk.24:6) What do you see? I choose to believe He is risen indeed, how about you?

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