May 26, 2006

One of God's WMD

What if I told you there was a powerful prayer weapon, available to us, that can aid us in drawing near to God, and bringing us into His presence. A weapon we have at our disposal, that expediates revelation, direction and answers to prayer; a weapon powerful enough to break strongholds, to set the captives free, and to bring restoration; A powerful weapon that does real damage to the enemy's camp; that can cause us to gain favor, can bring health to our bodies, that empowers our prayers , that helps to wash away pride and selfish ambition, that exposes our weaknesses so that God can deal with them and makes us more sensitive to the Spirit and voice of God. This is a weapon that clears the channel of ‘self’ and lets the anointing flow... Would you want such a weapon? What sincere, God-chasing saint wouldn’t!? This is a weapon clearly laid out in scripture. Jesus assumed we would use this weapon. There were certain obstacles and demonic strongholds that Jesus said, would not be removed, without this weapon. He used it. His disciples used it. Don’t you want to use it also? What is it? Let’s first see what God’s word has to say.

Mark 9:17-29 says,” A man in the crowd said (to Jesus), ‘Teacher, I brought You my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, BUT THEY COULD NOT. ‘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.’…when Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit; he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ The spirit, shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out….After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ Jesus replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.’”


-David said in Psalm 35:13, “Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and HUMBLED myself with fasting….”

-Isaiah said in Is. 58:6, “Is not this the kind of fasting I (the Lord) 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 him, 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. THEN you will call and I will answer; you will cry for help and he will say Here am I.”
-Daniel said in Dan. 9:3,20:10:2 “So I turned to the Lord my God and pleaded with Him in prayer and in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes…While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God - Gabriel…came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me, ‘Daniel I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed….At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food, no meat or wine touched my lips and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over….I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen...…A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, ‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed….Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard and I have come in response to them. But the prince of Persia resisted me for 21 days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me , because I was detained there … Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future…”
-Esther 4:16 says (Esther said) ‘Go gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish. On the third day Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the palace in front of the king’s hall. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the hall, facing the entrance. When he saw Queen Esther standing in the court, he was pleased with her and held out to her the gold scepter that was in his hand..”
-Joel 2:12 says “Even now’, declares the Lord, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. “
-Jonah 3 says, “Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh…He proclaimed: ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned. The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth…When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened.”
-Luke2:36 says, “There was also a prophetess Anna…she was very old;...and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them (Mary, Joseph and Jesus), she gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”

-JESUS said in Matt 6:16, WHEN YOU FAST (not IF you fast), do not look somber as the hypocrites do…But WHEN YOU FAST, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who see what is done in secret, will reward you.”

-Matt 9:14 says “Then John’s disciples came and asked Him, ‘How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast? Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the Bridegroom mourn while He is with them? The time will come when the Bridegroom will be taken from them, THEN THEY WILL FAST.”

Not scriptures you’re likely to see framed or on anyone’s refrigerator!

Yet Mahesh Chavda says in his book, The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting, "There is no substitute for prayer and fasting if we really want to bring the victory of Christ into the lives of our families, our churches, and our nation! (Matt. 17:21) says "...This kind (bondage, obstruction, etc.) does not go out except by prayer or fasting." It is likely that at some point in your life and ministry you have been stopped cold or greatly hindered by obstructions. ..I've learned through practical application and experience that (fasting) is like throwing a nuclear weapon into your spiritual arsenal. Imagine that you've been using hand grenades of prayer to move a massive mountain of unbelief, hindrances, or demonic obstructions in your life and ministry. When you combine your prayers with fasting, you suddenly drop a hydrogen bomb on the mountain that is blocking your call and divine assignment. I'm not talking about it making a slight difference. Fasting boosts the intensity and effectiveness of your prayer at least tenfold, and often a hundredfold!...It is a crucial end-time tool for proclaiming the gospel to the nations with signs and wonders confirming the Word we preach."

Fasting is not only abstaining from food, and it’s not only for long periods of time. Daniel fasted with eating just vegetables and water. Some fasted one day, some three days, some 21 days, some 40 days, some (like Anna) fasted continually (whatever on earth that means!) Yet the Lord answered. There have been times the Lord moved on people to fast from TV, from computer (ouch!) from certain foods that are a real temptation. If we ask God, He will be happy to direct us.

So are you still interested in this amazing weapon?! Did I lose you, when you discovered what it was? Fasting is probably not the most popular subject. But it IS a Biblical subject. Dying to our flesh and our fleshly desires is never fun. Yes fasting makes us hungry, but are we more hungry for Jesus? Are we willing to set aside a time to forgo the temporary pleasures of the flesh to enjoy the more eternal pleasures of the presence of God? No wonder the enemy has feared this weapon and has sought to cause it to be ignored, maligned and dismissed. Fasting isn’t just for wild-eyed fanatics. It’s for all believers. Jesus did it. He assumed we’d do it. He taught us how to do it (and how not to do it)! There are numerous accounts of fasting in the Bible and how when His people, humbled themselves, fasted and prayed- Things happened! I want things to happen in my life, in my family, in my church, in my city, state and nation. Don’t you? More than anything, I believe humbling ourselves through fasting MOVES US towards God. We open ourselves up to Him. Fasting says, 'Less of me and more of Him', and it opens us up to new perspectives, new anionting. We move out of the way, so that God can move in and do what He's been longing to do! What would happen if God’s people, came together in humility and in unity and fasted in one accord for revival. BOOM! So how about it? Still interested in some WMD’s for your spiritual arsenal to use against the enemy? I personally can use all the help I can get!

God bless you all. KHJ

May 10, 2006

What Pleases God!

I want to quote from a book by Joyce Meyers that I’ve recently been reading that truly blessed me. So often I struggle with striving to please God, with feeling disgusted with myself when I fail, with having an inaccurate picture of God and how He feels about me. These are simple truths based on God’s word that just struck me in my heart and realigned my perspective once again. I hope this encourages you and reminds you of God’s heart towards you. Be blessed, KHJ

"The variety of fears people deal with is endless, but an important one I discovered in my own life -the one you may be dealing with yourself- is the fear of not being pleasing to God. If you have been hurt and wounded by people who were difficult or even impossible to please, you may think of God in the same way. He isn't It is not as difficult to please God as we may think it is. Simple, childlike faith please Him. He already knows we will not behave perfectly all the time. That is why He sent Jesus to pay for our failures and mistakes.

I struggled and suffered in frustration many years trying to please God with good, or even perfect behavior. At the same time I was always fearful I was failing. It seemed no matter what I did right, I always saw something I was doing wrong. I never felt good enough; no mater what I did, I always felt as if I needed to do more. I felt God was displeased with me, even though that was not accurate, it was true for me because I believed it. I was deceived!

There are two main things I believe we must do to please God. Number one is to have faith in Jesus, and number two is to desire to please Him with all of our heart. It is important to understand that we cannot have one without the other. The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6). In John 6:28-29 we read about some people who asked Jesus:

'"What are we to do, that we may be working the works of God?' (what are we to do to carry out what God requires?) Jesus replied, This is the work that God asks of you; that you believe in the One Whom He has sent."

So you see God is pleased when we believe in His Son Jesus, and He is not pleased when we don't. We might do numerous good and benevolent works, yet if we have no faith in Jesus, God is still not pleased with us. But if we believe and trust in God, we enter His rest according to Hebrews 4; we feel at ease and comfortable rather than fearful and anxious about life.

We believe, and God works. Our work- the work of the believer is simply to believe. Remember we are accepted because of our faith, not our good works. Christians are referred to as believers. If our job were to achieve, we would be called achievers, not believers. We often want to place an emphasis on what we do, but our focus should be on what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. We can concentrate on our sin and be miserable, or we can concentrate on God's forgiveness and mercy and be happy.

Once we see this truth, we can enjoy our relationship with God. We don't have to live under the pressure of acceptance by performance, followed by a fear of failure each time our performance is less than perfect. We do not have to be addicted to approval and ready to obtain it by any means. If we want to please God with all of our hearts, all we need to do is believe in His Son Jesus Christ and believe what He says in His Word...

We must learn to trust God's Word more than our own feelings. We often bow down to our feelings without realizing how fickle and changeable they are. Our feelings are not a reliable source of information. God loves us and accepts us unconditionally. His love is not based on our performance. The Bible says in Ephesians 1:6 that we are made acceptable in the is our faith in Jesus that makes us acceptable to God and pleases Him, not our performance. We are not living by faith if we believe how we feel more than we believe what God's Word says. Do you believe the God of the Bible or the god of your feelings.?

Anyone who loves God wants to please Him. The fact that we have a desire to please Him pleases Him. To please someone means to be well thought of or approved by that person. We want God's approval, and there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, a desire to please God is necessary; it motivates us to seek His will in all things. People who have a deep desire to please God may not perform perfectly all the time, but they keep pressing forward and always have the attitude of wanting to improve.

In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we see God is searching to and fro for someone in whom He can show Himself strong, someone whose heart is perfect towards Him. The scripture does not say that He is looking for someone with a perfect performance, but rather someone with a perfect heart- a heart that desires to please Him, a heart that is grieved over sin and evil, a heart that believes in Him and His willingness and ability to forgive and restore. God knows we cannot manifest perfection. If we could be perfect in our performance, we would not need a Savior, and Jesus would have come in vain. Jesus came for those who were sick in spirit, body, and soul, not those who had no need. It is acceptable to be needy! "

May 4, 2006

All Because Someone Prayed

I seem to be getting a lot of prayer requests lately for PWI, with some pretty serious needs. As I was sending out one more request, I wondered if the recipients of my many emails were tired of receiving email from me once again asking for their prayers. Then one lady, a grateful recipient of PWI's prayer, whom I have never met, sent me this little article by Max Lucado. It greatly encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you. For those of you who regularly lift up these requests of these whom you've never met, this is for you. God sees, God hears, God is pleased. Your prayers DO make a difference. When the thought comes to you that "it does no good to pray", know where that thought is coming from. Straight from the pit! The devil can fight, but he cannot win (check out the word Pastor Don had Sunday below). Thank you for your prayers. When you get to heaven, there will be faces you've not seen on this earth, that will search out yours and will line up to thank you. God bless. KHJ

by Max Lucado

Those who pray keep alive the watch fires of faith. For the most part we don’t even know their names. Such is the case of someone who prayed on a day long ago.

His name is not important. His looks are immaterial. His gender is of no concern. His title is irrelevant. He is important not because of who he was, but because of what he did.

He went to Jesus on behalf of a friend. His friend was sick, and Jesus could help, and someone needed to go to Jesus, so someone went.

John writes: “So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick’” (John 11:3).

Someone carried the request. Someone walked the trail. Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded.

The Master heard the request. Jesus stopped whatever he was doing and took note of the man’s words. This anonymous courier was heard by God.

You can talk to God because God listens. Your voice matters in heaven. He takes you very seriously. When you enter his presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice. No need to fear that you will be ignored. Even if you stammer or stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God—and he listens. He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home. He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate. When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently. Carefully. The prayers are honored as precious jewels. Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord. “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God” (Rev. 8:4). Incredible. Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

One call and heaven’s fleet appears. Your prayer on earth activates God’s power in heaven.

You are the someone of God’s kingdom. Your prayers move God to change the world. You may not understand the mystery of prayer. You don’t need to. But this much is clear: Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth. What an amazing thought!

When you speak, Jesus hears.

And when Jesus hears, the world is changed.

All because someone prayed.

From America Looks Up
Copyright 2001, Max Lucado