The Discipline Of Fasting!

Matthew 6:17-18 (KJV)
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy
Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

Introduction:
God’s people have been fasting from the very beginning. When we fast and pray we do it for results, but we must always remember that the results are in God’s hands
so we cannot manipulate God.

One of the greatest benefits of fasting is becoming more attentive to God. We become more aware of our inadequacies and of his strengths. Fasting focuses on
God but it changes us. Today we will discuss why we should fast, what fasting does and doesn’t do. During this time of fasting and prayer, I believe that we will
recapture that hunger for God that so many in the church have lost in this modern time.

DEFINITON OF FASTING: Fasting means to abstain from food for some religious or spiritual purpose.

I.

WHY SHOULD WE FAST?

(1.) To become more INTIMITE with GOD!

(2.) We have a huge PROMBLEM that hinders us:

(a.)The desire we all have to give our hearts to Him is shared with a desire for things

(b.)Nibbling at the world’s table of food & entertainment has left us with no appetite for God! Illustration: when you nibble before a meal it stifles your appetite for the meal.

(c.) Even though wholesome food & entertainment is not bad, we often are unaware how full we get of it and that it robs us of our hunger for God. Fasting food & the pleasures of the world is a step in the right direction to correct that problem.

(3.) Fasting is that discipline which tries to recapture our hunger for God.

(4.) Fasting expresses the passion to know Him more!

II.

WHAT FASTING DOESN’T DO

( 1.) Fasting does not inspire or provoke God to love you.

(2.) Fasting doesn’t make God enjoy you any more.

(3.) Fasting isn’t a get rich scheme to holiness.

(4.) We don’t fast so that God would forgive us… but because He has already forgiven us!

(5.) Fasting is not a substitute for obedience.

III.

WHAT DOES FASTING DO?

(1.) FASTING EXPOSES OUR HEART

(2.) FASTING EXPRESSES OUR HUNGER FOR GOD HIMSELF

(3.) FASTING CHASTENS THE SOUL: Ps. 69:10

(4.) FASTING HUMBLES THE SOUL: Ezra 8:21; Ps 35:13

(5.) FASTING SETS US UP TO SEEK THE LORD! 2 Chron. 20:3-4

(6.) FASTING EMPOWERS US TO RESIST & OVERCOME THE

ENEMY! Matthew 4:1-11 (Jesus)

Identifying Points of Purpose

Philippians 2:13 (KJV) 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13 (TMSG) 13That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.

Introduction:
As we saw in our last post that God can place something in us that can point us to our purpose. PASSION is a key word when it comes to purpose, because oftentimes God places a passion for his cause inside us. It can be disguised by certain emotions of passion such as ANGER and ANGER can be misdirected. When we don’t seek God in how to display our anger and how we can use it to Glorify him and direct it properly, it can cause us problems initially the way that it did with Moses and Saul (later called the Apostle Paul). Let’s talk about other emotions or feelings that can be God induced that will point us toward our purpose. This is a continuation from our last post.

(h.) BURDEN (or Sorrow): something that is carried : LOAD,RESPONSIBILITY

Nehemiah 1:1-4 (KJV)
1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,
2 That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning
Jerusalem.
3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the
gates thereof are burned with fire.
4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, Nehemiah’s passion was properly directed. He heard Jerusalem wasn’t rebuilt and it stirred something on the inside of him that caused him to WANT TO ACT.

(J.) JESUS GIVES US THE PERFECT ROAD MAP TO FINDING OUR
PURPOSE. Here are some of the things that he said:

(1.) Luke 2:49 (KJV)
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

(2.) John 4:34 (KJV) 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

(3.) Luke 22:42 (KJV) 42Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

(4.) John 18:37 (ESV) 37Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

Point # 1: Purpose is something after discovering it, you are willing to Give your life for, like Jesus, Paul, Moses, Nehemiah,

Point # 2: Purpose always starts with God and his will or purpose
Point # 3: To discover your purpose, you must CONNECT with your Creator
Point #4: FORGET ABOUT TITLES, POSITIONS, AND TIME
Point # 5: So what am I talking about?  Purpose is discovered through RELATIONSHIP (A state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection) AND COMMUNION (Fellowship; communion; to live with; to share; to be in union, in partnership, in a bound fellowship; to be closely bound together; to have a close, mutual relationship. BY THAT I MEAN A RELATIONSHIP & COMMUNION WITH GOD HIMSELF.

Practical Application as it pertains to you and your relationship with God It means to be so closely bound together that there is open and mutual sharing: what one has belongs to the other. The point is clear: there is no such fellowship or union between light and darkness. On the contrary, light and darkness are mutually exclusive, of different natures entirely. They cannot coexist.

Purpose that Transforms

In the previous scripture we see that Apostle Paul had gone on a journey and on this journey Paul was able to discover his God given purpose. On this journey, Paul’s life was totally transformed. His life was transformed by God’s purpose for him. I believe that if we pursue God that we can also take this journey and discover God’s purpose for our lives and truly be transformed. Let’s see what it takes.

I.

Definition of Purpose: Readers digest oxford complete word finder purpose is a thing intended; the reason for which something is done or made. The GREEK meaning is: A deliberate intention; A deliberate Design

II.

SEVEN THINGS YOU MUST UNDERSTAND ABOUT GOD’S PURPOSE

(1.) OFTENTIMS GOD’S PURPOSE IS DISCOVERED THRU STRUGGLE! Acts 9:10-16 Paul’s struggle

(2.) GOD SAVED US FOR HIS PURPOSE! 2 Timothy 1:9

(3.) GOD CALLED US AND GAVE US AN INVITATION TO JOIN HIM IN HIS WORK! 2 Timothy 1:9 Matthew 22:14 (read whole parable 1-14 if needed)

(4.) GOD’S CALLING IS HOLY OR PURE AND WE SHOULD HANDLE IT THAT WAY! 2 Timothy 1:9

(5.) WE DON’T DESERVE WHAT HE’S CALLED US TO! 2 Timothy 1:9

(6.) HIS PURPOSE IS MOST IMPORTANT ABOVE ALL ELSE! 2 Timothy 1:9

(7.) GOD SET YOUR PURPOSE IN CHRIST BEFORE YOU WERE BORN! 2 Timothy 1:9

III.

Why is it important to understand His purpose? IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO TRUE FULFILLMENT IN THIS LIFE! Purpose is the source of fulfillment.  Purpose gives life meaning. Phil. 3:12 apprehend what Christ apprehended me for.

IV.

HOW DOES GOD TRANSFORM A MAN OR WOMAN BY HIS PURPOSE?

A. God kills or BREAKS you: what do I mean? Your flesh. Because we are living in ourselves and the flesh can’t please or fulfill the purpose of God. Example: Jesus (Luke 4:1-14, Mat. 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13); Paul: 2 Cor.12:7-10(1-6): What is God’s method of killing you? He often uses trouble
(suffering) to get you in a place of obedience: Christ learned obedience thru the things that he suffered. Then he teaches you how to overcome the trouble (John 16:33, 1John 5:4)

B. EXAMPLES OF GOD BREAKING: MOSES; JOSEPH- hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, potipher’s wife accuses him & sent to prison; ABRAHAM: Gen. 12- causes to leave family, famine, makes promise & takes long time & then kill the promise, PAUL

C. Why does God want to BREAK you (your flesh)? SO THAT YOU CAN COME TO THE END OF YOURSELF AND HE CAN FORM THE IMAGE OF HIS SON IN YOU: Romans 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:12-18,

D. 1 peter 4:12 strange trial. GOD USES THEM TO BREAK YOU & IT WONT KILL YOU BUT IT WILL BUILD YOU! BUILD YOU HOW: IT BUILDS YOU TO BE WHAT AND WHO GOD NEEDS YOU TO BE TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE.

E. After God Builds you to fulfill his purpose, then HIS purpose DRIVES you: Acts 20:17-24

Maximizing My Kingdom Potential!

Have you ever thought or said to yourself “I should be doing more for God”, however, you just keep falling short even after you’ve made plans. Maybe you’ve seen others successful and seem to be moving forward in their walk with God. Some even become well known and it seems as if in order to move forward you need some special talent or gift. It seems as if you have to be a superstar. You are frustrated and you keep asking yourself, how can I do more for the God and his Kingdom?

Well, I want to tell you about a guy who was not well known and maybe you’ve never heard of him before, however, he had a desire to be more and do more for God; and you know what I like about him; HE WAS JUST AN AVERAGE GUY AND NOT A SUPERSTAR. We see his story in the middle of the genealogies. It’s almost as if the writer stops in the middle of giving them and said let me tell you about this AVERAGE GUY who received some EXTRAORDINARY FAVOR from God because he wanted to do more. His brief story is found in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, his name was Jabez. I believe if we follow the principles that Jabez followed we too can accomplish more for God and MAXIMIZE OUR KINGDOM POTENTIAL! THE FOLLOWING ARE HIGHLIGHTS FROM A MESSAGE ENTITLED, MAXIMIZING MY KINGDOM POTENTIAL!

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (KJV)
9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.

WHAT MADE JABEZ UNIQUE/MORE HONORABLE

(1.)    HE REALIZED THAT THE SOURCE OF HIS BLESSING IS GOD AND NOT OTHERS.

(2.)    HE WANTED TO BE MORE AND DO MORE FOR GOD.

Often times we want to DO MORE for God without BEING MORE! However, DOING MORE always starts with BEING MORE! And BEING MORE requires one of the most difficult tasks known to mankind; CHANGE!!!!

HOW DO I BE MORE FOR GOD? John 15:4-5

In order for us to be more, we must simply do as the scripture says in John 15:4-5 STAY CONNECTED TO HIM AT ALL TIMES!

Let’s look at how Jabez went about it and gleam some principles from his experience:

1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV)
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel

(1.) Jabez CALLED ON GOD/CRIED OUT TO GOD: This is prayer! The scripture declares that we should always pray and not give up and that we should pray without ceasing. Jabez really wanted his life to change so he went to the only one that could help him. So, here is the principle that I want you to remember: Involve GOD in your circumstances CONTINUALLY through PRAYER!

PREREQUISITES FOR MAXIMIZING YOUR KINGDOM POTENTIAL THRU PRAYER!

(1.)    Have a STRONG DESIRE! Matthew 5:6, Mark 11:24

(2.)    ASK the Father: if you have a strong desire like Jabez, you will ask and keep on asking like in Matthew 7:7-8.

HERE’S WHAT JABEZ PRAYED:

1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV)
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed,

A.    Jabez was asking for supernatural favor. That’s what blessed here means. It means to favor me with that which I cannot do for myself, but give me that in which God’s unlimited goodness and favor can provide.

B.    Ask God to bless you abundantly everyday so that you can maximize your potential and make a greater impact for the Kingdom of God.

C.    The word bless in the Hebrew text here means to kneel. What Jabez was saying was; God because you are in heaven and I’m on earth (that’s what praying thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth is about), please kneel down and give me yourself because for me to grow and prosper I need you (your favor). WHAT IS HE SAYING? IM INVITING YOU INTO MY LIFE AND SITUATION. TO KNEEL DOWN MEANS THAT HE CAN INCREASE, MULTIPLY, MAXIMIZE US. HE IS SAYING COME DOWN AND CONNECT WITH ME SO I CAN MAXIMIZE MY POTENTIAL.

1 Chronicles 4:10 (KJV)
10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast,…………..

In other words, enlarge (increase) my coasts (boundary, Territory, space)

A.    Jabez looked at his present circumstances and concluded, SURELY I WAS BORN FOR MORE THAN THIS, ENLARGE ME! Have you ever said something like that, surely I was born for more that this? When you do, you set yourself up for change and position yourself to seek God for help in maximizing your potential.

B.    Ask God to expand your opportunities, impact, and influence to touch more lives for his glory.

C.    ANOTHER IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE: YOUR POTENTIAL IS LIKE A SEED!  when God blesses us He expects us to maximize our potential. He blesses us with himself. In other words, he impregnates us with his SEED OF POTENTIAL but it is our job to nurture and develop it like in Matt. 25. AGAIN, when God gives you the seed of his potential (his blessing or favor) he expects us to care for the seed to bring it to its fullest potential.

Overcoming Inner Hurts!

Paul said that we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; cast down but not destroyed. We all deal with the issues of life as it pertains to problems, relationships, finances etc. The fact that we are believers does not exempt us from the hurts of life that become lodged in our hearts and some of us struggle with them for most of our lives. I call these inner hurts. If we don’t deal with inner hurts they will cause us severe problems in our lives and affect others around us and the quality of life that God wants us to have. The following are notes from the message “Overcoming Inner Hurts”.

 

  1. I.                    WHERE DO INNER HURTS COME FROM?

 

(1.)   HURTFUL WORDS SPOKEN TO US! (spoken to us by someone: parents, friends, authority figures, children, etc.

 

(2.)   WHEN WE FEEL REJECTED!

 

(3.)   UNFULLFILLED EXPECTATIONS (for us and by others)

 

(4.)   SHATTERED DREAMS ( for us and by other people)

 

(5.)   TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES (childhood & life)

 

(6.)   TRIALS & TESTS OF LIFE (by God & the devil)

 

 

  1. II.                HOW TO OVERCOME INNER HURTS?

 

(1.)   ADMIT IT!

 

 

Matthew 18:15 (AMP)
15 If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

The scripture says here that if we are hurt the first thing that we have to do is to recognize and ADMIT that you have been hurt.

 

(2.)   FACE IT!

 

Matthew 18:15 (AMP)
15 If your brother wrongs you, go and show him his fault, between you and him privately. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother.

The next thing that he says after we’ve ADMITTED that we been hurt is to go or FACE the person or situation with the hurt.

 

 

(3.)   ASK GOD FOR HEALING!

 

Psalms 147:3 (AMP)
3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds [curing their pains and their sorrows].

God is close to those who have been hurt and are struggling inwardly, so just ASK GOD FOR HEALING.

 

 Ps. 34:18; Isa. 57:15; 61:1; Luke 4:18

Spritual Gifts

Sermon by Pastor Melvin Bell
–  

Spiritual gifts seem to be a mystery to a lot of believers; however, God has given each born again believer a spiritual gift to benefit the local Body and the Body of Christ at large. Paul addressed spiritual gifts several places in scripture, we will begin our study in Romans 12:1-8. The following are notes from a series of messages entitled “Spiritual Gifts Revealed”! This is the first session. I hope that these notes are a benefit to you. I would love to hear your comments and questions.

Romans 12:1-8 (KJV)

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: (office means FUNCTION)
5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 (1.) WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT?

 Charisma: Gifts, ability. It means the very special ability given to the believer byGod!  

 

(2.) WHO HAS SPIRITUAL GIFTS? Romans 12: 3-6

 Every Born Again Believer has a Spiritual Gift!  (Vs. 3 to EVERY MAN; 1 Cor. 12:7 given to every man)

 

(3.) HOW DO YOU GET A SPIRITUAL GIFT?

 It comes from God; it is not a natural talent. The believer could not have attained nor secured the ability himself. It is a spiritual gift that is given by the Spirit of God .

 

(4.) WHAT MAKES SPIRITUALS GIFTS EFFECTIVE? Romans 12:1-8 )

 (a.)  PURITY of Life! Vs. 1-2

(b.)  A MIND that is SUBMITTED to God in its THINKING! Vs. 2

(c.)   Knowing WHO you are, but also knowing WHY and WHOSE you are! Vs. 3 the Why is because of God; the “whose” is that you belong to God. Think “Soberly” means to be in your right mind. Tie this in to 1Cor. 12 – “the foot can’t say to the hand….”

(d.)  Understanding the VALUE of EVERY GIFT and not just your own! Vs. 4-5 (vs. 3 leads into this in not thinking of yourself more highly than you should). Tie in 1 Cor. 12 – “….I have no need of you”.

(e.)   Understand that you were GIVEN the gift; you didn’t obtain it on your own and it’s TO BENEFIT OTHERS! Vs. 6; 1 Cor. 12:7

(f.)   Love must be the MOTIVATION for the use of your Spiritual Gifts! 1 Corinthians 13:1-3