It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2

Archive for May, 2022

Spiritual Principle of Prayer and Fasting

There are many misconceptions about fasting and praying.  Some people think it is outdated and an Old Testament requirement and others believe they can use it to manipulate the hand of God. The disciples asked Jesus why they could not heal the boy with epilepsy, He told them, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. This statement has led to manymisunderstandings about fasting and praying for healing but in essence He was speaking about faith. 

Jesus’ response to them was talking about the increase of faiththrough prayer and fasting and it was not just about healing. It is through faith that all the spiritual principles of God will work. The spiritual principle of fasting and praying according to God’s word will increase our faith and it is with faith that wecan heal the sick and cast out demons. 

Matthew 15-21 Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” NKJ

To put Jesus’ words into context, He was talking about their lack of faith and unbelief as the reason they could not heal the boy. Not because the sickness or demons were so powerful butbecause of their lacked of faith. It is by fasting and praying God’s way that we are able to increase our faith that we could possibly move mountains and heal the sick. 

The spiritual principle of fasting and praying is given to us from God as a weapon of spiritual warfare but He has also given us the manner in which we are too fast and pray, which is according to His will and His way. Some people will abstain from eating for a period of time but will not couple it with prayer and thereby they are in effect, dieting or cutting back on their food intake. Others will fast, but during their time of fasting they are not seeking God, they are puffing themselves up before men. Their actions can cause discord, conflict andarguments because of their hatred and malice against others.   

Isaiah 58:4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness.
You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. NKJ

God does acknowledge they do indeed fast, but according to their own way. They walk around with sad and distorted faces to get the praise and attention of men. At the same time they are misusing and mistreating people, those created in the image of God, because of some differences or dislikes. 

Isaiah 58:6-7 “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? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? NKJ 

God tells us the type of fast He has chosen. We are to seek God in prayer to loose those who are in bondage with the heavy burdens of sin and wickedness. Yet many will see people who are living in sinful lifestyles and will abhor and despise them, instead of praying that they will be loosed from that bondage.  

While fasting and praying we are to seek the good of others who are oppressed, worried, broken, harassed and weighted down, that they will be freed of these yokes that society and mankind has placed on them. 

Fasting is not just the abstaining from eating but it is taking the money and time we would normally spend on our lavish meal to provide for those who are in need. We are to feed the hungry, to help those who are homeless to find them shelter and to cover those who are without adequate clothing. 

God told us not to hide from our family or our own flesh. Godknows that in our natural state, for many different reasons, we would want to disappear and be out of sight and out of view from some of our family members. It takes the Holy Spirit and the power of God to get our hearts to forgive those who have hurt us especially those who were supposed to provide and protect us. 

This is not to say we are to put ourselves in harms way but we are to seek God and ask Him to give us the forgiveness we need for our people. So that we may be able to process and deal with those concerns according to His word and that we may move on and be set free. Though we may never be in their presence we can be at peace and not hide from the things that tormented us.  

Fasting and praying is not just staying away from food but it is a time to engage the soul in fellowship with God. Just as the body needs nourishment for growth so do our souls need the spiritual sustenance we receive from God. When we invest time to fast and pray our spirit and soul are nourished more so than with the constant pampering and indulging of our flesh. 

When we spend time in the presence of God we cannot help but to reflect His glory. Just as Moses when he had been with God his face glowed because he had been in God’s presence. Though there may not be a physical glowing appearance like Moses’ but people can recognize those who have been in the presence of God, by their love and humbleness toward others. 

There is no specific timeframe to fasting. We see in the Bible where people have fasted for a meal, until evening, a day and some even longer. It is not the length in time but, it is a privatematter with the sincerity of heart in seeking God. This will illuminate the soul, discipline the flesh and energize the spirit as we increase our awareness of God.  While in His presence ourfaith increases by knowing God is faithful to His word and Heable to perform mightily on our behalf. 

Matthew 6:16-18 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Fasting and praying engages our total being. It not onlydisciplines the body by saying no, while refraining from food, but it engages the soul as we intreat and intercede for others to be helped with their needs and burdens. It also connects our spirit with God’s Holy Spirit allowing us time to be in His presence and to receive from Him.

The Good Heart Soil

The good heart is one that receives the word of God and is softened by allowing the word to remove the hate and bitterness that has caused the heart to be hardened. It takes time to know and fellowship with God through His word and prayer. The time we spend communing with God allows us to understand His word and His ways, so that we can remove those stony places that have developed over past hurts and failures. 

The more we know about Jesus and the fellowship of His suffering, the more we will understand that life is full of troubles. In knowing God’s word, we are able to better deal with our problems according to His ways, so that we will be able to process them, deal with them and move on from them. We will recognize that earth is not our forever home and that we are just passing through it as we prepare for our eternalhome. So, when persecution, tribulation and chaos come into our lives we are not easily offended. We do not allow our circumstances to be our focus but we let the love and the forgiveness of God cultivate our good heart soil. 

Matthew 13:8-9 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” NKJ

Philippians 3:10-11 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

There are many things that vie, contend and struggle for the time and attention of our hearts. It is our will, be it a conscious or unconscious decision, that will determine the state and condition of our heart. Life is difficult and for those who refuse to forgive and choose to live in anger and resentment theyharden their hearts to the seed of God’s word. These hardened hearts cannot receive God’s word, so the enemy will come and steal the seed of truth from them. 

A good heart receives the word with joy and will let go of thoseharden stones of hate and bitterness that was in their hearts. A good heart receives the truth of God’s word and allows it to spring up, to have depth and to take root. When the heat of life,persecution and tribulations blaze on them, they are not easily offended nor will they wither away. Because they allowed the depth of God’s word to remove the hate and pride and allowedthe word to take deep root in their hearts.  

Colossians3:12-13 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 

A good heart receives the word of God as truth and will not let the worries of living life, the desires of this world or the pursuit of its riches to choke the seed of God’s word from of their heart. They are able to trust God with their life and their future,learning to be content in whatever situation they are in and understanding that this is God’s will for their life. Having faith in God, believing and trusting that He will be faithful to His word and provide a way of escape out of every situation. 

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:   I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.   I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Every child is born with an innocence, a state of being without guile, corruption or hate but because of this fallen world, sin has changed and deformed us all. An innocent heart is turned into one of hate, full of pride and bitterness because of the evilness of mankind. This can cause the good heart God created to be twisted into a heart that is hardened, stony and full of thorns and will not allow the love, forgiveness and compassion of God to grow. 

A good heart is one that will produce much fruit and is one that knows the promises of God, trusts God and rests in His love and faithfulness. Though hard times come they do not loose faith because they will pray about everything, rejoice in all things and give thanks to God that He knows their situation and circumstances. They believe in His word and believe the problems they are going through; God will change and allow them to be used for their good. These problems will also will reveal and reflect His glory and divine will for their lives on the earth. 

Matthew 13 18-23

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

A good heart will live in God’s Shalom peace, which surpasses natural human understanding. A good heart will rest in the knowledge of God and allows them to be restful and peaceful. Good heart soil is capable of producing and reaping thirty, sixtyand a hundred times more than what was sown in their lives and the lives of others. 

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. NKJ

Spiritual Principle of Heart SoilsHardened- Stony- Thorny

Jesus spoke often of spiritual principles that operated in the kingdom of God on earth in parables. These were stories told for those who had a heart for God and could understand these principles, but those who were blinded to these truths could not. The parable of the seed sown will show us how the truth of God’s word is like a seed that goes out but falls into many different types of soil. It is the condition of the heart soil thatwill determine the end, whether it be it failure or growth of the seed sown. 

Matthew 13: 3- 9 Then He spoke man things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.  Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.  But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” NKJ

Jesus explained the different conditions of the heart so that we could understand how these kingdom principles operate in our lives.  God’s truth is ever speaking through His creation, be it in the heavens, the sun or the stars; His splendor is revealed in nature in the mountains, the trees and the animals and His wonders are displayed in the oceans and seas and all that it is in them. 

There are many who look upon God’s marvelous creation and will still say there is no God and it was all done by accident. They are refusing to acknowledge the truth that is shown in all His creation. 

Romans 1:18-20  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 

God reveals His truth to everyone and all are without excuse because His truth speaks and is revealed everyday through His creation. God reveals His truth line upon line, precept upon precept. If one rejects the first line of truth, they are unable to receive the next precept or teaching upon which this truthshould be built. People refuse to acknowledge His glorious creation because they want to go their own way and do the things that are against God and nature therefore, they refuse God’s word. Some profess themselves to be wise and even godly but their hearts are darkened with their own vain imagination and their eyes blinded by Satan.  

Romans 1:21-22   Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 

John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, Lest they should see with their eyes, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” NKJ

Jesus spoke of three types of conditions of the heart that will hinder a person from receiving God’s word. These conditionswill obstruct their growth and their potential to live a productive and fruitful life in the kingdom of heaven. The first was the seed that fell on the wayside or the hardened soil where the seed could not penetrate or get into the heart soil, so the enemy comes and steals that seed-word of truth from them.  

The second condition is the stony heart soil.  They are the people who get excited when they first hear the gospel and get busy with all the busy work of doing things and serving. But they fail to take time to study God’s word and they are not rooted and grounded in the understanding God’s truth and principles. Therefore, when the tribulation and hard times comes and they are persecuted because of the word of God, they get depressed, disheartened and offended, thinking God has failed them. Their lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s spiritual principle that every truth and faith stance will be tested is missing and they are often offended. 

The third condition is the thorny heart soil. They hear the word of God and receive it but the weeds of the demands of everyday living, and the cares of getting ahead and getting more begins to overgrow and overtake the true word that was received. Like any garden, though good seed was sown, but if left untendedthe weeds will outgrow and the choke the good seed and it becomes unproductive and unfruitful. 

Matthew 13 18-22

“Therefore hear the parable of the sower:  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside.  But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;  yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.  Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 

Some people will accuse God of being unjust because of the many who do not have access to the word, but God reveals Himself in all creation. God’s truth is revealed and is visible in every corner of the world, but the first line of truth must be received before the next line is given and understood. Before new truth is given the first truth must be received, believed and accepted. It is the condition of one’s heart that will determine whether they receive it and their will and their choice willdetermine their destiny.

Romans 1: 20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. NKJ

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