Worship While You Fast

Keith NIxThe Lift Church

When we think of fasting, it is usually only regarding what we need to receive from the Lord. And it is true that fasting moves us to the place where we can receive what God already desires to release to us. But fasting should be more than us just doing without and pleading with God for breakthrough’s in our lives. There is a fascinating passage regarding fasting found in Acts 13! The writer gives us a list of prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch and then tells us that “One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them, and sent them on their way..” [Acts 13:1-3] This is a fascinating passage because it makes a direct correlation between fasting and worship.

How often do you connect worship with fasting? I believe worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting.  As you fast, I encourage you to set aside time to wait in His presence and minister to the Lord only. I am amazed by the idea that we can “bless” the Lord. King David commanded the people of Israel to, “Bless the LORD your God.” [1 Ch. 29: 20 NKJV] Typically; it is the greater who blesses, the lesser. However, there is a genuine and tangible way in which we, who are the lessers, are called to be a blessing to the Greatest!

Worship is one of the most overlooked elements of effective fasting. Click To Tweet

Worship is not about stroking God’s ego. Thankfully, He is not an egotistical maniac! Neither is worship about bribing God, so He will give us what we want. He is just as much God without our worship as He is with it. And He is just as good before we worship as He is after. Yet, our worship blesses Him. Our service ministers to His heart. It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! What an honor for our presence to be so valued by the One who has fulness of joy [fulness of all things] in His presence. [See Psalm 16:11]

It seems He enjoys spending time with us as much as we enjoy spending time with Him. WOW. What a privilege! Click To Tweet

In Antioch the prophets and teachers took some time to go without food and just spend time worshipping the Lord. It seems they had no agenda but to minister to the Lord and love Jesus. Andrew Murray said, “Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.” They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things and they grasped hold of the King of the Kingdom. Worship is a key element in setting yourself in a position to hear the heart of God. During your days of fasting, set your heart above everything else to pursue the presence of King Jesus.

They fasted to let go of the visible, natural things so they could grab hold of the King of the Kingdom. Click To Tweet

Let your reward be Jesus. His promise to Abraham is His promise to you, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.”  [Gen. 15:1 NKJV] As you learn to value His presence and seek Him you will soon discover that all you need is in Him.  When you get Jesus, He is what you need! As they worshipped with fasting, the Holy Spirit gave them instructions that would change the course of multitudes, indeed the course of history!  The instruction to appoint and send Saul and Barnabas to the Gentile world proved to be the key to the release of multitudes! Think about it: their time of worshipping with fasting, literally changed the world and is the reason you and I are followers of Jesus Christ! If Paul had not taken the gospel to Rome, it would not now be known in the United States where I am writing, and many of you are right now reading. This one instruction affected all of humanity from the first century to the twenty-first.

I wonder what might happen in our lives as we delight in delighting His heart through worship with fasting? I set myself in agreement with you that as you worship while fasting, you will experience breakthrough! As you bless the Lord, you will be blessed! As you minister to Him, He will minister to you! As you lift your voice to Him, He will speak to you! Keep your focus on Jesus, and you will rejoice as you rest in the fulfillment of His promises to you, in you and through you.


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We Have Today!

Abundant LifeThe Awakening

Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” The Apostle Paul may have had this thought in mind when he wrote to the Roman church, “Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.”(Ro. 13:11 ESV) Tomorrow is coming for most of us, but we all have today! What are we going to do with today? We cannot afford to sleep through our God-given opportunities. It is time for the church in 2017 to awake to our calling to impact the world for Jesus!

Benjamin Franklin once said, “One day, today, is worth two tomorrows.” Click To Tweet

World changers have always been dreamers. You must “see it” on the inside before it ever becomes your reality on the outside. Vision is key to living a life of impact.  Solomon wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” [Prov. 29:18] Joseph certainly understood this truth. Remember how God gave Joseph dreams about his future?  If you know the story, then you know that these dreams sustained Joseph through the tough days he endured. [Take a look at Gen. 37 – 41] What about Moses? The writer of Hebrews says it this way, “…he was looking to the reward.  By faith….he (Moses) endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” [Heb. 11:26-27]

Vision is key to living a life of impact Click To Tweet

Hebrews 11:13 speaks of the patriarchs who “died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them and embraced them…” We too must be people of vision. We must dare to dream the dreams that God gives us. Not just “small” dreams either. God is looking for men and women who will dare to dream the impossible and trust that if it is His will, “all things are possible to him that believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Vision is the birthing place for great accomplishments. But it takes more than dreams.  “World Changers” are not just those who dream but those whose faith moves them to act upon their dreams. Hebrews 11 records the victories of men and women who envisioned future “promises” and saw them become a reality by faith. Faith puts into action what it imagines! Faith seizes the opportunities of today and if there doesn’t seem to be any opportunities; faith in God creates them! Faith is never passive. Faith always produces action. (See James 2:18)

Dreaming (or vision) is a necessity to accomplishing anything great for God but as John Mason said, “To only dream of the person you want to be is to waste the person you are.” We cannot afford to waste the moment we have under the guise of waiting for God. Seize today! “This is the day which the Lord has made;” (Ps. 118:24) Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. We have today! What will we do for God today?

Yesterday can be a great teacher, tomorrow can be a great motivator, but today is the great opportunity. Click To Tweet

Never stop dreaming but remember tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. It is time for the church to awake to purposes of God for our lives. This is our day. 2017 is the year of the Open Door. Walk through it! As Moses prayed so we pray, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) We have TODAY!

Remember, tomorrow’s dreams will never happen if we don’t do all we can do today. Click To Tweet

 


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What I Learned From the Wise Men

Keith Nix Ministries

Have you ever seen a satellite in space? Most likely, you have and didn’t realize it. I recently read that twenty-seven satellites on six different orbital planes at an altitude of 12,400 miles circle the earth at 8,640 miles per hour. They each circle twice a day, with four of them visible at all times everywhere on the earth, sending signals to radar stations around the world. These amazing machines form the Global Positioning Satellite system which is amazingly accurate and help make this the most mobile generation in history.

Many people travel more than 30 miles each day, but in the time of the birth of Christ, the average person never traveled beyond a 30-mile radius of their birthplace; this makes the story recorded in Matthew 2 all the more amazing:

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where Christ should be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are no longer least among the princes of Judah; for out of you shall come a Governor, who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, carefully inquired of them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring me word again, so that I may come and worship Him also.”

When they heard the king, they departed. And the star which they saw in the east went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great excitement. And when they came into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Mt. 2:1-11 MEV

While most believe this happened as just part of the Christmas season, in reality, these wise men didn’t show up at the birth of Jesus but at while later. Sorry, but they were not gathered with the Shepherds around the manger while the cattle were lowing. I take the time to point this out because the lessons I want to share with from the Wise Men are much more than nice little Christmas devotionals for the month of December.

THE WISE SEEK HIM

The first lesson seems quite obvious and has become a cliché: “Wise men seek Him!” Or another way to phrase it is: Wise men and women go out of their way to encounter God! The religious scholars lived just 5 miles away from where Jesus was born, but not one of them traveled that short distance to see Him. Meanwhile, these Magi traveled at least 900 miles, not in a nice comfortable Cadillac but on a camel’s back. It had to be uncomfortable, but they determined it was well worth it! How about you? Are you ready to allow some discomfort in your life in this next season? Why ask this? Because, the last time you were uncomfortable was the last time you grew! To get in better shape physically requires a measure of discomfort. The same is true emotionally, mentally and spiritually. As we enjoy this season and look to enter a new year, we need to make a quality decision that being in His presence is worth every mile, every dime, every discomfort. We will spend ourselves to encounter Jesus like never before!

THE WISE LIVE BY FAITH

The second lesson is also a very familiar one: Wise men and women travel this journey with FAITH! There is no way these men would risk their reputations, their lives, and their fortune if they did not believe prophecies concerning the star and the King it represented. Faith is crucial in the lives of the wise. Hebrews 11:6 teaches that “Without faith, it is impossible to please God…” It isn’t just difficult, it is impossible, to live a life that pleases God outside of the faith place. More than once the Bible instructs that the righteous “shall live by faith.” [See Ro. 1:17, Hab. 2:4] Corrie Ten Boom described the power of faith this way, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” Faith honors God and God honors faith. Therefore, let’s make a quality decision that we will live like our God is bigger than our enemies and any circumstances we face. We will live like He is faithful to fulfill every promise He makes. We will live like there is nothing impossible for Him. Let this next season be the season of the big ask! Ask big, believe big and receive big for His glory!

THE WISE ARE WORSHIPPERS

The third lesson we learn from the wise men is regarding worship. The wise men were bold in proclaiming that their purpose for making the journey was simply to worship. Wise men and women understand the true essence of worship! For many today worship is about what God does for us and what we get out of it. But the wise men understood two essentials of true worship: First, true worship is not about being served but about serving. Second, true worship is not about receiving but about giving. They traveled nine hundred arduous miles to simply see the baby and give him gifts valuing hundreds of thousands in our common currencies. What did they hope to receive from their worship of Jesus? Only the honor and joy of serving and giving to Him. They considered it the highlight of their life and worth all it cost them to be part of God’s plan. They counted it an honor to use their resources for His glory.  This is worship! I pray that you and I will make a fresh and quality decision to live the lives of true worshippers.

My prayer for you is that in this season and the upcoming year, you will walk in a new and ever-increasing level of wisdom. As you put these three keys to work in your life, you will become known in Heaven and the earth as someone who is counted among the wise.

 

 

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