Posts Tagged ‘mourning’

The first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of every month is the Global Bridegroom Fast. You can go to IHOP-AC’s website on the right to find out more about this fast.

The staff and interns at IHOP-AC have been reading the book “The Rewards of Fasting” by Mike Bickle. It has really been sirring my heart towards more of a hunger for Jesus and I just wanted to share it with you.

So I am just going to share what I have gotten so far out of the first 4 chapters. Basically I want more of God and fasting humbles us to receive God! Fasting reveals what controls us, therefore as we see what is in the way, we can repent and get rid of the things that are hindering us from having more of God! It is so beautiful, except that our western culture tells us to do the complete opposite. Our culture does not accept weakness. The more powerful and successful you are the better you are. Not so in the KINGDOM OF GOD! It is the UPSIDE DOWN KINGDOM! If we are truly living according to the Kingdom of God then our lives should look completely opposite of the world!

Fasting is voluntary weakness. You are making yourself weak by giving up food, therefore having to rely on God. As we say no to our flesh (which tells us to eat) then our spirits will be alive to hear from God. Romans 8:6 says “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace!” How amazing is that! Fasting is a quick way to put the flesh to death and live according to the Spirit.

Every Christian should be living a lifestyle of fasting. Unless by the doctors orders you can not. Fasting is a value in the Kingdom of God. Matt. 6 speaks of 3 very essential things in the Kingdom of God; giving, praying and fasting. There ya go. There is your reason.

Fasting is also a way of mourning. In the Old Testament almost every reference to fasting is associated with mourning, and mourning over their sins.We should fast because we realize the depravity of our soul. We are sinners and we need God! We fast in mourning over our sins, asking for more of God’s presence. And as we humble ourselves in voluntary weakness, our spirits will be tenderized to the Holy Spirit, who searches the deep things of God, and reveals Jesus to us!

Jesus talked about fasting in Matt. 9:14-15. John the baptist’s disciples asked Jesus why He and His disciples did not fast. Jesus then talked about Himself as the Bridegroom! He said “The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Wow. His disciples did not need to fast because HE WAS WITH THEM! We need to fast, in mourning because we should long for the RETURN OF JESUS!!! We want HIS PHYSICAL PRESENCE! We should be so lovesick for our Beloved that we fast and mourn for Him to return.

So all of this is convicting the crap out of me, why? BECAUSE I DON’T LIVE THIS WAY! My flesh so many times rules over my spirit. Ugh! Its really annoying! And I want it to stop! I want my soul, my mind, will and emotions, to come into submission to the Holy Spirit. I want to put my flesh to DEATH! So that my spirit may be alive and hunger for Jesus Christ!

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Just the past two years have I really started reading my bible, for real. Not just reading through my bible in a year, but actually reading it and asking the Lord to give me understanding of what He is trying to say. I started to study Matthew, and I found that the book of Matt. contains the essentials for Christianity, and yet I had never heard most of these taught. The values of the kingdom of God are laid out in this book and yet I def. wasn’t living them, not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t know they were there. So began my journey to live a Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. And the Lord is challenging me, daily, to live according to His kingdom and not according to the kingdom of this world. I can tell you that this is the biggest struggle of my life. To live in this world, hear and see all that they teach and to not live according to it.

So how then shall we live?

Jesus clearly lays out the way of His kingdom in the Sermon on the Mount, Matt. 5, 6 & 7.

As I continue to study the Sermon on the Mount, I am burdened that this lifestyle is, as my director would say, Christianity 101 not Christianity 401. But most of these values laid out in these chapters are thought of as “radical” Christianity, not “normal” Christianity. But these are the values that came out of the very lips of the man we say we follow. Jesus Christ. Here are the core values:

1. Spiritual Poverty (Matt. 5:3)- understanding the absence of God in our lives, and the presence of sin. We are nothing, God is everything and yet HE LOVES US! This will lead to the kingdom of heaven.

2. Mourning (Matt. 5:4)- when we realize the absence of God in our lives, and the presence of sin we will move into mourning. We will mourn for the PRESENCE of God and the ABSENCE of sin. We also need to be mourning now for Jesus to come back, John 16:16-24. Those who mourn will be comforted.

3. Meekness (Matt. 5:5)- walking in humility in all that we do. Dying to ourselves, taking up our cross daily to follow Christ. Spiritual poverty and mourning both lead to meekness, because doing these two things causes us to be weak. To rely on Christ and not on our own strength. When we realize we are nothing and God is everything and we believe this and live according to this we will be humble. The meek will inherit the earth.

4. Hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt. 5:6)- when you begin to live a life of spiritual poverty and realize the presence of sin in your life, and the HOLINESS of God you will want to be holy as He is holy. To be like Jesus. Jesus is righteousness! We need to HUNGER AND THIRST for righteousness. Not just say it, or pray it but to LIVE IT! For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied.

5. Merciful (Matt. 5:7)- to have mercy on those around us. For those that are merciful will receive mercy.

6. Pure in heart (Matt. 5:8)- to have a pure and clean heart. With no wrong motives, knowing what is on the heart of the Father and living it. For those that are pure in heart will see God.

7. Peacemakers (Matt. 5:9)- in all that you do to promote peace. No conflict with people, but to go out of your way to make peace. To humble ourselves, even if we are right, to make peace with a person. Matt. 5:43-48 talks about loving your enemies. This is the best way to make peace. Both of these passages say if you make peace and love your enemies you will be sons of God.

The next two verse of the beatitudes talk about persecution. If you live according to these values, according to the Kingdom of God you will be persecuted. Matt. 5:10,11 say that if you are persecuted yours is the kingdom of heaven. WOW! We will have the kingdom of heaven if we are persecuted. Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness! This is incredible. And yes, God will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. If we live this lifestyle that we are meant, we will do that very thing.

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