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Monthly Archives: November 2012

The ‘Reward’ Jesus Promises for Fasting (Fasting Edition #173)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65514-the-reward-jesus-promises-for-fasting-fasting-edition-173.mp3]

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Wesley Duewel. He said: “Fasting in the biblical sense is choosing not to partake of food because your spiritual hunger is so deep, you determination in intercession so intense, or your spiritual warfare so demanding that you have temporarily set aside even fleshly needs to give yourself to prayer and meditation.”

Our fasting devotional today is titled “THE ‘REWARD’ JESUS PROMISES FOR FASTING” from John Piper, author of the bestselling book “A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer”.

Matthew 6:16–18 reads: And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

What is the “repayment” or the “reward” that Jesus promises from the Father here? Might it be “the praise of men”? We would make a dupe out of God if we tried to use him in some roundabout way to get what we really want instead of him, the praise of men. That’s not the reward he gives.

Might it be money? The very next verse (v. 19) warns against laying up treasures on earth (whether God gives them or not) and says to lay up treasures in heaven—where there is no earthly currency except faith and love.

No, the best place to find out the reward of our fasting is to look here in the Sermon on the Mount. For example, the prayer that Jesus just taught us to pray in Matthew 6:9–13 begins with three main longings: that God’s name be hallowed or revered, that his kingdom come, that his will be done on earth the way it’s done in heaven. That is the main reward God gives for our fasting. We fast out of longing for God’s name to be known and cherished and honored, and longing for his rule to be extended and then consummated in history, and longing for his will to hold sway everywhere with the same devotion and energy that the inexhaustible angels show sleeplessly in heaven forever and ever.

For sure he gives us many, many specific things through fasting. And it is not wrong to seek specifically for his help in every area of our lives through fasting. But these three petitions: hallowing his name, seeking his kingdom, and doing his will—these give the test to see if all the other things we long for are expressions of these. Do we want our sons and daughters saved because this would hallow God’s name? Do we want North Korea to open for the sake of the advance of the kingship of Jesus? Do we want upright leaders in government because God’s holy, revealed will for his creation is at stake? Do we want our churches revived and awakened with divine power and love and joy because it glorifies the name of God and advances his kingdom and brings about his will?

This is what Jesus is calling us to—a radically God-oriented fasting. So for the sake of your own soul, and in response to Jesus, and for the advancement of the kingdom of God’s great saving purpose to glorify his name, fast, and fix your hair, and wash your face, and let the Father who sees in secret see you open your heart of yearning to him with fasting. The Father who sees in secret is brimming with rewards for your joy and for his glory.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

J. Hudson Taylor said, “You must GO forward on your knees.” (The Prayer Motivator Minute #371)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65516-j-hudson-taylor-said-you-must-go-forward-on-your-knees-the-prayer-motivator-minute-371.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is I Timothy 2:1-4 which reads: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from C.T. Studd. He said, “How little chance the Holy Ghost has nowadays. The churches and missionary societies have so bound Him in red tape with their prayerlessness and programs that they practically ask Him to sit in a corner while they do the work themselves.”

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Minutes

 

Hindrances to Prayer, Part 19 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #430)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65518-hindrances-to-prayer-part-19-the-prayer-motivator-devotional-430.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Philippians 4:6 which reads:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

We must join thanksgiving with our prayers and supplications. We must not only seek supplies of good, but own receipts of mercy. Grateful acknowledgments of what we have argue a right disposition of mind, and are prevailing motives for further blessings. Prayer is the offering up of our desires to God, or making them known to him: Let your requests be made known to God. Not that God needs to be told either our wants or desires; for he knows them better than we can tell him: but he will know them from us, and have us show our regards and concern, express our value of the mercy and sense of our dependence on him.

My personal encouragement to you today is this: You may ask me, Why do I need to pray more? My friend, isn’t it strange how that when God pours out His blessings upon us, instead of our getting more on fire for the Lord, we get cooler and cooler? And so, therefore, even with God’s blessings, you need to pray more. You need to understand that you don’t have the power to manage your life successfully. You need God’s direction, you need God’s power; you need His leadership in your life. No matter how much Bible you know, no matter how many Bible schools you have attended, you had better open your mouth and pray to God.

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Richard Sibbes. He said: “When we go to God by prayer, the devil knows we go to fetch strength against him, and therefore he opposeth us all he can.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 19 of our series titled “HINDRANCES TO PRAYER” from Dr. John R. Rice.

God commands all men to repent, we are told. And repentance means a sincere heart-turning from sin, a change of mind and disposition toward sin and toward God. How, then, could God be pleased to bless His own children who have not themselves honestly turned away from some sin in their own lives?

When I have urged some businessman to come out to the services at the house of God, more than once he has replied, “Well, if the members of that church would pay me what they owe, I would feel a good deal more like going to their church.” Anyone who is well acquainted with retail credit business knows that multitudes of church people will not pay honest debts unless the bill collector follows them up to get it. Sometimes Christians move out of apartments or houses owing back rent which they never pay. Some Christians owe long-standing bills to doctors, good physicians who cared for them in the time of deepest distress. Students leave Christian colleges with bills that they never pay. A brother borrows money from a Christian brother, promising to repay it within a certain time; then the debt becomes so old that he is ashamed to pay it, and never does! I am not speaking about unusual circumstances.

As an evangelist, as an editor, as a radio preacher, and as one who feels the heartbeat of multitudes through the thousands of letters that come to me each year, I know something of the shockingly lax standards of Christians about debt-paying. I know of churches — more than one — that borrowed money on buildings, in good faith, then in lean years turned the buildings back to the creditor, buildings which were not useful for other purposes and had no sale, then bought back the same buildings at reduced prices. The creditors in such cases took a net loss. They would rather have part of the money than none of it. But the result is that church loans are always not counted good business loans.

Dear Christian, if you have debts unpaid, go now and make them right.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Devotionals

 

Fred Mitchell said, “What a man is on his knees before God in secret, that will he be before men: that much and no more.” (The Prayer Motivator Minute #370)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65386-fred-mitchell-said-what-a-man-is-on-his-knees-before-god-in-secret-that-will-he-be-before-men-that-much-and-no-more-the-prayer-motivator-minute-370.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Proverbs 28:9 which reads: “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from John R. Mott. He said, “The missionary church is a praying church. The history of missions is a history of prayer. Everything vital to the success of the world’s evangelization hinges on prayer. Are thousands of missionaries and tens of thousands of native workers needed? ‘Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He send forth laborers into His harvest.'”

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Minutes

 

Hindrances to Prayer, Part 18 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #429)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65394-hindrances-to-prayer-part-18-the-prayer-motivator-devotional-429.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Philippians 4:6 which reads:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Allow me to share with you some important insights regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

As a sovereign antidote against perplexing care Paul recommends to us constant prayer: In every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. We must not only keep up stated times for prayer, but we must pray upon every particular emergency: In every thing by prayer. When any thing burdens our spirits, we must ease our minds by prayer; when our affairs are perplexed or distressed, we must seek direction and support.

My personal encouragement to you today is that: Prayer is the only discipline of the Christian faith that we are told to do “without ceasing” in I Thessalonians 5:17. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, esteemed this matter of prayer very highly. Allow me to remind you that on one occasion Jesus got up a great while before day and prayed. Mark 1:35 states, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” If Jesus Christ had to pray so earnestly, there is no doubt that we, His followers, ought to pray as well.

Our prayer motivator quote today is from C. H. Spurgeon. He said: “Whether we like it or not, asking is the rule of the Kingdom. If you may have everything by asking in His Name, and nothing without asking, I beg you to see how absolutely vital prayer is.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 18 of our series titled “HINDRANCES TO PRAYER” from Dr. John R. Rice.

God told the Jews in the days of Malachi that divorced wives had covered the altar of the Lord with tears until He would no longer regard the offering or receive it with good will at the hands of the Jews because He was a witness between the sin of the men who tried to pray and their treacherously divorced wives.

And the Lord warns in Exodus 22:22-32 that any afflicted widow or fatherless child could cry to God and that their faintest cry would be heard, and God’s wrath would wax hot against those who oppressed them. And verse 27 of the same chapter tells us that if the poor man should cry at all to God against those who take away his garment and covering, He would hear.

Do you then, dear Christian, believe that God will hear you pray when there are wrongs against others that you have not made right and debts that you have not paid?

+ Plus, listen to The City Harmonic singing “Manifesto”

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Devotionals

 

Fasting for the King’s Coming (Fasting Edition #172)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65385-fasting-for-the-king-s-coming-fasting-edition-172.mp3]

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Andrew Murray. He said: “Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

Our fasting devotional today is titled “FASTING FOR THE KING’S COMING” from John Piper, author of the bestselling book “A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer”.

Are we settled into the world so comfortably that the thought of fasting for the end of history, is almost unthinkable?

What about older people? Can you taste the glories of the presence of the King better because they are nearer? Do you turn that taste into fasting for the King’s coming?

What about younger people? Do you love Jesus so much that his coming would be the greatest thing you can imagine? Or is he a kind of weekend topic of religious talk that sometimes helps you with a bad conscience but isn’t someone you would want to interrupt your life?

What about those of us in the middle—or pushing the upper end of the middle? How do we feel about being told that fasting may reflect how much we want the bridegroom to come? Does Anna’s passion for the Messiah in Luke 2:36–38 appeal to us at all? Do we want the appearance of Jesus more than we want to finish our career plans?

I have seen too much now about fasting and the meaning of hunger for God, and hunger for his Word, and hunger for the children’s safety, and hunger for world evangelization, and hunger for the Bridegroom, and the way Jesus speaks of expressing this hunger with fasting—I have seen too much now to go on with business as usual.

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

Anna: Fasting for the First Coming of the King (Fasting Edition #171)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/65157-anna-fasting-for-the-first-coming-of-the-king-fasting-edition-171.mp3]

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from an Unknown Author. He said: “Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God, and to yourself, that you are serious about your relationship with Him. Fasting helps you to gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God.”

Our fasting devotional today is titled “ANNA: FASTING FOR THE FIRST COMING OF THE KING” from John Piper, author of the bestselling book “A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer”.

In calling for the church to fast for the coming King, we are not asking for something new. Luke 2:36–38 shows us an old woman who gave almost her whole life to this sacred ministry before the King came the first time.

There was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph had just brought the infant Jesus into the temple. Luke tells us about two very old people, Simeon and Anna, who recognize who the baby is. What marks both of these people is that they were yearning and longing for the coming of the Messiah. In verse 25 it says that Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” Jesus, the Messiah, is the consolation of Israel.

In verse 37 it says that Anna virtually never left the temple and was serving the Lord “with fastings and prayers.” In other words, she was like Simeon—she was longing for the Messiah to come; she was fasting and praying night and day because she was looking for “the redemption of Jerusalem.”

In verse 38 she comes at just the right moment to see the Messiah-child, and she gives thanks to God and speaks of him to all who were “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” In other words God gave a special glimpse of the King’s glory to those who were yearning and longing and looking for “the redemption of Jerusalem.” For Anna that meant a life of fasting decade after decade—probably 60 years since her husband died—as she ministered in the temple.

I think one of the reasons Luke tells us about Simeon and Anna is to illustrate how holy and devout people respond to the promise of Christ’s coming. And how God responds to their longings. They see more than others see. They may not understand fully all the details about how the Messiah is coming—Simeon and Anna surely didn’t—but God mercifully gives them a glimpse before they die, of what they so passionately wanted to see.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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