“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.
Matthew 6:16‭-‬17 NLT

Based on these two verses, God expects us to fast. It says when you fast, not if you fast.

Fasting is not meant to test our will power. Fasting focuses our dependence onto God. It deprives our flesh of something and that deprivation is meant to lead us closer to God.

Fasting allows us to hear God a lot more clearly. He may give us instructions on how to grow our business, overcome previous pains, or manage our children, but if we can’t hear Him clearly because our flesh is in the way, we may miss some steps.

Fasting doesn’t release what we’ve been praying for or automatically cause deliverance in our lives. It simply gives us the opportunity to hear God clearly and that clarity may give us the answers we’ve been looking for.

So, whether it’s food, TV, social media, or shopping, fasting is expected and beneficial.

Matthew 6:3‭-‬4 NLT But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Notice, it says when (not if) we give to someone in need. This let’s us know God desires for us to give to someone in need. It could be the homeless, a friend who needs a few extra dollars, or that unknown woman who is in the grocery line attempting to find whatever she has in her purse to purchase groceries.

We won’t go to hell if we don’t give, but we’ll miss out on an opportunity to be used by God and we’ll miss out on an opportunity for God to bless us. When we give, we become an extention of God’s love. When we give, it will cause people to give to us (Luke 6:38).

Ultimately, it’s good to be a giver because we’re children of our Heavenly Father who is the ultimate giver. Let’s remove selfishness and be givers.

1 Timothy 2:1 NLT I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

We are called to pray for everyone. It didn’t say only pray for the people you like or know. It said pray for everyone.

It’s easy to pray for the people we know and love, but there are others who are hurting and needing prayer. We should pray for the leaders in our country (mayors, governors, and the president). Pray for law enforcement officers to be safe and to make good decisions. Pray for the homeless. Pray for your boss who keeps taking their anger out on others. Whoever God puts in our spirit, we should pray for them.

James 5:16 says, the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it works. It not only works in our lives, but in the lives of others. So, pray for those close to you and for those you’ll never meet. We, the believers, are called to pray.

John 15:9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.

Jesus gives us a command. We are to remain in His love. How do we remain in His love? Some may have different meanings of how we are to remain in His love. Let the bible define itself.

John 15:10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.

When we obey His commandments, we remain in His love. This scripture makes followers of the Law of Moses happy. They think they have a scripture telling new testament Christians to follow God’s commandments. Let’s look closely. These are the commandments of Jesus. The commandments given by God to Moses are different from the commandments of Jesus. So what are the commandments of Jesus? Let the bible define itself.

John 15:12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

Jesus tells us we follow His commandments by loving each other the same way He loves us. It’s not wearing certain clothing, eating certain foods, or praying 5 times a day. He tells us we follow His commandments by loving each other. To be certain no one incorrectly interprets His meaning, He double downs His statement in verse 17 saying, This is my command: Love each other (John 15:17).

Putting it all together, we remain in Jesus’ love by loving others the way He loves us.

Don’t leave interpretations of scripture strictly to ministers or our own understanding. Allow the bible to define itself so that all believers can be on the same page with God’s word.

Romans 5:20 NLT God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant.

Whether we just got saved yesterday or have been saved for 20+ years, some part of us wants to honor God. We want to pray more, behave appropriately, trust God more, seek His counsel in all our decisions, control our emotions, etc. As we make the effort to honor God, there may be times we miss the mark. We may have wanted to be calm, but we lost our cool with that person. We wanted to be celibate, but our flesh won the battle.

If we miss the mark, most people do one of two things. They either beat themselves up and allow Satan to run a guilt trip on them or they give up trying to honor God in that area because they feel it’s too difficult to uphold.

A third option is to let grace abound. God knew we would miss the mark on our journey. That’s why He sent His Son Jesus. Jesus paid the price for all (past, present, and future) of our mess ups (1 Peter 3:18). Through Jesus, we’ve already been forgiven of everything we’ll ever do.

So if you miss the mark, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty and don’t quit making the effort to honor God. Receive God’s grace for that mistake and move on. Immediately after the mistake literally say, “God, I receive your grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ” and go on with your life knowing your sin has been forgiven and forgotten (Hebrews 8:12).

Some churches have made repentance to be this deep spiritual or spooky thing we must do in order to be loved by God. Repentance is simply recognizing what we’re doing is wrong and turning from those actions.

The most crucial form of repentance we ALL should do is turn from death towards life by accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. But that’s not the only form of repentance. If we’re living in unforgiveness, we must turn from unforgiveness towards forgiveness and forgive whoever has hurt us. If we’ve been verbally abusing our spouse, we must repent or turn from being abusive towards lifting our spouse up with encouraging words.

Repentance is a journey. Repentance can take place 10 years after we’ve received salvation. When the Holy Spirit reveals something we’ve been doing wrong, simply recognize our error, turn from that behavior and move on. Repentance is not beating ourselves up or making ourselves feel bad. It’s turning from our faults towards the ways of God.

If God is showing or has shown you something that requires repentance, repent and praise God for His forgiveness.

For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. -2 Chronicles 30:9b

Ephesians 4:22‭-‬23 NLT throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

When we get born-agan, our spirit is instantly changed. Although our spirit has changed, our soul (our mind, will, imagination, and emotions) will always need improvements. Romans 12:2 says we should be constantly renewing our minds.

When things are seemingly going well for a person (they have a good job, nice house, healthy family, etc.) there’s no motivation to improve. Why would someone need to work on their attitude or anger if more things are going right for them than wrong? Why would someone want to grow in their relationship with God if everything is going their way? If things got a little tougher, we would pray more, work on being kinder, and do all the things we know that please God. But as soon as we have what we want in life, some of us slowly push God and His ways aside.

Our incentive to improve and honor God should be based on the goodness of God. God has been so good to us until we should want to better ourselves, minister the gospel of Jesus Christ, and be a blessing to others. We should want to spend time with Him and improve ourselves because He’s a good Father.

Don’t wait until things get bad to improve or spend time with Him. Constant improvements and time with God should be a lifestyle.

In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. -Mark 11:14

Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” -Mark 11:20‭-‬21 NKJV

Jesus opened His mouth and cursed a fig tree. A day later, the fig tree withered a way.

Jesus is showing us how to curse something for our good. If He can curse a fig tree, why can’t we curse cancer and it wither away? Why can’t we curse lack? Why can’t we curse division and strife in our home? Why can’t we curse barreness? Anything that’s not God’s will, we have the ability to use our words, curse it, and expect it to die.

For those who think we can’t curse things because we’re not the Son of God, Jesus said he that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12).

We can bless things with our mouths, but we can also curse things too. Use your words wisely to bless and curse things for your good.

There are some who have a passive que sera sera mindset when it comes to faith. Whatever will be, will be. They may want something, but they’ll add the “if it’s the Lord’s will” statement after expressing their desires. For instance, a couple may truly want a child. Instead of believing for the manifestation of a child no matter how long it takes, after a few years of believing, they’ll think it wasn’t God’s will for them to have children.

This passive faith is not really faith at all. It’s hoping something happens and giving ourselves an out if it doesn’t happen. This makes God responsible for what doesn’t happen. At the end of the day we’re telling ourselves and anyone who is willing to listen that God doesn’t keep His word.

God’s will is in His word and it’s not limited to certain people. God’s word says WHATEVER we ask for when we pray, believe that we receive it, and we will have it (Mark 11:24). So whatever we desire, we can have.

Go all in for what you want. Believe God and leave it with Him to bring it to pass. It may take a year or five years, but stick with it. Don’t let doubt, unbelief, and passivity enter your mind. Believe God’s word for whatever you desire.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
James 1:6‭-‬7 NKJV

The name of Jesus has seemingly been reduced to a cherry on top of a sunday or a bow on top of a present. We tell God everything we want and finish it with a cute little “in the name of Jesus.” In actuality, this should be reversed. The name of Jesus is the foundation and authority we have when we’re talking to God. Jesus Himself is the only reason we can approach God. Look at the power in His name…

And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. -John 14:13‭-‬14

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. -John 16:23

John 14:13 is where we ask in the name of Jesus for something to be done. Examples: a child to be healed, a person to be delivered from bitterness, or protection for a friend. Jesus said He will do this so that the Father will be glorified in Him.

John 16:23 is where we ask in the name of Jesus for something to be given to us (petition prayer). Examples: a house, car, or husband/wife.

John 14 says do and John 16 says give, but both are in the name of Jesus.

So, the next time you’re praying magnify the importance of the name of Jesus. It’s the only reason we have what we have and can do what we do.

Romans 7:18‭-‬20 NLT For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

The main struggle we have is the struggle between our flesh and God’s will. Whatever’s in God’s will, our flesh wants to do the opposite.

God says forgive, but our flesh wants revenge. God says abstain from premarital sex, but our flesh craves it. God says give, our flesh says hoard.

Sometimes, it takes a lot of effort to go against our flesh, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it because there’s a blessing on the other side of our obedience (Isaiah 1:19).

As long as we continue to allow our flesh to have dominance, it will get harder to resist and we ultimately may become callus to the word of God. This will negatively impact the quality of life, but if we recognize the enemy’s trick, and go against our flesh, it becomes easier each time and we’ll experience God’s best.

For the rest of our lives on earth, there will be this internal struggle, but once we realize God’s blessings outweigh the gratification of our flesh, it becomes easier to please Him rather than our flesh. Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee (James 4:7).

A prayer request is the easy part. Just ask God for what we desire in Jesus’ name.

The hard part is maintaining the belief that it will come to pass. The negative circumstance, the feeling, the delay, and how it looks can make us think it won’t come to pass. However, if we maintain our belief in what God said in His word, it will eventually come to pass.

We have to be willing to wait forever and magnify God’s word above everything else. People may think we’re foolish for believing God for a desire for so long, but who cares? If we’re determined and only focus on the word of God regarding our desire, it must come to pass.

God is not a liar. If He said it, it will come to fruition. Are you willing to believe Him in spite of everything you see? Well, walk and continue to walk by faith and not by sight. Don’t stop, turn around, or go in another direction. Walk by faith towards the promises of God.

II Corinthians 5:7 For we walk by faith, not by sight.

Luke 6:38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

If you are a giver, you should expect to receive.

When we give, God’s word promises that we’ll not only receive what we gave, but more. Giving is not just some ritual they do in church and it’s not some scheme playing on the emotions of believers. Giving is an opportunity for God to get something to us.

Our return is not just in the form of money. It could be in the form of favor, gifts, and blessings. The company could be laying people off, but because of our giving, they keep us. We could have a disease, but because of our giving, we could unexpectedly come across a specialist at the park. And of course, our giving could allow us to receive a raise on our jobs. If we’re only focused on the return of money, we could miss what God has done as a result of our giving.

Givers, be on the lookout. Understand that because we give, it must be given back to us. If it doesn’t, God is a liar and this entire universe will fall apart. Just FYI… God can’t lie (Titus 1:2). It has to come to pass. Be vigilant.

Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Money is not good or bad. Money is simply a tool we use as an accepted payment for goods and services. Our perspective on money is what can either be good or bad.

1 Timothy 6:10 says, for the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. How do we know if we love God or money more? You must ask yourself the following questions… Are you craving or have a strong focus on money more than God? Are you constantly thinking about how to get more of it instead of spending time with God? Are you willing to disobey God to keep the money you have? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, money is your master.

The good news is your master can change by renewing your mind with the word of God. As we obey God through giving and we’re Spirit led about what we spend and what we save, we say to ourselves and the spirit of money that God is our Master.

God understands how tempting money can be to takeover our lives. That’s because money can seemingly fix anything (read Ecclesiastes 10:19). But, let’s put our trust in God and allow money to be a tool that God uses, through us, to fix the world.

1 Chronicles 16:43 Then all the people returned to their homes, and David turned and went home to bless his own family.

We all have the ability to bless someone else. We don’t have to be a pastor, a deacon, or have it all together to bless.

The formula to bless can be found in Genesis 1:28. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” It can be also seen in Genesis 27:27 where Isaac blessed Jacob and said a list of positive things towards him.

Based on this formula, if we open our mouths and believe what we’re saying, we can bless anyone. So why not bless your family?

It doesn’t have to be formal. In passing, we can release a blessing over their lives. We can say…
“I declare that you prosper at school, in your finances, and in your career.”
“I declare that the favor of God is on your life. You have favor with God and people.”
“I declare you are protected from every disease, accident, or tragic event.”

Whatever we desire for our families can be released through belief in our words. Take this time, whether they’re present or not, to bless your family.

I Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore!

God wants us to spend time with Him. He doesn’t just want us to acknowledge Him on Sunday. He wants us to have daily communication with Him. Just because He knows everything doesn’t mean He doesn’t want to talk to us about everything.

God wants to help us in problematic areas, He wants to show us how He blessed us that day, He wants to show us where our next opportunity will come from, He wants to show us how to parent our children, He wants to reveal areas where we can improve, and He wants to show us areas where we have grown.

All of this can be done by spending time with God. Some think they need to be on their knees in a quiet room to spend time with God. That’s not necessarily the case. We can talk to God at work, in our cars, while working out, before we go to sleep, or all the above.

As much as we value earthly relationships with our parents, children, or siblings, we should value time with God. Spend time with the One who loves you the most.

Ecclesiastes 2:24 NKJV Nothing is better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that his soul should enjoy good in his labor. This also, I saw, was from the hand of God.

Sometimes, Christians have a tendency to be sin focused. They make everything a sin. If a person listens to secular music, that’s a sin. If a person watches a movie, that’s a sin. If they dress a certain way, that’s a sin. If they have too much money, that’s a sin. Even if they’re doing something innocent like watching a football game, a sin focused person would think they’re doing something wrong because they could be using that time to spend with God. Some are so sin focused until they can’t enjoy life. That’s not what God wants for us.

No wonder some reject Christianity. Why would people want to accept a Savior who makes them feel bad for every thing they enjoy doing?

We can still believe in a risen Savior, serve an awesome God, and enjoy life. John 10:10 lets us know Jesus came so that we can have an abundant life. An abundant life doesn’t mean depriving ourselves of things. We can be in the world, but not of the world.

There may be things, individually, that we should abstain from. For instance, if a person has a tendency to lust, they should abstain from movies with nudity. If a person is quick to be angry, they should avoid listening to music associated with violence.

Allow the Holy Spirit to show you what you should or should not do. But, not everything’s a sin.

Ephesians 5:1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.

Along with loving like God and forgiving like God, we’re to imitate God by calling those things that be not, as though they were. Romans 4:17b says God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.

Someone may emphasize that GOD, not us, calls those things which do not exist as though they did. Once again, we’re His children and have been instructed to imitate Him.

So, how do we do this? We open our mouths and say what we desire to happen and believe what we say is going to happen. God looked at the darkness, opened His mouth and commanded light (Gen. 1:2-3). When we look at dark circumstances in our own lives, we have the authority and ability to change that negative circumstance into a positive through faith in our words. Proverbs 18:21 says, death and life are in the power of the tongue. We, not God, can speak death to our lives or life to our lives. It’s up to us.

When our health is under attack, instead of saying how bad it is, we can call our bodies healed (Isaiah 53:5). It doesn’t matter how we currently feel, what we say and believe will change our situation. It works the same way when we see lack in our finances, problems in our marriages, or drama on our jobs. We can declare increase and peace in those situations and it must come to pass.

Let’s understand our authority and speak the solution instead of the problem.

Inspired Charles Capps

1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.

In the body of Christ, there’s division from denominations. People are telling others how Christianity “really” should be. There are people with a platform and the only thing they want to do is tell others what’s wrong in the church. There are pastors who openly speak negatively of other pastors. Some people want to highlight other people’s flaws.

The most important thing to God is having a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. From that relationship, we should be renewing our minds, making an impact in our family, our community, and ultimately the world. We should be talking to God on how to advance His Kingdom or how to solve the world’s problems. It could be as big as ending world hunger or as small as telling a manager how to be more efficient.

We, the believers, easily have access to the God of the universe, but because we’ve been so divisive, negative, and inwardly focused, we’ve allowed unbelievers to come up with billion dollar industries. That should be us. Can you imagine what we can do for God’s Kingdom with multiple industries valued at a billion dollars each?

Let’s not focus on how this person is representing Christianity or pointlessly debate about the meaning of a scripture. Instead, let’s focus on strengthening our relationship with God, completing our assignments, and fulfilling our purpose in the earth.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

It’s often overlooked, but God has commanded mankind to subdue the earth. A definition of subdue means to overcome, quieten, or bring under control.

It’s our responsibility to bring this earth under control. It’s not God’s responsibility, but ours. So, anything we don’t like seeing (pollution, violence, sex trafficking, division, etc.) is our responsibility to bring under control.

We’re not to subdue the earth using our will power or our limited intelligence. It has always been God’s plan for us to invite Him in as an unseen partner. Under the new covenant, we have the authority to use the name of Jesus to get God involved in whatever we’re doing (John 16:23-24).

If what you’re seeing or experiencing on this earth doesn’t align with God’s will, use the authority God has given you to change it. Stop waiting on God to automatically change it for you. Speak to that situation and command it to go, in Jesus name.

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October 2022
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