Daniel Fast 2017

Sunday, 1st october 2017 – What next?

Philippiens 3:12-14  Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing [I do], forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Congratulations, you finished the fast!  But did God finish what he started in your life?  Probably not.  But I hope the work that has begun has dug a solid foundation in your life and won’t let you ever return to the kind of person you were before you started this fast.

For the past three weeks we have looked at the text in Philippians chapter three from just about every way imaginable.  But I want to leave you with one last thought from this text.

Paul stresses the fact that we have to push on to the higher call in Christ Jesus.  And he finishes this text in verse 15: Let us, then, who are “perfectly mature” adopt this attitude. And if you have a different attitude, this too God will reveal to you.  In other words, the idea of pushing forward to the higher calling is not the same as going to a prayer meeting, or having a powerful experience in God’s presence.  Rather it is really about maintaining an attitude or a lifestyle.

Though there are more and more people around the world who eat a very strict vegan or vegetarian diet (essentially what we do in the Daniel Fast), I don’t think God expects us to live 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in a state of fasting.  Having said that, if you were to look at your « normal » lifestyle would it be radically different than these three weeks of fasting?  If so, then you need to change your attitudes about the kingdom of heaven and the lifestyle changes it generates on earth.

Someone said once that if the government decided to put in prison all the Christians would they find enough evidence in your daily life to convict you?  Do people in the world see Jesus when they look at me or when they look at you. Maybe they will see more, now that you’ve followed the Holy Spirit during this time of fasting.  But I encourage you to go further.

Here are some things I want you to consider to insure that your lifestyle changes:

  1. Fix a daily time to be with God and keep the appointment.  Even if it is just 30 minutes a day.  But set the time and then keep the time.
  2. Get committed and stay committed to your local church: the mission, the leadership and the people.
  3. Sign up for the many training schools/seminars that we will have during the year.
  4. Write down the names of just five friends or family members who aren’t born again and pray for their salvation this year.

These things may seem small and insignificant.  But if you will be faithful in these small things then the gains that you have achieved during this fast will become permanent fixtures in your spiritual life.

Saturday, 30 September 2017 – Yom Kippour

Zacharie 12:10  Alors je répandrai sur la maison de David et sur les habitants de Jérusalem Un esprit de grâce et de supplication, Et ils tourneront les regards vers moi, celui qu’ils ont percé. Ils pleureront sur lui comme on pleure sur un fils unique, Ils pleureront amèrement sur lui comme on pleure sur un premier-né.    

Romains 11:26  Et ainsi tout Israël sera sauvé, selon qu’il est écrit: Le libérateur viendra de Sion, Et il détournera de Jacob les impiétés. 

Welcome to the last day of the Daniel Fast for 2017.  Congratulations to each of you who has been faithful to seek the Lord during these 21 days.  Certainly, God has done much in your life.  And yet, there is one more thing for us to do before bringing this fast to a close.

For the Jewish people around the world today is their most holy day.  In the Hebrew language it is called Yom Kippour.  In the book of Leviticus (23:27) God commanded His people to set this day aside to be a day of fasting, a day of repentance (to humble one’s soul), a day of sacrifices, and a day to seek the face of the Holy God of covenant.

Today in Israel, this is a solemn day. People fill the synagogues, and everyone is on a strict fast.  Some groan in prayer while others remain in a reverent silence.

Kippour prophesies the revelation of Messiah, the salvation of Israel, and the ultimate deliverance for God’s people.  It speaks of the promise of the coming King and the establishing of His kingdom in Zion.  And all the people of the earth will rejoice.

We believe, and we declare the promise of God as understood by the apostle Paul: And so, all Israel will be saved, as it is written, from Zion will come the Deliverer, and He will turn Jacob from his sins.

We believe strongly that in this generation God is restoring to the Church the understanding of the Hebraic roots of the faith.  At the same time God is pouring out a spirit of revelation on the Jewish people regarding their Messiah.  The objective is not that the Gentile should look more Jewish, or that the Jew should look more Gentile.  The objective is that Jew and Gentile should look more like Jesus.

So on this last day of the Daniel Fast we want to encourage you to set aside this day as a day to pray specifically for the salvation of Israel.  Pray for the Jewish people around the world.  Pray also for yourself, that God would give you greater understanding about the roots of the faith and the prophetic role that Israel plays in these final days.

KIPPOUR ! It is the divine appointment for repentance and redemption.  We lift up our prayers and supplications in the name of Jesus – Yeshua Hamashiach ben David.

Friday, 29 September 2017 – Protect your progress (3)

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37 “In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. 38 But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. (WEB)

You have done an awesome job.  I want you to know that I am really proud of you for doing the fast and getting to the end.  But get ready, God has saved the best for these last two days.

I am sure that as the writer of the book of Hebrews was coming to the end of writing the above passage the Holy Spirit began bringing to his remembrance the stories of all the great heroes of the faith; and that is what we find in chapter eleven.  His closing remarks in chapter ten are really more of a prologue to the stories of the heroes of chapter eleven.  He writes: We are not the kind of people who shrink back!

The word in Greek for shrink back is: hupostole, from which we get the word apostasy.  It comes from a verb meaning to cower, or to keep out of sight.  We could say that hupostole literally means to fade into the shadows.  The word translated here as destruction, literally means, to suffer loss, or to be ruined.

As a pastor the single most difficult thing for me to bear is to see a member in the church with enormous potential go through disappointment or even failure; but rather go through the restoration that God calls for, he/she decides to leave the church and hide in the shadows.  It is not only a waste for them, it is also a waste for the kingdom of God.  And believe me, in my more than 35 years of pastoring I have seen dozens of men and women go this way!

Why pay the price in terms of faith, obedience and sacrifice, to make great progress in the Lord, only to give up and shrink back?  Why fight so hard for spiritual territory if you’re just going to surrender it back to the devil one day when things get too difficult for you?

Listen to the Holy Spirit today.  You are not a quitter!  Even if you wanted to quit and shrink back, you won’t do it, because that is not who you are.  You are the kind of person that finishes what you start because you commit yourself to it.  There is no debate in your soul; you don’t listen to your rebellious flesh.  And you absolutely never, ever, surrender your will to discouragement, disappointment, offense, rejection or fatigue.  Why?  Because that is just who you are.

You may fail, but you never quit.  You may fall down, but you never roll over. You may not be perfect, but you are perseverant.  You may not be divine, but you are redeemed.  You may be weak, oppressed, and battered on every side. But by the power of the name of Jesus YOU ARE MORE THAN AN OVERCOMER, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

So, friend, PROTECT YOUR PROGRESS!

Thursday 28 SeptemberProtect your progress (2)

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37 “In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. 38 But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. (WEB)

I hope that you took some time yesterday to make notes of what God has spoken to you and done in your life during the past two and a half weeks.  If you did not, please do it now!

In verse 36 the writer tells us something that we already know, and, for most of us, we really do not want to hear: You need endurance!  Frankly, I would rather hear from God: Wow son, you have been so faithful and so patient, here is what I promised.  Then He gets out His magic wand, waves it over me, and poof! Everything is finished.

The New York City marathon was first started in 1970.  It is a 42 kilometer run, which is roughly 1.2 times around the Paris périphérique.  There are more than 45 000 people who participated in the run last year, with an average time of just over 4 hours. The winner was Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea would did the course in 2 hours and 7 minutes!

The rare times I will go jogging I won’t run for more than 30 minutes.  I can’t begin to imagine what it must feel like to start a pace and maintain it for more than one time around the entire city of Paris!  But that is what is called endurance.

Endurance is NOT a gift; and no one is born with it.  (Stop and think about that for a moment!)  You fight, and you fight hard, to gain endurance.  You put yourself through voluntary suffering to develop it.  You discipline yourself, you stay focused and after years of training you begin to notice that you can go farther than you ever could before.

I am telling you today, by the Holy Spirit, YOU NEED ENDURANCE!  Without it you will eventually become a casualty in this spiritual war.  But with it, not only will you get to the finish line and hear from your Lord « Well done, faithful servant » but you will feel His pleasure while you are running.

Wednesday, 27 september 2017- Protect your progress (1)

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37 In a very little while, he who comes will come, and will not wait. 38 But the righteous will live by faith. If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul. (WEB)

As we enter the final five days of the fast I want to encourage you here to learn how to mark your progress, celebrate it, and finally protect it.  There is an important spiritual principal that you must learn if you are going to enjoy the long road ahead.

We live in a day of instant gratification.  And anything that takes a considerable amount of time doesn’t seem worth our effort.  Microwave ovens, drive through restaurants, high speed internet, have all contributed to our high-speed lifestyle.

But there are many in life that you cannot accelerate: pregnancy, a vegetable garden, a fine wine, and above all solid human character development.

In the spirit realm time really doesn’t exist.  Just as I’ve had prayers answered before I even said them out loud, I’ve also had prayers that I’ve prayed decades ago, to which God said He would answer « quickly », and I am still waiting!  God may even give you a promise, and you pay the price in faith and perseverance convinced that the promise will come in your life time.  But the promise may be fulfilled in the next generation, or even the one after that.

We must understand that there must always be someone who sows in faith, even at times with sufferings and tears (Psalm 126:5).  They are the ones who receive the promise and carry it, sometimes all their lives.  But the answer may come many, many years later.

That is why the writer to the Hebrews says, Don’t throw away your simple confidence.  Now, he would not say this unless, as God’s children, we are tempted to do so.  Listen, there will be times this year when you think it is better to just pack your bags and go somewhere else, do something else, become someone else.  But that is just what the devil wants you to do.

God has already done great things in your life these past two and a half weeks.  Please take time today to write these things down; and celebrate what God has done.  Determine that no matter what comes to you this year you will not throw away your confidence in God’s faithfulness.

Tuesday, 26 september – Who do you want to be and How will you use the remaining time to live on this Earth?

Lamentations 3:21 This is what I want to go into my heart, which will give me hope. The mercies of Jehovah are not exhausted; His mercies are not at an end; They are renewed every morning. Oh! How great is thy fidelity!

My friends, let us realize and be more than ever aware that we are going somewhere, that our life not only has a meaning but it has above all a goal, a destination, a prize to be won. What is the purpose of your life on this Earth? What kind of man or woman do you want to be? Does the direction you have taken recently in your life choices bring you closer to or get away from that person you really want to be?

A great man once said that there are two important days in the life of a human being: the day of his birth and the day he realizes what he was created for.

Paul realized the reason for his birth on Planet Earth and it was for this reason that he had his eyes fixed on the goal and on the prize to be won.

On what do you fix your gaze every day: on your failings, your past, your weaknesses, your frustrations, vain things, your failures? Or, do you have your eyes fixed on the person you want to be, the person you want to become by fulfilling what you were created for?

There is a very interesting physical phenomenon that happens with the direction of our gaze. This phenomenon has been observed in certain car accidents. The principle is that when you drive, your vehicle instinctively takes the direction of your gaze, the direction of what your eyes will fix. For example you drive and there is a big truck in front of you on another lane that suddenly starts to make zigzags on the road. If your eyes are fixed on the movements of this truck, your car will automatically make zigzags like the vehicle you follow, whereas if you have your eyes fixed on the road, on the direction in which you want to go, you avoid the accident by turning away from looking at this truck which has become insane by its behavior.

I believe that this principle is verified in our own lives, you go in the direction of what your eyes fix, you become what you contemplate the most. Do we have a fixed eye on what is really important to us?

Things that are really important to me will be marked by the time that I will devote to them.

Every day God gives me the ability and power to change something that will lead me a little closer to who I want to be and who I am in the heart of the Father. Every day we have the power, where we are, to begin or continue to make the right choices as we go in the right direction to become more and more man or woman according to the original plan of Our Heavenly Father Before the creation of the world.

I do one thing: forgetting what is behind and moving toward what is ahead, I run toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly vocation in Jesus Christ. (Phil 3: 13-14)

Monday, 25 september 2017 – Sanctification

Romans 6 : 22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

This text talks about a « now » – as opposed to a « before » – that we are called to grasp by faith, and contains a paradox. « Before », we used to serve sin, to which we were enslaved. « But now », « set free », delivered from sin, we have no more obligation towards it. And « It is for freedom that Christ has set us free». « Amen ! Glory to God ! Thank you Lord ! » is our response. But let’s wait for the rest : We have to « stand firm » and « refuse » any other form of slavery (Gal 5 :1) in order to « say YES » to God, to serve Him … as slaves (Rom 6 :22) ! What’s the use of leaving one kind of slavery just to fall into another kind ? Is this our destiny ?

Here are the results of being set free : « our fruit » – which we bear but we do not produce – « is sanctification », and « the result is eternal life ».

The expression « fruit » or « benefit » is used in verse 21 where the consequences of sins are dealt with. But verse 22 deals with the « fruit » or « immediate benefit » of serving God : God turns us into saints.

A saint is someone set apart by God and for Him. Do we get it? A saint testifies of the fact that he no longer belongs to himself and is no longer master of of his destiny. From now on, « his times are in the hand of God » (Ps 31:15) who leads him.

Likewise,  we are called to belong to our Lord and God, totally, freely and out of love.  In this way, we can live face to face and heart to heart with God.

Being on God’s side, we are now really free to live a holy life : our freedom doesn’t consist of having the choice between being righteous or not, or having slander of the tongue or not (Ps 15v2-3), or loving or not. But because the God we serve is love (1 John 4v16), we can love our God with all our strength, love our neighbour as ourselves (Luke 10v27) and love our brother as Jesus loved us (John 13v34).

Sanctification is not a privilege or an honor reserved exclusively for the elite or the clergy, but it is our share and our service for God and for the good of others. But in order to have fruit maniefsted, we need to take care of the root, which is our secret life or intimacy with God, and we do this through humble fasting and prayer. Indeed, « without the root, there is no fruit ! »

Prayer : « I surrender my will to take my destiny into my own hands, and I rejoice about entering into the my liberator’s plans for me! »

Sunday, 24 september 2017 – Seize your destiny, Be an intercessor

Esther 4:13-14  Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

The story of Esther touches the heart of both men and women. This young jewess, thrust out of her comfort zone and sovereignly placed in the courts of the king, is known today as the woman who brought about the salvation of her people threatened by destruction. The words of Mordecai (who represents the Holy Spirit) reveal a lot about how the Lord guides his beloved, because he seems to be saying :

• « Don’t think that you will be spared ». In other words, « don’t think that you can hide from danger ». (You could even say that an antisemitic spirit was behind Haman’s plot).

• God is your only refuge. Even your association with someone important like the king of the land won’t protect you. Sometimes we seek refuge in other things rather than the Lord. But we cannot put our trust in the world system, nor the things of this world.

• « If you keep silent at this time… » Each of us has the potential to be a spokesperson for the Lord. But it is easier to not speak up, to not « trouble the waters », to not get involved. It is easy to consider oneself « shy » or « introverted » … but in reality we are all responsable for what we know, what we have learned. It takes courage to open your mouth in order to seize your destiny.

• « Deliverance will come from somewhere else… » God’s plan doesn’t change. It is still to bring salvation and to bring the kingdom of heaven here on earth. The only variable is WHO will participate in the execution of His plan. Someone who has seized their destiny is not content to be a spectator…he wants to participate with God to see His will achieved. It is up to each of us to choose if we want to be the instrument of God or not.

• « Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for SUCH A TIME AS THIS? » Often we don’t realise that God has placed us strategically. He uses EVERYTHING in our lives to put us in the right place at the right time. Our role is to listen to the Holy Spirit, for God can use us in surprising ways. Take this time of fasting as a moment to commit ourselves afresh to hearing and obeying the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Renew your intimacy with Him, and become more aware of His presence and His actions through your life.

Saturday, 23 September – The Need to be Trained (2)

Acts 2:46  And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart.  8:1 And there arose … a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

On the day of Pentecost Jews from all over the world came to Jerusalem as commanded by the Scriptures.  Among this immense throng 3000 souls came to salvation, were baptized, and were added to the church.  And none of them went home.  They all stayed in Jerusalem and learned the Word of God and the foundations of the kingdom of heaven.

Six chapters later, and (from my estimation) 3 to 4 years later, these same Christians are dispersed throughout the Roman empire.  And everywhere they went they preached the gospel and established churches.   I believe God brought these people from around the world to Jerusalem and to salvation so that they would later become a seed planted that would bear much fruit for the glory of God.

I understand that life is stressful, and resources are limited.  But if we are going to have any impact on the world today we need something more than just two hours on a Sunday morning.  Those two hours are precious and should never be neglected!  But  the primary objectives for our weekly gathering is to celebrate the Lord, and encourage His people.  Training and equipping must be done at other times.

Over my nearly 30 years in France I have witnessed the closing of several Bible schools and seminaries.  At a time when the church should be training more and more leaders, it seems as though we have lost the will to invest in our future.  But I don’t accept this as God’s plan.

I believe God is awakening in your heart right now a desire to be trained in the foundations of the faith, in the ministry gifts, in leadership, and in how to use the work place to advance the kingdom of heaven.  You were born for this time, and you don’t have any more excuses for NOT being trained.  Ask God today what you can do to pursue more training.

Friday, 22 September 2017 – Israel and the Church

Romans 11:1  I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 23 And they (the Israelites) also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again. 26 and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.

The Church of the Lord Jesus began as a Jewish church which learned how to build a bridge to the non-Jewish people of the world.  Now, the Church has become non-Jewish; and we are learning how to build a bridge back to the Jewish people.

As a Jewish Church the early believers in Jesus maintained all of the practices they had before believing in Jesus as Messiah.  They began to see how their practices became more « complete » in Messiah. But when God began to add many non-Jewish people to the faith many of the church leaders, especially the apostle Paul, understood that the many of the practices of the faith, prior to the cross, were not to be put upon the non-Jewish people.  But this does not mean that those practices were evil, or were « put away. »

It wasn’t until the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine, late in the 4th century, that all the manners, customs, and traditions of the Jewish faith were completely banned from the « Christian » Church.  By this time the Church of Jesus was largely non-Jewish.  And yet, there were so many practices in the church that were deemed Jewish by the Roman Emperor, he felt a ban was necessary to make the church less Jewish and more « Roman. » .  That means that for the best part of the first 300 years the Church enjoyed a rich understanding of the Hebraic roots of the faith.  Unfortunately, Constantine not only severed the connection with the roots of our faith, he adopted in its place many cultic practices in the Roman, Egyptian and Babylonian religions of his day.

In our day God is revealing to His Church the importance of understanding that our faith was not created in Acts chapter two on the day of Pentecost.  Our faith is that of father Abraham, and the Church is non other than the accomplishment of what God promised to Abraham: through your seed (Jesus) all the nations shall be blessed.

The idea of « loving Israel » is not about endorsing the political State called Israel.  It is loving the promises of God given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God changed Jacob’s name to Israel and he fathered the 12 tribes of people that God chose to be His own people among all the people of the world.

We, the non-Jewish people who are in Messiah, are the spiritual descendants.  But God has neither rejected nor forgotten the physical descendants.  I encourage you to pray today that God would open your eyes more to all that the Bible teaches regarding the roots of your faith.  Pray also that God would open the eyes of the Jewish people to their Messiah.

Thursday, 21 September – Rosh Hashana

Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. Day for the feast of the Shofar! The trumpet made of a ram’s horn announces the good news.

Leviticus 25:9 Then, on the tenth day of the seventh month, on Yom-Kippur, you are to sound a blast on the trumpet (shofar); you are to sound the trumpets all through your land;

Welcome to the tenth day of the seventh biblical month. Yes, it’s today! And there is a spiritual blessing you don’t want to miss ! As we see in the book of the prophet Isaiah, it is the feast with  » the sound of the Shofar » or the feast of trumpets. We dress ourselves for the feast. The trumpet of which the Bible speaks is a ram’s horn. It is a prophetic instrument that announces good news.

The feast of trumpets is also called “Rosh Hashana » in Hebrew, which means, literally, “the head of the year”. It is on this day when the people of God celebrate the new year, the commemoration of the creation of man, and the commemoration of the sin of Adam (in Hebrew: Yom Teruah, or Day of Shouts, or Day of Shine).

According to the text in Leviticus 23:24, this day is also connected to Yom Kippur, the day of the expiation and redemption! Ten days later. But why all these trumpets?

God said to his people in the times of the prophet Joel: « Blow the trumpet in Zion! Make it resound on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble! For the day of the LORD cometh, for he is near.” (Joel 2: 1) When the Shofar sounds he announces what is new in God, as well as that his judgment is imminent. He’s coming soon!

God does not make new thing happen without judging and destroying the old things. Judgment and salvation come together! Jesus-Yeshua is the Judge and the Savior. The Lamb gave His life for His friends, but the Lion will devour His enemies. The trumpet sings of justice and mercy.

The promises God for his children are coming and Rosh Hashana announces the sweetness and goodness of the Lord through the honey that the Jews, young and old, eat during this feast, to remember that the Word is sweeter than the Honey and the promises are all good. In the synagogues the trumpet blows a hundred times!

In Ps 89:15 it is written : « How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD. » The wise men of Israel say that this is because of the resurrection of the dead! They are right; the Gospels give us the complete revelation. 1 Corinthians 15:52 – « In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed ».

It is Jesus-Yeshua who comes back and calls us with the power and the cry of His voice! Listen to the shofar and the voice of the Holy Spirit for a sweet, bright and blessed year!

Wednesday, 20 Septembre 2017 – What lies do to us

John 8:44 (WEB)  He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn’t stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and its father.

Two things never cease to amaze me: The power of Truth, and the power of a Lie.  And we all have a mix of these two things working in our lives.  Your progress in the Lord will always be measured by how much of the truth you discover and believe regarding God, His plan for the world, who you are in Him, and what your role is in His plan.  Your frustration as a Christian will always be measured by how many lies you have believed about God, His plan for the world, who you are in Him and what your role is in His plan.  I sincerely believe it is that simple.

Believe the truth and you will most certainly succeed.  Believe the lie and you most certainly will not!

The devil cannot speak the truth.  He can « quote » the truth but only in a scheme to sow a lie into the heart at the same time.  Anything he says always has the same objective: destroy whatever God wants to build.  The devil doesn’t hate you; he hates God.  He wants to destroy you in order to ruin God’s reputation in the earth.

In your soul there are countless memories of experiences you have had throughout your life, some good, some bad, some very traumatic.  Attached to every single memory is a statement about the kind of person you are or the kind of God you believe in.  If the statement is from heaven, then it is true.  But far too often, if the experience was negative, the statement attached to the memory is toxic and it hinders God’s grace from working effectively in our lives.

We are nearing the middle of the Daniel Fast.  I want to strongly encourage you to ask God to reveal any lie that has been hidden deep in your soul.  Once He has done that, ask Him to speak His truth over that part of your life.  Write it down; commit yourself to it.  And then ask the Holy Spirit to help you begin to live the truth.

Tuesday, 19 Septembre 2017 – Love one another

John 13:34–36  Now I give you a new commandment : love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples… Where are you going? Simon Peter asked him.

We know this text so well that we could continue our Christian walk exactly like Peter in this conversation : He thinks he is ready to « move heaven and earth » in order to follow Jesus, but he doesn’t really pay attention to His words or to the example that He just left them as He washed his disciples feet ! (see v. 13 to 17).

Here, Jesus chooses to entrust us with the way to follow Him : brotherly love. If we want to follow Him and « enter into our destiny », then the practice of this new commandment is the key, as well as the necessary oxygen to walk in Christ. The first testament taught us to « love our neighbour as ourselves », which seems difficult even for the experienced Christian. But Jesus goes even further when He asks us to love our brothers and sisters in Christ as Himself loved us (see John 13 :14-15 and John 15:8-10).

This may seem impossible, so we tend to invent the path « in between », imagining that God accepts it. But there are only two paths : the narrow path leading to life, and the wide path leading to death. Maybe we deceive ourselves, trying to reassure ourselves that we do better than others, which is in fact spiritual pride ? Or else, we try to justify ourselves, arguing that this brother or that sister doesn’t walk enough in love or truth or holiness, so getting close to them would prevent us from living a spiritual fulness, from finding our place or entering into our call ? Such lies ! « If we say we love God, but hate our brothers and sisters, we are liars. For people cannot love God, whom they have not seen, if they do not love their brothers and sisters, whom they have seen ». 1 John 4 :20 (also see 1 John 3 and 4).

God intentionally placed in His Body different members right next to us, and they may seem weaker or difficult to tolerate, but this gives us the opportunity to crucify our flesh (which will always prevent us from grasping our individual and collective destiny). So, since we all belong to the Body of Christ, being interconnected, we have to live out this love in practical terms, not only with all Christians (no exception) of our local church, of our sister churches, but also of the churches of a same city or region, giving ourselves to each other.

Let us therefore receive the gift of repentance on this subject, through which God will give us the way to put into practice His command to love each other like Jesus did : with a whole heart, and this not only during the fast, but all along this year.

Monday, 18 September 2017 – Recognize the grace on your life

Ephesians 2:8-10  For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.

As we start this second week of the Daniel Fast we want to begin to turn our attention on developing within us those things that God has promised us.  And this all begins with His great grace.

Grace is divine capacity working in and through an imperfect vessel.  You are that vessel.  The power of God that brought you to salvation and continues to keep you in the way of salvation is the grace of God.

As Jesus prepared himself to enter Jerusalem one week before he would hang on the cross, he told his disciples to go and find a donkey tied to a tree and to bring it to him.  When the donkey was led to Jesus it was quite terrified that he had been chosen to bring the Prince of Peace into the holy city.  What a glory had been bestowed upon such a lowly animal.

The donkey performed beautifully in front of huge crowds of people and did his job admirably.  That night while he was hanging out and having a drink all of the other donkeys came to him and started congratulating him on the wonderful job he did in bringing the Messiah to Jerusalem.  However, some of the donkeys became jealous that they were not chosen; others were intimated by the fact that the Creator of all donkeys had sat on the back of this one now « very anointed » donkey.

But the chosen donkey had tasted of the true glory of heaven, which is very different from the glory of man.  He knew that his true reward was a simple joy that came, not because people saw the donkey, but because they could see Jesus lifted up and coming in His glory.  The donkey’s joy came from doing only what he was created to do.  And that deserved no glory from man.

God has created you and gifted you for something very special in this life.  Today, I encourage you to ask God to reveal to you what those gifts/graces are.  Make a note of what He shows you; and commit yourself to them.

Sunday, 17 September 2017 – Seize your destiny, be a worshipper

John 4:23-24  But the time is coming, and is even now here, when the true worshippers will give worship to the Father in the true way of the spirit, for these are the worshippers desired by the Father. God is Spirit: then let his worshippers give him worship in the true way of the spirit.

To say it succinctly, our ultimate destiny is to please our Heavenly Father. The above verse reveals that one thing in particular touches the heart of God: our worship. Not only on Sunday mornings, but the sweet fragrance that arises from our hearts at every moment: when we wake up, in traffic jams, waiting in line, during lunch break, before falling asleep at night, etc. Even if not every Christian is called to be a worship leader, every Christian is called to praise and worship God. How can we define worship? Very simply put, “the immediate response of one’s entire being (body, soul and spirit) which manifests a loving appreciation and admiration of God and his attributes.” In other words, worship is our ALL that loves ALL that God does and ALL that God is!

Worshipping God does not mean just singing. The first time the word “worship” appears in the Bible is in Genesis 22:5 – “Abraham said to his servants : ‘ Remain here with the donkey; and I and the boy will go onwards and worship, and then come back again to you.” In this passage, Abraham didn’t go up with his guitar to sing to God. He left to offer to the Lord the most precious thing he owned: the son promised to him by the Almighty!

What do you possess that means the whole world to you? Your family? Your comfort? Your reputation? Your ministry? Imagine if the Lord asked you to renounce these things, and lay them on the altar…even if He was the One who gave them to you in the first place! Perhaps you are currently living a dream…or about to enter into some promise from God…and suddenly you hear that still, small voice asking « Would you sacrifice this thing to me, out of love? Will you trust me » ?

Worship that is expressed mechanically, religiously, or half-heartedly doesn’t really touch the heart of God. But the decision to give Him something that costs us everything moves Him. King David understood this. When he was required to make a sacrifice to the Lord, someone offered him the oxen and wagons for free. David’s response reveals his worshipper’s heart : « I will not give unto the Lord, my God, a sacrifice that costs me nothing. » (See 2 Sam 24:19-25) Take time, during this period of fasting, to target your attitudes in regards to sacrifices, and especially your worship lifestyle, which is so much a part of your destiny.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 – The Need to be Trained (1)

Numbers 22:26  And the angel of Jehovah went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And the ass saw the angel of Jehovah, and she lay down under Balaam: and Balaam`s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with his staff. 28 And Jehovah opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

Matthew 11:11 : Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

John was a mouth piece in the hands of God who was mightily used to prepare the way for the coming of Jesus.  After preaching the coming kingdom of heaven for only about 18 months, John was thrown in prison and then killed by order of the king.  Following this, Jesus made the remark that there had never risen a greater prophet than John.

It is fascinating to remark especially in our day of micro-waved grace, that from the time John was in his mother’s womb he was filled with the Spirit.  For roughly 30 years John was being trained, equipped and prepared for a ministry that only lasted a year and a half!  Yet Jesus gave him the testimony that never had one arisen, born of women, who was greater than John.

Contrast this with the lowliest of animals, the ass.  Balaam was a type of prophet, but was not Hebrew.  Nevertheless, he was obviously used of God in his day.  The evil king Balak wanted him to come and curse the Israelites as they were making their way to the promised land. Against God’s will Balaam decided to take the bribe.  But in going to the evil king the donkey saw the angel of the Lord who was ready to strike down the disobedient prophet.

Three times the donkey protected Balaam, only to be smitten by him each time.  Then God opened the donkey’s mouth and the animal spoke to Balaam as though it were a human.

So, my question is: What is the difference between the ass and John the baptist?  The answer is simple: 30 years of training!

It is a beautiful thing when God anoints a child in prayer, or uses the faith of a new Christian to bring about a healing or some other miracle.  But if you are going to prepare the coming of Jesus, you will have to go through many years of rigorous training.  Your only option is to be like this ass, who, by a gift of God, opened it’s mouth and miraculously spoke with intelligence – once!

Friday, 15 September 2017 – The Importance of Divine Connections

Ephesians 2:19  So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone; 21 in whom each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.

The letter to the Ephesian Christians is a masterpiece of revelation concerning the Church of the Lord Jesus.  But I just want to lift one phrase out of this immensely full passage: We are fellow-citizens … fitly framed together growing into a holy temple.

A fellow-citizen is in contrast to a stranger (foreigner) and sojourner (tourist).  As we have seen this week with the Greek word katlambano, a fellow-citizen is someone who has taken ownership, whereas the foreigner and tourist make no investment in the place they are visiting.

Paris is the most visited city in the world with more than 75 million tourists a year.  Add to that the more than half a million people who come to Paris for their studies, and the huge number of foreign workers, and that makes for a city filled with people who are only passing through.  And whereas tourism is the number one industry in Paris, it is only those who are residents that get to vote for those who actually run the city.

Paul uses the phrase fitly joined together only here and in chapter 4:16, and in both cases it speaks of people that God connects in a strategic manner that enables the body of Christ to grow and mature.  Without those connections, the body CAN’T grow.

It is perhaps the single most important thing that I have learned over the years in terms of seeing God’s kingdom advance in the earth.  The small part that I bring is so insignificant.  But if I can connect with others in a strategic way, then what we bring together is powerful.  This is why I believe it is important that every Christian should be a functioning partner in a local church family.  And every local church should also be connected to a larger network of churches, or spiritual tribe.  Our special relationships should never become walls that keep others out, but rather bridges of resources that can be shared with others.

So, find your place today in God’s family.  And encourage your spiritual leaders to actively build healthy relationships with other leaders that will benefit all of the body of Christ.

Thursday, 14 September 2017 – Find your destiny

Jeremiah 1:5-7 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart ; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Ah, Sovereign LORD, I said, I do not know how to speak ; I am only a child. But the Lord said to me, Do not say, I am only a child. You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

I sincerely believe that each one of us has a destiny, established by God and confirmed in our lives by the new birth. But for many of us, knowing the details of this destiny seems rather difficult.
As a young Christian, every time I heard a preacher say « You have a destiny in God », I thought : « Of course, I would really like to know it ». Today I can assure you that, with time, patience and the help of the Holy Spirit, as well as spiritual mentors (thoughtful guides and experienced counselors), I learned to discover mine.
For me, the meaning of the word « destiny » is « to know the reason why you were born ». It is important to believe that you were born, not by accident, but because God had a specific reason to give you life. Living your destiny means to really enter into this purpose and give it your whole heart and soul.
The prophet Jeremiah, despite his amazing experience with God, saw himself as a baby, unable to enter a divine destiny. So his problem was not about revelation, but rather his own faith and surrender. Often, the same happens with us.
Here are three things that can help you better understand your destiny :
1. What do you love ? That love will develop into a passion to serve.
2. What don’t you like ? Often it reveals our area of spiritual warfare
3. What is a burden to you ? That is what you are called to heal.
Today, ask God to help you better know these three things and understand their meaning. Do not let confusion trap you; stay peaceful and ask for the Holy Spirit’s help.

Wednesday, 13 September – katalambano (2)

Philippians 3:12-14  Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing [I do], forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

If you missed the entry for yesterday, please time a moment and go back and read it.  We are talking about this powerful Greek word: katalambano. It means to run after and seize with excessive force.

There is a great difference between being the owner of something and just renting it.  In the early years of the US Virginia colony a law was passed that only property owners were eligible to vote.  This was to prevent the large masses arriving from England, and who had no vested interest in the future of the colony to determine her politics.  And there is certainly a spiritual application to this.

The Greek word katalambano suggests that once you seized the thing you were running after, you would literally take possession of it, and it of you.  Many of us have taken ownership of things that simply don’t belong to us: the worries and cares of this world, the offenses and failures of our brothers or sisters, the current economic and political situations, and the list continues.  At the same time we too often fail to take ownership of the things that truly matter: our adoption as sons and daughters and with it our identity in Christ, the love and forgiveness in God that is never-ending, the peace that passes all mental comprehension, the destiny that drives the kingdom of heaven, and the list continues.

There are, however, some very practical things that I exhort you today to take full ownership of:

  1. First of all this Daniel Fast
  2. Secondly, your marriage covenant.
  3. Thirdly, the plan of God for your life (even if you aren’t perfectly clear as to what it is.
  4. And finally, your local church (spiritual family).

Decide now that the days of being a renter are over.  You are going to become an owner of the things that God has given you.  And as well, decide that you are going to refuse ownership of the things that God has not specifically given you.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 – katalambano (1)

Philippians 3:12-14  Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing [I do], forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

So many Christians focus on the first part of this passage: I have not obtained perfection.  But the real key is the phrase lay hold on.  Paul says that he is laying hold on the thing that laid hold on him through Jesus Christ.  That thing is nothing other than God’s plan for your life.  Remember Paul was always passionate about the Church of Jesus.  But before his conversion he was laying hold on the Church to do it harm.  But then God’s plan laid hold on him and now Paul was laying hold on that plan to build up the Church.

The Greek word here is: katalambano. The Greek word lambano means to take in hand, or to take hold of.  But the prefix kata acts like an amplifier to the verb.  So katalambano literally means to run after and seize with excessive force.  And it implies that you never grow tired of it, and you never, ever, let go of it.

In the US you would say: Own it.  The great difference between a child and an adult, is that a child doesn’t own anything.  And what he thinks he owns he bought with someone else’s money. An adult earns money, saves, plans, and when he does purchase something, he can say, I own that.

Are you an adult or are you a child in the kingdom of heaven?  It is wonderful when we can go to church and enjoy wonderful worship, when it was someone else who paid the price to practice, pray and prepare.  It is wonderful when the preacher gives us a message from heaven that we didn’t pay for in intercession.  It is wonderful when church members love us and welcome us when we didn’t give anything to deserve that.  But what would happen if God asked me to grow up and become a spiritual adult?  What would be my response if God said to me: Child, you must katalambano My will for you, or you will miss it?

It is time to grow up, my friend.  Spiritual babies don’t advance God’s kingdom in the earth; to do that, you must be a spiritual adult.

Monday, 11 September 2017 – Humility

Leviticus 16 :29  And let this be an order to you forever: in the seventh month, on the tenth day, you are to keep yourselves from pleasure and do no sort of work, those who are Israelites by birth and those from other lands who are living among you.

Matthew 6 :17  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face

These verses show us that fasting is mostly about our inner being, in view of denying or humbling ourselves. Thus we better understand the warning from Jesus about the risk of glorifying ourselves through an obvious fast : clearly, when you fast, says Jesus, don’t let everyone know that you are fasting ! (Matt. 6 :17)

Today, as we follow Jesus, we understand that fasting consists not only of refraining for a time from food and drink, of course, but also from some things that are not necessarily bad. In fact, fasting according to Jesus is much more :

Therefore, fasting is also « a fast for the eye », to take care of our soul, as we avoid anything that can pollute it through what we look at : advertisement, TV movies, internet, video games … Just like Job, we « make a covenant with our eyes to not look lustfully at a girl » (Job 31 :1 – cf Matt 5 :27-28). Let’s remember that « the eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light » (Matt. 6:22). Let’s cultivate a good and honest way of looking at things.

Fasting is also a « fast for the ears » : we close our ears to slander, ill-speaking, deceit and gossip, in order to open them to the Word of truth, through which the Father sanctifies us (John 17 :17), but also the cries of the suffering or the heavy-burdened (Is 58).

Fasting is also a fast of the lips or words: it’s about refraining from murmuring, slandering, cursing, speaking ill … which pollutes us and others. Rather, let’s learn to bless, speak of good things from God in others, and choose words which will contribute to the building up of everyone.

But it is also about talking less to listen better: « Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. As a dream comes when there are many cares, so the speech of a fool when there are many words » (Eccl 5 : 2-3).

Fasting is also a fast for the thoughts : « For from within, out of men’s hearts come evil thoughts … all these evils come from inside and make a man unclean » (Mark 7 :21-23). On the other hand, « whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things » (Phil. 4 :8).

As we see, fasting affects all the areas of our lives, and is not just a matter for a short period of time, but for a lifetime. Mission impossible?

Fortunately, « you must deny yourselves » is not merely a command from God. It also holds the promise that we will make it through His grace and His help.

 

Sunday, September 10th : beginning of the fast

Philippians 3:12-14  Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which also I was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I could not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing [I do], forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

I want to welcome you to the 2017 Daniel Fast.  Since the terrible heat-wave of 2003 that killed thousands of people in France, every September we have called our congregation and as many Christians as possible to set aside 21 days to seek the Lord through prayer, the Word and by abstaining from certains foods and entertainment (to learn more about how to do the fast, click here).  Every year we have seen God do amazing things in our lives.  But I am convinced that this year will surpass everything that God has done until now.

September is not only the start of the school year for many people in the northern hemisphere, it is also the start of the Biblical year, according to the Hebrew calendar.  This year Rosh Hashanah (or the start of the Biblical cycle) starts on the eve of 21 September.  And for the very first time in the history of our Daniel Fast we will end it during the feast of Yom Kippur, which begins at sundown on 30 September.

Personally, I am so passionate about this year’s Fast.  Frankly, the past 12 months have been among the most difficult of my life. The Lord revealed to me so clearly that there was a special demonic plan to « take me out » of the ministry, or at least leave me so wounded and bitter as to no longer be effective for the kingdom. Brothers and sisters, I don’t think I am alone in this.  Well, I believe payback is coming!  And this is the time!

I tell you by the name of the LORD of heaven, that not only are we taking back what was stolen, but we’re going to receive 7 times more!  We are moving forward into ALL that the Lord has promised us. We’re not turning back; we are facing our challenges head on and we will see the Lord do wonders for the sake of His name and His kingdom.

I believe the Holy Spirit is asking you right now to fully engage your heart and soul in this time of seeking the face of God.  Before you go to bed tonight I encourage you to pray; commit yourself to this fast; write down your personal goals and needs.  And then get ready for the miracles of heaven.

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