I am fasting from the service of money. Lately I find that my increased focus on money has caused thorns and thistles to grow and choke the words in the soft garden of my heart. Thus, I have found an additional purpose to fast. I am fasting from the most prevalent worry of this world, the fear of a lack of money (Actually not for myself, ironically.) Like the Apostle Paul advised, “I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control.” What has money got to do with subduing the body (physical)? For me and many other born again believers, we believe we need to hear God and receive wisdom to manage our lives on earth. God actually speaks through His revelation words and many other ways. When we are tied down in our physical needs and worrying and occupied mind we just cannot hear Him clearly and align with His plan accurately. Fasting is always accompanied with reading His words and praying. I pray this sharing of my experience encourages you to ponder over how you may hear God too.
As I have written in this blog previously, there are variations and ways to prepare. (click this link to read)
Three types of fasting: Normal- Abstaining from food, solids, liquids except for water. Absolute – Abstaining from everything. (Not more than three days.) Partial (Daniel 10:3) Restricted Diet. Jesus fasted and taught it as a part of the Christian discipline.
You may choose from a long list of choices: 1. the number of days (1, 3, 7, 14, 21, 40) 2. the number of meals to abstain (1, 2, all ) 3. eat vegetables/fruits only 4. no solid intake, drink water/liquid only.
This time I decided to have plain water with no food and solid intake for three days. Prior to this, I did a full 24 hours’ fast as a preliminary trial, followed by a break of taking one light meal a day for two days. I would urge you to follow the prompting you receive from the Lord. How is the fast so far? It is showing positive effect after getting through the tough second day. For new comers, yes, you may feel physically uncomfortable initially. But you can overcome it by focusing on the right source of your strength and purpose. Throughout the Bible God tells us that He is our strength and focus.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Passion Translation (TPT)
Paul’s Disciplined Lifestyle
24 Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack[a] keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. 25 A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. 26 For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise[b] or box like one throwing aimless punches, 27 but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body[c] and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.
- 1 Corinthians 9:24 Or “the runners in a stadium.” This refers to the Pan-Hellenic stadium near Corinth where the Isthmian games were held.
- 1 Corinthians 9:26 Or “I don’t run aimlessly.” That is, Paul ran with his eyes on the goal of ending well.
- 1 Corinthians 9:27 Or “I beat my body black and blue.” This is an obvious metaphor of placing the desires of one’s body as second place to the desires of the Holy Spirit. See Rom. 8:13.
Money Matters: To SERVE money means to place such a high value on it that we develop a wrong priority compared with our relationship with God and others. Here are some symptoms: Place our trust and faith in it. Look to it for our security and happiness. Expect that it will guarantee our future. Desire it more than we desire God (as evidenced by the time we spend with whom). Our life is then spent in the pursuit of it rather than God.
Jesus spoke about money through these Bible verses:
Matthew 6:19-24 New Living Translation (NLT)
Teaching about Money and Possessions
19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
22 “Your eye is like a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is unhealthy, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
I started reading 2 Corinthians in the Bible with freshness and revelation in my spirit. I believe this is an antidote to the prevailing fear in the face of uncertainties in the external factors that appear to impact our life and our ministry. In chapter one Paul displayed his key success factor, the God he believed in. Who is God? What can God do? What has God done? What is his relationship with God? These are the questions he has answered. I pray you too will be comforted and reassured as you read Paul’s confession in this letter.
My summary of 2 Corinthians Chapter 1 Paul is entirely God-focused:
- God is: God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
- God raises the dead: who delivered them (Paul and his team) from death in the past, and does deliver them (present), and in whom they trust that He will still deliver them in future.
- God is faithful with all His promises: when He says Yes He means Yes.
- God is his witness; anointed them; given them the Spirit as seal and guarantee; God gives grace and wisdom abundantly to Paul and his team.
- Paul is apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.
- Paul follows God’s plan (walking by the Holy Spirit) in every decision.
- With God in mind, Paul and his team conduct themselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity.
- Paul values the answered prayer/intercession by the Corinthian and Achaia Christians for Paul and his team’s safety.
Someone close forwarded to me a monetary write-up. I did not finish reading it and immediately told her not to share it to anyone anymore. The write-up mentioned an announcement by an international organization about a monetary decision and related speculations.
I am always confronted with questions like this. What shall we do about our rather humble investments which may be affected by policy changes in the world? Like what I told my faraway friend I could only tell her my views and predictions (prophecies) when we meet face to face as it is too complex to talk about in a chat. I would have to explain to her many multifaceted power factors and variables, social, political, economic, financial and many more. I shall need to explain to her the issues of two parallel kingdoms and citizens of the Kingdom of God are not to panic like the residents of another kingdom because we walk by the Spirit and not bound by the limitations of the external world.
So coming back to a small investor what shall we do? I have only one fall-safe advice. Do not follow the pack. Do not believe in the media (including so-called analysts). Do not make any hasty decision based on hearsay. Do not follow the world and its way.
Do follow the Holy Spirit.
I know someone will cry by now. How to follow the Holy Spirit if you have never practiced hearing Him and following His advice? Money is where the heart is. How to trust the Holy Spirit if you have never learned to trust and obey Him in small money matters like offerings and givings? Jesus gave a good way to test if you have listened and acted correctly. He said only the good trees produce good fruit. He also specifically said that hearing Him and acting on it would assure that your house is built on solid rock.
How to listen to the Holy Spirit? For a start, be baptized by the Holy Spirit and pray in tongue. Read God’s word (the Bible). Meditate on His words. Talk to God and listen to His Spirit talking to your spirit. No, it is not an intuition or magic. It is a relationship with someone really close built up over time.
Christians (born again by the Holy Spirit) have the ability to hear God. The Spirit in you is not a spirit of fear. It is a spirit of power, love, and sound mind. Fear is the major tool to make you lose peace and rest in God. You will forget God’s love for you which is a constant factor. God does not change His love. God’s Love is a supernatural power. Every Christian has this power.
My advice is always fall back on God’s love, peace and the faith that He has placed in your heart. Always maintain your close relationship with Him like you do with your best loved one. He has never failed me.
Be encouraged and built up by these Bible verses:
Romans 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
2 Timothy 1:7, 13-14 New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 training, discipline
3 John 2 New King James Version (NKJV)
2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.
Education gives us facts and knowledge. But wisdom gives us the abilities to use knowledge for good productive purposes -doing the right thing, with the right people/object, at the right time and place, producing the right outcome. A successful businessman described how he was saved from a financial disaster through the operation of wisdom instead of knowledge.
Here is his experience with the supernatural wisdom.
He talked about a business deal that he was looking about buying this entire apartment complex. He said the financial numbers looked great. Everything looked really good. He said I kept wanting to do it and the more I prayed about it, the Holy Spirit said, “No!” And he said I know when the Holy Spirit says no the Holy Spirit says no. “We had signed a letter of intent but we had not signed a contract on the property to buy it. And so I went to see the vendor.” He said, I prayed some more in the Holy Spirit because it looked really good in the natural. And the Spirit of God on the inside of me said no. And so I said, “We are not going to do this.” The vendor just went ballistic, crazy. But three months later or something the city condemned the building and they had to move all the people out of it and for months they did not get their money. It would have been a complete financial disaster. The Holy Spirit knows things that we do not know and if we listen to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit will keep us out of trouble.
Where do we find wisdom? We find wisdom in Christ. Christ lives on the inside of you, and you can learn to draw from your spirit on the inside.
Colossians 2:3 (NKJV) in Whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV) For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:30 (NLT) God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (TPT) For God made the only one who did not know sin to become sin for us, so that we who did not know righteousness might become the righteousness of God through our union with him.
Who you are affects what you do. So, if you see yourself as righteous, having been made by God “the righteousness of God in Christ”, there are certain places you will not want to go and certain things you will not want to do because that is not who you are.
The way we think influences the contents we speak of. Some people may prefer their life colors remain in varying shades of grey. But there are times in lives we stand at the watershed between truth and untruth and need to make a clearly demarcated decision.
A current news event has stirred up my memory of a story I read sometime ago about a young woman uncovering her unmarried aunt’s reason for remaining single. She still could not forget her first love from junior high school. She did not marry him because she was ambitious and felt that he could not possibly give her the financial freedom she yearned for. They separated and lost contact for decades. She became a famous commercial artist in her own right. The young niece did some sleuthing and finally tracked down the man in question. He turned out to be a very successful but reclusive industrialist manufacturing highly sought after exquisite glassware. He had married, divorced and remained single. He soon detected this young girl stalking him and confronted her. Here is the anti-climax: when she told him she was trying to reconcile him with her aunt, he categorically denied having ever known her aunt!
What really happened? The girl was disappointed and puzzled. The aunt told her the name of her first love and this man bore that name. But this man had no idea who the aunt was and denied ever loving any woman of that description. The girl finally found and showed him the faded photo of her aunt and her young lover from high school. It dawned on the industrialist that the young man was his classmate and good friend then. Apparently the aunt remembered a wrong name. The girl was shocked. All these years the aunt was stalking/thinking of the wrong man when she kept abreast of news about his development and achievements in life.
But what happened to the other man? The undistinguished real lover? The girl eventually found him, an ordinary man at his death bed in a hospice. He had married, propagated, widowed, retired and lived with his grown-up son and family. He thought she was her aunt because of the resemblance. In the story she let this poor man hold her hand until he breathed his last.
I know my memory cannot be classified as totally objective, factual, accurately organized and stored like untempered computer data. I used to think otherwise. But one day my younger sister unknowingly challenged the accuracy of my facts. I overheard her recalling a historical family incident to our younger relatives. I remember everything just as she narrated except for one crucial fact. In my memory I was the hero who did that act of charity. In her narration she became that charitable person! How can that be? I was stunned. I stayed silent. Either one of us has to be wrong. Who is it? She is an honest person. I know that as a fact. So am I. But one of us remembers an untruth.
What affects my memory? How do I remember things? I use ways to memorize different details, often by associations which are not entirely reliable. Despite being a very careful reader of maps, when I am driving in a less familiar terrain (and without GPS), suddenly realizing that some familiar landmarks have changed without my previous noticing, I would find myself stopping my car in the middle of the road, pulling aside to figure out where I am on the map, because I cannot rely on my internalized auto-pilot system anymore.
I personally find that faces, names and places are the most difficult items to synchronize when recalling. Often I have to put memory pieces like jigsaw puzzles (real and imagined?) together to form a coherent (in my thinking) narrative picture. Association can be misleading and deceptive too like the story above of the two young men and their names being mixed up in the memory of a young girl.
Being fond of writing and reading words, I realize that my thinking formulates pictures the way I see them in my mind which is in turn influenced by many variable factors, some real, some unintentionally and often unconsciously creatively imagined. After awhile, I even speak as if they are real. I am thankful that I have a family and loved ones with enough common sense and who are not afraid to point out where I err in this memory-recalling processing task.
What matters is how God sees us. Knowing how He sees me and aligning with His view will be the best guide for every aspect of life. What about memory? Leave it aside unless it fits the following happy thoughts.
So keep your (my) thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your (my) thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always. (Philippians 4:8)
My thinking has a lot to do with where I go in life. God is a lot more concerned with where I am going than where I came from. God is in the spiritual realm. He has the best thoughts for me. If I do not begin to think there, I cannot go there in the natural. But if I begin to think in a different realm, that is, the spiritual, my thoughts will help me go there and bring back to the natural every spiritual blessing and prove the perfect will of God in my natural life.
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me. (John 17:6-8)
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.
John 14:21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
John 17:26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
The watchman has lately been increasingly prompted and deeply impressed in his spirit to spend more quality time with God, seeking God for Himself and not what He can do. So this morning he dusted the floor, took out the thin mat which he had tucked away for quite sometime in the closet since moving to this house.
After spending an hour or so in praying mostly in tongue and reading aloud God’s words at brief intervals, he finally settled down at one spot and leaned his back against the wall underneath a window. Then he heard in his spirit this, “You have done enough talking. Now it’s my turn.” So he listened.
“First, this woman (a sister whom another house-mate is ministering to) was already healed; she will live and not die. Healing is not your ministry. Secondly, cooking ministry is not your calling (he has been cooking for the two). It will be taken care of. Thirdly, I have taken care of your family (in another State going through some significant changes and from whom he has just returned after a visit.)”
“What is my calling then?” He asked.
“You must now focus on completing the First Year Bible College study this year.” (He has started the course but paused half way.) “You will be upgraded to another level next year.”
“What is my calling then?”
“You are being equipped. Finish your equipping as scheduled.”
The watchman knows this is again a confirmation of what he has been impressed in his spirit sometime ago about his calling. Distractions are major weaknesses of his family. Their minds and hearts hardly stay still. His are no exceptions. But this time he has purposed in his heart and mind to hear the Lord. And the Lord does not disappoint.
Romans 5:5 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
This morning’s love message is : “God will see to it, my son.” While God will see to it, we need to come to God with a vision, seeing into the unseen by unwavering faith, as led by the Holy Spirit.
(All Scriptures are quoted from NKJV unless otherwise specified)
Indeed, in the classic case of Abraham’s affirmation of his vision of God’s true nature, God saw to it that Abraham and wife did not have to lose their greatest love -their only son, Isaac, born to him and his wife Sarah at their very old age. What did Abraham see when he went to the mountain of vision with his son just as God instructed him to do? He saw the awesome love of God, who provided His own greatest love, the Son of God -Jesus as a substitute for Abraham and Isaac and all mankind! Jesus became the perfect sacrifice! (Hebrews 10:5-14 “10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”)
God told Abraham to go to the land of Moriah (Hebrew: מוֹרִיָּה -“ordained/considered by the LORD”, which is the name given to a mountainous region by the Book of Genesis, in which context it is the location of the intended sacrifice of Isaac. The Vulgate renders the location specified by God for the sacrifice as terram Visionis, traditionally rendered “land of Vision” in Catholic translations.
Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
3 So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son; and he split the wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted his eyes and saw the place afar off.
22:8 Abraham said, “The lamb for the entirely burned offering? God will see to it, my son.” The two of them walked on together. (CEB)
“God will see to it, my son,” Abraham replied. And they went on. (TLB)
Abraham said, “Son, God will see to it that there’s a sheep for the burnt offering.” And they kept on walking together.(MSG)
22:13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” 19 concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.
John 8:55-56 (Jesus said)
Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
Where is our land of vision today? Jesus said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) We can see by reading His words.
We can also see (know) by the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17) The Holy Spirit will enables us to see, Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15)
What shall we focus on seeing? Like Abraham we only need to focus on seeing God’s great love, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
Awesome! God’s name is LOVE.
This is too good to be missed. Here are some excerpts quoted from : “How To: Hear God’s Voice” By Andrew Wommack
” One of the greatest benefits of our salvation has to be that of hearing God speak to us personally. There can be no intimate relationship with our heavenly Father without it. But, as easy as it is for us to speak to Him, the average Christian has a hard time hearing His voice. This is not the way the Lord intended it to be.
“Learning to clearly distinguish God’s voice is invaluable. Instead of going through life blindly, we can have the wisdom of God guide and protect us. There isn’t a single person receiving this letter who couldn’t have their life radically transformed by hearing the voice of the Lord better. The worst marital problem is one word from the Lord away from a total turnaround. If you have sickness or disease, one living word from the Lord will instantly heal you. If you are in financial crisis, the Lord knows exactly how to turn your situation around. It’s just a matter of hearing His voice.
“The Lord constantly speaks to us and gives us His direction. It’s never the Lord who is not speaking, but it’s us who are not hearing. Jesus made some radical statements about hearing His voice in John 10:3-5. He was speaking about Himself as the Shepherd of the sheep and the only way to enter the sheepfold…. All of us seem to be busier than ever, and that’s one of the BIG reasons we don’t hear the voice of the Lord better. We’re just too busy.
“Psalm 46:10 says,
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
“It’s in stillness, not busyness, that we tune our spiritual ears to hear the voice of God…”
“I am convinced that our gracious heavenly Father speaks to every one of His children constantly, giving us all the information and guidance we need to be total overcomers. There isn’t a problem with His transmitter; it’s our receiver that needs help.”
“I have a three-part teaching album called How to: Hear God’s Voice that expounds on this in greater detail. I teach this every year to our second-year CBC students and see powerful results. Most people are imploring God to speak, when it’s our hearing that needs to be adjusted. Taking this faith-stance that God is speaking and then learning to listen and obey will transform your relationship with the Lord. It could save your life just as it did mine.”
Here are the links to the original article and the MP3 audio teachings on the subject. Please visit them and be blessed by a rich and resource-full of gems!
In his audio teachings Andrew covered the subject in three powerful lessons:
Lesson 1 – God’s Sheep Hear His Voice
Lesson 2 – God Speaks Through His Word
Lesson 3 – Listen to Your Spirit
The following is lesson one. Pease visit his website to hear the rest of the audio teachings and other life-transformational teachings too! Be blessed!
You can also watch his more recent teaching on YouTube as follows: