Nothing to Hide

What must it be like to be accused of something you did not do? To be accused of doing evil when you’ve done nothing wrong? To have powerful leaders plotting to take you down, when you are an innocent force for good?

There are some today in America, and perhaps where you live, who no doubt understand this feeling right now. But they can take comfort that they are not alone, and this is not a new story.

Acts 3 – 4 recorded just such a moment in the lives of Peter and John, disciples of Jesus. Sometime after Jesus died, arose back to life and ascended to Heaven, they were entering the temple to attend a meeting. They saw the beggar outside who had been crippled from birth. His life’s work was to spend every day begging to survive.

Peter, realizing he had no money to give the man, said this to him instead, “I don’t have a nickel to my name, but what I do have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” Then Peter grabbed him by the hand and pulled him up. The scripture says the man jumped up and began walking and leaping!

As amazing as that was for all who experienced and witnessed it, the leaders in Jerusalem – all leaders, both government and religious – were not pleased whatsoever about the good fortune of the man. In fact, instead they were livid that Peter and John dared to preach about Jesus, much less heal in His name.

The truth was the leaders were terrified they were losing power, and they were correct. People were converting to Christianity daily, by the thousands! It was like a wildfire spreading far beyond their control, and they knew it.

Instead of considering the claims of Christ might be true, they plotted to silence it, to end its influence. They held a meeting and confronted Peter and John.  “Who put you in charge here? What business do you have doing this?”

Acts 4 tells us that “Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, let loose: ‘Rulers and leaders of the people, if we have been brought to trial today for helping a sick man, put under investigation regarding this healing, I’ll be completely frank with you—we have nothing to hide.”

They contined to boldly proclaim Christ, that the healing happened only because of His name. They spoke powerfully and eloquently. And the group gathered there couldn’t take their eyes off of them! These weren’t even educated men, yet they spoke with knowledge and conviction as if they were the most respected scholars.

On top of it, the healed man was there with them. What could they say?

But, did they give up and admit their defeat? Sadly, no. Acts goes on to reveal the leaders sent Peter and John out of the room and schemed and planned threats to silence them.

When Peter and John returned, they warned them to never speak of Jesus again. Peter and John spoke up in defiance. “We can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.”

The leaders kept threatening them, but having no reason to hold them, let them go. Acts says, “they couldn’t come up with a charge that would stick…”

And the people wouldn’t have tolerated it! Because the people were praising God for the miracle, for the man who had been healed after over forty years crippled!

The passage goes on to say when Peter and John’s friends heard the story, they burst into a song of praise:

“Strong God, You made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. By the Holy Spirit You spoke through the mouth of Your servant and our father, David:

Why the big noise, nations? Why the mean plots, peoples? Earth’s leaders push for position, meet for talks, the God-deniers, the Messiah-defiers!”

They also recalled another time:

“Herod and Pontius Pilate with nations and peoples, even Israel itself!—met in this very city to plot against Your holy Son Jesus, the One You made Messiah, to carry out the plans You long ago set in motion. And now they’re at it again!

Take care of their threats and give Your servants fearless confidence in preaching Your Message, as You stretch out Your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of Your holy servant Jesus.”

Readers, let’s bring this story home today. This blog is primarily about praying and fasting for America. So, let’s apply the principles here to what is happening right now in American politics.

We have a lot of accusing going on now in Washington. In particular, a man with a stellar reputation and career, Brett Kavanaugh, stands in the face of accusations having to defend his honor and reputation against claims of an incident over 30 years ago. His family and supporters have been threatened. The accuser doesn’t have corroborating witnesses, evidence, or even details.

Over 220 friends and colleagues of many decades have stood up to defend Kavanaugh, most women. Sixty-five of those are female friends from high school, the time when the accuser said he attacked her at a party.

Conversely, not a single witness named by his accuser can verify her story, have no recollection he even attended the party in question. Close friends of the accuser say she never spoke of it before, and on top of it her claims have changed since they were first told.

Still, as average citizens from a distance, we must admit we don’t have all the facts. But, until more are provided, if they exist, we will presume him innocent as our law directs.

If as suspected, this situation is a plotted attack for political gain on an innocent man with nothing to hide, then we must pray that just as Peter and John were delivered from the plots of scheming leaders, so will Justice Kavanaugh be delivered. In other words, we pray he is set free from false accusations of scheming women and men who wish only to stop his appointment and influence on the highest court in the land.

We at Faith and Fasting are praying and fasting today to this end, and ask all who are physically able, to join us. Jesus told the disciples long ago that some attacks from hell cannot be stopped unless we are praying and fasting. (Mark 9:29)

So, in fasting and prayer now, let’s call on Heaven’s power:

God in Heaven, Jesus Christ, praise Your holy name! The name by which miracles are done, people are set free, and leaders and nations stand at attention.

Thank You that Your message could never be silenced and instead spread throughout the world, bringing divine truth and justice wherever it prospered. You enable Your people, when we are surrendered and filled with Your Spirit, to pour Your kindness, purity and wisdom into the world.

We pray together now for a brother in need, a family in trouble. We admit we don’t know everything, but we lift up Brett Kavanaugh and his wife and children before You. Lord, You know the whole truth, and we ask it be brought to light.

We ask that you stop and bind away all forces of darkness from succeeding in wicked plots. We ask liars be revealed and brought down wherever they may be found. We ask truth and justice be loosed in Heaven to take control of this situation on earth in Your timing.

Above all, we ask Your will be done. Use all of this for Your glory, just as You used Peter and John’s trial. Just as You used the accusations and injustice You suffered to change the world!

In the mighty and matchless name of Jesus we ask these things. Amen.

Finally, if Brett Kavanaugh is truly innocent, then we speak Isaiah 54:17 over him now:

Any accuser who takes you to court
    will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God’s servants can expect.
    I’ll see to it that everything works out for the best.

We dearly love that verse in the King James version, here slightly modernized: “No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rises against you in judgment YOU will condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord.” Amen!

God bless every reader, may He touch you today with His truth, love and power. Believers, keep praying in surrender and in the Spirit for Heaven to be loosed and Hell to be bound in all things touching our (or your) nation today, this week, this season… He is able!

All Scripture unless otherwise noted is quoted from The Message (MSG) Bible; Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson
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Time to Fast and Pray

There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:

a proud look,

a lying tongue,

hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked schemes,

feet that are quick to rush into evil,

a false witness who pours out lies

and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Proverbs 6:16-19

Solomon was considered the wisest King, and in Proverbs he revealed the seven things God hates the most: pride, lies, murder of innocents, evil schemes, and those who stir up conflict on purpose!

Oddly, we are seeing all of these detested sins playing out on the national stage in America today. And the people of God need to fight against it as we fight best – on our knees!

There is a political war over the vote for Justice of the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. We need to be in prayer and fasting, if led and as able, for this vote to be directed by the hand of God, that His will be accomplished.

Likewise, November is rapidly approaching, and elections will determine the success or failure of future appointments and administration policies. They will impact the direction and health of our nation.

Political attacks and battles are approaching a frenzied level in some groups, lies and corrupt schemes are being exposed in the most trusted halls of government. Pockets of violence and physical attacks are growing. Friends, this level of division in our country is not from God!

Proverbs 6 reminds us that God hates those who stir up division! Let us as people of God, followers of Christ, turn our hearts to the King of Kings and source of all wisdom today, on behalf of our nation:

Almighty, only wise God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we praise You today. You are mighty and good, Your plans are perfect.

We ask You today to intervene in America on behalf of Your people. Jesus, pour out revival in every corner of this land, restore us to You, our first love. Bind the enemies of Your kingdom away from Your chosen leaders, their families, and their mission from You. Loose all of Heaven to restore truth and order.

Please take control and guide the vote that determines Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation to our Supreme Court. Let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing Your will, whatever it may be. Let false accusations fall to nothing, and truth be clearly seen.

Father, guide us in coming weeks as we stand in the gap for our nation in the face of elections in November. Call us to pray, to fast, to seek Your face, repent and turn from our wicked ways. Heal our nation, restore peace and justice. Quell division and violence.

Lord, reveal and bring justice to all false witnesses in every government agency and media agency. Shut the mouths telling lies and plotting evil. Replace them with people who value wisdom and truth.

Bring justice to those purposely sowing division in our land. Turn journalists, media outlets, and even social media platforms back to unbiased and fair reporting where truth is honestly sought and only lies are suppressed. Restore the priorities of all leading voices in our land to Your priorities.

We honor and praise Your holy name. Fill us with Your Spirit, and use us today and in coming weeks to guard Your work in America. Protect her, make her strong in You, and keep her a blessing to the world.

In the name of the Father, Christ His Son, and His Holy Spirit, we pray all these things.

Amen.

Restoration of God’s People and Their Land

I’ve never given much thought to the book of Judges in the Bible before. It is not a book often referenced from American pulpits, at least not in my Protestant experience.

What inspired me to even read Judges recently was a curious dream. It was very short but went like this: I was in a public venue, in some type of leadership capacity. A petite, brown-haired woman approached to shake my hand, and she said to me, “I especially appreciated your research on Judges.” She said more, but it dissolved quickly upon returning to consciousness.

I awoke confused, wondering if the dream was random or if it was a message from the Holy Spirit. Many say there are no coincidences for the children of God. And, I supposed there was no harm in scanning through Judges regardless, so I did. First, I glanced through, then I began really reading in earnest as I witnessed a pattern unfold.

Through 450 years of ancient Israel’s ups and downs recorded in Judges’ 21 chapters, a clear formula was evident. It is very simple:

When the people of God trusted and were faithful to Him, their land was at peace and rest under good leadership. Conversely, whenever the people strayed, rebelled and turned to evil, they were punished with evil leadership.

But, each time the people cried out to the Lord for deliverance, He responded and answered their cry. In His response, He overturned evil and restored the good. Every. Single. Time.

Within this pattern, I noticed the phases of punishment were vastly shorter than the years of peace and rest. So, the grace of God was still present, even in judgment.

If you will allow, I would like to speak on a controversial subject related to American politics. I usually avoid politics like the plague. I don’t know about your country, but it seems to divide Americans faster than anything else.

As a Christ-follower and His ambassador first and foremost, I try not to offend one group or another. The sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is for all people. His followers can be found on all sides of any political argument. Staying focused on Him and His word is usually the best approach to remain welcoming to a diverse audience, as Christ is welcoming.

But sometimes, you have to speak truth no matter the consequences. This is one of those times.

As surprising as it is even to me to hear myself say this, I believe Donald Trump is God’s choice for America right now. I believe his victory was in response to a growing cry from God’s people for our nation to return to Him.

Mr. Trump is far from perfect, he is not a polished politician who guards his words. He is not a shiny Christian whose life has been exemplary as a Christ-follower.

But there are some things in particular he has spoken into the American conscience again, and chief among them is a respect for life in the womb. This, I believe, above all else, is near and dear to the heart of God.

The Bible teaches us God is the author of life, that He knit us in the womb (Psalm 139:13). No human, even the mother, has a right to take the life into which God placed a beating heart and breathed a soul.

Tellingly, every time the people of God in Judges rebelled, they returned to Baal worship. Baal worship involved infant sacrifice.

When the people of God in Judges returned to Him, repented and cried out for deliverance, good leadership was restored and Baal worship and infant sacrifice were knocked back down. The parallels to current day America and abortion are stunning and sobering.

In addition, Mr. Trump has reignited protection upon the people of God and their right to freedom of worship and speech. Finally, he has returned us to acknowledgement of the sovereignty of Israel and commitment to our close friendship and alignment with her as our best friend in the Middle East.

Who could have imagined the billionaire business tycoon and reality TV star would so powerfully step into the role of protector of things sacred and Holy to God’s people? But, he did. 

And in response, the economy has roared back to life, unemployment is down to historic levels, businesses are hiring and growing once more in America, and peace is being forged one talk at a time on the foreign stage. All of this happening while the President is attacked mercilessly by political opponents and the vast majority of the media.

Against all odds God is outpouring blessing once again upon America through a most unlikely candidate. I believe the principle spoken in II Chronicles 7:14 is being played out dramatically: 

If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.

Prior to Mr. Trump’s election, a groundswell movement had grown over several years inside a broad spectrum of halls of faith, and individual followers of Christ began praying, seeking, repenting, and fasting… for a return of God’s hand of blessing upon our dear nation. We understood it required us to change, and Him to be placed back in charge. 

Incredible evidence of the mighty hand of God was seen ON election day, 2016: Signs of Divine Intervention in Trump Victory

On November 8, 2016, we witnessed a stunning turn in the election results – at the precise moment thousands were praying together for God’s intervention – and a miraculous victory that day for the long shot. (Of course, unknown numbers of us had also been fasting and praying leading up to the election.)

His opponent, the favorite to win, was the one candidate in history that had most championed abortion. Her husband was the first President to make it a primary part of his agenda years before, and she would have increased her defense of it and removed all restrictions.

Just as the ancient people of Israel in Judges cried out again and again under wicked leadership to see God overturn evil and restore them in response, I am as surprised as anyone to say I believe God placed Donald Trump in the White House in response to the cries of His people for America. And, defense of the most innocent human life, by no accident and with great significance, has returned.

Followers of Christ, appreciate every minute of this time of blessing and reprieve for our nation. Do not let down your vigilance to pray for our President and leadership. 

Never stop praying, regularly fasting, surrendering to His Spirit, for you are standing in the gap, upholding our land before Him. He has heard you, and He has moved His hand on your behalf!

What an amazing, faithful and great God we serve. He is holy and just, mighty and worthy. Praise Him! And may He continue outpouring His blessing upon America, that we may be a blessing to the rest of the globe!

O’Lord – Lyrics

[At the end of a day fasting for our nation, the Lord reminded me of the lyrics of this beautiful song. The assurance that He will make all things right is so precious, such a comfort. We will stand our ground. He will make it right.]

O’Lord

Tho times it seems like I’m comin’ undone,

this world can often feel lonely.

No matter what, until this race is won,

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

O’Lord, O’Lord, I know you hear my cry.

Your love is lifting me above all the lies.

No matter what I face, this I know, in time,

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

Your strength is found at the end of my rope.

Your grace reaches to the hurting.

Still through the tears and the questioning why,

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

O’Lord, O’Lord, I know you hear my cry.

Your love is lifting me above all the lies.

No matter what I face, this I know, in time,

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

Make it right. Make it right.

I will stand my ground.

I will stand my ground.

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

I will stand my ground where hope can be found.

O’Lord, O’Lord, I know you hear my cry.

Your love is lifting me above all the lies.

No matter what I face, this I know, in time,

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.

Make it right. Make it right.

 

From album, How Can It Be, artist Lauren Daigle

Composers: Paul Mabury & Joe Williams

Fasting and Praying for America – Nat’l Day of Prayer 2018

Every moment a follower of Christ spends praying and fasting is a mighty day in Heaven and on earth. Maximum spiritual power is turned on through fasting, Jesus revealed this secret in Matthew 17:21 and Mark 9:29 (“this kind only goes out by prayer and fasting“).

Today I will simply share how we prayed this morning in our home. It went something like this:

Father, we praise You. You are pure and great, big enough to handle any issue we bring with a mere thought. Thank You for loving us and hearing our concerns.

We bring the needs of our nation before You today. This is Your land, a land of refuge given to Your people, Israel of God. Please protect and strengthen Your chosen leaders for this time. Guide them in Your ways. Protect their families. Keep evil away from them.

Let attacks without cause on our leaders fall away to nothing. Let truth, conspiracies and perpetrators be revealed. Let no lie stand. Only the truth.

You kept Pharoah’s army away from Your people, Israel, by the uplifted arms of Your leader, Moses, and drowned their enemies in the sea. God make our prayers today as uplifted arms on behalf of our leaders and nation, and deliver us from the army that constantly wars against us. 

Father, give our leaders wisdom and a way to guard our borders without turning away people in true need. We want to keep our arms open to the hurting, but prevent entrance to those with evil intentions.

Please deliver the innocent from wicked hands. Inspire our nation to value life.

Please stir Your people to holiness and make us a mighty army of faith, standing in the gap for our nation. We ask You stem the tide against us as long as You will it and place our nation in Your hands. We trust You.

In the precious name of Jesus our Savior,

Amen.

God bless everyone praying, and fasting, for America today, and God bless America!

How to Fast

[If you have a serious medical condition, please consult a doctor before fasting.]

For those new to fasting, please read through these few ideas I’ve learned over the years to make it an easier and better experience.

Make Your Peace With Hunger

First things first, prepare yourself mentally and make your peace with the fact that fasting means you will be hungry. Hunger pains are uncomfortable, but remember it is temporary and for a worthy purpose. Consider it your sacrifice of pleasure, in order to seek the Lord about something vitally important. Hunger is a necessary part of the process.

Know that the benefits of fasting are not just spiritual. The medical and health community has begun recognizing the physical benefits of fasting in recent decades. Among other things, it is actually very good for your brain!

Sunset to Sunset, a Simple Schedule

If you are fasting 24 hours, I suggest you fast from sunset one day to sunset the next. After the sun sets on the second day, have a light meal. This is a wonderful schedule and you never go to bed completely hungry.

Note, if you instead choose to fast one calendar day (i.e., skipping breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not eating until the next morning at breakfast), you are actually fasting something like 36 hours, not just 24. The sunset to sunset fast is shorter and less stressful on the body.

Pray During Mealtime

Whatever the length of your fast, spend the time you would normally spend at mealtimes in prayer and fellowship with the Lord. Read His Word. Talk to Him about the issue for which you are fasting, as well as for your needs. Pour out your heart to Him. Give Him praise for His blessings. Love on Him and in turn receive His love for you.

Be Charitable

Share the food you would normally eat with someone hungry. This is a principle right out of Isaiah 58. God wanted the Israelites to be charitable during the fast, to share their food with the hungry, to meet the needs of the poor.

If it is not possible to immediately find someone in need, then give something extra to charity during your fast. You are saving money and food by not eating, so share what you are saving with others. This is what God intended, and the blessings are immeasurable.

Live Normally

While fasting, dress normally, act normally, go to work or school. In a private fast, don’t announce to those outside your home you are fasting. The fast is between you and the Lord, a humble thing, not something to boast about for personal glory.

If you have a family, especially children, feed your family. Provide food for them as normal. Don’t ignore the needs of your house because you are fasting. This is also an instruction right out of Isaiah 58.

Bottom line, go about your life as normal during a fast. Do your chores, work or homework. Just spend meal times in prayer and give something extra, whether food or resources, to an individual in need or charity.

Types of Fast

Not every fast has to be where you take no food and no water. Certainly, that is one way, but there are other ways and I’ve seen God bless mightily through them also.

Solid food fast

In this fast, you avoid solid food, but still take liquids such as juice or tea. In my novice days of fasting, this was my most common method. It is a good beginning and still trains your body, preparing you for more rigorous fasting down the road.

For coffee drinkers, have your cup of tea or coffee in the morning to avoid a disruptive caffeine headache, but skip the sugar and cream. Remember, the point of fasting is to set aside your own pleasure to seek the mind and heart of God.

If you have physical issues where you become weak or ill without some nutrition, then adjust accordingly. If you feel you are going to faint, then take some juice or milk to sustain you through the fast. God is gracious and will still use your sacrifice of pleasure for His purposes. Baby steps.

Water only fast

This is the next step for those whose physical needs don’t prevent it. During this fast, you take nothing except water.

I know it sounds difficult, but from experience, it was no harder than taking juice or broth every day. In some ways, cutting out all except water seemed easier. I was surprised, but for an extended fast, my body adjusted more quickly to water only.

Use your judgment. God will honor every effort!

Conclusion

Prepare yourself mentally and choose the best schedule for you. Remember, the point of fasting is to set aside your comfort and pleasure to seek the Lord with your full focus. In my experience, it is amazing how not thinking of what food or beverages you are going to consume next changes your ability to focus on Him.

Make your fast fit your personal needs and the needs of others in your life. Meet your obligations at home and elsewhere, give what you are saving during the fast to someone in need or to charity.

The Lord will bless your efforts, and remember, He is gracious. Do what you can, but don’t push beyond what is reasonable. If you are becoming faint or ill, then stop the fast. If you are brand new to fasting, start slow and increase your fast the next time. Your body will adjust to it and you will find it easier when you know what to expect.

Above all, God bless you for daring to take this most precious and powerful step in your spiritual life! Enjoy your time with Him, and watch Him work in mighty ways in you as a result!

Prayer and FASTING on National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 3! Faith and Fasting friends, will you join me in not just praying, but also FASTING for our nation this Thursday?

Never in the history of our beautiful land have we needed more for the people of God to unite in prayer and fasting. Our President, White House staff, Cabinet members, House, Senate, Judiciary, every other servant in government, and their families, need us to bend the ear and heart of Heaven like never before.

Jesus revealed the source of maximum spiritual power when He told the disciples:

However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. Matthew 17:21

So He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29

Let’s turn on the power! And pray for wisdom, truth, protection from evil, and a mighty movement of God upon our leaders and our nation. Ask Him for the outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon every follower of Christ who has trusted Him for salvation… for revival, and renewed strength, to sweep this nation.

For we know what God has promised:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, whose people He has chosen for His inheritance. Psalm 33:12

If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and forgive their sin and HEAL THEIR LAND. 2 Chron 7:14

If anyone needs help knowing how to fast, please check out “How to Fast” on Faith and Fasting. Originally posted in May of 2016, it has been updated and reposted to assist anyone on National Day of Prayer this week.

God bless you all, and truly we ask… God bless America!

Additional information and prayer guides are available at the link below:

http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org