Finger of God Documentary

Spoiler alert: this is going to be a strange post about peculiar events in modern day Christian churches. It is just one possible interpretation of those events. No, this really doesn’t have anything to do with fasting. In fact, it is more about eating – at God’s banquet table.

Recently, we watched an intriguing and powerful documentary called, Finger of God, released in 2007 by Darren Wilson. It is available for instant watch on Netflix, along with several other documentaries by the same filmmaker.

Within the first few minutes, the viewer sees footage from several congregations, where members were miraculously given gold teeth during worship! Okay, I told you this would be strange. He showed clip after clip of the inside of the mouths of these congregants, and there they were: gold teeth! One, sometimes two gold teeth inside each recipient’s mouth.

Another older gentleman, for over 36 years at the time, was finding manna in his palm out of thin air, or inside His Bible by Revelation 2:17 (“to him who is overcoming, I will give to Him hidden manna”). Over and over. Can you imagine standing there, preoccupied and suddenly you feel something in your palm, only to look down and see you are holding a handful of manna? It was so odd, to be honest I found it hard to swallow at first. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

After pondering these peculiar phenomena for a couple of weeks, I finally took the time to do a little research, searching the Bible online for all references to teeth. Many verses came up, but nothing that jumped out. So I tried ‘tooth’. Again, nothing.

Next, I decided to do a general search for gold, since I was pretty sure a reference for ‘gold teeth’ would not come up. Hundreds of verses came up for ‘gold’, so I set out to scan through them as quickly as possible. I didn’t have much expectation of finding anything, truthfully.

However, it was when I came to Exodus 25 that my spirit went on high alert. In this passage, we find God telling Moses how to build the Ark of the Covenant and the covering for the ark, what we call the mercy seat. Immediately after this, He tells Moses how to build a table to hold the showbread, the symbol of God’s invitation to His table and fellowship.

As God is giving instructions for building the showbread table, His orders include adorning the top of the table in such a way that it appears surrounded with “crowns of gold” (Ex 25:24-25). The table would then hold 12 loaves of bread at all times to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

Did you hear that? A table with the appearance of  “gold crowns”, to hold the bread that represented fellowship between God and His people! At this point, I was thinking, would God literally bring a pun to life for a purpose?

Reading up a little on the showbread table, I found the following:

“Showbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of God’s willingness to fellowship and communion (literally, sharing something in common) with man. It was like an invitation to a meal, an extension of friendship. God was willing for man to enter into His presence to fellowship with Him, and this invitation was always open. 

Jesus came to call sinners to Him, make them right with God, so that they could enjoy everlasting fellowship with God. 

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50) 

God so desires our fellowship that He was willing to come to earth from heaven as our “bread of life” to give eternal life to all those who would partake in it. At Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus described Himself as bread again: 

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’” (Matthew 26:26) 

Jesus’ broken body is our only access to fellowship with God. Today, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or communion, to remember this important truth. And today, as in the day of Moses’ tabernacle, God still desires to have fellowship and sit down for a feast with His people. 

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

[From: http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle/tabernacle_table_showbread]

Another snippet lends further insight:

The table symbolizes fellowship. It shows a gesture of friendship, as inviting a friend to share a meal. The table in the tabernacle shows God’s desire for fellowship with us. Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners because He sat and ate with them at the table. God wishes to satisfy our hunger

[From: http://bibletruth.net/florlane/tabernacle/BREAD~1.HTM]

Now, let’s bring all of this back to the strange phenomena of gold teeth and manna bread on God’s living children. And again, please understand, this is just one possible interpretation.

The New Testament tells us we in Christ are His living temple! God may have been using those peculiar happenings to demonstrate this truth. Perhaps these modern day believers in Christ became His living showbread table, complete with ‘gold crowns’, to hold His manna, His showbread!

If this was His intent, then He revealed us as connected directly to Old Testament Israel, through the symbolic representation of the temple’s showbread table and bread of His people. After all, as the Apostle Paul said, we are the ‘Israel of God’.

Maybe in addition to letting us know we are His people and His living temple, He is gently hinting that through us the world should always feel invited, loved and welcomed into His presence. More specifically, and because I believe filmmaker Darren Wilson has beautifully woven stories of God’s people loving the lost sheep back to Him, this phenomena may have been the perfect opening to the filmmaker’s documentary work. For his work itself is an invitation to fellowship with God, a living symbol of the showbread table.

In summary, without teeth one cannot eat bread. Perhaps God, placing crowns of gold on Christian believers’ teeth and manna in their hands, is reminding us in an incredibly personal and humorously creative way:

1) Christ is the bread of life, 2) He is able to satisfy spiritual hunger, 3) He welcomes all people into His fellowship, and 4) followers of Christ become His living temple beckoning all to His banquet invitation!

Well, regardless if you agree with this interpretation of the phenomena revealed in the documentary, the above summary statements are still true. So, let’s be about our Father’s business, shall we?

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Takeaways from National Day of Prayer

For all who prayed for our country yesterday, and for those who fasted, we pray you had a blessed and meaningful day!

Something interesting happened during the day, for me in particular. It was right after I’d spent some time agonizing in prayer. By the way, that happens sometimes when you really pour your heart into it. I wonder if that is why we more often find reasons not to talk to God, so we don’t have to feel the pain we hide from ourselves, the pain He readily sees and longs to comfort, if only we will open up.

Anyway, back to the story. I’d just spent some time praying and crying out to God over the increasingly secular state of my nation, asking Him to reverse our course. After this, I had the distinct, albeit brief, vision of the children of God in our nation being lifted up, almost like a giant cloud, above the fray of everyday life in America. There was a slight shaking involved in the lifting, like the kind you give an object left on the porch too long, to get the dust off.

I remembered last year hearing Jonathan Cahn, prophet, rabbi and author I respect very much, speak of a ‘shaking’ coming to America. As I reflected upon his prophetic words and my odd vision, I felt comforted that even if God chooses not to reverse the ‘secular’ course of our nation, He can be counted on to remain focused on the needs of His children. He loves us, treasures us, calls each of us by name. And He will refine and strengthen us no matter what is going on in Washington, D.C., or the culture around us!

With a fully surrendered, pure and impassioned family of faith, what could He accomplish in our nation, in our world, through us? I wonder if we can even consider that God may be more interested in the purity of His children than in the perfection of our nation? Probably.

Praise, Peace, and Comfort

On this, National Day of Prayer, the Lord led me to Psalm 34. What a beautiful song of praise and assurance as we and so many are fasting and praying for our nation. Be encouraged, read the words of King David and may His lovingkindness touch you today!

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.

Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.

Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.

This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.

The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 
Come, O children, listen to me;
    I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 
What man is there who desires life
    and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 
Keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking deceit.
14 
Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
15 
The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
    and his ears toward their cry.
16 
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
17 
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
    and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
    and saves the crushed in spirit.
19 
Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
20 
He keeps all his bones;
    not one of them is broken.
21 
Affliction will slay the wicked,
    and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
22 
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

English Standard Version (ESV)

Preparing to Fast

Tomorrow is National Day of Prayer in America. In our home, we have turned it into a day of fasting and prayer, believing we may have passed the point prayer alone is enough.

As for me, I will begin fasting at sunset tonight, May 4th, and finish at sunset tomorrow, May 5th.  Today, I am preparing myself mentally and physically for the fast, eating a little lighter, taking extra fluids, reflecting on His love and mercy.

This feels like such a small effort, as though I am calling out into the darkness, to anyone listening who shares my love for the Lord and our nation, in hopes we might join together to make a difference. But He can take a small effort where it needs to go and make it whatever He wants it to be. I trust Him. He turned five little loaves of bread and two small fishes into a meal that fed thousands, remember? He can do anything.

Last night, I had nightmares, very unusual for me. After two different dreams, I awoke knowing the enemy was trying to attack and discourage me. But he is a defeated foe, and will not stop the hand of God from accomplishing what it sets out to do. “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

When I woke, I surrendered myself to Jesus and asked for the Holy Spirit to fill me, as I do every day. I told the enemy, the doomed ones, to leave in the name and power of Jesus. Then I asked the Holy Spirit to take over the day and fill our home and family with His healing power. He is faithful.

Now, I sit quietly reflecting and feeling so grateful for this privilege, to live in this unprecedented moment. It is an honor to serve Him, to be a tiny part of calling the people of God to fast and pray for their nation.

God bless every one of you, family of faith, as you seek Him on behalf of our country this week. He is our hope.

Fasting for America – Thursday, May 5th, 2016!

This post is a reminder, family of God all over America and beyond, PLEASE join us in praying and fasting for America this coming Thursday, May 5th, 2016, in conjunction with National Day of Prayer! Please see previous post, “How to Fast”, for guidance if you are new to fasting.

[From previous posts:]

The people of God need no convincing that something is wrong. We hear of growing violence both within and without our country. Division on every issue seems to widen. Each year our culture further alienates biblical truth, and the strength and spirit of our nation weakens. Godly people are praying, so why the continued downward trend?

Consider an answer right out of the mouth of Messiah. When the disciples came to Him asking why they could not cast out a particular demonic spirit, Jesus replied, “This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29). Sometimes prayer alone is not enough.

The Lord has set my heart to call the people of God to spiritual battle on behalf of our nation using His ultimate spiritual weapon. For this reason, I urge you, please join us in prayer and fasting on National Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Suggested prayer requests during the fast: 

  1. Personal cleansing, surrender to God and filling of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Spiritual renewal in your home and church family, that the people of God in America will be strengthened and prepared for the future.
  3. Awakening, for truth to be resurrected in our land, and for the Spirit of the Lord to move powerfully calling every lost person to repentance and faith in Christ.
  4. Restoration and unification of our leaders in His name, and especially for His will to be done in the coming elections.

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Family of God, it is time to do more. Please consider making fasting a regular part of your life. How much of Heaven and earth could we impact if we all fasted one meal per week? Or one day per month?

Please share this with your family of faith on social media. Let’s make a difference in the most powerful way the Lord gave us: through prayer and fasting!

How to Fast

[If you have a serious medical condition, you should 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.

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!

Ninevah Fasted and God Spared Disaster

Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and the whale. You remember, how Jonah didn’t want to do what God asked of him, so God sent along a large fish to swallow Jonah and carry him to the very place he didn’t want to go. Of course, he spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish where he got his heart right first.

That’s the story most of us were taught as children in Sunday School. But there is another miracle in the story we probably don’t remember as easily, maybe an even bigger one than a large fish swallowing a human who lived to tell the tale!

It is the miracle of fasting, accompanied by prayer and repentance. And how this powerful combination of sincere spiritual submission changed God’s mind!

Recall, the reason God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah in the first place was to warn them His judgment was coming. He had gotten sick of their rebellious ways and was giving them, well, 40 days by the time Jonah finally got there. Only 40 days till disaster.

When Ninevah got this warning from Jonah, the second miracle happened. They believed him. And they repented, began fasting and praying! All the way up to the King, all the way down to the least of the kingdom believed and repented, fasted and prayed!

Then there was a third miracle: God changed His mind! He spared them and did not bring the disaster to their shores.

Friends, the power of getting right with God is huge. There is nothing like total submission and letting God know you are serious, that you will even deny yourself pleasure and risk a little discomfort to seek Him, to be right with Him.

Let’s learn from the story, the whole story of Jonah and Ninevah. American children of God, we’ve been warned by precious saints like Rabbi Jonathan Cahn in his profound book, The Harbinger. A time of judgment is headed our way. Surely it is already touching our shores as the edge of a hurricane.

It is not too late. But, the time is now to repent, fast and pray for our nation.

Please join us on May 5th, 2016, fasting 24 hours and praying for our nation, in conjunction with National Day of Prayer. Check previous posts (and future ones) for details.

God bless you!

Jonah Warns Nineveh of God’s Judgment

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The People of Nineveh Repent and FAST

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

God Changes His Mind

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Jonah 3  English Standard Version (ESV)