I decided to go on a three-day fast a few weeks ago. I was hurting and crying. Depression was trying to creep in. I didn’t want to get out of bed and my attitude at work was horrible.
Nothing I tried helped and no one could help me, but I was reminded of what Jesus told his disciples. This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. I was desperate and willing to do whatever it took to get what I needed. That meant no food. No television. No social media. It was a fight, but I was tired of hearing my flesh, my wants and my desires and I wanted to hear God.
I usually pray throughout the day – standing, sitting down, lying down, walking, but this day I was lying prostrate on the floor, on my face, crying out to God, asking Him to help me. I didn’t pretend like everything was alright. I didn’t tell him what I normally tell my family and coworkers.
No, I got honest with God. I know He knows and sees everything, but I told him anyway. Then, I told him what I wanted Him to do for me and that I was giving him three days to do it. I know. That’s pretty bold, but that’s how God wants us to come before Him. Besides, a lot can happen in three days. Jesus is a great example of that.
Each day, God gave me scriptures to read. Here I was crying because I felt rejected, but God began to show me in the scriptures how I rejected Him. You see, any time you reject the truth, you reject Him . When I realized what I had done to Him, all I could do was cry, repent and ask for His forgiveness.
By the third day, the Lord said, I have done what you asked.
The following morning, the Lord said, Whatever you fight to get, you will have to fight to keep. God did what I asked. It was His job to give it, but it was my job to keep it.
This reminds me of the parable of the lost coin. That woman became so desperate to find her coin that she lit a candle and swept the whole house.
Sometimes we lose things because we don’t understand the value of what we have. Because she was diligently seeking it, she found it and when she found the coin, she acknowledged what she did. She didn’t blame anyone for this. I found the piece that I lost.
What that woman did was what I had to do to get back what I lost. I lost my joy because 1) I couldn’t see my value and 2) I couldn’t see the value in the words that God gave me. I stopped believing what He said and I didn’t trust Him like I should. I was acting like Esau – like I was going to die if God didn’t give me what I wanted now. But I forgot that God hated Esau (flesh).
Today, I’m so grateful for what God has done, but I’m asking the Holy Spirit to help me not to take what God did for me lightly or for granted – that I keep, protect and guard what He has given me because what He has given me is too valuable to lose.
If Jesus won’t lose all that the Father has given Him, then I shall not lose all that He’s given me.
[Scripture references: Matthew 17:21; Luke 15:8-10; Romans 9:13; John 6:39]
The Lord told Elijah to hide by the brook, but I don’t want you to look at this from the point of Elijah hiding from Ahab. The purpose of him being hidden had nothing to do with the past, but it had to do with the future. God was preparing him for what was about to happen.
Not only did Elijah have water to drink, but God commanded the ravens to feed him every morning and evening. He knew exactly when the ravens were coming. Inside of Elijah was a gift, but in order for God to get out of him what He placed in him, he had to create a situation to stir up the gift that was in him. He had to make him uncomfortable.
One day, the brook dried up because there was no rain. Now, he had a thirst that he didn’t have before – and I’m not talking about a physical thirst. Had not the brook dried up, Elijah would have remained where he was, but someone needed his gift. What God had given him, wasn’t for him. It was for others. It was to serve others.
Not only did God tell him to move, but He told him where to move to. Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Zidon and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you. This woman had a need and God wanted to use Elijah to meet that need, but he never told Elijah about her need. He just told him that he was going to take care of him through this woman.
If you take care of what concerns God, He will take care of what concerns you.
Some people are still looking at the dried brook, crying over what they lost. The only thing lost that we should be concerned about is lost souls, not the things that we have lost because God can restore those things.
This widow didn’t want to die and she didn’t want her son to die, but she was preparing to die because she didn’t know what else to do. She didn’t know where her next meal was coming from. It didn’t look like things were going to get better and now she had a man – a perfect stranger – asking her, a widow and a single mother, to give him her last and the only thing that she had left.
Through instructions, Elijah showed her how to get out of her situation. All she had to do was obey the instructions. All she had to do was give the very thing that she was afraid of losing.
We were created to do more than what we are doing. There is plenty of work to do. The harvest is plenteous (Matthew 9:37). But one person cannot do it alone. Every one of us has received a gift. Our job is to discover what that gift is and then put it to work. When you don’t do what you are supposed to do, someone else suffers. Jonah is a great example. God sent him to Nineveh, but he went where he wanted to go. When a storm came, Jonah was sleeping, but the people on the ship were suffering with fear and a near death experience.
Had Elijah not gone to where God sent him, the widow and her son would have died. It is important that we stop waiting for someone else to do what God told us to do. And stop comparing ourselves with others. Stop thinking that someone is better or can do it better than you. God gave gifts to the body of Christ to complete, not to compete with each another. Your gift is needed. Someone needs what you have.
You may not be the answer to everyone’s problem, but you are the answer to someone’s problem.
Use your gift.
Each of you has received a gift to use to serve others. Be good servants [stewards, managers] of God’s various gifts of grace (2 Peter 4:10, EXB).
There are some things in your life that you thought were lost, forgotten or dead like Lazarus, but they are only sleeping.
It doesn’t matter how many days or years it’s been sleeping.
It is not too late.
Whether it’s your hopes, dreams, ministry, your business or your womb – it will rise again.
It will live again.
It will come forth.
Whatever has kept them bound, whatever has kept you bound, will loose you and let you go.
I speak to everything in your life that should be alive, but is sleeping – arise and live!
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believe in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (John 11:25).
Give me the portion of goods that fall to me (Luke 15:12). The prodigal son knew what belonged to his father and if his father had it, that meant he had it. His father gave him what he asked for, but his problems began when he stopped obeying what he was taught by his father. He started doing things that sons shouldn’t do. The moment he disobeyed, he became a slave – to sin, debt, poverty.
But one day, his eyes were opened. He realized that he didn’t have to live the way he was living. He remembered that his father, who he had left, had hired servants who had enough bread. The prodigal son wasn’t just in a distant country, but he was in a distant relationship with his father. The moment he returned to his father, everything he lost was restored. The servants placed on him a robe, sandals and a ring. The ring signified that when he decreed a thing, it would be established and no one could change or alter what he had spoken.
The elder son was angry because he saw his brother living the way he should have been living. Although he had read the commandments and had not sinned against them, he still didn’t understand what belonged to him. All that I have is yours (Luke 15:31). Even though he took his anger out on his brother and father, he was really angry at himself because he didn’t know how to access what his father had already given him.
While the household was celebrating the return of the prodigal son, the elder son was outside when he should have been inside. He couldn’t believe his ears. Why were they celebrating? How could his brother who left his house and his country to become a citizen of another country, lose everything, return to his house and get back everything he lost? To him, that wasn’t fair, but it was fair. When the prodigal son asked for his portion, the father divided it between the elder and the younger. The elder had the same thing as his brother, but he didn’t do anything with what was given to him. (This reminds me of the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30).
It took the prodigal son becoming a slave to discover that he was a son. He discovered that the things he was under were the things that he was created to rule over. He wasn’t created to toil or to beg.
The elder and the prodigal son lived in the same house. They had the same father. Isn’t it interesting how you can go to the same church with someone and hear the same sermon and the same instructions yet you’re still at the Jordan while others have already crossed the Jordan and entered the Promised Land? What did they do that you refused to do? Perhaps the problem has been that we like to hear a good word, but we don’t do anything with the information we hear in church because sometimes it’s not easy.
Do you think that leaving a country that was afar off to return to his home was easy for the prodigal son? It was a fight, but he walked until he walked himself out of his situation.
There is an enemy who is angry because he lost. He is angry that he got kicked out of heaven and he is doing everything he can to get you kicked out of the garden like Adam. He doesn’t want you to know who you are and what you have. He doesn’t want you to get everything that belongs to you.
Don’t do what the elder son did. He told the father what he didn’t have and what his father never gave him (Luke 15:29). Some of us do the same thing.
I don’t have the money to purchase a home.
I don’t have anyone to help me.
I don’t have a college degree.
This is why God asked Moses, What is that in your hand? Elisha asked the widow, What do you have in the house? I think sometimes we are so focused on what we don’t have that we can’t see what we do have.
May God not only reveal what He has given to us, but I pray that we use it for Him.
Refuse to be a church that is a hearer, but not a doer of the word.
touch: to attach oneself to; to leave a mark or impression on; to harm slightly by contact; to taint or blemish
The serpent asked Eve if it was true that God told them not to eat from any tree in the garden. The woman said, We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die (Gen 3:3). The serpent then told Eve that God lied. You shall not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat it, then your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The next time you sin, ask yourself, What am I missing that I would do that? – Pastor A. R. Bernard
The enemy wants you to think that you are missing something, but how can you be missing anything when God has given you all things that pertain to life and godliness? Before God placed Adam and Eve in the garden, He placed everything they would ever need in the garden, but because Eve didn’t understand who she was and what she already had, she believed the lies. The serpent said something to her that made her look and it looked good.
We touch things every day. We touch doorknobs. We shake hands. We exchange money. Some of you reading this right now are holding your cell phone. Bacteria, germs and viruses live there. We can’t see them with our physical eyes, but they do exist. Unfortunately, there are things that we touch that can make us sick while there are other things that can kill us through contact or touch (flu virus, AIDS virus).
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27).
The moment you touch what God told you not to touch or handle, that which is spiritual or that which you can’t see (demonic spirits) can attach itself to you and contaminate you. Just like germs and viruses, they have the ability to destroy or kill you.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they were immediately driven out of the garden. They lost what God gave them and you and I can lose what God gave us through disobedience. Why can’t what ‘God has said’ be enough? Why do we touch what God told us not to touch?
Because we really don’t believe what He has said.
When I got involved with the wrong people or involved in the wrong things through deception, it affected my relationship with God. Before long, I wasn’t as close to Him as I should have been. I was hurt, disappointed and heartbroken. I lost my joy. I lost belief in God’s word. I became distant, feeling that I had disappointed God, that I had lost His love and that He no longer looked at me the same.
So, learn from my mistakes. Be careful how you handle people, be careful what topics you touch on in conversation, and be careful of the relationships that you get involved in. Yes, God can restore what you lost, but there are some things that are easy to lose, but hard to get back.
If God says don’t go, then don’t go. If God says don’t text them, then don’t text them. If God says leave it alone, then leave it alone.
Believe what God has said and…
recover: to bring back from bondage; to set free from the snare of the devil; to recapture
When the younger son asked his father for the portion of goods, the father didn’t just share his estate with the one who asked, but he shared with the elder son as well (Luke 15:12). The difference between the two sons was one took his share and left while the other took his share and stayed.
The son didn’t have to work hard for it. He didn’t have to do anything to earn what was given to him. All he had to be was a son. Some say that the younger son didn’t plan for what he was asking for, but I disagree. He did make plans. He just failed to plan for what lied ahead. He didn’t know that a famine was coming. He planned to spend, but he didn’t plan to save.
Now he had to find a job. He had to work for what he wanted. When he lived with his father, his father freely gave to him. Now, no man would give to him (Luke 15:16). But what he didn’t learn at home, he learned while working in the fields. What he lost was preparing him for what he was about to gain.
I don’t know how long it was before he humbled himself, but one day he decided to return to what he left. He made a lot of mistakes and because of the things he had done, he no longer felt worthy to be called a son, but when he returned home, his father still called him son (vs 24). The father knew that his son didn’t fully understand his calling, but he kept calling him ‘son’ until he became what he called him. Yes, the son went into a far country (vs 13), but he wasn’t too far that the word of God or the word of prayer couldn’t reach him.
When the son returned home, the father didn’t give him a chance to speak. He immediately showed compassion, hugging and kissing him. Before the son admitted he sinned, the father had already forgiven him. Before he got home, the best robe, the ring and the shoes were already laid out for him. He was just waiting for his son to put it on.
Not once did the father ever mention his sins. Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13:5). The reason why we knew what the son did was because his older brother mentioned it. He brought up his past. As soon as your son comes home, who devoured your living with harlots, you kill a fatted calf for him (vs 30).
The elder son was angry. Why would his father give something good to someone who did bad? The younger son wasted his father’s living. He didn’t deserve what the father was doing for him. He didn’t deserve forgiveness. He didn’t deserve another chance. He didn’t deserve a party.
I have served you for many years. I have never disobeyed you. I kept your commandment, but you never gave me a young goat so that I might celebrate with my friends (vs 29). The elder son was very proud of himself for keeping the commandments, but he kept every commandment except for the most important one.
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, The Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these (Mark 12:29-31).
Before Jesus tells the parable of the lost son (or the prodigal son), He talks about recovering the lost sheep and the lost coin. Some of us have either been worrying or praying about possessions and money. God, give me this. God, give me that. God can recover those things you’ve lost, but He wants you to make yourself available to recover the souls that are lost. This is what is most important to God. He wants to use us to recapture those who were taken captive by the devil to do his will, but you can’t recover the lost if you don’t love the lost or have compassion for the lost.
We are the sons/daughters of God, but it is time to exchange the garments you wore in the far country for the garments that your Father has prepared for you. It is time for us to put on our best robe, ring and shoes and walk into what He has called us to be. The world is expecting and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.
We’ve been praying so much about our problems that we have failed to see the problems of others. Someone has given up. Someone thinks that God has forgotten them. Someone thinks that God doesn’t love them. Someone needs to forgive themselves. Someone thinks that they have gone too far that it is almost impossible to return to God. I’m not saying that our requests aren’t important to God, but their souls are more important than the ‘things’ we have been asking God for.
God has placed in us what they need. They need the compassion of God. They need the love of God. They need the forgiveness of God. And YOU are the person that God wants to display Himself through.
They’ve already met the elder son.
Now it’s time for them to meet the Father (in us).
It was the enemy’s plan to get you involved in situations and relationships that he knew would leave you broke, brokenhearted, hurt or bitter in the end. Like Eve, you didn’t understand what you had or what God had given you. You took the enemy’s bait because you liked what you saw and you thought you were missing something.
The devil wants you to see yourself as a loser, but it was he who lost. How do I know? Well, just look at yourself. What the enemy was hoping would happen to you, didn’t happen. It didn’t work.
So, he lost. You didn’t.
Not only did he lose, but he lost you.
Yes, you were down for a moment, but you got up again.
You still win.
Did you want to give up? Yes. Did you want to walk away? Yes, but God didn’t let you. The word of God is so deeply rooted in you that you couldn’t walk away from the Word even if you wanted to.
God brought you through it and He brought you out of it. You’re not in it anymore. It’s behind you. Stop looking back.
No, you didn’t count the cost before you got involved, but don’t waste any more time counting your losses. Stop counting your mistakes.
You may have lost some things, but there is nothing that you have lost that God can’t restore and there is nothing broken that He cannot fix.
You still win.