The Precipice – Prayer and Fasting

When we may be on the precipice of a possible fall and our brain is exhausted or we need change in our lives, we will search our hearts for answers and call out to God. It is the heart that cries out to God for change, in love, hate and a myriad of emotions which are involved in the development of our relationship with God and our fellow man.

All of us have faced challenges whether that is on a personal level or in a group situation such as the family, church, work and so on and as Christian we ask God to help us. We may do that by prayer on a daily bases but in some very difficult or stressful time we may go into a fast to see the hand of God moving in our lives and hearts.

This was something that I wrote while mediation on some issues of life.

The Sea of Life.
We are but little ships on the sea of life.
With our sails set to catch the gentle breeze.
Or the roaring forties.
We set our course with a dream and desire.
Onwards upwards directly to our goal.
Not thinking of another course.
But God with His infinite wisdom.
Knows the right direction.
In which we should sail.

The seas may roar.
They may tumble and roll.
Our little ship may be tossed to and fro.
We cry out to God.
To still the storm.
And somehow we are righted once again.
To sail into tranquil waters and safe shores.
Knowing we have endured.
We have overcome.

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and inscrutable things which you do not know. (MKJV)

God will always answer the cry of the heart in some way, shape or form and sometimes it not exactly the way we wanted, but it turns out to be the best for us.

Introduction
Before we can understand the purpose and power found in prayer and fasting we need to know what God is looking for.

When David said in Psalm 51:10-17, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” we can see the cry of his heart.

As I have quotated in another book, ‘We can find about 400 places in Scripture that say the ‘heart ‘, is a place of intellect, thought, emotions, character, love, compassion and faithfulness ; all of which God uses to change our world for good, if we answer the call.’
David had reached the precipice of a fall in his life and needed to change; he prays for forgiveness and for the grace of God to be poured out on him. He pleads by petition for cleansing and promises to show thanksgiving in his life.

Some may think that we only live under grace in the New Testament and that is true; but as grace has always been part of God’s nature it has always been available to man in the Old and New Testament times. The first example that I have found is in Genesis 3:21 when God killed the innocent animal and covered man’s sin. This was the forerunner of Jesus who died on the Cross as an innocent man.

In our Bible we find two words for grace, the first is in the Old Testament, chên (khane) H2580, in the Hebrew language. The next is found in the New Testament which in Greek is charis (khar’-ece) G5485. Both words signify subjectively or objectively: liberty, pleasure, gratitude and gift of favour from the Divine, a divine influence upon one’s heart. The Merriam-Webster dictionary regards grace as a virtue coming from God in the form of unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

David wanted this grace but he knew that the Law of righteousness was gained by his conscience, animal blood sacrifices (atonement) and believing with the act of repentance. It is important for us to understand in the Old Testament times, that righteousness is the ability to keep the whole Law. To fulfil righteousness in the Age of Law, everyone had to keep all the Law all the time as set out in the first five books of our Bible, built on the foundation of the blood sacrifice and prayers of repentance offered to God in an act of atonement.

But David comes to a greater revelation of grace, as can be seen in Psalm 51:10-17. We see more of this development understanding later in history in the New Testament.

How can we find out if we are under the Law or grace?
If we say:
• I must pray and fast to get more from God, then this is under the Law.
• I want pray and fast, to understand God more, then this is under grace.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways; and sinners shall be converted to You. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of shedding blood, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 15 O Jehovah, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. 16 For You do not desire sacrifice; or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. (MKJV)

As we can read in verses 16 and 17 David understand that God is not asking for a sacrifice but a heart of true remorse that desires a deeper relationship with Him. In 1Samuel 15:22 it is telling us that it is better to obey than to sacrifice. To listen is better than the fat of rams!

Finally we come to the motivation or purpose of prayer and fasting and that can be simply put this way, to know God, the moving of the Holy Spirit and His Son more intimately, as in knowing their will in our given situation.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (MKJV)

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Does Hell exist?

Ask some Christians, “Do you believe in heaven?” All Christians will say, “yes”.

Then ask them, “Do you believe in hell?” The answers will be split between “yes and no”.

This is because of the spirit of unbelief in some toward Scriptures that talk about eternal punishment, hell etc!

Some liberalists say, “Man is not lost in sin and going to Hell as Hell does not exist”. This clearly contradicting Scripture.

Some liberalists believe in annihilation, as one is swept from existence, which is quite unthinkable or unconceivable because it contradicts what Jesus and writers of Scripture have said.

Luke 1:32-33: … shall be no end.

Ephesians 3:21: …throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Hebrews 7:15-16: …. but after the power of an endless life.

Revelation 1:18: … I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 15:7: … who liveth forever and ever.

We advocated that the eternal life given to repentant believers is a life where one lives with God eternally. This is true, but it needs to be qualified as a spiritual life as a spiritual being with a body and with an awareness of God for eternity, as a reward for believing in Jesus (John 3:16) with an act of repentance.

We are spiritually alive when we become repentant-believers and the inverse for the non-repentant person is correct.

The non-repentant person is spiritually dead to the things of God, albeit they are still physically alive.

The main issue here is the use of the words life and death, as some want spiritual life for the believers and a spiritual death for the non-believers. “Everlasting” means “everlasting” in heaven as it does in hell.

Death here for the non-repentant is to be conscious of their disobedience while still in a spiritual form with a body and not swept from existence which is rejected by those who advocate the doctrine of annihilation.

To say that there is an annihilation of non-repentant is like giving them a reward for disobedience and lack of repentance toward God. This is clearly a contradiction with Matthew 25:46—”These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Another view says that there is an ultimate reconciliation of the non-repentant, who are given a reward for disobedience toward God.

Again it is clear contradiction with Matthew 25:46—”These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” But in Luke 18: 30 it refers to life everlasting, aionios and then when we compare this to Matthew 18:8 we see the same word used for everlasting punishment.

Therefore we are left to conclude that there is eternal life, which means ‘eternal fellowship spiritually and physically with God as a spiritual being’. Thus there is an eternal separation spiritually and physically with God in hell.

Jesus is our Forgiveness; He is the one who stands before God as our Advocate to proclaim where we stand in Him, whether we have made Him Lord and therefore appropriated His forgiveness.

2Corinthians 5:21 For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (MKJV)

Jesus’ death and the shedding of His blood provided forgiveness for the sins of the entire world – yours and mine. Now in Romans 6:23b tells us, “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. There are three points to consider in this part of Scripture.

i) God wants to give us a gift, and the gift is eternal life.

ii) God wants to work through His Son, Jesus Christ to give the gift to mankind.

iii) The eternal life through Jesus Christ can be received only by making Jesus Lord; that is to say, you must be in Him.

The sickness that takes us to hell is “Sin with an unwillingness to repent”.

The medicine that takes us to heaven is repentance and receiving Jesus as Lord.

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The “All” that will be saved

The new Israel is not a physical nation! It’s a spiritual one called the Church (Matthew 8:11). The Church does not replace Israel it is the further development. The old Israel still exists but they are separated from God, but that is by their own choice, because they did not want to accept the Messiah. God is divorced, but He is preparing His bride.

The Church is not a denomination! It is not a nation!

It is a collection of called out people who have dedicated their lives to serving God and His Christ and they are called repentant believers.

People from England, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Canada, U.S.A and the house of Judah and Israel etc, will not get into heaven because of their genealogy or their nationality. Some people who call themselves Christians will also not enter into heaven as Jesus will not know them (Matthew 7:21-22).

The only nation or genealogy that will go into heaven is the one that has been totally translated by the faith of God, though a personal act of repentance and the blood of Jesus. The “All” that the Bible refers to as those that will be saved is the “All” who have met the Biblical requirements of salvation and definitely not a nation one is born in.

Repentance is the key, Jesus is the door.

No repentance – no salvation!

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Defiled Man

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When man sinned and did not repent he lost his spiritual dynamic of direct communication with God and now the consequence of this is that all the descendents are spiritually inert or dead without spiritual inspiration. The veil of sin had been put between us and God. Adam had died in the spirit reducing him to a defiled triune in makeup, body and soul. “But” this does not mean that man has no conscience, but that his conscience is not impacted by the Holy Spirit as it is in the believer. By way of example; we could take some elements like a clear glass of water at room temperature and we can see though it, but if we drop another element in like some ink into the water it becomes cloudy and less transparent. The sin in man is like the ink clouding his thinking.

The diagram below shows the difference of the original design to the fallen state of man.

 

defiled triuneWe are the descendents of Adam born into this world with a spirit that is dead. Our conscience is seared to the things of God and we operate in our makeup being governed by our mind and body. But once we become aware of the knowledge of good and evil, then the penalties of sin fall upon us. Following this we receive, by the leading of the Spirit of God, the realization for the need to repent of our own sins. Then to accept that Jesus is the required atonement for our sins we can be saved.

Once we have taken the step of repentance salvation is given to us and the cleansing work begins by the grace of God.

 

 

 

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At the End of the 1000 Years

14.3.

The Second Resurrection will occur after the one thousand years (Millennium) rule of Christ and the Church on this earth. Christ will demonstrate to all the glory of God’s rule and some who become believers in Him and those who are born and die during the Millennium will be in the Second Resurrection along with all unbelievers covering all the ages (John 5:28,29 – Revelation 20:5,6 – Daniel 12:22 – 2Peter 2:4 – 1 Corinthians 6:2,3). They, together with the fallen angels, will all come to stand before the Great White Throne where God will sit and judge all. The Lamb’s Book of Life will be opened which will have a list of all the new believers who were converted during the Millennium, for the purpose of confirmation of entry into heaven.

The believers who were resurrected at the time of the First Resurrection will not be judged at the second resurrection, because as we have seen, previously they had already repented, accepting the blood, the truth of Christ by faith without seeing Him.
14.4. The White Throne

This brings us to the first group to come before God at the White Throne. This group is found in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 20:15). These are all who have become believers and obeyed God’s Word and lived a righteous life during the Millennium and acknowledged the sovereignty of Christ and worshipped Him (Zechariah 14:16-21) and who will overcome the Great Testing at the end of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9).

14.5. The Lake of Fire
The next group to be resurrected will be of the non-believers and these will be all who never called on the name of Jesus for forgiveness or sought to live according to the Word of God, before Christ came the second time, plus all who did not live according to the Law before Christ came the first time. This is a physical resurrection unto condemnation where shame and everlasting damnation will be revealed to the resurrected unbelievers (Daniel 12:2- John 5:29- Acts 24:15). The physical resurrection (Matthew 10:28 – John 5:26-29) will be to show to all the consistency of God’s law, the condemned will see their own unrighteousness (Job 9:3 – Isaiah 64:6) compared to God’s righteousness and they will go into the lake of fire (Romans 2:5, 6).

We must all face our sins and repent now because after death there is no right of appeal found in the Bible. There is no record in the Bible to say that your loved ones can pray or pay your way out of hell.

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