2

A few thoughts first:

I know there are those who characterize Bethel Church in Redding CA as a "name it and claim it" church in the worst sense of the phrase. I've heard it said that they preach a gospel where if you're not healed you don't have "enough faith."

That could not be further from the truth.

I implore you to watch at least until Bill Johnson gets up, at about 5:50. He gives a small taste of the back story for this song. When I heard the circumstances of its writing I was reminded of the famous back story for the old hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul" by Horatio G. Spafford.

Enjoy

Miracles by Chris Quilala

The One who made the blind to see
Is moving here in front of me, moving here in front of me
The One who made the deaf to hear
Is silencing my every fear, silencing my every fear

[Chorus:]
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles

The One who does impossible is
Reaching out to make me whole
Reaching out to make me whole
The One who put death in its place
His life is flowing through my veins
His life is flowing through my veins

[Chorus x2:]
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles

The God who was and is to come
The power of the Risen One
The God who brings the dead to life
You're the God of miracles!
You're the God of miracles!
[x2]

[Chorus:]
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles

The God who was and is to come
The power of the Risen One
The God who brings the dead to life
You're the God of miracles!
You're the God of miracles!

[Chorus:]
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles
I believe in You, I believe in You
You're the God of miracles


Come and worship Him with me today, will you?

Blessings,

Ben

11

Why do you look upon the Shulammite
as at a dance of the two armies?

Song 6:13 - Lexham English Bible

I love this phrase - a dance of two armies. Isn’t that life?

We are in the center of a conflict of two worlds.

Peter cautions us:

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. - 1 Peter 2:11

And Paul tells us:

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, - Romans 8:6-7

So we know this war rages.

But what is our part in this conflict between two worlds?

Often we as Christians set our selves in a defensive stance. We know that flesh, and our worldly desires are strong and dangerous, so we hide ourselves in our cloisters and abstain not only from the lusts, but from all contact with the world.

That is where our maiden was in her early days. She didn’t want to go and run with the Bridegroom in the hills and mountains.

But now she has found her identity. She is an ambassador from heaven to earth, for the Spirit to speak to the souls of men.

No longer does she hide in the closet, but she dances the dance of heaven right in front of the enemy lines.

David put it this way:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.

Psalm 23:4-5 NASB

In his wonderful book “The Supernatural Power of the Transformed Mind,” Bill Johnson speaks about Jacob’s meeting with God.

In Genesis 28 we read

He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. ... He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." - Genesis 28:12, 17 NASB

If you have been following my blog for any time, you know I am fascinated by anything to do with the dwelling place or the house of God. Jesus, in no uncertain terms, foretells of a day when we will be God’s dwelling place.

So grab hold of this idea -

The house of God is the gate of heaven! (Thanks Bill!)

The place where God dwells - in us - on earth - is an access point - an entry gate - for the Lord God to touch men.

As ambassadors of heaven, when we walk in a room, we give access to the King of heaven to touch the people trapped in the kingdom of darkness.

When we preach the gospel (really Good News!!!) men and women are touched by the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We are the thoroufare by which heaven can touch earth and earth can reach heaven.

So then, my prayer today is:

Swing wide you heavenly gates
Prepare the way of the risen Lord

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Today is a great day to dance between two armies

Ben


Jesus said:

But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:17-18 NASB)

I am, of course, a little boy at heart, and that little boy cries out “tell me a story” all the time. So when I come across books of the Bible that are primarily narrative, the little boy in me snuggles up and listens with wide eyes and wonder.

That is the first reason I love the book of Nehemiah.

But maybe 6 or 8 years ago I heard Bill Johnson teaching about Nehemiah and he pointed out that the name Nehemiah means The Lord Comforts, and that you should read this short book thinking of Nehemiah as a type of the Holy Spirit, our comforter. This doubled down my love for this book.

That being said – back to fasting:

The book opens with Nehemiah learning of the mistreatment of his people and the fact that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down.

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. And they said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”

Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 4:1-4 NASB)

So why is he fasting? Is it just part of his mourning? I think it is more than that. Let’s look at the next couple of verses and see if we find another reason.

And I said, “I beseech Thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, let Thine ear now be attentive and Thine eyes open to hear the prayer of Thy servant which I am praying before Thee now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Thy servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against Thee; I and my father’s house have sinned. “We have acted very corruptly against Thee and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses. “Remember the word which Thou didst command Thy servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ And they are Thy servants and Thy people whom Thou didst redeem by Thy great power and by Thy strong hand. O Lord, I beseech Thee, may Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant and the prayer of Thy servants who delight to revere Thy name, and make Thy servant successful today, and grant him compassion before this man.” Now I was the cupbearer to the king. (Nehemiah 1:5-11 NASB - emphasis is mine)

I have highlighted a couple phrases. For sure this is not all that can be gleaned from this 1st chapter of Nehemiah, but I want you to see that Nehemiah went to the Lord with prayer and fasting in order to remind the Lord of promises He had made.

When we find ourselves in circumstances that do not match up with the clear promises of God, it is appropriate to bring them before Him and remind Him.

No, He is not forgetful, or distracted.

It is actually an act of faith. We do not live by sight, but we can see. So when we see something that does not line up with the Word of God, the faith filled reaction is to take it back to God and lay it out for Him.

We see this over and over again in scripture. It is not complaining about your plight, but rather saying to the Father, Ok – I see the circumstances here do not line up with Your Word, I know You’re about do change something.

Our boy Nehemiah mixes in fasting, and then proceeds with confidence.

Remember, fasting does not manipulate God, but it could get you to a place where you see what steps you need to take for God’s plan to move forward.

Nehemiah did not ask God to fix it, Nehemiah simply saw that if God was in it, he (Nehemiah) could bring the change.

Don’t miss this. When God shows you the disparity between life and His revealed will, He wants you to be part of His solution. [Tweet This] Fasting will help you see your part and identify your next step.

Are there any unfulfilled promises in your life that you are desperate enough to pursue with fasting? Do you need a revelation of your next step?

Try adding a little fasting.

Thanks for coming by today.

Ben