So title of the message today is seeking the right way as the roads church, we still believe that the word of God is the right way. So we get excited every time we open it up. So if you got your Bibles, come on, roads, Mount Carmel and erodes family turned open up your Bibles to Ezra chapter eight as read chapter eight, still the right way. Still the right way. I grew up in a big boxing family. Uh, we’re big fans of boxing. And I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that at the end of a fight, if it’s a championship fight for the belt. And if the champion wins, you know, when they announced the winner at the end of it and they go, and the winner by technical knockout, and they’re either going to say and newer and still, but they go and still the heavyweight champion that offers the best Mt. Carmel Church today.
Of the world, while you still feel that way, even though 2020 was not the best year in a lot of ways. I want to say, as we go into 2021 and the winner by technical knockout and still the King of Kings,
and still, still Holiture boy, he’s still champion, eh, for chapter eight, are you ready? As a chapter eight verse 21 says, then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava that we might humble ourselves before God to seek from him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions for, I was ashamed to request that the King and escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road. There’s going to be an enemy on the road. There’s going to be an enemy on the road, just a little heads up. There’s going to be an enemy on your road of life, the roads church on different roads of life. There’s going to be an enemy on the road, but look what happens next because we had spoken to the King saying the hand of our God is upon all those for good, who seek him, but his power and his wrath or against all those are Southern Illinois for the top Mt. Carmel Church services.
You’d say that he’s again, all those who forsake him. So we fasted, here we go. Here’s what we’re doing this time of year, we fasted and in treated our GFE two steps, we fasted and two things. So prayer and fasting, we’re fasting, and we’re in treating God. We’re not just doing without something. We’re doing more of something else. That’s the key to prayer and fasting. We fasted and entreated God for this. And he did what he answered our prayer. Woo. He may need some prayers answered in your life. This is what we’re needing, was what we’re believing God for that he will show us the path. So as the right way, going into the new year, we always prepare ourselves for the year by launching it out with prayer and fasting. I look back this week and I think, cause my records are right. The first time I kind of launched this in the church was 2009.
So counting 2009 and counting 2021, this will be the 13th time that we’ve started off the year with prayer and fasting. And it’s always important. You know, you new people out of you’re new to the church and some of you are totally new to fasting. You’re like, have no idea what that is. And you hear the, the inquisitiveness of new people like, Oh right. What do we do? And how does it work? And I encourage you. If you have questions, go to our website. Mike did a great job in the video, uh, www.theroads.church, give you a little basics on it. Uh, but I also want to encourage some of the veterans. Some of you cagey veterans, that’s been around for a few years. Don’t get caught in the temptation of saying, Oh, I’ve done that before. I don’t need to do that. The familiarity can kind of wear off. You know, those new people are like, okay, prayer, fast. It’s gold. Let’s go for it. It’s going to be awesome. Some people have been around like, Oh, live here, Not a Jeff every year with you. Tell you, my flesh stays the same, says the same thing. Every December. It says, Chad, don’t do it when it comes to your Mt. Carmel Church.
Let the people I mean, just to be very clear, I’m not the one stopping you from eating. It’s not about me. It’s not about what I’m doing. What is the purpose of a fast, the biblical definition of a fast is this abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. I want to explain the biblical version. Cause we kind of Americanized a little bit. A lot of times we kind of pull out all kinds of things that we can say is fasting. And that’s totally between you and God, what you do. But the biblical principle is abstained. Two steps. Notice it abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. Abstaining from food alone is called starvation. And that is no spiritual benefit to see what we can do for you now.
So if you just say, I’m going to do without something good luck. You can do it. That’s fine. But that’s not fasting. Fasting is I have a spiritual purpose that I’m pursuing. I’m doing without this. Cause I’m going after that. I want less of this cause I want more of that. So that’s what we’re talking about. Now you can do a absolute fast, an absolute fast is no food at all for certain periods of time. Now that the period of times between you and the Lord, whether you want to do one meal a day, or you only want to eat one meal a day, or you want to fast for two days, Nope. Whatever you want to do, nobody’s asking you or requiring you to do certain amounts. This is not a competition. Like when you fast at three, Oh, you fasted three. I just got started at three with the best Mt. Carmel Church around.
Whatever. You know, it’s not about that. It’s not about that. It’s just giving you an opportunity that you can seek God. So then there’s also a partial fast where you can fast certain things. Maybe you want to do just fruits and vegetables, or maybe you want to do whatever between you and the Lord. Okay? Here’s the thing that we want to do together. Our individual, what we’re fasting may be separate and unique, but what we’re going after needs to be unified. We’re going after more of him. So your fast may look different from mine, but our prayer and fasting is going to be after seeking more of God. Because remember this fasting is, is very healthy for you. It’s good to cleanse your body and you can get rid of a lot of toxins that way. Give your digestive system a little reset button. I know after Thanksgiving and Christmas for the top Mt. Carmel Church, it’s always great for me to hit the reset button because my body goes into some kind of weird deal over that time.
I just eat like crazy. And so it’s a great time for me to set the reset button. But fasting is not a weight loss program. That shouldn’t be your goals should be your motivation. It should be to seek more of God because fasting is not merely about deprivation, but rather about prioritization. It’s not about just depriving yourself so you can suffer. Time of prayer and fasting is, is not what we’re just subtracting from our life, but it’s what we’re adding to our life. So what I want us to do at the Rose Church this year, I would encourage you. I want to challenge you to don’t let our conversations be so much focused on, well, what are you fasting? What are you fasting? What are you fasting? Let’s talk about what we’re doing instead of what we’re doing without. Cause then it can just be the focus on how, how you’re deprivation your willpower, but let’s call it what we need for the best Mt. Carmel Church.
You know what? I’m going to read my Bible every day, instead of eating lunch, I’m going to focus on this. I’ve got a devotion. I’m going to, I’m going to write out a journal. I’m gonna, I’m gonna seek God. Um, or pray every morning. We’ll get up an hour earlier than I normally do to seek, uh, well, let’s talk about what we’re doing instead of what we’re doing without let’s motivate each other to push forward to for more of God. And then just instead of complaining about what we’re all suffering without and encouraged prayer and fasting, it must have a purpose. Has, must have something we’re focusing on something we’re pursuing. It’s gotta be more of, of God has got it. Fast thing is not about, uh, some people make this misconception and I’ve done it myself, make prayer and fasting about suffering so much that you impress God that you get him to do something that he wasn’t going to do already. Like, God didn’t want to do it, but you did without donuts. So he said, man, if you’re going to give up those donuts, I’ll go ahead and do that for you.That’s not how it works. You know, it’s not manipulating. God bless me. Come on, bless me. I’m fasting God for Pete’s sake.
Prayer fasting does not move God to us. Prayer and fasting moves us to God. There’s an alignment that takes place in prayer and fasting. And it isn’t moving Jehovah over to your side. What it does is it brings our alignment into the voice of God. And we begin to hear him more. Clearly our prayers become more focused on the right thing. So again, prayer and fasting is not getting God to do something he doesn’t want to do. It’s getting us to pray into what he wants to do. And we see those things come to pass. Verse 21. What was the purpose of their fast here in Ezra says I proclaimed a fast there that we might. Here’s the purpose two things. And this is what’s going to happen during our prayer and fasting time. What I want to focus on today, two things with the best Mt. Carmel Church.
And I talked about this a little bit last week, but then we’ll go in a different direction today. Humble ourselves before God. Prayer and fasting is humbling ourselves before God. Number two that we might seek from him the right way. Two things happen in prayer. And number one, there’s the humbling. The humbling part is the fasting part. It is humbling for me. This boy likes to eat. So it is humbling for me to say no to my flesh, to something I want again, whether that is, I’m saying food tone, totality, don’t try and read into what you have to do. Pray to God and have him show you. But prayer saying no to your flesh is humbling. When you want to go do something and you don’t want to go do that. And you say no to that, that’s humbling because you’re saying there’s someone else that’s Lord over my life than myself.
Humbling is about lowering yourself. The word, the definition of the word humble just means to lower yourself, to bow down, to reduce in authority, priority or status. So now here they humble themselves. And to seek the face of God, the fast they proclaimed a fast and the fast itself was not the purpose. It wasn’t about abstaining from food. That wasn’t the purpose of the fast. The purpose was that they might humble themselves and seek God. What makes sure you understand this prayer and fasting is not the end. It’s a means to the end. The purpose of prayer and fasting is to seek after God more of God. So it’s not just about what I’m doing here. Well, I’m giving up or what I’m sacrificing. I’m doing it to get a different result. I’m doing it so I can become a better man. I’m doing it so I can come draw closer to God and I can be the husband that God wants me to be. That’s why I’m fasting. I’m fasting. So I can be a better parent for my children. I’m fasting. So I can be a better example. I’m fasting for him. And when I get more of him than I become a better me when it comes to Mt. Carmel Church.
The more of God you get in your life, the better you you become because that’s who he created you to be. So they humble themselves before God. This is the first part of it. Galatians chapter five, verse 24 says this and those who are Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires crucified the flesh. Now that sounds a violent crucifying,
The flesh cause we recognized Jesus hanging on the cross crucified. What is the flesh? This is not cutting yourself be very clear. That’s a significant problem that some people deal with. And it’s a suggestion of the enemy trying to work in people’s lives. And we say crucifying, the flesh. I want to be very careful in how we present it. The flesh is your own willful sinful desires or your own humanity. It’s your flesh. When we’re talking about flesh is your will your desires that are of this world or worldly desires. So it says crucifying, the flesh, it’s saying, this is my natural tendencies. What I want to do? And you just say no to it. That’s crucifying the flesh. It’s when you want to do something and you say, no, you just crucified the flesh. So it’s part fasting. I have not found. And you may different from me on this. This is just my personal opinion because of how I’m made up and how I’m watched. I have not found any better way to crucify my flesh.
I have not because I love me some food. I, I really enjoy eating. So what for me to crucify my desires fasting. Does it big fasting? Does it better than anything else? I’d say better. It’s just harder. So it says crucifying the flesh. So here’s what prayer and fasting is about. Number one, crucifying the flesh. But here’s the second part in that next verse. This is important. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit. So here’s the second part of prayer and fasting. I’m crucifying the flesh by saying no to something. Yes, but now it allows me to live in the spirit more than I did before. In other words, whenever I pray and fast, I’m turning the volume down on the voice of my flesh and I’m turning the volume up on the spirit of God on
The inside of me. So where my flesh controlled me and screamed and said, do this, do that, do this. All of a sudden that voice begins to get quieter because I’m crucifying that flesh. And now I begin to do and pursue more of God. And now the voice of God, the spirit of God begins to be louder and clearer in my life. Now that’s when we’re winning. When we’re hearing God better, that’s when you know you’re getting the results of prayer and fasting. It’s not that you lost 10 pounds. That’s wonderful side note. But the main focus is that I’m hearing God better than I’ve ever heard him in my life. That’s the purpose. That’s the goal is that God’s saying things to me, he’s giving me direction. I’m hearing him on what to do with my kids or my finances or my health or every area of your life hearing from God is going to benefit you. Why? Because he said the words I speak to you, they are life with our great Mt. Carmel Church.
They’re life. So What part of your life do you need help in all of them? So let God into all of your life. He’s not just your church part of your life. He’s all parts of your life. You having some financial troubles ask God what he wants you to do. Be ready. If I know my father, first thing he’s going to do is say, I want you to give
You’re like, I need some ind. My problem is my income law. He’s like, no, no, no. Your problem is your lack of generosity. Or it could be something else could be a health issue. It could be a relationship issue we want to build to hear from God. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re turning up the volume of the spirit of God. We’re turning down the volume of your flesh. Galatians five 13 says this for you. Brethren have been called to Liberty only do not use your Liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love, serve one another. What does that mean? We have the Liberty to do whatever we want. That’s called free will. But God says with that Liberty that you have, don’t choose it as an opportunity for your flesh to run the show. In other words, choose you have this opportunity. You have Liberty in your life.
You have freedom. You decide who’s going to lead your life. Is God going to lead your life? Or is your flesh going to lead your life? You’ve been given a wonderful gift of freewill and you can do with it, whatever you want. You can go with your flesh and do what your flesh desires and do what you want when you want. Or you can submit yourself to God, say, Lord, I want to choose your way. I want to do what you want me to do. I want you to, I want to do it. How you want me to do it? And that’s what he’s telling us here. Whenever we begin to enter our prayer and fasting time, I encourage you. Don’t ask your flesh what you’re going to do during prayer and fasting you and God tell your flesh what you’re going to do. Imagine asking your flesh its opinion on what it thinks you ought to do to crucify your flesh with the best Mt. Carmel Church.
Hey, I’m going to crucify you. What do you think we ought to do? Well, I think you ought to fast broccoli. Yeah and one of my kids said, Hey dad, I know what I’m going to do with my fast. I’m only going to eat. And one of them, one of them said somme to me last night and this one’s a big fan of donuts, which I’m not sure we’re going to be able to keep having donuts. Anyway, that’s a sidebar. Uh, he was devastated by that news or one of my kids was
Jamie, last night I was, I was, uh, ironing, my shirt, getting ready and uh, and it’s time for bed. And he said, Hey dad, I’m fast tomorrow. Um, I don’t think I’m mobile. Say no to those donuts. I said, dude, that’s part of the fast I know, but I just can’t say when it comes to the top Mt. Carmel Church.
You know, so it’s like, don’t wait for what feels good. Cause putting your flesh under submission to God as part of the process, listen, I want to say this body of Christ. We kind of been talking into this, uh, through different series. But we, as, uh, as Christians, we need to be, uh, understanding that the importance of being comfortable with being comfortable. Yeah get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We’re not entering into the relationship with Jesus, for comfort. We’re entering into it for conflict. Most of the church is not ready for that, but I’m just telling you right now, get ready because it’s coming more conflict is coming. So the bride of Christ can either duck their head in the sand and pretend it’s not coming. Or they can rise to the surface and say, we come in and we ain’t backing down. This is what God’s saying. We’re preparing for conflict. We’re preparing for discomfort. We’re not in this to feel good. We’re in this to be good. So he said they humbled themselves before our God, before our God. Here’s what that phrase means there before our God, the word before it means to turn an angle towards comes from a Hebrew word. That means face. So it literally means this to turn our face towards GFE. So here’s one of the things that we want to do during prayer and fasting is we want to turn our face away from something and onto God, it’s turning notice with a turning there’s a will involved with the best Mt. Carmel Church around.
I have to turn my face towards God. Look what the Bible says in Psalm 27. It says, when you said seek my face, my heart said to you, your face Lord, I will seek. I will seek. I will seek after what you’re wanting. We talked about it in worship. So well just talking about seeking the face of God, turning my face away from something else and turning it onto God. Um, I’m paying attention to God more. I’m praying more than I’ve ever prayed. This prayer and fasting is about, instead of watching TV, the first thing in the morning, I get up my Bible and I begin to read God’s work. I began to turn my face towards God. I turned it away. Instead of the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is I get out my phone and start looking at all the notifications and read through social media.
No, the first thing you do get up in the morning and set your face before God and begin to look to him. The first thing in the morning begin to set your face towards the end. This is what it’s talking about. Seeking his face. Prayer and fasting is about turning away from one thing towards something else. Daniel chapter nine, verse three says this. Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make requests by prayer and supplication. Notice I set my face toward God to make requests by prayer. So here’s our prayer and supplications with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. Now you don’t have to put on sackcloth and ashes if you don’t want to. But I’m just saying prayer and fasting is about turning our towards God and prayed to him, talking to him, giving him your attention. You ever talked to one of your kids and, and they’re kind of looking around and you say, Hey, Hey, look at me when I’m talking to you, right? We like to see someone’s face. We want to know that the message is getting communicated. We like to know they’re paying attention. We like to know they’re not dozing off in the middle of the message. Well, this is what God wants from you. He wants your face. He’s not wanting you to just give your face to Instagram for hours. And then just hope God will speak to you through something on your feet. We put that down and we give him our face and our attention with a better level of Mt. Carmel Church,
More of him. So we seek from him. We humble ourselves before God. The second point to seek from him the right way for us, our little ones and our possessions. We talked about the us little ones, our possessions last week. I want to jump on something else here. Notice what it says. We humble ourselves before God. First number two to seek from him, from him, speaks of the source to seek from him the right way. Somebody say the right way to seek from him. The what kind of way, the right way. We’re going to seek from him the right way. Come on one more time. Seek from him the right way. If there’s a right way, there’s a wrong way. We’re seeking the right way. Where do we get the right way? We get the right way from him. Seek from him the right way. Why do we need to be, why is it important for us to seek from him the right way? Here it is, Proverbs chapter 14. Look at this verse 12. There is a way somebody say, Oh way. There is a way that seems right. Seems right. Seems right to a man or to a woman. But it’s in end is the way of death.
There is a way the word wages means a path of life, a code of conduct. If you will, a motive action, a way of living, there is a way to run your life, to live your life. There is a way to make decisions. There is a way to, to behave. There is a way to do things. There are all kinds of ways. There’s a way that’s going to seem right to you in the moment. But it’s in, it says, the Bible says it’s in. So you’re here. It’s in is the way of the way of what? The way of death. That sounds harsh. You don’t have the way of death means with the top Mt. Carmel Church. It means the absence of life. Thank you captain obvious. No. What I mean by that is there is no life there. I get it. No, no, no. I’m saying there is nothing good there. I’m not talking about a way that’s morally better than others. I’m trying to paint a clear picture for you. I’m talking about the way of death.
The reason I want to emphasize that is because if I understand it’s the way of death, I don’t, I understand that it’s not just a choice of which way is better. It’s still not dumped revelation yet. That’s okay. But I want you to grasp this. He said, there’s a way that seems right right now to live my life, to make decisions, to do things. But I don’t know the end from the beginning. And it seems right for me to talk to this person this way. It seems right for me to respond to my spouse this way right now, because it feels good. It seems right to go ahead and do this right now because it feels right. It seems right in the moment. It seems right for me to go ahead and answer that Snapchat and connect with that person because you know, we’re just feeling it out. It seems right in the moment that there’ll be a good person, a good person for me to hook up with. It seems right now because they seem like a nice guy.
There’s a lot of nice guys on Snapchat, a lot of nice girls on Snapchat, but what is the end of that way? It seems right for me just to compromise a little bit on my convictions and just do a little bit of this. I’m not killing anybody for me by all means. I’m just, just compromising a little bit. So I get off of God’s way and I start doing it my way. Just a little bit, not a big difference. It’s just a smidgen, right?
The moment. It doesn’t seem like much different, but you play it out long enough In the moment. It seems right. It’s in the moment. It seems right to go ahead and respond to that message on Facebook that I know that person, it might be inappropriate because I’m a married person, but we’re just friends with a better level of Mt. Carmel Church. We’re not doing it. They’re not saying anything inappropriate. I’m going to practical. Now. It seems right. It seems right now. But if you play it out, Glenn played out to a 10. There are certain times and you can do this trick. This is what I do sometimes to the enemy. He brings a suggestion to my thoughts and tips me to do something. And when I’m good, this is what I’ll do. I will play it out in my mind and I’ll say, okay, if I do that, then what’s going to happen. Then that’s going to happen. Then that could probably happen. And that could probably happen.
And then that could probably happen. And then I’ll lose my wife and my children and my ministry. No, thank you. You got to play it out because in the moment he doesn’t show you the end. He shows you what seems right? Oh, it seems so good. I feel it seems harmless, but it’s end as the way of, so why do we need to seek from him the right way? Because he knows the end from the beginning. He knows if that joker is going to be good for you. I know he talks good big game right now. I know she looks good and talks a big game right now, but what is the end result? I know that job promises you. If I quit this job, they’re promised me more money. It’s going to be great benefits. Great. I know it sounds good right now, but what is the end with the best Mt. Carmel Church? He knows the end. This is why we need to seek him for wisdom of what we’re doing. Hebrews chapter 11, verse 25 says this choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasure. The passing pleasures of sin. Come on somebody. Let me read this to you. Kept choosing, rather to suffer affliction with who, with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. Notice the contrast doing it God’s way or doing it. The sin way
Affliction comes sometimes with doing it God’s ways. And sometimes there’s pleasure in doing it the simple way, but that pleasure is passing because the end is the way of the wages of sin is death. I’m not saying that to be a stick in the mud, I’m saying it to save you and give you life. God, we got to make sure to keep this perspective. Some people look at this way, the cat, the sin column and the God column fun is in the sin column, misery and sufferings in the God call. But I’m telling you, living for God, shouldn’t be the most fun you should ever have. There is some fun in the sin column. I’m not going to lie to anybody, but it’s a passing fund that will lead to death. You have fun for a little while. I’m not sure what that was, but I just, I really have no explanation for that, but it was fun. bou know what I’m saying? You feel me. It’s like in the moment, it feels good to blow your top, but then you got to backpedal
Flicker shoes on that, moonwalk. But I’m just saying, you got, you got, you got to backpedal it back up, but now you’ve got to deal with the consequences, right? It seems right. It seems right to look at those pictures. You know, I’m not doing anything. I’m just looking at them. Feels good. Hmm. What’s the end of that. I’ll tell you what the end of that is. You’re going to want more than a picture.
How practical do you want me to get? Because we got to keep it real in church. Lot of times we talk about fictitious things, but we got to get real where we are and realize we got to seek the right way. The right way is God’s way. It’s always the right way. It’s always to life. Jesus said, I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly the feet. By the way, he comes to steal, kill and destroy with a better level of Mt. Carmel Church. That’s his goal. That’s his modus operandi. So let me give you a couple of scriptures to close Psalm five eight. Leave me O Lord in your righteousness because of my enemies. Make your way straight before my face, before my face, make your way straight Psalm one 43 eight. Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning. Again, you may say Chad, I’m not a morning person.
I’m not getting into your schedule whenever you want to seek God totally up to you make me better seeking God in the night, but I encourage you to give him the first moments of your day. It doesn’t have to be an hour. Just give him the first moments I committed. Hold on. Let me see. Uh, I don’t want to say this in sound presumptions or that’s not the word. I’m not gonna sound like tooting my own horn. You’re on a YouVersion Bible app every day that you open it, it starts a streak, right? I’ve got a street going that the first thing I do every morning is I open that app and I see what the verse of the day is just to get the word before my eyes. It’s the first thing I do. I encourage you to do that. Look what he says here, cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning.
How am I going to hear his loving kindness? If I don’t listen for it, if I don’t read the Bible, if I don’t pray, if I don’t seek him, if I, if I look for social media first, I’m not going to hear his loving kindness in the morning four in you do I trust cause me to know the way in which I should walk for. I lift up my soul to you seeking the right way, seeking the right way we’re launching today, our prayer and fasting time. And here’s what I want to challenge us to do. I want us to seek him and seek the right way for us, for our little ones and for all of our possessions. How are we going to do that? We’re going to humble ourselves to work with the top Mt. Carmel Church.
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