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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Jentezen Franklin » Jentezen Franklin - The Problem-Solving Ezra Fast

Jentezen Franklin - The Problem-Solving Ezra Fast

Jentezen Franklin - The Problem-Solving Ezra Fast
Jentezen Franklin - The Problem-Solving Ezra Fast
TOPICS: Fasting, Crisis, Troubles, Prayer

Welcome to a very special edition of Kingdom Connection. I'm coming to you from the City of Jerusalem. I'm going to be teaching today on fasting, so get your Bibles out and get a notepad out. You may be wondering, well, where in the world are you? As you can see, there's a very old tree stump. The base of an old tree. One of the oldest trees. The oldest pine tree in the City of Jerusalem once stood here, and this is the trunk of it. This is the stump of it that is left.

In 1998, it broke, and according to the legends of Jerusalem, there's a book called, "The Legends of Jerusalem". It is the oral tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation that it was at this very spot, Ezra, the prophet rewrote the Torah, the five books of the Old Testament after Babylonian captivity. He took a pen. We know he did this, and the question is where did he do it, and according to tradition, he did it under this tree. Sitting by this tree he wrote for the people of Israel the law, the five books of Torah and passed it to a new generation.

When he read it, by the way, the Bible said that the people were so in awe of having the word of God back after being in Babylonian captivity that they stood and one of the traditions, and some of the traditional churches to this day is when the Bible is read, people stand up. I preached in churches where people automatically stand up at the reading of the word. That came from the teaching in the Book of Ezra where it said that he taught all day and read the word or the Torah and the people stood.

So, I want to talk to you today about an amazing passage concerning fasting found in Ezra 8. Before I do, I heard this amazing story and looked it up, and it was true, and I want to give it to you. Mount Vernon, Texas. Drummond's Bar began construction of the expansion of their bar to increase business. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding and being able to have a bigger party, basically. The church decided not only to have a petition against the expansion of the bar in their community, but they began to fast and pray and as work progressed, it didn't stop it seemingly. The fasting and prayer didn't work and right up to the week of grand opening, the grand opening, they were fasting and praying, and the week that it was to have the grand opening, lightning stuck it and burned it to the ground.

Now, this is a true story. After the bar burned to the ground due to the lightning strike, the church folks began to get a little braggadocious, I guess you'd say, and smug about the fact that their prayers and fasting had burned down the bar, and they were kind of saying that all over the community, and they were talking about the power of the prayer and fasting. And so, the bar owner got upset about it and sued the church on the grounds that the church was "ultimately responsible for the demise of this building either through direct or indirect means". Well, in reply to this lawsuit, the church denied all responsibility and any connection to the building's demise. So, the Judge ran through the accuser's complaint. He ran through the church's defense, and he called the two together in the court room, and this is a true story. I looked it up, and he said, "Well, I don't know what I'm going to do with this case. It appears from the paperwork we have a bar owner who believes in the power of fasting and prayer, and we have an entire congregation of the church who does not".

So, I don't know about you, but I want to proclaim to a new generation that I still believe in the power of fasting and prayer. The Muslims believe in fasting and prayer. The Buddhists believe in fasting and prayer. I wonder if there are any Christians who still believe in fasting and prayer? Are there any congregations and any churches who still believe in fasting and prayer? Any pastors, any laity, any businessmen, any moms, any dads who still believe in the power of fasting and prayer? Jesus fasted. Moses fasted. Elijah fasted. Esther fasted. Daniel fasted. Peter fasted. Paul fasted. Nehemiah fasted. John the Baptist fasted. Jehoshaphat fasted. Maybe it's time for you to decree, God, open my eyes and show me things I've never seen through fasting and prayer, and it brings me back to the Book of Ezra.

It says in the Book of Ezra 8:21, "Therefore I proclaim to fast there at the River Ahava. We humbled ourselves before God to seek Him in the right way for us, for our little ones, our children, and all of our possessions, and the hand of God was upon all of those for good who seek Him and His power and His wrath is against those who forsake Him. So, we fasted and we entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer". So, Ezra, as I mention at the beginning of this telecast, the oral tradition is that he wrote the Torah after Babylonian captivity right by this tree that I'm standing by, and so it's a pretty amazing thing when you understand the power of that Ezra fast. I want to talk about it for just a moment. You see, Ezra was faced with a great, great challenge, and that's why he called the people to a season of fasting and prayer. He had a great problem. He had a great crisis and challenge.

Are you facing a great problem, a great challenge, a great crisis, and you can't fix it and you don't have the solution to? This is when the Bible teaches us, we should seek God in fasting. Every year we do a 21-day fast, and there are tens of thousands of people who are joining us. Maybe hundreds of thousands. We have had up to a million people come to us during this month of fasting and prayer, and I believe that if you will fast and prayer, God will move like He did for Ezra. So, when He was facing this great problem, this tremendous challenge, Ezra... let me tell you what it was. It was a financial crisis for him in a way in a good way. Ezra had 7,500 pounds of gold. He had 25 tons of silver, and there were thieves and robbers who were all along the path that he had to take these great resources to.

Imagine, 7,500 pounds of gold, 25 tons of silver, and he knew that he was going to be robbed if God didn't help him, and the Bible said he needed protection. He needed God's protection to do what God had called him to do. He was taking the money back to rebuild the temple, and the resources to rebuild the temple, but he was faced with a significant problem. That's what I heard the Lord say. He said I'm going to deal in 2020 with significant problems that people... these are not small issues. These are big issues and listen to what Ezra 8:23 said; "So, we fasted..". And do you know what? The Bible said God gave Israel the solution. He told them exactly what to do. He told them exactly where to go. He told them exactly how to do it. He went into detail into how to carry it, how to disguise it, how to hide it from those who would try to steal it.

When you fast and you pray, God will give solutions to problems that you can't fix and you can't handle, and the Scripture said that God gave him as he fasted and prayed a divine solution. Step by step, God gave him the solution. I really want to say that again. Step by step. I'm telling you what happens when we fast, and we pray is God orders our steps. God begins to direct our path. I'm standing somewhere today that I had no idea I would be standing, but I've been fasting and praying for many, many decades these 21-day fasts. I've done every year for so many, and I'm amazed when I look back over my life at how God step by step directed me and gave me the step-by-step solutions to the crisis and the problems that we face. I like what Ezra said. He said, "God, we're fasting", and listen to this wording, He said, "to seek the right way for us".

Isn't that a great thing to be fasting for? You and your family to say, God, we're fasting and praying to seek the right way for us. Lord, I do, I do speak that over our lives, over this ministry that I want to fast and pray on this fast that God would show us the right way for us. Man, what a word. What a prayer to pray. What a purpose to fast for. And then he said, "Not only for us," listen to this, "but for our children". When we fast, it affects our children. When we fast and pray, it affects our sons and our daughters and our grandchildren that God would give them the right way for us. Not just me, but for my family, for my church, for your business; the wisdom that you need step-by-step solutions. This is absolutely biblical and right out of the Bible direct results of Ezra's fast was God gave him step-by-step solutions and directions for him, not only him, but watch, for his little ones or his children and his grandchildren, and then he said, "and for our resources". The problem-solving Ezra fast.

Have you got problems you can't solve? That's really the reason he went on a fast. God says decree the problem-solving Ezra fast step by step solutions will come when you fast, and you pray. No attempt to escape problems will work. I'm not trying to get away from the problem 'cause what you do when you fast and you pray, this is so important, is you enlist the Holy Spirit's aid in tackling the problems. I'm not trying to get out of the problems. I'm saying, God, give me your solutions to the problems and give me the Holy Spirit's enlistment and aid in tackling the major problems, major challenges. You've got major challenges in your marriage, major challenges with a new job, major challenges with friction in the business. Maybe you're a church trying to buy land, and you're facing zoning issues and relocating and a building program. These are the times when we invoke the power of God into our fast. You see the problem, and here's the key. Here's what I wanted to get to.

When you fast and you pray, it's not that the problem goes away, but you see the problem through God's eyes. That's what we're saying, open my eyes, Lord. I'm looking at the same problem like Ezra had a real threat and problem, but when he fasted and he prayed, he saw through God's eyes the solution step by step to doing what God had called him to do, and when you fast on this fast, the Lord is going to cause you to see the problem through His eyes, and He's going to give you those step-by-step instructions and directions inviting God into your problem. That's the Ezra fast. And then the Bible said "God granted him his request," and I love that phrase it said, "and the hand of God came upon us mightily". Oh, praise the Lord. That's happening when I think about fasting, I think about what Leonard Ravenhill said. Leonard Ravenhill said this. He said, "The modern church has moved a long way from the early church. The early church had its upper room with fire. The modern church has a supper room with smoke".

Sometimes you need to just decree a fast. If you're tired of smoke, if you're tired of the form of religion but no power, no fire, no substance, it's time to declare a fast. When I think about fasting and history and the early church, mighty men of God were used after they fasted. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church said these words, "When you seek God with fasting added to prayer, you cannot seek His face in vain". Wow! When you seek God with fasting added with your prayer, you cannot seek His face in vain. In other words, He's going to answer you. He's going to move in your life. John Calvin fasted and prayed, and it's a historical fact that the whole town of Geneva almost completely turned to God when the man began to fast and pray and proclaim the Gospel. Jonathan Edwards fasted for 24 hours before he preached "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", and he read the sermon word for word, and it shook a continent, and it brought revival to the world.

Charles Finney, who was a converted attorney, said when he detected a lack of the Holy Spirit, he would set aside days of fasting and prayer for the anointing, and it would always come. Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation Revivalist said these words that he fasted and prayed, and God gave him the words to preach. So, I'm saying to you that fasting strengthens our faith. Fasting strengthens our fervency and in closing today, I want to pray for you. I want to encourage you to join us on these 21 days of fasting and prayer.

If you just joined the telecast, I told at the beginning of this telecast that according to legends there's a book called, "The Legends of Jerusalem", and oral traditions that have been passed down for generations that Ezra wrote the Torah beside this tree. I don't know if he did. I don't know if he didn't. Nobody really does, but what he wrote in Ezra 8 is remarkable. He said, "We fasted, and we prayed for us, for our children, and for our provisions to be kept from robbers, and God granted us our request, and his hand come on us heavily". Can I pray for you today? Can I pray for your family? Can I pray for your little ones? I love the wording of that. He used the words "little ones". We're fasting and praying. I am. Not just for me now, but for my children, my five children, my four grandchildren. May the hand of the Lord be on them and on your house.

Father, I just pray today that as we're fasting and as we're praying, the same God that moved on Ezra's behalf for safety, for protection, for step-by-step solutions to great challenges, I thank you that you're going to move your hand upon our families, your hand upon our house, your hand upon our children, our little ones, and thank you, Father, for the provision that's needed for a brand-new year. We look to you as our source, and we thank you. In Jesus' name I pray.

I want to ask you something. Do you want to start this year off with a change? Ask Jesus Christ into you heart today. This year doesn't have to be like last year. What a difference He makes. He transforms your life when He comes in. So, just say: "Jesus, I receive you. Forgive me. Cleanse me. Help me. Bless me in a new year". And if you call on that name, there's power in that name and ask Him. Just say, Lord, if you're real, show me. If you're real, show me. He likes a challenge. He's that kind of God. I know He did for me. It changed my life, and I believe this year God is going to open your eyes. There's a number on the screen if you need prayer. We'd love to pray for you. And also, if you want more material, my announcer is going to tell you about that. We're doing some amazing things here in the Nation of Jerusalem, and we're so excited about what God is doing, and you can be a part of this miracle. Here's my announcer to tell you more.

Today, if you're searching, if you in a brand new year are ready for change and ready to surrender, and ready for the Lordship of Jesus in your life it's the greatest decision you can ever make. The best life you'll ever live is living for Jesus Christ. And today I want to encourage you as you're listening to me right now, just to open your heart. If you feel that tug and you need to get right with God say:

Jesus, save me, cleanse me, forgive me. I receive it in your name, Lord. I know you're the forgiver, the cleanser, the One who heals broken lives and I call on you, Jesus.

Say those words, "I call on you, Jesus". We believe that when you turn to Jesus, He pronounces healing physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, relationally, in your life. But you have to pursue Him and the wisdom of God's word. That's why we've prepared this special website that is free of charge that you can go on and start and 21-day journey to a change in your life that you never dreamed could happen. This will help you in your new walk with the Lord. Our ministry just started our annual 21-day fast and I know that sounds heavy if you've never been around church or any of that, but I promise you, it's a partial fast. We explain it all, and it's one of the most encouraging, joyful times as we seek the Lord together in prayer and fasting and calling on God and giving Him the New Year.

And so today, as thousands of people around the globe are joining us to seek God on this fast at the beginning of a new year momentum is building. And if you haven't joined us it's not too late. Just go online and say "I'm with you. I'm gonna join and jump in". And we'll teach you how to do it I'll be your fasting coach. And we've got all kinds of devotionals and daily things that will help you become intimate and deep in your relationship with God. Once you've experienced a glimpse of the power of fasting and its amazing rewards and the blessings that follow when we seek God, it changes your entire perspective.

And I wanna strongly urge you to join us. I know that it's a little overwhelming sometimes to think about doing without sweets or if you're doing the Daniel Fast, doing without meat and doing without sugar and doing without bread, but think of how healthy that is for you physically, and even how much more healthy spiritually it is when you say, God, I'm pushing back from the table and I'm gonna spend extra time in your word. We wanna help encourage you to learn how to seek God. The blessings are only found if you seek God. We have so many resources available on our website, so check it out today.
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