Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.Matthew 28:19 ESV
This is a season of fasting. Fasting prepares us for the baptism of fire, also known as tribulation and persecution. It is what propels us into fruitful, Spirit filled and Spirit led ministry.
The elementary teachings on baptisms inform our faith. We are baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Father says that the wages of sin is death. The baptism of repentance is when we die to ourselves and our carnal nature. It signifies our new found faith in the True and Living God. We forsake our dead works and choose to live for Christ.
Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand
The baptism in water signifies our burial in the grave. It is a public testimony that we are choosing to die to ourselves and live for Christ from that time forward. We lay down our lives willingly, no one takes it from us. We choose to follow Jesus by our own free will. We are consecrating our lives to His service.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is our baptism into the power of the resurrected Christ. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Christ in us, the hope of glory. The Holy Spirit is what gives us the desire and the ability to please God. No one comes to the Father unless the Spirit draws them.
John baptized with water and preached repentance to prepare the way for the Lord. Jesus is coming back again. We, too, must prepare the way for the Lord’s return. His kindness leads us to repentance. His mercy is assured, we only need to receive it with joy.
Jesus was baptized in water by John. The Perfect One leads by example. Immediately, He was baptized in the Spirit as the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. God the Father testified from Heaven that, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
Immediately, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Then, the devil came to tempt Him to deny His own authority and worship the evil one. The devil is always trying to trick God’s own into forsaking their inheritance and debasing themselves by worshipping the devil.
Jesus resisted the devil with Scripture and obedience to God’s will. Then, the devil left Him and the angels came and ministered to Him.
That wilderness experience is the baptism of fire. Immediately after that, Jesus began His earthly ministry and started calling His disciples to Himself.
This is a season of fasting. Fasting is denying ourselves earthly pleasure to bring our flesh under subjection. The Jews in Jesus’ day fasted regularly. Sometimes twice a week. Fasting and prayer are the keys to knowing God’s specific will for the coming season of suffering. By preparing ourselves ahead of time, we train our bodies for hardship and our minds to stay resolute to the Lord.
God wants us to follow Him. Not our flesh. Not the world. Definitely not Satan. This is a time to return to serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Get rid of compromise in your walk and in your values. You will be tested. But Jesus is praying for you that your faith will not fail.
Prepare the way for the Lord’s return. He is returning everyday as sinners turn to Him. The Kingdom of God is advancing, one soul at a time. We are taking back what the enemy stole when we lead someone to faith in Jesus by sharing our testimonies and the Gospel, and following that with an invitation to start a new life in Christ.
God is preparing a people for Himself. You do your part, and He will do His part. Obedience is better than sacrifice.
Lord, as we seek You with prayer and fasting, may You answer us from Heaven with Your will for our lives. May we be refined in the fire and shine like pure gold. Let Your Kingdom come and Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. Amen.
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.”Isaiah 58:6-12 ESV