What About Fasting? part 3

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By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 6:16-18, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Fasting should never be used to place focus on you but with all things we adhere to it should bring glory to Jesus Christ. When it comes to fasting many will ask the question, “how long should I fast?” Some will say a day, three days, a week or like our Lord Jesus Christ we should fast forty days. My comment is God honors what ever you do in the area of prayer and fasting, it could be one meal, multiple meals, multiple days or forty days if God is calling you to do that. I will caution that any long fast should be done only under the direction of the Holy Ghost, I see no where in the epistles that fasting was something done often or long term. It should be done with a sincere heart, for the purpose of drawing closer to God, and for determining direction in your life.

Luke 18:9-14, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

The next question many have is what constitutes a fast? Some will contend that the only true fast is that you consume water only during the period you have designated. Again my comment is that whatever you sacrifice in prayer and fasting, God WILL honor. If you determine in your heart to give up desserts for a period of time, God WILL honor that, you decide to turn off the TV to read your bible, God WILL honor that! For me whenever I go a couple day fasting I will drink water and fruit juice because I find I lose energy fairly quickly on that. Do you think God will not honor that?

Some of you might of heard of a Daniel fast and lets look at what the bible says, Daniel: 8-16, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.”

God honored the position these four took as He will with any decision you make to glorify Him. Don’t ever make fasting a ritual or become so entrenched in the act that you leave God out. I remember when my children were young and in school, I was making lunch for them when I was fasting and out of habit ate a potato chip, how horrible, I felt that my whole fast was ruined! When I think of that now, it makes me realize how immature I was and how wrong some of the teacher I received was.

1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

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What About Fasting? part 2

ezra8

By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 6:16-18, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” 

Want to ruin any Fast? Just do what it says here; by openly making a scene you take what God could use to change your life to just a hunger strike. Attitude is the key to entering the presence of God in anything we do, prayer, giving, preaching, and fasting if we are doing it just to look good before man, it is of no effect with the Kingdom of God. James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” I mentioned Moses before as an example of someone who not only fasted for forty days once, but twice, and scripture says this about this man, Numbers 12:3, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)”It was this meekness (humility) that allowed God to use this powerful man to deliver His people from Egypt.

There are different types of fasting, we find one God chooses for us Isaiah 58:6, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” You may be impressed by the Spirit of God to enter a fast which as stated here can do great things not only in your life but others! Some set a particular day every week, every month or more to fast to put power to our prayer life, Luke 2:36-37, “And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Because of her dedication she got to witness the newborn Savior of the World Jesus Christ.

Then are those that a leader of the Nation, a church leader, may in response to a situation, a answer that they may be seeking will call a period of fasting and prayer, 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, “It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi. And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Many other fast are found in the Bible such as with the city of Nineveh,  Nehemiah, King David, as well others.

In the next lesson I will discuss the different types of Fasting.

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What About Fasting?

ezra8

by Pastor Jeff,

When you ask any believer about prayer and they will undeniably tell you that they pray regularly and earnestly, but when you mention fasting we often fumble to find an adequate response.

The word fasting is referenced over seventy times in the bible with some memorable fasts by Moses who twice went forty days in the presence of God without any natural food. Jesus also fasted forty days in the wilderness before His temptation by Satan, Luke 4:1-4, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

One of the most powerful examples of what can happen when we chose to fast is when Jonah warned Nineveh of impending doom, Jonah 3:5, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” God responded with mercy, Jonah 3:10, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”

Now I want to be careful and tell you that fasting does not change God’s mind for eventually Nineveh was destroyed, but what fasting does is allow God to remove our unbelief, Matthew 17:21, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Fasting was often used in the selection of missionaries, Acts 13:2-3, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” Elders, Acts 14:23, “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed”

Ezra 8:21, “Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” 8:23, “So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.” Fasting unleashes the faith that is in us and we Apostolic’s should never take it lightly. In future blogs I will discuss the different types of fast and even its benefits for us physically, thank you for your time.

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