What About Fasting? part 3

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.”

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.”

picture care of; pinterest

Jesus Loves Me!

jesus loves

By Pastor Jeff,

Romans 5:6-9, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” 

What a powerful declaration of Jesus’ love for me! I make this a personal statement because the one thing I’ve learned in my 34+ years of being a Born Again Christian is that He really is a personal God. I know God so loved the world and it’s 7.6 billion people currently living on this planet, but when it comes to salvation and having a relationship with the creator of all things, it’s mono to mono! Nobody can make the day to day to decision to live for Christ for me and I can’t make that decision for anyone else even those I whole dear.

Jesus died for ME! Jesus loves ME! Jesus cares for ME! If I was the only sinner on this earth, I believe sincerely that God would took on the form of man, would of suffered, died, and been resurrected so that I could have eternal life! What an awesome God we have the privilege to serve.

I was recently was picking black raspberries in our back yard and had this revelation that of all the places I could of moved to. The one one place Jesus picked for us had wild raspberries on and around it. You may say big deal and probably most would never think a second thought about it. For me it is a big deal, for when I was growing up I had the great opportunity of spending many summers at my Grandparents house up North. I had an uncle a little more than a year older than me whom I spent these summers trying to keep from being bored; which didn’t seem to be an issue if my memory is correct. One of the things we did every summer was go out and pick wild raspberries as time to spend in the outdoors and they sure tasted good in our cereal (when my grandmother didn’t steal them on us and make jam). Of course for me picking them today brings back those wonderful memories as well as the fun of making jam and giving it mostly away to the ones we love. That, to me showed how much Jesus loves me and would care enough for those memories to put me right smack in the middle of several gallons of raspberries!

I love Jesus Christ very much, but His love for me preceded my love for Him from the beginning of time, 1 John 4:19, “We love him, because he first loved us.”

picture care of: wallpapersafari.com

 

The Devil isn’t the only liar! (part 2)

Lies

By Pastor Jeff,

In part 1, I spent a little time talking about the devil being not only a liar, but the father of all liars! I would like to in this section discuss who else is a liar. We know that Satan came to Eve and beguiled her and then Adam into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Yes, Adam and Eve’s eyes were indeed opened to the knowledge of good and evil for we see immediately Adam tries to not only blame Eve but God for him falling into sin!

What I find rather shocking is that it didn’t take very long for man to easily fall into being able to lie, for after Cain slew his brother Abel, God asked Cain what happened and Cain answered in Genesis 4:9, “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” This ability to tell a lie is a part of our sinful nature in which we constant battle against, Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Only the power of the Holy Ghost can free us, Romans 7:25, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

Lying was such an issue that when the Ten Commandments were handed down we have a commandment in dealing with it, Deuteronomy 4:20, “Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.” Jesus told us where this ability comes from in Matthew 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:” Revelations tell us that liars are equal to murderers in the eyes of God in 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

In our day it seems that people have become so used to lies and lying that a second thought is not given to it. It used to be that politicians and salesmen were considered skillful of telling non-truths (not all politicians and salesmen are liars). Now its just common place, it’s been even said if you really believe the lie is true that it isn’t really a lie. We used to swear on a bible with fear as a symbol that we would be telling the truth, but people will even swear to God, even though it may be blatant lie!

I wonder what would happen if what occurred in Acts 5:1-10,“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.”

Lord, help us to guard our tongues and never bear false witness against God and our neighbor in Jesus Name!

picture care of; http://www.jashow.org