Thursday, February 16, 2012
Good Evening to All!
As much fun as I had on my vacation, I am sure glad to be home and back in church getting fed spiritually again. I really missed being in God's house and getting my "meal from God".
Wednesday night was wonderful. It was my first night back, and I was swept up in the presence of God and His message.
When was the last time you fasted to show God how much you care? Fasting isn't about doing without food because you want to get healthy although that is one of the rewards. It is about crucifying your flesh. Showing your flesh "who's boss". Disciplining it to give up something for God.
The following is "some" of what my Pastor brought to us straight from God's "lips" to his (my Pastor's) heart.
Matthew 17:21 states Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. This comes about due to the disciples being unable to cast a demon out of a man's son. The disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to do so and He said it was because of their unbelief or lack of faith. Then stated also in Matthew 17:20 Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
What is Spiritual Fasting?
Webster's Dictionary states: to keep from eating all or certain foods; to eat very little or nothing.
The Hebrew word TSUWM, meaning to cover the mouth, to fast.
The Greek word for fasting is Nestis, which means: not eating; to abstain from food.
What Spiritual fasting is NOT:
(1) A dieting process or program to help you lose weight. (2) Missing a meal or two because were too rushed or busy to eat. (I've been guilty of that one) UNTIL NOW. (3) Being without food because we are too poor to buy it. (4) A hunger strike to get someone...or the government to do something. (5) A physical health obtaining act.
What fasting IS:
(1) A spiritual pursuit to help subdue the
flesh so we can more clearly hear from God and be willing to submit to Him. (2) A spiritual and mental declaration of doing without food in order to achieve spiritual strength, answers, and direction for ourselves and others. (3) Fasting can and does assist in receiving the Holy Ghost. (4) Devils and spiritual strongholds of some types can not be cast out with out fasting and prayer (Mark 9:14-19). (5) Our fasting is to be unto God and not for the purpose of drawing attention to ourselves. (Zechariah 7:5; Matthew 6:18). (6) Fasting helps us to obtain skill, understanding and wisdom (insight and understanding). (Daniel 9:2-3; 21-22). (7) Fasting is an accompaniment with prayer to have maximum effect. In other words, when fasting, we need to have our focus set on God, and not other things to keep our mind off our hunger.
Here are some things that we should NOT do while fasting: (1) Do not indulge in most pleasure and preoccupy yourself with business. As I said earlier, focus on God. Pray, worship, praise Him, but we must not busy ourselves with "worldly things to keep us from thinking about our stomachs. (2) Don't fast for strife and debate. Don't bicker while you fast. (3) Don't Smite with the fist of wickedness. Don't fist fight. (4) Don't be of a sad countenance. Don't have a sad, or miserable look about yourself while fasting that would make people feel sorry for you. Your fasting is not to be "advertised. It is a special thing you do between you and God.
There is much more to this lesson, but I will skip for the benefit of space and tired eyes. However, I do want to tell those of you who are interested in checking it out, there are different types of fasts. Three types of fasts that are documented by Scripture in the Bible are: 1) The Normal Fast - On this fast, NO Food is eaten, but water is drunk. style="font-weight: bold;"> 2) The Absolute Fast - During this fast, you abstain from BOTH food and water. It is recommended that you do not go over three days without water unless supernatural help and strength is provided. 3) The Partial Fast - Here, the diet is restricted rather than total abstinence from food.
There are even a few others ways that we can fast: 1) The Jewish Fast which is eating only one meal a day at sundown or evening. 2) The Daniel Fast which is eating primarily fruits and veggies. 3) The Selective Fast is where you choose a food type you will fast such as meats, starches, sweets, and so on. and last but not least, 4) the 40 Hour Fast where we fast for 40 consecutive hours.
There is also a 5) a Progressive Fast which is gradual. Day one, no sweets/desserts. Day 2, no meats, Day 3 no starches, Day 4 fruits and veggies only, Day 5 Juices and broths only, and Day 6 Water only.
The Media Fast is where there is no internet, No video games, No radio, No TV, No DVD, video , No Facebook Twitter and so on.) You can use your phone for calls or texting only.
Now Three things that We Should Do Before We Fast are: 1) Have an objective. Have a reason for fasting. Have a specific reason, whether it is something you need, or needing to be healed. Maybe you have a friend who has a problem and you want to help them. 2) Schedule Prayer Times during your time of fasting. 3) Make up your mind that NOTHING is going to hinder your fasting. If need be, ask a friend to help you by being accountable to them. Before my best friend passed away that's what I did because I am NOT disciplined. It helped that she would call during the day and asked if I had eaten anything because I didn't want to embarrass myself by having to admit I ate a bag of potato chips.
Some things that we should do while fasting are Loose the Bands of Wickedness - in other words don't do anything "wrong" that you know you shouldn't be doing. Undo heavy burdens - get rid of things that are hindering you in your walk. Let the oppressed go free - forgive. God tells us that He cannot forgive us if we don't forgive others. That tells us that not to forgive is a sin. Sin is not allowed in heaven. Therefore, unforgiveness is definitely a hindrance in our walk with God. Break Every Yoke- Again, lay aside those things that hinder your prayer life, and your walk with God. Give Bread to the Poor and Hungry, and clothe the Naked. This is telling me to show charity to others. Hid not ourselves from our own flesh. Don't shut ourselves away from others.
Anoint your Head and Wash your Face. Clean yourself up and don't look disheveled while fasting. Take care of your grooming. As you would any other time.
The anointing was part of the Jews everyday ritual when they woke up. Appear not unto men that we are fasting. Don't let it show that you are fasting to others and fast unto thy Father which is in Heaven. Let our fasting be strictly for HIS glory. We are not doing it to gain recognition from others.
Think about all of the benefits that will arise out of fasting. Better health, a closer walk with God, answers to our prayers. and many, many more.
Now, I have a question to ask you. Which of these fasts do you think you, yourself could handle? Comment and let me know.
I have much more on this subject so if you are interested in learning more, just contact me.
Reference: Pastor Greg Hardin
Forty Days of Fire Literature
Good Night to All and May God Bless!