Now, if you’re like me, you probably don’t know much
about fasting except for that you’re supposed to do it, and it will bring you
closer to God. And if you’re like me, then you’re probably also wondering how
fasting and not eating will bring you closer to God, especially if you’re
someone who gets hangry (hungry and angry). There’s more to fasting than
not eating. The process as a whole is a spiritual challenge that will allow you
to rely on God in your weakest moments.
What exactly is fasting? Fasting is an abstinence from
food or a limiting of one’s food, especially when voluntary and as a religious
observance, according to Dictionary.com. Why do we fast? We don’t just fast
because someone tells us to do so. We fast because of the great benefits
associated with it. Although the Bible does not give us a direct command to
fast, it states that “…man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word
that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 NIV). This is not to be taken
literally. Metaphorically speaking, it means that we are able to survive based
on the Word of God in addition to the other basic necessities of life. Food,
water, and shelter alone will not give us what we need to get through life.
God’s love and Word are what will sustain us whether we are in abundance of or
lacking life’s necessities.
What happens to us when we fast? Other than hunger pains,
some advantages come along with fasting. When we fast, we humble ourselves.
Psalms 35:13 (NIV) states that “yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and
humbled myself with fasting.” We recently learned from Bishop Rosie that we
should humble ourselves so that God can exalt us. And we humble ourselves by
casting our cares to God (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV). Therefore, do not worry about
being hungry, don’t worry about whether you can do it, and do not worry about
all of your other troubles. When you fast, you are giving all your cares to God
and relying on your faith and God’s Word to care for you.
What should we do when we fast? We should pray. Of course, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), which means that we should pray all the time. But you should especially pray when fasting. Fasting is a time when you place all focus on God, and unanswered prayers may finally come to fruition. Ezra 8:23 (NIV) says, “So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” God is waiting on you to fast so He can answer your prayers. God will be your confidante during your fast, so talk to Him as much as you can. In the end, you will see that it was all worth it (Matthew 6:16-18 NIV).
Contributor: K. Wyatt
#church, #faith, #fasting, #prayer
Have you considered worshipping in a place that needs and appreciates your gifts? However, not only your gifts, it needs the gifts of your family members. Now, consider those collective gifts poured into the community that ultimately changes our world. This sounds like a wonderful place for a family. Hebrews 10:24-25 speaks about the importance of the assembly of believers, encouraging one another, working together, and sharing the heart of Christ. However, how does a family find the right church?
My husband and I pondered this question sixteen years ago after relocating to North Carolina. We found one very similar to our church in New York. After attending for one year, I could not settle in. A co-worker invited me to Koinonia Christian Center Church (KCC). As soon as I heard the Word of God preached in such a practical life-applicable way, I connected but my husband and children – not so much. My traditional husband liked a smaller congregation. My children were afraid of starting over and being the new kids on the block. It did not take long to see we were welcomed into a loving family and not lost among the crowd. We had found our church home. We unpacked all our baggage! Today, we worship freely and serve in our local church.
My two oldest children are adults now. Times have changed, and I wondered what do young families today look for in finding the right church. As I chatted with some families, many said a good Bible-based children’s ministry was vital. Other key factors included humble leadership, welcoming environment, great worship, and a strong penetrating Word.
One couple shared their story after relocating, leaving the KCC-Greenville location. Their search for a church home took twenty months. As working parents, they desired a worship experience that would break up the hardness that builds around the heart from working all week. The long search created a starvation for the Word of God. None of the churches they visited hit the mark. They wanted an all-encompassing church, a place for their children, worship music that spoke to the heart and soul, and a Word from God that was meat, not milk. Finally, they did find one. Surprisingly, an opportunity arose to relocate again. After praying, the family relocated to the Raleigh, NC area. They re-connected with the KCC-Raleigh location. With over fifty different ministries to serve in, they knew their gifts would be used and greatly appreciated. Looking back, their experience created a deep affection for authentic fellowship and taught them how to prioritize their search.
As you seek the right church, here are some factors to consider:
- Pray for God’s leading.
- Research the church’s core values.
- Learn what the church has to offer for every family member.
- Find out how you can become involved.
- Research the church’s community participation.
Please review our website for information. You are in our prayers and are welcome here!
Until we meet again…
#church, #family, #findachurch
It is vitally important for families to attend church, praise, and worship the Lord together, which affirms the stance that we choose to serve God regardless of what other households have decided (Joshua 24:15). My childhood memories include my parents, my sister, and I, as we sat together, singing, clapping, and repeating the “affirmation of faith,” which summarized our church’s biblical beliefs. My parents taught me early on that serving the Lord was important, so I joined the choir as a child.
God commands parents and caregivers to raise children on biblical principles so that if they go astray, their foundation will lead them back to God. This is true, especially for myself, who went astray after my parents divorced when I was in middle school. For many years, I floundered and struggled with my identity in the world. One day I realized that my identity was within the body of Christ, found my way back to church after being witnessed to by a local pastor, and have continued to rebuild my faith since then.
God desires us to experience life through our interactions with others, within our family, through involvement in our support networks, as we work alongside employers and colleagues, and in everything that we do. It is all about our purpose – to worship God, to witness of His goodness to others, and to profess our faith to everyone. A fond childhood memory is the song “Yes, Jesus Loves Me” because as the Father has loved Him, He has loved me (John 15:9). This hymn holds special meaning because although the particular details of childhood church service escape me, the feelings of the assurance that this song brought me still rest deep within me. As the words wash over me, the hope that only rests in Jesus and the salvation that He brings warms and renews my heart. As a child, I was taught this love and filled with His Spirit and is now reconnected to the true vine.
Another childhood memory is of Willie Banks and the Messengers singing “Lord, I Know You Been So Good.” This song was sung in church, at local gospel concerts, and at home around warm slices of an old-fashioned molasses cake. Memories of church from my childhood all include my family as a unit serving and praising the Lord which set the precedence for instilling those same values in my own children – the importance of attending church, serving in the church, and praising and worshipping God as a family. God wants all of us to give our children these same types of memories.
Contributor: E. Taylor
#church, #memories, love