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Tag: #fasting

Fasting is a commitment to God

Christians fast with a purpose, with a goal as their focus, with an end in mind.  This fasting usually involves abstaining from something specific such as food, drink, specific foods or drinks, social media outlets, forms of technology, television, specific activities, variations of all of these, and even others.  The very nature of spiritual fasting is to give up something that often takes up a lot of our focus, our time, even our energy, and our efforts.  This focus, time, energy, and effort is then given to God and poured into our interactions and invested in our relationship with Him seeking to please and satisfy Him.  The time that would ordinarily be spent on watching television or on social media outlets is now focused on pleasing God.   

Fasting accomplishes what we cannot do on our own with our human efforts.  It grounds us, slowing us down where we would ordinarily continue our path of normal, regular, routine, and ordinary.  We now have something telling us how, when, where, and how to listen for God’s voice and to His voice so that we may enhance our relationship and intimacy with Him.  These efforts lead us, rejuvenate our spirits, and provide clarity in the midst of calamity. 

Fasting provides an opportunity for a revelation of God’s Word if we are in a posture conducive to learning, improving, and growing in our knowledge and experience of Him.  Our spiritual development then becomes what we invest in our fast.  If we invest heavily then we gain heavily and vice versa.  Fasting requires discipline which in turns increases our discipline.  Fasting requires us to seek God’s support and to admit that we are unable to achieve the same success on our own as we do with the combination of fasting and praying. 

The Bible identifies fasting as a part of our Christian and spiritual growth and offers suggestions on increasing our intimacy with God and the whys and how’s of fasting in itself.  In the Book of Ezra in Chapter 8, verses 21-23, Ezra declares a fast to find out from God the best route for travel for both the adults and the children.  Ezra and his people were fearful of their enemies, but God protected all of Ezra and the people on their journey to Jerusalem. 

Fasting works when we identify and exercise some basic principles such as inviting the Holy Spirit to do as He has promised: asking Him to lead and guide us and reveal to us His purpose in our lives and our role in this time of fasting and prayer.  This time of consecration can include prayer, fasting, using a journal, reading the Bible, meditation, attending church services, singing, clapping, dancing, and various other ways that we choose to demonstrate our commitment to God.  Christian fasting expresses a longing, a thirst, and a hunger for God’s presence for true transformation of our individual spirituality through our thoughts and actions as well as the changes seen in our lives and daily interactions with others.

Contributor: E. Taylor

#commitment, #fasting, #meditation, #prayer

What to do when you mess up on your fast?

Help, I’ve fallen off my fast!

Do you find fasting to be a challenging commitment? I most definitely have. Our church facilitates an annual 40-day church-wide fast. I’m usually excited to get started. I’ve learned fasting is an external expression of communicating with God when we need more of Him. It is an opportunity to become spiritually stronger. During these moments, we crave Godly intimacy and willingly refuse natural comforts for more of His spirit.

Fasting has taught me that I’m a good starter and good finisher — it’s the middle I struggle with. It seems somewhere around day ten, I dream about cake. One year, one of my friends was celebrating her birthday at work. Well, how could I be rude and refuse to have a sweet slice of cake? Besides, who’s looking, right? God understands. These were my justifications and a dream come true. I was dreaming about cake. Well, just as I was enjoying that slice, another friend and member of my church entered the office and saw me. She was shocked, and so was I. I got caught, cake in hand!

The truth is, I messed up. There’s no denying that. Failing is no reason to give up. I had to go back to the heart of why I was fasting. I needed more of God. Just like in any situation where I’ve fallen short of His glory, I needed to ask His forgiveness and remember my personal relationship with Him was and is worth it. 

Here are some things I’ve found helpful during an extended fast.

1) First things first…I begin my day with prayer and Bible reading. Our pastor leads us in a prayer call at 6:33 am Monday – Saturday. This sets the direction for my day.

2) Having accountability partners. I wonder if my friend had not found me eating cake if I would have continued justifying loopholes. Now my co-workers and lunch partners know when I’m fasting. Even when they are not fasting, they know my limits and are careful to remind me.

3) If you work from home and do not have accountability partners, modern-day technology works as a great reminder. Setting reminder alerts with encouraging Bible verses in my phone or an assistant app are great tools and help me regain my focus.

We must remember fasting is about intimacy — growing closer and stronger in our Father. It’s about turning the volume down on daily distractions. Therefore, food should not be the only item we limit as we seek Him. Just as we build muscle in the natural, by way of physical resistance, the same principle applies in the spiritual. Strive not to lose your focus; however, if you do, remember His grace is sufficient for you.

#fasting, #Spiritualawareness, #spiritualgrowth

What is fasting, and why do we do it?

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

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