Friday, June 6, 2008

06 06 08 FASTING: PURPOSEFUL, DETERMINED AND FOCUSED


“When you fast, it ends in arguing and fighting. You hit one another with your fists.
That is an evil thing to do. The way you are now fasting keeps your prayers from being heard in heaven. Do you think that is the way I want you to fast?
Is it only a time for a man to make himself suffer? Is it only for people to bow their heads like tall grass that is bent by the wind? Is it only for people to lie down on black cloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast? Do you think I can accept that?

Here is the way I want you to fast. Set free those who are held by chains without any reason. Untie the ropes that hold people as slaves. Set free those who are crushed.
Break every evil chain. Share your food with hungry people. Provide homeless people with a place to stay. Give naked people clothes to wear. Provide for the needs of your own family. Then the light of my blessing will shine on you like the rising sun.

I will heal you quickly. I will march out ahead of you. And my glory will follow behind you and guard you. That is because I always do what is right. You will call out to me for help. And I will answer you. You will cry out. And I will say, 'Here I am.'

Get rid of the chains you use to hold others down. Stop pointing your finger at others as if they had done something wrong. Stop saying harmful things about them. Work hard to feed hungry people. Satisfy the needs of those who are crushed.

Then my blessing will light up your darkness. And the night of your suffering will become as bright as the noonday sun. I will always guide you. I will satisfy your needs in a land that is baked by the sun. I will make you stronger. You will be like a garden that has plenty of water. You will be like a spring whose water never runs dry. Your people will rebuild the cities that were destroyed long ago. And you will build again on the old foundations.

You will be called The One Who Repairs Broken Walls. You will be called The One Who Makes City Streets Like New Again.”
(Isaiah 58:4-12)


Fasting is primarily defined and thought of as the act of willingly abstaining from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. A fast may be total or partial concerning that from which one fasts, and may be prolonged or intermittent as to the period of fasting. In the prophet’s words above above, we see God desire’s more…much more.

We fast out of ritual. We fast out of obligation. We fast out of obedience and guilt. Do we fast to be more like Jesus; to be more intimate with our DADDY; to be come humbled in placing others above ourselves and be more Spirit-controlled?

As we fast, we are to serve others and sacrifice our will for the good of others. Share the Gospel, give from our supply, meet obvious needs of others, and stop focusing on me! Stop oppressing others, pointing our fingers at others, and blaming the world system for our troubles. As we meet others needs, our needs are not so needy. God wants us to be concerned for others and let Him meet our needs. Notice the prophet’s words; as we stop some of our selfish ways, God says “I will”. As we begin to live the life of a Spirit-filled believer, God will meet our needs with blessings we will not be able to count.

So as we fast, let’s not focus as much on the food as we do on the Provider. It’s not what we eat that is hurting us so much; it’s what we’re not doing! Let’s be PURPOSEFUL, DETERMINED, AND FOCUSED, not just when we fast, but as we live!

2 comments:

John Horst said...

good words, Jerry. I have found that when I fast if I am focusing on what I am giving up, I struggle with being hungry for that thing. But if my focus is on God, seeking Him above all else, the hunger is gone; replaced by a deeper hunger.

TSN Ministries said...

As Jesus said in His prayer to DADDY, that we all "may be one, just as We are one." (John 17:22). May we all hunger to be more intimate with Him and each other!

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