In 2015 the Women’s Ministry at Country Oaks Baptist Church is focusing on strengthening body and soul. We offer the following encouragements as you seek to glorify God in your body:
Yesterday I started talking about Fasting. In God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis explains…
Types of fasts:
- THE NORMAL FAST: He fasted forty days and forty nights and afterward he was hungry—Matthew 4:2. “To fast,” we are told, “is not simply nor necessarily to abstain from food but from anything that hinders our communion with God.” Or they say, “Fasting means to do without, to practice self-denial.” We have only to widen the meaning enough and the cutting edge has gone. It is true that there are many things besides food that may hinder our communion with God. It is also true that we need to practice self-denial in general. The fact still remains that “to fast” means primarily “not to eat.” The normal fast involves abstaining from all forms of food, but not from water, and must be distinguished from the other two forms, the absolute fast and the partial fast…
- THE ABSOLUTE FAST: for three days he . . . neither ate nor drank—Acts 9:91 There are a few examples in Scripture of what “the absolute fast” is called, that is, abstaining from drinking as well as eating. Normally this was never more that three days, probably because any longer period might have proved physically injurious. The body can go long periods without food and be physically benefited, but only for a very short time without water. Ezra spent the night, “neither eating bread nor drinking water; for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles” (Ezra 10:6).
- THE PARTIAL FAST: I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth— Daniel 10:3 The emphasis here is upon restriction of diet rather than complete abstention. At the commencement of the book of Daniel we are introduced to this young man and his three companions. They had been selected from among the Hebrew exiles because of noble birth and intellectual attainments for special training, with a view to serving in the presence of the king of Babylon. These men resolved not to defile themselves with the king’s rich food or the wine which he drank, as these would have been first offered to the Babylonian gods. Instead they asked for vegetables to eat and water to drink. The steward set over them agreed to test the effect of this simple diet for a period of ten days. At the end of this time “they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s rich food” (Dan. 1:15). The value of the partial fast, however, is not confined by any means to the physical. Later in the book of Daniel, we read how this prophet received a revelation from God concerning the future of his people Israel. He describes how he sought the Lord for understanding of this vision: In those days I, Daniel, was mourning for three weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks” (Dan. 10:2, 3).
- “WHEN”—NOT “IF” : When you fast—Matthew 6:2, 4, and 16.
- THE TIME IS NOW: When the bridegroom is taken from them … then they will fast—Matthew 9:15.
- THE REGULAR AND PUBLIC FASTS: On a fast day . . . you shall read the words of the Lord—Jeremiah 36:6. Sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly—Joel 2:15. The Day of Atonement was a fast day. (Lev. 23:27; Psa. 35:13 & Isa. 58:5).
- FASTING UNTO GOD: When ye fasted . . . did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?—Zechariah 7:5. They ministered to the Lord, and fasted – Acts 13:2. Fasting must be done unto God.
- FOR PERSONAL SANCTITY: I humbled my soul with fasting – Psalm 69:10.
- TO BE HEARD ON HIGH: So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty – Ezra 8:23.
- TO CHANGE GOD’S MIND: The people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast. . . . When God saw what they did . . . God repented of the evil which he had said he would do to them – Jonah 3:5, 10.
- TO FREE THE CAPTIVES: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? – Isaiah 58:6.
- THEY FASTED TO DELIVER: Can the prey be taken from the mighty, or the captives a tyrant be rescued? Surely, thus says the Lord: Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken, and the prey of the tyrant be rescued, for I will contend with those who contend with you. Isaiah 49:24, 25.
- FOR REVELATION: Daniel . . . turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer Supplications with fasting. . . . Gabriel . . . said to me, O Daniel, I have now come to give you wisdom and understanding – Daniel 9:2, 3 21, 22.
Encouragement from THE Book:
It’s important to note that religious practices such as fasting are less important than doing God’s will. As Micah 6:8 points out, what the Lord truly requires of us is devotion to Himself: “To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
Luke 9:23 (NLT) Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.
Note to self:
The following list on why we should fast was taken from Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney.
- To Strengthen Your Prayer Life – Fasting and prayer are often coupled together in scripture. When hunger pains strike, pray instead.
- To Seek God’s Guidance – we tend to listen better when we are “hungry for God”.
- To Express Grief – Scripture often mentions grief, sackcloth and ashes, and fasting together.
- To Seek Deliverance or Protection – King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast when the Jews were under imminent attack and Queen Esther called for prayer and fasting before she went in to see the king.
- To Express Repentance and Return to God – On Yom Kippur the Jews’ express their repentance through fasting and prayer.
- To Humble Yourself Before God – There isn’t anything much more humbling than denying yourself food. Your appetites show you what you crave and how you usually just give in and indulge yourself. Denying yourself requires humility, surrender and reliance on God.
- To Express Concern for the Work of the Lord – Nehemiah is a good example of a man who called a fast when he was leading the people to do God’s will.
- To Minister to the Needs of Others – Isaiah 58 directs us to fast and give the food we would’ve eaten to someone who has none.
- To Overcome Temptation and Dedicate Yourself to God – Want to know what your idols are (food? comfort?)? Try fasting. Fasting reveals the things that control us.
- To express Love and Worship to God and center your thoughts on Him – Thoughts of food can prompt worship and praise to God.
originally published on July 26, 2013 – theWordchick.com