Prayer

Is This What You Call Fasting?

“Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? ‘No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.’” Isaiah 58:5-12

 

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and your pastor has called the annual corporate, church fast, which is now to be expected, a thing of tradition. As you get ready to fast both mentally, physically, and spiritually, it’s important to make sure that you’re not wasting your time. Whether your spiritual goal for fasting is to grow in God or to have God intervene in an area that represents a stronghold in your life, God calls His people to participate in a true fast. A true fast is one that is not concerned in the least with natural benefits like losing weight, detoxing, or otherwise purifying or cleansing the body, but it’s concerned with the spiritual benefits of the purification and cleansing of the heart. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, Prophet Isaiah asks the self-righteous people of the day a loaded question as they went about their fasting ritual, he asks, “Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?” You see these pious people were going through the motions of fasting, but they were not pleasing God nor getting ahead spiritually. Isaiah goes on to share what would actually please God and I suggest that you read the entire chapter in its context, and you will discover that God is not looking for a fast in which we simply forego our meals, but he’s looking for one in which there is changed behavior through a purified heart. Take for instance King David, a man regarded as being after God’s own heartand described as such with good reason. After David committed adultery by sleeping with Bathsheba, a married woman, he asked God in Psalm 51 to create in him a “clean heart” and to “renew a right spirit” within him. God honored the brokenness of David’s heart and like David, God desires for us to get to the place where we want to be made clean of our ways that don’t please Him and to be so broken by our shortcomings that we desire to be renewed spiritually so that we can be used for His service. Essentially, God wants us to fast or turn from our evil ways and start doing right and doing good work for Him.

So, don’t view your personal or corporate fasting as a religious formality, but rather as a purposed act of pure worship that shows God that your temporary abstaining from food and or from other things that distract you or bring you pleasure (i.e. sex, social media, online shopping, or Netflix), is just the beginning of your future practice of abstaining, for good, from the type of living that does not please Him. Again, this results in us becoming more useful to God for service. Through a true fast, you will experience God’s blessings and He will, among other blessings, restore areas in your life that need restoration and He will hear you and answer you when you pray (Isaiah 58:6-12).

Make 2019 the year that you embark on a true fast, fasting that not only benefits us, but humanity. Fasting that goes beyond our own personal growth and becomes concerned with how we can be of service to God’s people through acts of kindness, charity, justice, and generosity for this is what truly pleases God.

 

*Some excerpts taken from The Christian Girls Manifesto: A Declaration of Faith‘s chapter, “True Fasting.”

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10 Truths to Cure Worry

The Great Physician is in and He is always ready to treat new and existing patients in need of His loving care. He is never full so you won’t have to ever go anywhere else to receive the attention you need. He understands that every patient is different and their ability to handle worry also differs, but He prescribes and orders the same treatment to cure it, the command–DO NOT WORRY (Matthew 6:25-34). In times when you feel a sense of uncertainty, when you feel like the cares of life are too much to bear, take a dose of the most potent remedy there is–the Word of God. You have nothing to lose in trusting God, but plenty to gain including the peace of God that relieves worry and allows you to sleep through a storm and to remain calm in chaos. Combat worry by concentrating on what you hope will be instead of what you dread. Your relentless faith in things hoped for and your focus on a good report and a brighter day will be peace to your mind and wellness to your body and your soul. These ten truths to cure worry when taken seriously and consistently will have you better and stronger in no time.

  1. Worry is Wasted Energy Worry is a waste of energy because it is partly the fear that something bad could happen. There is always the possibility that something bad could happen, but the alternative is that something bad will not happen. So, do not waste time on worry, what will be will be because the reality is that in this world we will encounter trouble, hard times that are our tests, and in such moments we are made. The ultimate peace and confidence is understanding that God will be with you no matter what life brings. Read 2 Timothy 1:7; John 16:33; Romans 5:4
  2. Cast Your Cares on God To cast means to throw or move in a forceful way, throwing your cares with abandon to God immediately releases the heavy weight of worry from your heart and tosses your concern in the hand of the One who can actually change people or situations. Read 1 Peter 5:7
  3. Have Faith in God Fear and faith cannot inhabit the same space. Fear is the antithesis of faith. Faith is the ability to hope in what has not yet materialized in the natural world. To have faith in God is to have hope in the God of possibilities, the God that cannot lie, and the God who cannot fail. It is not a matter of if He will come through, but when His timeline is for coming through. If He delays His intervention, trust that He has not forgotten, but will intervene on time. Read Mark 11:22-24
  4. All Things Work Together for Good No matter what happens in our lives, the good, the bad, and the [downright] ugly, it is all working together for our ultimate good. How refreshing and comforting to keep in mind while we are going through that eventually and with certainty God will make use of all things negative, that no experience will ever be wasted, and that everything will serve us for good. Read Romans 8:28
  5. The Lord is With You Understand that the ultimate Fixer is always with you. So replace worry with calm and replace fear with hope. Read Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 28:20
  6. Do Not Worry, Pray In your trouble cry to the Lord, and He will rescue you. As you pray and cry out to the Lord, He is already calming the storm through divine intervention and making the necessary provisions for you. Read Psalm 107:29
  7. Change Your Thinking Meditate on what will aid in your mental well-being and rid your mind of the thoughts of worry that threaten your peace. Think on the following things and the peace of God will be with you: truth, whatever is honest, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report, whatever is virtuous, and whatever is praiseworthy. Read Philippians 4:6-8
  8. Worrying Robs You Of Today Tomorrow is not promised and takes care of itself. Worrying about tomorrow robs you of today which you have right now in your hand to impact and to find the joy, light, and goodness in it. Read Psalm 118:24; Matthew 6:31-34
  9. Trouble Does Not Last Always Just as seasons change, trouble has a definite end point when it must come to an end, we just have to wait patiently for God because (unless it’s revealed to us) we do not know when trouble will come or when it will go. The comfort is knowing that God knows, that He is faithful, and most of all that He cares about what you are going through and will take care of you. Practice ignoring the enemy’s lies that the storm will never end; not only will it end, but you will make it through the storm alright. Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
  10. Praise Remedies Worry One sure way to eliminate your worry is to begin to thank and praise the Lord for who He is and for the wonderful things He has done. While praising you are minimizing the thing or person that is causing you to worry while magnifying God’s ability to do anything, but fail. Furthermore, while praising, you are reaffirming your confidence in God, and affirming your faith in the God who is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Read Hebrews 13:8; Psalm 107

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A Prayer for Election 2016

pexels-photo-129112Be encouraged this election season and do not worry about tomorrow because God will take care of everything. Be an informed voter and urge your circle to do the same. Vote your choice and leave the rest up to God. Instead of worrying about who will take office, focus on what God considers important like loving Him, loving His people, doing His will for your life, and not giving all your attention to this life, but being concerned primarily with being ready for your eternal home not this temporary world that we are just passing through. When it is all said and done, it will not matter who rules the world, but who ruled your heart.

Here is a sincere prayer that I wrote during quiet time back in July 2016, and it is still relevant today. Recite it when you need a reminder of God’s sovereignty in all things.

Dear Heavenly Father,

In your Word, You said that “when the [uncompromisingly] righteous, are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh (Proverbs 29:2).” Lord, at a time when there is so much peril in the world, we desire a season of rejoicing. Grace us with rejoicing Lord, favor us with the most suitable and capable candidate as the next President of the United States of America for such a time as this. A President whose moral compass “bends toward justice” and whose character while not perfect, is still praiseworthy. Lord, we know that, the only perfect Man that ever walked this earth is Jesus, and He’s not on the ballot, but you remain on the throne. We trust you because you are faithful. We trust you because you are good. We trust you because you do all things well. We trust you because of your unfailing love. We trust you because you established the order and authority that is public office, but even still no one trumps your authority. We trust you because no matter who is in office at the local, state, or national level, you are still ultimately in control. You can turn the very heart of any man for our good (Proverbs 21:1). Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer and for answering us. In Jesus name, Amen.

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