October 22, 2019 · 5:45 AM
Earlier this year I went to visit a doctor. One of first questions was, “How often do you fast?” I gave him a puzzled look since that is a church question and not a doctor one. He said, “I fast once a week and the health benefits are amazing.” While you do gain health benefits from fasting, I believe the spiritual benefits far outweigh the physical ones. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that seems to have been lost in today’s modern church. We’ve relegated it to a once a year thing instead of a regular discipline, and we’re missing the power that comes with it. God instituted it in the Old Testament, but Jesus validated it for New Testament Times as well.
In Daniel 6, there is a story that most of us are familiar with. Daniel was a person who practiced spiritual disciplines. I believe he was promoted because of them, but there were those who didn’t like his being promoted and they wanted to take him down. They convinced the king to put anyone who prayed to any being other than the king into a den of lions. When Daniel found out about, he didn’t stop practicing his spiritual disciplines. The men told the king and he had no choice but to throw Daniel in the den. The king liked Daniel and broke his own law. Daniel 6:17-18 says, “A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night” (NLT). As you know, God honored Daniel’s prayers and the king’s fasting.
When prayer isn’t getting you the answers you need, it’s time to fast. If you’re medically unable to fast, ask a friend to fast for you. God shut the mouths of lions because of fasting in this book. In the New Testament, spiritual battles were won and people were healed because of it. I recommend a three day, water only fast to people. It’s difficult and challenging, but very effective. Fasting isn’t supposed to be easy. We constantly give in to our body’s cravings and fasting helps you to learn to deny those physical cravings. It also helps when it comes to denying your fleshly ones too. If it’s been a while since you’ve fasted and you need an answer from God, begin the spiritual discipline of regular fasting and watch God Move in your life.
Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash
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November 28, 2016 · 5:38 AM
When I was in high school, we would have 2 hour practices after school. Coach always started and ended practices with running. He would say, “Since we aren’t the tallest team, we are going to be the best conditioned team.” There were some brothers on the team who lived in some apartments across from the school. While running, we would say to each other, “Hey, once this is over, let’s go jump in the apartment pool.” The thought of jumping into that cool water was often enough to keep us going.
There was something about diving head first into that water after practice that was so refreshing. We would swim from one end to the other under water to make sure our whole body got cooled down. It was so refreshing, and we needed that because a couple of us worked jobs in the evenings. After all day of school and a two hour practice, we still had a four hour shift to complete before coming home and doing homework. Refreshment was needed.
There are times when we need spiritual refreshing as well. Sometimes things seem to hit us one after the other. It feels like we never get a break from it all. Those times of spiritual refreshing come and keep us going. Other times, we face the consequences of our actions, and those can lead us to spiritual exhaustion. The Bible says we can have spiritual refreshing in those times too. Acts 3:19 – 20 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that he will forgive your sins. If you do, times of spiritual strength (refreshing in AMPC) will come from the Lord” (GNT).
The word “repent” there means to change your mind and purpose and then return to God. When you’re mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted, you can change your mind and purpose behind doing things so that you bring honor to God. When you do, it’s like jumping into that pool after a two hour practice. God brings a refreshing into your life that brings spiritual strength with it. Just like everything else in Scripture, the first step in activating God’s promises starts with you.
What in your mind do you need to change today in order to return to God’s way of thinking?
If you haven’t been living for His purpose and you’re worn out, pray that God would help you to return to living for His purpose.
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