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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Is Fasting a Commandment? (Part 3)

Our Scripture reading for today is Isaiah 58:1-14 which reads: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

We notice from this passage, (4.) They are inquisitive concerning their duty and seem desirous only to know it, making no question but that then they should do it: They ask of me the ordinances of justice, the rules of piety in the worship of God, the rules of equity in their dealings with men, both which are ordinances of justice. (5.) They appear to the eye of the world as if they made conscience of doing their duty: They are as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinances of their God; others took them for such, and they themselves pretended to be such. Nothing lay open to view that was a contradiction to their profession, but they seemed to be such as they should be. Note, Men may go a great way towards heaven and yet come short; nay, may go to hell with a good reputation. But, He intimates that this was so far from being a cover or excuse for their sin that really it was an aggravation of it: “Show them their sins which they go on in notwithstanding their knowledge of good and evil, sin and duty, and the convictions of their consciences concerning them.”

We will continue discussing this verse in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Andrew Bonar. He said: “Fasting [is] abstaining from anything that hinders prayer.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 3 of our series titled “IS FASTING A COMMANDMENT?” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

The most natural interpretation of the days when Jesus’ disciples will fast is the present Church age, especially in light of its intricate connection with Jesus’ statement on the new wine-skins of the kingdom of God which follows immediately. Arthur Wallis argues that Jesus is referring to the present Church age rather than just the three-day period between his death and resurrection. He concludes his argument, “We are therefore compelled to refer the days of His absence to the period of this age, from the time He ascended to the Father until He shall return from heaven. This is evidently how His apostles understood Him, for it was not until after His ascension to the Father that we read of them fasting…It is this age of the Church to which our Master referred when He said, ‘Then they will fast.’ The time is now!”

There is no way to escape the force of Jesus’ words in this passage. He made it clear that he expected his disciples to fast after He was gone. Although the words are not couched in the form of a command, that is only a semantic technicality. It is clear from this passage that Christ both upheld the Discipline of fasting and anticipated that his followers would do it.

Now, let’s take this moment to break up the fallow ground in our lives. Hosea 10:12 states, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The great evangelist Charles G. Finney preached a message titled “Breaking Up the Fallow Ground – An Outline for Repentance”. In this sermon, he listed 26 sins that we as Christians should confess and repent of. The eleventh and twelfth sins he lists are: a Neglect of social duties and a Neglect of social duties. He urges us to confess this sin in our lives by saying: “In how many instances you have hurried over your private duties, and have not been fully responsible in preforming your duties, nor honestly made up your accounts with God; how often have you entirely neglected to watch your conduct, and, having been off your guard, have sinned before the world, and before the Church, and before God!”

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer right now and confess this sin and others before God.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

C.H. Spurgeon said, “If we cannot prevail with men for God, we will, at least, endeavor to prevail with God for men.” (The Prayer Motivator Minute #258)

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is I Peter 4:7 which reads: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”

Our prayer motivator quote for today is from Isaac Watts. He said, “He that hears without ears understands us without our words. Yet as language is of absolute necessity in social prayer, that others may join with us in our addresses to God, so for the most part we find it necessary in secret, too, for there are few persons of so steady and fixed a power of meditation as to maintain warm devotion and to converse with God, or with themselves profitably, without words.”

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Minutes

 

Praying Through, Part 22 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #317)

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Jonah 4:2-3 which reads: “And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

We see here that Jonah begins to justify himself in fleeing from the presence of the Lord, when he was first ordered to go to Nineveh, for which he had before, with good reason, condemned himself: “Lord,” said he, “was not this my saying when I was in my own country? Did I not foresee that if I went to preach to Nineveh they would repent, and thou wouldst forgive them, and then thy word would be reflected upon and reproached as yea and nay?” What a strange sort of man was Jonah, to dread the success of his ministry! Many have been tempted to withdraw from their work because they had despaired of doing good by it, but Jonah declined preaching because he was afraid of doing good by it; and still he persists in the same corrupt notion, for, it seems, the whale’s belly itself could not cure him of it. It was his saying when he was in his own country, but it was a bad saying; yet here he stands to it, and, very unlike the other prophets, desires the woeful day which he had foretold and grieves because it does not come. Even Christ’s disciples know not what manner of spirit they are of; those did not who wished for fire from heaven upon the city that did not receive them, much less did Jonah, who wished for fire from heaven upon the city that did receive him. Jonah thinks he has reason to complain of that, when it is done, which he was before afraid of; so hard is it to get a root of bitterness plucked out of the mind, when once it is fastened there.

We will discuss this verse further in the next broadcast.

My personal encouragement to you today is that we have to pray and ask God to help us to live right, to think right, and to act right. I don’t know about you, but I just cannot live the Christian life by myself, that is, in my own strength. And you can’t do it in your own strength, either. That is why we need to realize and pray as Zechariah did in Zechariah 4:6: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts”. Whether you know it or not, we cannot live this Christian life in our own power. We have got to allow Jesus Christ to live it through us.

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Timothy K. Jones. He said: “Recently I read again of a woman who simply decided one day to make such a commitment to pray, and my conscience was pricked. But I knew myself well enough to know that something other than resolve was being called for. I began to pray about praying. I expressed to God my frustrated longings, my jaded sense of caution about trying again, my sense of failure over working at being more disciplined and regular. I discovered something surprising happening from such simple praying: I was drawn into the presence of One who had, far more than I did, the power to keep me close. I found my focus subtly shifting away from my efforts to God’s, from rigor to grace, from rigidity to relationship. I soon realized that this was happening regularly. I was praying much more. I became less worried about the mechanics and methods, and in turn I was more motivated. And God so cares for us, I realized anew, that He Himself helps us pray. When we ‘do not know what we ought to pray for… the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.'”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 22 of our series titled “PRAYING THROUGH” from Dr. John R. Rice.

In the New Testament it is the same way as in the Old Testament. Preceding Pentecost it is certainly fair to say that the disciples prayed through. Acts 1:14 says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.”

Supplication, that is, pleading, is certainly all right for a child of God who wants to become a soul winner. It is not in order for a lost sinner who wants to be saved. The sinner needs only to trust and accept the salvation so freely offered. But the Christian needs God to work him over and prepare him for soul winning and endue him with power from on High, and he should pray through.

+ Plus, listen to Andrae Crouch singing “Pray”

 
 

Is Fasting a Commandment? (Part 2)

I trust that you have listened to or read my special messages from the previous two days, especially the one from yesterday titled “Special Update Message on Fasting from Daniel Whyte III”. Today’s broadcast is really a continuation of yesterday’s message. If not, you may do so at http://www.gospellightsociety.com. We want to thank all of you who joined us for the one day fast on the past two Wednesdays and for those of you who will be joining us for the one day fast today. We praise the Lord also for all of you who will be going on this journey with us throughout the remainder of this time.

Our Scripture reading for today is Isaiah 58:1-14 which reads: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

We notice from this passage, He must acknowledge how very good they seemed to be, notwithstanding: Yet they seek me daily. When the prophet went about to show them their transgressions they pleaded that they could see no transgressions which they were guilty of; for they were diligent and constant in attending on God’s worship—and what more would he have of them? Now, He owns the matter of fact to be true. As far as hypocrites do that which is good, they shall not be denied the praise of it; let them make their best of it. It is owned that they have a form of godliness. (1.) They go to church, and observe their hours of prayer: They seek me daily; they are very constant in their devotions and never omit them nor suffer any thing to put them by. (2.) They love to hear good preaching; They delight to know my ways, as Herod, who heard John gladly, and the stony ground, that received the seed of the word with joy; it is to them as a lovely song (3.) They seem to take great pleasure in the exercises of religion and to be in their element when they are at their devotions: They delight in approaching to God, not for his sake to whom they approach, but for the sake of some pleasing circumstance, the company, or the festival.

We will continue discussing this verse in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Bill Thrasher. He said: “The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 2 of a new series titled “IS FASTING A COMMANDMENT?” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

We must realize that the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:16 that says “When you fast…” do not constitute a command. Jesus was giving instruction on the proper exercise of a common practice of his day. He did not speak a word about whether it was a right practice or if it should be continued. So, although Jesus does not say “If you fast,” neither does he say “You must fast.” His word is, very simply, “When you fast.”

The second crucial statement of Jesus about fasting comes in response to a question by the disciples of John the Baptist. Perplexed over the fact that both they and the Pharisees fasted but Jesus’ disciples did not, they asked “Why?” Jesus replied in Matthew 9:15, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” That is perhaps the most important statement in the New Testament on whether or not Christians should fast today.

In the coming of Jesus, a new day had dawned. The kingdom of God had come among them in present power. The Bridegroom was in their midst; it was a time for feasting, not fasting. There would, however, come a time for his disciples to fast although not in the legalism of the old order.

Now, let’s take this moment to break up the fallow ground in our lives. Hosea 10:12 states, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The great evangelist Charles G. Finney preached a message titled “Breaking Up the Fallow Ground – An Outline for Repentance”. In this sermon, he listed 26 sins that we as Christians should confess and repent of. The tenth sin he lists is: a Neglect of family duties. He urges us to confess this sin in our lives by saying: “Think how you have prayed before your family, how you have prayed, what an example you have set before them. What direct efforts do you habitually make for their spiritual good? What duty have you not neglected?”

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer right now and confess this sin and others before God.

 
 

John Wesley said, “Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down.” (The Prayer Motivator Minute #257)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/49941-john-wesley-said-storm-the-throne-of-grace-and-persevere-therein-and-mercy-will-come-down-the-prayer-motivator-minute-257.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is John 16:24 which reads: “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Our prayer motivator quote for today is from John Stott. He said, “In prayer we do not “prevail on” God, but rather prevail on ourselves to submit to God. True, the language of “prevailing on God” is often used in regard to prayer, but it is an accommodation to human weakness. Even when Jacob “prevailed on God,” what really happened is that God prevailed over him, bringing him to the point of surrender when he was able to receive the blessing which God had all the time been longing to give Him.”

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Prayer Motivator Minutes

 

Praying Through, Part 21 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #316)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/49939-praying-through-part-21-the-prayer-motivator-devotional-316.mp3]

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Jonah 4:2-3 which reads: “And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

Jonah quarreled with God about his situation. When his heart was hot within him, he spoke unadvisedly with his lips; and here he tells us what he said: He prayed unto the Lord, but it is a very awkward prayer, not like that which he prayed in the fish’s belly; for affliction teaches us to pray submissively, which Jonah now forgot to do. Being in discontent, he applied to the duty of prayer, as he used to do in his troubles, but his corruptions got head of his graces, and, when he should have been praying for benefit by the mercy of God himself, he was complaining of the benefit others had by that mercy. Nothing could be spoken more unbecomingly.

We will discuss this verse further in the next broadcast.

My personal encouragement to you today is that we ought to pray because every now and then, we have to get down on our knees and confess our sins, faults, and failures to God. Now I know that some of you listening to me do not do bad things, but I have done some bad things in my life and every now and then, I have to get down on my knees and confess my sins before God in prayer.

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Jonathan Edwards. He said: “When God is about to bestow some great blessing on His church, it is often His manner, in the first place, so to order things in His providence as to show His church their great need of it, and to bring them into distress for want of it, and so put them upon crying earnestly to Him for it.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 21 of our series titled “PRAYING THROUGH” from Dr. John R. Rice.

When a group of Israelites were going back from Babylon to Jerusalem under Ezra the scribe, they proclaimed a fast at the river Ahava. There they afflicted themselves and fasted and prayed and begged God for protection from the bandit bands that roamed the country, since they were ashamed to ask the king for soldiers, having told him that God would care for them. And they prayed through, as Ezra 8:21-23 tells us, and God was entreated for them and protected them. They arrived safely and unharmed at Jerusalem.

The Jews fasted and prayed for God to spare their lives during the time of Queen Esther in Persia, and in three days and nights they prayed through and the Jews had salvation and then vengeance on their enemies.

The people of Ninevah fasted and prayed, and God repented of the evil that He thought to do to their great city and did it not. Their fasting was not in order to get saved but that God would relent and not destroy the great wicked city as He had announced through Jonah that He would do.

+ Plus, listen to The City Harmonic singing “Manifesto”

 
 

Is Fasting a Commandment? (Part 2)

[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/49928-is-fasting-a-commandment-part-2.mp3]

As you may know, on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, (the day after President Obama announced his support for homosexual marriage) we immediately called and commenced a season of fasting and prayer for 165 days for America and the world through election day on November 6th (we include the world because America is the leader of the world). This fast is designed where people can jump in at any time and fast as long as the Lord may lead them, be it one day, three days, twenty-one days, or forty days – please join in only when the Lord leads you to because “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” Also, you do not have to sign up and send us your email address or address and so forth. If anyone is trying to gather up information on you to see whether or not you are fasting and praying, that is not us; the Lord is not leading us to do that. You fast and pray with us only as the Lord leads you. We frankly believe that if folks start collecting names and addresses, it would cause us to lose the effectiveness and power of the fast and time of prayer. Also, if you hear someone asking you to send in money associated with fasting and prayer, that is not us.

Our hearts were blessed when we were informed that great Christian leaders from across the nation such as Dr. Jim Garlow, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Bishop Joseph Mattera, and Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, will be starting the major leg of the fast on the same day that we will be starting, as they will begin fasting for 40 days and nights beginning on June 1st. We would encourage all pastors and Christian leaders from across the nation to join these influential leaders and us in fasting and praying and to encourage their church members to fast and pray, for God to revive the church, to heal the nation, for 3 million or more people to come to Christ during this time, and if the Lord is going to tarry His coming, to give us the godly leadership that this nation needs going forward. Please be reminded that we are not for Obama or Romney. Personally, I am not led to vote for either one of these candidates. You can vote or not vote however the Lord may lead you. If you do vote, however, I would encourage you not to shout who you vote for from the rooftops. (I am personally praying that God would raise up a third-party candidate who Christians can vote for.) We have called this fast for God to do something so dramatic that it would change the course of this country if He plans on tarrying His coming. Quite frankly, however, we are expecting the Lord to come back any day now, and if He is planning on doing that, then it won’t matter. We believe that the choice we have been presented with for president is a result of the curse God has placed on this nation because of our own sins and failures in the church and because this nation, in general, has turned its back on God. This fast is about far more than politics. In fact, it is not about politics at all. Our nation and the world is in so much trouble that only God can help us now.

There are approximately 50 million Christians across all major church denominations in America. There are many more millions of Christians around the world as well. During these 165 days, we are asking every single person to reach one other person for Jesus Christ. All of us know of somebody else who needs to be saved. All you have to do is share with them how you got saved or take one of the many Gospel tracts that are available through our website http://www.gospellightsociety.com and pass it on to them. As Christians, we may not be able to vote for either of the two candidates running, but we can vote for Jesus Christ who can save us and who is the answer to all of the problems that we face in this nation and the world. Share the good news of Christ with just one person, then email us and let us know that you did.

Also, if there ever was a person who did not want to witness to the homosexual community, it is I. I was like Jonah who did not want to go to Ninevah. One of the reasons why I did not want to do this was because I could not get my head around this sin — this abomination. I just could not see what one ugly man would want with another ugly man (and all men are ugly to me) or what one ugly man would do with another ugly man. But be that as it may, however, the Lord has convicted my heart about that and I have written two Gospel tracts that reach out to the homosexual community with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you know of a homosexual in your family, church, workplace, or community, and you are led of the Lord to do so, please pass this message on to them. You can get both tracts and the audio version from http://www.gospellightminutex.com. The best thing you or I can do for any lost person is show them the way to eternal life in Christ.

Please do not forget to join us for the one day fast on tomorrow, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. Then, if you are not inclined to fast for 40 days or if you cannot fast for 40 days for other reasons, please prepare for the 10 day fast beginning Friday, June 1st through June 10th.

Please see the Updated Suggested Fasting Schedule as well as tips on how to prepare yourself spiritually and physically for an extended fast and how to maintain nutritional balance while fasting at http://www.gospellightsociety.com. Again, we thank the Lord for all of you who are joining us on this journey.

Our Scripture reading for today is Isaiah 58:1-14 which reads: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

Allow me to share with you some important points regarding this verse from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

We notice from this passage, He must acknowledge how very good they seemed to be, notwithstanding: Yet they seek me daily. When the prophet went about to show them their transgressions they pleaded that they could see no transgressions which they were guilty of; for they were diligent and constant in attending on God’s worship—and what more would he have of them? Now, He owns the matter of fact to be true. As far as hypocrites do that which is good, they shall not be denied the praise of it; let them make their best of it. It is owned that they have a form of godliness. (1.) They go to church, and observe their hours of prayer: They seek me daily; they are very constant in their devotions and never omit them nor suffer any thing to put them by. (2.) They love to hear good preaching; They delight to know my ways, as Herod, who heard John gladly, and the stony ground, that received the seed of the word with joy; it is to them as a lovely song (3.) They seem to take great pleasure in the exercises of religion and to be in their element when they are at their devotions: They delight in approaching to God, not for his sake to whom they approach, but for the sake of some pleasing circumstance, the company, or the festival.

We will continue discussing this verse in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Bill Thrasher. He said: “The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 2 of a new series titled “IS FASTING A COMMANDMENT?” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

We must realize that the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:16 that says “When you fast…” do not constitute a command. Jesus was giving instruction on the proper exercise of a common practice of his day. He did not speak a word about whether it was a right practice or if it should be continued. So, although Jesus does not say “If you fast,” neither does he say “You must fast.” His word is, very simply, “When you fast.”

The second crucial statement of Jesus about fasting comes in response to a question by the disciples of John the Baptist. Perplexed over the fact that both they and the Pharisees fasted but Jesus’ disciples did not, they asked “Why?” Jesus replied in Matthew 9:15, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come, when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” That is perhaps the most important statement in the New Testament on whether or not Christians should fast today.

In the coming of Jesus, a new day had dawned. The kingdom of God had come among them in present power. The Bridegroom was in their midst; it was a time for feasting, not fasting. There would, however, come a time for his disciples to fast although not in the legalism of the old order.

Now, let’s take this moment to break up the fallow ground in our lives. Hosea 10:12 states, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The great evangelist Charles G. Finney preached a message titled “Breaking Up the Fallow Ground – An Outline for Repentance”. In this sermon, he listed 26 sins that we as Christians should confess and repent of. The tenth sin he lists is: a Neglect of family duties. He urges us to confess this sin in our lives by saying: “Think how you have prayed before your family, how you have prayed, what an example you have set before them. What direct efforts do you habitually make for their spiritual good? What duty have you not neglected?”

Let’s go to the Lord in prayer right now and confess this sin and others before God.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 
 
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