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The Purpose of Fasting (Part 4)

05 Jun

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. It is good to be with you today.

We praise the Lord for all of you who are joining us on the ten day fast which began on June 1st and will last through June 10th. We look forward to you joining us on July 1st through the 10th, August 1st through the 10th, and October 1st through the 10th as this will complete 40 days of fasting during this season. We also praise the Lord for all of you who are fasting for 40 days and 40 nights during this time with such fine Christian leaders as Dr. Jim Garlow, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., Bishop Joseph Mattera, and Tony Perkins. We praise the Lord also that Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference which consists of over 40,000 churches, commenced fasting for 40 days and nights on June 1 as well. And Dr. Rick Scarborough with Vision America has called for 40 days of fasting and prayer to save America beginning September 28th through November 6th. We praise the Lord for the thousands who have joined these leaders as well. Miraculously, by the grace of God, with our 4 ten day fasts, our called 40 day fast starting August 1st, our every Wednesday fast, and our special three day Esther fast in September during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) we now have, by the grace of God, a complete wall-to-wall fasting movement made up of all races of people for the glory of God, for the salvation of the lost, for the revival of the church, and for the healing of the nation, among other things.

As you fast, please continue to pray for the following among other things:

1. For God to revive the church
2. For God to heal the nation
3. For 3 million or more people to come to Christ
4. And if the Lord is going to tarry His coming, for God to give us the godly leadership that this nation needs going forward.
5. For God to heal Christian families

Allow me to share with you a verse that I read yesterday that I believe is appropriate for this time of fasting and prayer. Psalm 119:126 says, “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law.” Indeed, this country has turned its back on God and it is time for Him to do something. What we think we can do is nothing close to what God can do. So, pray that God will do a mighty work in this country for His glory.

Our Scripture reading for today is Isaiah 58:1-14 from the King James Version which reads:

1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

5 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?

6 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?

7 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?

8 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.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 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:

11 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.

12 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.

13 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:

14 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 passage from Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

Here we notice in verse 5 that God would not allow them the use of such solemnities: “You shall not fast at all if you fast as you do this day, causing your voice to be heard on high, in the heat of your clamours one against another, or in your devotions, which you perform so as to make them to be taken notice of for ostentation. Bring me no more of these empty, noisy, vain oblations.” Note, Those are justly forbidden the honour of a profession of religion that will not submit to the power of it. He would not accept of them in the use of them: “You shall not fast, that is, it shall not be looked upon as a fast, nor shall the voice of your prayers on those days be heard on high in heaven.ā€™ā€™ Note, Those that fast and pray, and yet go on in their wicked ways, do but mock God and deceive themselves. Plain instructions are given concerning the true nature of a religious fast. In general, a fast is intended, For the honouring and pleasing of God. It must be such a performance as he has chosen; it must be an acceptable day to the Lord, in the duties of which we must study to approve ourselves to him and obtain his favour, else it is not a fast, else there is nothing done to any purpose. a fast is intended also, For the humbling and abasing of ourselves. A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it do not express a genuine sorrow for sin, and do not promote a real mortification of sin, it is not a fast; the law of the day of atonement was that on that day they should afflict their souls. That must be done on a fast-day which is a real affliction to the soul, as far as it is yet unregenerate and unsanctified, though a real pleasure and advantage to the soul as far as it is itself.

We will continue discussing this verse in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from John Calvin. He said: “Let us say something about fasting, because many, for want of knowing its usefulness, undervalue its necessity, and some reject it as almost superfluous; while, on the other hand where the use of it is not well understood, it easily degenerates into superstition. Holy and legitimate fasting is directed to three ends; for we practice it either as a restraint on the flesh, to preserve it from licentiousness, or as a preparation for prayers and pious meditations, or as a testimony of our humiliation in the presence of God when we are desirous of confessing our guilt before him.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 4 of a new series titled “THE PURPOSE OF FASTING” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

Fasting reminds us that we are sustained “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, Colossians 1:17 says, “All things hold together.” Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the word of God. Fasting is feasting! When the disciples brought lunch to Jesus, assuming that he would be starving, he declared in John 4:32 and 34, “I have food to eat of which you do not know….My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” This was not a clever metaphor, but a genuine reality. Jesus was, in fact, being nourished and sustained by the power of God. That is the reason for his counsel on fasting in Matthew 6. We are told not to act miserable when fasting because, in point of fact, we are not miserable. We are feeding on God and, just like the Israelites who were sustained in the wilderness by the miraculous manna from Heaven, so we are sustained by the Word of God.

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 seventeenth sin he lists is: Envy. He urges us to confess this sin in our lives by saying: “Look at the cases in which you were envious of those whom you thought were above you in any respect. Or perhaps you have envied those who have been more talented or more useful than yourself. Have you not so envied some, that you have been pained to bear them praised? It has been more pleasant for to you to dwell upon their faults than upon their virtues, upon their failures than upon their success. Be honest with yourself; and if you have harbored this spirit of hell, repent deeply before God, or He will never forgive you.”

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

GENERAL PRAYER

Dear friend, if you are listening to this broadcast and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Bible also says in Romans 10:9 and 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever. Amen.

Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! We’re here to help you, feel free to contact us at GospelLightSociety.com

Until next time, continue to fast and pray. God Bless You!

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Posted by on June 5, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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