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The Purpose of Fasting (Part 5)

06 Jun
[audio http://theprayermotivatorminute.buzzsprout.com/3196/50530-the-purpose-of-fasting-part-5.mp3]

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

We praise the Lord for allowing us to reach Day 6 of the ten day fast which began on June 1st and will last through June 10th. Please be reminded that we are asking everyone who is not on an extended fast already to join us today on this Wednesday for the weekly 24 hour fast. We look forward also to everyone who is able to join 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, our special three day Esther fast in September during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and our 7 day fast from October 31st through Election Day on November 6, 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 which 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 New King James Version which reads:

1 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell 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 did not forsake the ordinance of their God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice; They take delight in approaching God.

3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?’
“In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers.

4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day,
To make your voice heard on high.

5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the Lord?

6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you take away the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 If you extend your soul to the hungry And satisfy the afflicted soul, Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

13 “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, From doing your pleasure on My holy day, And call the Sabbath a delight, The holy day of the Lord honorable, And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, Nor finding your own pleasure, Nor speaking your own words,

14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

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

Here we notice in verse 5 that it concerns us therefore to enquire, on a fast-day, what it is that will be acceptable to God, and afflictive to our corrupt nature, and tending to its mortification. We are here told negatively what is not the fast that God has chosen, and which does not amount to the afflicting of the soul. It is not enough to look demure, to put on a grave and melancholy aspect, to bow down the head like a bulrush that is withered and broken: as the hypocrites, that were of a sad countenance, and disfigured their faces, that they might appear unto men to fast. Hanging down the head did indeed well enough become the publican, whose heart was truly humbled and broken for sin, and who therefore, in token of that, would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven; but when it was only mimicked, as here, it was justly ridiculed: it is but hanging down the head like a bulrush, which nobody regards or takes any notice of. As the hypocrite’s humiliations are but like the hanging down of a bulrush, so his elevations in his hopes are but like the flourishing of a bulrush, which, while it is yet in its greenness, withers before any other herb.

We will continue discussing this passage in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Martin Luther. He said: “Of fasting I say this: It is right to fast frequently in order to subdue and control the body. For when the stomach is full, the body does not serve for preaching, for praying, or studying, or for doing anything else that is good. Under such circumstances God’s Word cannot remain. But one should not fast with a view to meriting something by it as by a good work.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 5 of our series titled “THE PURPOSE OF FASTING” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.” Our human cravings and desires are like rivers that tend to overflow their banks; fasting helps keep them in their proper channels. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I pommel my body and subdue it.” Likewise, David writes in Psalm 35:13, “I afflicted myself with fasting.” This is not excessive asceticism; it is discipline and discipline brings freedom. In the fourth century Asterius said that fasting ensured that the stomach would not make the body boil like a kettle to the hindering of the soul.

Numerous people have written on the many other values of fasting such as increased effectiveness in intercessory prayer, guidance in decisions, increased concentration, deliverance for those in bondage, physical well-being, revelations, and so on. In this, as in all matters, we can expect God to reward those who diligently seek Him.

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 eighteenth sin he lists is: Bitterness. He urges us to confess this sin in our lives by saying: “Recall all the instances in which you have harbored a grudge or a bitter spirit toward someone, or have spoken of Christians in a manner completely devoid of charity and love. Love “hopes all things,” but you have given no benefit of doubt, and have suspected the worst.”

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 6, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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