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The Practice of Fasting (Part 3)

09 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 allowing us to reach Day 9 of the ten day fast which began on June 1st and will last through Sunday, June 10th. We are thankful to the Lord for all of you who are fasting with us on this first leg of the 40 day fast which spreads across four months (10 days per month in June, July, August, and October). We praise the Lord for those who joined us for the 24 hour fast on this past Wednesday, June 6th. We also praise the Lord for those who are fasting for 40 days and 40 nights under the leadership of Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Dr. Jim Garlow, Bishop Harry Jackson Jr, Bishop Joseph Mattera, Tony Perkins, Dr. Rick Scarborough, and others. God has brought many Christian leaders together during this time of fasting and prayer and we are looking for God to work in America and the world. No amount of voting, marching, protesting, or signing of documents can match the power of thousands of Christians who are sincerely fasting and praying unto God. Please be reminded as you fast to 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

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:

In this passage, we see that we should be charitable to those that stand in need of charity. The particulars in the former verse may be taken as acts of charity, that we not only release those whom we have unjustly oppressed—that is justice, but that we contribute to the rescue and ransom of those that are oppressed by others, to the release of captives and the payment of the debts of the poor; but those in this verse are plainly acts of charity. This then is the fast that God has chosen.

We will continue discussing this passage in our next broadcast.

Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He said: “Fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not…be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstinence from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions which are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled. That is fasting.”

Our fasting devotional today is part 3 of our series titled “THE PRACTICE OF FASTING” from Richard J. Foster in his book “Celebration of Discipline”.

It should go without saying that you should follow Jesus’ counsel to refrain from calling attention to what you are doing. The only ones who should know you are fasting are those who have to know. If you call attention to your fasting, people will be impressed and, as Jesus said, that will be your reward. You, however, are fasting for far greater and deeper rewards. The following was written by an individual who, as an experiment, had committed himself to fast once a week for two years. Notice the progression from the superficial aspects of fasting toward the deeper rewards.

“1. I felt it a great accomplishment to go a whole day without food. Congratulated myself on the fact that I found it so easy….

2. Began to see that the above was hardly the goal of fasting. Was helped in this by beginning to feel hunger….

3. Began to relate the food fast to other areas of my life where I was more compulsive….I did not have to have a seat on the bus to be contented, or to be cool in the summer and warm when it was cold.

4. …Reflected more on Christ’s suffering and the suffering of those who are hungry and have hungry babies….

5. Six months after beginning the fast discipline, I began to see why a two-year period has been suggested. The experience changes along the way. Hunger on fast days became acute, and the temptation to eat stronger. For the first time I was using the day to find God’s will for my life. Began to think about what it meant to surrender one’s life.

6. I now know that prayer and fasting must be intricately bound together. There is no other way, and yet that way is not yet combined in me.”

After having achieved several fasts with a degree of spiritual success, move on to a thirty-six hour fast: three meals. With that accomplished, it is time to seek the Lord as to whether he wants you to go on a longer fast. Three to seven days is a good time period and will probably have a substantial impact on the course of your life.

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 twenty-first sin he lists is: Lying. He urges us to confess this sin by saying, “Now understand what lying is. Any form of designed deception is lying. If you purpose to make an impression other than the naked truth, you lie. Put down all those cases you can recollect. Do not call them by any soft names. God calls them lies and charges you with lying, so you’d better charge yourself correctly! Think of all your words, looks, and actions designed to make an impression on others contrary to the truth, for selfish reasons.”

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 9, 2012 in Fasting Edition

 

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