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Intentional Growth 4: When You Fast

  • Intentional Growth 4: When You Fast from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

    During His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6, Jesus mentioned three things we were to do in secret that would be openly rewarded. He used the words, "When you..." 1. When you pray. 2. When you give. 3. When you fast.

    (Matthew 6:3–4 NASB)  "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

    (Matthew 6:6 NASB)  "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

    (Matthew 6:17–18 NASB)  "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

    What a tremendous promise. Our Father, who sees what we do in secret, will reward us openly. Isn't that just like Him, for He looks on the heart and knows our innermost motivations? So give without telling anyone, pray without anyone listening, and fast without anyone knowing.

    Most Christians believe we should pray. Some think we should give, but few Christians practice fasting. It is a lost art of the church. This is sad because it probably the most powerful, life-changing thing that a Christian can do. It brings the breakthrough. If prayer were a rocket, fasting would be the fuel that drives it. Most of the wow moments in my life came after fasting, many times on the very last day.

    What exactly is fasting? - Fasting will help you rekindle that fire and draw closer to God. James 4:8 reads, "Come near to God, and He will come near to you."

    - Fasting will set you free from things that bind you. When you have not eaten in a week, you will not be thinking about that bad habit you are trying to overcome. That will be the least of your concerns. Practicing fasting will help you live a disciplined life.

    - Fasting will give you a deeper understanding of God's word as His Holy Spirit will become real to you.

    - Fasting will help you find direction in your life when you do not know which way to turn. Impossible things will suddenly resolve themselves.

    - Fasting will cause you to be very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Hearing a simple praise song will sometimes make you feel like you are being enveloped in a warm blanket. You will come to know the Comforter.

    - Fasting can bring healing and deliverance.

    Fasting is all through the Bible, but let's focus on Jesus, who lived as our example. Jesus fasted for forty days before He began His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:2). He probably drank water and fasted from food because, in the end, He was hungry but not thirsty. Jesus said that the Bridegroom would be taken away one day, and in those days, His disciples would fast. He has now been taken away, and these are the days that He spoke of.

    (Luke 5:33–35 NASB)  And they said to Him, "The disciples of John often fast and offer prayers, the disciples of the Pharisees also do the same, but Yours eat and drink." And Jesus said to them, "You cannot make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you? "But the days will come; and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days."

    Some strongholds require fasting and prayer together. In Matthew 17, the disciples of Jesus ran into a demon of epilepsy they could not cast out. When they brought the boy to Jesus, He cast it out. Later, when the disciples asked Him why they couldn't, He said this:

    (Matthew 17:19–21 NASB)  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. "But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."

    Jesus had prepared Himself beforehand with a forty-day fast. Fasting brings the power of God into your life. Jesus was baptized and full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). After fasting forty-days and beating the temptation, He came out in the "Power" of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14) and began His ministry on earth. There are no recorded miracles before His forty-day fast.

    (Luke 4:1–2 NASB)  Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry.

     (Luke 4:14 NASB)  And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.

    Fasting clears the airways where you can hear the Lord speaking to you and raises your spiritual discernment. In Luke 2:36, a widow named Anna prayed and fasted at the temple and recognized who the baby Jesus really was. Also, she just happened to be in the right place at the right time to meet Him.

    The Apostles fasted and prayed before making big decisions, sent out missionaries (Acts 13:3), or appointed leaders (Acts 14:23). David fasted for mercy (2 Samuel 12:22). Judah fasted when he got in trouble (2 Chronicles 20:3). Ezra fasted for protection (Ezra 8:21). Nehemiah fasted in repentance (Nehemiah 1:4). Esther fasted for divine favor (Esther 4:16). Daniel fasted for wisdom and insight (Daniel 9:3). The people of Nineveh repented with fasting, and God spared their city (Jonah 3:5).

    As with many other things, when religious people show off their good works to call attention to themselves, they get no reward from God. If you fast to be seen by men, then you already have your reward. The word "Hypocrite" means "Actor."

    Jesus said: "And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites, for they put on a dismal countenance, that their fasting may be apparent to and seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already." (Matthew 6:16 AMP).

    We have been on many fasts over the years. At first, we were very paranoid about telling anyone, but that became bondage in itself. When you are on a fast, and someone asks you to dinner, you should not have to make up lies as to why you cannot go. So now we operate on a need-to-know basis. If a friend invites us to dinner during a fast, we honestly tell them that we are on a fast right now. Maybe we can catch up later. They understand, and we do not have to come up with excuses.

    The fast we are leading up in April will be a corporate-type fast like the people of Nineveh did. The entire city fasted and prayed, and God spared their city from destruction. Like when Esther, her maidens, and all the Jews who lived in Susa fasted for three days before she went to speak to the king, and God granted them a miracle deliverance (Esther 4:16). It is a group type of fasting where we all fast and pray together.

    April will be a month of intentional growth for those who want to participate, praying, giving, and fasting. I have already done an hour-long teaching on fasting if you want to know more here. If you're going to fast with us, I recommend that you read it.

    You can pray this with me if you like:

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, please give me the wisdom to know the truth. I want more of Your Holy Spirit in my life. Speak to me in a way that I understand and let me know if I should participate in this coming fast. In the name of Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen!


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15 comments
  • 0
Marilyn Salter
Marilyn Salter I started my fasting two weeks ago. No meat, no caffeine and no alcohol. I have been doing dairy very sparingly. My water intake has increased to 80 oz a day. So far I’m doing ok, but still working on getting my ritual going. I have a brand new Bible and I bought a new journal for this. It is my fervent prayer that my goals are reached and exceeded. Thank you for putting this in my head and on my heart.
Mar 15
  • 0
Debi Burton
Debi Burton Praise the Lord Hallelujah! Amen
Mar 15
  • 1
Scott Riegelmann
Scott Riegelmann

Great messege today pastor Dion and Sylvia thank you so much for helping me to get closer to our Lord 

Mar 14
  • 1
Yvette York
Yvette York

Amen I want to really try this fasting 

Mar 14
  • 1
Mari Kaufmann
Mari Kaufmann

Dearest God in the name of Jesus pave a way for my Grandson JJ to prosper. I have never fasted but I'll pick a day and pray you find favor on my JJ. Help him please. Amen 

Mar 15
  • 1
Kay Collinsworth
Kay Collinsworth

Amen

Mar 15
  • 1
Patricia Walker
Patricia Walker

Amen. Thank You Heavenly Father for each new day and the blessings You provide.  Amen

Mar 15
  • 1
Marisa Jackson
Marisa Jackson

Amen!!

Mar 15
  • 1
Dave and Sue Earlywine
Dave and Sue Earlywine

Amen 

Mar 15
  • 1
Linda Clark
Linda Clark

Amen 

Mar 15
  • 1
Wanda Pennington
Wanda Pennington

Amen.  Going to try and fast. Its been a long time. But I feel like its time to participate.  Amen

Mar 15
  • 1
Maria Melendez
Maria Melendez

 Yes Lord , Amen !!!

Mar 15
  • 1
Jose Simo
Jose Simo

Heavenly Father thank You for inspiring us to be closer to You, to follow Your will and to do what is needed for our salvation. Help us to have Your Holy Spirit in every decision we make, we thank You Lord for everything that You are doing on our lives. In Jesus Christ name we pray, Amen. 

Thank you Pastor and Sylvia for this inspiring message, God bless you both, Amen. 

 

 

 

Mar 15
  • 1
Schalk  de Beer
Schalk de Beer

Dear Lord, sensitize my eyes and ears for your voice, in Jesus's name I pray, amen. 

Mar 15
  • 1
Wesley Paulus
Wesley Paulus

Amen!

Mar 16