How are you doing? I miss getting to see everyone. For those who joined us on Sunday for the service or watched afterward, thank you. To the many who have responded by offering help, thank you. We are waiting for needs to come our way and then will mobilize those who are willing to be a help to others. If you have spoken with a friend, a neighbor, a coworker that is in need, please meet those needs or let us know so that others can help.
During the message, I offered an opportunity to be part of the solution by joining us on Thursday for a day of prayer and fasting. That piqued some of your interest to investigate the spiritual discipline of fasting. I encourage you to do some research on fasting if you have questions about it.
Allow me to give you just a few thoughts about fasting. While you can find many reasons for fasting given by medical experts, such as, losing weight, feeling better mentally & physically, improving digestive functions, eliminating toxins, looking younger, reliving tension, or even sharpening your mental skills, those are not biblical reasons for fasting. Some would even encourage fasting to save money. Again, this isn’t a biblical reason for fasting. I would propose that biblically, fasting is associated with prayer.
There are many biblical characters who were recorded as fasting. Some of those include: Moses, Samson, Samuel, Hannah, Saul, Jonathan, David, Elijah, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Daniel, John the Baptist, Anna, Paul and Jesus. That is a pretty impressive list of people that God used in mighty ways.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke to those gathered in such a manner that assumed that people were going to fast. Fasting was an integral part of the Jewish customs of the day. But the problem had become that Jewish people were fasting and walking around Jerusalem thinking and acting they were more spiritual because they were fasting. They were walking around in such a way that people knew they were fasting. Jesus warns us to not be like them when we are fasting. If you choose to fast on Thursday, I would encourage you to read Matthew 6:16-18 before joining.
As we fast and pray on Thursday, I encourage you to dwell on the idea that fasting, setting aside our dependency on food, is an act of humility. Fasting can be a tool to teach us that our real dependency is on God, not on food. So much of our lives revolve around food. And mentally we have a difficult time breaking our dependency on food. Fasting is a discipline we can take that will help us see we need to depend upon God. When those groanings and longings happen in our stomachs, it is a great time to give God thanks for all of His blessings. Humility comes in that we have to depend upon God for meeting all of our needs.
I realize many cannot fast because of health reasons. God doesn’t think less of you. A way you can participate in the fasting aspect would be to give up something else you have been depending on. It becomes a discipline for you to withhold that from your life for the day.
I would encourage you to set aside time throughout your day to spend in prayer. Whether that is the time you would usually spend eating or other time to concentrate on praying. Use the prayer sheet from the bulletin that Alison provides for things to pray about. Or use the LifeWay prayer guide that is posted further down on this webpage.
An idea for breaking your fast is to go out and bless one of our local restaurants by buying from them to encourage them during these difficult days.
Thanks for joining in seeking our Lord during these difficult days.
God bless, Andy