Acceptable fasting

ACCEPTABLE FASTING

 

(First part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 3) “ Why have we fasted, they say, and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice? ”

Fasting is one of the oldest spiritual disciplines that pave a way for God’s power to flow and do wonders. Amazingly both in the old and new testament we see men using this discipline but we don’t see any one who took effort to exhaustively teach on this subject. Jesus taught briefly about it, how it should be done and that we ought to do it. (Matt6: 16-18). The only exhaustive teaching about fasting was done by God himself in (Is58: 1-14). In this text God began by teaching the wrong way of fasting (Is58: 3-5), then he taught the right way of fasting, (Is58: 6-7) and thirdly he taught the benefits of true and acceptable fasting (Is58: 8-14).

The goal of fasting is to be heard in heaven when we pray (Is58: 4c, 9a). The purpose of fasting is to empower our prayer. That’s why they always go together i.e. prayer and fasting. When we fast and pray in the right way that pleases God, our voices are heard in heaven. And once our prayers get the attention of heaven then we can expect mighty things to happen (1Jn5: 14-15). The nation of Judah was attacked by three nations with a great army in the days of king Jehoshaphat, the king feared but he summoned the whole nation for a fasting to seek the help of the Lord. God heard their fasting and prayer and intervened mightily by destroying their enemies (2Chr 20:1-22). They only prayed, fasted and worshipped the Lord and heaven dealt with their enemies. Esther, Mordecai and the Jews in the empire of Persia were with problem of termination of their existence, they fasted and prayed for three days and nights. Heaven heard them and intervened with great wonders that left their enemy Haman hanged, all their enemies were killed and God promoted them and blessed them. Elijah fasted, Moses fasted, Joshua fasted, and many prophets fasted, John the Baptist fasted, Jesus fasted, apostles fasted, apostle Paul fasted often and Jesus taught that certain things don’t go away except by prayer and fasting (Matt17). Fasting will cause you to break into certain levels power, freedom. Fasting will bring major turn around in your life, family, ministry.

Tomorrow’s subject: “ Wrong way of fasting”


 (Second part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 3b) “ In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exploit all your laborers ”.

The lord told the children of Israel that the goal of their fasting was TO SEEK TO FIND THEIR PLEASURES. Fasting is not about seeking our fleshly desires. In fact fasting is for putting to death our fleshly desires. The scripture teaches that God does not answer prayers whose goal is to feed our fleshly desires (Jam4: 3). Scripture teaches that living according to the flesh produces death but not blessings (Rom8: 6). Jesus taught that we should seek the kingdom of God first and these things shall be added (Mtt6: 33).                                              Now, these things we need them in our lives. We need money, we need clothing, we need good food, and these things are not bad at all in themselves. The problem is the lust for them. The real problem is that when the lust of these things is in our lives, they won’t help but will control us, enslave us, dominate us and finally destroy us. The scripture teaches that money answers all things, but the same bible teaches and warns that the love on money is the root of all evil (1Tim6; 10). When things control our loves, they will destroy our relationships, they will destroy our lives, they lead us to do wrong things, etc. So, seeking the kingdom of God first means, seek to know God and have a relationship with him, seek the Lord to transform your life first. God’s priority is not to settle your financial situation but to deal with your lustful desires for money. Once the Lord has dealt with the lust of your flesh then, he will add all these things that you need in life e.g. wife, money, houses, promotions, cars, big jobs, anointing, great ministry.

God wants first to deal with issues in you and not around you. God wants to change you before he changes your position. God wants to deal with your sexual immorality before he gives you a wonderful wife. God wants to bless you so much, even much more than you ever dream, but there are things and issues in your life that stand between you and God. You don’t have an idea what God can give you and use you to do, if you can allow him to first transform your life. Fasting is one weapon for putting to death the works of the flesh and praying in tongues is another weapon for edifying, strengthening your spirit. When you fast, pray more in tongues and God will do the transformation of your life (Rom8: 13).

We will continue this subject tomorrow


 (Third part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 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 ”.

Many times we have all wrong kinds motives in our heart that lead us to pray and fast, one of which is STRIFE. These are causes of strife; pride, rebellion and offenses. Whenever you sense strife in your life either you were offended, or you are rebellious and it’s simply pride hiding somewhere. Of course where strife is there are debates. Some people debate within them selves as their heart argue with their heads. You need to seek and find the source of the strife in your life, you are striving with your boss at work, striving with your pastor or leader in ministry, you’re striving with your husband or wife, some even strive with God that’s why scripture teaches that the Spirit of God will not strive with man (Gen6: 3).

In your fasting, you need to target the areas of strife in your life. Pray in tongues as you fast and allow the Holy Spirit to shine light in the dark places of your life. Let him show you the roots of strife in your life. When the Holy Spirit expose the roots, then repent to God, ask for healing and transformation (1Jn1: 9). God has called us to freedom and peace. Don’t allow strife to remain hidden in your life, don’t see fruits strife and simply ignore them, confront them and as you bring them to God in prayer and fasting God will destroy their roots.

The problem of the children of Israel was that they fasted in the opposite direction. They thought their wives had a problem; their bosses were bad, their pastors were oppressing them; they thought all other people were wrong. So, they began to pray and uprooted them, they tried to pray them out of the offices. Many believers pray what they call dangerous prayers against different people; they curse their enemies, they fast that God should oppose their enemies. Churches fast against other churches quoting scriptures, no man will be able to stand before us. Check out your motive in prayer and fasting and make sure it’s not strife that is forcing you to fast. You don’t need to feed strife through fasting, build your need to put it to death. You need to love your enemy, you need to pray for them not against them, you need bless those who despitefully use you, walk in love not in strife. (Mtt5: 43-48).

We will continue this subject tomorrow


(Fourth part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 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 ”

Wrong living denies us access into God’s presence. Sinful living separates us from God. We are sinners saved by grace, but saved from living in sin and begin to live a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit. The scripture teaches that the works of the flesh close the door of the kingdom of God against our faces (Gal5: 19-21). When we allow the works of the flesh to operate freely in our lives, they will only produce death. Satan always looks for those fleshly desires and uses them as open doors to enter into your life, your family, business and ministry. And you know the mission of Satan (Jn 10: 10). Whenever Satan is given an opportunity, he will steal, he will kill and he will destroy (Jam1: 13-15).

Many believers ignore their lifestyles and choose to live carelessly. Many children of God are so loose in their living, talk, and behaviors that even their conscious is dead. They do all kinds of wrong things and don’t feel anything wrong, they talk all kinds of words, they curse, they quarrel, they dress carelessly, they live any way they choose, they watch anything on TV, they listen to anything on radio, they follow any one, they read anything. It’s amazing what kind of things is happening in the church today and there is no sense of alarm. Pornography, homosexuality, divorces, wrong marriages, unbeliever marrying believer, stealing etc are so common in the church today. And with this kind of living, we are praying, we are fasting to get promotions. Ladies half naked boldly stand on pulpits to preach, to lead worship and many say God looks on the heart not the body, but again the Bible says what fills the heart, comes on the outside. Could it be that the reason people are walking naked physically because they are spiritually naked? Something is wrong in God’s house and we need to deal with it now.

God put it clear to Isaiah: tell my people their sins and let them know that I did not refuse to answer them but it’s their sin that blocked me to reach and touch them. Dear beloved, it is still the same today, God is telling the church, he is seeing our fasting, yes he desires to anoint us, he desires to heal the sick, he desires to prosper our families and ministries, but our lives are spiritually sick.

Tomorrow’s subject: “ Fasting is not show in the flesh”


 (Fifth part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 9) “ 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? ”

We need also to be careful when fasting not to end up in a show of flesh. Sometimes we end up in the flesh in an attempt to crucify the works of the flesh. Pride is very subtle and dangerous and we need to guard ourselves from it. Jesus taught against this fleshly pride about fasting. Fasting should destroy pride and cause humility to grow in our spirit.  “ Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward ”. (Mtt6: 16)

Fasting is not about being seen by men but it’s about being seen by God. Fasting is not seeing our selves superior to other who are not able to fast the way we are, fasting is not about the ability of the flesh it’s the grace of God. It not about how many days you can go without food, it’s how much grace of God at work in transforming our lives. Fasting should be causing us to die to the flesh instead of making us proud. Fasting should seek to crucify self so that Christ could live in us. We should not depend on fleshly ability in fasting but on GOD’S GRACE.

I’ve sensed many times while fasting, many weaknesses begin to rise to the surface, like I get angry, impatience and others. And when they are exposed, you feel as though you can’t go ahead to pray the way you have been praying, God is telling you: now there’s this issue you need to repent of first and ask me to take it away from your life before you go to the next level in prayer. People, who never fast in life, don’t have any idea of the kind of things that are hidden in their lives. Prayer and fasting shake your life to the root until hidden things are exposed. These things stop their spiritual growth and hinder their prayer life. We all need to fast. There are things that will not go out our lives except by prayer and fasting. You need it my brother and sister.

Tomorrow’s subject, “ The acceptable way of fasting”


 (Sixth part)

Memory verse (Isaiah 58: 6) “ Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness ”

When we are born again our spirit are born again as the life of God comes in. Our spirits are the righteousness of God. Our minds needs to be daily renewed by the word of God (Rom12: 1-2). Our flesh needs to be crucified. Gal 5: 19 teaches the works of the flesh. True you’re a child of God, your sins are forgiven but the flesh still have that desire to continue the old things it was used to do all those dark years of ignorance. And because of those fleshly desires, Satan begins to draw your mind towards them and finally people keep falling in those traps (Jam1: 13-15).

When I received Jesus in my life, there are things that disappeared from my life that day. But there are others that I kept on doing unconsciously, the Holy Spirit could convict me after I’ve done them and I could repent of them. I struggled with lie for a long time. I had another problem of masturbation, which I struggled with for about 9 years. I could feel bad after doing it and vow never to do it again, but after sometime the devil could throw those thoughts back in my mind and I could not resist. I did everything to do but could not be free. Until in 1996, I attended a prayer and fasting conference, we were fasting for our nation. I had never fasted longer than 24 hours before without food. This time the Holy Sprit conviction in me was so strongly that the first day I tried to eat bread in the evening, but I felt I was sinning. So, I stopped. I went for seven days without food, just a drink in the evening. After that fasting conference masturbation never came back, bless God forever. Because my body loved, it was bonded to it, but the prayer and fasting destroyed that bond. And many things changed in my life during that fasting and after. The fear of God came into my heart, my prayer life began to grow, I got baptized in the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, imagine after 9 years in salvation! Anointing began to come upon my life; the call of God came upon my life that very day. God teaches that true fasting will loose the bonds of wickedness and set you free from sin and the lusts of the flesh. God wants you to have the best in your life, God wants to use you greatly, but there’re things that hinder his plan in your life, you would need to go deeper in prayer and engage in fasting, so God may have a way to bless you without any limit.

Next subject: “ Undo heavy burdens” …To be continued next Monday


 (Seventh part)

Memory verse (Is 58: 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? ”

Today we are going to see the heavy burdens. The scripture says true fasting should be focused on undoing the heavy burdens. What are burdens? Burdens are the cares of life, worries about how to meet life’s needs. Worries about how to get what to eat, get school fees for your children, how to raise up your children in this evil world, in fact others are already rebellious, house rent, your business is going down, the economy is going downwards, you are worried about being laid off. Cares, worries and fears of the future. Worried about your unbelieving husband or wife. And more and more worries………(Gal6: 2), (Phil4; 6), (1Pet5: 7), (Matt13: 22) (Luk21: 34) (Matt6: 25-34).

Jesus taught so much about worrying for things we need for this life and he gave us the answer on how to deal with them. In (Matt6: 25-34), he taught us to seek first the kingdom of God and they will all be added. Paul taught that we should bring all these cares to God in prayers and give thanks believing God will give them to us. Peter taught that we should cast these cares upon the Lord for he cares for us but also God the Father taught Israel that fasting untie these burden off our mind and take them away.

These burdens break us, wear out our faith, make us tired mentally, and cause stress. Jesus taught that these cares, worries or burden are thorns of our lives and they choke God’s word and make it unproductive in our lives. These burdens kill our prayer life, steal our joy, and keep us living in fear. Turn your eyes from your burdens. I know they are heavy, but focus your eyes to Jesus. Declare some days of prayer and fasting and seek God. As you fast and pray in tongues the Holy Spirit will strengthen your spirit to be able to untie those burdens from your life and place them properly upon the altar of God. When you are fasting, pray more in tongues to allow the Holy Spirit to intercede for you in those areas according to the will of God (Rom8: 26-27). Spend longtime praying in tongues as you fast, do it for days. Train your self to pray more in tongues and the peace of God will begin to flow in your life (Phil4: 6-7). God wants to raise you beyond where you are. God wants you to be prosperous and fruitful. Seek the Lord while he may be found…(Is55: 6).

 


(Eighth part)

Memory verse (Is 58: 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? ”

Oppression is a mental torment from Satan. Jesus taught that when a demon leaves a person it continues to wander in dry places. After sometime it says let me go back to my house and if comes back and find the house clean, set in order and empty it goes and bring more demons and occupy that person’s life (Matt 12: 43-45). Oppression is the first step Satan takes in order to repossess the life he once occupied. There are three steps, oppression, obsession and possession. Oppression is when Satan throws all kinds of thoughts of temptations. He throws those thoughts that reminds of the old things you used to do while a non-believer. He is a liar. He tries to tell you that you were not fully forgiven. Satan keeps playing this music so loud and none stop in your mind.

God teaches that true fasting focused on these oppressions will break those satanic ropes of temptations that are pulling you back. As you pray more in tongues God’s power will begin to pull down those stronghold of Satan in your mind, evil thought will be taken captive, rebellion will destroyed (2 Cor 10: 3-6). The battleground for this battle of oppression is your mind. So, pray more in tongues in your fasting and read God’s word quietly and loudly. Pray aloud confessing the scriptures. Meditate on it day and night. Satan can repossess a believer’s life, Jesus taught, if he finds that believer clean but empty. There are many good believers with the problem of emptiness. God expects you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, God wants us to be filled with his word, God wants our minds to be filled with his word etc. You may be there and you are struggling with these ropes of old demons trying to repossess your life, why don’t you take some days in prayer and fasting.

You are not fighting flesh and blood, but you are in warfare. And the bad news is that there is nothing like neutral ground or no man’s land. You either have to fight or Satan will take control of your life. But as for me, am not ready to settle for less when God has more for me, am ready to pay any price to take my place and inheritance in Christ. I can’t afford to be a baby Christian all time, am going to pick this weapon of warfare and declare war on the devils oppressions. I must be free in Jesus name.

Tomorrow’s subject, “ Breaking the yokes ”


 (Ninth part)

Memory verse (Is 58: 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? ”

A yoke is a pair of wood that is tied around the necks of two bulls. Farmers use them for cultivating their farms. Tied to the yoke is the digging implement. The stronger bull is yoked together with a little young one. When the young one feels tired and does not want to move any longer, the stronger one pulls it. When the weaker one wants to take another direction, the stronger pulls it in its direction. But as the bull grows fatter and fatter, a time comes when the yoke gets broken because of the fatness (Is 10: 27).

There are spiritual yokes in believer’s lives. Some believers are yoked to non-believers or wrong people (2Cor 6: 14). Some believers are possessed in their minds. They want to be free but something is holding them back. They want to live for God but something can’t allow them. They want to leave smoking, drinking, fornication, masturbation but they are yoked or bound. They want to move forward, they want to be what the Lord wants them to be but something can’t let them go. There is yoke around their mind that has tied them to the old sinful habits. God taught that true fasting should focus on crying to God about the yoke. Effective fasting done according to GOD’S word, empowered by the Holy Spirit will destroy the yokes. As you pray more in tongues, read God’s word more, your spirit will become fatter and fatter by the anointing and finally yokes will begin to be broken and you will free.

What are those yokes in your life? Are they yokes of diabetes, yokes of barrenness, yokes of poverty, yokes of fornication, yokes of witchcraft, yokes of mental infirmity, yokes of any other demonic bondage? As you give yourself to the Lord in prayer in tongues and fasting to put to death the works of the flesh by the Holy Spirit, the yokes are going to be destroyed by God’s anointing (Is 10: 27). God is telling us that many times we ignore real issues in our lives and we get sidetracked to focus on secondary issues in prayer. God wants to deal with your yokes but he needs your cooperation. God wants you to be honest and not try to cover up and pretend as though it’s all well yet you’re struggling. So many people God doesn’t set them free just because they aren’t honest with issues in their lives. Open up and God will come in and set you free.

Tomorrow subject: “ Overcoming selfishness”


 (Tenth part)

Memory verse (Is58: 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? ”

One of the greatest enemies to God’s working in our lives is selfishness. The greatest obstacle to God’s moves in our lives is self. The only person self can see is self. The only person self wants to be appreciated is self; the only person self desires to be promoted is self. Self always stands between you and God and he can’t allow you to see God and others. Many Christians work so much and all they earn they spend it on the desires of self. Self will never be satisfied; self will never be loved enough. Self is always obsessed by itself.

But Paul said: I have been crucified with Christ, it’s no longer I (self) that lives but Christ that lives in me (Gal 2:20). Paul had mastered self and brought self under his feet, he said: I box but not boxing the air, I box my body and bring it under subjection (1 Cor9: 27). Paul made a point, that if he didn’t put his flesh under subjection he would be disqualified. God taught Israel that they had to let selfishness die through prayer and fasting. The goal of fasting is to destroy selfishness in our lives so that God’s agape love may begin to grow in us. When God’s love flow out of our lives, God’s power will flow in and through us. God wants to bless you but selfishness will cause God’s blessing to become a curse to you. In this love chapter of (1Cor13), Paul teaches that whatever amount of power, gifts, talents, wisdom, revelations, knowledge, sacrifice a man can have or demonstrate if he is not acting with God’s agape love, the results will be negative and fruitless.

Self must die so Christ may shine in our lives. We need to allow God to break us down enough to love others. God’s compassion for other should be the highest goal of our prayer and fasting. Pray God to break you. Pray God to melt your hearts, so you can groan with intercession for the lost, the hungry, and those in pain. We need to pray that God would open our eyes to see beyond ourselves and see those people who are invisible. We need to come to a place where we can hear and feel the pains in people’s lives. A man or woman who is broken by people’s pain will flow in God’s supernatural power and provision beyond limits.

Tomorrow’s subject: “Benefits of true fasting”


 (Eleventh part)

Memory verse (Is58: 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 ”.

Jesus made a statement about fasting that is astounding: “SOME THINGS DON’T GO AWAY EXCEPT BY PRAYER AND FASTING” (Matt 17:21). What Jesus meant is that without prayer and fasting there are certain things in our lives that will never go away to give God room and freedom to flow into their lives and make them unstoppable in their ministry and life. And God comes in with a very powerful teaching by saying that true prayer and fasting with true focus will destroy the yokes, will lift the heavy burden off your life, will demolish all satanic oppression off your life and mind, and will break in your life all bonds of wickedness and put to death all selfishness to give way to God’s agape love to flow in and through your live.

When God flushes out the rottenness that was inside our lives, when he changes us inside out, then we will begin to see things changing everywhere around our lives. Our marriages, finances, ministry, businesses, relationships will begin to change. When everything that hindered God to move in and through your life is removed, then God will come into your life with power, blessings, healings, favor, presence, glory, revelation, light etc. If things change in your life then changes will begin to take place in all things around you.

The first benefit is DIVINE INFLUENCE. God said your light would break forth like the morning. It’s amazing; since you are born again the light of God comes into your life. In fact the scripture says the spirit of a man is the candle of the Lord (Pr 20: 27). When the Spirit of God comes into our lives at the new birth experience, he ignites our spirits. But the yokes, works of the flesh, sins in dark areas of our lives, fight the light like carbon dioxide trying to extinguishes it. Once these things are removed, then God’s light from our reborn spirits begins to shine forth (Matt5: 16). Your light will shine before all men. You begin to influence people around you in your family, workplace, business etc. Your life begins to impact people’s thoughts, actions and ways of living.

Tomorrow’s subject: “ River of divine health”


 (Twelfth part)

Memory verse (Is58: 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 ”.

Jesus came to give us abundant life (Jn10: 10). The second benefit is divine health i.e. your healing shall spring speedily.  Jesus said that those who believe in him rivers of living water would flow out of their inner most bellies (Jn7: 37-39). The river of God’s life is ready to flood into our lives but many times the junk on the inside of us blocks the flow of this life into our lives. But true fasting opens up all blocked channels of life inside us and then God’s life begin to flood our lives. This river of life brings healings. The scripture says wherever this river flows, everything that has life will live and will bring healing to water where it flows (Ezek47: 1-12).

After certain garbage has been taken away, your health is going to improve, broken hearts will be healed, marriages will be healed, cancers will be healed, stubborn diseases will be healed. You will begin to enjoy great health, life without pain, sicknesses (Rom8: 11). Your physical life will become stronger and stronger. Everyday you’ll wake up strong. It’s God’s will that we have great health (3Jn 1:1-2). I’ve seen some saints of God, who tells you they don’t remember the last time they were sick. They reach their eighties still strong for God. In fact fasting, biologically cleanses our bodies. It helps the body to loose a lot of unwanted toxins and other boichemicals.

God wants you live long and to live well. Take some time and fast and pray, allow some spiritual and mental offloading. It will improve your spirituality and mental capabilities. Eagles know this secret. When the Eagle sense that its life is reducing, the eagle goes far away on tops of the mountain. In that solitary place the eagle stays there, remove the old claws and feathers. During all that time it won’t eat anything. It’s during that time that its strength begin to be renewed. New claws come and feathers grow and when it appears again, it’s new. Its youth strength is back. (Is40: 29-31), (Ps103: 5.) Men, who discovered the secret of living a fasted life, ever grow stronger and stronger. Do something my brother and sister to improve our life. Let’s take advantage of this key God has given us to tap into his wonderful life. Amen.

               
         
               

 

 

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