Thursday, February 22, 2007

One of the little used tools to gain spiritual insight to the things the Lord desires us to see and do is fasting. Most do not practice this because they literally cannot deny themselves.

Several years back I was serving as a deacon in my church. Our diaconate had between 30 to 40 men on it. Our body was going through a particularly rough time in our church history.

In the days leading up to our annual deacon retreat, our pastor asked us to fast with him. He also asked the church body to do so. He taught on fasting, and set up a format which people could follow, and asked us to fill out cards to let him know that we were. He knew most had never done so.

At our retreat, he got up to speak to us about the issues at hand. He spoke more passionately and fervently than he normally preached. During his message, he indicated that he had recently been asked multiple times what we as deacons could do to serve him, and assist him in bringing about the desired outcome.

As he shared from a heart full from the Lord's anointing, but broken over the lipservice of the body, he made known to us that we had been walking through one of the most crucial times in our church history, and it required our constant seeking of the Lord. As he did so, he opened up to us that we were making outward indications of our desire to support him, but it was in fact lipservice. He did not do this harshly. As a matter of fact, he did so with grace and concern, but his words blind-sided us.

He shared with us that out of all that was said by many deacons who had approached him individually, only two truly supported him. There were only two who really heard and listened. Two from thirty five or so, men surrendered to the time of fasting with him.

He asked the question, "how can you really care if you won't even do the one thing that I have asked of you?"

What ensued was a significant time of brokenness and repentance.

The Lord caused each of us to realize that we talked a good game, but we walked a shallow one.

Fasting and praying when combined are powerful resources in our arsenal. It truly brings about change and understanding from the mind of Christ, to us individually. No, this is not the only way He communicates. But there have been many times in life that He called me specifically, to fast.

There have also been times where I have fasted from a repentant heart. Those times He did not specifically call me to, but I knew that I needed to deny myself to help bring focus back to my walk.

I am not the poster boy for fasting, and it is not my desire to be patted on the back. As a matter of fact, Scripture tells us to keep ourselves in such a way that others do not know we are fasting. For it is not for public consumption that we do it, but for Spiritual intervention or breakthrough.

One of the difficulties people have is knowing how long to fast, if they do so. I ask the Lord, and allow Him to guide that decision. He has directed me to fast anywhere from one meal to 40 days. It truly depended on what was happening.

When BJ went into the hospital, we heard from people around the country who didn't know us. They were regularly fasting and praying for BJ's healing. I cannot tell you what power there was in that.

One may argue that he was not healed, so what difference did it make?

Upon his autopsy, the pathologist asked the question, "how did this young man last as long as he did?" His organs and tissues were consumed with disease and fungi.

The effectual and fervent prayer of the righteous had raised up a platform from which the Lord was glorified over and over through BJ's life and his death.

The fasting of others helped sustain BJ (and us) through the dark valley.

Do not think to little or too lightly about fasting. No, YOU cannot do it. But when you seek Him, He gives you the strength and endurance to go the distance!

dad


I am speaking today at noon, at the International Fellowship of Christian Businessmen. Please lift these men up, that they will respond to the Holy Spirit's movement in their hearts.

1 Comments:

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Gator4God said...

Fasting has helped me make decisions on really important things in my own life, where to attend college, what God would have me to do this summer, with my life...the list goes on. thanks for showing us yet again how powerful simply denying ourselves can be.
thanks dad,
matt

 

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