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When Should I Hunger for God?

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When do we fast?

 

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us. Where did the Lord say that? In Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us (This is an ongoing process; it is called sanctification) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (Both of which will be attacked by genuine biblical fasting), we should live soberly, righteously, and godly (benefits of being more in tune with the Lord than the world) in the present age,  13. looking for the blessed hope (the basis of Christ’s call for us to be fasting) and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (that for which we hunger the most – our great God).

 

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.
  2. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.
  3. This morning we narrow our focus to this one thought: How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.
  4. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in 21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

 

Are you incurably hungering after God or this world? Are you incurably delighting in God’s Word or trivial pursuits? The greatest destroyers of intimate hunger for God may be things that are good and right in their place like coffee and lawns and hobby and travel and retirement planning and mall walking and TV watching and computer mastering. But any that take God’s first place, and become easier to turn to than God and His Word and His intimate communion, are then deadly destroyers of our hungering and thirsting after God.

 

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.

 

v In the Old Testament biblical fasting was part of seeking God’s direction and Protection by prayer as noted in Ezra 8:21-23:  “Then I proclaimed a fastthere at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of acknowledging sin before God in Ezra 10:6:  “Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of intense  prayer in Nehemiah 1:4:  “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of david’s humbling himself before the Lord in Psalm 35:13:  “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of god’s requirement for those genuinely repenting and turning to him with all their heart in Joel 2:12-13a: “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.  13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God’”

 

 

  1. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.

 

v Biblical fasting was part of a normal life as a Christian in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast…”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of Worshiping the Lord in Luke 2:36-37:  “… and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of Christ’s method of preparation for facing the devil’s temptations in Luke 4:2:  “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

 

v Biblical fasting was part of seeking the guidance of the Lord in Acts 13:2:  “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of sending out missionaries in Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of appointing spiritual leaders in Acts 14:23:  “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of the regular life of spiritual ministry in Paul’s account of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:27:  “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

 

The Kingdom of God, the reign of God as supreme over all of our lives is our goal in fasting. We want Him to rule our appetites, not us; we want Him to rule our affections, not us: we want Him to rule over our choices, not us.  We want God’s rule in this church, not ours. His goals, not ours. That is the test; that is seeking first the kingdom, the glory, the rule, the supremacy of our Father in Heaven. Then we come before Him seeking His glory, not ours, in praying, asking and fasting.  It changes how we pray.

 

ü  Now when we ask for Him to lead us into the conquest of those old habits that grip and enslave us, the roadblocks that stand in our path to spiritual maturity – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we cry out for wayward or unconverted children or spouses to come back – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we prepare for growth and plan for needs in our church as we fast and pray – it is so that He may rule in our church and be glorified.

 

  1. This morning we narrowed our focus to this one thought:  How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.

 

How did the first century saints live that way and we so often don’t? Do you remember from our study of 1st Thessalonians a couple years ago, what was the heartbeat of the early church? Expecting Christ’s return. Do we ever grow weary and lessen that passion? Yes. So what is Christ’s way to get us to long for His coming? Look for His coming? Wait for His coming? Stop eating, fast, deny ourselves, feel the pain of deprivation, show our allegiance to Him (demonstrated in fasting) as higher than even life (demonstrated in eating). Think with me about these verses, and ask yourself: Do you really long for Jesus every day? If not, fasting is for you!

 

One of the key attitudes we find displayed by God’s saints is that they were exiles on earth and citizens of Heaven. This produced not a detachment from earthly life or other people; rather, it led to such a lacking of love for things that these early saints actually had abundant time to love and seek and win their neighbors. Think of all the time we spend gathering, protecting, and caring for our THINGS. Then think of what value that collecting, protecting, and caring will have in Heaven at Christ’s throne versus the same time, energy, and strength poured out in loving passion for the souls of our neighbors. Would Tulsa be shocked if 250 families at Tulsa Bible Church started thinking of others more than their own THINGS! As one man well stated, “The absence of our fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”[1]

 

Listen to the fasting-minded hearts of the New Testament saints:

 

Philippians 3:19-21:  “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

 

2 Timothy 4:8:  “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

 

Hebrews 9:28:  “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

 

1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

 

Revelation 22:20:  “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

 

  1. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in  21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

 

When do we fast?

 

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us.  Length of fasts in God’s Word:

 

Day

ü  Leviticus 16:29:  “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.”

ü  Judges 20:26:  “Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

 

Seven Days

ü  1 Samuel 31:13:  “Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”

 

Twenty-one Days (three weeks)

ü  Daniel 10:3:  “I ate no pleasant foodno meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

 

Forty Days

ü  Exodus 34:2: “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

ü  Deuteronomy 9:9:  “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.”

ü  1 Kings 19:8:  “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

 

In the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th Months

ü  Zechariah 7:3-5:  “and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, ‘Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?’  4. Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,  5. ‘Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

ü  Zechariah 8:19:  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”

 

Jesus taught that fasting is an inward sign of an inward condition, unlike the hypocritical Pharisees who saw it as an outward sign of an inward condition.

 

Today 40,000 children died from starvation and preventable disease around the world. That is over 12 million who die every year — that’s 23 boys and girls every minute — of hunger or diseases related to hunger. More importantly, the hungry are the ones that Jesus, when He walked the earth, demonstrated a special love and concern for. They are the ones that He had compassion for.

Today one billion fellow humans live in conditions of absolute poverty (no adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care); They are the over 1 billion people on earth who live on less than $1 a day — on the edge of survival. That’s 1 in every 5 human beings. Sadly, in our world today, 1/4 of the world’s people share 85% of the world’s resources; 3/4 share the remaining 15%. There is enough food to feed the world’s population if it were distributed differently.

 

Today 400 million fellow humans are severely malnourished, including 200 million children!

 

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children lives in poverty, and 1 in 6 children goes hungry for a lack of food. Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and about 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.

 

Who can participate in the 30 Hour Famine?

Fasting is a physical benefit for most people. There are some exceptions, however. It may not be safe for children under twelve years of age, diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, those with eating disorders, and others with recent surgeries or specific medical problems to fast for an extended period of time. If you have any health-related questions or concerns about your participation in the 30 Hour Famine, please consult your physician.

Are there alternatives to fasting?

If someone wants to participate but is unable to do so because of health concerns, they may alter their fast or choose a different form of fasting. (i.e. giving up TV-watching for a week, etc.)

Isaiah 58:6-12 Gives a Divine Fasting Manual:

 

Biblical fasting leads us to do:
Liberate Captives (6a) – FrontLine Prayer Corps
Feed Hungry (7a) – Project Amos
House Homeless (7b) –
Clothe Naked (7c) – Clothing Drives
Feel for Oppressed (7d) – Visit John 3:16
Refuse Prejudice (9b) – Stop laughing and telling jokes
Love the Needy (10) – Plan to go and see them and give!

 

 

Biblical fasting helps us to have: As Jesus said:
Enlightened Living (8a) “not walk in darkness…but have the light of life” (John 8:12)
Stregthened Living *8b) “I have food to eat ye know not of…” (John 4:32)
Holy Living (8c) “who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6)
Secured Living (8d) “Lo I am with you always…” (Mt. 28:20)
Godward Living (9a) “And whatever you ask…I will do it” (John 15:16)
Confident Living (11a) “My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27)
Satisfied Living (11b) “Life, and life more abundant…” (John 10:10)
Renewed Living (11c) “never thirst…out of him flow rivers of living water…” (John 6:35; 7:37)
Rewarded Living (12) “lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Mat 6:20)

 

Isaiah 58:6-12:

“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?

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?

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.

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,

10. If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11. The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12. Those from among you

Shall build the old waste places;

You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,

The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

 

Where do we ever start? Well, in the Book of Acts when there was famine, the church brought gifts of sacrificial giving and asked them to distribute it. If your heart is touched and your family wishes to start a regular or irregular fasting ministry here are some opportunities:

 

Since 1989 there have been 1,000,000 Jews airlifted from Russia by the Israeli government. Almost half are children and of them half live in base poverty in old and dilapidated buildings. One great ministry to start with would be to give food, school, clothing, and blanket packages to help them. Each packet contains relief and a Russian-Hebrew Bible!


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Three weeks ago we began a study from Mark 2:18-22 entitled “A Hunger for God” and saw this longing after Jesus with a heart of love and devotion is called biblical fasting. And biblical fasting, or the voluntary abstinence from good and right things such as food, is a spiritual discipline which has fallen upon hard times in modern Christianity. So this morning I repeat our four lesson task:

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us. Where did the Lord say that? In Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us (This is an ongoing process; it is called sanctification) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (Both of which will be attacked by genuine biblical fasting), we should live soberly, righteously, and godly (benefits of being more in tune with the Lord than the world) in the present age,  13. looking for the blessed hope (the basis of Christ’s call for us to be fasting) and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (that for which we hunger the most – our great God).

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.
  2. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.
  3. This morning we narrow our focus to this one thought: How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.
  4. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in 21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

Are you incurably hungering after God or this world? Are you incurably delighting in God’s Word or trivial pursuits? The greatest destroyers of intimate hunger for God may be things that are good and right in their place like coffee and lawns and hobby and travel and retirement planning and mall walking and TV watching and computer mastering. But any that take God’s first place, and become easier to turn to than God and His Word and His intimate communion, are then deadly destroyers of our hungering and thirsting after God.

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.

v In the Old Testament biblical fasting was part of seeking God’s direction and Protection by prayer as noted in Ezra 8:21-23:  “Then I proclaimed a fastthere at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

v Biblical fasting was part of acknowledging sin before God in Ezra 10:6:  “Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.”

v Biblical fasting was part of intense  prayer in Nehemiah 1:4:  “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

v Biblical fasting was part of david’s humbling himself before the Lord in Psalm 35:13:  “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”

v Biblical fasting was part of god’s requirement for those genuinely repenting and turning to him with all their heart in Joel 2:12-13a: “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.  13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God’”

  1. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.

v Biblical fasting was part of a normal life as a Christian in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast…”

v Biblical fasting was part of Worshiping the Lord in Luke 2:36-37:  “… and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

v Biblical fasting was part of Christ’s method of preparation for facing the devil’s temptations in Luke 4:2:  “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

v Biblical fasting was part of seeking the guidance of the Lord in Acts 13:2:  “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

v Biblical fasting was part of sending out missionaries in Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

v Biblical fasting was part of appointing spiritual leaders in Acts 14:23:  “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

v Biblical fasting was part of the regular life of spiritual ministry in Paul’s account of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:27:  “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

The Kingdom of God, the reign of God as supreme over all of our lives is our goal in fasting. We want Him to rule our appetites, not us; we want Him to rule our affections, not us: we want Him to rule over our choices, not us.  We want God’s rule in this church, not ours. His goals, not ours. That is the test; that is seeking first the kingdom, the glory, the rule, the supremacy of our Father in Heaven. Then we come before Him seeking His glory, not ours, in praying, asking and fasting.  It changes how we pray.

ü  Now when we ask for Him to lead us into the conquest of those old habits that grip and enslave us, the roadblocks that stand in our path to spiritual maturity – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we cry out for wayward or unconverted children or spouses to come back – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we prepare for growth and plan for needs in our church as we fast and pray – it is so that He may rule in our church and be glorified.

  1. This morning we narrowed our focus to this one thought:  How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.

How did the first century saints live that way and we so often don’t? Do you remember from our study of 1st Thessalonians a couple years ago, what was the heartbeat of the early church? Expecting Christ’s return. Do we ever grow weary and lessen that passion? Yes. So what is Christ’s way to get us to long for His coming? Look for His coming? Wait for His coming? Stop eating, fast, deny ourselves, feel the pain of deprivation, show our allegiance to Him (demonstrated in fasting) as higher than even life (demonstrated in eating). Think with me about these verses, and ask yourself: Do you really long for Jesus every day? If not, fasting is for you!

One of the key attitudes we find displayed by God’s saints is that they were exiles on earth and citizens of Heaven. This produced not a detachment from earthly life or other people; rather, it led to such a lacking of love for things that these early saints actually had abundant time to love and seek and win their neighbors. Think of all the time we spend gathering, protecting, and caring for our THINGS. Then think of what value that collecting, protecting, and caring will have in Heaven at Christ’s throne versus the same time, energy, and strength poured out in loving passion for the souls of our neighbors. Would Tulsa be shocked if 250 families at Tulsa Bible Church started thinking of others more than their own THINGS! As one man well stated, “The absence of our fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”[i]

Listen to the fasting-minded hearts of the New Testament saints:

Philippians 3:19-21:  “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

2 Timothy 4:8:  “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Hebrews 9:28:  “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Revelation 22:20:  “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

  1. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in  21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us.  Length of fasts in God’s Word:

Day

ü  Leviticus 16:29:  “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.”

ü  Judges 20:26:  “Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

Seven Days

ü  1 Samuel 31:13:  “Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”

Twenty-one Days (three weeks)

ü  Daniel 10:3:  “I ate no pleasant foodno meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Forty Days

ü  Exodus 34:2: “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

ü  Deuteronomy 9:9:  “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.”

ü  1 Kings 19:8:  “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

In the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th Months

ü  Zechariah 7:3-5:  “and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, ‘Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?’  4. Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,  5. ‘Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

ü  Zechariah 8:19:  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”

Jesus taught that fasting is an inward sign of an inward condition, unlike the hypocritical Pharisees who saw it as an outward sign of an inward condition.

Today 40,000 children died from starvation and preventable disease around the world. That is over 12 million who die every year — that’s 23 boys and girls every minute — of hunger or diseases related to hunger. More importantly, the hungry are the ones that Jesus, when He walked the earth, demonstrated a special love and concern for. They are the ones that He had compassion for.

Today one billion fellow humans live in conditions of absolute poverty (no adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care); They are the over 1 billion people on earth who live on less than $1 a day — on the edge of survival. That’s 1 in every 5 human beings. Sadly, in our world today, 1/4 of the world’s people share 85% of the world’s resources; 3/4 share the remaining 15%. There is enough food to feed the world’s population if it were distributed differently.

Today 400 million fellow humans are severely malnourished, including 200 million children!

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children lives in poverty, and 1 in 6 children goes hungry for a lack of food. Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and about 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.

Who can participate in the 30 Hour Famine?

Fasting is a physical benefit for most people. There are some exceptions, however. It may not be safe for children under twelve years of age, diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, those with eating disorders, and others with recent surgeries or specific medical problems to fast for an extended period of time. If you have any health-related questions or concerns about your participation in the 30 Hour Famine, please consult your physician.

Are there alternatives to fasting?

If someone wants to participate but is unable to do so because of health concerns, they may alter their fast or choose a different form of fasting. (i.e. giving up TV-watching for a week, etc.)

Isaiah 58:6-12 Gives a Divine Fasting Manual:

Biblical fasting leads us to do:

Liberate Captives (6a) – FrontLine Prayer Corps

Feed Hungry (7a) – Project Amos

House Homeless (7b) –

Clothe Naked (7c) – Clothing Drives

Feel for Oppressed (7d) – Visit John 3:16

Refuse Prejudice (9b) – Stop laughing and telling jokes

Love the Needy (10) – Plan to go and see them and give!

Biblical fasting helps us to have:

As Jesus said:

Enlightened Living (8a)

“not walk in darkness…but have the light of life” (John 8:12)

Stregthened Living *8b)

“I have food to eat ye know not of…” (John 4:32)

Holy Living (8c)

“who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6)

Secured Living (8d)

“Lo I am with you always…” (Mt. 28:20)

Godward Living (9a)

“And whatever you ask…I will do it” (John 15:16)

Confident Living (11a)

“My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27)

Satisfied Living (11b)

“Life, and life more abundant…” (John 10:10)

Renewed Living (11c)

“never thirst…out of him flow rivers of living water…” (John 6:35; 7:37)

Rewarded Living (12)

“lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Mat 6:20)

Isaiah 58:6-12:

“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?

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?

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.

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,

10. If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11. The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12. Those from among you

Shall build the old waste places;

You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,

The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

Where do we ever start? Well, in the Book of Acts when there was famine, the church brought gifts of sacrificial giving and asked them to distribute it. If your heart is touched and your family wishes to start a regular or irregular fasting ministry here are some opportunities:

Since 1989 there have been 1,000,000 Jews airlifted from Russia by the Israeli government. Almost half are children and of them half live in base poverty in old and dilapidated buildings. One great ministry to start with would be to give food, school, clothing, and blanket packages to help them. Each packet contains relief and a Russian-Hebrew Bible!

TAGS: 000806PM

Three weeks ago we began a study from Mark 2:18-22 entitled “A Hunger for God” and saw this longing after Jesus with a heart of love and devotion is called biblical fasting. And biblical fasting, or the voluntary abstinence from good and right things such as food, is a spiritual discipline which has fallen upon hard times in modern Christianity. So this morning I repeat our four lesson task:

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us. Where did the Lord say that? In Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us (This is an ongoing process; it is called sanctification) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (Both of which will be attacked by genuine biblical fasting), we should live soberly, righteously, and godly (benefits of being more in tune with the Lord than the world) in the present age,  13. looking for the blessed hope (the basis of Christ’s call for us to be fasting) and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (that for which we hunger the most – our great God).

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.
  2. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.
  3. This morning we narrow our focus to this one thought: How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.
  4. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in 21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

Are you incurably hungering after God or this world? Are you incurably delighting in God’s Word or trivial pursuits? The greatest destroyers of intimate hunger for God may be things that are good and right in their place like coffee and lawns and hobby and travel and retirement planning and mall walking and TV watching and computer mastering. But any that take God’s first place, and become easier to turn to than God and His Word and His intimate communion, are then deadly destroyers of our hungering and thirsting after God.

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.

v In the Old Testament biblical fasting was part of seeking God’s direction and Protection by prayer as noted in Ezra 8:21-23:  “Then I proclaimed a fastthere at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

v Biblical fasting was part of acknowledging sin before God in Ezra 10:6:  “Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.”

v Biblical fasting was part of intense  prayer in Nehemiah 1:4:  “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

v Biblical fasting was part of david’s humbling himself before the Lord in Psalm 35:13:  “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”

v Biblical fasting was part of god’s requirement for those genuinely repenting and turning to him with all their heart in Joel 2:12-13a: “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.  13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God’”

  1. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.

v Biblical fasting was part of a normal life as a Christian in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast…”

v Biblical fasting was part of Worshiping the Lord in Luke 2:36-37:  “… and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

v Biblical fasting was part of Christ’s method of preparation for facing the devil’s temptations in Luke 4:2:  “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

v Biblical fasting was part of seeking the guidance of the Lord in Acts 13:2:  “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

v Biblical fasting was part of sending out missionaries in Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

v Biblical fasting was part of appointing spiritual leaders in Acts 14:23:  “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

v Biblical fasting was part of the regular life of spiritual ministry in Paul’s account of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:27:  “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

The Kingdom of God, the reign of God as supreme over all of our lives is our goal in fasting. We want Him to rule our appetites, not us; we want Him to rule our affections, not us: we want Him to rule over our choices, not us.  We want God’s rule in this church, not ours. His goals, not ours. That is the test; that is seeking first the kingdom, the glory, the rule, the supremacy of our Father in Heaven. Then we come before Him seeking His glory, not ours, in praying, asking and fasting.  It changes how we pray.

ü  Now when we ask for Him to lead us into the conquest of those old habits that grip and enslave us, the roadblocks that stand in our path to spiritual maturity – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we cry out for wayward or unconverted children or spouses to come back – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we prepare for growth and plan for needs in our church as we fast and pray – it is so that He may rule in our church and be glorified.

  1. This morning we narrowed our focus to this one thought:  How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.

How did the first century saints live that way and we so often don’t? Do you remember from our study of 1st Thessalonians a couple years ago, what was the heartbeat of the early church? Expecting Christ’s return. Do we ever grow weary and lessen that passion? Yes. So what is Christ’s way to get us to long for His coming? Look for His coming? Wait for His coming? Stop eating, fast, deny ourselves, feel the pain of deprivation, show our allegiance to Him (demonstrated in fasting) as higher than even life (demonstrated in eating). Think with me about these verses, and ask yourself: Do you really long for Jesus every day? If not, fasting is for you!

One of the key attitudes we find displayed by God’s saints is that they were exiles on earth and citizens of Heaven. This produced not a detachment from earthly life or other people; rather, it led to such a lacking of love for things that these early saints actually had abundant time to love and seek and win their neighbors. Think of all the time we spend gathering, protecting, and caring for our THINGS. Then think of what value that collecting, protecting, and caring will have in Heaven at Christ’s throne versus the same time, energy, and strength poured out in loving passion for the souls of our neighbors. Would Tulsa be shocked if 250 families at Tulsa Bible Church started thinking of others more than their own THINGS! As one man well stated, “The absence of our fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”[i]

Listen to the fasting-minded hearts of the New Testament saints:

Philippians 3:19-21:  “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

2 Timothy 4:8:  “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Hebrews 9:28:  “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Revelation 22:20:  “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

  1. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in  21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us.  Length of fasts in God’s Word:

Day

ü  Leviticus 16:29:  “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.”

ü  Judges 20:26:  “Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

Seven Days

ü  1 Samuel 31:13:  “Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”

Twenty-one Days (three weeks)

ü  Daniel 10:3:  “I ate no pleasant foodno meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Forty Days

ü  Exodus 34:2: “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

ü  Deuteronomy 9:9:  “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.”

ü  1 Kings 19:8:  “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

In the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th Months

ü  Zechariah 7:3-5:  “and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, ‘Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?’  4. Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,  5. ‘Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

ü  Zechariah 8:19:  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”

Jesus taught that fasting is an inward sign of an inward condition, unlike the hypocritical Pharisees who saw it as an outward sign of an inward condition.

Today 40,000 children died from starvation and preventable disease around the world. That is over 12 million who die every year — that’s 23 boys and girls every minute — of hunger or diseases related to hunger. More importantly, the hungry are the ones that Jesus, when He walked the earth, demonstrated a special love and concern for. They are the ones that He had compassion for.

Today one billion fellow humans live in conditions of absolute poverty (no adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care); They are the over 1 billion people on earth who live on less than $1 a day — on the edge of survival. That’s 1 in every 5 human beings. Sadly, in our world today, 1/4 of the world’s people share 85% of the world’s resources; 3/4 share the remaining 15%. There is enough food to feed the world’s population if it were distributed differently.

Today 400 million fellow humans are severely malnourished, including 200 million children!

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children lives in poverty, and 1 in 6 children goes hungry for a lack of food. Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and about 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.

Who can participate in the 30 Hour Famine?

Fasting is a physical benefit for most people. There are some exceptions, however. It may not be safe for children under twelve years of age, diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, those with eating disorders, and others with recent surgeries or specific medical problems to fast for an extended period of time. If you have any health-related questions or concerns about your participation in the 30 Hour Famine, please consult your physician.

Are there alternatives to fasting?

If someone wants to participate but is unable to do so because of health concerns, they may alter their fast or choose a different form of fasting. (i.e. giving up TV-watching for a week, etc.)

Isaiah 58:6-12 Gives a Divine Fasting Manual:

Biblical fasting leads us to do:

Liberate Captives (6a) – FrontLine Prayer Corps

Feed Hungry (7a) – Project Amos

House Homeless (7b) –

Clothe Naked (7c) – Clothing Drives

Feel for Oppressed (7d) – Visit John 3:16

Refuse Prejudice (9b) – Stop laughing and telling jokes

Love the Needy (10) – Plan to go and see them and give!

Biblical fasting helps us to have:

As Jesus said:

Enlightened Living (8a)

“not walk in darkness…but have the light of life” (John 8:12)

Stregthened Living *8b)

“I have food to eat ye know not of…” (John 4:32)

Holy Living (8c)

“who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6)

Secured Living (8d)

“Lo I am with you always…” (Mt. 28:20)

Godward Living (9a)

“And whatever you ask…I will do it” (John 15:16)

Confident Living (11a)

“My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27)

Satisfied Living (11b)

“Life, and life more abundant…” (John 10:10)

Renewed Living (11c)

“never thirst…out of him flow rivers of living water…” (John 6:35; 7:37)

Rewarded Living (12)

“lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Mat 6:20)

Isaiah 58:6-12:

“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?

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?

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.

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,

10. If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11. The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12. Those from among you

Shall build the old waste places;

You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,

The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

Where do we ever start? Well, in the Book of Acts when there was famine, the church brought gifts of sacrificial giving and asked them to distribute it. If your heart is touched and your family wishes to start a regular or irregular fasting ministry here are some opportunities:

Since 1989 there have been 1,000,000 Jews airlifted from Russia by the Israeli government. Almost half are children and of them half live in base poverty in old and dilapidated buildings. One great ministry to start with would be to give food, school, clothing, and blanket packages to help them. Each packet contains relief and a Russian-Hebrew Bible!


TAGS: 000806PM

Three weeks ago we began a study from Mark 2:18-22 entitled “A Hunger for God” and saw this longing after Jesus with a heart of love and devotion is called biblical fasting. And biblical fasting, or the voluntary abstinence from good and right things such as food, is a spiritual discipline which has fallen upon hard times in modern Christianity. So this morning I repeat our four lesson task:

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us. Where did the Lord say that? In Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us (This is an ongoing process; it is called sanctification) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (Both of which will be attacked by genuine biblical fasting), we should live soberly, righteously, and godly (benefits of being more in tune with the Lord than the world) in the present age,  13. looking for the blessed hope (the basis of Christ’s call for us to be fasting) and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (that for which we hunger the most – our great God).

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.
  2. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.
  3. This morning we narrow our focus to this one thought: How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.
  4. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in 21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

Are you incurably hungering after God or this world? Are you incurably delighting in God’s Word or trivial pursuits? The greatest destroyers of intimate hunger for God may be things that are good and right in their place like coffee and lawns and hobby and travel and retirement planning and mall walking and TV watching and computer mastering. But any that take God’s first place, and become easier to turn to than God and His Word and His intimate communion, are then deadly destroyers of our hungering and thirsting after God.

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.

v In the Old Testament biblical fasting was part of seeking God’s direction and Protection by prayer as noted in Ezra 8:21-23:  “Then I proclaimed a fastthere at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

v Biblical fasting was part of acknowledging sin before God in Ezra 10:6:  “Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.”

v Biblical fasting was part of intense  prayer in Nehemiah 1:4:  “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

v Biblical fasting was part of david’s humbling himself before the Lord in Psalm 35:13:  “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”

v Biblical fasting was part of god’s requirement for those genuinely repenting and turning to him with all their heart in Joel 2:12-13a: “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.  13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God’”

  1. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.

v Biblical fasting was part of a normal life as a Christian in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast…”

v Biblical fasting was part of Worshiping the Lord in Luke 2:36-37:  “… and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

v Biblical fasting was part of Christ’s method of preparation for facing the devil’s temptations in Luke 4:2:  “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

v Biblical fasting was part of seeking the guidance of the Lord in Acts 13:2:  “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

v Biblical fasting was part of sending out missionaries in Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

v Biblical fasting was part of appointing spiritual leaders in Acts 14:23:  “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

v Biblical fasting was part of the regular life of spiritual ministry in Paul’s account of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:27:  “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

The Kingdom of God, the reign of God as supreme over all of our lives is our goal in fasting. We want Him to rule our appetites, not us; we want Him to rule our affections, not us: we want Him to rule over our choices, not us.  We want God’s rule in this church, not ours. His goals, not ours. That is the test; that is seeking first the kingdom, the glory, the rule, the supremacy of our Father in Heaven. Then we come before Him seeking His glory, not ours, in praying, asking and fasting.  It changes how we pray.

ü  Now when we ask for Him to lead us into the conquest of those old habits that grip and enslave us, the roadblocks that stand in our path to spiritual maturity – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we cry out for wayward or unconverted children or spouses to come back – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we prepare for growth and plan for needs in our church as we fast and pray – it is so that He may rule in our church and be glorified.

  1. This morning we narrowed our focus to this one thought:  How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.

How did the first century saints live that way and we so often don’t? Do you remember from our study of 1st Thessalonians a couple years ago, what was the heartbeat of the early church? Expecting Christ’s return. Do we ever grow weary and lessen that passion? Yes. So what is Christ’s way to get us to long for His coming? Look for His coming? Wait for His coming? Stop eating, fast, deny ourselves, feel the pain of deprivation, show our allegiance to Him (demonstrated in fasting) as higher than even life (demonstrated in eating). Think with me about these verses, and ask yourself: Do you really long for Jesus every day? If not, fasting is for you!

One of the key attitudes we find displayed by God’s saints is that they were exiles on earth and citizens of Heaven. This produced not a detachment from earthly life or other people; rather, it led to such a lacking of love for things that these early saints actually had abundant time to love and seek and win their neighbors. Think of all the time we spend gathering, protecting, and caring for our THINGS. Then think of what value that collecting, protecting, and caring will have in Heaven at Christ’s throne versus the same time, energy, and strength poured out in loving passion for the souls of our neighbors. Would Tulsa be shocked if 250 families at Tulsa Bible Church started thinking of others more than their own THINGS! As one man well stated, “The absence of our fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”[i]

Listen to the fasting-minded hearts of the New Testament saints:

Philippians 3:19-21:  “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

2 Timothy 4:8:  “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Hebrews 9:28:  “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Revelation 22:20:  “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

  1. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in  21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

When do we fast?

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us.  Length of fasts in God’s Word:

Day

ü  Leviticus 16:29:  “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.”

ü  Judges 20:26:  “Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

Seven Days

ü  1 Samuel 31:13:  “Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”

Twenty-one Days (three weeks)

ü  Daniel 10:3:  “I ate no pleasant foodno meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Forty Days

ü  Exodus 34:2: “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

ü  Deuteronomy 9:9:  “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.”

ü  1 Kings 19:8:  “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

In the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th Months

ü  Zechariah 7:3-5:  “and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, ‘Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?’  4. Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,  5. ‘Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

ü  Zechariah 8:19:  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”

Jesus taught that fasting is an inward sign of an inward condition, unlike the hypocritical Pharisees who saw it as an outward sign of an inward condition.

Today 40,000 children died from starvation and preventable disease around the world. That is over 12 million who die every year — that’s 23 boys and girls every minute — of hunger or diseases related to hunger. More importantly, the hungry are the ones that Jesus, when He walked the earth, demonstrated a special love and concern for. They are the ones that He had compassion for.

Today one billion fellow humans live in conditions of absolute poverty (no adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care); They are the over 1 billion people on earth who live on less than $1 a day — on the edge of survival. That’s 1 in every 5 human beings. Sadly, in our world today, 1/4 of the world’s people share 85% of the world’s resources; 3/4 share the remaining 15%. There is enough food to feed the world’s population if it were distributed differently.

Today 400 million fellow humans are severely malnourished, including 200 million children!

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children lives in poverty, and 1 in 6 children goes hungry for a lack of food. Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and about 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.

Who can participate in the 30 Hour Famine?

Fasting is a physical benefit for most people. There are some exceptions, however. It may not be safe for children under twelve years of age, diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, those with eating disorders, and others with recent surgeries or specific medical problems to fast for an extended period of time. If you have any health-related questions or concerns about your participation in the 30 Hour Famine, please consult your physician.

Are there alternatives to fasting?

If someone wants to participate but is unable to do so because of health concerns, they may alter their fast or choose a different form of fasting. (i.e. giving up TV-watching for a week, etc.)

Isaiah 58:6-12 Gives a Divine Fasting Manual:

Biblical fasting leads us to do:

Liberate Captives (6a) – FrontLine Prayer Corps

Feed Hungry (7a) – Project Amos

House Homeless (7b) –

Clothe Naked (7c) – Clothing Drives

Feel for Oppressed (7d) – Visit John 3:16

Refuse Prejudice (9b) – Stop laughing and telling jokes

Love the Needy (10) – Plan to go and see them and give!

Biblical fasting helps us to have:

As Jesus said:

Enlightened Living (8a)

“not walk in darkness…but have the light of life” (John 8:12)

Stregthened Living *8b)

“I have food to eat ye know not of…” (John 4:32)

Holy Living (8c)

“who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6)

Secured Living (8d)

“Lo I am with you always…” (Mt. 28:20)

Godward Living (9a)

“And whatever you ask…I will do it” (John 15:16)

Confident Living (11a)

“My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27)

Satisfied Living (11b)

“Life, and life more abundant…” (John 10:10)

Renewed Living (11c)

“never thirst…out of him flow rivers of living water…” (John 6:35; 7:37)

Rewarded Living (12)

“lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Mat 6:20)

Isaiah 58:6-12:

“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?

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?

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.

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,

10. If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11. The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12. Those from among you

Shall build the old waste places;

You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,

The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

Where do we ever start? Well, in the Book of Acts when there was famine, the church brought gifts of sacrificial giving and asked them to distribute it. If your heart is touched and your family wishes to start a regular or irregular fasting ministry here are some opportunities:

Since 1989 there have been 1,000,000 Jews airlifted from Russia by the Israeli government. Almost half are children and of them half live in base poverty in old and dilapidated buildings. One great ministry to start with would be to give food, school, clothing, and blanket packages to help them. Each packet contains relief and a Russian-Hebrew Bible!


TAGS: 000806PM

Three weeks ago we began a study from Mark 2:18-22 entitled “A Hunger for God” and saw this longing after Jesus with a heart of love and devotion is called biblical fasting. And biblical fasting, or the voluntary abstinence from good and right things such as food, is a spiritual discipline which has fallen upon hard times in modern Christianity. So this morning I repeat our four lesson task:

 

When do we fast?

 

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us. Where did the Lord say that? In Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us (This is an ongoing process; it is called sanctification) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts (Both of which will be attacked by genuine biblical fasting), we should live soberly, righteously, and godly (benefits of being more in tune with the Lord than the world) in the present age,  13. looking for the blessed hope (the basis of Christ’s call for us to be fasting) and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (that for which we hunger the most – our great God).

 

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.
  2. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.
  3. This morning we narrow our focus to this one thought: How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.
  4. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in 21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

 

Are you incurably hungering after God or this world? Are you incurably delighting in God’s Word or trivial pursuits? The greatest destroyers of intimate hunger for God may be things that are good and right in their place like coffee and lawns and hobby and travel and retirement planning and mall walking and TV watching and computer mastering. But any that take God’s first place, and become easier to turn to than God and His Word and His intimate communion, are then deadly destroyers of our hungering and thirsting after God.

 

  1. In the Old Testament we see biblical fasting is an urgent call to get serious about knowing God.

 

v In the Old Testament biblical fasting was part of seeking God’s direction and Protection by prayer as noted in Ezra 8:21-23:  “Then I proclaimed a fastthere at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of acknowledging sin before God in Ezra 10:6:  “Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of intense  prayer in Nehemiah 1:4:  “So it was, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned for many days; I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of david’s humbling himself before the Lord in Psalm 35:13:  “But as for me, when they were sick, My clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting; And my prayer would return to my own heart.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of god’s requirement for those genuinely repenting and turning to him with all their heart in Joel 2:12-13a: “’Now, therefore,’ says the Lord, ‘Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.  13. So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God’”

 

 

  1. In the New Testament we see biblical fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline to reschedule one’s life with God at the center instead of dining, relaxing, amusing, accumulating, advancing, securing, and a multitude of other things that are not wrong – just deadly to intimacy with the Almighty.

 

v Biblical fasting was part of a normal life as a Christian in Matthew 6:16: “Moreover, when you fast…”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of Worshiping the Lord in Luke 2:36-37:  “… and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of Christ’s method of preparation for facing the devil’s temptations in Luke 4:2:  “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.

 

v Biblical fasting was part of seeking the guidance of the Lord in Acts 13:2:  “As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of sending out missionaries in Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of appointing spiritual leaders in Acts 14:23:  “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”

 

v Biblical fasting was part of the regular life of spiritual ministry in Paul’s account of his life in 2 Corinthians 11:27:  “in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

 

The Kingdom of God, the reign of God as supreme over all of our lives is our goal in fasting. We want Him to rule our appetites, not us; we want Him to rule our affections, not us: we want Him to rule over our choices, not us.  We want God’s rule in this church, not ours. His goals, not ours. That is the test; that is seeking first the kingdom, the glory, the rule, the supremacy of our Father in Heaven. Then we come before Him seeking His glory, not ours, in praying, asking and fasting.  It changes how we pray.

 

ü  Now when we ask for Him to lead us into the conquest of those old habits that grip and enslave us, the roadblocks that stand in our path to spiritual maturity – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we cry out for wayward or unconverted children or spouses to come back – it is so that He may rule in our lives and be glorified.

ü  When we prepare for growth and plan for needs in our church as we fast and pray – it is so that He may rule in our church and be glorified.

 

  1. This morning we narrowed our focus to this one thought:  How did the early Church of Acts and the Epistles demonstrate this hunger for God? We shall see that their hunger shaped their lives, their ministry, their worship, and their outreach. In the early Church we see biblical fasting is a powerful way to yield every part of one’s life to God’s supremacy.

 

How did the first century saints live that way and we so often don’t? Do you remember from our study of 1st Thessalonians a couple years ago, what was the heartbeat of the early church? Expecting Christ’s return. Do we ever grow weary and lessen that passion? Yes. So what is Christ’s way to get us to long for His coming? Look for His coming? Wait for His coming? Stop eating, fast, deny ourselves, feel the pain of deprivation, show our allegiance to Him (demonstrated in fasting) as higher than even life (demonstrated in eating). Think with me about these verses, and ask yourself: Do you really long for Jesus every day? If not, fasting is for you!

 

One of the key attitudes we find displayed by God’s saints is that they were exiles on earth and citizens of Heaven. This produced not a detachment from earthly life or other people; rather, it led to such a lacking of love for things that these early saints actually had abundant time to love and seek and win their neighbors. Think of all the time we spend gathering, protecting, and caring for our THINGS. Then think of what value that collecting, protecting, and caring will have in Heaven at Christ’s throne versus the same time, energy, and strength poured out in loving passion for the souls of our neighbors. Would Tulsa be shocked if 250 families at Tulsa Bible Church started thinking of others more than their own THINGS! As one man well stated, “The absence of our fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ.”[i]

 

Listen to the fasting-minded hearts of the New Testament saints:

 

Philippians 3:19-21:  “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  20. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21. who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

 

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.”

 

2 Timothy 4:8:  “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

 

Titus 2:11-13:  “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12. teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13. looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

 

Hebrews 9:28:  “so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”

 

1 John 3:2-3:  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.  3. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

 

Revelation 22:20:  “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”

 

  1. So we can study and learn about biblical fasting in God’s Word: in the Old Testament, in New Testament, from the early Church, and then tonight as those who live for Christ in  21st Century America. In Tulsa Y2K we see biblical fasting is an immediate way to declare our allegiance to God’s way and glory in every day of our lives!

 

When do we fast?

 

God has not laid down lengths, days, manners, and details. Rather, He says to us that His grace teaches us.  Length of fasts in God’s Word:

 

Day

ü  Leviticus 16:29:  “This shall be a statute forever for you: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether a native of your own country or a stranger who dwells among you.”

ü  Judges 20:26:  “Then all the children of Israel, that is, all the people, went up and came to the house of God and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

 

Seven Days

ü  1 Samuel 31:13:  “Then they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”

 

Twenty-one Days (three weeks)

ü  Daniel 10:3:  “I ate no pleasant foodno meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

 

Forty Days

ü  Exodus 34:2: “So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on the top of the mountain.”

ü  Deuteronomy 9:9:  “When I went up into the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the Lord made with you, then I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water.”

ü  1 Kings 19:8:  “So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.”

 

In the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 10th Months

ü  Zechariah 7:3-5:  “and to ask the priests who were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and the prophets, saying, ‘Should I weep in the fifth month and fast as I have done for so many years?’  4. Then the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying,  5. ‘Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me?’”

ü  Zechariah 8:19:  “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.’”

 

Jesus taught that fasting is an inward sign of an inward condition, unlike the hypocritical Pharisees who saw it as an outward sign of an inward condition.

 

Today 40,000 children died from starvation and preventable disease around the world. That is over 12 million who die every year — that’s 23 boys and girls every minute — of hunger or diseases related to hunger. More importantly, the hungry are the ones that Jesus, when He walked the earth, demonstrated a special love and concern for. They are the ones that He had compassion for.

Today one billion fellow humans live in conditions of absolute poverty (no adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care); They are the over 1 billion people on earth who live on less than $1 a day — on the edge of survival. That’s 1 in every 5 human beings. Sadly, in our world today, 1/4 of the world’s people share 85% of the world’s resources; 3/4 share the remaining 15%. There is enough food to feed the world’s population if it were distributed differently.

 

Today 400 million fellow humans are severely malnourished, including 200 million children!

 

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children lives in poverty, and 1 in 6 children goes hungry for a lack of food. Meanwhile, more than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and about 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.

 

Who can participate in the 30 Hour Famine?

Fasting is a physical benefit for most people. There are some exceptions, however. It may not be safe for children under twelve years of age, diabetics, pregnant or nursing women, those with eating disorders, and others with recent surgeries or specific medical problems to fast for an extended period of time. If you have any health-related questions or concerns about your participation in the 30 Hour Famine, please consult your physician.

Are there alternatives to fasting?

If someone wants to participate but is unable to do so because of health concerns, they may alter their fast or choose a different form of fasting. (i.e. giving up TV-watching for a week, etc.)

Isaiah 58:6-12 Gives a Divine Fasting Manual:

 

Biblical fasting leads us to do:
Liberate Captives (6a) – FrontLine Prayer Corps
Feed Hungry (7a) – Project Amos
House Homeless (7b) –
Clothe Naked (7c) – Clothing Drives
Feel for Oppressed (7d) – Visit John 3:16
Refuse Prejudice (9b) – Stop laughing and telling jokes
Love the Needy (10) – Plan to go and see them and give!

 

 

Biblical fasting helps us to have: As Jesus said:
Enlightened Living (8a) “not walk in darkness…but have the light of life” (John 8:12)
Stregthened Living *8b) “I have food to eat ye know not of…” (John 4:32)
Holy Living (8c) “who hunger and thirst after righteousness” (Mt. 5:6)
Secured Living (8d) “Lo I am with you always…” (Mt. 28:20)
Godward Living (9a) “And whatever you ask…I will do it” (John 15:16)
Confident Living (11a) “My peace I give unto you…” (John 14:27)
Satisfied Living (11b) “Life, and life more abundant…” (John 10:10)
Renewed Living (11c) “never thirst…out of him flow rivers of living water…” (John 6:35; 7:37)
Rewarded Living (12) “lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Mat 6:20)

 

Isaiah 58:6-12:

“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?

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?

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.

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,

10. If you extend your soul to the hungry

And satisfy the afflicted soul,

Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,

And your darkness shall be as the noonday.

11. The Lord will guide you continually,

And satisfy your soul in drought,

And strengthen your bones;

You shall be like a watered garden,

And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

12. Those from among you

Shall build the old waste places;

You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,

The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”

 

Where do we ever start? Well, in the Book of Acts when there was famine, the church brought gifts of sacrificial giving and asked them to distribute it. If your heart is touched and your family wishes to start a regular or irregular fasting ministry here are some opportunities:

 

Since 1989 there have been 1,000,000 Jews airlifted from Russia by the Israeli government. Almost half are children and of them half live in base poverty in old and dilapidated buildings. One great ministry to start with would be to give food, school, clothing, and blanket packages to help them. Each packet contains relief and a Russian-Hebrew Bible!

 
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