Today I am sharing something that I believe is changing my life and heart. It is something I have never shared before and somethings the experiences I have had are hard to put into words but I will do my best. “Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer. Above all, constantly echo God’s intense love for one another, for love will be a canopy over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:7-8
This verse came alive to me about a month ago. I was seeking the Lord’s direction for my life and this is the verse He gave me. About at the same time the Lord spoke another word to me. It was all is a season of crying out that I needed His Wisdom and power to get out of the hole I was digging for myself. The Lord told me to fast. Fasting is a scary word to me. I haven’t seen too many calls to fast that weren’t more about works than relationship. I don’t believe that fasting moves the hand of God in a situation. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross, take our sins and deal with them once and for all, and through His resurrection power, He rose from the dead, I no longer relate to Him on a works basis. When we accept Him as our Savior and surrender our life to Him, we now can have a heart to heart relationship. Even though I have known for years that fasting is something He told us to do and He did Himself, I didn’t understand and wanted my motives to be pure.
“From the moment of his baptism, Jesus overflowed with the Holy Spirit. He was taken by the Spirit from the Jordan into the wilderness of Judea to experience for forty days the ordeal of testing by the accuser. He ate no food during this time and ended his forty-day fast very hungry.” Luke 4:1-2
“While they were worshiping as priests before the Lord in prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “I have called Barnabas and Saul to do an important work for me. Now, release them to go and fulfill it.” Acts 13:2
I believe true, Biblical fasting is about food. I wasn’t sure exactly how to fast right now in this season of my life but committed myself to Him to fast. Then He showed me a devotional that was new from the same authors of the devotionals I really enjoy. It was about fasting for 40 days. I wasn’t sure if I wanted that but thought I could at least check it out. I received the book in the mail and at the beginning of September started my 40 days of pray and fasting. I knew it would be hard right now to be totally committed to a complete food fast and hours of praying. Right now, meal times in our home are special times to talk with Mom and one another. So, He showed me to fast calories for this season and pray. I knew that was a great idea for my health also. Last few months I have done a lot of emotional eating and when I had nervous stomach aches I ate what would make them feel better which was usually a bread or something not that good for me.
We all know these times are different and we won’t see pre Covid times again. The changes have affected our lives, our homes, our work and the church. To be honest, I don’t want to go back to some things. Our lives and the church were very complacent 2 years ago. You pretty much knew what tomorrow would bring, and next month. We cannot say that about any day now. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. This is a real time battle and we have to stand if we are going to follow the Lord and His leading right now. We can’t follow if we are sitting or lying down. We must have a heart that is pure and whole for this time and season. We must also have a purpose and do all we do with purpose and intention. Can’t be tossed too and fro. We cannot stand and be wishy washy.
Then He told me we cannot go forward and standing for what is right if we don’t have self- control. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit and so powerful. Right now, the world is lacking self-control. We are blasted with advertisements that deny self-control but encourage self-indulgence. We are told we deserve this so go ahead, or that it’s our body our choice so do whatever feels good to you, you have rights. The world has let themselves go with no discipline or self-control. The truth is we are loved by God, valuable, and worthy. Our identity is in Christ and we don’t have to have worth and value from the world. The enemy knew how to draw people into his trap with this one. Doing whatever we want without self-control is selfish pride.
I was lacking some self-control in many areas of my life and that’s how I knew I was headed down a wrong path. Lately, I would say what I wanted to say, eat what I wanted to eat, feel like I wanted – angry – mad – selfish. I wasn’t heeding the Word and knew I wasn’t living according to the Scriptures. Fasting takes self-control. Biblical self-control, me being controlled by the Spirit. No one can stand in these days without self-control. It is vital. Without self-control we can be easily persuaded and deceived. Self-indulgence is the evil we are feeling everyday when we go out into the world. It’s all about self. Pride comes before a fall. Pride, selfish, self-indulgence will not prosper in any way and it is encouraged in every part of the “world” from the time we are infants to the elderly.
The 1 Peter 4:7 says to be intentional, with purpose and self-control so that we can be given to prayer, “Since we are approaching the end of all things, be intentional, purposeful, and self-controlled so that you can be given to prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7 Fervent prayer is vital these last days. Hearing Hm clearly is crucial and life-saving. When we are fasting it helps us get ride of the distractions that dull our thinking and clarity. “Now I’ll listen carefully for your voice and wait to hear whatever you say. Let me hear your promise of peace—the message every one of your godly lovers longs to hear. Don’t let us in our ignorance turn back from following you.: Psalm 85:8
So many people are struggling. So many are confused especially about the vaccination. It’s such an evil, manipulating, attack from the enemy ! As pastors our hearts hurt when the people’s hearts hurt. We are seeing weariness instead of joy. Fear instead of love, trust, and faith. People are loaded with cares instead of casting them to him. As a church family it is imperative, we draw closer together in these last days.
“So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises! Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing. In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.” Hebrews 10:23-25 We need to come together.
I’m strongly encouraging you to pray about fasting. Some of the ladies have committed to fasting together for 40 days using this devotional guide to help us. We don’t fast to gain God’s approval or to get Him to answer our prayers. We fast and pray to cleanse out some of the distractions and because we love Him so much and know we are loved. The devotional says,
”we push the plate away because we are hungry for something food cannot give.” My heart has been so deeply healed in the last couple weeks. What He is doing for me, He wants to do for you. If you want to do this fast with our ladies’ group or on your own ask me about the devotional that has helped me so much. Ladies, if you want to join this time of prayer and fasting talk to me, Mona. The books are a gift to each lady. Let’s go to the next level. This is a part of the preparation for all that is ahead. It won’t be the last time we fast together either. This is so vital and crucial for knowing what direction we are to go. Pray about it and talk to me if you have questions. Love you all so much and so blessed that we have each other as we forge forward in this exciting time of life!