The Rock Church is starting a 40-day fast this Wednesday, September 24th.
In today's message, Pastor Miles teaches us about fasting is: what it is, why we should do it, and how to get the most out of it.
What is Fasting?
Fasting means to voluntarily abstain from eating and/or drinking for an extended period of time. Pastor Miles reminded us we can fast from food or drink, or from other things such as T.V., fast food, chocolate, or anything we want to give up temporarily.Fasting is designed to separate us from our perceived life support so that we may focus exclusively on the Lord, our actual life support. The reason fasting from food is the norm is to remind us that we don't need anything - even food; we only need the Lord. Food is the one thing that will give us "attitude" if we don't receive it (ask my kids).
Matthew 6:33 says we need to seek His kingdom first before all things, including our next meal. Miles pointed out that fasting isn't just giving up food, but the time that we use to prepare food and consume it. This time can be used to worship and bring ourselves closer to God.
Fasting Goal: To have a personal encounter with the living God
He must increase and we must decrease. John 3:30
We have to have a purpose for fasting, as individuals or as a group. There are many examples of individual fasting in the Bible for mourning or to gain enlightenment, peace, or clarity, but there are also times of group fasting, such as in preparation for war. Miles reminded us that we do have a war approaching this November with Proportion 8 on the ballot. This is the vote regarding same-sex marriage and is something for which we all need pray, as it has a profound effect on our society.
Here are some of the biblical examples of fasting:Special revelations: Exodus 34:27-28 Moses fasted for 40 days and received the 10 Commandments. Times of war: Judges 20:26 Courage and Wisdom: Esther 4:3, 16 Esther fasted to stop the king from annihilating the Israelites. Spiritual Recuperation: 1 Kings 19:1-9 Elijah fasted and was shown how to escape death at the hand of Jezebel.
Jesus fasted for forty days before being tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1-2
1. First we have to prepare our hearts. 1 John 1:9 says we have to confess our sins to Him to receive His forgiveness and blessings.Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Miles pointed out that you may want to contact your physician first as you don't want to shock your system. Oh the homepage of the Rock webiste is a link with recipes, diet plans, etc. If you've never done a fast before (especially a 40-day fast) you won't want to only have juice for 40 days; you'll probably want to build up to it with a lot of fruits and vegetables. God's food that He prepared for us is perfect for our health. 2. Prepare your motives. Why are you doing the fast? This is something you'll need to ask yourself again and again. 3. Establish spiritual goals. Do you want to get closer to God? Do you want to gain insight? Fast and pray for these things. 4. Prepare your schedule. You have to plan ahead to do a fast. Most importantly, schedule some God time for praying and reading His word.
Some final tips on fasting:
Avoid people as much as possible. This may sound odd, but there are good reasons for it.
Avoid meals with groups of people. Usually people will eat more in the company of others. If you're trying to fast, group meals make it more difficult.
Spend as much time alone in prayer and solitude.
Explain to your family in advance what you're doing so that they understand and can help you.
Request privacy from those who do find out about your fast. Ask them not to discuss it until your fast is over.