The Lord of the Rings is a movie about a hobbit named Frodo who is given a powerful ring and has to destroy the ring so that it will not fall into evil hands.
In the beginning of this Sunday's service a clip from the Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was viewed. In this particular clip Frodo and Gandalf are talking. Frodo expressed his discouragement that the ring had ever come to him.
However, Gandalf saw Frodo's mission from a different point of view, to which he replied, "All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought."
When we let Jesus be Lord of our lives supernatural things will happen. The question is, much like Gandalf expressed to Frodo, what will we do with the time given us? Will we establish the Lordship of Jesus in our lives, or will we live as the lord of our own lives?
This week the Rock began a four-week series entitled Lord of the Things. This is a series on personal stewardship and a guide to the biblical management of the resources, which God has blessed us with. This Sunday also marked the beginning of a three-week fast. Today Pastor Miles taught us what fasting is all about.
Matthew 6:16-18 states, Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Note that the Scriptures don't say 'if' you fast, but rather, 'when' you fast. Pastor Miles recalled the time when he had fasted for forty days noting that it was the most intense spiritual experience he had ever had.
Fasting is an act of self-denial for a specific purpose and period of time. The point of fasting is to secure access to supernatural resources. This is most powerfully demonstrated in Mark 9.
A man who had a son possessed by a demon came to the disciples of Jesus that they may cast the demon out of his son, but they could not. Then the boy was brought to Jesus and He cast the demon out.
Mark 9:25-29 states, When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!" Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" So He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting."
Fasting doesn't always have to be from food. There are other things to fast from as well. Television is an option. Pray about what it is you can give up for the next three weeks and see God do something big.
However, when we think about what gives us an attitude when we are deprived of it, we will find that attitude appears when food is withheld from us. Our days are planned around food. We get up and eat breakfast, think about what we're going to have for lunch, then we have a snack before dinner, and by the time we're done with dinner we have yet another snack, and the whole cycle begins again the next day.
Fasting Cleanses the Body
The body reproduces the majority of its cells every six months. In fact, in 99 days all the cells that make up the heart will be completely renewed.
The quality of the life of our cells is dependent on the quality of the food that we eat. Cells look for nutrients from the food that we eat. So when we fast, without protein in our diets, the good cells begin to eat the sick and dying cells, thus cleansing the body.
We cannot train our own sinfulness to be good. Instead our flesh must be crucified. Galatians 2:20 states, I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
It is important while we are fasting to stay away from negative people who may seek to discourage us. It is also vital to establish a place to daily meet with God. When we spend time alone with the Lord it is important to have a Bible, paper, and a pen on hand to read and write down what the Lord teaches.
During a time of fasting it is helpful to slow down in speaking, reacting, and making decisions. James 1:19-20 states, So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
We shouldn't complain or brag to others about our fasting. It is best not to talk about it or bring it up, instead we should do what Jesus advises us:
When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6:17-18
What will this fast be for you?
When it comes to fasting it is helpful to look at the ways you hope to see your own life change. Setting goals for the fast is ideal. For example, a goal to set regarding your spiritual life could be to spend at least ten minutes in prayer each day, or to spend the first twenty minutes of your day reading the Bible.
Also when doing a fast your diet can come into consideration. You may choose to fast from coffee or sweets. Also you may decide to implement exercise while fasting, such as a brisk walk in the late afternoon. Lastly an important thing to consider in fasting is the stewardship of your time, talent, and resources. What will you do? What goals will you set? Pray about it, and then do it.