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When we stop eating for a while, we hammer our flesh. When the flesh is uncomfortable then the spirit gains more freedom
- We are physical creatures seeking a spiritual kingdom
- Fasting can help us to acknowledge our errors and ignorance
- Fasting helps to humble us to accept correction
- Fasting helps the minority to oppose the vast majority
- Fasting can help to cope with grief
- Fasting helps us to understand the mysteries of Scripture
- Fasting helps the big work of restoration back to the beginning
- Dedicated servants of God spent time fasting
- It is wrong to fast for strife and debate
- Some Bible examples of fasting
We are physical creatures seeking a spiritual kingdom
We are trapped in a body of flesh which is a major limitation as we are distracted by all the physical things around us. That stops us from concentrating on God.
Daniel saw brilliant visions that we still puzzle over but also had to spend time in a den of lions which was not comfortable.
John was taken to the wilderness in order to see the meaning of the woman and the beast of Revelation 17.
REVELATION 17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
John spent two periods of imprisonment on Patmos island. When his physical situation was bleak and uncomfortable, he really saw deep visions that ever fascinate us.
As their physical situation shrunk, so their spiritual insight deepened.
We have to eat in order to live. So, if we stop eating for a while, then the temporary physical distractions fade and we begin to focus better on the more essential spiritual things.
The correct approach to Scripture is to put God's Will first.
MATTHEW 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
The ideal approach is to focus on God's Plan for our age and then leave God to sort out our personal needs His way.
Anyone who fasts shows God that they are serious.
But are we more serious about our own wishes or about God's Wish for our lives?
COVID-19 closed down all the churches in 2020.
Some opticians say that 20-20 is perfect eyesight.
So, 2020 showed us clearly the failure of all our churches. They were helpless in the face of this coronavirus. Pastors and church-goers huddled helplessly in lockdown while our safety was left in the brave hands of the medical fraternity. They alone were able to help to limit the ravages of this vicious virus that produced the mental torment of enforced isolation, the awful financial fears of job losses as people were forced to stay home, and the ongoing fear of being infected invisibly by somebody.
God put the Jews into lockdown on the Passover night before they marched out in the Exodus away from their mud-pits into a new life in the wilderness.
We have all gone through a suddenly unexpected lockdown.
This should have given us time to think about what God wants us to march away from as far as our church traditions and knowledge are concerned. Much of what we thought was serving God, was actually just us labouring in the mud-pits of church traditions and flawed doctrinal speculations.
Everyone thought that their specific church was fine. That is why they complacently huddled there for safety. Why then did God close all the churches down? Listening to video broadcasts opened up the chance that people could listen to new ideas from different websites.
There are 45000 different kinds of denominations and churches. All different. So do you really think that your church has the full truth? There is only a 1 in 45000 chance of that. You are making a huge gamble.
Fasting can help to produce a re-think of our attitude to Scripture.
Fasting can help us to acknowledge our errors and ignorance
- Fasting helped the Jews realize that they needed to repent and turn away from false gods which are unscriptural ideas.
Anything that we believe that is unscriptural is a false god that has fooled us. Think about Trinity, Christmas, and Good Friday and Easter Monday. Unscriptural words that have taken over the church world. Like us, the Jews needed a lot of convincing as they could not believe that they could possibly be wrong.
Fasting beats down the flesh and makes us a little weaker which increases the chance that we can accept the fact that we need correction. We humans are experts in fooling ourselves. We can spot faults in others but not in ourselves. That is why it pays to have your beliefs checked by someone who disagrees with you. Fasting can make us humble enough to listen to correction. Arrogance, which comes more naturally to us than humility, simply ignores and rejects correction.
A clever man questions others. A wise man questions himself.
I SAMUEL 7:3 And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, If ye do return unto the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the LORD, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.
I SAMUEL 7:6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the LORD, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the LORD.
Believing anything unscriptural is sinning against God.
We live in a world that is full of spirits and temptation. Fasting shows God that we are serious about repenting of our sins and unbelief. Only after sincere repentance can we really return to God. Fasting beats down the flesh and helps us to be more obedient to God, rather than distracted by the things of the world and the popularity of church errors.
Eve never repented about her sin. She never confessed what she had done wrong. She did not seem to know what she had done wrong. God never said, “Because you did this…”
God knew that Eve was totally fooled so He did not try to explain to her what she had done wrong.
A woman is a symbol of the church. The true church is the Bride of Christ.
The modern church, just like Eve, also does not know what Eve did wrong.
They say she sinned by eating a certain physical fruit.
But Jesus was clear that we should understand that whatever you eat cannot defile you.
MATTHEW 15:10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:
:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man;
If Eve ate a physical fruit then she could not be defiled.
So, 6000 years later, the modern church has still been fooled by what the original sin was. The Devil is very deceptive.
Like Eve, the modern church is convinced that it serves God but rejects the revelation of the mysteries of the Bible. But does not know that God sees the church as blind, miserable vomit.
REVELATION 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
The first word from the modern church is, "I". We are so egotistical with puffed-up egos.
"Knowest not". Bible-illiteracy is a major reason for God's rejection of the church.
On Judgement Day He will tell us that we should have known better.
REVELATION 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
What an insult. God sees the modern church as vomit. What a condemnation to the self-satisfied, self-opinionated, luxury-loving, and complacent modern church-goers.
This certainly gives us much reason to pray and fast.
We have many errors to turn from. So God does not just say, "Repent".
He says, "Be zealous to repent". We are in a far worse state than we realize.
We are so bad today that God cannot find anything to compliment those He loves.
REVELATION 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
The best thing God can do for those He loves is to give them a tongue-lashing and a good hiding.
Our dismal present state is a more than good excuse for a time of prayer and fasting.
Fasting helps to humble us to accept correction
- Ahab was a wicked king but he sensibly humbled himself before God by fasting. God thus gave him a break.
I KINGS 21:27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly.
Fasting should make us walk softly. Act gently. Make us realize that we actually achieve very little of value in our own strength.
Humility is not so much to make us think less of ourselves, but rather it is to make us think of ourselves less.
Chasten can mean rebuke.
In the church age of the Laodiceans, the last church age, God promises to chasten and rebuke those He loves. That means we have far more errors than we realize.
Fasting breaks down our defense of self and leaves us more open to being corrected by God.
PSALM 69:10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach
Fasting enables us to chastise our own souls so that we can discover more of our errors that we are blind to. Humans are famous for being unaware of their own mistakes. Fasting can help to break down this wall of ignorance so that we become more aware of our own deficiencies.
JOEL 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God:
Fasting should break down the pride in our hearts and help us to realize that there is much we have to change in our thinking. Arrogance teaches us that “My church is right, I have the truth”.
The Bible says that all the wise virgins are fast asleep and in need of a wake-up call that will tell them to go out of their churches. A woman symbolizes a church. A virgin is a clean woman symbolizing saved Christians.
MATTHEW 25:5 While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, behold the Bridegroom cometh; GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM.
You will have to get out of your church group. In the end, the churches are blind and are vomited out of God’s mouth which is where His Word is.
No Scripture says that the pastor is the head of the church. No Scripture says that the tithes belong to the pastor. No New Testament Scripture says that the voice of the seventh angel is the infallible Voice of God. Message churches are living in a delusion that we need to wake up from.
We need guidance as to where we can find the truth. We need humility to recognize that we are wrong.
Be prepared to listen to someone who disagrees with you.
But remember, Jesus stands outside the church door in the church age of the Laodiceans. So, it is no good looking for deeper insight inside the church.
Remember, there is not one parable or one prophecy that deals with the end-time church that says anything good about the end-time church.
Fasting and prayer can help God to open our eyes to the dismal state of our modern churches. They can put on a great religious show but they cannot give us the full truth.
So why are people so defensive of their church as if their group alone has all the truth? All churches are flawed, especially if they have a pastor as the head of the church. That was never done in the New Testament.
65-0220 GOD'S CHOSEN PLACE OF WORSHIP
They think you have to belong to that certain church or you cannot go to Heaven. That's wrong. To believe that, is antichrist. I'll say this: if you believe such a spirit, you're lost.
LUKE 18:8 When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?
The correct answer is obviously, “No”.
A time of fasting should take us away from the domination of our church pastors and our church traditions. A chance to let our beliefs be based on Scripture. A willingness to prove our beliefs just from the Bible.
God’s complaint is that we fast to prove how right we are. We do not fast to learn God’s ways which will prove how wrong we are.
ZECHARIAH 7:5 Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?
We never fasted so that God could correct us. We never searched God’s Word to find God’s will. Today people focus on quotes and in the process become Bible-illiterate.
Thus, God has less and less say in their lives.
The Bible is God's Voice.
If we do not study the Bible then we are not listening to God's Voice.
63-0630 THE THIRD EXODUS
for they can hear plainly the God's Voice, calling, through His Word
... Listen to the Bible, the Voice of God calling to you in this day.
Fasting helps the minority to oppose the vast majority
- When we are overwhelmed by loss or opposition and do not know which way to turn, fasting helps.
The Devil always has the majority. Truth shrinks to a minority.
LUKE 12:32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Jesus stood alone in the Judgement Hall of Pontius Pilate. Can you stand alone with Scripture?
We are under stress in our normal lives from the cares of this world as too many problems exist.
LUKE 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
We are rejected by the majority who find their safety in one of the 45000 different types of churches. Each of them is obstinately convinced that they have the truth, despite not being able to prove their ideas just from the Scriptures.
Under very stressful conditions when there is no hope in sight people can easily get suicidal.
One antidote to feeling hopeless and helpless is to fast. That concentrates our thinking on God rather than on our problems.
When we focus on the problems, we lose sight of God.
When we focus on God, we lose sight of the problems.
II CHRONICLES 20:1 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
:2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
:3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
Good protection against fear is to fast.
Fasting can help to cope with grief
- A time of mourning will strike, a time of grief. A time of fasting can help because when grief is deep then often we do not feel like eating anyway.
Remember, grief is the price that we have to pay for love.
The knife of sorrow cuts out the vessel that holds your joy. If you never felt deep sorrow, your joy will also be shallow.
After Saul, Jonathan, and the Jews got killed then David mourned. Jonathan was his best friend.
II SAMUEL 1:12 And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword.
Fasting helps us to understand the mysteries of Scripture
- Fasting helped the Jews when they sought guidance and advice from God.
JUDGES 20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.
:27 And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,
Fasting can make our prayers more intense. When we forget about food then we focus more clearly on essentials.
EZRA 8:23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us
Fasting shows God that we mean business. We are not just putting on a show.
But we must be open to God’s will as He may want to change our thinking on the matter.
Daniel entered a time of fasting when he wanted to understand from Scripture that the time of the ending of the Babylonian captivity was almost over. There was nothing he could do about it, but God would stir up Cyrus the Persian to conquer Babylon and free the Jews.
DANIEL 9:2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
:3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
Fasting can help the wise virgins to understand the mysteries of Scripture.
DANIEL 12:9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
In the end, God will make the mystery symbols and patterns known.
Only the wise virgins will be able to understand the Scriptures.
Fasting helps the big work of restoration back to the beginning
- Fasting and prayer help the big work of restoration.
God’s work of restoration to get the seventh church age back to the first church age is always big. There is much that needs doing.
Nehemiah had a similar problem when he realized that the ruined walls of Jerusalem had to be rebuilt.
The task was huge. Nehemiah reverted to prayer and fasting. Those are two tactics that the Devil has no defense against.
NEHEMIAH 1:3 And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.
:4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,
Since brother Branham left the scene, the work is far too big for any one person.
Fasting makes our individual efforts more effective as it gets God involved in our efforts. A little with God can become big. A schoolboy’s lunch fed 5000 men when Jesus got involved.
Delivering a person from demon possession can be difficult.
Prayer and fasting are powerful weapons that Christians can use.
MATTHEW 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Dedicated servants of God spent time fasting
- Anna, a prophetess, served God with much dedication and fasting.
LUKE 2:37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
People of any age can fast if they are strong enough.
It is wrong to fast for strife and debate
- A big weakness. People become obsessed with their errors and refuse to change.
They fast to impress people with their dedication but cannot change their minds. This type of fasting is a waste of time. It is little better than a hunger strike and does not impress God.
ISAIAH 58:4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate,
A big error is moving away from “It is written…” and replacing Scripture with “I have a quote”.
People do not want to stay in the confines of Scripture. They like to move into clever ideas that are not proven just from the Bible. They value quotes as being more important than the Bible.
MATTHEW 7:14 Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Very few people can prove their beliefs from Scripture. That is why people do not want to prove their beliefs just from Scripture because they cannot do that. So they change the playing field to quotes. And, dishonestly, ignore the quotes that contradict their opinions.
When people fast, who believe error and disregard the written Scripture, then God is unimpressed.
JEREMIAH 14:10 Thus saith the LORD unto this people, Thus have they loved to wander, they have not refrained their feet, therefore the LORD doth not accept them; he will now remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.
:11 Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good.
They may prosper materially and healthwise now, but they are heading for the Tribulation.
JEREMIAH 14:12 When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence.
Some Bible examples of fasting
Jesus took fasting to an extreme length. We humans are not as tough as Him.
MATTHEW 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
This was an exceptionally long fast.
We must not reveal that we are fasting. We must be cheerful and uncomplaining.
MATTHEW 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
When we fast we must look cheerful.
MATTHEW 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Fasting is not to impress man, it is to impress God.
The Jews took the bones of Saul and his sons to bury them. Then a seven-day fast followed.
I SAMUEL 31:13 And they took their bones, and buried them under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.
Esther fasted for three days and three nights as it was an important issue concerning life or death.
Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights. It was an important issue. He had to win our salvation to eternal life.
ESTHER 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Daniel had a fast of simple seeds like lentils, chickpeas, and legumes that are lentils, green peas, beans, and soybeans (all described as pulse) and water.
This is an alternative form of fasting which some people find effective.
Some churches follow it (or something similar) for a month each year.
DANIEL 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
He continued with this simple diet in order to stay away from the Babylonian food that was dedicated to idols.
Focusing less on enjoying elaborate physical meals, he got his reward as his spiritual vision really opened up.