Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Moment With Ashley

Fasting

Well, I thought that fasting would be an appropriate topic since almost everyone participates in lent no matter your denomination. I think the explanation of fasting isn't given enough to the church body. For awhile I struggled with the point of fasting. IHOP says we're mourning for the return of our bridegroom. Yes, that is great but it doesn't motivate me to fast. So in this email I hope to encourage each of you and challenge you along the path of a fasted lifestyle. 

Matthew 9:15 "Jesus answered, 'How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, then they will fast." Fasting is our way of mourning for His return. In movies after a couple breaks up they'll say, "I can't eat...I can't sleep." This is what I think of when I read this verse, our longing for Him is so strong that we can't eat...and we can't sleep. The truth is we don't fast because we don't really miss Him. We're ok with the life we're in right now, because we don't know how great it is going to be in the age to come. So we can eat and we can sleep. If we push ourselves into a life of fasting it starts to cultivate in us a longing for His return. As a result of your fasting you'll begin to desire His return. John Piper (I'm pretty sure) said, "The absence of fasting is the measure of our contentment with the absence of Christ."

My main motivation for fasting is how it tenderizes my spirit. I encourage everyone to fast 2 days instead of just one, because the first day is just your body detoxing and it's miserable. But when you get to that second day your spirit is so tender. You may have a growl in your stomach, but it's worth it because when you open up the Bible it's like the lights come on. You begin to receive revelation on verses that before have not made any sense to you. God's love becomes something that touches your heart, not just something that you know. Fasting is our voluntary weakness. "For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10). It's out of our weakness that we are made strong, because we see that we really can't do it on our own. We fully lean upon God and we allow His strength to be made perfect in our weakness.

The last reason I'm going to give as an encouragement to fast is very important. We have been taking a class on the book of Daniel. While studying Daniel we noticed that food was the first thing he took a stand against. They changed his name, taught him about their gods, taught him astrology and other things, but he took a stand against food. Why? Because Daniel didn't want to get sucked in by the spirit of this age. He wanted his inner-man to be alert. He knew that eating the delicacies of the kingdom would make his spirit grow dull. He also knew that they did not follow the same rituals that they were supposed to follow before eating meat and other foods. So Daniel took a stand and refused to be defiled by their food. We don't realize how much of a hold food has on our lives. We constantly think about food...what are we going to eat? How much is it going to cost? How fast can I make it? How hungry am I? Food food food it's what fuels our society. 

What are you going to do when the antichrist comes into power and takes away all of the food? Are you going to be able to get the hook out of your stomach and take a stand and say, "NO, I will not take the mark...I would rather starve!" Your children are starving and they haven't eaten in days, and all you have to do is go get a mark so that your children can have food. What will you do? This is the reality that we have to look at. I don't think that this is an over exaggeration at all. This will be a reality if not for you, then for your children. Food is one of the biggest temptations we face today, and it will be the deciding factor for many people when the antichrist comes into power. When Jesus was tempted by Satan during His 40 day fast, the first thing satan tempted Him with was food. He tempted Jesus with food before he tempted Him with power. Why? Because even Satan knows the hold that food has on our lives. So we have to stop it now and make it our goal not to make food a god in our lives. We live for God, we don't live to eat.

God Bless
Ashley

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