You know when you look at something, but don’t see it? Like when you look in the wardrobe and don’t see the shirt that you want, which is actually right in front of your nose? Or you can be looking for something for hours and then someone else walks into the room (mostly your mother) and finds it in 2 seconds… Happens to teenagers a lot. Also guys. There’s actually a biological reason for it, something to do with peripheral and compartmental vision. So don’t be too hard on your man if he can’t find the milk in the fridge. Especially if it’s not where it usually is, he’s biologically wired to not be able to find it…!
I practice nutritional fasting, and have done for a while. It has been part of the process of working on my neuro-plasticity. As part of the big fat wake-up call that I’ve been talking about over the last couple of weeks, my attitude towards this nutritional fasting has been firmly included.
It seems; I wonder why; that Jesus has an objection to me fasting but not including Him in it…
Now I give you full permission to pat me on the arm and say “There, there, dear…” Because of course it’s totally obvious if you think about it, but did I think about it? No.
I have to confess that I had been trundling along, thinking, “Wow, this is cool! How much longer I can go!” Not even giving a thought to the fact that maybe, I should be making an impact not just on my body, but also on the world around me. If I had stopped looking at me and remembered that this is actually a practice that we’re instructed by Jesus to do.
“When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
Part of the process that Jesus has been taking me through, has been to cause me to recognise where I was including Him, and where I had managed to leave Him out.
This was a vital piece where I had left Him out.
Let’s go back to the place where I had been asking Him how to break through that blockage (or wall, I think I had described it as previously). The process had happened like this:
If you remember or read back, I had been looking for a specific solution for a specific issue. So I asked for a word from Father about that issue, and He gave me one. Because He’s good like that. Actually He’s better than that, because when I looked it up, it was full of an answer bigger than the one that I thought I wanted to hear…
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”[c] 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39 (NIV)
If you notice, I’ve left in the verse numbers and the cross referencing this time. Normally I don’t, but the cross referencing was particularly significant in this instance.
What Jesus had just done, was stand up at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles (the celebration and remembrance of the Exodus from Egypt, when everyone who can, treks into Jerusalem) and proclaimed two controversial things. Firstly, He’s just proclaimed in public that He is God. Secondly, that passage He quoted was Isaiah 58, where God tells Israel off for not taking prayer and fasting seriously...
So, what He was very clearly telling me now, in 2016, was exactly the same thing. “Anita, you’re busy doing something that you think will fix things, and it looks right on the surface, but it’s religion, not relationship.”
Talk about discipline.
“No worries” says God “I’m more than happy to give you the answer to the question you asked. However; are you just as ok with following through on the answer you actually need?” Ouch.
…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Sometimes, we really get the question right! What we are prepared to do with the answer we get from God is another matter. Was I; am I, prepared to follow through on the feedback He just gave me?
I suspect that this is a significant key that is under-utilised in the body of Christ. I know I don’t know enough about the power of fasting, even though I have fasted Biblically in the past, sometimes from duty, and sometimes because I knew it was right under God. I also have fasted completely unintentionally, or for medical reasons, and not even thought that these were opportunities to present to God to use for His purpose. I wonder how many other people who walk the Narrow Way know about fasting, but like me, don’t really KNOW about fasting…
I don’t want to ignore something that is so significant, and I definitely don’t want to ignore such amazing feedback when God has been so gracious to give it.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV)
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)
When God gives an answer, He also brings the grace, the impetus, the sustenance, the sustaining power; to follow through with it. That’s His part of the deal. Our part of the deal is to follow the path He lights up.
God has highlighted something and I now have to ask myself and Him some more serious questions and find some very significant answers.
I’ve found an excellent book. You may or may not already know it. It’s by Mahesh Chavda and it’s called ‘The Hidden Power Of Prayer & Fasting’. It is both an amazing testimony of his experiences and a fantastic manual. There are gems on every page, it is very powerful, and also very readable. (Except of course, I’m listening to it, because of the whole brain/eyes thing!)
This isn’t the last you’ll hear about this topic I think. It’s only the beginning of the journey, as I said. Any thoughts, experiences or testimonies? I’d really love your input.
God Bless You Very Much
True Fasting Isaiah 58
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
2 For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honourable,
and if you honour it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.