The Joy of Fasting – Part 3 7.27.22
“But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”— Matthew 9:15
Central Point: Any fast undertaken must be done with spiritual wholeheartedness and wisdom when dealing with our physical body; we must count the cost honestly and honor the temple of the Holy Spirit.
A. Physically Preparing for a Fast That Extends More Than Two Days
1. Prepare your body for the fast and prevent constipation during and after the fast by eating certain preventative foods at least two days beforehand (even longer before an extended fast), such as fresh fruit and raw vegetables, fruit or vegetable juices, oatmeal, etc.
· Eat smaller meals a few days prior to the fast.
· Avoid high fat and sugary foods before the fast.
2. Make your commitment and determine the length. You can fast in many different ways. Pray and ask God what He will give you faith for in terms of the duration of the fast.
· A Daniel fast, with vegetables and water, is good for those carrying a heavy workload.
· A fruit or vegetable juice fast allows you to enter into fasting but still gives enough energy to function. Many people have done a 40-day juice fast. If you have sugar sensitivities or problems (e.g. diabetes), consult your doctor before attempting this (or any other) fast.
· A water-only fast has been undertaken by many people. We would not encourage this without strong medical supervision, particularly in the case of young people. Depending on your weight and metabolism, you can go forty days on water alone.
· A total fast is without food or water (all liquids). Never go beyond three days without water. Discuss your plans with your doctor, church leaders, and spouse or parents. We do not encourage the kind of fasting that abstains from all liquids without specific confirmation from the Lord through your church leadership or parents/spouse, etc.
B. Helpful Hints for Your Fast (Physical)
1. Drink plenty of water. (Drinking at least half of your body weight in ounces of water per day is a good rule of thumb whether you are fasting or not.)
2. It is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as caffeinated and sugary drinks during a fast, including the artificial sweeteners found in diet drinks. Also, avoid soy protein drinks, which have been known to cause health problems during a fast.
3. If you are on a juice fast, drink raw fruit juices such as apple, grape, and pineapple, which are excellent sources of necessary natural sugar to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels up.
· Orange and grapefruit juice are also good (**not recommended for arthritis or allergy sufferers**).
· Monitor juice acidity carefully as it can cause canker sores (mouth ulcers).
· Raw vegetable juices such as carrot, celery, beet, or green vegetable combinations are excellent as well.
· Fresh fruit and vegetable juices can be made in a juice extractor or purchased ready-made (be sure to buy juices without any added sugars). Some of the benefits of drinking raw juice versus bottled are that it does not stimulate digestion (hunger) and it maintains all of its enzymes and nutritional value.
4. Expect some physical discomforts because of the detoxification process, especially on the second day.
· You may have fleeting hunger pains or dizziness.
· Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches, but it is a part of the detoxification process.
· Physical annoyances may also include weariness, tiredness, nausea, and sleepiness.
5. During a fast, four major areas of the body are going through a detoxification process. Take care to attend to each of these:
· The bowels/colon/large intestines: During a fast of three days or more, taking an herbal laxative (inquire at your local health store) or an enema before bedtime will help eliminate solid waste products; these can cause headaches and sluggishness if left in the body during a fast. This should be done early during the fast and then intermittently throughout the rest of the fast. The body begins detoxifying during a fast, depositing the toxins into the intestines. If you do not take a laxative or an enema, the toxins can hurt your intestines or reabsorb into your bloodstream, making you feel nauseous.
· The kidneys: Drinking fruit juices, vegetable juices, broth, or just plenty of water will remove many toxins via the kidneys.
· The lungs: If strength permits, walk half an hour during the day to help cleanse the lungs. Also do some deep breathing throughout the day by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
· The skin: Since one-third of the waste products eliminated during a fast are removed via the skin, adequate bathing is essential. Use a natural bristle body brush or loofah sponge on your skin prior to bathing, to help cleanse the skin.
C. Helpful Hints for Your Fast (Spiritual)
1. Seek advice and permission before the fast.
· Seek medical advice before the fast, especially if you have any existing medical concerns or conditions.
· If you are under 18 years of age, discuss your desire to fast with your parents. Spiritual covering, submission, and unity are important factors when fasting.
· Discuss your plans with your church leaders. Remember, fasting is an attitude of the heart! Ask them if they would consider fasting with you.
2. Fast and pray in order to humble yourself and purify your worship.
· In fasting we are not trying to get something from God, but seeking to realign our heart’s affections with His. In fasting we can more readily say, “We love you, Lord, more than anything in the world, even food.”
· Lust of any kind is perverted worship, but fasting enables us to cleanse the sanctuary of our hearts from every other rival.
· Don’t boast about your fast. Let people know you won’t be eating only if necessary.
Matthew 6:16–18 “When you fast, do not look somber 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.17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,18 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.
3. Do the fast with someone else. Two are better than one!
· We encourage parents and kids to consider fasting together.
· Several generations fasting together has a powerful impact.
4. Have a clear target as your prayer focus.
· Without a vision (a clear, prophetic prayer goal), the people perish.
· Write down your vision, so you can run with it.
Habakkuk 2:2 “Write down the revelationand make it plain on tabletsso that a heraldmay run with it.
5. Take time to pray and read the Word.
· Busyness and distractions can keep you from devotions.
· Reading books with testimonies of victories gained through fasting will encourage you.
6. Expect to hear God’s voice in the Word, dreams, visions, and revelations.
· Daniel prepared himself to receive revelation through fasting. Daniel 10:1–2
· There is a fasting reward! Matthew 6:18 “and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
7. Prepare for opposition.
· On the day of your fast, you can bet that doughnuts will be at the office or in class. Your spouse (or your mom) will suddenly be inspired to cook your favorite meals.
· Press through. Many times you may feel more tension build at home.
o Satan tempted Jesus on the fast, and we must expect the same.
o Discouragement may come in like a flood, but recognize the source and take your stand on the victory of Christ.
8. If you fail, don’t give in to condemnation.
· The “to fast or not to fast” dilemma can be a major tool of the enemy.
· Even though you may fail several times, God always extends grace. Just hit the “delete” button and continue on your fast.
9. Feel free to rest and continue to exercise with supervision.
10. Breakthrough often comes after a fast, not during it.
· Do not listen to the lie that nothing is happening.
· It is our conviction that every fast done in faith will be rewarded.
D. How to Successfully Break Your Fast
1. Break your fast gradually.
· At this point you will need to exercise watchful self-control.
· Break your fast on a meal that is light and easy to digest (i.e., a pound of grapes, a shredded apple, watermelon, or steamed vegetables).
· When breaking a fast of ten days or more, the break-in period should be extended one day for every four days of fasting.
· A fast of three days or more should never be broken by eating a normal meal (including animal proteins, bread, sugar, dairy, and processed foods) because these heavy foods put a severe strain and shock on the digestive organs which have been resting throughout the fast.
· Eating too heavily after a fast can produce serious discomfort (stomach cramps, nausea, and weakness) and can nullify the physical benefits of fasting; it can also cause serious irreversible complications or even death.
2. After breaking an extended fast, continue drinking fruit or vegetable juices because the stomach is continuing to detoxify.
· During any fast exceeding two days, your stomach will shrink. Do not over-expand it again by overeating. If you have been prone to eating too heavily, guard against going back to this habit. If you train yourself to eat more lightly, your stomach will adjust itself accordingly.
· While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
o 1st–3rd day after the fast (increase amount of days for extended fast): Eat fruit and raw/steamed vegetables only. Example meals for the first few days are a pound of fruit, a baked or boiled potato without butter, steamed vegetables, or a vegetable-only salad without oil-based dressing. Avoid bananas for the first few days; they have no juice in them and can easily cause constipation.
o Thereafter, you may return to heavier foods such as animal proteins, but maintaining a healthy diet after the fast will promote lifelong health and allow you to fast correctly in the future.
· Take extra care in breaking a water fast. Begin with drinking fruit or vegetable juices and gradually ease into eating fruit and steamed vegetables (Stewed tomatoes are a great help with this because they contain about the same amount/level of acid as your stomach does).
3. It is important after a fast to begin to discern between real hunger and cravings so you do not feed your cravings.
E. Important Medical Information
1. Years of fasting incorrectly can cause permanent physical damage to your body.
· These negative effects are not typically felt at a young age, but they will accumulate after years of fasting.
· In their zeal, some people have begun fasting in an extreme way before understanding how fasting physically affects the body; increasing your understanding and taking care of your body while both fasting and eating will ensure your ability to live the fasted lifestyle for many years to come.
2. Pregnant or nursing mothers should never fast all food and/or drink, as fasting could be very dangerous to their baby’s development and health, and their own personal health.
· Pregnant or nursing mothers could engage in types of fasting such as giving up certain kinds of food. However, women who are nursing or pregnant must always maintain a balanced diet.
· Any kind of fasting which leads to detoxification could be dangerous to the baby as the toxins can affect the baby via the mother’s milk or her bloodstream.
3. People who have struggled with eating disorders in the past should undertake any fasting with wisdom and caution.
· Fasting should not be used as a motive for weight-loss; it is important to enter back into “normal” healthy eating after a long fast.
4. If you have a diagnosed illness and/or are taking prescription medicine, fasting should only be done under the direct supervision of a doctor or healthcare professional.
5. Some people have trouble fasting and become extremely hungry, dizzy, and nauseous because they have undiagnosed low blood sugar, so they should drink fruit and vegetable juices to help keep the blood sugar stable during short fasts.
· If the juice contains too much sugar for your system, dilute it by 50 percent with water or drink a “green drink” (made by juicing carrots, celery, spinach, and parsley).
· If these or any symptoms persist, you should stop fasting and seek immediate professional help from a doctor or healthcare professional.
6. If you are having digestive trouble after breaking a fast (e.g., diarrhea), mix a cup of unsweetened applesauce with a cup of cooked brown rice. This should stop the diarrhea.
· Also, take digestive enzymes (inquire at your local health store) to aid your stomach’s digestive transition.
Additional Resources on Fasting and Healthy Living
The Rewards of Fasting, Mike Bickle and Dana Candler
Fast Forward, Lou Engle
Shaping History through Prayer and Fasting, Derek Prince
God’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis
Hunger for God, John Piperwww.rightnowmedia.orgFasting: The Key to Spiritual Victory – Dr. Tony Evans
www.cru.org click on Train & Grow, then click on Spiritual Growth, then click on Fastingwww.freedomyou.com
Spiritual Gifts through the Eyes of Paul - Session 4 7.27.22
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. I Corinthians 12:7-11 ESV
Review: Spiritual gifts are special releases or disbursements of the Spirit’s power into a moment for the purpose of equipping and building up the church. These gifts also aid the believer in witnessing, establishing God’s kingdom, and accomplishing God’s purposes in the world.
· Spiritual gifts must be understood as the spontaneous, sovereign release of God’s power in a specific moment.
· These gifts must be distinguished from God-given capacities, talents, and skills that someone develops.
· Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Discerning of Spirits
· Faith, the Gifts of Healings, Working of Miracles
· Prophecy, Different Kinds of Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues
Discerning of Spirits review: When this gift is granted, the Spirit gives supernatural insight or knowledge to perceive and detect what type of spirit (good or evil) may be operating through a given situation or through an individual. It may also disclose the secret motives of a person’s heart.
· Discerning of Spirits is not the same as possessing a discerning nature, being emotionally intelligent and having good intuition.
· Paul and the slave girl at Philippi
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. Acts 16:16-18
Hindrances to the revelation gifts
· A dulling of the spiritual senses through neglect and a distant heart
· Excessive noise from the spirit of the age and world systems
· When a biblical worldview is overshadowed by worldly values and compromise
· When one chooses to lean on their own understanding
· Hearts lifted up in arrogance, stubbornness, and pride
Power gifts are supernatural dispensations/allotments of power that enable us to believe and participate in the release of the extraordinary miraculous working of God.
Faith - sometimes called "special faith," is an allotment of extraordinary faith given in the moment regarding God's intended activity in a specific matter. It enables the believer to act decisively upon God's will, contrary to human reason and rationale. This gift often accompanies other gifts, such as the gift of healing and working of miracles. It also may accompany the Gospel’s proclamation and martyrdom.
An example in the life of Paul: Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.
Acts 14: 8-11 ESV
The Gifts of Healings - A special disbursement of supernatural healing power beyond the scope of natural, medical, or human intervention.
Other ways healing may be received:
· Someone simply asking the Lord directly for healing
· A gradual healing process involving prayer and other interventions
God may sovereignly heal, independent from human entreaty (John 5:1-7).
Healing may result when believers simply obey scriptural commands (Mark 16:18, James 5:14, 15).
· This gift in the Acts narrative (Acts 3:2-7, 5:15, 9:11, 9:33, 28:8)
Gifts of healings
· This gift is plural- God may choose to operate this gift as a cluster or healing specialty.
· It may be used as a powerful tool in the presentation of the Gospel.
· God is willing to heal the lost.
Working of miracles - This gift represents a supernatural intervention and/or superseding of a natural law or process for the accomplishing of God's purpose in a situation.
The gift of miracles might accompany the following situations:
· The proclaiming of the Gospel
· The protection of God's people
· Creative healing miracles
· To demonstrate the supremacy of God's power over other powers
· As a sign confirmation of assurance regarding God’s promise
Receiving Spiritual Gifts
The most essential aspect of spiritual gifts is love (I Corinthians 13).
· Love of God, love towards people
· Agapé love
· Determine to serve others and receive gifts in humility (1 Peter 5:5)
· Be a reservoir of the Word and Spirit (Colossians 3:16)
· Walk in submission to spiritual authority (Hebrews 13:17)
· Live as a vessel of honor in regard to purity (Hebrews 12:1)
· Walk in peace and unity with other believers
Cultivating Desire for the Gifts
· Begin with honesty. The Father already knows your heart.
· Believe the Lord really can and does desire to release gifts through you (I Corinthians 12:7).
· Regularly ask the Lord to speak and release the gifts through you.
· Be grateful and content for whatever the Lord decides to express through you.
Willingness and Obedience
· Resolve not to quench the Spirit (I Thessalonians 5:19).
· Host the Spirit in a way He will remain ungrieved within you.
· Be willing to take risks and step into the moment.
· Treasure the Lord’s desire above the fear of looking foolish.
· Be teachable, and willing to learn and grow.
· Show persistence if you make mistakes.
o Be willing to take baby steps of obedience.
Expect opportunities through the gifts
· Gifts do not normally operate in a vacuum.
· Be willing to engage people.
o Seek to serve them and witness to them.
o Pray for people and with them at every opportunity.
· Seize the moment and do not analyze the opportunity away.