We don’t hear much about fasting today except in the context of people attempting to cleanse their bodies of impurities or to lose weight. But, aside from those good physical reasons to abstain from eating, there are at least seven reasons why we ought to fast.
My house has been on the Oregon market for ten months and counting. Recently, my wife and I decided to pull the listing. Now we are faced with several decisions. Do we rent? Do we try and sell with a different realtor? What other options are there for this morass of uncertainty?
By June of 1997 our church was $11,000 in debt to a property owner who raised our maintenance costs. Because of the $3000 monthly property bill I went six months without a salary as the pastor. God sustained my family through the generosity of a senior citizen who attended Horizon Community Church. An opportunity arose for us to merge with another wonderful church that served in a nearby community and, like ourselves, was about five years old. We prayed. We held several meetings. I championed the plan and was supported by many people who eagerly shared Scripture and a sense that the Holy Spirit was directing us. It seemed that God had given us a great opportunity. So we dissolved and were absorbed into a larger, healthier body of believers.
I read an intriguing book entitled, Fit For Life A New Beginning by Harvey Diamond. It’s the first book I can remember reading about physical health. If you believe in good health, or if you’ve ever had cancer, heart trouble, or other physical ailments, this is a must read book.
How radical are you willing to be when it comes to supporting missionaries? It’s nice to have an annual missions week in the church. It feels good to send a check periodically to those laboring overseas. But do you honestly understand what those you know as missionaries experience on a daily basis? Do you know what it means to leave your home country and live in a strange culture among people who speak a foreign language, eat different foods, and relate to one another with a different set of mores? Do you know what it is like to be deeply homesick, constantly vulnerable and very inadequate?
Isaiah 58:3-9--“Why have we fasted, but You have not seen? We have denied ourselves, but You haven’t noticed!”
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast, and oppress all your workers. You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist. You cannot fast as you do today, hoping to make your voice heard on high. Will the fast I choose be like this: A day for a person to deny himself, to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast and a day acceptable to the Lord? Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house,
to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignoreyour own flesh and blood? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the Lord’s glory will be your rear guard. At that time, when you call, the Lord will answer; when you cry out, He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you get rid of the yoke among you, the finger-pointing and malicious speaking.