Lesson on Fasting
"Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors"— Psalm 119:24
Become an Encouraging Woman
SUBMIT your own Overcoming a Hurdle PRAISE Report about Facing Divorce without Fear
★★★★★ “Stronghold Broken by Fasting”“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? —Isaiah 58:6 KJV
When I first began my restoration journey I was very broken. It was easy to fast for me and my relationship with the Lord grew very quickly. By becoming His Bride, I am now content with my circumstances and unfortunately have not been fasting as Erin encourages us to do :(. I found that when I did try and fast and let’s say drank a small cup of coffee, I left the door open for the enemy and I easily slid into feeding my flesh. I read the Encourager dated "How to Be Blessed" and it was exactly what I needed to read…His timing is perfect ;). It discusses the importance of fasting and as a minister I should be SG about fasting a couple of days a week. So when I decided to try and fast I looked at the week ahead I found myself making excuses about why I couldn’t fast for two days. It was a holiday week and my friend was going to be at my house a few days. I wasn’t SG about what days I should fast, instead I was looking at what would fit into my schedule :(. Well, I need to tell you that He had other plans for me.
As you may already know one of my sisters died from suicide a couple of years ago. At the beginning I carried a tremendous amount of guilt, shame and what ifs associated with it. Now I am at peace with it knowing that He is in control of everything. I also have another sister who suffers from depression as well and even though she has come a long way in her relationship with the Lord the last couple years, she also struggles with thoughts of suicide. She will be good for a time then fall back into it.
So I went to my sister’s one evening, even though I wasn’t supposed to go there that night but He set up the appointed time. When I got there she was explaining to me her hopeless situation and that she was ready to end it all. She even told me how easy it would be. I knew she was serious. Only last year she made an attempt by being in a high speed collision though she walked away from it with only a broken knee cap. As I sat there with her telling me of her plans to end her own life, my first instinct was fear. I thought I'd better call everyone and pray for her and figure out if we should admit her on a psychiatric hold. I knew me telling her how much I love her or to think about her kids wasn’t going to penetrate her heart. I began to SG and asked Him for the right words to say.
Immediately He told me that together we needed to fast. I told my sister that we need to fast to break the evil stronghold that is surrounding her and I felt her heart change in an instant!! It was so powerful. I told her that He is leading me to do a 7 day fast for her; the number 7 signifies completion and I don’t want her to feel better for a time but want this stronghold gone!! It was amazing how quickly she snapped out of her hopelessness! I even got her to fast cigarettes for 7 days :). Then I called my sisters, I have 5 of them, and my parents and asked them to SG if He is calling them to fast for her as well. And everyone was on board to fast for various lengths of time and we decided that we would send each other a scripture every day with what He is showing us.
I will admit that I questioned if I had heard from God correctly the first day of the fast :). I hadn’t fasted in several months and when I did, I was never able to do more than 24 hours. It was a very difficult thing to do in the beginning. Day 3, I questioned Him again wondering if I needed to continue. I have always struggled with being a "works" person so I wanted to make sure I was doing it with the right heart. He confirmed that I needed to do 7 days. Not only was I building my spirit but I was breaking stronghold as well. I knew if I gave into my flesh and ate that it wouldn't fill the void I had.
All I can say is that it has been an amazing experience. I am able to hear from Him more clearly. And today I just completed my 7 day fast and I’m not even hungry! Funny because I am a little nervous about eating again because it has been such an awesome journey. I never would have thought I could do an extended fast but it was only with His help that I was able to complete it. He worked out all the details (my friend didn’t even realize I was fasting).
Dear reader, if you are fearful about fasting or you think you can’t do it then you probably won’t be able to. It is only through SG that He will guide you and help you to do it.
"And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:28-29 KJV)
He states that it is only through prayer and fasting that demons could be cast out.
“Jesus answered, "You don't really know what I am doing, but later you will understand." (John 13:7)
We don't always understand what He is allowing at the time but later we will.
~ Gina in Arizona
★★★★★ “Don’t Even Miss It”
I am on the last day of a 7-day fast. Fasting from food, online games, and Facebook. Though hard at times (the not eating), it has been wonderful and a perfect way to finish off such a trying year. It has actually been easier than I thought. I don't even miss Facebook and think I will continue fasting from that for longer.
My weakness in my body helped me with a phone call from my grandfather. I was too weak and my throat too dry and to argue or say much at all. I just sat there and agreed with him and told him I loved him. Then I laid down and prayed.
I don't need social media, there is so much in it that is against God, and watching a lot of it and being glued to what's going on takes away so much of my precious time with my Beloved.
I have had so much more time to pray and be in the Word. It's amazing and wonderful and so much more peaceful.
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (Proverbs 15:1)
“They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Be gentle, quiet, and agreeable.” (Psalm 112:7)
Trust God and let his truth speak louder than anything others say. He always has a plan and good things for you.
~ Kimberly in Wyoming
★★★★★ “Gentle Whisper Came Upon Me”
Today's Encourager lesson in "How to Be Blessed", regarded fasting. As I was washing dishes this morning I was thinking about how hard it can be for me to fast because I really don't eat much to begin with. Also, I was seeking my own understanding about the "why's" of fasting. I do have health issues and fasting for me is not difficult but can become laborious especially when I am doing a 24-hour fast. I get grouchy and short tempered and extremely more fatigued than I usually am because of my MS. I lose focus and tend to not comprehend easily when reading scripture, among other things. To combat this I try to get more sleep in my schedule while I fast, as this helps me to be less irritated and leads me to be relaxed.
As I read further, I was instructed to fast at least two days a week and not the one which I have been successfully doing. I do not need to lose weight and do not want to be or look unhealthy. So as I was reading further a gently whisper came upon me and suggested I do a 12-hour fast along with my 24-hour fast on different days. God is so good because He knew I was struggling with the "why" am I doing this fasting, and He made it clear to me that it is to not get involved with the feeding of my flesh and to break down strongholds in my life that hinder His blessings while being led by the Spirit. It also occurred to me that I already have the victory because He lives in me and as I abide in Him and He in me, I will be able to do what He teaches me since He gives me the capacity to hear and obey Him.
I thought about doing a 12-hour fast prior to reading this lesson along with my 24-hour fast which I do weekly. This gentle whisper from Him reassures me that it is His will in doing it this way (which is His Way). Because I was searching for wisdom in my own fleshly way, which is foolish, He made the way clearly for me, because I waited for Him to guide me in doing it this way (His Way) and it’s His doing. So now I know I will be able to achieve these fasts because it is from Him, done in His timing and in His Way. I can do all things through Him that "He gives me to do" because it will be done in His strength. Perhaps the waiting is the hardest part. And after reading this lesson regarding the why's to fast, it makes it easier in a sense because I understand it and I understand it in His wisdom and not leaning on my own.
This is such a glorious revelation to how He is working in my life and thought processes. As I grow stronger in my spiritual strength and kill the fleshly desires, my temptations will lean towards doing what is good and right and not in what is not giving God the glory. He knows I desire to please Him and He gave me the wisdom in how to go about doing so by waiting on Him and not in giving up the fasting as I was toying with in my thoughts. He stepped in readily to keep me strong and in His will! Hallelujah!! Fasting is a spiritual discipline that helps us to align ourselves with the Ways of God and it's doable because it is temporary, even if it is weekly. There are only so many hours and days in a week so I know fasting can be done since I already know when the time is up for me to eat again. He will empower my spirit and encourage me in His Word with support, and as I commit to Him, He will strengthen me and help me be tempted to bring Him all the glory and praises.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28–29)
He is showing me that when and if I become weary and feel burdened He will cause me to rest in Him, thereby helping me to remain steadfast in doing my best for Him.
~ Beth in Indiana
★★★★★ “In The Hands of My Loving HH”
PTL!! I have a testimony AND praise report to share about "How to Be Blessed"!
I have been “under a cloud” for almost a week and have also been easily drawn to feel sorry for myself instead of praising and trusting my HH in all circumstances. Now, I have not been moping, but I have not “delighted myself in Him.” Things have been happening to make me feel uneasy over the past few months. I have had a lack of finances and have wondered why, since I have been faithful in tithing, reading His word and keeping Him close while also reaching out to help and pray for others. What I have NOT been doing, as this lesson gently reminded me, is fasting. Ladies, I was in the habit of trusting Him and not worrying about anything. I was fasting at least one day a week and sometimes doing 3 to 7 day fasts. He revealed to me through this lesson, that I stopped doing this all together. Not for any particular reason. I confess I was just content to stay right where I was and not bless others or receive blessings (that He so longs to give) OR GROW closer to Him!!!!
Instead of writing a PR when He brought my step son and grandson back into my life (after more than 2 ½ years) and He arranged for me to help him buy a home, I became anxious that more restoration might be coming. I didn’t really think much about it, but I did cry out to my HH a few times that I was scared to have my fh come back into my life. I told my Beloved that first of all, I DO NOT under any circumstances want to go back to being anything like the horrible person I was. Second, I am a little afraid of my fh after all that took place. Third, I was so happy that He has melted my heart and I KNOW all I need and want is Him. I told Him, “I don’t want to ruin this!! I want to keep growing closer and closer to You”. Then my fh sent me a text completely out of the blue. (It had been almost 3 years with absolutely NO contact, and so I had no idea where he lives or anything about him…..and that is okay with me!) I had a quiet calmness and prayed how or if to respond, just as Erin teaches in the RYM book. I was actually baking cookies at the time the text arrived and was thinking how wonderful my life is with my Beloved HL, my grandchildren travels, my job and my work as a RMI minister. I let go of marriage restoration because He showed me ALL I NEED IS HIM!!!!! So, I did respond after quite some time, and it was a brief yet friendly exchange. The hate wall had started to crumble. I had no real reaction. Like I said, I was almost sad because I don’t want things to change. But, wasn’t this what I had asked, prayed and pleaded for with my HH???
So today, now weeks later, after reading this HTBB 6, I am praising Him for this breakthrough. I am not whining, complaining or fretting. Instead, I am rejoicing and trusting in His perfect plan and His perfect will. Whatever it is, no matter how impossible or difficult I may imagine it to be, He will help me do it. He will guide me and give me the ability. All I need do is ask. I am not afraid. He has shown me that having these anxious thoughts is not trusting Him with everything. Now I am seeking wisdom and insight for a fast. He is showing me that I can really do all things through His strength. Whatever His will may be for my life and the life of all my family, can and will be done by trusting completely in Him! He has blessed me with a day of fasting and spending time with Him. He has drawn me back even closer to Him! I am NOT afraid of my future since my Beloved is right by my side and He is the God of the impossible!
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7 RSV)
I love imagining Him by my side all day long. Him so close to me. With His strength, I can let everything go and place it all in the very capable Hands of my Loving HH.
“No, what I want in a fast is this; to liberate those tied down and held back by injustice, to lighten the load of those heavily burdened, to free the oppressed and shatter every type of oppression.” (Isaiah 58:6 The Voice)
As I began a fast, I prayed that my finances, my fear and my worry of the future would vanish. My financial worries were washed away AND, I was immediately blessed with a new client. I stopped feeding my flesh and fed my soul with His Word. He also led me to read books I have read before that I knew would warm my heart with His love and capture my thoughts with His will. HE IS SO GOOD!!!
“She dresses with strength and nobility, and she smiles at the future.” (Proverbs 31:25 GW)
I can’t sing enough of His praises!
★★★★★ “While I Was Still Speaking”I just want to send out a little praise. God is so faithful to answer our prayers when we rest in Him. I have been on a 3-day fast preparing for the testing that is sure to come in the next two weeks. I had some urgent information that needed to be communicated, but didn't want to be the one to make the contact. So, this morning, I was praying for just such an opportunity, and "while I was still praying" a text came through. God is so good! I can trust my Heavenly Husband.
“Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
~ Joy in Michigan
★★★★★ “Information Stored Up For Me”
What an incredible week this has been. The Lord put on my heart to fast for 3 days this week which happened to be during Chapters 6, 7 & 8 and I am so glad I did. I realized during those 3 days that previously when I fasted I would allow the devil to tell me it was ok that I had just one granola bar a day or something, but this time I did not allow that to happen, and I realized how much information God had stored up to tell me!! By the 3rd day I was overwhelmed with peace and security in knowing that while God was convicting me of all the things I had done in the past, His love for me was far greater than my sins, and He was cleaning "house" because He loved me. I read those chapters like I was reading about myself and didn't even know it was me until I started reading.
I have cried many tears this week, prayed many times for forgiveness and of course have been attacked by the devil telling me "I wasn't good enough for God" and "I will never be able to be the women God intended me to be" but each time I turned to God and prayed for the Holy Spirit to fight with me and overcome his wickedness. For the first time in years I am content to be right where I am and know that God has my life taken care of. All I need to do is get up in the morning praise Him and take some time with Him before doing anything else and follow His guidance. I can't get enough of this book and His word!!!
“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable . . .” (Prov. 10:19)
Often times I found myself filling the voids in conversations with unnecessary words that would get me in trouble. I am working to instead fill those voids with silent prayer or listening for the Lord to guide me where to take the conversation next so that I don't say things I will later regret.
“I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer kept returning to my bosom” (Ps. 35:13)
Fasting and staying fervent in prayer is incredibly important during this journey.
~ Shelly in Arizona