Can you believe it? Last Sunday there was no snow. It was a great day to get together and worship the Lord. I always enjoy hearing the stories of others as they are baptized. God is continuing to stir our hearts and move in a powerful way in people’s lives.
This week is the first full week of our fasting. I am hearing many stories of people getting serious and intentionally seeking the Lord with all their heart. There are many reasons to fast. Some of us have had procedures performed by a doctor who asked you to fast in preparation for a clear path to get real results. I don’t think I will go into detail on all that is involved. Let’s just say that it is a moving experience. Do I hear an AMEN?
There are many reasons why people may go without food for a time. It could be for medical tests, depression, illnesses, or even a part of a weight loss diet. Fasting in the Bible was primarily going without food and possibly drink for a spiritual cause. For a fast to be Biblically based one must go without food for a spiritual purpose. Our focus as a church is to break the chains for spiritual breakthrough.
The enemy is relentless is trying to get a foothold in our lives. Subtle things can get a grip on our lives and can many times be detected only after it has wreaked havoc. Today we choose to fast from food but there are many other things that we can fast from. Social media, television, and the list can go on. It is basically something that has gotten out of balance or has distracted you from the things that you know you should be doing as a follower of Christ.
God made us in such a way that we can enjoy food. Food fuels our body. Unfortunately it can also fuel our passions that are not aligned with God. Throughout history, most celebrations included feasting and special meals of celebration. Yet the Scriptures clearly reveal that there are times and reasons that the normal consumption of food should be set aside to accomplish a spiritual purpose.
In Isaiah 58:4 it says, “Your fasting ends in quarreling 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.” Let’s pray that our fasting doesn’t end in quarreling. I know that I have a tendency to be cranky when I get hungry. “Lord, help me not to react according to the way I may be feeling at the time.” I would encourage you to read the whole chapter found in Isaiah 58 as you fast this month.
If you look at the last phrase of verse 4 you will see, “…your voice to be heard on high.” Fasting gives an opportunity to humble ourselves before the Lord, sharpen our spiritual focus, adjust our priorities to the spiritual rather than the physical or material, and to make your voice heard on high. As you fast, keep focused on your goal of wanting more of Christ. Make your voice heard on high and wait patiently for God to break the chains that bind.
This morning we gathered and prayed for all the requests that came in on Sunday. God is wanting to give each of us the victory over all things. Be encouraged to know that God loves you and so does your church. This Sunday we will continue to ask the Lord to keep us OnPoint as we look at the paths we find ourselves on.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene