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January 7, 2013 / brockbruce

Fasting. It’s About Dependence

fasting-resized-600.jpgAgain this year we are joining with thousands of Christians in America starting Sunday for a 21 day fast. I’m am excited about it. Some churches started last week, but I decided that since we were launching our READ Initiative last week, that would might find more success and participation if we didn’t start everything at once. We did this last year collectively at the start of the year and then I’m sure some of us fasted even throughout the year. The youth ministry even does what we call a fast before we go to Winterfest. They give up TV or music, FB or video games. We call it a fast, but really that’s not a biblical or scriptural fast. Media isn’t food. While it’s good to give some things up and refocus our attention to God , just a shift in media consumption does not a fast make. Biblical Fasting always involves food.

Why? Let’s go back to the garden. God creates everything. Places man in the Garden and says “Eat everything you see, EXCEPT DON’T EAT FROM THAT TREE”  You are to abstain from the fruit of that tree. But of course we know that they disobey. They eat the fruit of the tree. And they are cursed. Part of the curse involves food. Man would know have to work hard to harvest food. When Adam was obedient in his fast, he lived and walked with GOD, but when he ate, he fell. The curse also involved DEATH. Adam lived to be over 900 years old, so we know his death wasn’t immediate but spiritual death, lost fellowship with GOD, was immediate.
Then we look at Moses. Moses fasted on the mountain of GOD for 40 days on at least 1 occasion perhaps 3. He fasted food and water. What was happening while Moses was fasting?
     -BEFORE HIS FAST HE ATE AND DRANK WITH GOD. immediately he then goes up with Joshua accompanying him, and he sees GOD. He has this amazing encounter with GOD. Forty days, no food or water. JUST HIM AND GOD.
     -HE RECEIVES THE LAW OF GOD. GOD WRITES HIS WORD ON THE STONE. See while he is not eating in the natural he is eating in the supernatural. GOD is his sustainer. GOD is his food. GOD is his drink. GOD is revealing to us that He is the source of life. He is the one to depend on. He is the one we trust in. He is the one who makes us strong. In our weakness he is strong.
Jesus Fasted In The Wilderness.
     -THE SPIRIT LEADS JESUS TO THE DESERT TO BE TEMPTED
     -JESUS KNEW HE WOULD BE TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL, so what does he do? He fasts. He spends 40 days in prayer, fasting, thinking on the law and the prophets. He knows he must be about his Father’s business. To adequately prepare for the time of testing to come and to fulfill his mission he follows the Spirit into the wilderness to fast.
          -YOU HAVE TRIALS COMING. Are willing to follow the Spirit into the hard places of a fast so that you may be able to stand against the trial to come?
     -SO AFTER THE FAST, SATAN SHOWS UP.
          Satan likes to show up when we are vulnerable. He temps us at our weak points. But while our flesh may be weak our spirit’s have feasted on the Spirit and the Word.
     -SO SATAN SAYS “YOUR HUNGRY JESUS, TURN THESE STONES TO BREAD” Because Jesus has been fasting and praying and thinking about the scriptures, Jesus hears stones and bread and what does he think of? The Word. JESUS is reminded of the Word of God on the stone tablets. He is reminded of Moses’ fast and how Moses encountered GOD and lived on the Word and not the physical. And Jesus says to Satan, IT IS WRITTEN, where is it written, in the scriptures, MAN SHALL NOT LIVE O BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT COME FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD”.
When JESUS was hungry, he remembered the Word. The Word was his sustenance and the Word was his weapon. Every time Satan tempted Jesus, Jesus hit him with the Word. JESUS ATE THE WORD FOR 40 DAYS so that when the tempter come, THE WORD OF GOD WOULD PROCEEDE OUT OF HIS MOUTH LIKE A TWO EDGED SWORD. HE DIGESTED THE WORD AND THEN HE LET THE WORD COME OUT. JESUS DEFEATS THE ENEMY WITH THE SWORD OUT OF HIS MOUTH (Rev 19). THE WORD.
          -If you are going to defeat the enemy, you’ve got to let the sword come out of your mouth. You’ve got to take the word, eat the word, digest the word. Depend on the word more than you depend on food.
FASTING IS A BIBLICAL EXPRESSION AND ACTION THAT TEACHES YOU TO DEPEND ON THE WORD OF THE LORD AS YOUR SUSTENANCE.
I will be talking more about fasting and some reasons it is done in scripture, but I want to remind you that biblical fasting always involves food. These are the types of fasts in scriptures.
     -SPECIFIC FOOD FAST’S (ex. Nazarite Vow)
     -DANIEL FAST – In the book of Daniel we find two different times where the prophet Daniel fasted. Daniel 1 states that he only ate vegetables and water, and in Daniel 10, while the passage does not give a specific list of foods that Daniel ate, it does state that he ate no rich (or choice) foods, as well as no meat or wine. So based on these two verses, we can see that either of these, or combinations of the two, constitute a Daniel fast.
     -WATER FAST (Jesus in the wilderness)
     -TOTAL FAST (Moses)
Fasting is a food thing. It’s about feasting on Jesus and his word. THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT A FOOD FAST. AS YOUR BODY YEARNS FOR FOOD, YOUR SPIRIT YEARNS FOR GOD. AND WHEN YOUR STOMACH REMINDS YOU THAT YOU ARE HUNGRY, YOUR SPIRIT REMINDS YOU THAT YOU NEED MORE OF GOD. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be filled. You learn to fill up on the things of God. You learn to depend on God. It’s hard. If you’re like my wife you’ll want a coke. If you’re like me you’ll want a cheeseburger (those two sentences reminded how good it is for the body to fast). But you will learn that the Word is true, you can’t live on bread alone but on the Word that comes from the mouth of God. We must learn to live on the bread of the word.
     WE MUST LEARN TO DEPEND ON JESUS AND NOT OUR APPETITES.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR JOBS STATUS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR RELATIONSHIPS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR SOCIAL STATUS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR POLITICAL SYSTEMS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR EDUCATION.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR POWERS OF PERSUASION.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR LOOKS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR RELIGION.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR SELVES.
     AS WE LEARN NOT TO DEPEND ON OUR APPETITES, WE LEARN HOW TO DEPEND ON OUR GOD!
How can we depend on God? Because we’ve been reconciled to God because of Jesus death and resurrection and then he sent his Spirit to enable to live a life of dependence. We are a dependent creation, but only Jesus makes it possible for us to live a life of dependence on our Creator.
That was the lie Satan told Eve in the garden. That she could live independently from his Creator. But the lie brought death.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 (ESV) 3But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept(F) a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
What is a different gospel? Any gospel that says you don’t need Jesus. Any gospel that says you are independent. Truth is we can’t be independent.
We were created, that means we need the Creator.  We can’t be independent, we must depend on something. The logical dependence would be to depend on the one who created us to start with. But too often we depend on everything except our Creator and those things always let us down. But Jesus will never leave us our forsake us. Even when we try to be independent he says come all who are tired and depend on me, I will give you rest.
WE NEED JESUS. DURING THIS 21 DAY FAST. I PRAY YOU LEARN TO DEPEND ON JESUS MORE THAN YOU EVER HAVE.
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