THE AWESOME BENEFITS OF FASTING
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
"When prayer and trust does not seem to be getting the job done ... consider including the weapon of fasting."
Sometimes it isn't always WHAT is said about a matter, but WHO is doing the talking, that can have a much greater impact in how we respond to things.
Regarding the topic of fasting, I feel the Holy Spirit would have me quote a brief chapter from a book on the life of Rev. C.S. Upthegrove, titled: "The Wait, The Power, The Evidence". The inspiring book essentially is a condensed testimony of how God worked in his life, and especially in ministry. Brother Upthegrove has been used of the Lord to minister miraculous healings to countless thousands of people during his lifetime, not to mention numerous souls that were saved during his miracle healing crusades. Some of the most incredible miraculous healings ever witnessed in the second half of the 1900's and early 2000's in the United States have been done through the healing anointing God placed on him.
Giving you this brief background of him, he shares in this book how God led him on a 21 day fast, 'To allow God to drive the fleshly desires out of my spirit, soul, and body. I knew that there had to be more of Him, and less of me in my personal life and ministry.'
It was during this 21 day fast that he had a very powerful angelic visitation. It was during that visitation that God spoke some things to brother Upthegrove through that mighty angel regarding how he would minister in the future. The concluding words to him from the angel were: 'There will be healing in your hands.'
What followed in the years after that were numerous people who were the blessed recipients who received divine healing from God, indeed through brother Upthegrove's hands. Hundreds of books could be written filled with credible testimonies of people being healed supernaturally of just about every terminal sickness and disease imaginable through this, humble obedient man of God.
Having given you that brief background, here are the brief words shared on this topic of fasting from one of the chapters in the book:
Let's take a closer look at why fasting is such an important part of a Christian's life. The Bible say in Matthew 6:16-18:
"Moreover, when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you: they have their reward. But thou, when thou fasteth, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and they Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
Fasting serves many purposes as we submit our flesh in obedience to God. God Almighty must always come first in every area of our lives. We must put Him above all, including our desire to satisfy ourselves through food. If we are unable to give up food through fasting, it reveals a weakness in our commitment to God. He must come before food, and every other fleshly desire that we have if He is to truly be the Lord of our lives.
Food may indeed strengthen us physically, but dying to the desire for food strengthens us spiritually. That is exactly why Jesus expected us to fast when He spoke about fasting in Matthew 6. He expected us to want to grow spiritually, and so expected us to fast. This is also why Jesus told the devil during his forty day fast: 'It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God'' (Matthew 4:4)
There are some things that just will not happen without prayer and fasting. The best example of this is found when the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a man. Matthew 17:14-21 KJV reads:
"And when they were come to the multitude, there came to Him a certain man, kneeling down to Him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is a lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
Then Jesus answered and said, 'O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me.'
And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, 'Why could we not cast him out?'
And Jesus said unto them, 'Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
Jesus makes it clear that prayer and fasting are faith building tools. They help us to conquer things that we could not conquer without first increasing our faith.
Our spirit, soul and body must line up with the will of God. Our soul - which is our mind, will and emotions - lines up with the Word of God only as we remain obedient to the plan that God has for our lives.
Our flesh is the hardest area in our lives to get in line with the Word of God. Our bodies desire to eat, especially when we are led to fast. However, it is by bringing our body under submission with fasting that we are able to see God's divine purposes and plans brought to pass in our lives.
Keep in mind that if you have a medical condition that would in some way restrict your fasting abilities, you should first consult your doctor for guidance in how to best answer the urging of the Lord to fast. It would also be a good idea to check with your doctor before, during, and after the fast so that he can follow your progress. After you have completed your fast, begin eating again slowly and carefully. Your stomach will have shrunk and will not be ready to digest and distribute a full meal yet. You may want to have juice or small portions of fruit, vegetables, and soup to begin with, eventually working up to solid food. After you have eaten, you will find yourself wanting to rest a lot. Do not force yourself to keep active. Get the rest your body needs. This is the body's natural way of digesting the food you have begun to eat once again.
Note: If you would like to read Part 3 of this series on fasting, click on the following link:
Dear Reader - are you at peace with God? If not, you can be. Do you know what awaits you when you die? You can have the assurance from God that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain. You can even have that assurance RIGHT NOW! Either Jesus Christ died for your sins, or He didn't (He did!). Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to have your sins forgiven and get in right-standing with God? We plead with you...please don't make such a tragic mistake.
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