A Time to Fast

Your Heavenly Father will reward you.

Daily Spirit & Word: 792: A Time To Fast.

“When you fast”

In the life of the Spirit there is a time to fast, but let’s do it right.

Good morning my friends, I don’t know about you but I find fasting quite difficult. Going without food is not natural or normal. We were born hungry, just observe a tiny little baby and you’ll soon see that when it gets hungry it cries out loud, sometimes very loud. So too when we get hungry, we might have gone without food for a few hours and we’ll return home and say to our family; “I’m starving” or “I’m famished”… but we’re not really, we’re just a bit hungry. So eating food regularly is natural and normal. Going without food is not, so why would we fast? Why would we go without food on purpose?

However, notice Jesus’ words, “When you fast”… It’s like Jesus expects His followers to fast regularly, because He does not say, “If you fast”..

Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV) FASTING
16 “When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18  so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (He will REWARD YOU: Openly or Publicly).

Like giving and prayer (See yesterday’s devotion), this open or public reward by our Heavenly Father should not be our motivation for fasting. However, accept it as a promise of the LORD that when you fast with right motives, your Heavenly Father will reward you openly.

Verse 16: In ancient times in Israel people fasted regularly. The religious Jews fasted twice a week (Luke 18:12). However, they also had a tradition that they’d dress in a certain way and put things on their faces so that everybody knew they were doing something ‘religious’. Some I’m sure were trying to get closer to God, but others, as our LORD points out, were doing it to impress other people. Jesus has harsh words for them, “Hypocrites”… They’re not really doing it to honour God or draw closer to Him, they’re just doing it for show. You can’t FAST and have sin in your heart and expect the LORD of Heaven to bless you.

Verse 17: “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face”…

i.e. Don’t let anyone know by your appearance that you are going without food to get closer to God. In the same way don’t go getting all dressed up for a fast, if that is not your normal attire. Just be as normal as you can be when you are fasting for God.

Verse 18: Jesus gives us the reason we’re to be as normal a possible: “So that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father”… Only the unseen God of Heaven will know you are going without food.

If you are married, then your wife or husband will probably know too, that’s to be expected in any close relationship. But don’t let anyone else know.

REWARD: “When your Father in Heaven sees what is done in secret, He will reward you openly or publicly”.

Secret Devotion Yields Rewards.

When you really want to get close to God, He will always reward you.

Let’s see if that’s true:

James 4:8-10 (NIV)
8  Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9  Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.
10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What’s God saying in this little passage from James? “Come near to God” what will God do? “He will come near to you”… i.e. there’s no question about it, He will come near to you. This is a wonderful promise of the LORD of Heaven to come to you when you come to Him. However, we’ve got to believe, trust and accept it by faith. Because without FAITH it is impossible to please the LORD. If we don’t come expecting then we won’t get anything.

James 1:5-8 (NIV)
5  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
6  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.
7  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;
8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

In FASTING when you draw near to God, by going without food, if you don’t come expecting, then you won’t get anything.

So my friends, FAST regularly, draw near to God, believe His promises that He will come to you; He’ll lift you up, bless you openly (publicly), He is the rewarder of those who seek Him out.

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)  “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Faith is a gift from God, He gives it to EVERYONE who comes to Him (It’s a gift so that we can’t boast about our great faith ….)

WOWzer! Look at those awesome promises today:

  • He will reward you openly.
  • He will lift you up when you come to Him.
  • He will reward you when you seek Him in faith.

Finally: ASK, SEEK, KNOCK:

Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)
7  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
8  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Sometimes we don’t get because we don’t ask. I’ve known many wonderful Christians who’ve loved the LORD, but forgotten to ask when they are in need. I’ve done it myself. Just the other day, I was in a hurry to get out the house to go and pick up my wife, but I couldn’t find my wallet. I searched frantically but to no avail, then I stopped and prayed. “LORD, I need to find my wallet, You know where it is Lord, please show me”. Within a few seconds I got a picture of a shelf in my study, I put my hands up and there it was. I didn’t find until I asked. The LORD has amazing ways to remind us to seek Him and search for Him and when we do, we’ll find Him, always.

So today, FAST, it’s not easy, it’s not normal to go without food, but it yields rewards for your Father in Heaven.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come to you today in faith, believing Your promises that when I seek you, and seek you with all my heart, I will find you. (Jeremiah 29:13).

I’m going to ask You Father for my needs …………………………… (Name them specifically) I believe Your promise that I will receive.

I’m going to seek your direction for my life …………………………….(What decisions do you have looming in your life?) I believe Your promise that I will find.

I’m going to knock on doors ………………………………… (take steps in the right direction and try some doors). I believe Your promise that it will be opened.

Your Heavenly Father’s Heart is to REWARD His beloved children.

Be blessed in Jesus and full of Holy Spirit today,

Don.

 

The Three Crowns

Daily Spirit & Word, 466: The Three Crowns.

No it’s not the pub 🙂

Nor the united Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Wales.

But the Three Crowns of Glory for the Saints in Heaven: The Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are going to be REWARDED.

Good morning my friends, it’s such a wonderful peaceful morning with fantastic colours in the sunrise. Peaceful, apart from a poorly grandchild crying in the background, but she’s being comforted by her mummy. It’s strange how we can have pain and beauty at the same time. Today I wanted to focus upon what we’ll be wearing in Heaven. Did you know that you are destined to be wearing a crown?

Our Youth Meeting last night was brilliant, we discussed thier values and priorities in life. After a few expected funny answers about what’s important, they eventually arrived at family, but didn’t quite see that God should be their first priority in life. Afterwards they began asking the youth leaders about what they did, if they were happy in their work and how much they earned. I tried to get across that we are all Princes and no matter how much we earn in life or what we do, as believers in Jesus we’re part of God’s ROYAL family. How do I know this? The Bible explains it in many different ways; we become heirs of the Kingdom, but there’s a beautiful description of our royal attire in the Bible that I’m sure your going to love today. Once you trust in Jesus you become Heavenly Royalty.

Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will receive; Three Different Crowns:

A CROWN OF LIFE:

Revelation 2:10 (ANIV) “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

We can definitely see an increase in EVIL on the earth today; with people being murdered on a massive scale at the hands of people who think they are serving a god. This is nothing new, but was predicted thousands of years ago, but it is also a sign that the Lord is coming soon, because mankind will become even more lawless just before the LORD returns.

The LORD is promising through the book of Revelation, that when we faithfully endure hardship, even to the point of death, we’re going to be receiving an awesome CROWN, the CROWN OF LIFE. Nothing can take your joyful hope away from you, no matter what they do to you, your CROWN is waiting for you in Heaven. Be at PEACE no matter what.

A CROWN OF REJOICING:

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (ANIV) “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

What an amazing statement, the thing that’s going to bring us honour in heaven, one that will make us rejoice for all eternity, is the souls that get saved from God’s wrath and hell, the ones that we’ve managed to bring into a relationship with the King, those we’ve introduced to Jesus Christ who get saved. WOWzer! Remember how the angels rejoice over just one sinner who repents? Well we too are going to be experiencing that same hope, joy and crown; from the people who’ve been saved because of our faithful; witness, testimony, live and love for the Lord and the saints.

A CROWN OF GLORY:

1 Peter 5:4 (ANIV) “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.”

That reminds me of Moses, when he was with the Lord on the Holy Mountain, he shone with the glory of the Lord, but it faded away after a time. The glory we’ll get will never fade away. We’ll be shining with the LORD’S Glory of all eternity. 

The LORD’S Crown Jewels:

As a boy I visited Edinburgh Castle and was privileged to see the Crown Jewels of Scotland, I’ll never forget how awesome and so impressive they were. Royalty in the UK is something we take for granted, but people today have lost a sense of how special royalty really is. Years ago you could loose your life if you even looked upon a royal in the wrong way. In the presence of royalty, there was a sense of; power, fear, rule and sometimes benevolent justice. Can you imagine what it’s going to be like to see the King of Kings Royalty? His Crown is a crown of pain and beauty: Thorns that once pierced his head are now His glory for all the souls that have been saved by His precious blood. We may save a few people from Hell and receive some glory and a crown that will never fade away, but Imagine how glorious His CROWN will be.

It’s amazing to think how much the Lord wants us to be in His glory, how close He wants believers to be to Him, even to sit upon His throne with Him and share His glory. This GLORY and the Three Crowns: Crown of Life, Crown of Rejoicing, Crown of Glory give us the incentive we need when things get really tough down here on earth.

Just as a Crown denotes authority and royalty: Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns, so that we might wear these Three Heavenly Crowns. If you’ve trusted in Jesus then you are a Prince or a Princess of the Heavenly Kingdom. Walk with your head up today 🙂

Have an awesome Saturday and look forward to the GLORY.

Don.