To Fast or Not to Fast?

I would occasionally hear that this friend or that was fasting for the day. I respected it but didn’t see my need for it. When I was younger, my mom used to assign a helper to stand by my side to shell and pick out my crab so that I could eat the meat without struggling. I used to have an entitlement-to-exceptions mentality with fasting. I might get thin or weak or sick, so why bother?

But when CCF held a fast some time ago, I realised that Jesus Himself fasted because He knew He needed spiritual strength to fulfill His purposes.  If He is God and He fasted, why shouldn’t I?  The Fasting Booklet issued by CCF discusses the other reasons for fasting such as growing in sensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit, spiritual revival, aside from being beneficial to our health.  (It also outlines the types of fast, preparations for fasting, cautions —the need to check with one’s doctor if qualified to fast—, guidelines during and after the fast, breaking the fast, and devotions.

I also encountered a book by Every Nation Philippines‘s Pastor Joey Bonifacio, The Mystery of the Empty Stomach from CSM Publishing:

joey bonifacio mystery of empty stomach-1

joey bonifacio mystery of empty stomach

a surprisingly delightful and easy read that made me excited to fast.  Chapters of the book:

1 Unveiling the Mystery; 2 From Duty to Delight; 3 From Deprivation to Desire; 4 From Desperation to Devotion; 5 From Disorder to Design; 6 from Diet to Deposit; 7 From Drunkenness to Divine Discontent; 8 From Disdain to Discovery; 9 From Divorced to Dearest; 10 Mystery Unveiled.

Excerpts from Pages 25-26:

“The Right Focus.  One of the keys to enjoying a fast is to focus on the right thing, just as a bride who focuses on what she is receiving and not on what she is giving up.  She never thinks she is being deprived.  She knows she is blessed.  She is not saying, “I am depriving myself of my family, my freedom, and my friends.”  Rather, she focuses on what she is gaining.

Jesus’ bride is very excited because she’s been told that His gift is indescribable.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  2 Cor 9:15

Not only are her gifts indescribable, she’s been told they are perfect.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17″

That first time that I fasted, during mealtime, instead of eating food, I read the devotion and started writing down the Scriptures indicated on the booklet.  With a constant “Talk to me, Lord” on my mind, I also read up on related Scriptures. The verses I read started to speak to me directly answering questions I had.  As I continued to read and journal, I started to get enthralled that the God of the Universe was talking to me through His Word.  Obviously there is nothing in me that could earn me this grace but here He was— the gracious, loving Shepherd, Counselor, and Guide— communicating with me as if face to face, as if Friend to friend, as if Father to child.  Going through the Scriptures and personalising them as my own prayers made me experience His love deeply.  I was convicted of my wrong attitudes and gained a fresh perspective of God’s will.  The eureka moments upon finding the treasures in His Word that filled, answered, and satisfied me with Himself carried me over with joy that overrode the physical hunger pangs.  When the stomach growling wave and the food craving came, I relied more on the Holy Spirit to tide me over.  I eventually learned to make vegetable juice to keep my body going.  Joining similarly hungry believers who were fasting physically but feasting on God and His Word also strengthened me.Since that first fasting experience, times of fasting have become something I look forward to with great expectation for how God will clarify my spiritual vision, strengthen my spirit, and cause breakthroughs and victories in my life.  Not to mention that fasting is a spiritual weapon of warfare.

I discovered the truth from Matthew 4:4  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

This first week of July is Fasting Week for CCF. You are welcome to check out the devotionals, join the nightly worship and prayer via livestream at 7pm Manila Time by clicking “LIVE” on this homepage or listening to the previous nights’ worship and messages.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Malu T. Ortiz says:

    Amen and Amen! Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your insights and journal. You are blessed to bless! πŸ™‚

    1. praise God by His grace! thank you Malu! God bless you!

  2. Reblogged this on Butterfly in the Spring and commented:

    It’s fasting week at CCF from January 5-11, 2014. If you would like to join the nightly devotion time, you may watch the livestream through this link at 7pm Manila time: http://stream.ccf.org.ph/. It’s important to check with your doctor for your eligibility to fast. If you are not eligible to fast in food, you may choose your own type of fast from something you like to do (like watch TV, play computer games, shopping, etc.).

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