– The power of fasting

desertChristians did something from the very beginning that is not generally practiced in Christianity any more. It is the practice of fasting. You can read about how Christ went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. During that time, Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he overcame each encounter.

There are even plenty of early Christian writings that mention that church members were fasting. What about us today? The question then is – Should Christians be fasting often? When, Why and How should we go about fasting?

I will not go into the medical details, but there are recent studies that show how beneficial it can be to your health. One study showed that your entire immune system can be rebooted with a three-day fast. My purpose here, is to speak about the spiritual benefits of fasting, not necessarily the physical.

Let’s go back to Christ and his 40 day fast. Christ did this just before beginning his three year ministry. That ministry would culminate with his death on the cross, and then his resurrection and ascension. Obviously, the fast was a way for Jesus to prepare for his ministry. He was doing it in a disciplined way to gain the strength necessary to accomplish his mission on earth. I am not talking about merely giving up a food you really like, such as Oreo cookies for a day. The kind of fast I am talking about is an abstinence from food, and water.

Most people can certainly go without food and water for 24 hours. You eat a simple meal, say Saturday at 5 PM, and then eat your next meal Sunday at 5 PM. If you are older or have other health issues, you may not be able to do this, so don’t put yourself in danger. You might be capable of going without food, but not water, so judge this for yourself. For example, if you don’t drink water for 24 hours, you may have a severe case of constipation that could be a very critical medical issue for you.

As long as I am at it, let me also suggest that a fast for spiritual reasons includes giving up all bodily appetites, so you should also consider abstaining from sex in your marriage (see Exodus 19:15) and other bodily appetites you might identify.

So what then are the spiritual benefits? I already mentioned that Jesus Christ was fasting to be prepared to begin his ministry. We likewise will fast for strength. This can be to overcome an addiction, or just as a kind of “tune-up” in our lives to stay strong against temptations and apostasy. We know there are powers out to destroy us.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Don’t forget to include plenty of time on your knees and to humble yourself and remove the pride that prevents God from blessing you. Offer up prayers of thanks and worship God. This is also a time to pray for strength, to pray to ask for what you should pray for and to plead with God for the righteous desires of your heart. The combination of fasting and prayer is the “nuclear option” that can act like nothing else you will ever experience in your life to call upon the powers of heaven.

In the New Testament, the apostles were told to go out and perform miracles and heal people. They were actually successful at doing that. But then, they came across a case where they could not heal a man that had been possessed of the devil. They came and asked Christ why. He explained it to them as follows:

“But this kind goes not out but by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21

There you have it! If you really want to combine your faith and prayers into a potent mixture in your life, you combine these with fasting.

Note: I am not a medical doctor, so please consult a doctor if you really want to know what is safe and healthy for you.

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– Be single-minded to God

Saul and David, by RembrandtYou can look back at the stories of the Old Testament and use them as examples for what to do and also for what not to do in life. The story of Saul is mostly about how NOT to act on our spiritual journey. We can do better as we honor and follow God.

Saul was definitely a double minded man. In his heart, he was always holding back from turning his life over to God. God called him on it and caused the Kingdom to be taken from him. I am not going to analyze his psychological problems, but it was clear that Saul had several issues. The Bible even states that he was troubled by evil spirits. It was only the harp playing of David that seemed to be able to calm his troubled soul.

One thing that Saul did was to illegally act in the role of a priest and offer animal sacrifices. He also did not obey the word of God when he was commanded to destroy a city. You remember the famous line from that “To obey is better than sacrifice”.

If you are a Christian or working towards becoming one, know that God wants your heart. He wants all of it, not just a half-hearted attempt where you still cling on to the evils and influences of the world. Jesus asked his disciples – “Whom say ye that I am?” What he was asking was for a recognition from their heart that they knew who he was and that they would be dedicated to being a Christian. It does not matter what others think. It matters what you think. Have you made up your mind yet?

It is written in the book of James that “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” How can you become single-minded instead? To start with, don’t get caught up in power or riches in this world. The book of Matthew states – “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” and also “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Give yourself as a sacrifice to God, meaning as stated in Psalm 34:18 that “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

What person wants a spouse that is always turning their head after another person or thing in life. They want loyalty. Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is the Bride. Be a faithful “bride” and get oil in your lamp and be dedicated to being ready for his return.

– The power of positive thinking

good1Faith and belief overcome fear and doubt. That is a statement that is easier said than done. The problem is that life is sometimes not what we had planned and we have challenges to overcome. Nevertheless, in the long run, faith and belief will win out and good will come to those that obey God’s word and trust in Him.

 

What is stand in the way of you living a full and happy life. Just as there is truth in the saying – “you are what you eat”, the saying “you are what you think” is also true. Do you ever find yourself saying the following? “I knew that would not work.” You will be living a self-fulfilling prophesy one way or the other.

Positive thinking attracts goodness to your life and brings a power to bring positive events into your life. A study once showed that basketball players could actually achieve higher shooting percentages by thinking positively and envisioning themselves making baskets than by actual physical practice. It is scientifically proven that stress kills you in a variety of ways and that positive thinking people are healthier.

There is more going on around you than you realize. When you act in a positive way to accomplish good in this world, there is real power that will accompany you. This is not just some superstitious new age metaphysical thinking either. There are good and evil powers being manifested in this world.

Universal rules of outcome:

“As a person thinks so are they” – Proverbs 23:7

“O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” – Psalm 30

“…whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” – Galatians 6:7

“…If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” – Matthew 21:21,22

Self-affirmations to repeat to yourself each day:

Pick one or all of the following to repeat to yourself:

  1. I believe in myself and my abilities.
  2. Good things happen to me.
  3. I have a bright future that I am excited about.
  4. I have talents and skills that are recognized as I use them.
  5. Today is a great day to live, I am going to make the most of it to find and spread love, joy, peace, success and prosperity in abundance.
  6. I acknowledge God as the source of all good in my life.

Your attitude and thoughts emanate as positive or negative energy and affect what happens to you throughout the day. Positive reinforcement has the affect of bring in more light which is contagious to those around you.

If you desire others around you to be friendly, then you must project that in your attitude towards others in all sincerity. Your thoughts and feelings are more forceful than you realize. Be the master of your thoughts and establish healthy patterns and you will see positive outcomes all around you.

  1. What can you internalize a positive attitude about?
  2. Be 100% positive for a complete week and write down what happened.
  3. What will you visualize yourself doing?
  4. For every difficulty you encounter, try and see it as a positive event and how good can come of it.
  5. Stay away from alcohol and drugs that are depressants and affect your thinking.
  6. Live a life of purpose and deep meaning as a faithful Christian.

 

– On Mothers

vince-fleming-487796-unsplashI was talking to a woman at church once on mother’s day and I said to her that this day must be your favorite day to come to church. I was surprised when she actually told me the opposite. She said it was her least favorite day to come. There were talks about all the great things other mothers had done and she would always feel like she did not measure up.

Men will never understand the huge responsibility that come with being a mother. To conceive and carry a child inside your womb and to come near death in the process of giving birth is something truly incredible. Then there is the bonding that goes on, the feeding and nurturing that only a woman can do in this life. Women are more refined than men and naturally open to things of a spiritual nature. This is what makes them so qualified for their role.

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” – Abraham Lincoln

I give honor to all the valiant mothers of the past, present and future for all they have done, for their sacrifice and giving, to make this world a better place. I believe we will soon be living in a millennial era of peace, largely due to the way mothers will bring up children in righteousness so as to follow Jesus and love God.

“A mother has far greater influence on her children than anyone else, and she must realize that every word she speaks, every act, every response, her attitude, even her appearance and manner of dress affect the lives of her children and the whole family. It is while the child is in the home that he gains from his mother the attitudes, hopes, and beliefs that will determine the kind of life he will live, and the contribution he will make to society.” – N. Eldon Tanner