– 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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– 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.

 

– Overcoming trials through faith in Christ

egg-eggshell-broken-yolk.jpgWe all have trials in life. The quote from the princess bride movie says it all – “Life is pain, anyone that says differently is selling something.” Or more correctly from the Bible– “In the world ye shall have tribulation…” – John 16

So how do we handle difficulties in life? Do we put on a bright smile and pretend everything is OK when it really isn’t? Perhaps we crumble and get discouraged and crawl under a rock? We can legitimately go forward and feel the powers of heaven upon us as we walk in faith. The great thing is that Christ told us to “be of good cheer” because he had overcome the world.

For me, my trials have been have been frightening, discouraging and difficult. They many times come upon me without any warning, like an earthquake. You can never be prepared for many of life’s challenges. There is only one hope you have to save you in your moments of deepest despair. It is the hope that comes through exercising faith in God and belief in Christ. Faith is a word of action. You must act on your faith. Let me illustrate what the faith is that is necessary to persevere you though a trial. I will do this by showing some characteristics of Christ that we can emulate. He is our example in all things.

Jesus served others, being self-centered will make you feel worse. You have to stop thinking about your own miseries and focus some love on someone else. Christ was always reaching out and ministering. Become a person that ministers to others.

Jesus lived a perfect life and sought direction from God. The combination of being righteous, humble and supplicating God in prayer is very powerful. The scriptures record that Christ would often withdraw himself and pray. For us also, we can pray and work at listening to the spiritual promptings that can guide us through our trials. Get on your knees and pray until you feel the heavens open. Don’t forget to give thanks more than just complaining to God.

Jesus confronted evil. Christ confronted the money changers in the temple, and he denounced the scribes and pharisees. Jesus confronted the devil with verses of scripture while in the desert fasting for 40 days. Evil influences must be confronted and cast out of our lives.

Jesus was ministered to by angels. “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” – Matt 4. Seek to let the healing in your life by thinking about God and thinking positively about your situation. Negativity breed trouble, positive thinking brings light.

Jesus look at the bigger picture and knew what was most important in life. Laugh at yourself sometimes. Smile and realize how great your life really is as you look for the positive. Look with the right perspective at how you have grown. Jesus said “O ye of little faith? Seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Luke 12:31.

Jesus submitted to the will of the Father while on the cross – “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” – Luke 22. We need to be spiritually minded and look at life’s adventures as learning experiences to help us and others grow and show us who we are. You really only need to keep one thing in mind. Or at least this is what works for me – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” – Romans 8

– How to be happy inside no matter what is happening on the outside

Is there some event you are facing right now that is a struggle? Circumstances in your life can certainly get overwhelming. Perhaps something you had wanted to have occurred in life has not come about. Between the disappointments and the trials you face, it is a wonder that you could ever go around with a smile on the outside, or even better yet, a smile on the inside.

Be assured that there is hope and happiness to be found in this life. Even great joy can be yours. The solution is to find a deeper happiness inside of you that is on a foundation so secure, that you can weather any storm in life. This way, your happiness is not connected with the current troubles you might be facing.

You know the answer already, you might just not have taken the next step of really making it real in your life. The answer is given to you in the Bible in several places. Let me take you back to the time of Jesus and we will revisit this time and find the key to the happiness that might have eluded you.

It was dry and hot afternoon and Jesus had been about with his disciples preaching and ministering to the people. The disciples had gone off to find food. Jesus happened to be right in the location of the famous landmark that was a well of water belonging to the ancient patriarch Jacob. Jesus approached a woman that had come to fetched water from the well. Jesus requested of her – “Give me to drink.” (John 4:7). As they conversed, Jesus told her of water that he had that she should be asking for. This was a symbolic lesson that Jesus gave her where he was likening water that would refresh the body to that which the spirit could do to refresh us. The water he spoke of would be a source of fulfillment in a similar way to how water would refresh her and yet this time keep her replenished forever so she would never thirst again. In other words an internal spring of water that was continually gushing forth.

As you symbolically walk through the desert of life, facing obstacles in your path, you are made alive inside and feel such joy inside that the sadness is replaced. Christ then is the source of true lasting happiness that refreshes you daily.

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” – Isaiah 55:1-3

Many in life are racing to find happiness in temporary worldly pursuits. They may even have thought they could give money away and serve others. This is certainly a good thing, but in the end would still leave a person empty. The true way to happiness is to partake of that which was offered to us by Christ.

Make it real in your life. Get to know who he was and what he did. Believe in him, have hope and faith in him.

-How is your “knock sensor” working?

 

car-engineOver a period of time, I found that my car was not driving with the power that it once had. I would step on the gas peddle while driving on the freeway and there just was no power. No acceleration as it once had. It was really apparent when driving up hills. I put up with it for quite a while and then finally took the car into the repair shop. They immediately diagnosed the problem as a bad knock sensor.

I had never heard of such a thing before, so I inquired as to the cost and purpose of such a gadget. It is a simple $35.00 part that listens to the knocking noises that the firing of the pistons make and acts to adjust the timing of the firing of the spark plug to maximize the power that the engine delivers.

The engine was always firing and giving off the noise to be heard, but the sensor was no longer working to be able to listen and use that information to direct its actions. How like this mechanism are our lives? How well do you listen to the quiet messages being broadcast to us from our God through the Holy Spirit?

The messages are always flowing to us. Unfortunately, we may not be listening. We might be drowning out those messages because of other noise we have let into our lives. It takes repentance and humility to get to the point to where we can escape the influences of Babylon and give our lives over to a more righteous path. A path that puts the kingdom of heaven first.

Jesus would often go off and meditate in prayer and listen, to know the will of the Father. Many times the prayer is a preparation for a later outpouring of the spirit at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. There are angels all around to minister and the Holy Spirit is there constantly to teach us and lead us in all ways that we need.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” – John 16:13

Start off this new year being rededicated to searching out the truths that can bring joy and peace into your life. Tune your life to listen in and you will be amazed what you will hear. It might be something you can actually write down and follow. It might even be something that you can’t put down into words, but is more of a message of love and assurance. Be a clean vessel and start bringing real power into your life and bless the lives of others as well.

– We need a miracle! Let’s unite to see one, like Moses and George Washington did!

george-washington-praying-olympia-washingtonWhen you consider the great miracles found in the Old Testament, one stands out above the rest. That is the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea. Here you had a truly hopeless situation. There they were, Moses and the children of Israel. Pinned down. On one side of them were the armies of Pharaoh. On the other side the red sea. The only thing that could save them from certain death was a miracle.

Fast forward to the time of the American revolutionary war. George Washington commanded a much smaller, less armed and inferior army than that of the British and their contingency. Many colonists were against Washington and felt they should accept the offer given by the British to be pardoned and settle for what seemed some fairly good terms. Washington’s troop count at one point would get critically low. Then he would get pinned down and would have no escape and face certain death. The only thing that could save them from certain death was a miracle.

Fast forward to our day. We are exhausted economically and militarily. The slightest tremor to our fragile system will cause it to crumble. We have enemies within that have betrayed us. We have enemies on the outside that seek our destruction. We have social unrest, disillusionment, division and deception of the masses. We are pinned down and have no escape and face certain destruction. The only thing that can save anyone is a miracle.

How to see miracles

We have no national leader at this present hour like a George Washington or a Moses. What would that type of a leader be telling us to do in this most critical hour?  These humble leaders of the past would be telling us “we need a miracle!” But how? How are we to see a miracle in our midst? And how would we deserve such a miracle? Let’s hear it from Washington’s own lips. What did he say in his day? It is also what he would certainly say now.

“Thursday … set apart … as a day of fasting, prayer and humiliation, to implore the Lord and Giver of all victory to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness, and that it would please Him to bless the Continental Arms with His divine favor and protection–all officers and soldiers are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverence and attention on that day to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts for His mercies already received and for those blessings which our holiness and uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through His mercy to obtain.” – George Washington decree to his troops, March 6, 1776

“All the troops…except the guards, are to attend Divine worship tomorrow morning at the second bell; the officers commanding corps, are to take especial care, that their men appear clean, and decent, and that they are to march in proper order to the place of worship…The Honorable Congress having recommended it to the United States to set apart Thursday the 6th of May next to be observed as a day of fasting, humiliation and prayer, to acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence; to deprecate deserved punishment for our sins and ingratitude, to unitedly implore the Protection of Heaven; Success to our Arms and the Arms of our Ally: The Commander in Chief enjoins a religious observance of said day and directs the Chaplains to prepare discourses proper for the occasion; strictly forbidding all recreations and unnecessary labor.” – General Washington order at Valley Forge, On April 12, 1777

At the end of the war, George Washington declared – “The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such, as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the Armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”

Washington knew wherein true power resided. He knew that he had to call down that power and he knew how to do it. What did he and others call upon the people to do over and over? To fast, pray, hold devotions, repent etc.

Wake up! All is not well! On a daily basis arise each day and humble yourself before the Lord and raise your voice in mighty prayer. Worship God the Father, in the name of the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost. When you lie down to sleep at night, do so with praising and thankfulness for God in your heart. Confess your sins and then go out and be obedient to the commandments of God and let your light shine for others to see. It is going to take a miracle to save America and bring the rest of the righteous out of the world to safety.