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Shepherds Hill Homestead » A Separated Life, Plain Lifestyle » Meat Ye Know Not Of

Meat Ye Know Not Of

             Hello to all who walk under the name of the Lord JesusChrist. We are going to look at the Word concerning Fasting. Please turn with me to Acts chapter 10. Here we find the historical account of how God opened up the gospel to others besides the Jews. Up until this point, the early church was going by what they perceived as total truth. The message was only given at Jewish Synagogues and to the Hebrew people. There was a man at this time named Cornelius who was a Gentile. He sought God through righteous living. In verse 2, it says he prayed to God always. We know that there is power in prayer. Today I want to focus on another attribute of righteousness that Cornelius practiced; the act of Fasting.

          I don’t know if you’ve considered fasting as part of your walk with the Lord, but there is much to it. I believe it is one of the untapped nuggets of spiritual gold in which we as believers may partake. Look in verse 30. There you will see that Cornelius says he has been fasting and at the ninth hour of the day (3:00 PM) he prayed. This seems to indicate that when the scripture says he prayed always (v 2) it is including the time he prayed and fasted. Also you may note that Peter was fasting as well (v 10).

          Now, since my focus today is not that others may knowChrist besides the Jews; I am not going to cover this story verse by verse. Instead I want to point to the repetition of using fasting in the Bible. There are a lot of things that people read in the Word that they judge “for today” or not. Some say that musical instruments shouldn’t be used because they aren’t mentioned in the New Testament. Others believe that speaking in tongues was only for the early church. Some say that headcoverings were a cultural agenda for the day and that they don’t have to be worn by women. All of these things must be decided on by you as you read the Bible.

          As for prayer and fasting, it is indisputable as an act of the Christian’s walk with God. I believe it is just one more thing that the devil wants to keep us ignorant about. Let us consider another passage. Turn to Matthew 17. In verse 14 we see that a man brings his demon possessed son to Jesus. He tells Him that he took the boy to the disciples but they couldn’t cure him (v 16). Jesus promptly rebukes the devil and the boy is healed. In verse 19 the disciples are puzzled as to why they could not cast the devil out.

          Now stop and think for a moment as to what you think Jesus might answer. He might have told them it was because He was the Son of God and that they weren’t. He might have told them that they needed to do it in His Name for results. But what He says is that they must have faith (v 20) and that this kind of demon only leaves by prayer and fasting (v 21).

          Now, I’m not here today to necessarily present a case for using the King James Bible. It’s the one I use and the only one I need. I once used the NIV among other translations. I was willingly ignorant (2 Peter 3:5) until the “gender neutral” version came out. That got me studying and noticing where the translations came from. Verse 21 is not in the NIV and I believe that there is a reason. I believe God’s Word is complete word for word. I don’t believe that it went hundreds of years being inaccurate and that now we have a more accurate version. In 1st Peter 1:25 it says that the Word of the Lord will last forever. In Matthew 24:35 Jesus says that His word would not pass away.

          According to the allies of the newer translations, they say that these come from “older” manuscripts which have different text. These manuscripts have only been found in modern times. This text doesn’t include verse 21 (as well as many other verses). However, the proponents of the new translations say that since these are older manuscripts they are more accurate and somehow we now have the real Bible. Now, do we suppose that God’s Word was hundreds of years lost as far as accuracy and that only in modern times do we have the accurate thing?

On the contrary, I believe the opposite is true. If you compare what was left out of the modern translations you will see nothing that disagrees with the rest of the Bible. It only strengthens precepts that are already laid down.  Prayer and fasting is mentioned end to end in the Bible.

Getting back to what Jesus said, He gives us insight that shows that there is power in prayer and fasting. So what is this fasting and why does it work? Where did the Bible first mention fasting? Who in the Bible is said to have fasted?

           Moses is the first person that I find who fasted. Check Exodus 24:18 and 34:28 for the reference.Israelfasted many times according to scripture during times of sincerely seeking the Lord. But David gives us a clue as to a benefit of fasting. Psalm 35:13 says he humbled his soul with fasting. Fasting is part of crucifying our flesh. If you think about how often we loose control of our appetite we see that it is really hard to control. I understand that the television has many commercials in which weight-loss is the sales pitch. There is truly a weight problem in our culture. However, this goes beyond the physical.  There is a spiritual obesity as well. There is spiritual strength in fasting!

          In 2nd Corinthians 12:10 Paul says that when he is weak- he is made strong. That sounds like an oxymoron unless you read the verse. Look at it in its entirety.

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

          Now, that can only mean that when he is weak physically is he strong spiritually. When our bodies are in need, we better know we need God.

          The second thing that fasting does is keeping our focus on God during a time of prayer. If I decide to fast and pray during a particular period of time, I usually have the regular things of life to do. My job goes on or someone comes by to visit. My praying cannot continue 24 hours a day but my fasting can. That’s what Cornelius says in Acts. He said that he was fasting until the hour he met Peter. He also says that he prayed at the ninth hour.

          You might ask how a person fasts. There are basically four ways to fast that I find mentioned in the Bible. The first is abstinence of food only. Doctors say our bodies can go 40 days without food. Isn’t that interesting that 40 days is the longest anyone was mentioned fasting in the Bible?  During this type of fast, liquids are still consumed. There are many examples of people fasting food for up to 40 days.

          The second is a total fast. This would be no food and water. Esther called for this type of fast in Esther chapter 4. Note that they fasted three days in this manner. Doctors tell us that we can go three days without liquid. Coincidence? I think not!

          The third is a selective fast. This fasting is only certain foods or drinks which are abstained from. This could be certain meals also. In Daniel we see where only vegetables and water are eaten in chapter 1. In chapter 10 we see where Daniel ate no meat or wine.

          The final example is given in 1 Corinthians 7:3-6. Husbands and wives may choose to temporarily deprive themselves of physical intimacy and devote the time to prayer and seeking God.

          Let me say that I believe in fasting. I have seen great benefit in my life from it. It is not a hunger strike to God! I liken it to the anticipation of something wonderful! If you are in the waiting room of a hospital before a baby is born, you might joyfully go without food. You don’t stop eating in order to bring the baby into the world. You simply have something more on your mind.

          There are some rules that you should follow. First, don’t start with a 40 day fast! If you have never fasted before and you go without food for a long time, you will be sick. Let the Holy Spirit tell you how long to fast. Try one meal at first.

          Second, when you fast don’t make a big deal about it. Jesus said that when you fast (not if) do not put on a face to show the world that you are suffering for God – Matt6:16-18. It should be a private thing that is toward God and not for the world’s view.

          Third, don’t come under condemnation that if you don’t fast (or can’t medically) that God is not pleased with you. There are other ways of depriving your flesh. For example, if you are diabetic and can’t go without a meal without getting sick, you could cut out meat for a season.

          The fourth rule is to use wisdom. I met a lady once who tried to fast for 40 days. She made it for 38 days and found herself eating a bowl of soup before she thought about it. She was devastated! I could not understand it as I was impressed by her 38 days. She had gone for a visit to a friend’s home and they were all having soup and she picked up the bowl and began to eat before she realized what she was doing. Your digestive system will shut down after an extended fast and you should eat slowly upon returning. Soup is probably just what she needed.

          Oh, there’s one more rule. Don’t go grocery shopping while you are fasting! If you are the grocery shopper for your family, time your fast so that you don’t have to go to the store while you are hungry. There is no need to add temptation to your life.

          Jesus got busy ministering to the woman at the well in John chapter 4. His disciples were off getting food as it was aroundnoon. When they returned they tried to get Him to eat something. He said to them” I have meat to eat that ye know not of”. I think we should realize that there is a table set for us in the wilderness! We need to focus on the real food that God has for us and not the temporary food we eat. I encourage you to seek God and study His word on this matter. Try fasting and see what God will do in you!

 

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Filed under: A Separated Life, Plain Lifestyle

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