Scripture: Isaiah 58:6-8
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."
Earlier this year, we said that one of the fruits of a genuine move of God’s Spirit is holiness – a growing hatred of sin and longing for righteousness. While the work of sanctification is clearly the work of the Holy Spirit, He will not do it against our will. We must desire to be transformed and be willing to yield to His work. Fasting can play an important role in preparing us for that work in two ways.
First, fasting has a way of intensifying the power of prayer. Mark Nysewander explains:
Isaiah says that if you fast, “then your righteousness will go before you” (Isaiah 58:8). Righteousness will work itself out in your life so that people see holiness. But fasting doesn’t make you holy. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit the fire of God transforms your human will so that you can consistently and passionately choose for God. The Holy Spirit begins to manifest within you the character of Jesus.
If only the Holy Spirit makes you holy, how is fasting a key to holiness? When you couple fasting with another spiritual dynamic, whether it is prayer, worship or brokenness, that spiritual dynamic moves into a deeper dimension. Couple fasting with the baptism in the Holy Spirit and it intensifies the work of the Spirit in your life. Fasting becomes the fuel infector for the fire of the Holy Spirit! (The Fasting Key, p. 51)
Second, fasting has a way of exposing sin or areas in my life where I am resisting God. Richard Foster writes,
More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. (Celebration of Discipline, p. 55)
Throughout this week of preparation for our second Call to AWAKEN, Pastor Keith will provide a daily devotional to encourage you in your times of prayer and fasting for a fresh move of God’s Spirit. Included in the devotional is a brief daily word from "The Fasting Key," a book by Mark Nysewander, who will be our guest speaker during A Call to AWAKEN 2. Keith will add a focal scripture and a few application questions. Don’t forget, we are gathering at 6:30 a.m. and noon each day in the Prayer Room, and would love for you to join us!
Scripture: Hebrews 4:12-13
"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
Today’s Fasting Encouragement: Revelation
From Mark Nysewander, "The Fasting Key" (London, Sovereign World Ltd., 2015)
So how should you read the Bible to get revelation? Read it in faith, expecting God to speak. And one way to turn up the light of revelation is through fasting. In my life the Bible never seems as alive as when I fast. One couple saw an immediate difference in their ability to receive revelation through the Bible when they started fasting one day a week. “God has opened our eyes to things that we have read before,” they reported, “but have never seen specifically – it’s as though ideas are just jumping out at us!”
Fasting played an important role in giving us the inspired word of God. Moses fasted for forty days before he received the illumination of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). Daniel fasted when he got inspired words of the end-times (Daniel 9:3). Paul, who wrote a significant part of the New Testament, said he fasted often (2 Corinthians 11:27). If fasting helped these men receive so much of the original inspiration of God’s Word could it not release in you a present illumination from His Word? (Page 37)
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