FASTING DRIVES AWAY DOUBT
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting – Mark 9:28-29
Prayer and fasting do not drive certain demons out. If the name of Jesus and faith in His name won’t do the job, then fasting and prayer won’t either. Jesus is saying that fasting and prayer are the only ways of casting out this type of unbelief.
An unbelief that comes as a result of ignorance can be done away with by receiving the truth of God’s Word (Rom.10:17; 2 Pet. 1:4). However, the unbelief that hindered the disciples in this case was a “natural” type of unbelief. They had been taught all of their lives to believe what their five senses told them. They were simply dominated by this natural input more than by God’s supernatural input (God’s Word). The only way to overcome this unbelief that comes through our senses is to deny our senses through prayer and fasting.
Fasting accomplishes many things. One of the greatest benefits of fasting is that through denying the lusts of the flesh, the spirit man gains ascendancy. Fasting was always used as a means of seeking God to the exclusion of all else. Fasting does not cast out demons but rather, it casts out unbelief. Fasting is beneficial in every aspect of the Christian life – not only in the casting out of devils.
The real virtue of a fast is in humbling ourselves through self denial (Ps. 35:13; 69:10), and that can be accomplished through ways other than total abstinence. Partial fasts can be beneficial, as well as fasts of our time or pleasures. However, because appetite for food is one of man’s strongest drives, fasting from food seems to get the job done the quickest. Fasting should be a much more important part of our seeking God.
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. —Ephesians 2:10
It was only scrap wood, but Charles Hooper saw much more than that. Salvaging old timbers from a long-abandoned corncrib, he sketched some simple plans. Then he felled a few oak and poplar trees from his wooded property and painstakingly squared them with his grandfather’s broadax. Piece by piece, he began to fit together the old lumber with the new.
Today you can see Charles and Shirley Hooper’s postcard-perfect log cabin, tucked away in the trees on Tennessee Ridge. Part guesthouse, part museum for family heirlooms, the structure stands as an enduring tribute to Charles’ vision, skill, and patience.
Writing to a Gentile audience, Paul told the church at Ephesus how Jesus was creating something new by bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish believers as a single entity. “You who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ,” Paul wrote (Eph.2:13). This new structure was “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (vv. 20-21).
The work continues today. God takes the brokenness of our lives, artfully fits us together with other broken and rescued people, and patiently chips away our rough edges. He loves His work, you know.
Lord, we can’t thank You enough for Your passionate love for us. Help us to see that You bring us together in this beautiful body of believers known as Your church.
Our rough edges must be chipped away to bring out the image of Christ.
EMBRACE YOUR SEASON …
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. – Ecclesiastes 3:1, NLT
God has ordained seasons and cycles in our lives. Sometimes, when our dreams aren’t coming to pass on our timetable, we can be tempted to get frustrated. We have to be careful not to allow our attitude to keep us from moving forward.
In God’s kingdom, every season is not harvest. There are plowing seasons, planting seasons and watering seasons. Sure, we would love for every season to be a time of increase; but without the other seasons, we wouldn’t be prepared. It’s during the plowing seasons that God brings issues to light that we need to deal with. He’s getting us prepared for promotion. If you’re not making as much progress as you would like, the key is not to lose any ground. Don’t go backwards. Hold your position by keeping an attitude of faith and expectancy, even when it’s hard. Keep plowing by speaking the Word daily. Keep pressing through because soon you will come in to your due season!
WHAT KEEPS US FROM SERVING OTHERS? (1)
To answer before listening–that is folly… – Proverbs 18:13 NIV
To serve others effectively, you must be attuned to what they need. What keeps us from doing that? First: assumption. A lady in an airport lounge bought a packet of biscuits and sat down to read the newspaper. She heard a rustling noise and looked up to see the man beside her helping himself to the biscuits. Not wanting to make a scene, she leaned over and took one herself, hoping he’d get the message. Then she heard more rustling. She couldn’t believe it. The man was helping himself to another biscuit! There was only one left! She watched in disbelief as he broke the remaining biscuit in two, pushed half across to her, popped the other half in his mouth, and left. She was still furious when her flight was announced. Imagine how she felt when she opened her handbag to get her ticket out—and found her unopened packet of biscuits! Now be honest, didn’t you assume the stranger was helping himself to her biscuits? Most people do and that tells us a lot about ourselves! Too often we’re guilty of making assumptions about people and once you put someone in a box, it’s hard to think of them any other way. Do you agree? Every time a good tailor sees a client, he takes new measurements. He never assumes they’re the same size as they were the last time. That’s a good policy. Never make assumptions about someone’s background, profession, race, gender, age, nationality, politics, faith, or other factors. Once you do, you stop paying attention and miss clues that can help you to know what they really need.
GOD IS NOT OUT TO DESTROY YOU
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. JOHN 10:10
The Bible tells us clearly that God is a God of love, and our God of love is agood God! He is a God who longs to do good to His people. In fact, God desires to load His children with benefits every day (Psalm 68:19)!
My friend, don’t ever be mistaken that a good God will give you sicknesses, diseases and all sorts of physical afflictions. God is constant and constantly good. Sicknesses, on the other hand, are always bad. They are part of the curse. Their purpose is to destroy a person.
Our good God gave us His Son, Jesus, so that you may not be destroyed but have life, and have it more abundantly! The Lord does not take away your life. Instead, He gives, multiplies and restores to you life and health. The more you meditate on and believe His love and goodness toward you, the more you’ll walk in an increasing measure of His health, wholeness and abundant life!
SAYING YES TO GOD
“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness”. – Isaiah 41:10 (KJV)
Your decision to seek a deeper relationship with God won’t remove all problems from your life; to the contrary, it may bring about a series of personal crises as you constantly seek to say yes to God when the world pressures you to do otherwise. Each time you are tempted to distance yourself from the Creator, you face a spiritual crisis. A few of these cries may be monumental in scope, but most will be the small everyday decisions of life. In fact, life can be seen as on test after another and with each crisis comes yet another opportunity to grow closer to God, or to distance yourself from His plan for your life.
Today you will face many opportunities to say yes to God and you will encounter many opportunities to say no to Him. Your answers will determine not only the quality of your day but also the direction of your life. Step out in faith, and just say yes!
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. —Psalm 139:14
We are among seven billion people who coexist on a tiny planet that resides in a small section of a rather insignificant solar system. Our earth, in reality, is just one miniscule blue dot among millions of celestial bodies that God created. On the gigantic canvas that is our universe, our beautiful, majestic Earth appears as a tiny speck of dust.
That could make us feel extremely unimportant and inconsequential. However, God’s Word suggests that just the opposite is true. Our great God, who “measured the waters in the hollow of His hand” (Isa. 40:12), has singled out each person on this planet as supremely important, for we are made in His image.
For instance, He has created everything for us to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17). Also, for all who have trusted Jesus as Savior, God has given purpose (Eph. 2:10). And then there’s this: Despite the vastness of this world, God cares specifically about each of us. Psalm 139 says He knows what we are going to say and what we are thinking. We can’t escape His presence, and He planned our earthly existence before we were born.
We don’t need to feel unimportant when the God of the universe is that interested in us!
Lord, I look out into the vastness of the heavens and I see the grandeur of Your infinite power, yet You look at me from heaven and see someone You know, love, and care about. Thank You that You find value in me.
The God who created the universe is the God who loves you