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Fasting Logistics

Fasting Logistics

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Do you struggle to do Biblically-based fasting? Do you desire to have a better understanding on the subject of fasting?

Fasting is a powerful tool and gift from God that demonstrates His mercy in our lives if we allow it. This teaching seeks to address humility and the inner process that can take place during a fast, as well as lay out many of the practical elements on the subject.

This teaching was taught at Bethany College of Missions.

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Fasting Logistics

PREFACE

PREFACE

  1. Teaching’s Primary Purpose
    1. To lay a foundation for healthy fasting by going over practical information that will help encourage success in long or short-term fasts, and hopefully take away some of the unknown logistical stumbling blocks that could hinder a fast or the initiative to do one. As well as giving a little overview to fasting.

This teaching DOES NOT aim to give a comprehensive structured system on what the spiritual aspects of a fast should look like.  Mostly because that really would take two teachings or more on the subject of fasting.  And also is probably addressed throughout your BCOM experience.  Personally, I see the practical, external components of executing a fast as a priority, and pertinent to a believer fasting on a consistent basis because without that understanding many give up or rarely utilize the tool and gift of fasting.

WHY FAST?

WHY FAST? MAIN PURPOSE: HUMILITY

  1. Confronts Man’s Main Problem: Pride
    1. Humanities primary issue and obstacle is pride.  Thus, the ultimate purpose of fasting, either directly or indirectly, is humiliation in the Lord unto revealing our desperate need for Him.
    2. Pride and independence are a cover-up for spiritual famine within. Fasting strips away cover-ups and shows us our deep need for humility.  Think of fasting as a Humility Maintenance Program. 🙂
    3. Generally people sign up for a life of fasting just to get revelation, anointing and glory, when the primary reason for fasting is self-humiliation or humility.
    4. Man’s ultimate desire is to exalt himself rather than humble himself and thus we can even manipulate fasting to serve ourselves.

Isaiah 58:3b

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers

Matt. 6:16

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

  1. A good way to quickly test and reveal the value humility holds in our hearts is to pick one thing we take pride in about ourselves & possibly anchor our reputation in, and try to avoid or discourage all exalting conversation and thought around it for a time.

Jesus loves me so much, He is fiercely committed to destroying that which has afflicted me: my deep infatuation with myself.  David Sliker

“Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself.”  T.S. Eliot

John 5:44

How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?

  1. Our life should always be found in Him, not them (Col. 3:4). Then we will be empowered to represent Him rightly to them in humility.
  2. Fasting = Our Weakness = His Strength
    1. Fasting truly is a gift from God in how it reminds us that we are not “all that” & that we desperately need Him to strengthen us unto the Day of His appearing. Without that constant reminder, we grow in blinded pride & eventually have a language void of heart reality (Is. 29:13; Is. 58).
    2. Fasting is the one voluntary activity that God highlighted Biblically for man to choose in our own freewill, in order to keep our heart sober to our inner realities

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Fasting & prayer is God’s plan to usher you into voluntary weakness.  Billy Humphrey

God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.  Martin Luther

  1. Cultivates Love & Dependence With God
    1. In the OT, fasting mostly happened in light of needing God’s strategic help, and many times was in response to going astray & rejecting Him as their leader.  It represented humility in the heart of the corporate whole. Esther 4:3,16; Joel 2; Jonah 3:5; Ps. 35:13; 69:10; 109:24
    2. The OT many times fasting displayed a corporate surrender, dependence & turning of the heart of a nation to God in order that He might set His eyes on the nation and redeem it onto it’s covenantal purpose, ultimately displayed in the restoration of all things in the end.

Ezra 8:21

Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.

Jonah 3:5

And the people of Ninevah believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them.

Isaiah 66:2b

But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

  1. The most important date on Israel’s calendar was/is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which is the only fast commanded by the law.  Known as a time to afflict the soul, which they understood primarily to be abstaining from food (Lev. 23:27; Acts 27:9 – “the Fast”)
  2. In the 2 primary fasting passages of the Old Testament, Isaiah 58 and Zechariah 7, this is the point God is making.  (Isaiah 58:3-…)  “You say you are humbling yourself, but when you fast you actually pursue self-exaltation.”  In Isaiah 58, God hits directly on their exploitation and reveals it: …seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
  3. Remember that God is always after the inner reality of our hearts and has such great mercy and love that He will pursue the cleansing of the inside in whatever way He so chooses.
  4. Jesus’ rebuked the Pharisees for using fasting as a means of self-exaltation instead of self-humiliation. Those searching self-exaltation in the immediate receive their reward in this age by the reputation and recognition they inwardly pursue through external means.
  5. Great Facilitator of Godly Sorrow Unto Bodily Resurrection
    1. Weeping and mourning is commonly found in OT contexts of fasting and humbling (cf. Judges 20:26; 2 Sam. 12:21; 1 Kings 21:27-29)
    2. Godly sorrow/grief is characterized by repentance unto belief in Him as the leader, followed by obedience (similar to those in Nineveh in book of Jonah). Worldly grief sets it’s sorrow  on the loss of the world’s approval, leading to an attempt in regaining that approval which leads to the “second death” at the Day of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 7:8-11

For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it…As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces (second) death (in hell). For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.

James 4:6-10

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (in the resurrection at the Lord’s appearing).

1 Peter 5:1-11

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed (the resurrection & coming Kingdom of the Messiah): shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock (similar context to Is. 58, don’t exploit unto your reputation).  And when the chief Shepherd appears (the Messiah’s/Jesus’ return), you will receive the unfading crown of glory (at the resurrection of your body).  Likewise, you who are younger…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time (the Messiah’s return) he may exalt you (resurrect you unto life in Him), casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith (of the Messiah’s return), knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (in the resurrection of your body at Jesus return). To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  1. Humility – Conclusion

Pride is not an attribute of God’s current and coming Kingdom, thus He will oppose it on the Day of the Lord at His appearing.  The only way to overcome pride is through the grace given by the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was given to help us endure inwardly unto the Day of the Lord with a right heart. Thus we access His Spirit and grace through prayer and it becomes the “on ramp” of displaying our weakness before God, in every day life, by crying out “Help!” to the Spirit on a consistent basis.  Fasting can easily intensify this cry because of the vulnerability and exposing it brings to our inner life.  When our inner life is walking rightly with God, there is Biblical precedent that God might give us immediate favor in some situations.  However, the heart of the believer should keep their eyes soberly fixed on the favor that they will receive on the Day of the Messiah’s appearing (1 Pet. 1:13).

KEY COMPONENT TO FASTING

KEY COMPONENT TO BIBLICAL FASTING: THE BODY ALONGSIDE LIFE

  1. Intro
    1. A key component to Biblical fasting is our bodies, thus I see it as essential to understand some basics in the process our body goes through when fasting, both internally and externally, in order to help us as we journey through the pain of this gift God has given.
    2. I have found that many fasts which are initiated, broken & left behind can be connected to some type of lack in understanding of how our body works and what fasting can bring to our whole person if pursued in the grace of His Spirit.  It also can be connected to man’s desire to be his own messiah, with fasting revealing that motive.
    3. Believers can grow frustrated, bitter or passive toward fasting based on many factors. Satan himself even thought it worthwhile to try and persuade Jesus to quit when doing His long-term fast (Matt. 4:1-11).

There are lots of reasons not to pray and fast. All of them involve our arrogance and disconnected self-reliance.  David Sliker

  1. The stomach is the core of our flesh and when put in submission through a lifestyle of fasting, other areas of the flesh, which might have seemed like mountains before, can become smaller internal hurdles to jump.
  2. After experiencing high levels of self-denial in the trenches of long-term fasting, there is an increased momentary momentum & hunger for suffering in the flesh because of the freedom that is felt at so many levels of life.
  3. Fasting is not a microwavable solution. It is long suffering but also incredibly rewarding on many levels.

10. There are so many cultural elements that can cause us to remain in bondage to our bellies (ie. food commercials, food smells, habits, community living, etc) that in turn will leave many discouraged and embracing other areas of bondage in their lives.

  1. Fasting Declutters False Patterns of Living
    1. Many walk in daily patterns of busyness and/or lazyness which have numbed them of their own inner will & true emotions, leaving a system of life that traps them in the flesh.
    2. Satan hates the discipline of fasting because it is a knife that cuts superficiality, leaving his tactics exposed!
    3. Breaks up daily patterns of flesh that you have depended on & you become left with your own internal resources. If those resources are bankrupt, then you either face God with dependence or give into the fragmented “crutches” of life that keeps things comfortable.
    4. How do we live dependent on God in a society that has everything else to depend on but God? Answer: through consistent fasting and creating dependency on Him as your internal resource!
    5. Fasting applies pressure to the flesh and seeks to dethrone it in order for Him to sit upon the throne of life!
    6. A life can become so cluttered with distractions, fears & dependencies of this world that we are spiritually numb, cold, & indifferent.  The Holy Spirit grieves & grows silent, in an effort to create emptiness so that we will be drawn back to Him. But the problem is that the world has so much to fill that emptiness with.  We end up not even missing the Lord.

10. Fasting will force the challenge of facing addictions, compulsive behaviors, depression, internal pain, etc.  It presses the pause button on life to quietly observe how crazy & detached we have become from Him and to accelerate freedom from all kinds of bondage.

11. God wants us to be free but we have to face the subtle demons of our character: fear, hopelessness, worry, doubt. Jesus becomes front-&-center in life as things are sacrificed.

12. Fasting is a magnifying glass that allows us to examine subconscious patterns of living. Think about the investment & energy within our cultural infrastructure that is aimed at controlling the subconscious patterns of peoples’ lives (I pray often around this for my children, who are the target of a Babylonian system). Fasting exposes how darkness has been able to infiltrate the destiny of our lives in the everyday and can bring us to radical joy in His freedom.

13. Feel empty! Feel the pain! Allow your heart to suffer in context to looking up. Don’t be afraid, He will take the yoke & burden!

  1. Our Bodies System

Homeostasis: is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition, by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments controlled by interrelated regulation mechanisms.  Seeks to bring continued balance to the hunger system.

  1. Unnatural foods disturb homeostasis (Saturated animal fats, refined oils, sugar, salt & additives), messing with your hunger system
  2. Over time we become overnourished while starving.
  3. Hunger becomes distorted as the body craves for unnecessary things to keep homeostasis balance

It’s easy to see why we’re overfed and undernourished.  We gorge ourselves with increasing amounts of food to respond to our bodies’ cravings for nutrition.  After we’ve eaten, our bodies, even though under a heavy burden of calories, still realize that they never received the nutrients they needed.  So our brains send more signals, triggering hunger, which is interpreted by us as the need or desire for even more food.  We end up spiraling down into a vicious cycle of overfeeding with empty foods, craving more nutrition and overfeeding again with even more empty processed, devitalized, sugary foods. We get fatter and fatter, forcing our bodies to groan under the burden of extra pounds.  But in terms of actual nourishment, we give our bodies less and less.  Excerpt from Toxic Relief by Dr. Don Colbert

  1. The body reacts as it would to any addiction, powerful cravings override the body’s natural needs!
  2. That is why people get so angry when trying to give up that thing that they have fallen in love with over time. (ie. Swiss Cake Rolls, daily coffee, etc)
  3. “Pleasure Addiction” – Excerpt from Foundations To All Freedom by Ron Lagerquist (http://www.freedomyou.com/addiction/pleasure addiction.htm)
  4. Before The Fast
    1. Prior to any fast, it is very helpful to eat light meals such as soup, fruits, veggies and potatoes.  Before beginning a longer term fast, the fast will begin much smoother if you do several days (2-3) of lighter eating with just water & juice.  Example: If you eat a steak the night before the fast, then the digestion of that meat during the first day of the fast will make it much harder.
    2. The body is like a vehicle in some ways.  You don’t put it in drive and hit the gas as hard as you can.  A steady ramping up of speed is the best for the vehicle over the long haul.
    3. Consistent unhealthy entry and exit from fasts can really hurt your body over time, leading to things like kidney stones, etc in the not-so-far future.  Don’t let that stop or discourage you.  Fasting can become a joyful lifestyle and not be a burden.
  5. Fasting Detoxifies
    1. While fasting, the body is able to get rid of all the toxins that have been weighing it down possibly for years.  It gives the body a chance to actually rest from all the “poisonous” foods we have placed in our mouths.
    2. Fast long enough and it is said to restore your bodies internal process to what it would have been like at birth (beautiful skin, no side effects from the foods you had been eating: headaches, muscle soreness, constant fatique & tiredness, all types of healing from things like asthma, eye problems, cancer, etc)
    3. God made man’s body perfect in the beginning and He is coming again to make all the wrong things right.  Until then, we can catch glimpses that remind us of what was and is to come, encouraging us as we sojourn to that Day. Fasting is one way to catch a glimpse of what God intended for man and will again institute in the resurrection of our bodies.
  6.  Fasting Discomforts
    1. Most fasting reactions are not symptoms of fasting but the body stating it’s actual need for a fast after years of neglect through unhealthy eating.
    2. People do not fast for several reasons, but the #1 reason is the discomforts that are experienced: headaches, bad breath, weakness & dizziness, etc. See Common Physical Reactions To Fasting by Ron Lagerquist (http://www.freedomyou.com/fasting_book/Physical Reactions to Fasting.htm)
    3. North America’s diet never or rarely allows for the body to cleanse itself, & as a result just gets more & more toxic as time rolls on.
    4. The negative experience in the beginning stages of a fast is a lifetime of built-up toxins dramatically detoxifying in a short period of time.
    5. Today, we consume more toxic substances than all generations before us. Some say 200 times greater than Jesus day. The massive spread of cancer is a great confirmation of this fact.
  7. Juice Fasting
    1. During fasting, toxins are released into the bloodstream making water fasting almost impossible the first time around.  If you are not a regular to fasting, start with juice fasting.
    2. Juice fasting cleanses the body while supplying a dramatic increase in vitamins, minerals, & enzymes.
    3. Benefits of juice fasting: heave ho while propelling you to vigorous physical health & clarity of mind.  Toxins out and nutrients in!  Through this people have been freed from serious diseases such as cancer, leukemia, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disorders, skin infection, liver disorders, alcoholism, smoking, etc.
    4. Would recommend drinking juice AND water during a juice fast.  Whatever ratio you find to work best for you. I would recommend not doing just juice.
    5. The amount of juice you drink will determine the intensity of cleansing. Less juice, more cleansing. More cleansing, greater discomfort.
    6. Juice fasting can include 100% juice (with no pulp), herbal teas sweetened w/honey

10. True juice fasting does not include V8, Gatorade, smoothies, hot chocolate, coffee or anything else that has unnatural ingredients.  These will destroy the results of the fast on the body and can also take away the effects sought through spiritual fasting.  They can make the fast much easier where you won’t “feel it.”  It can also make the fast much harder because certain ingredients can awaken the stomach, bringing on severe hunger pains.

11. 30-40 days on a juice fasting can bring significant cleansing

  1. Water Fasting
    1. Would recommend easing into a longer water fast by beginning with several days of juice fasting.
    2. Attach a water bottle to you in some way, in order to constantly be sipping the water.  Don’t be afraid to take big swigs every once in a while; on a long-term fast you can feel your body get a “pick-me-up.”
    3. If you can, try and not drink out of the tap. Distilled water is the best for cleansing because of its inherent, magnetic properties and ability to absorb and suspend large quantities of toxins, flushing them from the body
    4. Later in a long-term water fast things feel like they are in slow motion & the person will begin to feel their heartbeat while just sitting calmly.
    5. Much harder on those with a fast metabolism.
    6. 10 days on a water fast is equivalent to a 30-40 juice fast.

10. It takes mental preparation. Tell yourself it is coming. 🙂

  1. Breaking The Fast
    1. Juice fasting: for every 7 days is one day of raw fruits and veggies. Would recommend transitioning out with baked potato, and a little bit of chicken, fish.  Eat little bits and chew a lot.
    2. Water fasting: Eat fruit and veggies for 3 days and on fourth day begin to transition to simple natural foods.
    3. The elasticity of the stomach will be back to the size it should be after a longer term fast (approximately the size of one hand made into a fist).  Take advantage of it and eat slowly to know when the stomach is full.  If you eat healthier coming off your fast, the benefits can last a long time.
    4. Use watchful self-control because there will be strong impulses to eat a lot. I suggest finding a few things that are natural but satisfying in the moment for you to snack on freely (ie. for me I really liked toasted Ezekiel bread with honey on it).  It helps to not binge on unhealthy food following the first phase of breaking the fast.
  2. Fasting Commonly Asked Questions (http://www.freedomyou.com/fasting_book/commonly_asked_questions.htm)

How long should I fast? Prefer long fasts to short ones. Long fasts give the body the uninterrupted time to do the work of healing and allow God the solitude to reveal your other dependencies. I compare it to getting a piano tuned. A piano tuner can tune a piano in three short visits or one long one. Three shorter visits will take more time and energy because he has to drive back and forth, loading and unload his tools

IN CONCLUSION

IN CONCLUSION

  1. As fabulous and promising as fasting is, it is at best simply a tool.

Do not allow the focus of Christ to be lost in tinkering with the tool. At the end of the day, no matter how educated you are or how many times you have fasted, there will be new frontiers and challenges because fasting is as complex as human nature, and mysterious as the touch of the divine.

OTHER INFO

OTHER INFO

  1. Recommended Reading & Resources
    1. Humility by Andrew Murray
    2. The Rewards of Fasting by Mike Bickle and Dana Candler
    3. Toxic Relief by Dr. Don Colbert
    4. www.freedomyou.com
    5. www.hacres.com
  2. Added Research
    1. THE PATH OF MODERN MEDICINE

a)    The government has spent billions of dollars in research into disease, yet very little is spent on prevention. There is more money spent on advertising aspirin than nutritional education.

b)    North America has ignored all the statistics that clearly define the modern diet as being destructive to health. Having one of the highest standards of living has resulted in a nation with the greatest rates of heart attacks and cancer. Due to medical care, people are living longer, but seniors are taking an average of eight to twelve prescription drugs daily for multiple, health problems. We have prolonged life, which tragically often translates into prolonged suffering.

  1. MILK

a)    Calcium is in every natural food that we eat. And, believe it or not, there are actually foods that are higher in calcium than our beloved milk. Little sesame seeds do not have the backing of a massive Dairy Board to advertise their nutritional quality. Yet a cup of these humble little seeds contains 2,200 mg. of calcium compared with the 280 mg. of calcium in a cup of milk.

b)    All green leafy vegetables, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, collards, brewers’ yeast, dulse, figs, oats, prunes, soy products, blackstrap molasses and Sucanat, to mention only a few, contain generous amounts of this essential mineral. All life on earth contains calcium.

  1. MEAT

a)    Meat is a huge part of the North American Diet. In most countries, meat is very expensive and used only as a garnish at meals. But, nutritionists have linked cancer to animal foods. Each time you eat an animal product you increase the chance of cancer. Men who eat meat, dairy products, and eggs daily, will increase the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 360%.

The risk of death from a heart attack for the average American man is 50%. When reducing meat, the percentage drops to 15%. By avoiding all animal products, the risk of death from a heart attack drops to 4%.

Richee Richee (7 Posts)

Richee serves as one of the administrators to the Daniel Training Network. He, his wife Grace, and their four children currently live in Bloomington, MN. Richee has a passion to see those in the Church gain a deeper understanding of the gospel.


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