lundi 28 novembre 2011

Fasting: There is a reward!

In the book of Mathew chapter 6, Jesus spoke of three spiritual practices for His followers, and one of them is fasting. He pointed two things that should be in one's mind when fasting. Number one, that there is a right attitude to have, and second that there is a reward to be obtained!

Mathew 6:17-18 - "when you fastest, anoint your head, and wash your face; That you appear not unto men to fast, but unto your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly."

Yes, there is a reward! And Jesus want us to know that. We sometime feel strangely weird to expect God to reward us as we diligently look for Him, we abhor that idea as being a non spiritual attitude. But why? Jesus never saw that connection of rewarding someone for spiritual travail as something bad. Nor did the author of Hebrew. If you believe; You will see. If you don't see, you may confidently revisit the basis of your particular belief; because something is certainly not working properly somewhere. I suspect the reason i have no difficulty with the reward thing, it is because i look at Christianity as a religion that makes promises and which in turn give a way to verify those promises through results.

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrew 11:6

This is even one of the reason, i believe, why Jesus insisted that people who fast may not do that so that they may impress men. 0ne of the possible reason is because men will not reward your fasting or answer your prayers. It is Him, the father, who is in the secret who will do that. Hence, He is the person you may want to impress (please) in your fast and prayers, not men! And faith is the way that i know that you may impress (please) God. For as the verse above says, "without faith it is impossible to please him". And what does faith do? It expects an answer. It trust that the one your are looking for through this diligent spiritual practices such as fasting will listen and reward your quest.

In 2002, when i started to relearn how to fast biblically (mainly through the tutoring of Derek Prince), I learned that there were things among others that i should expect as I fasted. So I used to ask God to honor His word by rewarding me with the blessings found in the great chapter of fasting found in Isaiah chapter 58. I used to claim these blessings: early breakthrough; prompt health; expressive righteousness; the glory of God in my life; frequent and prompt answered prayers; to be a blessing to many generations; to be a restorer; and be a light to those around me. So i took the habit to claim them when i ended my regular fasting day.

What i usually did, i still do that with lesser intensity now (i guess by writing this i am getting more encouraged to go back to that old blessed productive habit), I used to close my fasting day with my Bible opened at that Chapter 58 of Isaiah and pray while reading it. And when that ingenious objection rose up in my mind, telling me that it was a blessing to those of the old testament only, I would turn my Bible pages to 2 Corinthians 1:20 and read that out-loud to myself "For ALL the promises of God in him (Jesus) are yes, and in him [Jesus, it is also] Amen, unto the glory of God by (through) us." 0nce i dealt with that regular mental objection, i kept reminding God of his promises to those who fasted according to His Holy Spirit leadership, and by faith i kept believing that in the name of Jesus, my prayers would be favorably answered. Favorably they were!

Today, as i look back to my fairly recent history, i can just smile as i realize that to many extents i have seen the Lord honor His promises and my prayers by rewarding me quite openly at time of those very things that i have been claiming as my divinely gracious rights. And as i now rejoice for his extravagant grace and feel humbled to have lived the things that i had lived and became what i now am, i am encouraged to look for even, more of those blessed rewarding realities that He, the Father, graciously bestows to us as we approach Him by faith in Jesus' name. I hope you do likewise, if you don't do that already, as you remember that there is a reward attached to the right search of God by faith.

ISAIAH 58: 8 - 12:

"Isaiah 58: 8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

Isa 58:9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

Isa 58:10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:

Isa 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isa 58:12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in."

May God bless your walk with Him in the light of His word, by the Leadership of His Holy Spirit in the name of our blessed savior - namely Jesus, who made God's provision to us available by His obedience to God.

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