In my study the writer is referring that Jesus talked at the Sermon on the Mount about giving, praying and fasting. He didn’t say “if” we do it but “when” we do it. When we give, when we pray, when we fast. He believes fasting is not an elective but part of the core teaching. This is something I know everyone has their own opinion on so I’m still saying what I’ve said before. Fasting is a personal decision. Jesus also said not to flaunt your giving, praying and fasting like the hypocrites do. It all should be done in secret. If we just listen to the Holy Spirit specifically for our own life and carry out what we hear I think God will be pleased. I just read something on Bible Gateway about living in the light. I think this applies here. We are to be living in the light which is following Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit. When we disobey or quench the Spirit then it’s rebellion against God and He isn’t pleased. We shouldn’t get into comparing ourselves or our walk with what other people are doing. The writer mentions purpose comes first before fasting. I agree that there should be a purpose for fasting and if there is a specific purpose and you are being led because of it, then do it.
Lent to Repent
Scripture reading for today is Psalm 118:1-9 and it’s dealing with fear. It’s saying not to fear because we know God is good and God is with us. No man can hurt us when God is for us.
Ann says: Today I will hold onto 4 words: God. Is. With. Us. Fast from fear because all fear is fraud.
My study with Ann today is something I needed TODAY! I had an extreme nightmare last night and woke up very afraid. I don’t know how I dreamt something so scary and evil. All I know is, is I was reminded of how evil really is. I refused to let it in my mind. I immediately prayed when I woke up and asked God to reveal to me what I could have done to crack the door that let evil in. I cast evil and fear out in Jesus’ name.
One day these two words came to me and I decided some further insight was needed. I felt that it would be beneficial to know the difference between surviving and thriving and living for God’s kingdom. I think of surviving as something wild animals do. They live outdoors, always looking for food and shelter. Unfortunately there are some people who are living this way, just surviving. Matthew 10:31 tells us we are worth more to God than many sparrows, so I know God didn’t intend for us to just survive. How many times has some one asked us,” How are you doing?” and we respond ” surviving.” Well, I don’t know about you but I want more! I want more from my life than just looking for my next meal and wondering if my needs will be met. I remember something Jesus said about the life He gives. In John 10:10 Jesus said, The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. See, Satan wants us to just survive and not really live. He wants us to be caught up in our own survival so that we can’t focus on anything worth eternal value. Have you seen the show Survivor? You can see from watching this show what surviving does to people. It turns them evil and then adding the love of money to it and they are doomed! But Jesus said He came to give us life to the full and to enjoy life! In order for us to do this we have to be thriving! And how do we thrive in life? We follow the Holy Spirit. It came to me that if I am truly following the Holy Spirit in every step I take it, He will lead me to the life that is full and I will enjoy it because I know I am in the will of God! Jesus wants us to enjoy our life and to thrive! When we are thriving we can then focus on other people and overflow His blessings to them. This is called Kingdom living.
The scripture Matthew 6:33, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well, has been a significant one in my life as a follower of Jesus. When I heard it the first time was during Whitney Houston’s funeral when Bishop Jakes talked there. I can still remember his voice saying this scripture and me hanging on the words trying to understand the meaning. At first, for awhile I have thought it means to put God first in my day, my life and He will take care of me. I do think it has this meaning but there is also a deeper meaning or maybe another meaning to me since I have matured. I have been thinking what “His righteousness” means. Jesus is our righteousness which means right standing with God. Only through Jesus can we have right standing with God. So, to seek His righteousness, I need to seek Jesus. Since I am born again, I already have sought Jesus and now have His righteousness. I have put Him first and now I have right standing with God and have access to God’s Kingdom living. Because this is true, God gives me everything else I need.
This gives way to delighting myself in God. Psalm 37:4, Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. Another word for delight is captivate. When I have great pleasure and captivate myself with Jesus and God, He gives me the desires of my heart. What He wants us to desire is Him first. A heart that desires God above all else is the delighted, fulfilled person. Not only that but God directs the steps of the one who delights in Him and establishes his way. Psalm 37:23, The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. So, God will direct which way to go in life and you have the assurance that you are living in His will and purpose for your life. And to make it even better God blesses your path. Your life will be full of blessings!