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Keeping the Focus on Him

by on January 12, 2012

There are three specific events in scripture when Jesus directly addressed the topic of fasting.  They occurred during the sermon on the mount, (Matthew 6:5-18)  During dinner at Matthew’s house (Matthew 9:14, Mark 2, Luke 5) and lastly in His parable of the Pharisee and sinner praying  in the temple. Do you know what all three accounts have in common?  In each of these accounts Jesus addresses the attitude of the heart.

In the account of Matthew 9, there must have been a fast going on as some of those present were offended that the disciples of Jesus were enjoying a feast.  Their offense turned to challenge of Christ’s followers’ spiritual maturity and to judgement of the Master Himself that He would dare to defile Himself in eating with sinners.  In the parable of the Pharisee and sinner it was the Pharisee himself reminding God of the frequency of his fasting, as if God needed reminding.  In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus compares the effectiveness of prayer in relationship to the condition of the heart.  In short, if in our prayer and fasting we seek the attention of anyone other than God, the attention becomes our answer to the petition and the answer of our fast.

It was customary during a fast in biblical times not to wash, change clothes or anoint oneself (today’s equivalent of putting on deodorant or perfume).  The custom came out of an earlier practical response to fasting, that of mourning.  Fasting will cultivate affliction, of our body yes – in the way of hunger, affliction of our will as we purposely put aside conveniences and comforts.   But fasting should manifest affliction of our spirit as well, as we allow the Holy Spirit to deal deeply with us regarding personal and more global conditions.  Notwithstanding, in the midst of the affliction, Jesus instructs us to avoid the fleshly draw to the show.  In fact, Jesus teaches that when we fast we should be purposeful in not revealing our affliction.  The modern response to you and I would be, take a shower and put on deodorant.  Make yourself presentable!

The deeper you and I go in this season of fasting; the more we surrender to the direction and discerning of the Holy Spirit the more our enemy will try to cause us to focus on other things, other people or ultimately on ourselves. We must fight against the draw to point out the deficiencies of others and allow the Holy Spirit to continue His refining work on our own hearts.  You and I must be spiritually ready for what lies ahead of us in these next two weeks.  Let God do what He must in you so that He can do what He purposes through you.  And above all, do not step ahead of the Lord’s leading be patient with His work in you and others during this fast.  He promises great deliverance to those who wait on Him.

Today’s suggested scripture reading:  Matthew 6:5-18

Pushing away and pressing in,

Pastor Terry

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One Comment
  1. It’s not that we start only, but that we finish what we start…I pray in the name of Jesus for everyone involved in this fast, that they receive Your grace (divine enablement) your strength to endure hardness as a good soldier, to persevere and garter faith , even the GIFT OF FAITH to get through hard and tough times and circumstances (1 Cor 12)

    It is a season of BIRTHING..which means “to bring forth in the Earth”…by our prophetic prayers, by our decrees, by our proclamations…by our obedience. Apostle Cindy Jacobs said “there is NOTHING that can’t be changed but by through prophetic, intercessory prayer”

    Each day (in a fast) things get a little clearer…His word, revelation, thoughts from the throne room of God. I pray this for our lives, our homes, Christ Fellowship ministry, and the very building we meet in.

    It is something that the the Lord spoke to me one of the first times I was at CF.

    * It was a “divine exchange” to come to CF. It was like those air exchangers where they take the old air out and bring the new in…an air exchange! The breath of God in, the newness of the Spirit in…the old unproductive mindsets, repetitions out. We are to honor the old ways, truths, but let the new things be ushered in. I pray for a new resident anointing of Your Spirit Lord at Christ Fellowship. Freedom from religion, cart paths of religion that have become ruts.

    I pray in Jesus mighty name that there be a sustained stirring of the Holy Ghost in our lives with signs following that do believe what Your Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. For saints that have once been filled and gone dormant, to be reactivated and reignited. I pray for those that have never been filled, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost to embrace it, long for it, receive it, in Jesus mighty name.

    A wise man once said…”We are as free as our traditions will let us be”. I pray that every tradition, mindset, that is not of you, be torn down so that we can be built accurately, a body fitted and joined together, in Jesus mighty name.

    Pat B

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