Saturday, September 27, 2014

140928 He Will Finish What He Begins

Philippians 1:1-6 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul was the founding pastor of the church at Philippi. He had set out on his second missionary journey traveling through the southern part of modern day Turkey. The region he was in was the province of Asia. As he was traveling through, strengthening the churches that had been planted in his first journey, he met a young disciple named Timothy. Timothy joined the missionary band and they continued to travel westward. Strangely, the Holy Spirit stopped Paul from preaching in that area. Instead, Paul saw a man from Macedonia in a vision urging him to come over and help them.
We don’t know how much planning had gone into Paul’s trip. It seems that he was led day by day by the Spirit. I believe Paul wanted to visit the people that he had led to Christ on his previous trip. After all, by now they were Christian family to him. We often need direction from the Lord because we will follow our human desires and that’s not always right. Sometimes we can be very stubborn because we are sure we know the will of God in a matter or at least what seems right. What a loss it would have been for Paul to have stayed in Asia against God’s direction. He may have wanted to stay in Asia but…
Philippi was where God wanted them. Turn with me to Acts 16:9-10. Here we find an account of why Paul went to Macedonia rather than continue his plan. Listen while I read. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.
The missionary team had started out with no intention, so far as we know, of going into new territory. We know from the record in the book of Acts that Paul had intended to visit every city they had preached in on the first journey. Paul had also intended that he and Barnabas would travel together. However, Barnabas wanted to give John Mark a second chance and Paul would have none of it. John Mark had failed to follow through on the first trip and Paul was not about to give him a second chance. So Barnabas took Mark and set sail for Cyprus while Paul took Silas and went overland through Syria. Along the way Paul picked up Timothy and added him to the team. He also added Luke, the beloved physician, and Luke gave us the written record of Paul’s journeys as well as the gospel bearing his name. Part of the purpose of the trip was to tell the churches about the decision made at Jerusalem. The church council that met there had determined that the Gentiles could come into the church without first becoming Jews. That was good news! The new churches they had started were being strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.
It must have seemed strange to Paul that he was not allowed to stay in the province of Asia and preach the gospel where he had been so successful before. God doesn’t seem to be impressed with our version of success. The Holy Spirit forbade his preaching in Asia. So Paul made another attempt at a plan by trying to go north to Bithynia and again he was blocked by the Spirit. The time had not yet come for Bithynia to be evangelized. Within two generations there would be a vibrant Christian presence in that area.
The vision of the man from Macedonia asking Paul to come over and help them settled the issue. Having arrived in Troas they set sail into Europe, travelled to Philippi, and immediately…
They went to a place of prayer. Let’s read about it in Acts 16:11-13. So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
Some have said that if Paul had seen a woman from Macedonia he wouldn’t have gone. I think nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout Paul’s letters there is a great respect for women. I expect that Paul saw a man from Macedonia because men may have worn a distinctive style of clothing. Perhaps he saw a man because God encourages male leadership.
All of that is just speculation! God does not need to explain Himself to us. The missionary team familiarized themselves with the city and came to know that they could expect a prayer meeting on the Sabbath day. Paul’s usual method in coming into a city would be to locate the synagogue, go there on the Sabbath day, and be invited to speak. I believe this means there was no synagogue in Philippi. It was a thoroughly Roman city and there were very few Jews there.
Remember, Paul had just been encouraged by the Jerusalem Council to preach to the Gentiles and now he found himself in a Gentile city with only a few Jews. Apparently there was not a rabbi to lead the prayer meeting by the river. Paul took it upon himself to establish a relationship with the women that were there.
God had stopped them from continuing to work in Asia, took them to Europe to the city of Philippi, and led them to a place of prayer. Now…
God opened the door. Let’s continue to read in Acts 16:14-15. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us,
Paul and his missionary team knew nothing of the city that they had gone to but very quickly God led them to a group of people who were praying. One of the women whom they found there was a wealthy person. Lydia was a seller of purple goods. Purple goods were worn only by the wealthiest and perhaps only by royalty. Lydia had come from Thyatira, in Asia, that city was a center of the purple dye industry. Possibly she had come to Philippi so that she could extend her business. She was either born a Jew or was a convert to Judaism. She could not have known that God was placing her in a strategic location so that the gospel could be preached in the area.
Lydia did not make the choice to believe the gospel. God the Father drew her to the riverside that day. In the same way, the Father calls people today to come to a particular location where they can hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord opened her heart and she, and her household, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized that day. These new converts became the foundation and that day…
A church was born. Looking back at our text we see that years later Paul was able to write a letter to them and refer to their organization. Listen while I read Philippians 1:1. Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
This letter is written to all the saints at Philippi. To clarify it is written to those who are in Christ Jesus. Among the saints Paul refers to the overseers and deacons. The word used here for overseer is translated “bishops” in the King James Version. It’s okay to think of the word as being another name for “elders”. Now, Elder doesn’t necessarily mean an older person or one who has been in the church for a long time. Very soon after each church was established Paul went back and appointed “elders” in the church. No one in those churches had been saved more than a few weeks. God the Holy Spirit directed them in choosing leadership.
Remember, Paul had very few ways of communicating with these people once he had left their area. In this case he had received word about them from Epaphroditus, one of their own who had brought gifts to him from the church in Philippi. Because of the report of this man Paul could confidently give instruction to the church.
Throughout his ministry Paul traveled extensively in Macedonia and Greece. At least two times in those travels he was at Philippi. He was there in the beginning and he stopped by there on his way to Jerusalem at the end of his missionary journeys. Now…
Paul is writing from prison. When I say that Paul is writing from prison I am working from what Luke recorded at the end of the book of Acts. Listen while I read Acts 28:30-31. He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, 31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.
Luke tells us that Paul was able to rent a place to live in Rome, where he was under guard, but very free to communicate with people. There is a possibility that Paul was released from this house arrest. He had indicated that he wanted to travel to Spain and may very well have had the opportunity. If he did, he was arrested later, imprisoned at Rome, and beheaded there.
During this imprisonment Philippi was one of the churches that sent money to him in order for him to pay his expenses. Paul was not troubled by his living conditions. He said that he knew how to be brought low and he knew how to abound. No matter what condition he found himself in he said that he had learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. He asserted confidently, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:10-13) Then he promised them that, since they had given so sacrificially, God would supply all the needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19) One plus to Paul’s situation is that he had the opportunity to present Christ to Caesar’s household. Probably, he was referring to the guards who were with him all the time.
More than once…
The Philippian church partnered with Paul. In writing to the Corinthian church Paul used the churches in Macedonia as his example of people who were very generous in spite of their poverty. There was a famine in Judea and funds were collected throughout the churches that Paul had established to help meet those needs. Even though the churches of Macedonia were poor they begged Paul to let them take part in the offering. Paul was very proud of the church at Philippi because they first gave themselves to the Lord and then they took the offering in such a way that Paul could use them for an example. Turn with me to 2 Corinthians 9:2-4. Listen while I read. For I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident.
Paul did not want to be embarrassed, nor did he want the Corinthians to be embarrassed, if some of the people from Macedonia came with him when he collected the money at Corinth. We know that more than once the Philippian church sent money to Paul. He had been their first pastor and, very likely, he was their first missionary outreach. They helped to support Paul as he carried the gospel all over Greece and Macedonia.
Their generosity was one of the reasons that…
The Philippians were a source of joy to Paul. Look back with me to Philippians 1:3-5. Listen while I read. I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
Unlike most of Paul’s letters, this letter contains no serious rebuke. Oh, there is the matter of two of the women, Euodia and Syntyche seem to have had some disagreement because he urged him to “agree in the Lord”. Other than that the entire letter reflects the good feelings that Paul had when he thought of them. The Philippian church was a source of joy and as a result they were a bright light in his prayer life. We know that Paul prayed for the churches. At one point he said that, along with all the physical suffering he had endured, “there is the daily pressure on me and my anxiety for all the churches.”    (2 Corinthians 11:28) He did not have to bear the same burden for the Philippians that he did for some of the other churches. At the same time…
Paul wanted to give them assurance. Looking back to reading at the beginning of the sermon, listen while I read Philippians 1:6. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. This passage of Scripture has been a great source of comfort to me over the years. Paul begins by saying, “I am sure ofthis”. The Philippians needed assurance, and I am sure, we do also. Paul wrote to Timothy that he knew that God could guard what he had entrusted to Him. (2 Timothy 1:12) But this passage is a little different. Paul wrote to Timothy about what he had entrusted to God. Paul wrote to the Philippians about what God had begun to do in the Philippian’s lives. You see it is not what we have done for God that counts! It is what He does on our behalf that counts. It is He who began a good work IN us.
In his great statement of assurance, found in Romans 8, Paul says that no one can bring a charge against God’s elect because “it is God who justifies”. It is not by works of righteousness that we have done, it is the work of God. It is God who arranged the members in the body as he chose — every one of them! He could write to the Corinthians and say, “it is God who establishes us with you in Christ”.   (2 Corinthians 1:21) And later in the Philippian letter, Paul would write, “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”. We often get the idea that it is US who do the work. Pride goes before destruction. We are not saved by our works nor do we maintain our salvation, or our holiness, by our good works. Turn with me to 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. Listen while read. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Notice that is not US who sanctify ourselves. It is God, the God of peace himself, who sanctifies us COMPLETELY. It is very important to remember that we are saved by grace, not of works. God gives us the gift of faith and His grace saves us.
As we continue through this book we will see a number of ways that God uses to bring people to salvation. God willing, we will look next week at the affection that Paul held for the Philippians. We will see how he yearned for their spiritual growth in the expansion of their love.
The gospel, the good news about Jesus, was intentionally brought into Europe and through every possible means imaginable a church was founded. People from a wide variety of backgrounds came together under faith in Christ to extend the gospel throughout Greece and opened the doors to the rest of Roman Europe. Are you a seeker like Lydia or do you need convincing like the demon possessed girl or the Philippian jailer? Have you confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? Have you believed in your heart that God raised Him from the dead? Today could be your day to trust Christ! Is He your Lord? Trust Him today!

All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

140921 Fasting_God’s Purpose

Isaiah 58:6-12   “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’   If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10          if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11         And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. 12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.
Fasting is not normally a part of the modern Christian church. We have never made an emphasis on fasting in this church. Most Christians think of fasting as something that was done a long time ago and can’t imagine why it would be done today. In the days of Isaiah the people practiced ritual fasting that was not pleasing to God. They felt somehow the very act of going without food should impress God and would therefore earn them God’s favor. God’s reply to them tells us that fasting should have a purpose. Let’s look at some of the purposes found in the Bible for fasting. First of all…
Fasting allows us to minister to others. Verses 6-7 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
At first glance these two verses seem to simply call on us to use the resources that have been freed up by our fasting to take care of others. Since we’re not eating a meal we can give that to someone who needs it. But there’s more going on here than that. “To loose the bonds of wickedness” talks about a great deal more than simply contributing our resources. Fasting on our part will challenge the enemy and defeat him. Fasting allows us to focus on the needs of others around us rather than on ourselves. Fasting reminds us that we have a spiritual purpose. Of course, fasting does free up resources that we are not spending on ourselves. Food costs money and that money can be used to provide for the needs of others. That is a side effect of fasting. More importantly…
Fasting will add strength to prayer. Let’s look at how fasting was used by the returning Israelites as they traveled through a dangerous country. Turn with me to Ezra 8:21-23.  Listen while I read. 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. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.
Ezra was a priest who had gone to visit Jerusalem during the time of the return from captivity. Ezra had returned to Babylon to ask the king for more help in restoring the city of Jerusalem. There had been one group of exiles who had returned and began to rebuild the city. Ezra was now leading the second group and had to cross hundreds of miles of dangerous country. Ezra had told the king that God would take care of them on their journey. When he reached the river Ahava he knew that he was at the border of civilization. Once they crossed this river they would be in a dangerous country where armed bands of men roamed.
Ezra could have asked the king for soldiers to protect his group of settlers and the king would have gladly given them to him. However, Ezra did not want his people to depend upon the pagan world. Today we put too much dependence upon the world in our day-to-day lives. Our God is able to take us through anything that we confront! I believe the people were afraid and expressed their fears to Ezra. Now it was the time to put up or shut up. Ezra had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek Him, and the power of His wrath is against all who forsake Him.”
They didn’t just pray that day on the side of the river. They implored God! “Implored” is a much stronger term than “prayer”! Not only did they implore God they also fasted. We don’t know how long they spent there at the river but they humbled themselves before God, fasting and pleading for a safe journey. Praise God, Ezra could report, “and he listened to our entreaty.” Fasting had strengthened their prayer and had caused them to pray more intensely and repeatedly until they were sure of the answer. As God had promised Isaiah, “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’” And then God goes on to explain that this will be true if those who are fasting have met the conditions of freeing the captives, no longer accusing others, or speaking wickedly. God will answer our prayers if we fast with the right attitude.
Not only does fasting allow us to minister to others and strengthen our prayer…
Fasting helps our focus on God’s will. Turn with me to Acts 13:1-3. Listen while I read. Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
The church at Antioch was a powerhouse for God’s use. The church was reported to be very large in membership and was led by a group of prophets and teachers. A normal part of their life in Christ was worship and fasting. The church had been very effective in its local community and now they needed to begin to reach out. Jesus had said that his disciples would begin in Jerusalem and move out to the uttermost parts of the earth. There had really been no model for them to follow and they had to feel their way. Recall that in the beginning they had stayed in Jerusalem until God allowed serious persecution to scatter them. They seem to have forgotten, or not understood, the Great Commission. The “go onto all the world” just didn’t seem to have registered with them. Once they were scattered through persecution they shared their faith with others along the way. Now God was ready for them to begin a planned outreach.
It appears that fasting might have been a normal part of their worship in Antioch. That may well explain why they had such strength and positive leadership. Barnabas had come to town and was recognized as a spiritual leader right away. He then went out to search for Saul of Tarsus whom he remembered from several years before in Jerusalem. He was impressed by God that he needed Saul, who would later be called Paul, to help with the growth of the church. After their work was done in the church at Antioch God was ready now to move them on. So while they were worshiping and fasting they began to get a clearer focus on God’s purpose. It was God’s will that these two men be set apart for the work that he’d call them to do. We are not told how they knew what their work was or how organized they were. We do know that they left Antioch and planted churches across the territory that is now modern day Turkey. Obviously, worship and fasting helped them to know God’s will.
Not only does fasting allow us to minister to others and strengthen our prayer life.
Fasting helps our focus on God’s will, and…
Fasting will strengthen our request for help. Jehoshaphat had begun his reign as king of Judah in alliance with Ahab even though Ahab was one of the wickedest kings that had ever reigned in Israel. After he had untangled himself from this relationship he set his heart to seek the Lord. Just as it looked as though he was going to be successful three armies allied themselves against him. Turn with me to 2 Chronicles 20:1-4. Listen while I read. After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
When one army comes at a country they have some chance of confronting that enemy in battle. In Jehoshaphat’s case he had three armies coming at him and they were allied with each other. Any time God’s people are making progress our enemy, Satan, who roams the earth looking for those whom he can devour, immediately tries to put a stop to the progress. Satan had failed to destroy Jehoshaphat by allying him with Ahab. Now, the enemy uses a more direct approach. Judah is confronted by warfare. Jehoshaphat was afraid and approached the problem the right way. He proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah and the people gathered to seek help from the Lord. Then the king prayed for God’s direction. I love the way he concluded his prayer! O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) Have you ever not known what to do? Follow Jehoshaphat’s plan and you will be successful. Fast and pray and then fix your eyes on God in Jesus Christ and he will provide an answer that will meet your need and change your world.
Not only does fasting allow us to minister to others and strengthen our prayer life.
Fasting helps our focus on God’s will, and fasting will strengthen our request for help. We may not think that what we do is important but…
Fasting may help change the course of history. Turn with me to Jonah 3:5. Jonah had been instructed to go to Nineveh and warn them that the city would be destroyed in 40 days! This was not what Jonah wanted to do because he knew what might result from such a message. So, after his excursion with the giant fish and his delayed journey to Nineveh, he did not tell them to repent or seek the Lord. He just told them that God was going to destroy them. Listen while I read what happened And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them. Now let’s look at verse 10.  When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
Jonah knew the Lord! He knew that if Nineveh, his hated enemy, would repent and turn from their evil way then God would lift this sentence of destruction. Our God is an awesome God. Without Jonah’s help the people of Nineveh turned to the Lord with fasting and prayer. One of history’s most successful revivals was the opposite of what the preacher wanted to happen! The destruction of Nineveh was put off for several more generations.
Not only does fasting allow us to minister to others and strengthen our prayer life.
Fasting helps our focus on God’s will, and fasting will strengthen our request for help. In fact, fasting and prayer may very well change the course of history. Now, should we fast? One thing for sure is…
Jesus expected us to fast. Turn in your Bibles to Matthew 9:14-15. John’s disciples had a question for Him. Listen while I read. Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.
During Jesus’ ministry apparently there was not a time when He and His disciples fasted. When He was asked about it He simply said that those who are celebrating do not fast. His disciples were part of the wedding party but there would come a time soon when the party would be over! Jesus’ disciples stopped rejoicing when he was arrested, tried and crucified. Then it was time to fast.
Jesus doesn’t say, “then they might fast” He says, “then they will fast”. Jesus clearly expected His disciples to fast after He was gone. And we know that, at least in Antioch, the church did fast. Their fasting was not a result of sadness. In fact, it was out of a sense of joy that they worshiped and fasted. They put aside their food because they had something more serious to occupy their time. They needed to know the mind of the Lord! So they fasted and worshiped resulting in the Holy Spirit revealing God’s will for their missionary outreach.
Not only does fasting allow us to minister to others and strengthen our prayer life.
Fasting helps our focus on God’s will, and fasting will strengthen our request for help. In fact, fasting and prayer may very well change the course of history.
In Jesus’ day some people were fasting to get attention. They wanted to be seen by the people.
Fasting should not be for show. Turn with me to Matthew 6:16-18. Again we see a positive expectation by Jesus that his disciples would fast. Listen while I read. “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. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“When you fast” don’t be a hypocrite! These hypocrites put on a show that they thought made them look more spiritual. God is not impressed with our display. When we fast we are told to avoid looking like we are fasting. The people that Jesus was calling, “hypocrite” were people who were fasting for the wrong reason. There was two things wrong with their fasting. First, they were pretending to have a love for God. Second, they really had a love for man’s praise.
Whatever they may have gotten in the way of being honored by others was all the reward they would ever receive. Jesus said, “they have received their reward.” There was nothing to look forward to in the future because they already had received whatever reward they would have.
When we pray in secret and when we fast in secret the God who sees in secret will reward us openly. Consider setting aside a meal, or three meals, and use that time and energy to seek the Lord. It may be that you would seek the Lord for someone else’s salvation. It may be that you would seek the Lord for direction. It may be that you would seek the Lord for the answer to a question. It may be, and should be, that you would seek the Lord just for His companionship!
There are several examples of fasting in the Bible. Moses fasted during the receiving of the law. God’s people often fasted when seeking an answer from the Lord. Jesus fasted at the beginning of His ministry. During Jesus’ ministry He stated that His disciples would fast when He was gone. We see examples in the book of Acts of the disciples fasting as a part of their worship and decision-making. I would like to encourage you to set aside a day each week or perhaps, in the beginning, a meal, each week, to fast asking especially for God to bring revival to our area and to bring people to salvation. Let’s focus on God’s will and His way. We should want to be “the repairer of the breach” and “the restorer of streets”. The Lord will guide us.

All scripture quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.