July 7

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 9
     Psalms 140-141
     Jeremiah 3
     Matthew 17
''However; this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:21)
            Feasting is more the habit of the modem church than fasting, yet Jesus said the kind of power these Disciples needed to change the world could be produced only by prayer and fasting. If we want to live the Bible standard of Christianity, we will learn to fast.
            Jesus never said, “Ifyou pray or fast, but “when”you pray and fast and. In our Lord's plan, His children would pray and fast. Fasting gives us the quiet time that provides the opportunity for prayer. You may want to use a watch and consider how much time you spend in eating, and how much time you spend in fasting. Very simply, fasting means ''giving up food for a period of time to be able to focus on spiritual things." Fasting could also include giving up some other activity, but primarily in the Scripture, it is referenced to giving up times of eating. Why is it important?
   Fasting suggests being disengaged in the routine of life and having time for meditation and contemplation.
   Fasting suggests that a person has dominion over the strong appetite for eating.
   Fasting denotes some anxiety of spirit, some task to be done, some burden being carried, some shame in the spiritual realm that needs to be removed.
   Fasting (in the New Testament sense) means obedience. One can hardly go wrong in following the steps of the Master.
            Every powerful saint of God that we learn about from the history of the church were men and women who fasted. 
             John Wesley once said, ''all good Methodists give at least two days a week to fasting."
            Flesh never chooses fasting of itself, but it seems to be a pattern of men who want to be obedient to God. “In weariness and toil; in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting’s often, in cold and nakedness.”(II Corinthians 11:27) Mastering the appetite for food helps master other appetites too. Self-possession is the best possession that man has. Fasting fortifies man in the realm of self-control. Though one part of self-control is fasting from food, there is also fasting from the company of others even as the Lord, in the wilderness, had no Peter, James, or John. Fasting seems to be a part of the harness that the Lord would have us wear. Fasting helps keep the body under subjection. Even the Pharisees seemed to fast and Jesus condemned their kind of fasting, and told them they were “like unto whited sepulchers.”It was because they flaunted what they did, and it was not done in humility and obedience. Consider these reasons for fasting:
          F - Focus on God and His will.
          A - Allow God to pull down the strongholds in your life. 
          S - Servethe needs of others.
          T - Trust God for His provision in times of trouble.
            Do you want the power of God on your life? Jesus said, “It comes only by prayer and fasting.”
            More than six million people live in the Republic of Sierra Leone. This western African nation is rich in natural resources - diamonds, gold, titanium, iron ore, etc. Despite gross mismanagement and corruption, some prosperity was in the country until 1991. Since then, there has been economic collapse. This country is more than 70% Muslim and only 12% Christian.
             Tragically, this country has become well known for the barbaric maiming of innocent victims to bring about terror and control. During this time, over 200,000 men, women, and children have been slain. Countless numbers of girls and women have been raped; thousands of children have been kidnapped, drugged, and forced to kill even their own relatives. The whole population has had the experience of being refugees. Pray that all the instigators here, who have unleashed such terror, will be brought to justice, and even repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.  Even this kind of country can be brought to the foot of the Cross when God's people pray.
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference - He is praying for me.”
Robert Murray McCheyne