Friday, May 14, 2010

Understanding Fasting: A Guide to Help Save Your Sanity

Excerpts from the book “Fasting” by Jentezen Franklin

For those of you who have never really looked into fasting or understood why there is a need for it, this book will help. This year I participated in a corporate fast with my church and no joke, it was hard for me to do…. After seeing my misunderstanding of fasting, I received this book as a gift. At first I did not want to read it, but knew that it would only help me if I did read it… And it did. Most of the information in this guide are straight from the book word for word (including chapter titles-which will be helpful if you get the book). This guide is just going to give you the main points from the book and biblical references. If I can understand exactly what the author was saying in plain terms why bother to reword it to pass it on….below is the info for the book in case you decide you want the full version of it.

Fasting by Jentezen Franklin
Published by Charisma House
A Strang Company
600 Rinehart Road
Lake Mary, Florida 32746

ISBN-10: 1599792583
ISBN-13: 978-1599792583

Section 1: The Private Discipline That Brings Public Reward
The discipline of fasting releases the anointing, the favor and the blessing of God in the life of a Christian.

1—Fasting for Your Breakthrough
The three duties of a Christian are giving, praying and fasting and when you faithfully follow those three things, God rewards openly.

-Matthew 6

-Matthew 17: 20-21
20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.21Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
2—Dethroning King Stomach
Some ate themselves out of God’s will for their lives. There is no convenient time to fast.

-Genesis 25:34
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

-Ezekiel 16:49-50
49Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. 50And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.

-Hebrews 12:15-17
15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be de filed;16Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.17For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

3—How Much? How Long? How Healthy?
If it doesn’t mean anything to you, it won’t mean anything to God. (I think the reason there was no exact, definitive information on guidelines for what to fast from and for how long is because of that reasoning). Fasting is a spring cleaning for your body, purging your system of toxins.

4—Every Assignment Has a Birthplace
Fasting keeps you sensitive to His Spirit, enabling you to live holy. Fasting prepares you for a new anointing, God can’t put new wine in old wineskin bags, if you want new you have to rid yourself of the old. Satan hates it when you fast, don’t let him get your focus on your appetite and circumstances rather than the promises of God being released when we employ the powerful weapon of fasting.

-Romans 12:1
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye pre sent your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

-Mark 2:22
22And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.

5—Swatting Flies
A comparison was given for the vulnerability in Satan’s kingdom comparing it to flies. Weakness relates to the lifespan of flies which ranges up to 40 days and if you stop short of 40 days with pesticides to exterminate them you only kill the current generation but not the next generation.

In the bible, the number “40” represents cleansing and purification:
Noah - flood for 40 days and nights
Moses– 40 years in Egypt, then 40 years in the desert, delivering and bringing God’s people to the Promised Land

6—God’s Coming to Dinner?
We shouldn’t look at fasting as another bothersome ritual as if we are eating the same thing for dinner every night. Fasting is a constant means of renewing yourself spiritually. When you worship you magnify God.

7—You Shall be Filled
When you hunger for God, He will fill you and when you hunger for more, you will receive more. *We need to hunger after God more than we hunger after religion.

-Matthew 12:1-8
1At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.2But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.3But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;4How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?5Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?6But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.7But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.8For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

8—Rewarded Openly
Fasting whether corporately or individually is a private discipline. Where there is little private discipline there is little public reward. We should keep it personal. Fasting can break poverty from our life and can break us from sexual addictions and demonic powers. Health and healing will follow a time of fasting. God will also target your children with the rewards of your fasting.

-Matthew 6:1-4
1Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.2Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:4That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

-Joel 2:28
28And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

9—Nothing Shall Be Impossible-It Works!
Different examples were given over dilemmas that people overcame with their fasting.

Section 2: Opening a Door to God’s Promises
Lack of control over the flesh opened the door for sin’s temptation…part of the sacrifice of fasting, seeking God and studying His word is that normal activity fades into the background. Fasting is abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. We shouldn’t fast to obtain merit with God or get rid of sin, the only thing that does that is salvation: being cleansed with Jesus’ blood.

10—He Pleased God
Hungering for God brings with it a much greater reward than satisfying the temporary hunger in my body. When the Holy Spirit calls you to a fast, He’s preparing you for what’s ahead. If you want to please God, believe Him.

-Hebrews 11:6
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.

11 -- Garment of Praise
Fasting breaks the spririt of heaviness. There is power in corporate fasting and corporate praise! It creates a river of healing, of deliverance and victory, cleansing in the house of God. It’s time to exchange the ashes for beauty, mourning for joy, the garment of heaviness for praise.

-Isaiah 61:2-3
2To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

12– Fasting, Faith, and Patience
Jentezen gives the illustration that digging up a seed too soon because you see no sprouts damages the results...give it time, it will produce. We have to let the fasting take root. Don’t measure faith by the size of the problem, God will reward your diligence.

-Matthew 17:20
20And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

13— God’s Priorities
There is no higher authority than to know the heart of God for a situation you’re facing. Fasting puts you in the mainstream of God’s priorities, it tunes your priorities more vertical and more in line with God’s desires. What you put first will order the rest (Spirit before body). Fasting allows us to clear the inside which will then make the outside more presentable. Fasting slows life down to help find whom our hearts desire

-Matthew 6:31-33
31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
-Matthew 7:1-5
1Judge not, that ye be not judged.2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
-Romans 8:13
13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

-Galatians 6:1-3
1Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, re store such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.2Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.3For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

14— For the Little Ones
[We fast] to know the right way for our lives and for our children’s safety and future. We need to trust the reliability of the scripture when things get a little crazy.

-James 4:6-10
6But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

15— Is Your Blade sharp Enough?
It is time we set ourselves apart to seek the Lord and find understanding. When we fast and pray, we sharpen the will of God in our mouths (usually our meal times turn into study times).

16— Seen but Not Heard
We should enter a fast seriously only after having repented of known sins. God will hear us and answer.

-Isaiah 58:8-9 8Then 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.9Then 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;

17— Go for It
Fasting will help you identify areas of hidden sin in our lives. We have no place for pride or complacency. Don’t let blessings of the past mess up blessings of the future. Blessings of sanctification brings God’s promises of his covenant. God wants us to ask him for the things that are bigger than ourselves.