This Month's Promise

“...Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”

- (I Corinthians 15:20)

Read: Isaiah 58: 3-9


“... Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” (Joel 2:12)

In the Bible, we see several purposes for fasting. It is part of the discipline of self-control. "Fasting is a way of sharing that we depend on God alone and draw all our strength and resources from Him. It is a way of focusing totally on Him while seeking His guidance and help. It is a way of showing that you really are in your quest. It is also, an expression of sorrow and deep repentance, something a person will do in order to acknowledge his failure before God and seek His mercy", writes James Packer. Most of the time we think fasting as going without food and praying to God. But we can fast from anything. For example, we love music and decide to miss a concert in order to spend time with God, that is also fasting. We can think of the parallel of human friendship. Will not friends cancel all other activities so that they would be together spend time with one another and enjoy each other's presence? Similarly we can forego some of our interests and devote that particular time to be with the Lord. James Packer writes, "Fasting is just one way of telling God that your priority at that moment is to be alone with Him, sorting out whatever is necessary. In order to fulfill that priority you have cancelled food, party, concert or whatever else you had planned to do".

Dear friends, during this lent season, besides foregoing our meals, let us also practice giving up our wickedness - dishonesty, oppression, hatred, anger, resentment. Let us give up religious compromise. Let us not conform any longer to the pattern of the world, living like pagans following their customs and practices. Let us share the blessings we have received from the Lord with the poor and the needy. Our God gave up more than we give up! And as we make a decision to give up certain things let us be careful not to give up these things - prayer, church attendance, meditation of God's Word and doing good to others.

PRAYER: Lord, whenever I observe a fast I decline my food and wait upon you in prayer. Thank you for revealing to me several other ways of fasting - to forego anything that is precious to me and to give up evil practices in my life and enjoy your fellowship in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.