Day 21 A Holy Habit

Fasting is a discipline that should be a holy habit.

Scripture reading
Matthew 9 (NLT)
1Jesus climbed into a boat and went back across the lake to his own town.
2Some people brought to him a paralyzed man on a mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Be encouraged, my child! Your sins are forgiven.”
3But some of the teachers of religious law said to themselves, “That’s blasphemy! Does he think he’s God?”
4Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?
5Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?
6So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
7And the man jumped up and went home!
8Fear swept through the crowd as they saw this happen. And they praised God for giving humans such authority.
9As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
10Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.
11But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?”
12When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”
13Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
14One day the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus and asked him, “Why don’t your disciples fast like we do and the Pharisees do?”
15Jesus replied, “Do wedding guests mourn while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.
16“Besides, who would patch old clothing with new cloth? For the new patch would shrink and rip away from the old cloth, leaving an even bigger tear than before.
17“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.”
18As Jesus was saying this, the leader of a synagogue came and knelt before him. “My daughter has just died,” he said, “but you can bring her back to life again if you just come and lay your hand on her.”
19So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him.
20Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,
21for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.”
22Jesus turned around, and when he saw her he said, “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well.” And the woman was healed at that moment.
23When Jesus arrived at the official’s home, he saw the noisy crowd and heard the funeral music.
24“Get out!” he told them. “The girl isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” But the crowd laughed at him.
25After the crowd was put outside, however, Jesus went in and took the girl by the hand, and she stood up!
26The report of this miracle swept through the entire countryside.
27After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, “Son of David, have mercy on us!”
28They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, “Do you believe I can make you see?” “Yes, Lord,” they told him, “we do.”
29Then he touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, it will happen.”
30Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them, “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
31But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region.
32When they left, a demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak was brought to Jesus.
33So Jesus cast out the demon, and then the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever happened in Israel!” they exclaimed.
34But the Pharisees said, “He can cast out demons because he is empowered by the prince of demons.”
35Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness.
36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
37He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
38So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Key passages
Matthew 9 14-15 —“Then John’s disciples came and asked him, ‘How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?’ “Jesus answered, ‘How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.’”

Fasting thought
“For the serious-minded follower of Jesus, fasting is a consistent habit. In a world flled with indulgences, we need, on a routine basis, to consciously lay aside our freedoms in Christ for the purpose of seeking the face of God, intimacy with the Son of God and fullness of the Holy Spirit.” Gary Rohrmayer

Prayer
Father in heaven, thank you for all you have done in my life over the past 21 days. My heart longs for you. My soul craves your presence. I need you. I worship you. I love you. Help me to make fasting a habit in my life. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Take a few moment to journal what God had taught you today and leave a reply below

Day 20 Fasting and God’s Guiding Hand

Fasting has its spiritual rewards. One of the rewards of fasting is experiencing the guiding hand of God in our lives.

Scripture reading
Psalm 23 (NLT)
A psalm of David.
1The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
2He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
4Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
5You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
6Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.

Key passages
Isaiah 58: 6,11 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…And the LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun- scorched land and will strengthen your frame.”

Fasting thought
“Every time I have fasted, I have found my worship experience sweeter. I found the illumination of God’s Spirit brighter and my hunger for God’s word stronger. Through my fasting God has guided me, comforted me, challenged me and corrected me. It is not that I have bent God toward me through fasting, but that I, through fasting, have bent my heart toward him.” Gary Rohrmayer

Prayer
Father in heaven, I want to experience your guiding and empowering hand on my life and ministry. There is nothing like knowing that the hand of the Lord is on my life. Today through my fasting I bend my heart and my will toward you and your ways. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Take a few moment to journal what God had taught you today and leave a reply below

Day 19 Fasting and the Presence of God

Are you being surprised in your fasting experience? God loves to surprise his children by strangely satisfying them with his presence.

Scripture reading
Isaiah 58 (NLT)
1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.
4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?
6“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
12Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.
13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Psalm 1 (NLT)
1Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
3They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
4But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Key passages
Isaiah 58 6,11 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen.…he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

Fasting thought
“The rewards of fasting are not often instantaneous but are experienced over time. They come as surprises, like in the midst of a worship service when my soul is stirred and strangely satisfed. Or when I am reading the Word and my inner being is lifted beyond this world with a fresh perspective. Or when I am in prayer and the groaning of my heart experiences a peace that is unexplainable. I have found the rewards ultimately lead to a more intimate and satisfying experience with the God who made me, saves me and flls me.” Gary Rohrmayer

Prayer
Father in heaven, today during my fast may I experience the sweet satisfying nature of your presence and experience the refreshing power of your abiding strength. Father, for your honor and glory I want to be like a well-watered garden, like a spring that never runs dry. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Take a few moment to journal what God had taught you today and leave a reply below.

Day 18 Fasting and God’s Victory

Fasting is a weapon used to respond to the present and future attacks of the evil one.

Scripture reading
Esther 4 (NLT)
1When Mordecai learned about all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on burlap and ashes, and went out into the city, crying with a loud and bitter wail.
2He went as far as the gate of the palace, for no one was allowed to enter the palace gate while wearing clothes of mourning.
3And as news of the king’s decree reached all the provinces, there was great mourning among the Jews. They fasted, wept, and wailed, and many people lay in burlap and ashes.
4When Queen Esther’s maids and eunuchs came and told her about Mordecai, she was deeply distressed. She sent clothing to him to replace the burlap, but he refused it.
5Then Esther sent for Hathach, one of the king’s eunuchs who had been appointed as her attendant. She ordered him to go to Mordecai and find out what was troubling him and why he was in mourning.
6So Hathach went out to Mordecai in the square in front of the palace gate.
7Mordecai told him the whole story, including the exact amount of money Haman had promised to pay into the royal treasury for the destruction of the Jews.
8Mordecai gave Hathach a copy of the decree issued in Susa that called for the death of all Jews. He asked Hathach to show it to Esther and explain the situation to her. He also asked Hathach to direct her to go to the king to beg for mercy and plead for her people.
9So Hathach returned to Esther with Mordecai’s message.
10Then Esther told Hathach to go back and relay this message to Mordecai:
11“All the king’s officials and even the people in the provinces know that anyone who appears before the king in his inner court without being invited is doomed to die unless the king holds out his gold scepter. And the king has not called for me to come to him for thirty days.”
12So Hathach gave Esther’s message to Mordecai.
13Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.
14If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”
15Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:
16“Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.”
17So Mordecai went away and did everything as Esther had ordered him.

Key passages
Isaiah 58:6, 8 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”

Esther 4:15 — “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Fasting thought
“When the devil, the foe and the tyrant, sees a man bearing this weapon [fasting], he is straightway frightened and he recollects and considers that defeat which he suffered in the wilderness at the hands of the Savior; at once his strength is shattered and the very sight of this weapon, given us by our Commander-in-Chief, burns him.” Isaac of Syria

Prayer
Father in heaven, Lord Almighty, today through my fast I seek to be better prepared for the spiritual battles that I am engaged in. I choose to stand firm in you. I choose to live my life by the truth of God and not by the lies of the enemy. I choose to live righteously and not selfishly. I choose to live by faith and not by sight, extinguishing every attack from the enemy. I choose to live by the power of the Word of God. In the strong name of Jesus my Lord I pray. Amen.

Take a few moment to journal what God had taught you today and leave a reply below.

Day 17 Fasting and God’s Light

Our fasting may be rewarded in the experience not only of spiritual replenishment but also of physical refreshment.

Scripture reading
Isaiah 58 (NLT)
1“Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast. Shout aloud! Don’t be timid. Tell my people Israel of their sins!
2Yet they act so pious! They come to the Temple every day and seem delighted to learn all about me. They act like a righteous nation that would never abandon the laws of its God. They ask me to take action on their behalf, pretending they want to be near me.
3‘We have fasted before you!’ they say. ‘Why aren’t you impressed? We have been very hard on ourselves, and you don’t even notice it!’ “I will tell you why!” I respond. “It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves. Even while you fast, you keep oppressing your workers.
4What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me.
5You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD?
6“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.
7Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8“Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
9Then when you call, the LORD will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. “Remove the heavy yoke of oppression. Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
12Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.
13“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
14Then the LORD will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob. I, the LORD, have spoken!”

Key passages
Isaiah 58:6,8,11 — “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: …and your healing will quickly appear…and will strengthen your frame.”

Fasting thought
“Of fasting I say this: It is right to fast frequently in order to subdue and control the body. For when the stomach is full, the body does not serve for preaching, for praying, for studying or for doing anything else that is good. Under such circumstances God’s Word cannot remain. But one should not fast with a view to meriting something by it as by a good work.” Martin Luther

Prayer
Father in heaven, as I subdue my flesh and control my appetite today, refresh my spirit, replenish my soul, heal my wounds and strengthen my will to carry out your desires. I ask this in the strong name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Take a few moment to journal what God had taught you today. Leave a reply below.