40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 15 – Fasting

8 Comments

Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with 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.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1 – 3)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

Today is dedicated to Fasting.  I encourage you to sacrifice at least one meal and spend extra dedicated time focusing on God.  If you are considering a food fast, please take your health into account.

In today’s passage, the Holy Spirit provided very clear directions to the prophets and teachers while they were worshipping and fasting.  As we consider our roles in advancing God’s kingdom, we too need clarity. 

Fasting, of course, is not a bargaining chip to get what we want from God.  Instead, God has elected to use this Discipline as a means of changing our circumstances, and more importantly as a means of changing us. 

Please prayerfully read the passage above. During your time of fasting, ask God for increased clarity with regards to the ways He wants you to participate in the advancement of His kingdom.     

Requests:

  • Please don’t just sacrifice meals without dedicating time for worship and prayer.
  • Please consider sharing any relevant words of encouragement that come to your mind as you fast.
  • Finally, if you feel led, please share any thoughts on how God has called or is calling you to service.

8 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 15 – Fasting

  1. Earlier today I was re-reading Esther chapter 4, the passage of focus on Day 14 (yesterday) in the Forty Days of Discipline. It is interesting that the bible says that when the Jews throughout the Persian Empire at the time heard the decree issued for their extermination, that “there was great mourning, with fasting and weeping and wailing. Many lay in sackcloth and ashes” (Esther 4:3). So in addition to Esther committing to fast for three days, along with Mordecai and the persons he was going to mobilize, there were many other persons making intercession to God at the time.

  2. One of my main areas of service that God has called me to is to support my husband in his work as a pastor, Bible scholar, Bible teacher and educator, and to be there 100% for our family. This is not always glamorous as very often people to whom he ministers do not even recognize me or realize the sacrifices I make “behind the scene/s.” They have no clue what it is like working “backstage” in order to have a masterpiece or great production on stage. It’s not easy especially when you could be a ‘star’ onstage but then you remind yourself that God’s work is not about “stardom!” Nothing is more powerful in ministry than a good personal and family life so although it can be challenging at times, seemingly not accomplishing all you would like in many areas, God embraces you with His unfailing love and promises.

    Additionally, God has called me to minister particularly to those who are marginalized and often overlooked or slighted in His kingdom! That has no place in “the body of Christ!” He has given me a very compassionate heart for all but in particular for broken-hearted women: (no gender bias please, but reality) so my ministry to them in whatever way(s), practically or spiritually, is offering my service to God.

    As a professional teacher, my service to God is rendered wholeheartedly as I see my job as a mission field, even if I can’t “preach” openly on the job.

    Bearing in mind the above disclosure, I would like to encourage especially the women who find themselves wondering what on earth they are doing with their many talents and abilities, not to be frustrated or discouraged but rather to see your home as the most effective place of service to God! This may not resound well with some sisters but for many who question their purpose in life and whether they are doing God’s service, as you sacrificially serve, you are chosen by God to fulfill an unimaginable call on your life. Be strong! Be confident! Be prayerful Be excellent in all you do! But more importantly, be what GOD wants you to be, not what people expect you to be or to do!

  3. Just reading the two inspirational posts above from the Olivers (Anthony and Maverlin) I couldn’t help but think – what a dynamic duo! May God continue to bless your joint work in His kingdom.

  4. Thank you and God bless you as you continue to pray for us and to be a channel of blessing to us and to others, as you’ve always been!

  5. Last year, I chose not to play the game scrabble on line for my fasting. This year on our 40-day Discipline I decided giving up my favorite meal of the day, breakfast from this Friday through Sunday. Usually, I enjoy my Saturday morning breakfast the most, especially my husband wakes up late on weekend so I’m alone having my breakfast and use my quiet time to be with the Lord. I had health issue before as being “acidic” ( or it can be similar to having light ulcer) , like I get nauseus and severe headache when I don’t eat on time. But with exercise and right medicine, I overcame that health issue gradually. So yesterday, Friday I started fasting by not eating my breakfast. It was good for me especially at this time when I have to really talk to God in prayer and also ask for his forgiveness.

    Three weeks ago, I had a not very encouraging situation, I failed the Lord…grieved the Holy Spirit because I was in rage and really angry. I got upset with my closest friends here in Japan (friends for 31years). I will not elaborate more on what took place, but in a nutshell, I felt deceived. betrayed, and not trusted by my three friends whom I considered like my second family here in Japan. I got angry, said harsh words and now not wanting to see them. I really cannot believe they could keep a secret from me and I found it because one of them had slipped of the tongue and it was painful to accept that these three friends could hide such information from me that could even affect not only mine but also other people’s health in the community/church where we belong. I felt betrayed and couldn’t believe that my special and treasured friends could do such a thing to me. I’m actually very easy person to deal with, and honesty, simcerity and transparency are so important to me. No doubt, my anger led me to sin. I regret that, but I already said what I said and showed them how frustrated I was. It was indeed so painful as I never expected that after all these years, these friends would treat me like a total crap. It was sad. I’m giving myself a short break from them and I know the Lord is helping me get rid of this negative feeling.

    I started the fasting by skipping my favorite meal of the day. I prayed and read some bible verses, meditate on it and it helped me to understand why I was so mad. .I realize I have to change something about me too, From this experience, I learned that man can fail you but not God. Also, never expect that the standard you put on yourself when relating with people or friends can be always met the same way you expect it to be…. this will just disappoint you especially if the ones who hurt you were those who were so dear to you. I reflected on the following scriptures during my fasting yesterday and today. Praying for God’s forgiveness and also healing of my heart as I was truly saddened and hurt.
    “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander along with any form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31
    “ And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. “ Ephesisns 4:30

    I’m just taking a short break of not interacting or seeing the people who have hurt me so much, but with God’s grace I’m certain I can bounce back. I’m truly sorry that I failed to glorify God this time. My anger gave way to the enemy to create chaos and division . It’s good I have bible study groups here in Japan as well as the 40 day discipline bible study. The Lord will help me to forgive others as well as myself, and move forward. One of my sisters in the Ladies bible study group I have here whom I confided everything, is so good in consoling me. I can see her love for me as my sister in Christ. She is also my prayer partner. I thank God for her.

    My devotional for today is also related to our topic. Let me share here a part of it:

    Fasting starves what is stopping us from experiencing God’s pressure. It forces us to pay attention to the parts of our lives that we try to drown out through late night binges and social media scrolls. And in the process, it teaches us to rely on Jesus to meet our needs.

    Fasting invites us to give up something we love to make space for something we love even more. Although giving up something you love, like food may feel difficult and uncomfortable. It is actually an opportunity to experience great joy, because true joy is only found out when our strength comes from Jesus.

    Fasting often comes before breakthrough. Moses fasted for 40 days while receiving the 10 commandments. Daniel fasted for 3 weeks and then received a vision and Jesus fasted for 40 days and then overcame the devil’s temptations. In each of these cases, God provided clarity, and breakthrough on the other side of faithful sacrifice.

    Turn that weariness into opportunity to talk to God and listen to Him. Take action. Try completing a 24 hour fast. Once you’ve finished the fast write out anything that stood out to you during this time.

    • Aurora – Thank you so much for sharing. Your preparedness to be vulnerable brings helpful practicality to some of our theoretical discussions. We will join you in prayer as you seek a Holy Spirit led reconciliation with your friends. The observations you shared on fasting are also very helpful. It is great to be connected even on the other side of the world. May God continue to bless you and your husband. Please give him my fond regards.

  6. Fasting is difficult for me as I am not disciplined but I skipped a meal today.
    So encouraging to read all comments.

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