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Is Fasting for You? #spiritualfast

PlateDo you ever fast?  How often do you fast?  Do you fast regularly?  Weekly?  Monthly?  Why do you fast?  Why don’t you fast?  Is fasting even important in the life of the Christian?

I believe that fasting is one of the most powerful disciplines that you can participate in.  So, I’m going to deal with some of these issues in a series of posts.  Hopefully, by the end of this series, you will decide to fast at least one day a week.  Not only that, but you’ll look forward to fasting with expectancy in what it will accomplish in your life and ministry.

The Old Testament is filled with references about fasting.  I want to take this post to explain the Old Testament fast and how it relates to the New Testament.  As in all areas, whenever an Old Covenant teaching is studied, it must pass through the filter of the cross before we can apply it to our lives.  Only then can you know how much of it, if any, has a place in the New Covenant.

The first thing that should strike you as you study the Old Testament is that fasting was a very mournful experience.  Here are a few occurrences for you to look up.  In Judges 20:26, Israel fasted after a military defeat in order to gain a victory.  In I Kings 21:9, they fasted during a time of judgment in order to show their humility and repentance.  In Joel 1:14, it was to show repentance.

The principle found in I Samuel 31:13 shows fasting during a time of mourning.  In Daniel 9:3, he fasted to remind God of the promise to restore Israel.  Finally, Ezra 8:21 demonstrates humility before God in order to bring about the restoration of Jerusalem.

It’s clear from the above verses that a majority of the Old Testament fasting experience was one of mourning and humility before God.  Unfortunately, many Christians spend a lot of time getting all of their fasting theology from the Old Testament.

They think that they have to mourn over sin and fast in order to do “penance.”  They’re hoping that by doing something hard, they’ll obtain what they want from God.  In essence, they’re trying to get God to do something for them by doing something difficult for Him.  As you’ll see from Scripture, this is not the fast we’re called to.

Again the word of the LORD Almighty came to me.  This is what the LORD Almighty says: “The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.”
Zechariah 8:18-19

Zechariah was a prophet who ministered just before the “quiet time” between the Old and New Testaments.  During his time, a prophecy came forth that some day fasting was going to change.

Instead of the mourning that Israel was accustomed to, fasting was going to become a joy.  I believe that he was referring to the fast that we experience under the New Covenant.  That’s the fast I will talk about in the upcoming posts.

Question: What’s your fasting experience at this point in your Christian walk?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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Spiritual Power – The Holy Spirit versus the Law

PowerI’ve been posting about the two different sources of spiritual power – the Holy Spirit and the law.  Remember, it’s the law that powers sin.  There are some important differences between the law and the Holy Spirit.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

Literally, this verse says God is powerful enough to do everything you need according to His grace.  In all things, at all times – this means that the power of the Holy Spirit is permanent, whereas the law is temporary.

If I base my walk on how well I follow the law, I’ll soon be in big trouble.  Everything is fine while I’m at church, especially if I just went to the altar and repented.  I go on my way feeling strong spiritually.

Then it happens, on my way to the car I get into an argument.  It all goes downhill from there.  Now Satan has a base for accusation again and I can feel my power dwindling.

On the other hand, I can base my spiritual walk on the Holy Spirit within me.  I know that He’s always there.  I can run to Him in all things, at all times, and I know that He’s able to meet my need no matter what.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
1 Corinthians 4:20

There’s a second difference – the Holy Spirit is true, but the law is deceitful.  What does that mean?  When it comes to the law, you can always talk a good game.

“I pray, read my Bible, and am always on time for church.”

You can make it appear that you’re very powerful in the Lord, if that’s what it takes.  It’s a good thing that most believers don’t know what true power is or the charade would be over.

With the power of the law, you can hold the batteries in your hand.  Show off how much voltage you’re capable of.  We can even hear other’s proclaim, “Boy, those are a lot of pretty big batteries.”

The reason I said that the law is deceptive, is because the batteries can be dead and no one would know the difference – unless they looked for change being produced.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret – even the little pink bunny that keeps going and going eventually dies.  His batteries run out.

When yours do, because you’re relying on how well you follow the law, then you’re left with only the appearance of power.  That’s when we get together and “Remember when…”  Remember when our batteries were charged and we saw someone saved, or healed so many years ago.

It’s time for the church to tap into the only reliable source of power – the Holy Spirit whom God has placed within us.

Question: How have your attempts at following the rules turned out?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Power of God

 

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Do You Know the God of Music?

Did you realize that God was the author of music?  Do you know just how powerful music can be?  It’s either a force for good or evil.  For a few posts I want to deal with this subject.  We need to see how music fits into our worship of God.

Where did music come from?  When were melodies first heard?  Actually it was before man was created.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone —
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?”
Job 38:4-7

Music didn’t evolve.  It came from God.  It amazes me that God wanted to listen to music as He laid the foundation for the earth.

As much as we like to take credit for things, this was something that was around before we ever existed.  If we have music within us, it’s because God put it there.

Music is powerful.  It has the ability to grab your attention and hold on to you.  Think of what the world would be like without music.

The truth is that God loves music.  In fact, He surrounds Himself with music.  I don’t know if there can be praise without music.  I believe that Heaven is full of harmony.

On the other hand, the enemy knows just how powerful this medium can be.  He has ensnared whole generations through music.  My generation (the baby boomers) was caught up in the music of rebellion.  The next phase was the music of violence.

Now I notice something happening in music that’s startling.  The enemy’s kingdom has refocused it back to worship again – worship of self.  Music is now the road to power.  Just think about the draw of shows like American Idol, The Voice, and the X-Factor.

There’s something about the sung word that goes deep into your soul.  It draws things out of us that we never knew were there.  It can lay hold of our emotions and lead us wherever it’s heading.

Music is a spiritual force.  It’s a tool that can totally change our lives.  That’s why the music we listen to is so important.  It’s not just about whether it makes us happy or not.  What is it planting in my inner man?  That’s the big question behind the music.

Music was given to us by God for a purpose.  As believers we need to understand how it works.  Then we will see the fruit of it in our daily lives.

Question: Do you view music as a gift from God?  Do you treat it with respect as a spiritual force?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Music, The Church, Worship

 

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Kingdom Power

1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

Paul’s words to us are very clear.  When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we better do more than just talk.  The problem is that most of what is called power in the kingdom today is just that – talk.  The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.

Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective.  When we talk about “power” it is usually in the context of electrical power.  We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages.  We think of electricity as being a form of power.  This can help us to understand spiritual power.

Very simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick.  The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:

“Power is the ability to act.  It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”

Let me boil it down for you.  True power is the ability to produce change.  That’s the key word.  It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea.  It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour.  It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health.  It takes power to change a liar into a saint.  It take power to replace guilt with innocence.

If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding.  It’s our assignment in the Kingdom of God to produce change.  It’s not about how well you can speak about it.  Change is the priority.  Is the church producing change?

You have to remember that this passage was written when Christians were the people who were “turning the world upside down”.  In light of this, how powerful is the kingdom of God today?  In order to answer that we must ask, how much change is being produced in the church today?  The unfortunate answer is – not much.  In most churches around the country not many are being healed, set free from sins, or seeing great growth in their spiritual lives.  It seems that we have become masters of talking as if there’s power in our lives.

We say things like, “That was a powerful message.”  Or, “We had a powerful service last night.”  I have also heard, “She has a powerful anointing to sing.”  Speaking of singing, one of the biggest areas in which we fall short is in our songs.  We come to church on Sunday mornings and sing a host of songs about the power of God.  Then we sit back and think that because we just sang about it, somehow that means we are walking in it.  What I have found in actuality is that most of our “power” is usually just words.

If no one leaves the service changed, then there was no power manifested in the service.  There are plenty of unsaved actors and singers that can evoke an incredible emotional response from their audience, but that’s not power.  People weeping during the service is no indication of any power.  We have learned to cover over our powerlessness by calling emotionalism power.  The bottom line is – no matter how many people wept, no matter how many chills ran down your spine, no matter how many people were slain in the spirit – if no one was changed, then there was no power.

Do you want to walk in the true power of God?  Then you need to stop talking about it, and admit your lack – if that is the case.  We need a true, Biblical knowledge of what it is and how to use it.  We need to seek God for a touch from His hand.  That’s where true change – true power – originates from.

 
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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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