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The Practical Side of Fasting #spiritualfast

FlyingI want to wrap up my posts on fasting with some practical advice for those who are just starting out.

Fasting has a cumulative effect over time.  Don’t just try fasting once and expect to become “Faith Man.”  Step by step it decreases the pull your flesh has over your life.  It allows the faith that you have to exert a greater influence.

You need to know your body’s limitations.  There are some people who need to take a cautious approach.  These are people who are on certain medications or have medical conditions (such as diabetes) that require you to have food at regular intervals.  If you are one such person, then you need to consult with your doctor before starting a fast.  Tell them that you desire to fast for spiritual reasons and ask if there is a way to do so safely.

Remember that fasting is not a religious exercise, but a spiritual encounter.  God, who knows your heart, will release His power in you.  If you have to eat something with your medication, then look at the food as a part of your medicine.  It will not detract from your fast because your faith is in Christ.

There are side effects from caffeine.  If you are addicted to caffeine (which means that you regularly drink coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine in it) it’s possible that you will get moderate to severe headaches during your fast.  These headaches are the symptom of withdrawal from caffeine.  This can be avoided if you continue to drink something with caffeine in it on your fasting day.

There are side effects from sugar.  If sugar is a regular part of your diet, then you will experience hunger pains.  That’s your body’s normal reaction to a withdrawal from sugar.  Just be aware of that and let it run its course.

Drink large amounts of water while you’re fasting.  In this way you will get some health benefits as well as the spiritual.

Just make the decision and start fasting.  I believe that every Christian should be fasting at least one day a week with some kind of extended fast once a year.  You might ask, “Can’t I just use more self-control over the flesh to keep it down?”  Sure you can; it is possible.  It’s also possible to build a house without the use of any power tools, but there are not many people who would want to do it that way.

God has given us some supernatural “power tools” to strengthen us spiritually.  We’re being foolish if we ignore them.

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 13:2-3

Here is a good example of fasting at work.  The church leaders were in the midst of a time of fasting and prayer.  They were able to hear the voice of the Lord and obey quickly.  I believe that this is one of the secrets to the power that the early church possessed, and that we need in our generation.

Questions: If you fast regularly, how often do you fast?  If not, has this series encouraged you to try it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Fasting, Spirit of Excellence

 

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The Self-Watering Word of God

rainIn my last post I made a statement about the Word of God planted in us.  I first made the point that we’re powerless to make the seed grow. I then said that the only help we can give it, is in the watering process.

How do we water the seed of the Word of God?  That’s what this post is about.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

Now that’s an interesting concept.  Not only is the Word seed, it’s also the water.  The first time you receive God’s Word concerning a certain matter, be it salvation or healing, it’s the seed being planted in your life.

After that, you can still hear the Word of God in those areas.  However, it’s now the water to bring the plant to maturity.  That is why it’s so important for me to receive God’s Word in all of its forms.  I need both the initial seed and the water for growth.

As a pastor, I’m accountable to God to bring His Word to those under my care.  I must regularly plant seed and water what’s been planted.  Both are done by a Word from God.

The Word is both the seed and the water.  But that’s not a reason for you to feel comfortable if you’re not a pastor.  You’re under the same marching orders.

You’re accountable to God for the Word God has sent you to plant in the lives of others around you.  It’s this truth that sheds light on a problem that we’re currently experiencing in the body of Christ.

Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.
Proverbs 25:14

It’s very easy to claim gifts that you don’t possess.

“I am a teacher to the body of Christ.”

“I’m a prophet of God.”

It’s easy to lay claim to titles and positions.  The true test is whether or not people are being planted with the Word of God.  Is there fruit to the ministry?

What the world desperately needs right now is a Word from God.  The church promises so much, yet a lot of it is “clouds and wind without rain.”

It’s time for God’s people to press in to receive His Word.  When our society sees someone truly transformed by the Spirit of God, then they’ll hunger to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Question: Why are so many believers content to merely talk about the good things of God, yet not experience them?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2013 in Word of God

 

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Are You Living a Dehydrated Life?

Stream 2Do you find yourself feeling dry – spiritually speaking?  Do you even know what this means?  In the same way we try to keep our body healthy, we need to tend to our soul.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?
Psalm 42:1-2

I enjoy hiking on the Appalachian Trail.  I remember a trip I once took up Holt’s Ledge in New Hampshire.  It wasn’t very high – under 3000 feet.  But, because of poor planning on my part, I ran out of water.  To make matters worse, there were no springs ahead on the trail until I went up and over to the other side of the ledge.

It’s an awful thing when you know that you’re dehydrating.  First you start to get light-headed.  Then, every muscle in your body begins to cramp up.  Just putting one foot in front of the other becomes agony.

In that situation there was only one thing I could do.  I walked on with the realization that if I was going to survive, I must get to water.  It was tough, but I eventually made it to a water source.  I drank my fill, resupplied, and started to feel normal.  Later, I vowed never to let that happen again.

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
John 7:37-38

This is a great promise to us.  Jesus said that those who trust Him will have streams of living water on the inside.  We have access to that life-giving river all the time.  The question is, do we draw from it?

Many Christians foolishly live in spiritual “dehydration” every day of their life.  They ignore the presence of God and wonder why their spiritual life is so cramped up.  Why is every step so hard to take?

We need to keep our souls healthy.  This requires the same daily care that we give to our bodies.  Make sure that you don’t suffer from spiritual dehydration – run to the stream of the Lord each day for refreshment.

Refresh yourself right now by spending time in His presence.  Fill your soul with the living water only Christ can provide.

Question: Have you ever gone through a dry spiritual season?  What did you do to overcome it?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Encouragement, Prayer, Revival

 

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A Wilderness Spring

Isaiah 44:3-4
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.  They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.

When I go hiking, I always prepare by reading what the trail guide says about the area.  Many times I find these words concerning a campsite.  “The spring may not be reliable in dry seasons.”  Practically speaking then, what good is it?  At the very time you’d need it the most – it’s gone.

Some of our friends are like that.  Just when you need them the most they’re not around.  Or, along the same lines, they promise to be somewhere to help you and then never show up.

This is not so with the Lord.  He is the friend that “sticks closer than a brother.”  He is always right there when you need Him.  As a matter of fact, the Word says that He even knows what you need before you ask Him.

He is that spring in the wilderness that is always flowing, always reliable.  Even in the driest point in your life, you can draw cool, refreshing water from that living well.  He promised “never to leave us nor forsake us” and “He is not a man that He should lie.”

Draw life-giving water from that well today.  Spend some quality time in His presence being renewed, refreshed and refilled.  Avail yourself to the resources only the Lord can provide.  You will find your walk with Him to be much more enjoyable.

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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Water

Job 38:28-30
Does the rain have a father?  Who fathers the drops of dew?  From whose womb comes the ice?  Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?

Water has some very amazing properties.  I think about it when I see a rainbow in the sky after a storm has passed.  Sometimes I am dazzled by sunlight reflecting off of a field covered with morning dew.  I have gotten a other-worldly feeling as I’ve walked through a crystal forest after an ice storm.

God has provided an incredible variety of sights and sounds all related to precipitation.  It is wonderful to wake up in the morning and see a world changed by the weather of the night before.  It is in times like these that praise to God, the Creator, just seems to burst from my heart.

It is God who established the physical laws that govern the seasons.  It is God who set down the properties that all of the various elements and substances (including water) exhibit.  It is God who programmed us to respond emotionally to the beauty we see around us.

Praise Him today for His marvelous handiwork.  Take the time right now to show Him your appreciation for His love and care for us in giving us such a beautiful world to live in.

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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The Great Outdoors

Job 38:8-11
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt?’”

God created the seas, rivers, and lakes all for us.  He made the world a beautiful place for us to enjoy.  Many times I have thought myself blessed as I sat and meditated by a peaceful lake – knowing that only about a hundred people a year even see this sight.  Who was there watching when He established that body of water for His pleasure?

We serve a very creative God.  He loves beauty and variety.  He has made each lake and stream different.  Sometimes we need to just stop and look around at the details that make each scene unique.

I don’t know how close you live to green outdoor areas.  Hopefully there are parks or other type places nearby where you can go from time to time.  In any case, don’t ever get to the point where the outdoors is just a place to play.  Never lose your fascination with the sights, smells, and sounds of the green spaces around you – it speaks volumes to us about who God is.

We must be sensitive to the beauty that is around us.  Don’t just take it for granted.  Even a small garden can be a place of rest and refreshment in your spirit.  Give God thanks today for the glory of His Creation.  Be thankful that He allows us to share in the enjoyment of what His hands have done.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Daily Thoughts

 

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