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Fasting - It's All the Rage

Fasting Faithfulness Spiritual Health

Source: Britanica, "Fasting," Retrieved 2/17/24 and Medicinenet.com

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Marcelle Smith | Date Posted: 2024-02-18

Scripture: Joel 2:12 ; Ezra 8:23

Author: Marcelle Smith
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ILLUSTRATION

In the health and wellness industry, fasting has become all the rage. Articles and videos on everthing from intermittent fasting for 8, 12, or even 24 hours per day, up to 40 day "cleasing" fasts, and everything in between fill the internet search engines. 

Britannica defines fasting as:

[A]bstinence from food or drink or both for health, ritualistic, religious, or ethical purposes. The abstention may be complete or partial, lengthy, of short duration, or intermittent. Fasting has been promoted and practiced from antiquity worldwide by physicians, by the founders and followers of many religions, by culturally designated individuals (e.g., hunters or candidates for initiation rites), and by individuals or groups as an expression of protest against what they believe are violations of social, ethical, or political principles. [It] has been used therapeutically since at least the 5th century BCE, when Greek physician Hippocrates recommended abstinence from food or drink for patients who exhibited certain symptoms of illness.


Scientifically, fasting is defined as a period of partial or total restriction from all foods or selected foods. as part of a dieting regimen for weight loss or improved health.

The American Heart Association states that regular fasting is associated with lower rates of heart failure and improved metabolism, thus possibly making it the key to a long, healthy life. If done correctly, it can have many of the following health benefits: decreased resting heart rate, decreased blood pressure, better blood flow, lower levels of bad cholesterol, assistance with weight loss, decreased inflammation, improved blood sugar regulation, better responses to stress, slowing down of aging, prevention of diabetes, thyroid disorders, hypertension, and heart disease, and more!

Biblically speaking, fasting means the voluntary abstention from food for a prescribed period as a sign of devotion. 

APPLICATION

Clearly, from the list above, one could conclude that our bodies were created to naturally respond to periods of fasting and voluntarily deprivation.

So, too, are our spirits. Scripture is replete with examples and exhortations, to cite just a few:

Matthew 6:16-18 ESV 
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Joel 2:12 ESV 
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Daniel 10:3 ESV 
I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, for the full three weeks.

Ezra 8:23 ESV 
So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty.

Isaiah 58:6 ESV 
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Acts 13:2 ESV 
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.”

Acts 14:23 ESV 
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Exodus 34:28 ESV 
So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Esther 4:16 ESV 
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”

Luke 2:37 ESV 
And then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.

Psalm 35:13 ESV 
But I, when they were sick— I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.

Luke 4:2 ESV 
For forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.

Fasting helps us get closer to the Lord, hear His voice, and discern His direction(s) for our lives by the removal of distractions and noise, as well as helping us focus on Him more than other parts of His Creation, including (but not exclusively) food.

 

 

Wells of Salvation

Salvation Spiritual Health Faith

Source: "How do wells get their water from underground rivers?" Category: Earth Science, Published: July 16, 2013West Texas A&M University Science

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Marcelle Smith | Date Posted: 2023-11-28

Scripture: Isaiah 12:3 ; Ephesians 3:17

Author: Marcelle Smith
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ILLUSTRATION

Water sources are always precious, especially in a desert climate. According to Texas A&M Science:

Most wells don’t get their water from underground rivers, but instead get the water from aquifers. Aquifers are layers of rock and soil with water flowing through their small pores. Groundwater drips slowly and gently through the small spaces within rocks, between rocks, and between loose materials such as sand and gravel. In fact, water in aquifers can take years to centuries to flow back to the surface. A typical flow rate for water in aquifers is ten feet per year. For this reason, if a region experiences no rain for a few weeks, the wells will not immediately run dry. New water from rain and melting snow drips down into the ground through the pores and cracks in the rocks and soil. The well has to be deep enough so that it is below the water table so that the water fills up.

APPLICATION

Those who are deeply rooted in Christ will experience sustainance and joy unspeakable from the salvation and security He provides, with plenty of "reserves" on hand rippling through and flowing up from the swell of the groundwaters of His grace.

"With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" (Isaiah 12:3, ESV).

"[I pray that] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:16-19, ESV).
 

Your Marriage Is An Air Filter (Seriously!)

Marriage Spiritual Health Self-examination

Source: Mitchell Dillon, Founder - Illustration Exchange

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2023-08-16

Scripture: Ephesians 5:28 ; Proverbs 27:17

Author: Illustration Exchange
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ILLUSTRATION

Dust and airborne particles circulate throughout the rooms and ventilation systems of our homes unimpeded until they get to the air filter strategically located in the air handler of your a/c unit. That's where the junk is caught and hopefully dealt with, lest the system becomes clogged and fails.
 
Like airborne debris, your spiritual junk floats unimpeded through most of the airspace in your life, barely noticed at work, or in your community, or even among your friends and other family members. But there is no way it's getting past the most intimate of human relationships.

You can't hide your junk from your spouse! Your marriage is an air filter. It is a mechanism, strategically designed by God, intended to both serve and protect your spiritual life.

If there are issues in your spiritual life, they are sure to be "caught" in your marriage relationship.

APPLICATION

Unresolved anger, selfishness, spiritual or emotional immaturity all "come home to roost."  If you aren't who you should be at home, the filter is soon clogged and everything comes to a halt until the junk is dealt with. This is why, when there is real trouble, it is almost always felt in your marriage before it is detected anywhere else. Thus, your marriage is where you will most often be challenged to work on your junk. 
 
Those who fail to understand this principle are inclined to see trouble in their marriage as proof that the marriage itself is the problem. This erroneous thinking leads some to conclude that the solution is to end the marriage — which is like blaming the filter itself for the clog.

Rather, you must learn to see the conflict in your marriage as a divine alarm, sounding off to warn you that your junk needs to be dealt with before you will be able to move forward toward becoming the person God has called you to be. 
 
"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself" (Ephesians 5:28, NIV). 

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17, NIV).

 

Stay With It

Faithfulness Spiritual Health Sanctification

Contributed By: Marcelle Smith | Date Posted: 2023-06-15

Scripture: Colossians 1:23 ; Colossians 3:5

Author: Marcelle Smith
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Are You Being Fed?

Spiritual Health Spiritual Growth Spiritual Life

Contributed By: Bob Kombe | Date Posted: 2022-10-24

Scripture: John 6:35

Author: Bob Kombe
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The Peril Of "Covering Up"

Sin Confession Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2018-12-31

Scripture: Isaiah 29:15 ; Numbers 32:23

Author: Neal Pollard
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Are You Ready For Company?

Procrastination Second Coming Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Bren Glass | Date Posted: 2018-07-13

Scripture: Matthew 24:44 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:4

Author: Bren Glass
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Eating Daily

Devotion Word of God Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Thomas Bevers | Date Posted: 2017-04-12

Scripture: John 6:58 ; Acts 2:46

Author: Thomas Bevers
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How To Fake Your Own Death

Hypocrisy Dead (to sin) Spiritual Health

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2017-02-18

Scripture: Colossians 3:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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Be The 2.7 Percent

Spiritual Health Spiritual Growth Maturity

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-06-07

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:5

Author: Illustration Exchange
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