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Biblical Ordiances

Biblical Ordinances       Thursday, November 23, 2017

Washing The Disciples Feet

BIBLICAL ORDINANCES (KJV)

In this study we will be discussing three Biblical Ordinances.

COMMUNION, FOOT WASHING, AND FASTING:
By
James and Mary Lee Thornton

"What mean ye by this service?"

Every ordinance or doctrine of the Church has a special meaning. I feel to get the full value of each one we (every member) should know why we do them.

1. Faith, or belief in God 
2. Repentance:
3. Water baptism:
4. Receiving the Holy Ghost:
5. Laying on of hands, which God works through:
6. Foot washing:
7. Communion: 
8. Fasting:

Each of these has a special meaning and each compliments the other. But, neither will take the place of the other. We want to practice each because the Bible teaches us to. But we also want to understand them so we can obtain the full blessing of each.

Since the beginning of time God has ordained certain ways for an event, or law, or covenant, to be remembered.

A. God set a rainbow in the sky for a covenant.  (Genesis 9:13
B. Jacob set a stone at the foot of the ladder. (Bethel) (Genesis 28:22)
C. A heap of stones- (Miz-pah) between Jacob and Laban. (Genesis 31:46-52)  
D. Crossing of the Jordan.. "What mean ye by these stones? (Joshua 4:6)
E. Ebeneezer stone.. (Stone of help) (1 Samuel 7:12)

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1. COMMUNION SERVICE:

 Exodus 12:25. “And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 
26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service?
27. That ye shall say, it is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, …”

Exodus 12, The Passover was instituted. 
v:5, "Take a lamb without blemish,"
v:6, "Shall kill it in the evening…"
v:7, "Take the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post,…"
v:8, "They shall eat the flesh in the night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread: and with bitter herbs they shall eat it."
v:14, "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever."
v:26, "When your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service?
V:27, "It is the sacrifice of the lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt.

Israel kept this feast as a memorial or memory of that event.
Every Jewish family partook of it. Men, women, and children…
Jesus observed the Passover with his parents in Jerusalem every year.

Luke 2:41, Jesus knew its history because the story was repeated each year. (I feel that it is important for people to hear these stories over and over.)

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, each tell the story of the last Passover supper Jesus ate with his Disciples.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:23, "I received of the Lord, .."

Thus the communion service is based upon 4 things,
1. History:  
2. Experience:  
3. Revelation: 
4. Scripture:

Remember these things,

1. The last supper (as we call it) issued from the Passover feast. 
2. The church succeeds Israel as the people of God.  
3. The Lord's Supper is the Church's fulfillment of the Passover. Kept at a particular season

Luke 22:14, "When the hour was come, Jesus sat down."

The preacher said in Ecclesiastes 3: "To every thing there is a season, and a time and a purpose." His list seems endless… he has ended his book with "Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man."

The Communion "season" is one of those high and holy occasions, it is not done every week, or it would become common place with no real meaning.

COMMUNION IS A SACRED SEASON:

There was no haste, no carelessness; it is a time of soul searching while we are engaging in this most sacred event. Jesus' presence invades the communion service, there is a feeling of awe, and of reverence within us.

Luke 22:14, "He sat down, and the twelve Apostles with him."

It is a partnership, they shared the feast together.
Communion means fellowship.

It is communion or fellowship between our church, our Lord Jesus, and one another. (Let us never forget we need this fellowship.)

It is his table, he gives the invitation.

Revelation 3:20, "I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

1 Corinthians 10:21, "Partakers of the Lord's table…"

COMMUNION IS A TIME OF THANKSGIVING:

Matthew 26:27, "And he took the cup, and gave thanks…"

Partake of this communion with thankful hearts.

1. Thank him for His love to us.
2. Thank him for His mercy He has shown to us.
3. Thank him for His Word.
4. Thank Him for His sacrifice at Calvary.
5. Thank Him for reaching down for us & etc.

COMMUNION IS A MEMORIAL, A REMEMBRANCE:

1 Corinthians 11:24, "and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, take eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in rememberance of me.

Our Lord worked miracles but He did not ask to be remembered by demonstrations of His power, nor by His parables, or sayings, he asked to be remembered by his death.

So the Lord's Supper, or Communion, is God's way for the church to remember his death. As we gather together bring your mind together to remember His death.

1. Think on His death, 
2. Talk about His death,
3. Pray about His death.
4. Think about the value of His death,
5. Remember His shed blood bought our souls.

WE KEEP COMMUNION FOR A WITNESS OF HIS DEATH:

1 Corinthians 11: 26, "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come."

Every Christian is a witness of his death. When we take communion every person comes along side of preacher, minister, or laymen, to witness to the death of Jesus. His death should be uppermost in our thoughts. He gave us the power to go forth and proclaim He died for all.

THIS IS NOT ORDINARY FOOD:

What does the bread represent?....... His body
What does the cup represent? ……. His blood
The bread was broken. (
1 Corinthians 11:24)
His body was broken. (
1 Corinthians 11:24)

"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:" (1 Corinthians 5:7

Israel was in bondage & slavery to Egypt, God brought them deliverance, a lamb was slain, its blood was sprinkled on the door post. God said, "When I see the blood I will Passover you."

You and I, we all, were in bondage to sin.                                                                  
Jesus became the Lamb of God to provide a way of deliverance for mankind. Under his blood we receive salvation.

We are "Redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.." (1 Peter 1:19)

He will Passover us when the plagues come, 
When the fire falls,
When the Great Judgment is set.

1 Corinthians 5:8, "So let us keep the feast…"                                                                
1 Corinthians 11: 26, "till he come."
John 6:35, "I am the bread of life…"
John 13:17, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them,."

DO NOT PARTAKE IN AN UNWORTHY MANNER. (1 Corinthians 11:29)

Every person who participates is responsible to prepare himself to participate. Jesus did not judge Judas nor condemn him before, they partook of the Passover, but condemnation came later.

Over and over in the Old Testament God told the people to sanctify themselves before many solemn occasions. Sometimes a period of time was set aside for the people to sanctify themselves, to prepare for those solemn occasion. (Genesis 35:1-4; Leviticus 11:44))

Maybe we also should set aside a time for preparation.                                              
The communion service is a time for sanctification (cleansing) of our lives.

1. A time of soul searching. 
2. A time of repentance.
3. A time of making things right with someone.
4. A time to forgive.
5. A time of cleansing of our spirit.
6. A time to settle disputes with each other.
7. A time of tearing down barriers between people.

We cannot participate worthily if we have offended some brother or sister and have not made it right. (Matthew 5:24)

NONE SHOULD COME IN AN UNFORGIVING SPIRIT:

Just as the minister ought to prepare himself before his sermon, so every worshiper should be suitably prepared for participation in this sacred rite.

No one should come to the Lord’s Table in the spirit of disunity.

The sacrament is a communion service, a fellowship. It is not an hour of instruction but of communion, of fellowship with our church, our brothers and sisters, and most of all Christ himself.

Those who participate, granted that they are present in the right spirit of devotion to their master, and of fellowship with one another, are in the closest possible relationship to Jesus Christ.

He is not only the giver of the feast; He is the feast itself.

Fellowship with the church body,                                                                             
Fellowship with each individual of that body,
Fellowship with Christ himself.

The Apostle Paul certainly believed in a very real presence.

1 Corinthians 11:27, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord
28, But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29, For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. {damnation: or, judgment}
30, For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31, For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32, But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 

In conclusion Paul believed that many of our natural problems arise because we do not keep our selves in the right spiritual health. (We can take this naturally or spiritually)

Judge ourselves. We are the only ones who can make the right judgment of our spirit in the light of God's word. When we make that judgment rightly, we will not be condemned with the world.

Exodus 12:25. And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as He hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 
26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service?"
27. That ye shall say, it is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, …”

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FOOT WASHING:

"WHAT MEAN YE BY THIS SERVICE?"

Every ordinance or doctrine of the church has a special meaning. To get the full value of each one we (every member) should know why we do them. Each of these has a special meaning and each compliments the other. But, neither will take the place of the other.

We want to practice each because the Bible teaches us to. But we also want to understand them so we can obtain the full blessing of each.

1. Jesus washes his Disciple’s feet. (John 13:1-17)

John, of all those who were present, was the only one that recorded the incident, of Jesus washing his Disciple’s feet.

In any study of Jesus' teaching, the story of that last night of his earthly life must fill a very large place. John alone tells it fully, so much indeed that it practically forms nearly one-fourth of his Gospel.

Several key things we want to take note of.

1. Jesus' love for his disciples prompted it.
2. The foot washing took place immediately after the communion feast.
3. There was friction among the twelve about who should be the greatest among them.
4. Judas was in the process of betraying Jesus.
5. Jesus' love for his disciples prompted him to teach them a lesson concerning humility.
6. Jesus condescends to the role of a servant or slave.
7. The lesson Peter and all of us learn from this.

In the first verse of John chapter thirteen we are made aware of some of the things which were going on in the mind of Jesus at this particular hour.

John 13:1a. "Jesus knew his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the father,.."

Jesus knew that the time of his death had arrived. In most cases this is wisely hid from us, but he knew the hour and the minute. "He knew his hour was come…" comparatively speaking, he was already within the deadly hour, and had only a few minutes between him and the deadly conflict.

He knew the awful circumstances of his death. He knew that it would be by crucifixion, with all its physical pain, public shame, and insult. But the physical suffering and torture were but a faint shadow of his mental and spiritual agony, which could only be known and fully realized by Himself.

But in his knowledge there were some alleviating features.

John 13:1b. "…that he should depart out of this world unto the father,.."

He knew that in his death he would be going home… He had lived in this world thirty three and one half years, and he had made some close friends.

John 13:1c. "…Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

His Disciples were specially his own. His Disciples were the children of His care and mercy, the product and property of His love. They were bought with a price; the price would be paid, he would lay down His life for them. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

This last evening and night with his disciples was a cherished moment for him.

Luke 22:15. "And he said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." 

16. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God."

He wanted these last few hours with them to be a time of intimate fellowship. He had so much to tell them. He wanted to share secrets with them concerning heaven and the coming of the Holy Ghost, but the atmosphere was clouded.

The little fellowship came into the room that night divided. In fact there was contention among them. Arguing and bickering among themselves.

Judas was in the process of betraying him, having gone to the High Priests to make a deal with them. It seems that during the supper his mind was made up to do the deed. Jesus used these last few moments with him to give him the opportunity to remain true to him.

The mother of two of them (James and John) had asked that her sons set in a place of honor in the kingdom (Matthew 20:20-28). Luke tells us about it in Luke 22:24. "And there was also a strife among them, which one of them would be accounted the greatest."

This little group of men, the greatest fellowship the world had ever known, seated at the table with the greatest host the world had ever had, had come with worldly ambitions on their mind. It is remarkable that at such a season this dispute could have arisen at all, having, undoubtedly, broken out on more than one occasion. (Mark 9:33-34)

Jesus, knowing that he could not get their minds on heavenly things as long as there was strife among them concerning which one of them was the greatest, decided to teach them a lesson on humility, this he did in the midst of the feast.

HE TOOK UPON HIMSELF THE ROLE OF A SERVANT:

In John's account of it every word forms a distinct picture.

John 13:4. "He riseth from the supper, and laid aside his garments, and took a towel, and girded himself."

He divested himself of his outer garment. He took off the seamless garment which the soldiers would cast lots for. He laid aside the robe or frock which they were all accustomed to see him wear. It was a designation of the office of Rabbi, a distinguishing mark of a Prophet, or Master.

"and took a towel, and girded himself."

In this attire he was to appear, and literally to act after the fashion of the humblest slave (many were forbidden to wear clothes, only wrapping a cloth around themselves). John 13:5. "After that he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the Disciple’s feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded."

What condescension, what humility:

The apostle Paul said it best in,

Philippians 2:5. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
6. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
7. But made of himself no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"

He came down from heaven, not just came from heaven, he represented heaven in all of its glory, he was heaven. God manifest (made known) in the flesh. The Almighty became a servant. The Master stooped to serve, to wash his Disciples feet.

Clement of Alexandria, writing about a hundred years later, made this statement, "The Lord ate from a cheap bowl, and he washed his disciples' feet with a towel about him--the lowly-minded God and Lord of the universe. He did not bring a silver foot-bath from heaven to carry about with him."

We do not know which one of the disciples feet Jesus washed first, who was second, and so on down the line, but I’m sure that all the bickering ceased, all strife was forgotten, all contentions, all arguments ceased as one by one they had their feet washed by our Lord.

No one seemed to say a word, no one offered to relieve him of this menial task he had undertaken, until he came to Simon Peter.

Peter, always impulsive, never one to be tongue tied, but always quick to blurt out everything in his mind. This was more, by far, than he could stand. I'm sure, at the first, he stared in a kind of stunned amazement, as though he could not believe what was happening.

John 13:6. "Then he cometh to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, "Lord, doest thou wash my feet?" "do you intend to wash my feet?"

John 13:7. "Jesus answered and said unto him, "what I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter." 

8a. Peter saith unto him (with more emphasis than before), "thou shalt never wash my feet.”

Peter was sincere, and in this statement was acknowledging the superiority of Jesus over him. Jesus' reply went far beyond this purely symbolical washing, and gave it a moral significance.

John 13: 8b. Jesus answered him, "if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me."

Jesus is saying, "You will have no portion, no share, no communion, no common inheritance with me in the honors and blessings of the kingdom."

"This is a symbol of my love to you, and of what is to be your love one to another; if you refuse to accept it from me, you will then have no part with me in the manifestation of the spirit of self sacrificing love which I have come to inaugurate." Peter began to grasp the true meaning of Jesus' statement and he reacted more forcibly.

John 13:9. Simon peter saith unto him, "not my feet only but, also my hands and my head."

Simon Peter suddenly felt the weakness and sinfulness of the old human nature and he cried out for the Lord to cleanse him entirely. Jesus' answer to him shows that he is speaking of something far more important than the foot washing.

Foot washing has a deep spiritual meaning which we need to understand also.

John 13:10. "Jesus saith to him, "he that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all." 

11. For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, "ye are not all clean."

They had been washed (baptized) from the defilement of their old nature, they had undergone a thorough moral and spiritual change by their union to Christ. They were reconciled and cleansed; they did not need a fundamental change to be wrought daily. Just as a man, who had a good bath, only requires the removal of the soil contacted in the daily walk.

So is a man who has been regenerated and washed by the blood of the lamb, is forgiven and clean, need not a total regeneration, but a daily cleansing of his trespasses.

THE LESSON OF THE FOOT WASHING:

John 13:12. So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, "know ye what I have done to you?" 

13. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16. Verily, verily, I say unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 

"He taketh his garment, and was set down.." he was no longer the slave, but their teacher and lord. "For I have given you an example,.." (John 13:15)

In this act of Jesus washing his disciples feet we see a manifestation of God. God was manifested to men not only in the words, but in the life of Jesus, and in no other way could he have been more fully revealed.

The example is in principal more than in the specific act. The example is to be a token of humility, condescension, love, patience. It is something that is to be constantly imitated by all true disciples. It is to be done by all Christians one to another.

Every day some opportunity of washing someone's feet comes our way, maybe not literally, but some opportunity of rendering service of some kind or other to those with whom we associate.

The true Christian follows his master example and will take advantage of such opportunities. Remember he took the form of a servant, and he lived the life of a servant.

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FASTING:

A Personal Guide To Fasting

By James and Mary Lee Thornton

Fasting is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all the Christian disciplines. Through Fasting and Prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform your life.

Fasting and Prayer can also work on a much grander scale. According to Scripture, personal experience and observation, I am convinced that when God's people fast with a proper Biblical motive, seeking God's face, not His hand, with a broken, repentant, and contrite spirit, God will hear from heaven and heal our lives, our churches, our communities, our nation and world.

Fasting and Prayer can bring about healing (Mark 9:28-29), revival, a change in the direction of our nation, the nations of earth and the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The Awesome Power can be released through you as you Fast through the enabling of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is the most neglected spiritual admonitions. In fact, it has been ignored for so long that it is difficult to find information on the "How-To's" of this life-changing experience. When I first undertook this study I had a difficult time finding information on the nature of a Biblical Fast, how to start, what to expect Physically and Spiritually, and how to terminate a Fast.

These pages are designed to answer your practical questions about Fasting and ease any concerns you might have. In this Article you will learn about the following:

 1.Why you should Fast 

2. How to Fast safely 

3.How long and what type of Fast is right for you
4.How to prepare yourself Spiritually and Physically
5.How to manage your schedule while Fasting
6.How to deal with the responses of friends and loved ones
7.How to make your Spiritual Experience the best it can be
8.How to maintain nutritional balance and health from beginning to end (including specific juice and broth recipes)
9.What Physical benefits to expect, and How to finish your Fast and return to your normal schedule in a HEALTHY way.

Whether you hold a 1-day Fast or an extended 40-day Fast, I pray that our Lord's most wonderful love and blessings will be poured out on you as you take this exciting step of Faith.

WHY YOU SHOULD FAST:

If you do not already know of the power and importance of Fasting, here are some very important facts:

1.Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament Eras. For example, Moses Fasted at least two recorded forty-day periods (Exodus 24:15-16; 34:28) Elijah fasted forty days (1 Kings 19:8). Jesus fasted 40 days (Matthew 4:1-2), and reminded His followers to Fast, "when you fast," not, "if you Fast" (Matthew 6:16).

2. Fasting and Prayer can restore the loss of the "first love" for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

3. Fasting is a Biblical way, King David said, "I humble myself through fasting."

4. Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true Spiritual condition, resulting in Brokenness, Repentance, and a Transformed Life.

5. The Holy Spirit will quicken (make alive) the Word of God in your heart and His Truth will become more meaningful to you!

6. Fasting can transform your Prayer Life into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others.

Fasting and Prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill the requirements of 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

If you Fast, you will find yourself being humbled. You will discover more time to pray and seek God's face. And as He leads you to recognize and repent of un-confessed sin, you will experience special blessings from God. Through your Fast, and that of many other believers, God will heal our land.

Biblical Examples Of Fasting:


1.Moses ………………….
Exodus 34:27-28
2.Israelites ………………
Judges 20:26
3.Samuel ………………...
1 Samuel 7:5-6
4.David …………………..
2 Samuel 12:16; Psalms 35:13
5.Elijah …………………..
1 Kings 19:2, 8
6.Ninevites ……………….
Jonah 3:5-8
7.Darius …………………..
Daniel 6:18
8.Daniel …………………..
Daniel 9:3
9.Anna ……………………
Luke 2:37
10.Jesus …………………..
Matthew 4:1-2
11.John’s Disciples ………
Mark 2:18
12.Pharisees ………...……
Mark 2:18
13.Early Christians ……...
Acts 13:2
14.Apostles ……………….
2 Corinthians 6:4-5
15.Paul ……………………
2 Corinthians 11:27

Reasons Why A Person May Fast:

1. Seeking God’s will for your life 

2. Seeking a personal favor from God (Hanna) 1 Samuel 1:7
3. Grief
2 Samuel 12:16
4. Anxiety
Daniel 6:18-20
5. Approaching danger
Esther 4:16
6. Sad news
Nehemiah 1:4
7. Sacred Ordinations
Acts 13:3
8. To chasten and to cleanse your soul
Psalms 69:10
9. Healing for yourself, or for others
Mark 9:28-29

Fasting Should Be Accompanied By The Following

1. Prayer (Luke 2:37)                                                                                 

2. Confessions (Nehemiah 9:1-2)                                                              

 3. Mourning (Joel 2:12; Nehemiah 9:1; Exodus 34:8)

HOW TO FAST SAFELY:

As you begin your Fast, you may hear from concerned loved ones and friends who urge you to protect your health. And they are right. You should protect your health. But I assure you, if done properly, Fasting will not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well.

By all means, consult your Doctor before you begin your Fast. But, be aware that many Doctors have not been trained in this area and so their understanding is limited. Even so, it would be wise to ask your Doctor for a physical exam to make sure you are in good health. You may have a physical problem that would make fasting unwise or dangerous.

Also, if you are under any type of medication, make sure you talk to your Doctor before changing your regime. Prudence and caution are in order.

When you are assured that you are in good health, you are ready to begin your Fast. Follow The Guidelines listed at the end of this Article.

In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of Fasting, there are certain people who should NEVER Fast without Professional Supervision.

For example:

1. Those who are physically too thin or emaciated
2. Those who are prone to Anorexia, Bulimia, or other Behavioral Disorders
3. Those who suffer Weakness or Anemia
4. Those who have Tumors, Bleeding Ulcers, Cancer, Blood Diseases, or who have Heart Disease.
5. Those who suffer Chronic Problems with Kidneys, Liver, Lungs, Heart, or other important organs
6. Those who take Insulin for Diabetes, or suffer any other Blood Sugar problem such as Hyperglycemia
7. Women who are pregnant or nursing

HOW LONG AND WHAT TYPE OF FAST IS RIGHT FOR YOU:

If you have never Fasted before, I applaud your present interest! Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of many of the great spiritual leaders throughout history. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist denomination, Fasted every Wednesday and Friday and required all of his Clergy to do the same. Effective ministers of God from the Apostle Paul to Martin Luther to John Calvin made it a continual part of their walks with God.

None of those men had a "Formula Fast" that was the only "right" way. Fasting is about the condition of the heart, not the number of days. Each time that men have fasted for forty days, it was because they felt impressed by God to do so.

So, start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you will be prepared in a period of several months to Fast for an extended 40 day period.

The Bible recounts primarily two types of fasts. A partial Fast is described in the book of Daniel. Although the water Fast seemed to be the custom of the prophet, there was a three-week period in which he only abstained from "delicacies," meat, and wine. (Daniel 10:3)

The two primary types mentioned in the Bible are the "absolute" and "supernatural absolute" Fasts. These are total Fasts-no food (solid or liquid) and no water. Paul went on an absolute Fast for three days following his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9). Moses and Elijah engaged in what must be considered a supernatural absolute Fast of forty days (Deuteronomy 9:9; I Kings 19:8).

So, I strongly advice you to drink plenty of liquids. Obviously, if God leads you to undertake an absolute fast, you should obey. If so, be certain, without doubt, that God is leading you.

Water-only Fasts that last for more than several days need to be undertaken with complete rest and under medical supervision because of the extreme danger of over toxification, breakdown of vital body tissues, and loss of electrolytes.

I personally recommend water and juice Fasting, especially if you are going to Fast for an extended period of time. This type of Fast will provide you with more energy than absolute or water-only Fasts and still lead you into the humbling experience of denying your desire for solid food.

When it comes to making your final decision about what type of Fast is right for you, the best advise I can give you is to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. He will guide your heart and mind as to what is best for you.

Remember, the most important consideration in Fasting is your motive. Why are you Fasting? To seek something personally from God's hand, or to seek His face in worship, praise and thanksgiving?

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE WHILE FASTING:

How long you Fast, the kind of Fast you undertake, and how you adjust your work schedule depends mostly on your occupation. Persons with office jobs, Pastors, or homemakers may find it easier to continue their duties and fast for longer periods of time. In fact, many thousands of Pastors and lay men and women have already completed a 40-day Fast!

Though there are many who engage in strenuous physical labor and have enjoyed their extended Fast, if you are so engaged, you may wish to Fast only one or more days of the week, limiting yourselves to partial Fasting if you are so engaged. Or you may look to weekends as the prime time to abstain from food. Remember, too, fasting during major holidays is not always a good idea. Families may be inconvenienced, and temptations to eat can be overwhelming.

Reasons for schedule adjustments, especially during an extended Fast, are two-fold...

 1. The first is physical.                                                                    

Throughout your Fast, you may feel somewhat weaker than normal. During the first few days, you may feel tired and irritable. Lightening your workload and cutting down on strenuous exercise would be a very good idea to maintain your health and your morale.

 2. The second reason is spiritual.                                                   

 Fasting is not just denying yourself food. It is exchanging the needs of the Physical body for those of the Spiritual. Long times of Prayer and reading God's Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate Communion with God to maintain your Fast to its completion.

While Fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both Physically and Spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your Fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I do not want that to happen to you.

The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in Prayer and the more meaningful your Fast will be. So I encourage you to arrange your schedule accordingly!

HOW TO MAKE YOUR SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE THE BEST IT CAN BE:


Receiving God's best blessing from a Fast requires solid commitment. Arranging special time each day with God is absolutely crucial in attaining intimate communion with the Father. You must devote yourself to seeking God's face, even (and especially) during those times in which you feel weak, vulnerable, or irritable.

Read God’s Word and pray during what were mealtimes. Meditate on Him when you awake in the night. Sing praises to Him whenever you please. Focus on your Heavenly Father and make every act one of Praise and Worship. God will enable you to experience His command to "Pray Without Ceasing" as you seek His presence.

As you enter this time of heightened Spiritual Devotion, be aware that Satan will do everything he can to pull you away from your prayer and Bible reading time. When you feel the enemy trying to discourage you, immediately go to God in prayer and ask Him to strengthen your resolve in the face of difficulties and temptations. Read Matthew 4:1-11 of how Satan came to tempt Jesus during his fast.

The enemy makes you a target because he knows that Fasting is the most powerful of all Christian disciplines and that God may have something very special to show you as you wait upon Him and seek His face. Satan does not want you to grow in your faith, and will do anything from making you hungry and grumpy to bringing up trouble in your family, or at work, to stop you. Make prayer your shield against such attacks.

My major reason for Fasting is for personal revival, revival for our nation, for the world and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. But praying for our own needs and interceding for others are also important reasons to Fast and Pray. Bring your personal needs before the Lord, intercede for your loved ones, your friends, your church, your pastor, your community, your nation, and the world. By your prayers of humility, as you Fast, you will help the Great Commission be fulfilled.

However, do not become so caught up in praying for yourself and others that you forget about simply reverencing and praising God. True spiritual Fasting focuses on God. Center your total being on Him, your attitudes, your actions, your motives, desires, and words. This can only take place if God and His Holy Spirit are at the center of our attention.

Confess your sins as the Holy Spirit brings them to your attention and continue to focus on God and God alone so that your prayers may be powerful and effective.

A renewed closeness with God and a greater sensitivity to spiritual things are usually the results of a Fast. Do not be disappointed if you do not have a "mountaintop experience," as some do.

Many people who have successfully completed extended Fasts tell of feeling a nearness to God that they have never before known, but others who have honestly sought His face report no particular outward results at all.

For others, their Fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to Fast, and they completed the Fast unto Him as an act of worship; God honored that commitment.

Your motive in Fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When your motives are right, God will honor your seeking heart and bless your time with Him in a very special way.

MAINTAINING NUTRITIONAL BALANCE DURING A FAST:

I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some. But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast.

For an extended Fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your Fast.

Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. Off-the-shelf juice products are acceptable, as long as they are 100% juice with no sugar or other additives.

If you are beginning a Juice Fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice (these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water).

The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage, or beet.

They also recommend "green drinks" made from green leafy vegetables because they are excellent "de-toxifiers."

Fruit juices are "cleansers" and are best taken in the morning. Since vegetable juices are "restorers" and "builders," they are best taken in the afternoon.

Many dedicate a portion of their 40-day Fast to a special liquid formula, which Is found to be effective. A few recipes and some comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule.

One gallon distilled water 

1-1/2 cup lemon juice
3/4-cup pure maple syrup
1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper.

The lemon juice adds flavor and vitamin C, the maple syrup provides energy, and the cayenne pepper an herb acts to open small blood vessels which helps the body as it cleanses itself of stored toxins. (A word of caution: although many use this formula with no ill effects, cayenne pepper could cause severe physical reactions in persons with a specific allergy to this herb).

A favorite juice is a mixture of 100% pure white grape juice and peach juice. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label.

Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:

1. Watermelon-- Just put it in the blender without adding water.

2. Fresh apple juice

3. Green juice-blend celery, romaine lettuce, and carrots in equal proportions. (Vegetable juices like this one are important, for they supply the electrolytes necessary for proper heart function!)

Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:

1. Boil sliced potatoes, carrots, and celery in water. Do not add salt, After about a half-hour, drain off the water and drink.

2. Gently boil three carrots, two stalks of celery, one turnip, two beats, a half head of cabbage, a quarter of a bunch of parsley, a quarter of an onion, and a half clove of garlic Drain off the broth and drink up to two or three times daily.

You may find the following daily schedule helpful during your fast. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your Fast.

1. 5:00 a.m. - 8:00 a.m.
Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended, diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid.
Orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, grape, peach or other fruits are good.

2. 10:30 a.m. - noon
Green vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.

3. 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Herb tea with a drop of honey. Make sure that it is not black tea or tea with a stimulant.

4. 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Broth from boiled potatoes, celery, and carrots (no salt).

I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the Fast. Any product containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle and you will again feel hunger pangs.

Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea, or cola. Because caffeine is a stimulant, it has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food. This works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the Fast.

Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit (this especially applies to extended fasts). Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health, and on a juice fast.

However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist.

PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF YOUR FASTING:

Although Fasting can be an indescribable blessing, it is not always easy for everyone. In this time of discipline, self-sacrifice and reflection, do not be surprised if you experience mental and physical discomforts.

To begin, you may experience some inner conflict when you deny yourself the pleasure of eating delicious food. Any sort of Fast may sometimes leave you feeling impatient and irritable.

During a 3-day Fast, this struggle can intensify toward the end of the second day. That seems to be a favorite time for the "self" to rise up and say, "This is as far as I want to go. I have done enough."

Physical Effects

Hunger Pangs

These are greatest usually during the first three days of the fast. Your body is adjusting from using the food in your digestive tract (which remains about three days) to consuming stored fats.

Reliefs

Psyllium Bulk

Helps eliminate hunger pangs and also aids in cleansing the body. Several capsules can be taken throughout the day with plenty of water. Silymarin tablets may also be helpful, for they are believed to protect and enhance the cleansing of the liver.

Physical Effects

Coldness, bad breath and heightened body odor, changes in elimination (constipation or diarrhea), light-headedness, changes in sleeping and dreaming patterns, aches and pains.

A white-coated tongue at the beginning of a fast may be a part of the body's pattern of throwing off toxins.

Also expect to go the bathroom often (you will be drinking lots of water!)

Reliefs

After the first two weeks of an extended fast, many of these symptoms subside. Continuing aches in a certain area of the body usually means elimination of fatty tissue is going on in that area, which is not harmful. However, any extensive pain should be examined immediately.

YOU SHOULD STOP FASTING IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SEVERE PAIN OR SWELLING.

Physical Effects

Headaches or stomachaches may be a result of salt, sugar, or caffeine withdrawal.

Reliefs

Eliminating those items from your diet prior to fasting is the best way to avoid these pains.

Physical Effectc

Lower back pain may indicate that you are dehydrating.

Reliefs

Drink more fluids

Physical Effects

Dizziness may be caused by a sudden change in position, such as rising suddenly from a chair.

RELIEFS

Stop for a second or two, then recover. Move slowly. (A word of caution: these conditions may be symptoms of other problems requiring medical attention.)

Physical Effects

Minor fasting discomfort

Reliefs

Take one teaspoon of psyllium seed powder morning and evening. 

Mixed in lukewarm water, it becomes like Jell-O. 

This powder will hasten the elimination of toxins from your colon and 

help to prevent headaches and dizziness for most healthy people. 

Alfalfa tablets can help control bad breath and cleanse the system. Two tablets at a time can be taken several times a day.

Many continue to take their vitamin and mineral supplements which I feel is a good thing if you can tolerate them.

During your Fast, you may have your struggles, discomforts, spiritual victories, and failures. In the morning you may feel like you are on top of the world, but by evening you may be wrestling with the flesh-sorely tempted to raid the refrigerator and counting how many more days are left in your fast. This is especially true if you are new at Fasting.

To counteract temptations like these, take extra time with God. Step outside for fresh air and a moderate walk of a mile or two, and talk to the Lord as you walk along.

And in the process always keep on sipping water or juice frequently during your waking hours.

Physical Blessings

1. Lowers Blood Pressure.
2. Lowers Cholesterol Level.
3. Gives The Digestive System A Rest.
4. Gives You Body Time To Clean Itself Out.
5. Relieves Nervousness And Tension.
6. Helps You Sleep Better.
7. Regulates Bowels.
8. Sharpens Mental Peocess.
9. Slows Aging Process.
10. Helps Discipline Eating Habits.

HOW TO FINISH YOUR FAST IN A HEALTHY WAY:

All the experts agree that "breaking the Fast" is the critical phase of fasting. While your body is in the resting mode, your stomach shrinks and your intestines become idle, so solid food must be re-introduced very slowly to avoid kidney failure or digestive distress. In fact, after a 40-day Fast, you should make a careful transition for at least three days before returning to eating meats or fats or normal foods.

Further, if you end your Fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will linger for days. But if you rush into solid foods, you may lose much of your deep sense of peace and experience physical problems such as diarrhea, sickness, fainting, and frankly even death in some cases, due to shock!

Dr. Paul Bragg and his daughter Patricia have conducted Fasting Clinics for many years. Their book, The Miracle of Fasting, gives a specific daily food plan for breaking a 7-day Fast that could be adapted and stretched out over several more days for a 40-day Fast. (New Edition, April 2005) You will be able to get this book at Books A Million Book Stores.

Another Good Book Is Toxic Relief By Dan Colbert, M.D. (Christianbook.com)

When Ye Fast -- By Joy Haney

Fasting For Spiritual Break Through -- By Elmer Towns

Shaping History Through Prayer And Fasting -- By Derek Prince

Explaining Fasting -- James F. Blach, M.D. And Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C.

Prayer And Fasting Week Toolbox -- First United Pentecostal Church, Nashville Tn.

NINE FASTS GOD CAN USE:

1. THE DISCIPLE'S FAST

Purpose: "To loose the bands of wickedness" "(Isaiah 58:6) - Freeing ourselves and others from addictions to sin.

Key Verse: "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:21).

Background: Jesus cast out a demon from a boy whom the disciples had failed to help.

2. THE EZRA FAST:

Purpose To "undo the heavy burdens" (Isaiah 58:6) -to solve problems.

Key Verse: "So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer" (Ezra 8:23)

Background: Burdened with embarrassment about having to ask the Persian king for an army to protect them, Ezra fasted and prayed for an answer.

3. THE SAMUEL FAST:

Purpose: "To let the oppressed (Physically and Spiritually) go free" (Isaiah 58:6) - for revival and soul winning.

Key Verse: "So they gathered together at Mizpah, drew water, and poured it out before the Lord. And they fasted that day, and said there, "We have sinned against the Lord" (1 Samuel 7:6)

Background: Samuel led God's people in a fast to celebrate the return of the Ark of the Covenant from its captivity by the Philistines, and to pray that Israel might be delivered from the sin that allowed the Ark to be captured in the first place.

4. THE ELIJAH FAST:

Purpose: "To break every yoke" (Isaiah 58:6) -conquering the mental and emotional problems that would control our lives.

Key Verse: "He himself went a day's journey into the wilderness….He arose and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights" (1 Kings 19:4,8)

Background: Although Scripture does not call this a formal "fast", Elijah deliberately went without food when he fled from Queen Jezebel's threat to kill him. After this self-imposed deprivation, God sent an angel to minister to Elijah in the wilderness.

5. THE WIDOW'S FAST:

Purpose: "To share (our) bread with the hungry" and to care for the poor (Isaiah 58:7) - to meet the humanitarian needs of others.

Key Verse: The jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah" (1 Kings 17:16)

Background: God sent the prophet Elijah to a poor, starving widow ironically, so the widow could provide food for Elijah. Just as Elijah's presence resulted in food for the widow of Zarephath, so presenting ourselves before God in prayer in fasting can relieve hunger today.

6. THE SAINT PAUL FAST:

Purpose: To allow God's "light (to) break forth like the morning" (Isaiah 58:8) bringing clearer perspective and insight as we make crucial decisions.

Key Verse: "And he (Saul, or Paul) was three days without sight, and neither ate not drank" (Acts 9:9)

Background: Saul of Tarsus, who became as Paul after his conversion to Christ, was struck blind by the Lord in the act of persecuting Christians. After going without food and praying for three days, Paul was visited by the Christian Ananias, and both his eyesight and his vision of the future were restored.

7. THE DANIEL FAST:

Purpose: So "thine health shall spring forth" (Isaiah 58:8)to gain a healthier life or for healing.

Key Verse: "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, not with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8)

Background: Daniel and his three fellow Hebrew captives demonstrated in Babylonian captivity that keeping themselves from pagan foods God had guided them not to eat made them more healthful than others in the king's court.

8. THE JOHN THE BAPTIST FAST:

Purpose: That "your righteousness shall before you" (Isaiah 58:8) - that our testimonies and influence for Jesus will be enhanced before others.

Key Verse: "He shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine not strong drink" (Luke 1:15)

Background: Because John the Baptist was the forerunner of Jesus, he took the "Nazirite" vow that required him to "fast" from or avoid wine and strong drink. This was part of John's purposefully adopted lifestyle that designated him as one set apart for a special mission.

9. THE ESTHER FAST:

Purpose: That "the glory of the Lord" will protect us from the evil one (Isaiah 58:8).

Key Verse: Fast for me…(and) my maids and I will fast….(and) I will go to the king….(and) she found favor in his sight" (Esther 4:16, 5:2)

Background: Queen Esther, a Jewess in a pagan court, risked her life to save her people from threatened destruction by Ahasuerus (Xerxes), king of Persia. Prior to appearing before the king, the Jews, Esther, her attendants and her cousin Mordecai all fasted to appeal to God for His protection.

Breaking a Seven-Day Fast:

1. 5 o'clock as you end your 7th day of the Fast.

Peal four or five medium-sized tomatoes - cut them up, bring them to a boil and then turn off the heat. When they are cool enough to eat, have as many as you desire.

2. Morning of the 8th day.

Salad of grated carrots and grated cabbage, with half an orange squeezed over it.

Bowl of steamed greens and pealed tomatoes (spinach, Swiss chard, or mustard greens). Bring the greens to a boil, then turn off the heat.
You may eat two slices of 100 percent whole-wheat bread, which has been toasted until it is thoroughly dry-this is called "Melba toast." After it has been cooled, the toast should be so dry that it would powder if you squeezed it in the palm of your hand. As I have stated, this first food should be in the morning.

During the day, you may have all the distilled water you wish to drink.

For dinner, you may have a salad of grated carrots, chopped celery and cabbage, with orange juice for dressing. Followed by two cooked vegetables, one such as spinach, kale, shard, or mustard greens, such as string beans, carrots, steamed celery, okra, or squash. You may have two pieces of whole-grain "Melba toast." These meals are not to contain oils of any kind.

3. In Morning of the 9th day.

You may have a dish of any kind of fresh fruit, such as banana, pineapple, orange, sliced grapefruit, or sliced apples. You may sprinkle this with two tablespoonfuls of raw wheat germ, and sweeten it with honey, but not over one tablespoonful.

At noon you may have a salad of grated carrots, cabbage, and celery, with one cooked vegetable and one slice of "Melba toast."

At dinner you may have a salad dish of lettuce, watercress, parsley, and tomatoes, and two cooked vegetables.

Most experts agree that breaking a fast with vegetables, either steamed or raw, is best. Your stomach is smaller now, so eat lightly. Stop before you feel full. Stay away from starches like pastas, potatoes, rice, or bread (except for "Melba toast") for at least a week. Also avoid meats, dairy products, and any fats or oils for a week or more. Introduce them very slowly and in small amounts.

Extended Fasts are not the only Fasts which need to be ended with caution. Even a 3-day Fast requires reasonable precautions. It is wise to start with a little soup - something thin and nourishing such as vegetable broth made from onion, celery, potatoes, and carrots - and fresh fruits such as watermelon and cantaloupe.

In terms of resuming any sort of exercise routine, the advice is the same. Start out slowly, allowing time for your body to re-adjust to its usual regime.

We Hope This Will Help And Encourage Everyone Who Undertakes This Very Important Discipline. The Whole Idea Of Fasting Is Not To Get The Attention Of God But To Bring Our Own Bodies And Souls In Line With His Grace.

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