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January 2019



January 2019

January 6        




January 13


   In a world filled with well-being, restaurants, comfort, idolatry of the food industry, the subject of fasting seems odd. The Romanian Dictionary presents fasting as being “the prohibition of eating certain foods (usually of animal origin), prescribed by the church to believers on certain days during certain times of the year”. The Biblical dictionary says that fasting is “the voluntary abstinence from food for a certain period of time”. Fasting is a voluntary abstinence from food, drink and other desires of the flesh, for certain limited periods of time, with spiritual goals. This does not mean that human needs are bad, however, they sometimes need to be ignored so that we can concentrate on spiritual things.
   In the Bible, fasting is presented as being a source of strength, but as the spirituality of the Christian life has declined and secularism has bloomed, the prevalence of fasting has diminished and a stronger emphasis is placed on external aspects, to the detriment of the internal being. In the Bible, fasting is about abstaining from food, from drinks, and from sexual relations. Fasting almost always involved complete lack of food; often it mentions the complete lack of liquids and other times this is not mentioned at all.
   Due to the theological relativism of the times, there are Christians who believe, practice and teach that fasting is not a necessary Biblical practice. Some do not practice it at all, others practice it for wrong reasons, others practice it incorrectly. Many Christians minimize the importance of fasting, justifying that it is an exterior practice without spiritual value. They say that only things of the heart are important, not exterior things. If this argument were true, it would need to be applied to other spiritual disciplines and actions: prayer, reading the Bible, attending church, acts of faith, worship, preaching… The truth is that fasting, being a spiritual discipline, presumes seriousness, determination, effort, and spiritual commitment.
   Along church history, there were periods of time during which believers did not emphasize fasting. For example, during the years 1861 – 1954, not a single book was written about fasting. The reasons for which fasting was sometimes not practiced:
1) Exaggerated asceticism in the Middle Ages
2) The food industry has instilled in our minds that if we do not have three meals a day with snacks in between, our stomachs will get sick.
3) Idolatry of comfort and pleasure. Fasting was practiced with perseverance by God’s people in the Bible: Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Ana the prophet, Paul; by the men of God in the history of the church: Martin Luther, Jean Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd, Charles Finney; by certain non-Christian personalities: Zoroaster, Confucius, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Hippocrates (the father of medicine).
   Fasting, prayer, and reading of the Bible are three of the most powerful spiritual disciplines that authentic Christians practice with seriousness, perseverance, and responsibility.



  January 20

When Jesus was asked why His disciples do not fast even though the Pharisees and John the Baptist’s disciples were fasting, Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast” (Matthew 9:15). The bridegroom is no longer among us so now is the time for fasting.
Are there certain conditions for fasting? Yes, there are.
1. ABSTINENCE FROM FOOD – “Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water…” (Exodus 34:28)
2. ABSTINENCE FROM BEVERAGES – “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do” (Esther 4:16).
3. ABSTINENCE FROM INTIMACY – “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Cor. 7:5)
4. HUMBLENESS OF HEART – “On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads” (Nehemiah 9:1).
5. PERSISTENT PRAYERS – “she… was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying” (Luke 2:37).
6. REPENTANCE AND RENOUNCEMENT OF SIN – “’Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and have you not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high” (Isaiah 58:3-4).
7. CONFESSION OF SINS – “When they had assembled at Mizpah, they drew water and poured it out before the Lord. On that day they fasted and there they confessed, ‘we have sinned against the Lord’“ (1 Samuel 7:6).
8. READING THE BIBLE – “So you go to the house of the Lord on a day of fasting and read to the people from the scroll the words of the Lord that you wrote as I dictated…” (Jeremiah 36:6).
   We are in the 16th of 21 days of fasting and we are seeking the face of the Lord, we are humbling ourselves and we are praying. From the Bible we know that fasting can be personal, public, communitarian, national. We as a church have agreed to seek God through fasting and prayer, and He will answer us from heaven. When we pray, God hears us. Glory to Him!



 January 27

    After the resurrection of the Lord, right before his ascension to heaven, the disciples were curious about the end of times. The Lord answered their questions, but He also told them about things of the present: “He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). The power that they were to receive is called the Great Commission. This commission is given to born-again believers, with the purpose of serving others, personal fulfillment, and glory to God.
This commission is made with the purpose of efficient communication of the Word of God to unbelievers: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Who will go if not those who are commissioned? What will happen with the people in Jerusalem, Judea, etc. if those commissioned refuse to use their mandate according to the commandment of the Master? And how will they go without a commission?
This commission is for the education of believers: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11). How will the saints be edified if they are not exposed to the process of spiritual maturation? Why would believers receive the gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher if they do not use them for the edification of the saints who are at the beginning of the spiritual paths? What would have happened with Joshua if Moses had not discipled him? What would have happened with Elisha if Elijah had not helped him become mature? What would have happened with the 12 disciples if the Savior had not helped them grow spiritually? What would have happened with Titus, Timothy, if Paul would not have taken the time to help them become more righteous?
This mandate is for the celebration of the presence of God – worship through music, through prayer, and through generous giving.
This mandate is for the unity of the family of God, for the holy fellowship of the saints.
This mandate was made for the manifestation of the love of God through the saints, towards all people.
   Are you a person called to God’s salvation? What did you answer? Are you a person called to teach? What is your current practical level? Have you been called and commissioned? What have you done with this power until now?
   Beyond our limited capacities and imperfections, we have access to the “Mighty Power” of God, of which we have much need.