1 Peter 2:1-3
But there is something on which Christians must set their hearts. They must yearn for the unadulterated milk of the word. This is a phrase about whose meaning there is some difficulty. The difficulty is with the word logikos which with the Authorized Version it has been translated spiritual; in the margin, it gives the alternative translation reasonable.
Logikos is the adjective from the noun logos, and the difficulty is that it has three perfectly possible translations.
(a) Logos is the great Stoic word that guides the universe; Logikos is a favorite Stoic word that describes what has to do with this divine reason which is the governor of all things. If this is the word's connection, clearly spiritual is the meaning.
(b) Logos is the normal Greek word for mind or reason; therefore, logikos often means reasonable or intelligent. It is in that way that the Authorized Version translates it in Romans 12:1, where it speaks of our reasonable service.
(c) Logos is the Greek for word, and logikos means belonging to the word. This is the sense that the Authorized Version takes it. Peter has just been talking about the word of God that abides forever (1 Peter 1:23-25). It is the word of God that is in his mind. We think that what he means here is that the Christian must desire with his whole heart the nourishment that comes from the word of God, for by that nourishment he can grow until he reaches salvation.
In the face of all the evil of the heathen world, the Christian must strengthen his soul with the pure word of God. Do you feed on it daily?
Dear Father, how wonderful it is to have the Bible in a translation that is pure/positive and one that is easy to read. "Thy WORD," must I fill my mind with. Hallelujah! It is available!
Published: Friday, 13 September 2019 15:50
NASSAU, BAHAMAS - A tropical cyclone was forecast to move across the northwestern Bahamas in the coming days, potentially bringing more rain and wind to islands already devastated by Hurricane Dorian, the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned on Thursday.
The Miami-based hurricane center issued a tropical storm warning for islands including hurricane-hit Abacos and Grand Bahama, saying the system could become a tropical depression or storm before making landfall as early as Friday.
Hurricane Dorian slammed into the Bahamas on Sept. 1 as a
Category 5 storm, one of the strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record to hit land, packing top sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (298 km per hour).
The tropical cyclone was not expected to bring anywhere near that level of devastation, but was capable of winds of 30 miles per hour and 2 to 4 inches of rain through Sunday, according to the hurricane center.
Aid groups rushed shelter material to residents living in the shells of former homes or whose homes had been stripped of their roofs.
"We're seeing plastic tarps go out all over the islands, and that's extremely important because now you've got another tropical storm coming," said Ken Isaacs, vice president of programs for U.S. relief organization Samaritan's Purse.
The prime minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Minnis, on Wednesday said the official death toll was 50 but was expected to rise.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he believed "hundreds" were dead on Abaco "and significant numbers on Grand Bahama," the Nassau Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.
Minnis said there were problems coordinating aid due to the level of devastation and he was trying to remove "bureaucratic roadblocks."
Tent cities for newly homeless
With 1,300 people still missing, according to the Bahamian government, relief services are focused on search and rescue as well as providing life-sustaining food, water, and shelter.
Officials have erected large tents in Nassau to house those made homeless by Dorian and plan to erect tent cities on Abaco capable of sheltering up to 4,000 people.
A flood of aid has caused bottlenecks at docks and airports, creating "a lot of delays" in relief supplies, said Nat Abu-Bonsrah of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, the global humanitarian organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Due to a shortage of functioning vehicles and facilities on Grand Bahama, the group turned to church members to lend their cars and kitchens for its program providing hot meals to over 400 people a day in Freeport.
“We’ve not been able to reach them as much as we want," he said of efforts to get hundreds of hygiene kits to survivors.
Groups like Samaritan's Purse, with their own aircraft or logistics chains, said they had not encountered issues with coordination or government red tape.
"I think we're accomplishing our mission, any roadblocks we have right now are our own," said Dennis Clancey, a field operations manager for relief group Team Rubicon, which has deployed mobile medical units to treat patients.
Published: Friday, 13 September 2019 15:31
Published: Tuesday, 10 September 2019 18:33
Bahamian authorities say the official death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to 50 in the country, but hundreds more, perhaps thousands are believed missing from the devastation left by last week's storm.
Grand Bahama and Abaco islands, in the northern part of the Bahamas archipelago, were virtually flattened by the Category 5 hurricane with winds of up to 320 kilometers an hour. Thousands of survivors have been forced to head to New Providence island, the country's most populous, which includes the capital, Nassau.
"We anticipate the discovery of more deceased persons, as the process of search and recovery progresses," police commissioner Anthony Ferguson said. Police have appealed to the public to file reports of missing persons.
The United Nations' International Organization for Migration said the devastation was "particularly startling" in places like Marsh Harbor in the Abacos, where Hatian migrants lived in shantytowns.
"Communities such as The Mudd and Pigeon Pea, where 70 percent of informal housing in Abaco existed, and where an overwhelming majority of Haitian migrants resided, has been decimated," the migration agency said.
The World Food Program said 90% of the housing and infrastructure is damaged or destroyed on Abaco, with thousands of houses leveled, telecommunications towers down and roads blocked.
Thousands of survivors of the hurricane are pouring off boats and planes in Nassau. Some could be seen sitting in hotel lobbies pondering their next steps, while others were transported to already crowded shelters or moved in with friends on New Providence.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday his administration is discussing the possibility of granting Bahamian residents temporary protected status, a short-term permission to reside in the United States.
Trump told reporters at the White House that "we're talking to a lot of different people" about the issue. However, he said the U.S. would need to make sure immigrants from the Bahamas are properly documented.
"We have to be very careful ... I don't want to allow people that weren't supposed to be in the Bahamas to come in to the United States, including some very bad people and some very bad gang members," he said.
Senators from the state of Florida have been asking the president to grant the status to Bahamian residents, a protection that in the past has helped people from Haiti, El Salvador and Honduras, which Trump has been trying to roll back.
Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters that the United States is expediting its immigration processes for residents of the Bahamas. However, he said immigration officials must still vet all immigrants for possible threats to national security.
When asked about an incident Sunday in which hundreds of storm survivors were prevented from boarding a ferry in the Bahamas because they lacked U.S. visas, Morgan said the situation was a mistake and the result of "some confusion." He said, "If your life is in jeopardy you will be allowed in, if you have documents or not."
Published: Tuesday, 10 September 2019 17:30
The focus in the Bahamas is on rescue and recovery efforts Wednesday after the bulk of Hurricane Dorian finally moved north after flooding neighborhoods, ripping roofs off buildings and leaving thousands of people in need of aid.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said there were seven confirmed deaths from the storm, but that the number was expected to increase. He pledged, "No effort or resources will be held back," in responding to the disaster.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said flood waters on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands should start to slowly subside.
Aid efforts have been hampered by the long duration of the storm as it sat over the islands and pummeled the area with strong winds and rain, leaving the runway at Grand Bahama Airport under water.
The Red Cross said Dorian severely damaged or destroyed nearly half the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco and that 62,000 people were in need of clean water. The United Nations said some 60,000 people need food after the storm.
Still a US threat
Dorian has weakened from its peak power, but still presents a threat to the southeastern United States.
The NHC said early Wednesday the storm still carried maximum sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour and would move "dangerously close" to the coasts of Florida and Georgia during the day and into Wednesday night. The states of South Carolina and North Carolina are under threat for Thursday and Friday.
Even if the center of Dorian does not make landfall in those states, it is still bringing bands of heavy rains, strong winds that extend out far from the center, and high surf to shorelines. Rainfall forecasts range from seven to 25 centimeters in the coming days.
Published: Wednesday, 04 September 2019 12:41
Peter comes to the actual situation in life that his readers found themselves in. Their Christianity had always made them unpopular, but now they were facing almost certain persecution. Soon the storm was going to break, and life was going to be an agonizing thing. In the face of that threatening situation, Peter, in effect, reminds them of three reasons why they can stand anything that may come upon them.
(1st) They can stand anything because of what they are able to look forward to. In the end, there is for them the magnificent inheritance, life with God. In any event, the ultimate meaning is the same. For the Christian persecution and trouble are not the end; beyond lies the glory; in the hope of that glory he can endure anything that life brings to him. It is one of the basic facts of life that a person can endure anything so long as he has something to look forward to---and the Christian can look forward to ultimate heavenly joy.
(2nd) They can stand anything that comes if they remember that every trial is, in fact, a test. The trials that come to a person tests his faith and out of him that faith will emerge stronger than ever before. In this world, trials are not meant to take strength out of us but to put the strength into us.
In this connection, there is something most suggestive in the language Peter uses. He says that the Christian, for the moment, may have to undergo various/many-colored trials. Our troubles may be 'many-colored', but so is the grace of God; there is no 'color' in the human situation that grace cannot match. There is grace to match every trial and there is no trial without its grace.
(3rd) You can stand up to anything because, at the end of it, when Jesus appears, you will receive from Him praise, glory, and honor. In this life, we make our biggest efforts and do our best work, not for profit or pay, but in order to see the light in someone's eyes and to hear their words of praise. The Christian knows that, if he endures, he will, in the end, hear the Master's "well done!"
The recipe for endurance when life is hard and faith is difficult: we can stand up to anything because of the greatness to which we can look forward, every trial is another test to strengthen and purify our faith and because at the end of it, Jesus is waiting to say,
"Well done!" to all of His faithful servants
You have just read the secret of endurance. Now put what you have read to work in your life. Don't let the devil try to discourage you. You are a winner. Run the race to its end.
Dear Father, I'm so thankful that You have planned for Your children to win the battles. You have also equipped Your children to not be forgetful. I am so thankful that Jesus came to earth and proved to us that we don't have to let the devil defeat us. Your plans for Your children are that we are more than conquerors. Amen!
Published: Monday, 02 September 2019 22:41
Hurricane Dorian battered Grand Bahama Island on Monday as the monster storm virtually stalled, toppling and damaging thousands of homes and sending a "life-threatening storm surge" barreling across low-lying coastal lands.
Forecasters called the storm "catastrophic" and "devastating." They predicted Dorian would continue to pound the island throughout much of the day with drenching rains, as much as 60 centimeters, and sustained winds measured at 270 kilometers an hour.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said earlier the storm was only moving west at 2 kilometers an hour, with its center currently about 200 kilometers east of the U.S. mainland in the state of Florida.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said an initial assessment by authorities and its officials showed extensive damage on Grand Bahama and Great Abaco islands, with as many as 13,000 houses that may have been badly damaged or destroyed. Storm surges reached seven meters above normal tide levels.
The international bank UBS estimated that the storm could cause $25 billion in damage.
There were no immediate estimates of casualties in the Bahamas, although news reports said a 7-year-old boy had drowned as a result of the storm.
Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis broke down in tears at a news conference Sunday, calling it "the worst day of my life." He said many Bahamians had not heeded warnings to evacuate, refusing to leave their homes.
"I can only say to them that I hope this is not the last time they will hear my voice," he said.
In the United States authorities ordered more than a million evacuated from coastal regions in Florida and further north in the states of Georgia and South Carolina. Nearly 1,000 flights were canceled in Florida as the storm edged closer.
alm Beach County, Florida, home to President Donald Trump's Atlantic oceanfront resort, was among the jurisdictions ordering a partial mandatory evacuation.
"This looks like it could be larger than all of them," Trump said Sunday during a hurricane briefing in Washington at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The agency said Dorian "will move dangerously close to the Florida east coast" by Monday night and stay close to the shoreline through Wednesday night.
"Although gradual weakening is forecast," meteorologists said, "Dorian is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days." Forecasters are predicting the storm will eventually turn northeastward, heading up the eastern U.S. shoreline.
In the Bahamas, residents riding out the storm posted images of water rising up the side of their homes. The Bahamas Power and Light utility said there was a total blackout in New Providence, the archipelago's most populous island, even though it was not in the direct path of the hurricane's eye. The company said its office on Great Abaco was flattened.
Jared Moskowitz, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said, "Hurricane Dorian is the strongest storm to ever threaten the state of Florida on the east coast. No matter what path this storm takes, our state will be impacted. We will continue to work around the clock to prepare."
Authorities expect the storm to weaken some and take a turn to the north and northeast in the coming days, but how much it turns and how quickly will determine the extent of Dorian's effects on the U.S. mainland. For now, forecasters have put hurricane warnings in place for about half of Florida's east coast.
Published: Monday, 02 September 2019 17:12
Is there a relationship between fasting and prayer? Derek Prince (1973) provides one of the simplest and most profound statements that I have ever read in his explanation of the important relationship between prayer and fasting. He says, “fasting intensifies prayer. There are some spiritual objectives that we can achieve through prayer alone. There are others that can only be achieved by prayer and fasting. Many of God’s choicest provisions lie in the category of things which may only be achieved by prayer and fasting.” Fasting, in other words, complements prayer. It is the added sacrifice we are called upon to make as we wrestle in prayer in pursuit of those spiritual objectives or heights in Him where we have never been before. In this blog, I will examine the discipline of fasting in the Bible as a vital key not only to the powerful effective prayer but also to victorious Christian living.
In a general sense, to fast means to abstain from food for spiritual purposes. Although the practice may sometimes include abstaining from drink, in most cases in the Bible it seems that people drank but did not eat. Two cases from the Old Testament in which fasting involved abstention from drink relate to Moses and Esther. In the case of Moses, he twice fasted for forty days and forty nights without eating or drinking (Deuteronomy 9: 9-18). As Prince has pointed out, on both occasions Moses “was on a supernatural plane in the presence of God.” In the case of Esther, the limit she and her maidens set was three days (Esther 4:16).
There is an interesting connection between Esther’s three days fast without water and the three days limit that medical science set for the body to go without water. This connection serves to confirm that medical science does not necessarily conflict with the teachings of the Bible. The notion that fasting for long periods does not imply abstaining from drink, appears to find support in Matthew’s account of Jesus’ forty days fast. Matthew 4:2 states that Jesus was hungry after he had fasted for forty days and forty nights. Here in this text, there is no mention of him being thirsty.
While the notion that Jesus drank but did not eat during his forty days and forty night fast is open to speculation as this is not explicitly stated in the Synoptic Gospels, it is important to point out here, that even if Jesus, like Moses, had abstained from drink during his forty days and forty nights fast, these are exceptional circumstances, which do not apply here in our case. What then should be our approach when fasting for long periods?
The approach which is generally followed by those that practice fasting and which I strongly recommend to anyone considering fasting for long periods is not abstaining from drink for any period exceeding seventy-two hours. Let us now turn our attention to a few examples of fasting from the Bible, which provide some important truths about the discipline of fasting.
David Practiced Fasting
As a Jew, David fulfilled Jewish law, which required the Jewish people to afflict their souls through fasting (Leviticus 16:29 -31). Writing in Psalm 35:13, David declared that he humbled his soul through fasting. In Psalm 69:10 he wrote that he wept and chastened his soul with fasting. David also fasted for long periods. In Psalm 109:24, we read these words: “My knees are weak through fasting and my flesh faileth of fatness.”
These and other examples from the Psalms highlight one of the most important characteristics associated with fasting: sacrifice. Whether it was in pursuit of a humble walk before God or in his search for forgiveness and spiritual refreshing for his hungry soul, David made that crucial sacrifice which made all the difference in his spiritual walk. He denied himself of his bodily gratification. This aspect of fasting is of enormous importance especially to intercession, which will be considered later.
The Power of The Collective Fast
Case One: King Jehoshaphat and the Nation of Judah Fasted (2 Chronicles 20).
Here we have a remarkable testimony to the power of fasting. It deserves mention as it highlights another important characteristic of fasting: the attitude of total dependence on God, so often displayed in Israel ‘s history especially during times of crises. It is this attitude of total dependence on God that makes fasting such an awesome spiritual weapon during times of crises as is portrayed in 2 Chronicles 20. The nation of Judah came under attack from the combined forces of the Moabites and the Ammonites and their allies. Faced with this overwhelming enemy force King Jehoshaphat led the nation to seek God through collective fasting and united prayer reminding God of His covenant with Abraham and of His promises of mercy based on that covenant.
In response to the cry of His people God intervened supernaturally on Judah’s behalf; and in an awesome demonstration of supernatural power, the enemies of Judah were totally vanquished. The outcome is described in verses 22 through 30. The entire army of their enemies destroyed themselves, leaving not a single survivor. All that God’s people needed to do was to spend three days gathering the spoils and then to return in triumph to Jerusalem, with their voices raised in loud thanksgiving and praise to God.
Furthermore, the impact of this tremendous supernatural victory was felt by the surrounding nations. From then on, no other nation dared to contemplate hostilities against Jehoshaphat and his people. Jehovah, the Lord of hosts, had secured a mighty victory on behalf of His people in response to their dependence on Him, demonstrated through their collective fasting and united prayer. Fasting, when united with prayer, enables us to unleash the power of God in our situations in times of crises, transforming them into experiences of victory.
Case Two: Esther Transforms Disaster into Triumph (Esther 4)
This chapter described one of the greatest crisis that ever confronted the Jewish people in their entire history. The entire nation faced extermination in the Persian Empire. Satan had stirred up one his advocate, Haman, against the Jewish people to plot their extermination. Through Haman, Satan was actually challenging the power of God and had Haman succeeded in his plan against the Jews this would have been an everlasting reproach against God. This was spiritual warfare, evidenced by the fact that Haman actually sought guidance from occult powers through the casting of lots( a form of divination in those days) to determine the day the Jews were to be exterminated.
When the decree for the destruction of the Jews went out, Esther and her maidens accepted the challenge. They understood that they were dealing with Spiritual warfare and their response was on the same level – fasting. Esther and her maidens fasted for three days without eating or drinking. What was the result of their collective fast?
(i) The Persian empire was completely changed in favor of the Jews;
(ii) The enemies of the Jews throughout the Persian Empire suffered defeat;
(ii) The Jews experienced favor, peace, and prosperity;
This case of collective fasting recorded in the book of Esther again shows how fasting unleashes God’s power in situations of crises, transforming them into experiences of victory.
The Acceptable Fast: A Look at Isaiah 58, the Great Fasting Chapter
Isaiah 58 is regarded by most scholars as the great fasting chapter of the Old Testament. The chapter may be divided into two sections, 58: 3-5 and 58: 6-12. In 58:3-5 Isaiah describes the fast that is unacceptable to God. In 58:6-12 he then describes the fast that is pleasing to God.
A. The Unacceptable Fast
In 58:3-5 God considered the fast unacceptable because:
(i) the people described here by Isaiah were fasting merely in observance of a religious ritual; like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day there was no real self-humbling associated with their fasting;
(ii) They retained their evil attitudes of greed, selfishness, pride, and oppression.
B. The Acceptable Fast
The acceptable fast, which is well pleasing to God springs from motives and attitudes that are totally different from those associated with the unacceptable fast. Verse 6 defines the motives behind the acceptable fast as:
(i) to loosen the bands of wickedness;
(ii) to undo heavy burdens;
(iii) to let the oppressed go free;
(iv) to break every yoke
As Scripture and experience confirm many people experiencing these four conditions today will never go free until God’s people obey His call to fast.
C. Attitude Associated with the Acceptable Fast
Verse 7 describes the attitude associated with the acceptable fast. Here, God calls for the fasting of this type to be united with sincere and practical charity in our dealings with those around us – particularly the poor.
D Blessings Associated With the Acceptable Fast:
These blessings are listed in verse 8 through 12. They are:
(i) The blessing of health and righteousness (v 8)
(ii) The blessing of answered prayers (v 9)
(iii) The blessing of guidance and fruitfulness (vs. 10 -11)
(iv) The blessing of restoration (v 12).
As Isaiah demonstrated in chapter 58 of his prophecy fasting is the divinely appointed means chosen by God to achieve certain spiritual objectives that he has determined in His divine plan and purpose for us. But the decision we make to fast is a matter for personal choice. Will you make that decision today to pray and fast? Will you make the decision to join with others to fast in pursuit of those common dreams and visions God has placed in the hearts of His people? Let us do it today. Let us fast.
Other Great Old Testament Passages on Fasting for further study:
Ezra 8; Jonah 3; Daniel 9; Joel 2.
Fasting and The Christian Life
Jesus expects Christians to practice fasting. Matthew records His expectation in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:1-18 Christ gives instructions to His disciples on three related duties: giving alms, praying and fasting. In this passage, it is very clear that Jesus assumes that all His disciples will practice all three of these duties. This is indicated by the language he uses concerning all three.
In verse 2 He says, “When thou doest alms…” In verse 6 He says when thou(singular) prayest…” (individually) and in verse 7, “when ye (plural) pray…” (collectively). In verse 16 He says When ye (plural) fast…”(collective) and in verse 17 “When thou (singular) fastest….” (individually).
The passage is very clear. Jesus expects all disciples to practice all three of these duties regularly. If he expects His disciples to pray regularly and give alms regularly then by the same token He expects them to fast regularly. Why is fasting an important Christian discipline?
A. For Supernatural Empowerment
In Luke 4: 14, Luke records that following the period of His forty days fast “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. From there went out a fame of him throughout the entire region round about.” Jesus fasted in order to receive supernatural empowerment to fulfill His ministry as Messiah. This incidence in the life of Jesus highlights an important reason why Christians should practice fasting.
Fasting empowers us as believers to fulfill our calling as ministers of the Gospel of Christ. Paul and other leaders in the Church at Antioch apparently recognized this important benefit of fasting and fasted regularly as a result. It was during one of these times of fasting that Paul and Barnabas received their apostolic commission to the Gentiles (Acts 13:1-3). Having made a remarkable success of his ministry as an apostle, Paul would later recognize the power of fasting.
Writing to the Corinthians, he mentioned that he often practiced fasting (2 Cor. 11:24 ) and through his regular fasting he proved that he was a minister of God (2 Cor. 6:4-7). In making this statement the Apostle Paul attributed his successful ministry among the Gentiles to a life of fasting. This brings us to one important conclusion regarding the weak state of the church in America and many western nations today: the Church is weak and powerless because Christians are not fasting. If the Church in America is to survive, fasting cannot be an option; it must become the way of life of the Christian community.
B. For Humility
There are various ways in which fasting helps a Christian receive direction and power from the Holy Spirit. The first obvious way that fasting helps the Christian is to humble himself or herself before God. This aspect of fasting was discussed earlier in reference to David, where it was noted that David humbles his soul through fasting. In the Scriptures fasting in this regard is often associated with mourning. Mourning, here is neither the self-centered remorse nor the hopeless grief of unbelievers but a response of the believer to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to show remorse over sin.
There are blessings associated with such mourning. In Isaiah 61:3 the Lord promises special blessings to those who mourn in Zion. He promises them “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness….” Mourning also has a place among the beatitudes. In Matthew 5:4 Jesus says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” In 2 Cor. 7:10 Paul contrasts the godly sorrow of the believer with the hopeless sorrow of the unbeliever: “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” According to Derek Prince “godly sorrow of this kind is followed by the oil of joy and the garment of praise.”
C. For Power Over Sin and Our Carnal Nature
Fasting is also the means by which the believer brings his or her body into subjection. In 1 Cor. 9:27 Paul says: “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should a castaway.” Here Paul is referring to his physical passions and desires, which are always necessary to keep under subjection.
Each time a Christian practices fasting he is serving notice to these bodily appetites to become subject to the desires of the Spirit of God living in him or her. In Galatians 5:17 Paul refers to the direct opposition that exists between the Holy Spirit and the carnal nature of the believer: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other…” According to Derek Prince, “fasting deals with the two great barriers to the Holy Spirit that are erected by man’s carnal nature. These are the stubborn self-will of the soul and the insistent, self-gratifying appetites of the body.
Rightly practiced, fasting brings both soul and body into subjection to the Holy Spirit.” In other words, fasting breaks down the barriers in the believer’s carnal nature that stand in the way of the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence thereby clearing the way for the Holy Spirit to work unhindered in His fullness through prayer. This enables us to appreciate Paul’s insight on the inexhaustible potential of prayer, which he expresses in Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto him, that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us …..” That power that works through our prayers is the Holy Spirit. By removing the carnal barriers fasting make a way for the Holy Spirit’s omnipotence to work the “exceeding abundantly above” of God’s promises.
Practical Guidelines for Individual Fasting
The following guidelines are recommended by Derek Prince (1973) and supported by a number of other scholars on the discipline of fasting:
• Begin your time of fasting with positive faith (Heb 11:6);
• Your decision to fast should be based upon the conviction that the Bible requires it of you as part of the Christian discipline;
• Select a period that best applies to your situation based on your spiritual need, experience, and maturity. In other words, do not set for yourself too long a period of fasting;
• Build your faith during the period of the fast through reading and meditating on the Scriptures;
• Make sure that you are fasting for the right reasons and avoid boastfulness;
• Set certain specific objectives for your fast and make a written list of these.
• Expect spiritual benefits to result from the fast. Remember that God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).
• In the early period of the fast you may experience unpleasant physical symptoms, such as a dizziness, headache, and nausea;
• Guard against constipation. Drink fluids such as water and fruit juices; avoid stimulants such as tea or coffee;
• Break your time of fasting gradually. Begin with meals that are light and easy to digest. The longer you are fasting, the more carefully you will have to be about breaking it.
Fasting, when combined with prayer, has proven to be one of the greatest spiritual resources available to the child of God. Through this great resource, the child of God is able to face great spiritual challenges and to rise to new spiritual heights in God. Despite the wonderful blessings that fasting can bring to the Christian life, it has its limits. The successful fast generally depends on approaching God with right attitudes and motives. You should therefore not fast to challenge the righteous standards of God; God responds to us solely on the basis of His will. In closing let me leave you with a note of caution. Fasting can help Christians to become more sensitive to God and to the spiritual realm. In the case of Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, they received a word from God. In the situation with Jesus, he heard the voice of the devil tempting him. This latter experience of Jesus teaches us that during a fast, we will need to judge what we hear or experience in the light of the Scriptures. The Lord will not tell us to do anything that is contrary to His word. Speak to your pastor or give us a call about any unusual experiences that you may have during a long fast. Best wishes.
Prince, Derek. Restoration through fasting (New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell, 1973).
Towns, Elmer. Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough: A Guide to Nine Biblical Fasts (California: Regal Books, 1996).
Published: Friday, 30 August 2019 16:45
1 PETER 1:3-5
The Christian has entered into a great inheritance. Here is a word with a great history, for it is regularly used in the Greek Old Testament for the inheritance of Canaan, the promised Land. Again and again, the Old Testament speaks of the land which God has given His people for an inheritance to possess (Deuteronomy 15:4; 19:10). To us, inheritance tends to mean something that we will possess in the future. As the Bible uses this word, it rather means a secure possession. To the Jew, the great settled possession was the Promised Land.
But the Christian inheritance is even greater. Peter uses three words with three great pictures behind them to describe it. It is imperishable. The word does mean imperishable, but it can also mean unravaged by an invading army. Many a time, Palestine has been ravaged by the armies of the aliens; it has been fought over and blasted and destroyed. But the Christian possesses a peace and a joy, that no invading army can ravage and destroy. It is undefilable. The word means "to pollute with impious impurity." Many and many a time, Palestine has been rendered impure by false worship of false gods. The defiling things had often left their touch even on the Promised Land, but the Christian has a purity that the sin of the world cannot infect. In the Promised Land, as in any land, even the loveliest flower fades and the loveliest blossom dies. But the Christian is lifted into a world where there is no change and decay and where his peace and joy are untouched by the chances and the changes of life.
It is because the Christian possesses God and is possessed by God that he has the inheritance which is imperishable, undefilable and which can never fade away.
The ultimate goal of God's protection through the believer's faith is "salvation." Here, salvation refers to the future dimension of salvation, i.e., the obtaining of an inheritance in heaven. So, keep that foremost in your daily thoughts.
Oh, Dear Father, thank You for such love that flows from You to your children daily. Then there comes the thrill of when we reach Heaven and receive the inheritance of the salvation of our souls. We talk about it now, but we are waiting for Heaven when it all becomes real. Hallelujah! What a time of celebration! Amen!
Published: Wednesday, 28 August 2019 18:20
WASHINGTON - In a solemn ceremony on August 21 in Khartoum, Sudan, 11 people placed their hands on Korans to be sworn in to lead the country.
The group, known as the sovereign council, will guide Sudan during a transitional period following 30 years of autocratic rule by Omar al-Bashir. The moment was historic for many reasons, including the group’s composition — the council includes two women.
The representation raises expectations that women will be granted additional rights and minority groups of all types will be given a voice in a new Sudan.
“The Sovereign Council is the culmination of the people’s quest for equality and justice,” said Ayesha Musa Saeed, a member of the council, following the ceremony.
In an interview with VOA’s South Sudan in Focus, Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh, a member of the sovereign council and a member of Sudan’s Christian minority, said the process will be slow but the new leaders are determined.
“We shall try to rebuild our country, we shall try to rebuild our economy, we shall begin to stop all the armed movements and work for peace and justice for all Sudanese on an equal basis regardless of race or religion or any political opinion or any affiliation,” she said. “What happened in 30 years cannot be rebuilt in three years. But we shall try our best to do whatever we could.”
A long history
Women have long played a role in Sudanese politics and protest movements. During the country’s 1964 revolution, when students stood up to a military regime, women were among those protesting on the frontlines.
“For their participation in that revolution, they were really a small minority at that time as far as the politicized elements, and low and behold, the revolution that we sought was limited or confined from changing the government from military to civilian proved to be a social revolution,” said Abdullahi Ibrahim, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri.
Ibrahim participated in the 1960s revolution and ran for president against Bashir in 2010. He said the revolution in the 60s was the earliest movement that guaranteed basic rights. “Women were given the vote for the first time. Young people, 18 years of age, were given the vote for the first time. Before it was 22 and above.”
In subsequent years, women joined the judicial system and were given the right to vote. In 1965, Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim became the first woman elected to parliament in Sudan and one of the first on the African continent.
“There are many, many women in the Sudan who have been very prominent. They played a very important role,” said Abdullahi Gallab, a professor from Arizona State University originally from Sudan. “Actually, one of the very important things was that women established [was] a union, Women’s Union, a long time ago. I think one of the earliest in the Middle East and Africa. So there is a history in Sudan of prominent women assuming very important positions.”
But over the decades of Bashir’s rule, women’s rights eroded in some areas and did not advance in others. Laws restricted women’s dress and required them to seek approval from a male relative to marry. Although one-quarter of the parliament was reserved for female members, they were often viewed as being tokens with little power.
A new era
In December 2018, when protests against Bashir’s rule began, women were at the forefront. The protests were organized by the Sudanese Professionals Association, a group of doctors, health workers and lawyers. But the symbol of the revolution became a young woman, Alaa Salah, who stood on top of a vehicle, leading chants.
“People insisted and they encouraged each other to continue, led by the Sudanese Professional Association and the umbrella of freedom and change forces — the will of the Sudanese people themselves,” said Nuha Zein, a Sudanese visiting professor at Rice University, speaking to VOA’s Africa News Tonight. “They really are now very aware of their rights, about their strength to change their destiny in Sudan.”
Today, hopes are resting with women such as Ayesha Musa Saeed, an educator and longtime women’s rights activist named to be one of six civilians on the sovereign council.
“She’s a highly respected lady, and she has been — she devoted all her life in activism including women and actually she closed her opening speech … after the sermon by saying that ‘I represent all the women of Sudan.’” Gallab said. “So that is Ayesha. She has been always devoting her own time and energy for women’s issues and for education.”
The other woman on the council, Raja Nicola Issa Abdul-Masseh, is a Coptic Christian. Some observers hope she can be a voice for the many ethnic and religious minorities who were persecuted under Bashir.
“This is a new phase of Sudan’s history,” Dr. Farah Ibrahim Mohamed Alagar, chair of the Blue Nile Forum, told VOA’s Daybreak Africa. “With the nomination of this lady, Sudan is respecting the diversity — Muslims, Christians, non religions — they’re all Sudanese components and have a right to participate.”
Published: Wednesday, 28 August 2019 18:08