FASTING part 3


Matthew 6:16-18  16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

For the 40 day fasting of Jesus what would be the thing that stirred in His soul? Keep in mind that even at the age of 12 He had a deep appetite for God’s Word and astounded the religious leaders for three days.

Jesus attended the wedding of some friends where He was asked to help with the wine shortage. He told His mother that the two of them were not on the same page. His heart was yearning for something deeper than getting wine. Keep in mind that the first thing that Jesus did when completing His fast was to start preaching and carried the message of Repentance all around Galilee. Matthew remarked in chapter 9 how He had compassion toward the crowds of Israelites, the sinners, the lost sheep of Israel.

Jesus was not just hungry from the lack of food when He fasted. He was hungry for the hurting, the frustrated, the confused, the neglected, the poor, the sick, the demon possessed. His passion was driven by compassion. Even though Peter asked Him to go away because he was a sinner, Jesus would not give up but called him to follow Him.

What are you hungry for? Where is your Mem, your stirring of the emotions? What is your heart aching for?

The hypocrites? They had a stirring of the emotions alright. They hungered for recognition. They hungered for the praises of man. They received their rewards and those rewards faded with them.

But, when we have hungers that involve God then our reward is great and will be seen by all. Why? God get’s the credit. He will reward you, but in such a way that all will want to know your secret.

To find awesome iPhone & iPad apps for the Christian Walk and Ministry go to n8slist.com

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FASTING part 2


Matthew 6:16-18  16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Let’s go to the letters themselves in the Hebrew word for fasting in the original pictogram. What story do they tell?

    • The first letter is the Tsade. It is the picture of a man laying on his side. The letter means need. In this case it would be a person in need for lack of eating.
    • The second letter is the Vav. It is the picture of a nail. It means to connect and is often used as a conjunction in connection two ideas together.
    • The third letter is the Mem. It is a picture of water and is the word for water. But not just any water. The water is troubled, stirred up. The letter can also mean chaos and stirred feelings deep within.

What are the two ideas that the Vav is connecting together? The person weakened by the lack of food and the stirred emotions.

Put this definition with Jesus’ description of what He suggests we do when we enter into the public during or following a fast, wash up and cover the smell, and it gives a picture of someone who is willing to spend the day or more before God in anguish rather than satisfy the personal need for food.

Fasting is not focused on what you give up as much as the anguish deep within you. What is stirring within you? What drives you to tears? What keeps you awake at night? What will never happen that you need so desperately unless God jumps in and takes control? It is that which burns within you that will determine what you are willing to give up in order to receive what you so desperately are interceding for.

Therefore, whether a partial fast, a water only fast, or a fast with nothing – all is determined by what you are able to give up for what you so desperately seek for.

What else is Jesus saying about fasting?

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FASTING part 1


Matthew 6:16-18  16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Recently, fasting has become a little more of a common practice because of an emphasis on the church as a whole to participate in a Daniel fast during the month of January. But fasting has to be understood to be more than a fad or a diet. Jesus said, “When you fast…” This practice is not an option but to be expected among His believers. It is great to participate, but the idea of a fad has to be kept out of the practice.

With the Daniel Fast many more have felt that they can participate in fasting and it not effect their work performance or health issues. To simplify it the more, there are now several Daniel Fast cookbooks. There are some very amazing dishes for anyone wanting to fast and yet not feel like they are fasting.

No, I am not downing the Daniel Fast nor the cookbooks. They are great as long as we understand that what we eat and do not eat are not the focus. Does Jesus make any reference to the food that you eat or do not eat in these verses? His reference is to the physical result that fasting tends to have and how important it is to cover it up in order to keep it a private matter.

From my studies and experience I have concluded that far too much is made over trying to do things exactly like Daniel did. We have no evidence that he had any scriptural guidelines for what he chose to eat and not eat. There are many who have become all bent out of shape because “they aren’t doing it right.” Give me a break! I believe that what Daniel chose was what he felt that he could do in order to not draw attention to himself by the authorities. He did what he could to make it a private matter.

So, what is fasting? The Greek word here literally means to starve, to do without food. This was the closest word they had to what the Hebrew word was and yet it was not close enough. It was a common practice of that day among the heathen to fast in order to enhance their spiritual connectivity with their gods. Sounds like our understanding today. Are we satisfied to have the same understanding as the heathen do? James just said to draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Therefore, this can not be the definition that Jesus understood.

So, do we use the Greek definition and feel satisfied? Jesus was a Jew speaking to Jewish people in a Jewish culture. What did those of the Old Testament understand about fasting? What understanding would Jesus’ listeners have had from their Jewish roots?

If you look up fasting in blueletterbible.com you discover that the Hebrew word for fast means “to fast.” Therefore, the assumption is that we already know what it means to fast. The next step is to discover what story the letters tell in the Hebrew word for fast. It is an amazing story.

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The Passion of Yashua – Anointed


Luke 4:16-21  16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

There are four significant things His reading mentions that He is ascribing to Himself:

1. Jesus is acknowledging that He is anointed. The Holy Spirit is upon Him.

I’m going to take a moment and insert a pet peeve of mine. I have met many who will judge from one Sunday to the next as to whether they feel that the worship service was anointed, the worship songs were anointed or the sermon was anointed. This is unscriptural. People are anointed for God’s service. Either they are or they are not. Objects like a building can be anointed for God’s service. Either they are or they are not. Actions are not anointed. We flow in the anointing.

Jesus said that He was anointed. Do you think that He had days that He became un-anointed? No way!

The root word for anoint is meshakh. The first letter is the “Mem” which means water or liquid. The second letter is “Shin” which means consume. The last letter is “Tav” which means mark or sign. It can also mean covenant. To be anointed is to be marked with a covenant mark, consumed or totally covered by the liquid.

The word “anointing” as in anointing oil has a “Hey,” which represents breath or the Holy Spirit. He is our anointing oil. The word “Messiah” is anoint with a “Yod” inserted into the word. Yod represents an arm which means that the anointing comes from the arm of God.

2. Jesus was anointed as Prophet. He is declaring the good news to the poor or needy and proclaiming the favored year of the Lord.

3. Jesus was anointed as Priest. His message mends the broken heart. He is sent to heal the brokenhearted or shattered inner man. He is sent to give sight back to the blind.

4. Jesus was anointed King. He is sent to give freedom to those imprisoned. He is sent to set the oppressed free.

So, what was Jesus saying? “You have looked for the anointed one. I am here.” The word Messiah means the “Anointed One.”

He sat down and declared, “This scripture has come to life. Here I am.” Basically, what they are hearing him say is that He is the Messiah, the Anointed One. This they understood clearly.

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The Passion of Yashua – The Announcement


Luke 4:16-21  16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” 20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Approximately 18 years have now passed since Jesus’ first visit to Jerusalem with His parents for the Passover Celebration. The message has had much time to develop and it could not be any clearer than it is on this day. He is standing before people that He grew up with. He grew up in this synagogue and attended every Saturday. Through the week He attended school here as a boy. Now, possibly for the first time, He is taking His turn in this mornings reading from the Tanakh and He chooses Isaiah, one of His favorite books.

Just two to three months earlier Jesus, in submitting Himself to John’s message of repentance, experienced the first step in His 40 day initiation that takes Him from a His private world into the beginnings of a World phenomenon. The message that He brings will shake the world.

We are not sure how much time has passed from the time that He concluded His 40 day fast until He stood before the Nazareth Synagogue, but we do know that Jesus did not waist time between the eastern wilderness and His hometown. For weeks He moved from place to place, spending more time in Capernaum, continuing the message of repentance that John the Baptist was known for.

Jesus opened the scroll and read from Isaiah 61:1-2. This passage is known as the Jubilee passage. The year of Jubilee was a law which stated that on the 50th year all land would go back to the original family owners, all debts would be cancelled, and all Jewish slaves would be released.

The context of the Isaiah verse is the captivity of Judah in Babylon as is being prophesied. Isaiah prophesied that because of the sin of the southern Kingdom of Israel that they would be captured and moved to Babylon. But there was a time limit – 70 years.

Why seventy? Not only was there the year of Jubilee every 50 years but there was a year of rest every 7 years where no crops were planted to give the land a rest. But Israel forgot to do this for 490 years.

So, Israel was placed into captivity one year for ever year of rest they infracted upon – That would be 70 years.

Jesus is our Jubilee. Not a year but an era.

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The Passion of Yashua


Luke 2:41-42  His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.

This passage is not so unusual. A set of parents taking their son  to participate in a big event. Jesus is now of the age to begin His entry into manhood. Up to this point, as a traditional Jewish boy, He had been a student of the Tanakh (scripture collection of the Old Testament), memorized the five books of the Torah (the law), and has possibly began His studies in the Talmud (collection of teachings and ethics). It becomes very evident from His three day stay in Jerusalem and His knowledge of Scripture later in life, that Jesus was passionate about the ways of His Heavenly Father. “…I must be about my Father’s business.”

My son has a love for cars. At age 15 he purchased his first car for $750.00, a 1969 Mustang. He poured two years into its restoration and about $7,000. By the age of 18 he owned an additional 4 cars; a 67′ convertible Mustang, a ’95 convertible Mustang, a ’79 Z28, and a ’05 Focus. He worked at a cookie store and paid cash for all but the Focus. Instead, he paid the five year payment off on it in less than 3 years. Within the next two years I had to stress to him how important it was to focus on one project car and get rid of the rest. My driveway had become a car lot.

Today, between his ministry trips to Romania, he works 60+ hours a week as an auto mechanic. He has a passion for cars and a second love for Romania.

At the age of 12 Jesus’ passion was already evident. He loved the Word of God. He loved to talk about the things of His Father. He was already, at this age, aware of what His Heavenly Father’s business was and wanted to be a part of it.

Separated from His parents for three days, would it not have dawned on Him that His parents might be stressing over His absence? Where did He sleep? Who fed Him during the days?

He was a normal 12 year old lost in His growing passion. The last verse of this chapter describes Jesus as increasing in wisdom. How many wise 12 year old boys do you know? None and Jesus was a human boy. But, how many 12 year olds already have a passion? Some do and Jesus was one of them.

Therefore, I do not believe that this was His last trip over the next 18 years before His ministry. But, this may have been the last time He sat and talked with the leaders for three days like this.

If he did not talk about the greatness of God and the conflict of God’s Word and their modern culture with these leaders anymore, then who did He discourse with? Joseph? Mary? Neighborhood boys? His local Rabbi?

For the most part, I believe that much of it Jesus kept bottled up, ready to explode it upon a people who are hungry to hear what He has to say. For this, He will need someone to work the crowd. Someone who will spread a single word, “Change.” And John the Baptist one of the few who did this effectively. “Repent!”

It has been 10 years since my son’s first car and he still has it and the ’95 convertible. He collects facts, attends classes to advance his career, is making plans to do a second restoration on his first car, and knows more about his field than most his age.

We may not have anymore glimpses into the life of Jesus until He enters into ministry, but you can be assured that His passion for the Father and the Word always set the stage for any conversation and any collections He may have had.

If He was truly 30 years of age when He began His ministry then He spent most of his childhood, his teen years and his young adult life preparing for the moment that He would pour His wealth of collection into a small group of men. Jesus’ investment into their lives would change them forever and thus change the world.

To find awesome iPhone & iPad apps for the Christian Walk and Ministry go to n8slist.com