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Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Bill Thrasher. He said: "The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us."
Our fasting devotional today is part 1 of a new series titled "GOD'S PURPOSE FOR FASTING" from Elmer L. Towns in his book "Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough".
Isaiah 58:6-8 gives a veritable laundry list of warnings as well as positive results that can occur when we submit ourselves to the discipline of fasting.
It is as important to learn from this passage the kinds of fasts that do not please God as it is to understand those fasts He desires. God's people in Isaiah's day had been fasting, but without results. The reason, God says, is that they ignored the way fasting should change their lives, treating it as an empty ritual. Isaiah 58:3-4 states, "Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high."
Like so many Christians today, God's people considered worship to be merely a private, inward act. All the focus on fasting was on the personal dimension. Listen to God's rebuke of this concept. Isaiah 58:5 states, "Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord?"
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