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Three Marks of a Disciple

Pray, Fast, Give

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Matthew 6:1-8, 16-18 “ Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him... Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly . ” Noice, Jesus said, when thou prayest, when thou fastest, when thou doest alms, not if, but when. This is an expected and necessary part of the Christian life and walk. They are not suggestions or something for us to consider doing, but for us to do if we belong to Christ. This is the way to God's best in your life and mine.

Scripture tells us that a three fold cord is not easily broken. This is a spiritual three fold cord. There is the natural and the spiritual, thee agreeing together in prayer and these three in an individual's life. They both add power to your prayer life and walk with God.

Fasting is something that most believers today think is no longer necessary. You know, that was something for the monks back there in monasteries, after all, they didn't have anything else to do anyway but be bored. And we have a life to live and things to do and we are busy and don't have time for unnecessary spiritual things and religious rituals anyway. But there was a time when fasting was considered a normal and necessary part of religion and faith, even among the people of Jesus day and in fact in all the history of God's people in the Bible. But after all, we are now in a modern age, in the 21 st century and we are more advanced and we don't have many of the problems and limitations they had, and our lives are filled with far more things to do and not so laid back and slow paced.

Jesus was asked why his disciples didn't fast. Matthew 9:14-15 “ Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast . ” Is Jesus with us in person today? Is the bridegroom among His church? Then, if you're a disciple, a follower of Christ, He said you will fast. We are supposed to pray, give and fast.

Muslims have Ramadan and they must fast during the day every day for a whole month. All kinds of heathen idolaters and even devil worshippers fast, because it gives them spiritual power. Yes, it works for the evil as well as the righteous, for those who look to demons for spiritual power as well as those who seek God for the power of the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Fasting opens you open to supernatural power, godly or demonic. They are just opened more to the supernatural side of evil instead of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. To work within and through us.

Matthew 6:17-18 “ But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly . ” God said if we pray, give and fast, He will reward us openly. You can pray without fasting but you cannot fast without praying. If you are not eating and not praying, then you are not fasting but only doing without food or starving yourself.

Some of the things these three spiritual exercises or activities will do when they are done in faith and obedience. Daniel fasted, prayed and he refused to eat the king's meat and God rewarded him openly. God gave him supernatural wisdom that changed the course of history and gave us revelation of things to come.

You deal with demonic spirits by fasting. Jesus told us some demons won't come out except by fasting. Matthew 17:18-21 “ And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting . ” That is why Jesus, the Son of God, fasted, for the anointing to overcome and have power over demons.

The prophet Daniel had to fast 21 days for the answer because the price of Persia was withstanding his getting the answer. Daniel 10:2, 12-14 “ In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks... Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia . Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days .” Prayer brought wisdom, revelation, deliverance and power.

Some have prayed and not got the answer. I have too, just like you. But when Daniel fasted, he got the breakthrough and got the answer. And we see that many other times in Scripture. Fasting brought victory, a breakthrough and deliverance. Some things God will do for you when you fast that you will get no other way. Today things are getting harder and stronger and the battle is becoming more severe and the battle is tougher and more fierce for the enemy knows that his time is short. Revelation 12:12 “ Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time

The question is where are we? Where do we dwell? Are we inhabitants of heaven or of the earth?

Ephesians 2:5-7 “ Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus .” This is talking about us in the here and now. We were dead in trespasses and sins, but then we turned to Christ and were raise up to what? To sit with Him spiritually, in heavenly places! We are not yet in the “ages to come” for that begins when we enter eternity, so it is clear that this is not talking about our being seated with Christ in heavenly places after we depart from this world.

To further show that, let us look at Ephesians 1:3 “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ :” But we are not yet in heaven and this is talking about out current condition or place in Christ. Why does God put it in those terms and speak as if we were in a resident of heaven instead of earth?

Ephesians 3:11-13 “ To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him .” Notice that our enemy is in heavenly places. That is the same thing we are told in Ephesians 6:12 “ For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places . ” The Greek word for “high places” in this verse and for “heavenly places” in all the verses above is the same word, epouranios, ep-oo-ran'-ee-os; meaning celestial, in heaven.

So, Christ is seated in heavenly places and we have been seated with Him in heavenly places to war a spiritual warfare that takes place in heavenly places where our enemy resides.

There are many reasons why the people of God fasted in Scripture. David went on a 7 day fast after his adultery. They fasted for deliverance. They fasted for victory over the enemy. They fasted to break the bondage of sin.

In the book of Judges, chapter 19 and 20, there was a Benjamite tribe that were bisexual. In Judges 19:16-28 is the story of an old man who traveled to Gibeah where there were people of the tribe of Benjamin. There a Levite took him into his house so as not to leave him on the street. Then some of the men the Bible calls sons of Belial beat on the doors of the host and wanted to have the old man for sex. It is very similar to the story of the angels who visited Lot before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah . He refused and gave the men his concubine and they raped her all night long and she died.

Then the Levite in Chapter 20:4-6 tells Israel his story and why he cut the dead woman up and sent her pieces throughout Israel, so they would see this woman dead that had been raped until death by this group of Benjamites.

In the rest of chapter 20, we see that Israel went up to Benjamin and wanted those men so that they might be put to death and put this evil out of Israel . Benjamin refused and it led to war. Though God told Israel to go up against Benjamin and fight them, Judah was to go up first and in the first day, 22,000 soldiers of Judah were killed trying to attack these perverted men to destroy them. God's men went up and fought this perverted spirit and they were defeated. Then, the second day God told them to go up again and fight and 18,000 died in the battle. This was amazing since there were only 26,000 men with a sword from Benjamin and 700 from Gibeon . On the third day, they fasted and prayed before God and cried out to Him and offered burnt offerings and then went back to fight after God told them to go a third time, but this time He would give them victory and they would defeat Benjamin. So, they fought that day and won and 25,000 of Benjamin were killed and 600 ran into the mountains to hide.

The story goes on, but the point is that fasting broke the yoke and the power of this strong demon. Fasting will break sexual addiction and that demon will come out. Homosexuality, pornography, sexual addiction, will be broken when you pray, fast and give unto the Lord.

In Joel 2:28 , God said, “ And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh ;” afterwards; after what. After blowing the trumpet in Zion and fasting, then he says he will touch their sons and daughters and break bondages. That is what God told them in verse 1; “ Blow ye the trumpet in Zion , and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; ”

Manasseh was Hezekiah's son. He did great evil in the sight of the Lord, more than any other king of Israel and he caused the people to sin greater than the heathen which God had destroyed out of the land for Israel . So, Manasseh was taken captive in 2 Chronicles 33 because he burned sons to Molech and did such great sin. They bound him in fetters and drug him off into bondage in Babylon but there he fasted and was brought back from bondage. 2 Chronicles 33:10-13 “ And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon . And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God

Satan has a hook in the nose of many today and they are bound but fasting and prayer can break that bondage and addiction and set the captive free. Fasting can turn the heart of God and cause Him to change direction and your end.

There is the 40 day fast of Moses and Jesus, the 21 day fast of Daniel, Paul fasted for 14 days to get his eyesight back. Peter fasted 3 days on the rooftop for revelation and all the Jews fasted three days for Ester before she went into the king. There is also one day fast as we saw when Israel was fighting with Benjamin.

The first manifestation that you see many times when you look at fasting is that God blessed the people financially. In Joel, God said he would restore what the devil had taken from them. Joel 2:25-29 “ And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit

Isaiah 58:8-12 “ Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in

He said if you fast 1) your health will spring forth 2) financial blessings, breakthrough and restoration of what has been stolen from you 3) bondages will be broken and deliverance come and 4) you will understand God's will

Fasting brought financial breakthroughs. Jose ph fasted and God gave him favor with the jailer, because normally at that time, only the family of the one in prison could bring them food and his family was in another country. One of the ways God rewards those who fast is with healing, breaking addictions and all they are not free of in their life and with prosperity, financially restitution to those the enemy has stolen from because they didn't honor God in tithing.

Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice.” Some are not satisfied and know there is a purpose in your life and you desire more from your life. I am one of them for it applies to me too. Fasting can change things and your future. God is no respector of persons, so if you will pray, give and fast, God will bless you and me.

Romans 12:1-2 “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God .” To get into God's perfect will, and we can't afford to miss God and his purpose in our lives; fasting will help us to find God's will. If we fast, he says he will show us. Fasting is a form of presenting your body as a living sacrifice to God so he can show us His will that we can know what He wants us to do with our life and what we are to do that we might receive divine direction.

In 2 Chron 20, Jehosaphat was surrounded by the enemy and he said, lord, we know not what to do, but our eyes are upon you. He fasted 3 days and God spoke through the prophet. 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 “ And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah . And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD .” He begins his supplication, verse 6, “ And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee ?” Verse 12, “ our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee .” Verse 15, “ Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's

When he fasted, God spoke. Don't we need God to speak to us and tell us what to do at this point in our life? Then came the Word of God to him and God said, The battle is not yours, it is the Lord's. That was because he fasted. It took one day to fight the battle and 3 days to gather the spoils of the battle. Verse 25, “ And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much .” Verse 27, “ Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem , and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies

Pray, fast, give. A three fold cord. There is a fast to break the bonds of wickedness. When situations won't change and there is no breakthrough this is the way out. There is a fast for protection, a fast for victory, a fast for provision, and a fast for wisdom and revelation. God has provided for an answer and a solution to every need through fasting.

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