Feast before the fast.

We thank the Lord that on the 5th of June twenty-four refugees and sixteen volunteers gathered at our home to feast and fellowship before their long thirty days of fasting. It was a beautiful night, including some pontoon boat rides and delicious food. We engaged in many sidebar conversations and saw God sweeten relationships for His glory.
One resultant blessing: A volunteer guest at the cookout heard about the Wednesday afternoon ladies' ESL (English as a Second Language) tutoring and joined in the next week. One of the refugee students praised our teaching team as being "So kind!" We replied, "Thank you, but only God is truly kind." We explained our motives for helping them. "We can't do anything good to earn merit from God. We serve you because God in Christ has loved us so much. We want Jesus' love to flow through us to you."
Friday night Mark and I returned to this same apartment and had the privilege of breaking fast with one young refugee family. Pray for these families who are fasting and praying. May the Holy Spirit prepare their hearts for spiritual transformation and may Jesus the Messiah reveal Himself to them during these days and nights.

Not So Fast

Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting will begin soon. As a follower of Jesus Christ, have you enjoyed the practice of Christian prayer and fasting?

Let's be clear. There is an indisputable distinction between fasting as a Christian and Muslim fasting. Muslims fast for merit -- hoping to add weight to the positive side of the scale of divine judgment.

A Muslim's hope -- the more merit earned through good works, the better his chance that Allah will allow him into paradise.

As redeemed followers of the living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our motivation for fasting is quite different. From approximately June 6th, during the daylight hours of the subsequent thirty days of Ramadan, many sincere Muslims will abstain from food and drink. Muslims will experience cherished family time at community evening meals. They will read the Qur'an at the mosque and pray. Their hope is to earn Allah's merciful favor.

So what about fasting for Christians? Clearly, God's grace cannot be earned. In fact, those two words don't fit logically into the same sentence, since grace is defined as "unmerited favor." Grace is not grace if it can be earned in any way. Grace is an undeserved gift from God. His grace is "lavished upon us" Ephesians 1:7-9, NASB.

So why fast and how do I get started? David Mathis at Desiring God Ministries has written a helpful beginners guide for Christian fasting.

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Fasting for Beginners

Article by: David Mathis

Chances are you are among the massive majority of Christians who rarely or never fast. It’s not because we haven’t read our Bibles or sat under faithful preaching or heard about the power of fasting, or even that we don’t genuinely want to do it. We just never actually get around to putting down the fork.

Part of it may be that we live in a society in which food is so ubiquitous that we eat not only when we don’t need to, but sometimes even when we don’t want to. We eat to share a meal with others, to build or grow relationships (good reasons), or just as a distraction from responsibility.

And of course, there are our own cravings and aches for comfort that keep us from the discomfort of fasting.

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