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Tag Archives: fast and pray

A Biblical Response to the Coronavirus

At the end of 2019, an unknown virus began spreading throughout the city of Wuhan, China. As time has passed, the origin of what we now to be the Coronavirus came from one of two sources. Initial reports linked COVID-19 to bat and snake meat, a local Chinese delicacy. However, a newly censored Chinese news story claimed the Coronavirus began as at the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control. Two Chinese scientists, Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao, insist that a worker who was bitten by a laboratory animal spread this virus to outside associates. Whatever the true origin, there is a lesson to be learned.

So Gad came to David and told him and said, Shall seven years of famine come to your land? Or will you flee three months before your pursuing enemies? Or do you prefer three days of pestilence in your land? Consider and see what answer I shall return to Him Who sent me. 14 And David said to Gad, I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for His mercies are many and great; but let me not fall into the hands of man, 2 Samuel 24:13-14.

If you don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, the probably to repeat these same sins increases in the future. In the Old Testament, Israel was struck by a pandemic which killed 70,000. This particular disease spread in less than 24 hours, similar to an advanced Ebola Outbreak. When news of this tragedy reached King David, he placed a sack cloth over his head. This ancient practice was an act of humbling yourself before the Lord. Instead of running out to the local grocery store to stock up on food and personal supplies, David began to fast and pray to the Lord. Feeling helpless, David turned to God to rescue his nation from this plague.

So the Lord sent a pestilence upon Israel, and there fell of Israel 70,000 men. 15 God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it, and as he was destroying, the Lord beheld, and He regretted and relented of the evil and said to the destroying angel, It is enough; now stay your hand. And the angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and the heavens, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces, 1 Chronicles 21:14-16.

When human beings find themselves in a dire situation, the desire to survive kicks in. This instinct often influences individuals to attempt to save themselves. Trying to stay in control when the world around you is falling apart often becomes a futile exercise. Jesus’ earthly brother doesn’t blame God for tribulations like the Coronavirus. Rather, God allows certain things to occur, James 1:2-13. I won’t speculate on why COVID-19 has spread across the world, but maybe it’s time to look up instead of within. Perhaps, this trial has arrived to set the stage for a revival unlike any other. As others panic in response to COVID-19, look to God for healing.

by Jay Mankus

Setting the Stage for Healing

Whenever you study history, there are certain elements that tend to get overlooked.  If don’t have the full context of an event, you might miss an important detail.  Context refers to the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.  As I read the book of Acts today, one miniscule verse in the Bible sets the stage for healing.

As he traveled he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank, Acts 9:3-9.

Previous sermons that I have heard about the healing of Saul who becomes Paul ignored Acts 9:9.  After being blinded from some sort of bright light from heaven, Saul loses his appetite.  From a Hebrew mode of computation, Saul went about 48 hours without food or drink.  As an author and doctor, Luke does not describe Saul’s decision as a fast.  According to one Bible commentary, such a period of entire abstinence from food, in that state of mental absorption and revolution into which he had been so suddenly thrown, is in perfect harmony with known laws and numerous facts.  By falling back upon his Jewish upbringing, Saul’s decision to fast and pray sets the stage for healing.

So Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles].” 18 Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; 19 and he took some food and was strengthened, Acts 9:17-19.

Based upon his response to being able to see again, Saul gives God the full credit.  Moved by this miracle, Saul asks Ananias to baptize him immediately.  Although Luke doesn’t specify how Saul broke his fast, regaining his vision revigorated this man who previously persecuted the first century church.  Whenever you endure a life altering event, fasting is the most prudent spiritual response to any trial.  Saul’s healing provides hope to readers of the Bible of God’s potential power.  While permanent healing may not be part of God’s will for you, those who wrestle with God in prayer are often surprised by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, if you want to set the stage of healing, don’t forget to fast and pray to the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

Use the Force of the Holy Spirit

In the context of Star Wars, the force is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power.  King Kayos is the first character to utter the expression, “may the force be with you.”  To awaken a certain kind of spirituality within his audience, George Lucas uses the concept of dualism to illustrate two opposing powers.  While the Jedi utilize the light side of the force, the Sith exploit the dark side, setting the stage for an epic battle between good and evil for dominance in the universe.

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him, Mark 1:12-13.

Descending from heaven to restore what Adam lost, Luke 19:10, Jesus is sent to earth by God the Father to complete a secret mission.  When the timing was right, Jesus followed the force of the Holy Spirit.  This calling drew Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, similar to Jedi’s led to spend time with Yoda, training to prepare for future battles.  While in the desert, Jesus fasted and prayed, using the power of the Holy Spirit to prepare his heart, soul and mind for a three year ministry on earth.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, Romans 8:26.

After completing God’s will, Jesus died on a cross, rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven.  Prior to his exit from earth, Jesus spent forty days, relaying a great commission for his disciples to carry out.  Today, followers of Jesus are still seeking to complete the instructions found in Matthew 28:18-20.  To help us on this journey, the apostle Paul provides further directions in the passage above to guide individuals along the way.  Therefore, if you’re not sure where to go or what to do, cry out to the Lord so that the force of the Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf to guide you toward the light and away from Satan’s darkness.  Use the force daily, Galatians 5:25.

by Jay Mankus

The Danger of Bearing False Witness

At some point over the last 25 years, exaggerating and lying have become a part of American politics.  The value of honesty and integrity have been replaced by a “do whatever it takes to win” attitude.  If this current trend continues, society will experience the side effects of bearing false witness.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, Exodus 20:16.

When individuals begin to hold worldviews that believe absolutes are not realistic to obtain, a vacuum is created for falsehood to reside.  Meanwhile, the media understands if you repeat a lie over and over again, the public will likely begin to believe this as truth.  Until corruption, deceit and untruths are daily exposed, politicians will continue to lie.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another, Ephesians 4:25.

A growing number of churches are encouraging their members to fast and pray in the weeks leading up to the 2016 presidential election.  The more who join this movement can shift the spiritual momentum in this country.  Yet, without faith in action from godly leaders, this climate will not change.  May the power of the Holy Spirit move you to speak the truth in love to make this world a better place.

by Jay Mankus

 

Fasting to Go Forward

The future is like a mystery novel full of twists and turns.  Within this darkness and uncertainty, its important to take some time to be still before the Lord.  Thus, before you speculate on what you think will happen its better to fast and pray prior to going forward.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:4.

While serving as a cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah’s main responsibility was to taste test food and vine prepared for the king in case it was poisoned.  Essentially, Nehemiah was a body guard, willing to die for his leader.  Yet, when news spread about the fate of Jerusalem’s walls, Nehemiah placed his whole trust in the Lord by beginning a fast.

Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” I was cup bearer to the king, Nehemiah 1:11.

During this 3 month fast, the Lord began to provide Nehemiah with a clear vision for the future.  Instead of wavering, Nehemiah stepped out in faith to implement God’s plan.  Taking a leave of absence, Nehemiah served as an administrator to help Israel rebuild this wall in 52 days.  Thus, Nehemiah is the ideal example of fasting to go forward.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

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