In our journey with Jesus we are often presented with opportunities to grow. They present themselves as doors. This week God has placed before us a door. A door that, should we go through it, leads us to an experience of him that we all too often miss. We miss it because the doorway to that experience is the almost forgotten spiritual discipline of a grace empowered fast.
There is nothing quite like saying “no” to the noise of addictions and compulsions. The fightback can be fierce, as our appetites behave like spoiled children not used to being told “no”. The reward, however, will be sweet.
So what, exactly, is this experience of Him?
One of the main things that fasting produces in us is clarity. That might sound odd given raucous noise of the early skirmishes with a caffeine headache, sugar withdrawal, or screen separation anxiety. My mind was anything but clear yesterday. But clarity does come. The voices of the many slowly become the voice of the One. My mind is not full of entertainment, images, news, and soundbites this week. I have not been able to dull or numb any promptings or conviction with an extra layer of food. Yes, clarity is coming. It feels good.
Secondly, fasting produces strength. But not in the self-determined, “prove myself” kind of way. No, strength that comes in an entirely different way: in the process of letting go of some things (like food, or most food) and so becoming weak, we are taking hold of something else, and becoming strong in Him. It is an object lesson in the truth of these words: “…my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Cor 12:9).
Thirdly, fasting produces faith. Jesus’ very uncomfortable words to his closest friends in response to their own frustration at a lack of power in addressing a situation of deliverance was that they had so little faith (Matt 17:20). His remedy has been relegated to the footnotes of most English translations of the Bible. However, there is a strong case to reinstate that footnote as the next verse. “…But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting…” (Matt 17:21). The problem was not a powerful demon. According to Jesus, the problem was a lack of faith. Fasting produces this kind of faith and the reclaiming of an authority that is the rightful possession of every son or daughter of God.
Our venture in Ham is approaching 5 years in the making. We have so much to be thankful for: a worshiping community of great depth, love and care; amazing salvations; many pioneering adventures of businesses and ministries; slowly increasing credibility and trust in our area; the restoration of prodigals; seeing the emergence of great gifting in people; a ‘homegrown’ culture of worship; wonderful growth in the lives of our children; consistent love and service shown to our neighbourhood; demonstrations of beautiful generosity; and a connection to a bigger KingsGate family! Of course there is so much more.
Please join us in prayer for:
Fresh faith – for the things not yet seen. We are a persevering community, but are longing to see more of what we have been promised. Pray for renewed faith where it has been eroded on the journey.
Risk – a key word for us in 2018. God is calling individuals and our community to have the courage to risk.
Stand – our current preaching series on understanding spiritual warfare. Learning how to stand, fight, and overcome with the right weapons!
Fruitfulness – in the many areas where we have sown and served.
Change – in St Richards.
Our nearest neighbours are about to receive a new leader. Pray for a good transition for them and a renewed partnership and collaboration with us for the Kingdom!
Salvation – Lost people becoming found people. The gospel is good news!
Have a very good day today. We pray for clarity, strength and faith for all of you as you fix your eyes on Jesus, the greatest prize and reward of all. We are really looking forward to welcoming you to Ham tonight.
7:30pm at St Richards CE Primary School, Ashburnham Road, TW10 7NL. There is plenty of parking at the school, the local Tesco and the surrounding streets. Bus number 371.
With much love,
Nick & Ambs, on behalf of KingsGate Ham