Fasts That God Answered Fast

fasting change lifeWhen you choose to fast as Jesus said (Matt. 6:16),
remember that God knows our frame (Psa. 139:15).
So He appreciates how hard it is
for us to go without food and drink.
He loves to see His children hungering and thirsting
after the Spirit instead of the flesh.

It will inspire you to study the fasts in the Bible that God answered quickly.

Judg. 20:18-28—When asking isn’t working, the power of asking in humility with fasting

During civil war between Benjamin and the other tribes of Israel, Israel asked God which of them should go up first to battle Benjamin.   The Lord said “Judah” and Israel lost 22,000 men.   You’d think they should have asked whether they should go up! Next Israel asked if they should again draw near to battle Benjamin. The Lord said “Go up against him” and they suffered another 18,000 loss!

Finally Israel came to the house of God and wept and fasted.  Phinehas this time very humbly asked if they should go battle Benjamin—or should they cease. They wouldn’t be able to take much more massacre from the left-handed slingers! And the Lord said “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

Lesson: We must not presume and expect God to rubberstamp what we have already decided is the solution. We must humble ourselves to seek God’s will.

2 Chron. 20:1-30—When you just don’t know what to do

When Judah was invaded by a great multitude, Jehoshaphat jumped in the right direction—he feared! So he “set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.”

First Judah’s king reminded God who He is and what He promised. God hadn’t forgotten. We forget! The United States was settled by primarily the tribe of Manassah which means “forgetful.” Today we have forgotten God and have been speedily kicking Him out of public life.

“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do.”

Lesson: Jehoshaphat really knew what to do: “but our eyes are upon You.” The battle was God’s—not theirs! They didn’t need to fight in this battle!   When God said to “position yourselves,” they knew that the best position is on your knees fasting! That’s the way to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Yes, maybe a figurative anatomical challenge, but stand on your knees!

But Judah also did their part in addition to fasting. Showing 20:20 vision, they rose early and went out as God commanded.

choirThey sent their Levitical choir out ahead of the army—ahead—and something that really should encourage any choir, it was when they began to sing and praise that the Lord set ambushes and defeated the invaders.

How reminiscent of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. The moment the glory of the Lord filled the temple wasn’t during Solomon’s speech but when “the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord” (2 Chron. 5:13-14). A choir would hope to achieve such unity on the first note!

Obviously God would enjoy you including singing and praising in your fast—even if neighbors might not agree!

 Acts 13:3—The church in Antioch sent off Saul and Barnabus after fasting and prayer.

Lesson: Fasting is vital at key junctures in doing the Work of God and taking the gospel of the Kingdom into all the world (Matt. 24:14). Individually we should fast about how we can best serve the Work of God.

Jonah 3:5-10—People of Ninevah fast and repent!

Lesson: Their fast which included everybody—even the animals—changed God’s mind from the punishment He promised.

These are some of the inspiring examples in the Bible about fasts that God responded to quickly. He knows how hard it is to go without food and drink. “He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him” (Heb. 6:10 New Living Translation).  Why fast?  To get

Our eyes on God

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isa. 58:9).

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A Christian Who Doesn’t Fast?

As a youth desiring to be Christian,
I never heard about anybody fasting, except Mahatma Gandhi,
and didn’t know what the Bible says about it.
So I never fasted.

Jesus says “When you fast” (Matt. 6:16)—not if!


Maybe we go “Whew!   Jesus doesn’t say when and how often!”

fasting change lifeExcept that as the God of the Old Testament, He commanded fasting annually on His Holy Day, the Day of Atonement.   He specified going without food and drink for the 24 hours of this special time He sanctified.

afflict comfortableYes, it “afflicts your soul” (Lev. 23:27) and that’s good!  God afflicts the comfortable so that we can comfort the afflicted!

Besides the obvious physical benefit of emptying and cleansing the digestive system a few days before we will be eating and drinking “whatever our heart desires” at the Feast of Tabernacles which pictures the bounty of the Millennium, we need to humble ourselves to be spiritually ready to serve under Christ in His Kingdom.  And we need to sigh and cry for this suffering world (Ezk. 9:4).

Jesus fasted 40 days to be up to His encounter with the Tempter.  This was no ramadan—Jesus fasted during the 40 nights also!

Because the Bible details only Satan’s no-doubt top three lures, it’s easy to think He was tempted only three times, maybe three different days.  But Jesus was “tempted for 40 days” (Luke 4:2).

Since Jesus was going to walk the earth 3-1/2 years unmarried, with 12 male companions—many rough and earthy fishermen—it amazes  me that Satan didn’t try some kind of sexual temptation.

Maybe he flashed that the other 37 days!  Jesus became our High Priest because He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

Satan probably realized that he would need more than that to faze Jesus because the spirit realm has “pleasures forevermore” (Psa. 16:11) that trump anything this physical world offers.   In the resurrection we won’t marry (Matt. 22:30) except to marry Christ as His spiritual Bride!

toolboxFasting is considered one of the four main tools in a Christian’s toolbox—along with prayer, Bible study and meditation.

So it’s interesting that Jesus didn’t say much about it except that a Christian must not do it “with a sad countenance …  disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting” (Matt. 6:16).  Jesus said to shower, comb and brush.  Fast in secret and the Father would reward us openly.

And He told the disciples that some spiritual tasks are accomplished

Only by “prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21)

Jesus also talked about the Pharisee who fastidiously disciplined himself twice a week but was really only praying “thus with himself” (Luke 18:11)—because he trusted in himself and despised others.  Proper fasting would have helped him humble himself and repent of his horrible attitudes!

When Jesus was asked why His disciples weren’t fasting, He answered that they would fast when the Bridegroom was taken away from them (Mark 2:20).  Today Christians must fast to be ready when the Bridegroom returns!

When & how often still on the table

Hunger for GodNow in my 47th year of understanding that a Christian needs to fast, I still regularly have to assess when and how often.  Moses fasted 40 days—twice, Esther and her supporters three days.  A person might want to fast for lunch on a workday.  You might stop a fast when an answer comes from God.  But generally a fast is for 24 hours.

A person should consult a doctor if any risk is foreseen.  For me, where I don’t drink coffee which often leads to withdrawal headache, the challenge is always mental not physical.

When Atonement comes, as it will on Oct. 12 this year, it would prick my conscience—stab, actually—if I hadn’t fasted since Atonement last year.   I would be neglecting so great a salvation (Heb. 2:3).

I have always heard old-timers say they have learned that once a month is a good balance to aim for.  That’s what I’ve experienced and advise also.

So a Christian who doesn’t fast?  Plain and simple—an oxymoron.  Unless you’re an adult with health problems.  These evil days are flying by fast.  Regular fasting helps us to hunger and thirst for God’s way.  I wrote this to help you but also to remind myself that I need to do it fast!

Until next time,

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The End of Jew Hating

MillenniumWhen the “great trumpet” sounds,
big events occur.
A little talked-about one is:
Israel is brought back to the Promised Land
to model God’s way to the Gentiles (Isa. 27:13).

The seventh trumpet sounds the end of Jew hating. And despising Big and Little Satans.

The first time the word “Jew” appears in the King James Bible, they are at war with Israel (2 Kings 16:6)! How can the Jews be at war with Israel?

The surprising answer is that there are 12 tribes of Israel, and Judah (Jews)—the modern nation of Israel in the Middle East—is just one of those tribes. Ten of those tribes have been dubbed “the Lost Tribes of Israel” and it’s exciting to learn where they’re hiding.

Lost tribes of IsraelJoseph, the Jewish first century historian, and James (1:1) knew who they were.   God has “sifted” the House of Israel through the nations, like corn through a sieve, and not a grain has been lost (Amos 9:9).

You can learn the amazing truth about where they are today by googling “United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.”  It will open your eyes to why nations have the relationships they do. This knowledge is absolutely crucial to understanding prophecy and we need to thoroughly study and prove it in our own Bible.  In addition to the Bible showing where Israel is, historians like Steven Collins [“Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel … Found] have meticulously tracked the tribes’ journeys and settlings.

Ezekiel gave the sign of the two sticks of Israel and Judah being joined into one stick, gathered “from among the nations, wherever they have gone … Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. David My servant shall be king over them …” (Ezek. 37:15-24).

Exodus? What Exodus?

ExodusThe sad news is that Israel will be gathered from dire straits, slavery and captivity (Psa. 126, Amos 9:14). Jeremiah says “from the north country and from all the countries where I have driven them” (Jer. 23:6-8).   This will be a second exodus on such a grand scale that it will make the first one forgotten. “They shall no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt.’”

God says “You shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols” (Ezek. 36:24-25). From all the sins and abominations that provoked God to send them into captivity! Ezekiel specifies that God considered Israel’s two biggest sins to be idolatry and breaking His Sabbaths and Holy Days (Ezek. 20).   We can reason that we are “resting in Christ” when really we are


the truth!  An idol is anything put before God in time, energy, thought or money.  Can any of us say we are never guilty of this—except  after God’s grace of forgiveness and living in us through Holy Spirit power to change?

At last Israel will be the example to the Gentiles that God always gave them a special calling to be. God said He didn’t single them out because they were better than anybody else. They were His chosen people because of the obedience of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Deut. 7:6-8).

They were supposed to keep God’s way so that people would see their example and say “And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4:6-8).

Jeremiah prophesies that Israel will do just that in the Millennium: “Then it shall be to Me a name of joy, a praise, and an honor before all nations of the earth, who shall hear all the good that I do to them; they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and all the prosperity that I provide for it” (Jer. 33:9).

Anti-semitism will at last be eradicated from the hearts of men! “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zech. 8:23).

One by one

God uses the example of one individual at a time, even as events are moving forward on a national scale. It’s interesting that Isa. 27:12 specifies that the Israelites will be “gathered up one by one” (New International Version).

Building a personal relationship has always been God’s motus apperandi.  People will really be one-on-one with their God as to whether  they survive the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).   Today God is the Master Timer at when to call somebody (John 6:44) so that they will be most likely to make it into His Family. Jesus is the Great Shepherd Who knows His sheep by name (John 10:14).

Pray that you can serve in the Millennium in the God Family governing the earth and help Israel set the example for the Gentiles around the earth being restored.

Until next time,


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Making Psalm 118 a New Song for You!

When Mary and I visited Sitka, Alaska in July,
we spent the last five  hours in a park waiting for our flight to Juneau. 
When we reached Juneau, I was shocked to find
that I evidently left my Bible in the Sitka park!

So I have had only a little over one month to mark up my new Bible
with yellow highlighter.

Better to trust in GodThe only part of Psalm 118 I had marked was verse 8:  “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.”

This is widely regarded as the center of the KJV Bible that has 31,174 words.  Verse 8 with 14 words appropriately makes words seven and eight “the Lord” the center.

As you can deduce, I wasn’t  getting all that much out of my superficial understanding of Psalm 118.  What a shame when 2 Tim. 3:16 says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for ever good work.

The Bible says “Sing to the Lord a new song.”  There are no new songs in the Bible but a Psalm becomes new when you find new meaning to it and a greater depth of understanding, and it helps you live a more godly life!

So let’s make Psalm 118

A new song for you!

Psalms 113-118 are called Egyptian Hallel Psalms.  They are used in conjunction with the Feasts of Passover, Pentecost,  and Tabernacles.  Considering how important the Feasts are to God, that makes these Psalms important!

Psalms 113-114 were sung before the Passover Feast.  Psalms 115-118 (the Great Hallel) were sung or recited after the last cup.  So it is thought that Psalm 118 was the hymn sung as Jesus and His disciples ended the Passover (Matthew 26:30).   For several Passovers I have picked out the hymn for our local Passover service, and Churches of God with hymns created from the Psalms may want to consider using a hymn based on Psalm 118 rather than Psalm 51.

Prophetic & Messianic

Jesus said He fulfilled what was written in the Psalms concerning Him (Luke 24:44).

Messianic Psalms are usually about the suffering of  Christ, the coming glory of His Kingdom, or His thoughts and emotions He will experience during His earthly ministry.

chief cornerstoneIn verse 22 the word “cornerstone” is translated “capstone” in the New International  Version.  The literal meaning is “head of the corner.”  The Hebrew word for “corner” is sometimes used as a metaphor for “chief ruler.”  Jesus will be the most important stone in the structure of the new world!

The theme of Psalm 118 is verse 10 about confidence of victory after apparent near loss in battle.  Verse 14 gives thanks and praise for past deliverance and for intervention that will surely come.  “The Lord is my strength and my song” comes from the Song of Moses in Exo. 15:2 and is repeated in Isa. 12:2 so significantly is found in the Law, Prophets and Writings.

Psalm 118 evokes thoughts of the Feast of Tabernacles.   Verse 15 speaks of the tents of the righteous.  “Save  now” in verse 25 comes from the Hebrew “hoshi’anna’—later contracted to Hosanna—and became an appeal for the Messianic Age foreshadowed in Tabernacles.

An alternate translation of verse 27:  “With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar” (NIV) ties in with the Jews in Jesus’ day at Tabernacles would sing Psalm 118, proclaiming Hosanna, while waving palm and other branches during the priestly procession along a path decorated with branches that culminated at the temple altar with the water pouring ceremony.

The people deduced that this applied to Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem at His last Passover (Matt. 8-9).   By the way, Bible chronology shows this glad procession to take place on the Sabbath—Nisan 10 in A.D. 31—Palm Sabbath!

So Psalm 118 supports a crossover in themes between Passover & Tabernacles

Lion's gateVerses 19-20 apply to the Second Coming!  Jesus and the saints will enter the gates of righteousness.  Salvation is through righteousness and Jesus is the door (John 10:9).  That makes Psalm 118 of urgent importance for me because I aim to pass with Jesus through the Lion’s Gate which is now closed up awaiting Jesus to bust it wide open and enter!

So now  Psalm 118 has a lot more yellow in it!  And there will yet be a lot more to learn about this exciting Psalm.

Building the Family of God adWhen you read or sing this song

Oh that it would help you:

  • Trust in the Lord—not any man—for deliverance and salvation! We must center our lives on that.
  • Give meaning for the Feast days, especially Passover, Trumpets and Tabernacles.
  • Become a new song for you and the circumstances you’re in and help you live God’s way more fully!
  • Inspire you to study into the other Psalms rather than just read them superficially for inspiration.

new map 88 countries

A Great Appetizer for Daily Bible Study

Ever been so befuddled about what to study from all that the Bible offers that you ended up not studying that day?

Ever been away from home where all your references and study materials are so you ended up waiting until you got back home?

BibleThose have happened to me.  And even though I know how critically important daily Bible study is, there have been too many days where I ended up doing none.

At Camp Hye Sierra this summer, staff and campers were given a simple plan that has since worked wonders for me.  So I want to share it with you.

Remove the need to figure out something good to study.   This plan makes it an automatic no-brainer!

Negate the need to have references and study materials handy.  You will just open your Bible—first thing in your morning or at least early in your day—and

Read the Psalm and Proverbs corresponding to the day of the month

If it’s the 10th of the month, read Psalm 10 and Proverbs 10.  By the end of the month you will have read all of the Proverbs.

Better yet, if you’d like to also read all the Psalms by the end of the month, just read the appropriate Psalm plus the ones 30, 60, 90 and 120 higher.  So on the 10th of the month, you would read Psalms 10, 40, 70, 100 and 130.  It won’t take that long except on the 29th of the month when you would end up reading Psalm 119.

According to tradition, King David wrote all of the 73 Psalms that bear his name,
plus all the Psalms that name no author (another thirty or so), and then collated the remaining ones written by others (Talmud, Bava Batra 14b).

So reading the Psalms daily is a great way to become a “man [or woman] after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22).  That’s how you know you have the heart God wants!  And you know His will by studying His testaments daily!

And you could do a lot worse than daily study sayings by the wisest man who ever lived.  Solomon learned that “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all [the whole man]” (Eccles. 12:13).

The best benefit I have learned by trying this plan is that invariably your reading will serve as an appetizer to more you are eager to study!

Bon appetit!

Until next time,

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Good Government Coming That Doesn’t Need Your Vote!

Fretting about today’s political scene?
Where it’s more about who to vote against!

MillenniumJesus Christ will soon return to earth
with “ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14)
and replace all the governments of this world (Rev. 11:15).
This King of Kings and Lord of Lords will launch
the Millennium with all new leadership—
by resurrected saints (Dan. 7:27)
who have the nature of Christ (2 Pet. 1:4)
and His fullness (Eph. 3:19)
and are perfectly suited to be in the governing family
because they have been glorified
as Jesus’ very brothers and sisters in the God Family.

Saints will serve as Kings and Priests (Rev. 5:10).  They will serve as Judges and Counselors (Isa. 1:26).  This service will include judging angels (1 Cor. 6:2-3) and vanquished kings and leaders of the old world (Psa. 149:6-9).  Jesus said saints who were faithful in a little with the talents given by God would become Mayors over five or 10 cities (Luke 19:11-19).  Paul told the Hebrews “by this time you ought to be teachers” (Heb. 5:12) because saints will be teaching God’s way in the Millennium.

Since Abraham and Sarah were called the father and mother of the faithful (Rom. 4:16-17), we can speculate that they might be serving directly under Jesus.  Because Elijah and Moses were seen in the Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3), perhaps they will serve in the Church and State leadership under Abraham and Sarah.  We know that David will serve over all Israel (Ezek. 34:23 and 37:24).  And we know that the 12 Disciples will serve over the 12 tribes of Israel directly under David (Matt. 19:28).  It seems logical that Paul will serve over all the Gentiles, assisted by the likes of Barnabus, Silas, Timothy, Titus, Priscilla and Aquila.

Serving under the saints will likely be leaders appointed from those who live into the Millennium.   Those made Princes and Princesses could well be children of the saints who Paul said were “holy” because one or more of their parents were believers (1 Cor. 7:14).

Have you noticed all the times I’ve used the word


servant leadershipabove?  That’s because Jesus said this will be the hallmark of His administration.   His leaders will not lord it over people like rulers are wont to do (Matt. 20:25-27).  Instead of trying to have dominion over the faith of the people, they will be helpers of their joy (2 Cor. 1:24).  They will wash feet.

From  top to bottom, Jesus Christ’s administration will lead the people by service.

When Mary and I served on the staff of Camp Hye Sierra this summer, the whole camp aimed to picture the World Tomorrow.  It’s instructive how the Camp Director—Ed Dowd and his wife RaeAnn—directed the camp.  Sometimes they could be found in the camp office, but mostly they were always in the thick of the action.  They were on site for whatever big activity was taking place.  They were in the main lodge during meals.  They would notice staff and campers, knew them all by name, and were approachable to chat.   They did menial tasks when necessary.  Their top leaders and staff followed their example.

Jesus Christ will assume the throne of the earth, but I believe He will be like the Dowds in running His camp!

geese flyingThis is indicated by His teachers, though promised to sit on His throne with Him (Rev. 3:21), will be seen by the people, and when necessary they will appear behind someone to urge them to get back in alignment with The Way (Isa. 30:20-21).

Jesus Christ and His administration will bring servant leadership that results in

The restitution of all things (Acts 3:21)

Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

Want to be one of these Kings and Lords?  I hope you do as much as I do!
Let’s learn to be servant leaders now.  This world needs some.

Until next time,

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Jesus Christ Replaces satan & That Changes Everything

MillenniumJesus Christ returns!   
He will rule the earth from Jerusalem for 1,000 years—
the Millennium—

the first stage of the Kingdom of God on earth.
He replaces satan and his demons as ruler of this earth (John 12:31).
This changes everything!

The Bible gives here a little, there a little, broad glimpses at what the Millennium will be like.  But overall the fact that Jesus Christ will rule instead of satan tells us everything about why the earth is in for a whole lot of rejoicing.

Tree of LifeThe Bible starts with two trees to choose from for Adam and Eve and ends with “those who do His commandments … have the right to the tree of life” (Revelation 22:14).  Pity those who believed His commandments were done away!  Blessed are those who choose the tree of life because it’s the only tree left in the end!

Isaiah 55:12 says all of the trees will clap their hands, but the Bible doesn’t say there will be a literal Tree of Life in the Millennium.

No matter because the Tree of Life represents having access to the Holy Spirit, and that is going to be made available to the whole earth, beginning from Jerusalem and spreading out to all the nations.  “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

Each inhabitant of earth who begins to live God’s way will become like a thriving tree described in Psalm 1:3.  “Whatever he does shall prosper” regardless of whether life is agrarian, technologically advanced or nicely balanced, as I suspect.  People everywhere will begin growing in the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Look them up for yourself in Galatians 5:22-23 so you can begin developing them yourself!).  Any society with those values will be a marvelous place to live!

I was taught that the two trees represented the two ways of Give vs. Get.  An earth based on giving, defined as “the way of love—unselfish, outgoing concern,” is going to be out-of-this-world to live in!

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice” (Proverbs 29:2 King James Version).   Because righteousness and justice are the foundation of Jesus Christ’s throne (Psalm 89:14), the Millennium is going to become heaven on earth and it’s adorned by holiness (Psalm 93:5).   The meek will want to inherit this earth!

The Millennium is going to be built upon the Rock (Matthew 7:24).  That’s Jesus Christ with a capital R!

I can’t wait!  But I’ll have to.  Even so, Lord Jesus, come (Revelation 22:17)!

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