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Wed, Jan 10

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TMFC

21 Days To Better

Join us on our journey to better in 21 Days

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21 Days To Better
21 Days To Better

Time & Location

Jan 10, 2024, 6:00 AM – Jan 31, 2024, 6:00 PM

TMFC, 1140 Pratt Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35214, USA

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About The Event

10 Different Types of Fasts in the Bible  

1. The Disciples’ Fast (Matthew 17:21) – For deliverance from sin, addiction, bondage. If we fast, we can break the power of sins and addictions that limit our freedom in Christ.

2. The Ezra Fast (Ezra 8:21-23) – For God’s help in solving problems and for protection from Satan. Ezra said that they prayed and fasted and God answered their request.

3. The Samuel Fast (1 Samuel 7:6) - For revival. The people were bound by idol worship and needed deliverance. Samuel called them to seek God and to bring the Ark back to Jerusalem. If we fast and pray for revival, God will pour Himself out on His people.

4. The Elijah Fast (1 Kings 19:4-8) - Mental freedom from emotional problems or habits. Through fasting, God will show us how to overcome emotional problems and destructive habits.

5. The Widow’s Fast (1 Kings 17:9-16) – Fasting to provide for the needy. The widow went without food to meet the physical needs of someone else. Because she sacrificed her food, God made sure that she had more than enough food.

6. Paul Fast (Acts 9:9) - For physical healing and to get direction from God. If we fast and submit our will to God, He will reveal His will to us.

7. The John the Baptist Fast (Luke 1:15) - To enhance our walk with God and witness. If we fast for the influence of our testimonies to reach others for Christ, God will use us.

8. The Esther Fast (Esther 4:16, 5:2) – For protection from the evil one. If we fast for protection, God will deliver us from evil.

9. The Jesus Fast (Matthew 4:1-2) - For spiritual power and victory over temptation, the flesh and the devil.

10. The Daniel Fast (Daniel 1: 5-21; 10:3) – Fasting for health and to seek God’s favor, purpose and vision for life.

Ways to Fast• Normal Fast – No food, water only.

Absolute Fast – Absolutely no food or water (Caution: Should not be undertaken over 3 days and only then if you have a clear directive from the Lord and are in good health).

• Partial Fast– This could mean fasting certain meals of the day or abstaining from certain kinds of foods (i.e.: No meat or sweets, soup only, fruit and vegetables only, etc. In Daniel 10:3, Daniel ate no pleasant bread).

• Juice Fast– Fruit and vegetable juices only.

• Corporate Fast– A church or group of people who feel God has called them to fast together for a certain period of time.

• Fasting Plus Prayer— Remember, fasting should be combined with prayer. God called us to fast and pray. If you are fasting a certain meal of the day, use the time you would normally be eating to pray. The combination of prayer and fasting is a powerful way to focus on seeking God for breakthroughs and answers to prayer. • Fasting and Abstinence — Although the word “fast” is used as abstaining from food in the Bible and does not refer to giving up other things, during a fast one can practice abstinence from other pleasures as well, such as entertainment, TV, hobbies and sex, as spoken about in 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.

· A Non-Food Fast

For those of us with a medical condition, the non-food fast is the safest way to practice this spiritual discipline.

How to break your fast?

Depending on how long you’ve been fasting, you’ll want to make sure you break your fast, slow and easy. I recommend avoiding carbohydrates or foods that will spike insulin and blood sugar. Bone broths and high-fat foods like olives, avocado and nut butter are a great way to go. Also, you’ll want to avoid these foods during a fast as they may break your fast inadvertently.

What is Christian Fasting?

Christian fasting is abstinence from food or drink for a specific period of time while focusing on prayer and fellowship with God. Spiritual preparation and guidance from the Holy Spirit are key for biblical fasting. Although we can get caught up in “rules” about food and eating, a spiritual fast is first about God and our relationship with Him.

Examples of fasting in the Bible show different types of fasting, including when Moses fasted for forty days (Exodus 34:28) and when Jesus fasted for forty days (Luke 4:2). Here are a few other scriptures on biblical fasting:

  • 2 Samuel 1:12 - They mourned and wept and fasted      till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord      and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.
  • Nehemiah 9:1 - On the twenty-fourth day of the      same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing      sackcloth and putting dust on their heads.
  • Jonah 3:5 - Then the people of Nineveh      believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the      greatest to the least of them.
  • Acts 14:23 - Paul and Barnabas appointed      elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed      them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.

A basic Bible fasting protocol is giving up food and drinking only water. However, you’ll find other examples, like in the book of Daniel, where people abstained from specific types of foods, like sweets or meat. This is known as partial fasting, which we’ll discuss more below. Many Christians fast during Lent and other times throughout the year.

Biblical Fasting Defined

ṣûm, tsûwm, tsoom (Strong's H6684)

Meaning to cover over (the mouth); to abstain from food; the primary idea lies in the mouth being shut.

Some examples of fasting scriptures in the Old Testament:

  • "Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and      came to Bethel, and they wept and remained there before the LORD, and fasted     (H6684) that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace      offerings before the LORD." -Judges 20:26
  • So we fasted (H6684) and sought our God concerning this      matter, and He]listened to our pleading. -Ezra 8:23
  • "Go, gather all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast     (H6684) for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my      attendants also will fast H6684 in the same way. And then I will go      in to the king, which is not in accordance with the law; and if I perish,      I perish." -Esther 4:16

nēsteuō (Strong's G3522)

Which is defined as: "to abstain as a religious exercise from food and drink: either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days."

Examples of fasting scriptures in the New Testamentinclude:

  • "And after He had fasted (G3522) for forty days and      forty nights, He then became hungry." -Matthew 4:2
  • "But as for you, when you fast (G3522), anoint your head      and wash your face" -Matthew 6:17
  • "Then, when they had fasted (G3522), prayed, and laid      their hands on them, they sent them away." -Acts 13:3

This is an interesting definition. Some claim a fast must be a long extended period without food to "count," but this definition implies that fasting may last for a single day or many days. Also, a fast may involve abstaining entirely from all food and drink or altering the customary diet.

Another term to know is “abstain.” To abstain is defined as: restraining oneself from doing or enjoying something.

Many times when we say we're "fasting from ___," we could also say we're "abstaining from___."

nāzar (Strong's H5144)

This means to separate, dedicate, and consecrate; to dedicate or devote oneself; to keep sacredly separate. This term is used for living as a Nazirite or taking a Nazirite vow. It also includes abstaining from food, drink, and impurity.

  • "And so you shall keep (H5144) the sons of Israel separated     (H5144) from their uncleanness, so that they will not die in their      uncleanness by their defiling My tabernacle that is among them." -      Leviticus 15:31
  • "Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, 'When a man or      woman makes a special vow, namely, the vow of a Nazirite, to live as a      Nazirite (H5144) for the LORD, he shall abstain (H5144) from      wine and strong drink; he shall consume no vinegar, whether made from wine      or strong drink, nor shall he drink any grape juice nor eat fresh or dried      grapes." -Numbers 6:1-2
  • speaking to the priests who belong to the house of the LORD of      armies, and to the prophets, saying, "Shall I weep in the fifth month      and fast (H5144), as I have done these many years?"

The Heart of a Biblical Fast

Abstaining from comforts and biblical fasting are about more than deprivation. When we fast, we are setting ourselves apart for a purpose. It’s not just about outward behavior but also seeking the Lord with our heart, soul, and mind.

Another crucial passage of scripture to read before you fast (I like to read this every time I fast) is Isaiah 58. The Lord answers some questions about our days of fasting and what makes them effective. God clarifies that fasting is about more than food and drink. It’s not a practice of going through the motions.

4 Basic Types Christian Fasts

1. Complete Fast

The complete fast is a Christian water-only fast, abstaining from all food. This is a challenging undertaking but very rewarding both physically and spiritually. And there is definitely a biblical basis for this type of fast.

When the Bible mentions someone fasting, in most cases, we assume it's a water-only fast. For example, see the stories of Jehoshaphat, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

Usually, the first few days of a water-only fast are the most difficult. But after working through the initial side effects and discomfort, most people report feeling clear, focused, and receive a boost of energy.

When fasting all food, it is crucial to drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and spend time in prayer.

If you're brand new to fasting, you may want to start with a liquid or partial fast (two types we'll talk about next) before diving into a complete fast.

Another option is to start with a one-day fast and gradually increase the fasting period in subsequent fasts. The Bible doesn't always say how long people fasted, but in some cases, like Judges 20:26 or 1 Samuel 7:6, the fasting period lasts just one day or until the evening.

2. Liquid Fast

Another option is a liquid fast, where you abstain from all food but allow liquids such as smoothies, fresh juices, and pureed soups. And, of course, drink lots of water throughout the day!

For many people, a liquid fast is an ideal way to cleanse the body and mind and reset their eating habits. It's an easier place to start than a complete fast for most. Remember that you don’t want to consume sugary beverages, which can cause your blood sugar to spike and crash.

The goal isn't to drink constantly throughout the day but to give your body energy through healthy liquid options at regular intervals.

Juice fasts are also included in this category. Although we have many readymade options, making your own fresh juices at home is ideal.

You may ask, "So...can I drink whateverI want?"

Only you can decide if your fast should include a Venti Starbucks frappuccino. But do consider the following:

1. What are the most nourishing drinks for my body? (Soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee drinks, etc., do not qualify!)

2. Am I fasting to grow closer to God and give up temporary satisfaction, or am I still dependent on worldly substances to pacify my stress, energize me, and get me through my day?

Keep in mind that the Bible doesn't mention juice cleanses or smoothie fasts. Blenders weren't invented, and protein powder wasn't readily available. However, liquid-only fasts are a popular option for spiritual fasting. Again, the spirit of fasting is separating from the world (and food) and drawing closer to God.

3. Partial Fast

A partial fast involves restricting when you eat or what you eat. In the first case, you restrict the times of day you eat. The more common interpretation of a Christian partial fasting, however, is choosing what types of food to eat or abstain from.

The Daniel Fast, for example, is a popular Christian fast. Based on Daniel's experience in the Bible, it involves abstaining from meats, sweets, and bread while still consuming whole, plant-based foods and water.

Daniel was taken captive to Babylon and placed in the king’s court. However, not wanting to be defiled by the king’s food, he made a special request to the captain of the guard. “Please put your servants to the test for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (Daniel 1:12)

Later, Daniel entered a 21-day period of fasting: “In those days, I, Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks. I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.” (Daniel 10:2-3)

Choosing to abstain from certain foods during the season of Lent is another example of partial fasting.

When you're brand new to fasting, partial fasts can be an excellent first step but don't confuse it with a diet or healthy eating plan. Fasting should involve a level of sacrifice that challenges your flesh. And, as always, the focus is not solely on what you eat (or losing weight) but primarily on drawing closer to the Lord and strengthening your spirit.

4. Supernatural or Absolute Fast

In an absolute fast, no food or water is consumed. This type of fast is rare and usually only lasts for a short period of time. Most would recommend, and I would agree, that the vast majority should NOT abstain from water while fasting.

Going without water can be deadly. Although the average person can survive three days without water, many conditions and factors can shorten that window. Even mild dehydration, which can occur after simply being out in the heat, can cause many medical problems.

There are only a few examples of absolute fasts in the Bible. One would be in Jonah chapter three when the king proclaimed that no one should eat or drink as they turned from their ways and called out to God.

In the book of Acts, Paul was blinded and didn't eat or drink for three days after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus.

The Bible records an example of an absolute fast when Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments from God for 40 days. He was there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights and didn't eat or drink water. (Exodus 34:28) This was a very intense and unique time. Moses was specifically called and remained in the very presence of God during this time.

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