Vitaly Maksimyuk: Fast is a wonderful beginning of the year

Sermons

Once God told His people: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

“…I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Such powerful words! Many of us need these words to be spoken into our lives! We live in hard times. Our brothers and sisters suffer for their faith: every five minutes one Christian is being killed. New military tension hotbeds are appearing on the political map of the world. The economy of our country is in real crisis. The current situation surely has an influence on us. It has become more difficult to live, we feel how hard it is to stay faithful and to be strong in every new day of trials.

We need to cry out to the Lord! The people of God prayed every time when they were in hardships. Prayer and fasting is the most powerful weapon against the plans of the enemy. Job 22:21 says, “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.” As we agree with God, get closer to Him, we see victories in our lives.

If you don’t feel well and you need healing, it’s time for you to fast together with the church – and your healing will definitely come! If you have become spiritually weak and your prayer life is poor, if you rarely get revelations and haven’t experienced love of your Heavenly Father for a long time, take the time to pray and fast together with us – and you will surely see the glory of God in your life. If you have debts, have lost your job, and you need to hear from God; start fasting, pray and seek guidance of God – He will not delay in revealing the way out to you. If you are a young man and want to know God’s will for your life, find the time to fast and pray – and God will show you His plan.

If your relationships with family and relatives have become cold, if there is resentment in your heart, and in spite of all your effort to forgive – you still feel pain, spend time with God fasting and praying – He will give you the strength to forgive, and renew the relationships with people.
If your children, parents or friends haven’t accepted Jesus as their personal Savior, start fasting and praying for them – you will see how God will change their lives.

If you struggle with temptation and lose in this warfare, you need spiritual strength to win! start praying and fasting with us and you will be surprised, how God fills you up with His Spirit. He will make you victorious!

During fasting and prayer we open our hearts before God. We do it in secret, but God rewards us openly. Often we experience difficulties during the fast, we go through weaknesses and infirmities. Intrusive thoughts to end fasting and start eating are trying to prevail. But God, seeing our zeal, makes it worthwhile! Frequently answers come after fasting, at God’s timing.

When we were fasting for the first time, God answered many prayers. He healed people, gave them clarity in their goals, granted wisdom for what to do in the incoming year, how to set priorities, in different spheres of life. One of our brothers had been praying for salvation of his mother for over 20 years, but she didn’t want to accept Jesus. During the time of fasting the Spirit of God touched her and she repented. Another sister had been praying for her father for over sixteen years. After taking the time to pray and fast with the church, her father was reconciled with God!

Last year during the time of fasting the Lord gave us understanding to move forward with the land purchase for the church. We had been dreaming about it for 23 years! It was hard to make this decision because we didn’t have even a half of the amount. But we trusted God, and He turned the hearts of brothers and sisters to take part in the project and donate. Praise God, by His mercy we have bought this parcel!

Friends, there is no greater joy than to see God’s answers to prayers. It happens when we humble ourselves in fasting and prayer. I encourage you to join us this year. Even if you have never tried it before, start now with us. You will be filled with spiritual power; you will experience intimacy with God, and will gain freshness. Your rebellious flesh will calm down soon, and your spirit will take over the desires of the flesh. This is when the impossible becomes possible. You will hear God’s voice more clearly. It will become easier to obey God and to keep His commandments!

What is fasting? The word FAST in Hebrew means “to cover the mouth”. In the Greek, FAST means “to abstain from food”. So, when someone says, “I am fasting from television”, it’s like saying, “I am going to cover my mouth and not watch T.V.” Or, “I am going to abstain from food by not watching television.” That doesn’t make sense, does it? Fasting is abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. It always has to do with food, and it’s not about abstaining from other activities.

There are different types of fasting.

•    Full fast, when you drink water only.

•    It can be partial, when a person gives up meat, and other foods. Daniel practiced such a fast.

•    Liquid fast.

Together with God, you have to choose the type of fast. As for me, I prefer full fast: I have special encounters with God these days.

Fast is a spiritual discipline. If you abstain from food but do not dedicate time to God, it won’t be a fast. Diet or starvation – these words will suit better. This period will become a real Biblical fast when you spend more time in prayer, reading Bible and meditation. Discipline your mind. Concentrate on God. Let those hours you used to spend on food preparation be spent to be alone with Jesus.

I have noticed the following. It’s more powerful and easier to fast with the entire congregation. It is amazing how God reveals His glory, and we feel His presence among us even stronger. There is strength in unity! Devil fears when the children of God humble themselves and pray together!
And we are always rewarded by God when we fast even though it is not at all the reward from God which is the purpose of fasting. But God loves His children and always wants to encourage us!

May God bless you! Please share your prayer requests, and don’t forget to share the testimonies! We look forward to seeing what God is going to do in your life, and in the lives of your loved ones.

Vitaly Maksimyuk
Pastor, Covenant Church of Novosibirsk

http://www.ccowm.com/2016/01/12/192/