What is it like to fast from food for a meal, for a few meals, for a few days? What’s the purpose of fasting? What are people supposed to accomplish through this ancient practice of spiritual growth? Some people skip a meal in the week because they are too busy to eat. Some skip a meal because they’re trying to lose weight. Some skip meals because of lack of income, or lack of convenience, but skipping a meal on purpose for the sake of godliness is an entirely different reason. Join us this week as we look at the benefits of fasting in order to grow your faith.
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Jesus had just come from Zacchaeus’s house where Zach is transformed by the loving grace of Jesus. Then as Jesus walks toward Jerusalem, his disciples secure a donkey for the triumphal entry. They lay down palm branches and their coats as Jesus enters into the city. They praise Jesus and give him their worship. Some reject him and tell Jesus to stop this blasphemy. What would you do? Where is your allegiance to Jesus? Some rejoice over the God of the Universe sending His very Son for our salvation. Some don’t understand at all, and some completely reject the work of God through Jesus. Where do you stand on this issue?
The Apostle Paul stands before King Agrippa and gives testimony, once again, about the reason for the hope he has in Christ. It reminds me of 1 Peter 3:15 where Peter writes, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” When Paul is speaking about his faith in God, he uses gentleness and respect. He wants everyone everywhere to know Jesus. How are you sharing the hope of the gospel of Jesus with people? Does your hope in God become a talking point with others? How can you set apart Christ as Lord in your life?
The Apostle Paul is held in prison for 2 years after giving the speech of his life to Governor Felix. He says that he believes in the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Felix keeps him under lock and key but wants to listen to what the wise Apostle has to say about Jesus. Paul shares about the scriptures that he would later write. I wonder if you’re more like the Apostle Paul with people, or more like Governor Felix? Felix only listened when it was convenient. Are you like this?
We are now into the thick of the trial over the Apostle Paul’s testimony to the Jews. He stands before the Sanhedrin to give reason for the faith he believes. He believes in the resurrection from the dead, including the afterlife. The Sadducees disagree and want him dead. Paul’s nephew saves the day with a little obedience to God in telling Paul about the plot to kill him. He tells the commander of the guard and Paul’s life is spared. What are some of the hurdles in faith that you can’t seem to overcome? Do you have obstacles in your life, self-inflicted, or otherwise, that keep you from enjoying the grace of God. Join us as we talk about legalism and overcoming the obstacles of our faith.
Paul and Barnabas were sent off by the Holy Spirit to Cyprus and Paphos. They went to Jewish Synagogues first, to speak to Jewish people about the grace of God. The Jews rejected them, so they turned to the Gentiles to be the light of the world. God’s light shines in times of persecution and hate. We see tremendous hate in our world today, but this is no time to shrink back from shining the grace of God into nearby communities. What is your role in being the light of Christ in the dark world that surrounds you?