Jesus Did It!
By: Norm Rasmussen
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? - Isaiah 58:6 (NKJV)
“But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. – Matthew 6:17-18 (NKJV)
As prayer is a spiritual weapon, so is fasting. Never underestimate their value. Over the years, I’ve learned that when prayer and trust alone aren’t getting the job done … it’s time to consider fasting.
I was between age 45 – 50 when a nutritionalist doctor of sorts diagnosed me as being overdosed in both caffeine and refined sugar.
How it was discovered … my wife Kathleen was being treated for a constant left arm ache. She had been going to a chiropractor for some time to help her with the arm pain, and it seemed like her chiropractic treatments were not getting the job done. At the recommendation of a friend, he referred us to this nutritionalist doctor that diagnosed his patients through a technique of placing small vials of vitamins and minerals near parts of the body, and then he would sort of snap his fingers on one hand. I know it sounds like “snake oil medicine”, which is what I thought myself at the recommendation of this friend.
We drove a couple of hours one way to visit this doctor (Northern Indiana from Michigan) and after my wife starting getting some relief in her arm by taking nutritional supplements her recommended, I thought I would “test” this “witch doctor” and see what he might have to say about constant neckaches and headaches I had been having off and on for weeks and months.
He told me to get up on his examining table and he started doing his finger snapping “voodoo” on me. It didn’t take him all of five minutes to say, “You’re overdosed in caffeine and refined sugar. If you go off BOTH of them, you’re shoulder aches and headaches will go away.”
Go off CAFFEINE?!!!! No way! I had given up smoking and booze years before; I wasn’t about to give up my favor sipping liquid – coffee.
When I called him just about everything but a quack at that point, he casually said, “Well – why not go off caffeine and refined sugar for a month, and see what happens?”
What I didn’t tell him was that I COULDN’T go off caffeine. I was far too addicted to it - Along with two heaping teaspoons of refined white surgar with each cup. I probably drank the equivalent of 2 – 3 pots of coffee each day at that time, excluding soda pop with caffeine in it, with a couple of chocolate bars thrown in for extra good measure.
A few days passed, and after praying a great deal about it, I felt the Lord was saying to give it a try, but FIRST use fasting to break the stronghold inside me of believing I HAD to have coffee to survive – caffeinated coffee; not decaffeinated. Thus I began a water fast. I don’t believe I had any fruit juice on that fast, but because I had already experienced severe caffeine withdrawals years earlier on my first fast, I drank a little coffee each morning while I fasted. As each day passed, I drank less and less coffee, and on the sixth day of the fast, I went completely off coffee and sugar. Yes I experienced some caffeine withdrawal symptoms, but they weren’t nearly as intense as they were the first time around.
Within just a few short days my shoulder and head aches left. They stayed away permentantly! After 30 days, I slowly began to drink decaff coffee, and used honey to sweeten it.
I did get enticed to go back on caffeinated coffee again a year or so later, but cut down greatly on the amount of caffeine I put into my body compared to before.
However … about 7 – 8 years later, I started having atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat – high stroke potential). Of course I prayed for healing, but by that time in my life, I was able to hear the Holy Spirit tell me that when I sought God for healing, ask Him if there was anything I personally needed to do to get that healing … like modifying my diet, for starters. I had come to realize that so many Christians never get healed when they are trusting for it simply because they aren’t willing to listen to Godly counsel in modifying their diet; lifestyle (stress issues) and the need for proper exercise. So before going to my cardiologist, I asked and trusted the Holy Spirit to reveal to me anything I needed to know to get healed of the atrial fibrillation. You won’t guess what He told me! “You’re overdosed again in caffeine. You need to do a good cleanse of your temple to get rid of the buildup from it, and cut WAY BACK on your caffeine intake.”
I have to tell you this story. On my appointment with the Cardiologist, he asked me my life story, and upon ending that, he asked me, “Well, Norm, what do you think we need to do to get your heart healthy?”
Without batting an eye, I said, “I need to go off caffeine. I’m overdosed in it.”
He looked at me realllllllllllllllllllllllllll strange, and then asked, “How do you know THAT?”
“I don’t mean to sound super spiritual on you, doc, but I inquired of the Lord about what I needed to do to get healed, and he told me I was overdosed in Caffeine.”
A smile came to his face and he replied, “Wow. You have just made my job a whole lot easier.”
“How so?” I asked.
“Well – if you had told me that you have been drinking a lot of alcohol, and I told you that you needed to get off the booze, you wouldn’t find that a strange request at all, now would have you?” I nodded in the affirmative.
“And if you were a heavy smoker, and I told you that you needed to quit smoking, you would expect me saying that to you, wouldn’t you?” Again I nodded in the affirmative.
“Now the average patient … they can reluctantly receive the alcohol and the nicotine advice, but if I tell them they are overdosed in caffeine and they need to stop drinking it, they go find ANOTHER cardiologist! They fire me! They refuse to believe I know what I’m telling them. Caffeine is NEVER an addiction to them, to begin with, and secondly, giving up caffeine is NOT good medical advice. At least not to THEM. They don’t tell that to your face, but it’s what happens once they leave my office. I rarely see them again.”
So I went off caffeine again – totally. I fasted for close to 10 days, and went back to be tested. The atrial fibrilliation was GONE! It hasn’t come back since.
Since that time, I’ve had high blood pressure issues, and through close watching, I’ve found that the smallest amount of caffeine will send my blood pressure flying sky high. Thus only on rare occasions will I have a cup of regular caffeinated coffee. I’m strictly a 99% decaff drinker, because of health reasons. I seldom drink a soda that has caffeine in it either, though soda (the sugar in it) is terrible for your health, so I drink very little of it for both reasons. (Artificial sweeteners, some are saying, can be worse than regular sugar – potentially cancer causing).
(Alcohol can also cause atrial fibrillation as well as other heart issues. People can drink alcohol for years, and it doesn’t seem to cause them heart issues. But their resistance can break down, and then they need to cut back on the booze.)
God makes a clear promise to His people regarding prayer and fasting. When you pray for the right reason/s (unselfish reasons with no ego stroking involved), Jesus says “Your heavenly Father will reward you.” He says the same for fasting. Fasting and praying for one’s health is neither a selfish reason, nor is it a pride issue (ego stroking issue), so let’s eliminate those two possible factors as to why God may not honor prayer and/or fasting. (Yes – we can “broadcast” fasting and praying to others in a way that displeases the Father, and if we become guilty of doing that, we may not be rewarded by the Father for what we would like to have from Him, so we need to be very wise in who we tell we are fasting and praying for something). Attempting to grow closer to God so you can walk more fruitfully in the Spirit is ALWAYS the main reason we should have for fasting, I personally believe. All other reasons should be secondary, though never minimized, if you have physical life threatening issues you are dealing with, or you are having severe spiritual issues with God. Mental issues are also a reason to fast. Depression, fear, worry, lack of faith … anything that is hindering your peace and joy in your relationship with God is REASON to consider fasting.
I don’t know about others, but if God hadn’t made the promise of a reward so clear in Matthew 6:17-18, I seriously doubt whether I could muster up enough determination to fast very often, if at all, sad to say. But BECAUSE I am promised a reward of some sort, even though it may not be what I would like to get from the Father, I can sink my faith into the promise that the fast will NOT have been in vain. Sure – I may have to wait until heaven to obtain the reward, and if that be the case, I trust it will be a much better reward given THEN than now, so one way or the other, I can’t lose. That’s my take on fasting.
Many years later, I’ve made peace with God regarding fasting. Fasting is no LONGER ever an option to me. It’s a weapon (spiritual discipline) God has given His people, and we just have to know WHEN and HOW LONG we’re to use it. It is a process of learning to arrive at that place in your walk with the Lord, so don’t beat up on yourself starting out. Missing ONE MEAL is a huge victory for most Christians! Pat yourself on the back for small victories, dear one. Little victories over time prepare you for bigger victories, when they are needed.
I am not an advocate of water fasting only for people just starting out, by the way. I advocate quality fruit juices with as much water as a person can drink. And depending on one’s work situation, health issues, responsibilities in life; etc. … having a little quality food (I prefer raw fruit mostly) can be very wise when needed to keep you going on the fast.
But … I’ll have a small bowl of ice cream or even a cookie or two if I need a reward to keep staying on the fast. I’ve learned not to let “trauma” get too advanced while fasting, but I’ve also learned that having a “treat reward” is only about a molecule away from the fast suddenly getting broken, so I try to stay on liquids as much as possible while on the fast.
I have never been good at setting a time limit for fasting, though I know it works well for others. I need all of God’s grace to go off food, so I trust the Holy Spirit to let me know when it’s time to break a fast. That can be a “cop-out” I realize for most people, but again, it works best for me. It may not work that way with you.
I’m BIG on “foundation building.” Building “bricks of fasting successes” over time. As of 2012, the longest I’ve ever fasted was 21 days – back around 2010. I stayed on liquids only all during that time. It was nothing short of a miracle for me! It has taken nearly 30 years of walking with the Lord up to that time to be able to receive enough of God’s grace to be able to do that. Staring out, 3 days was a miracle! For some, a DAY without food may be a HUGE miracle for them (at least starting out).
Here’s an excellent website to help educate yourself on WISE fasting. You can traumatize yourself fasting UNWISELY, and make an oath to yourself “that I’m NEVER going to fast again!” Satan loves seeing that happen to Christians. Don’t let that happen to you: http://www.freedomyou.com/
Here's some writings I've done on fasting for anyone who may be interested:
For those of you who have testimonies of breakthrough from God through fasting, PLEASE send us your Jesus glorifying testimonies to publish as encouragement for others. Fasting is a powerful weapon God has given us to move Him to bring victory over our struggles, and most Christians don't fast simply because they are like me ... they are addicted to food and don't want to admit that to themselves. And/or - they fasted once or twice in times past and didn't have the proper knowledge nor wisdom to know what was going on regarding withdrawals (detoxing of poisons), and the pain was so intense of going through those withdrawls that they told themselves: "Never again!" If I've learned anything about spiritual warfare, Satan doesn't mind how much a Christian prays. What makes him really nervous is when a Christian employes the weapon of fasting with prayer. He KNOWS odds increase greatly that the added fasting will move God to act on our behalf like little else will.
I've never experienced an "unsuccessful" fast, by the way, and I know there will never be one in the future. (The benefits alone of purging toxins from the body can never be fully measured). I've just learned that God doesn't always grant me what I would like to receive from Him in my timeframe, but unless I fast, I may never KNOW what He's willing to do for me either ... nor do for others I'm praying and believing breakthrough for.
Here are some other fasting testimonies I've recorded:
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"And this gospel of the
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unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
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OVERDOSED IN CAFFEINE AND REFINED SUGAR