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.
Here is my very first fast.
By the time I came back from Vietnam, I was a full-blown alcoholic. At age 35, I became spiritually born again, and desperately wanted to stop smoking and drinking. I had abused both habits all the way back to my teen years, and by that time in my life, I was smoking at least 3 packs of cigarettes a day, and probably the equivalent of at least half a fifth of hard alcohol (This was in 1980).
Once I became spiritually born again, I constantly sought the Lord to deliver me of both of these addictions, but was having no success. I had heard the testimonies of God miraculously delivering others of these two addictions, as well as other addictions … but He wasn’t doing it for me – not the way I was trusting Him to anyway. (I was trusting Him to instantly deliver me of my desire for booze and smokes).
After much frustration and discouragement, somehow I came across a Christian book on fasting. The book was packed full of Christian testimonies of deliverance. Desperate, I thought I would try fasting … simply because prayer and trust alone wasn’t working for me (no “quick fix” in other words, by the desire to smoke and drink taken away from me).
I was also addicted to caffeine, totally unaware of it however (into denial to it, more truthfully). I was totally clueless that if a person is a chronic caffeine drinker,as I had been for years, and suddenly go off caffeine completely when fasting, (or even if they AREN'T fasting and go off it abruptly) they are going to experience severe caffeine withdrawals. It takes about 3 – 3 ½ days to get the caffeine out of one’s body. That first time I went through caffeine withdrawals, I wanted so much to just die and go to heaven. My body ached like I had food poisoning and the worst case of the flue combined! Headache? I thought my head was going to explode! Of course, my body was detoxing from all the other toxins and poisons that had built up in it over 35 years, so it’s hard to know just how much the pain was attributed to just the caffeine withdrawals.
(Since that time – after many times of fasting after that, depending on what health issues I’m dealing with at the time – I will continue to drink a little caffeine (least as possible), simply because I don’t want to have to deal with caffeine withdrawals. There is usually enough “trauma” to deal with – at least there is for me – being off food. I live in Michigan, and I declare that I can smell downwind McDonald’s french fries cooking out west - like somewhere far, far west ... as in Hong Kong, China ... once I start fasting! If there has ever been any doubt that I’m addicted to food period – let me start fasting!)
I was working a very stressful job at the time I went on this fast, and although my first two days of the fast were on my two days off – Saturday and Sunday – I should have called in sick to work on Monday. I really was in no shape to do much of anything but stay in bed to try to keep from moving. The pain was that intense.
By Wednesday, the fifth day of the fast, the pain had left and actually things were going much better in my body both physically and mentally. That afternoon, I started getting intense hunger pangs, and I felt that I needed a little energy, so I drank a small amount of fruit juice. I was not aware at the time that when you are on a water fast only, if you drink fruit juice, it stimulates your appetite, and you want food suddenly all the more! By Tuesday evening I broke down and went off the fast.
The following day, the temptations came to smoke and drink, as they did for many, many months after, but something had changed. AFTER the fast, I now had the willpower to say “No!” to the temptations when they knocked on my door. Only GOD could have given me that power to say no to my temptations, so I know He honored the fast, thank you heavenly Father!
Probably 10 -15 years after that, around 1990 – 1995, I started having severe neckaches and mild headaches almost every day. At first, they started out slight, but they began to intensify, and I was told by a "witch" doctor that I was overdosed in caffeine and refined sugar. Here’s a link to that fasting testimony if you would like to read it. It is quite an amazing, God-glorify testimony: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/AnswersPrayer/FastingNorm2.htm
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, which God will honor.
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 my heavenly Father at the time, I can sink my trust 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 powerful weapon ("spiritual discipline", some might prefer to call it) God has given His people, and we just have to know WHEN, WHAT KIND OF FAST, 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 down the road, 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. So many people are nutriently deficient that they need to be very careful in the beginning going on water fasts only. 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. (Nevertheless - let us never underestimate the value of water fasting only. People who understand the human body and the value of fasting [detoxing] understand that the expulsion of toxins/poisons from the body accelerate when on a water fast primarily. Cancer cells die faster. Diseases die quicker. Organs repair quicker. One can never go wrong drinking as much water as possible when they are fasting).
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 many people, but again, it works best for me. It may not work that way with you.
I’m BIG on "mental/spiritual foundation building." Building “foundational bricks of fasting successes” over time. As of 2012, the longest I’ve ever fasted was 21 days – back around 2010. My purpose for fasting was to get healed of sinusitis and to get my blood pressure lower. Losing some much need weight also played into the equation, along with giving my organs a much needed cleanse from toxin buildup. 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).
As a sidenote, I've observed a very interesting thing that happens when I fast/detox. After about three days of being on quality liquids only (with a bare-bones minimum of caffeine intake), my blood pressure drops to near perfect: 120/80. When I go off the fast, within a couple of days of eating, my blood pressure starts rising back to where it was before I started the fast as the days go by. I've never checked my cholesterol levels before and during a fast, but I suspect they come back into near normal levels as well.
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.
(Please paste one of the above links onto your Facebook page - website - blog - video; etc.)
Here are some other fasting testimonies I've recorded:
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"And this gospel of the
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
Consider how many children in "all the nations" have never heard YET what Jesus accomplished for THEM at the cross? PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS TO THE LITTLE CHILDREN!
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ALCOHOLISM & CRONIC SMOKING BROKEN THROUGH FASTING