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The Biblical discipline of abstaining from food for spiritual purposes

Key Scripture: Matthew 6: 17-18


But  you when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Discussion Question 1

Why would one want to appear to be fasting to others?


Discussion Question 2

Why would Jesus associate fasting with a reward?



Fasting is among three activities that are done for spiritual enhancement known as the three private acts for power.


Act 1: Giving


Matthew 6:2  …”do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites di in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have their reward.” trumpet (4537) Greek: salpizo: sound of a blast, figurative or literal trumpet.



Act 2: Praying

Matthew 6:5 …”the hypocrites are, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” …



Act 3: Fasting

Matthew 6:16 … “when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast” …

These acts should be done in simplicity and when possible in private, people should not do these things for the admiration and respect of peers but for the Glory of God.  However, there are times when the church or the nation calls corporate fasting, prayer or giving.  This is an exception not the rule (Acts 13:2).


GOD’S REWARDS: Stores, credit cards and gas stations have rewards but God’s Rewards are best!

The Desires of one’s heart (even if never uttered) can be the reward when walking in the way that Jesus outlined concerning fasting, prayer and giving or you can choose to receive public recognition for these spiritual activities.   The goal of every spiritual activity should be to glorify God and avoid self righteousness.

“Man should not live by bread alone but by every word the proceeded out of the mouth of God.”

Discussion Question 3

What is the purpose of Fasting?

Your answer______________________________________________________________________________

(more answers: 1) We fast to have a closer walk with God, 2) fasting reveals to you your place in God and 3) it destroys the  yoke of the Satan)


“Fasting is not intended to persuade God to change His mind” or to get God to conform to your personal agenda (It WILL NOT MAKE YOU MORE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, SEE ROMANS 12: 1-2).  Do not kick against the Spirit of God, for it is God who formed you and assigned you a place in His body, the church (a mystery) even before the earth was formed.

Christ is the head.  Jesus was the cornerstone of the church built upon a confession that He is Lord and supplies every part of the body what is needed for optimal productivity.  The Word of God is indispensable in mans well being even more so than food (Read/ Discuss Ephesians 4:15-16/ define supplieth v. 16).


OLD COVENANT FASTING Destroys the yoke (Isaiah 58:6) yet became ceremonial

I fast(3522) twice a week, I give tithes of all that I possess.”Jesus quoting a Pharisee (Luke 18:12).

Moreover when you fast (3522) be not as the hypocrite(Matthew 6:16).

Fast (From the Greek word) Nesteous(3522)  pronounced (nace’tis) to abstain from food (religiously). From Nestis (3523) ne (not) tis (eating)



Jesus gave a glimpse into the purpose of fasting (to obtain a closer walk with God).  When his disciples asked Him about fasting He asked them this question, “Can the children of the bride chamber (church) fast, while the bride groom (the Head) is with them?” (Mark 2:18)

  • POV (Point of View)

The Lord supplies every part of the body.  He directs us and is the authorized member to request that we stay in our lane when beginning to stray just as you brain voluntarily directs the members of the physical body to perform certain functions fasting brings clarity to purpose that you walk a life pleasing to God.

One can lose weight during fasting but it is not done for that purpose.

Physical health is a definite factor while serving God in our bodies.

Medical Facts:

  • Obesity is the most common result of insulin resistance (page 55).
  • The fall in insulin levels during fasting allows the breakdown of stored fat and stored sugar (glycogen) Fats and

glycogen are then used as energy sources between meals (page 56).

  • By lowering the insulin levels and decreasing insulin resistance, the incidence of obesity and probably the progression of heart disease will decrease (page 58).

Source: SUGAR BUSTERS Cut sugar to Trim Fat by Stewart, Andrews, Bethea & Balart


Fasting for a godly purpose (pages 516-517):  Explain

1) Prepares us ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2) separates us


3) cleanses us


4) equips us




At the onset of His public ministry, a fasting Messiah triumphed over the evil one.

CONTENTMENT: “We need much less than we think we need.”

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Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington.(Photo: Reuters).




1. “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength”   (KJV, Philippians 4:10-13).


Superlative in quality – EXCELLENT

Having undisputed ascendancy – PARAMOUNT

Of the most exalted kind – SUPREME

Unlimited in extent – ABSOLUTE

Total autonomy – INDEPENDENT


2.”In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.

(Ephesians 1:11)



There is no power above the authority of God (No Corp. Board Room or Democracy). Trust God’s Word ( God is Mutually Inclusive, Elohim is plural, Gen. 3:22, 11:7).

             We use God’s Word as THE FINAL AUTHORITY on all Matters.


(Synonym: IMPETUS- force, power, source)

Paul understood that God propelled him in ministry.

Paul wrote the Philippians letter while imprisoned.  To make a bold claim that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” must be understood in His role as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.  Paul was personally commissioned by Christ to take the gospel to the Gentiles.


PAUL: APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES (After an encounter with Christ, A.C.)


Paul indicates that he learned which implies a process that manifests a secret which few come to grasp.  The secret learned was that contentment does not hinge on circumstances.

The Obedience of Christ is the ultimate expression to observe, while

Coming into the knowledge of the truth about God’s Sovereignty.




3. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). 



Perfect: Mature, Complete, Entire or without lack



4. “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4).



May occur in the elements, as that to which, a plant is exposed: rain, sun, wind, insects, etc, to reach maturity.


           Where you’re planted matters

            Plant in toward the eastern sun and your perennials will prosper


Location! Location! Location!


As found in Matt. 13:4 in the fowl/ v. 5-6 the stony places and the sun/ v. 7 the thorns.

Discussion QUESTION:



             Wisdom Key to Paul’s Secret is to Recognize the Truth and operate therein. 

             Volunteer needed to state Serenity Prayer

Name some things that God will strengthen you to do?

BUILDING BLOCKS for the mindset of contentment:

6. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Is. 41:10).

7. “Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (I Tim. 6:5-7).

Compare and contrast: contentment & discontentment

  1. Real contentment begins internally. (The Glory rests inside of You)
  2. Contentment is need not want oriented (needs breeds discontentment/boy toys).
  3. “Contentment is a matter of trust and faith that God has your best interest in Mind.
  4. Discontentment erodes relationships
  5. Discontentment clouds the ability to make wise decisions
  6. Discontentment distorts our view of God.

 IS EXPERIENCE THE BEST TEACHER? Discussion: Negative verses Positive

ANSWER: Yes & No, Depending upon the circumstance for negative experiences Ans. can be no (i.e. eternal separation from God (Hell) a hot stove, drug use or the consequences of bad behavior).  For temporal experiences such as exposure to different environments pertaining to a field of expertise, experience can be the best teacher, but as a rule the answer is No.

Study Guide for Charles Stanley, Handbook for Christian Living: CONTENTMENT pg. 307
Lesson Plans by Minister Boswell from Charles Stanley’s, Handbook for Christian Living: CONTENTMENT pg. 307

“We need much less than we think we need.”
Maya Angelou

WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN? An Encounter with a Homeless Man

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“People should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor.”

Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012
Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012

I was approached by a homeless man in the parking lot at a local shopping center. He asked me if I had something so that he could get a hot meal. I told him that I don’t know (I didn’t know if I had anything in my wallet or not) so I checked it and saw a lonely five dollar bill. He saw the bill too and said real quick “I have two dollars.” I pitifully looked at him and said well I got three dollars and we promptly exchanged my five for his two. “I hope this helps”, I gulped. We exchanged cordial remarks then parted. Thinking about the fact that I had scripture cards in my pocket, I called him back over, he shuffled back and I handed him a scripture card that read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1); giving it to him, saying that it could be used as a book mark as I quoted this scripture. He responded by pulling out a Bible from his stuff and said to me “my favorite scripture is I John 3:16 not John 3:16” (which I though he meant), He went on to quote “because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers”, he when on to say that people should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor, thinking it a big thing to designate their favorite charity as their only place to give and ignoring the hungry ones right in the midst of them.

Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell
Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell

Distinguishing Between Good and Evil

“People don’t like giving to the poor when the say they are hungry because they may spend it on alcohol or harmful drugs” I said. He answered, “Christians have the Spirit of Christ within, that is able to discern whether a person is putting on a sham or not, the Holy Spirit lets you know whether a person is truthful. If you are a Christian walking in the Spirit you will not be deceived. After you talk to a person who expresses need, after awhile you’ll know whether it’s right or wrong to do what you feel and give.” The profound message I heard was the age old interest in knowing whether a purpose you face is true or not. Distinguishing between good and evil has been sought by man even when we were immortals, during the age of Adam’s innocence. This is the one request of Solomon that he asked when given the chance to ask God for anything he said, ”Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I King 3:9)

Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @
Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @

Strange Encounter

After a minor conversation with a major impact we again parted as I pondered the meaning of this odd meeting. He did say that God brought me there. I didn’t buy anything from the store, I just browsed. Why was I really there? Just to look, to see or to waste time, knowing that in-Christ, no time is wasted and everything is purposeful. This ideal resounded after reflecting back to the tune I heard in the store playing “will the circle be unbroken.” I heard these words before but never heart felt like the tune I heard that seemed to be a primitive version, as if playing on a phonograph (I later found out this was the original Carter Family’s 1927 version that played). It seemed that everybody was humming this tune in the store before this faithful meeting and as I passed one lady sung it out loud. This seemed like an experience from the movie Fallen (when everyone was humming a Stones tune) especially with the words reverberating over and over “will the circle be unbroken”. Then this thought abated when I bumped into the homeless guy named Kevin mentioned earlier. Right before leaving Kevin I asked him did he like yogurt (still having the three dollars I shared earlier). He said yea I love it. I was able to give him two boxes (containing 12) that the soup kitchen rejected earlier because they where over stocked and had a limited shelf life. This is the point when Kevin said “God sent you.” It was cold enough to be kept outside. Kevin told me that he lived in a tent in the woods but not tent city (a community of the homeless) like in my hometown and maybe in yours too.