Abstain from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. Oxford Dictionary
Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast (dry fasting) is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or several days. Water fasting allows drinking water but nothing else. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances. A fast may also be intermittent in nature. Fasting practices may preclude intercourse and other activities as well as food. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
There are many preachers today who wrongly teach fasting from the Old Testament. Fasting is a personnel decision and must be kept between the person and God.
Although not commanded of us by God, if done correctly and sincerely, I can’t see why God would not honor the humility of the fast.
Group fasts would be the same as the Pharisees hypocritical pretenses. Fasting is an individual decision and is between the person and God. What good would it do to announce your fast to the church? A Fast is about humility and a closeness to God. An announcement would be a statement of pride and could give the wrong message to both the church and to God.
One Friday night you were at a bar downtown and you saw one of the church’s deacons and another man sitting with two women that you knew were not their wives, As the night went on the two men got loud and vulgar in their speech.
As the night progressed, you saw the deacon laughing and talking to the young lady he was sitting with. At the end of the night, the deacon escorted the young lady out of the bar. As you followed them, you saw the young lady get into the deacon’s car and they drove away.
It’s 2 a.m. and it’s time to go home. Why was the deacon there and who was that other man? I guess all these answers can be found tomorrow because at this point it’s time to get some sleep.
The next day you just keep thinking over and over why was the deacon there? Were the deacon and his wife having problems and no one knew? What about the other man, he wasn’t a member of the church or you would’ve seen it? Why did the deacon choose to not say hello?
You have a lot of things to think about over the next few days. I guess the main thing was whether to trust your instinct or to trust your feelings of anger and betrayal? Should you tell the pastor what you saw, or should you confront the deacon himself? This Friday night out had proven to be something of a dilemma.
How could you let everyone know what you had seen without putting your own participation in the eyes of the public? Perhaps if you went to the pastor and gave him a hypothetical situation. Perhaps he could use the guise of saying he was asking for a friend. No that wouldn’t work. The pastor would want to know what you was doing at the bar.
That Sunday the pastor preached about deception. The pastor talked about how deception can eat a person from the inside and work on their nerves. What were you to do? If you didn’t do something soon, you felt like you were going to go crazy.
Finally, you decided. You were going to talk to the pastor about the whole incident. When you arrived, there he was, it was the deacon. Now, what were you to do? There had to be a resolution to this dilemma that would glorify God. It was just a matter of finding it.
It wasn’t long until the deacon and that other man left. The deacon didn’t see you and after they left, it was your turn.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
1 John 1:9-10 (NKJV)
When you saw the pastor, you suddenly decided it would be better if you confessed of your sin and received forgiveness than to rub someone else’s name in the mud. Perhaps the deacon was there to confess his sins also. You decide to get yourself back in good stead with God and receive God’s forgiveness and love.
After all the stress and anxiety, you had gone through, you decided to tell no one what you had seen and just move on with your life. By doing so, one of God’s children would receive forgiveness and love and God would be magnified for His grace.
A couple of days later, you picked up his newspaper and there it was. There was a front page spread about the bust of a drug gang and the woman’s face was on the front page. You had not known the deacon was a police officer. God was magnified again.