Pastor Mike, with us having revival and fasting on our certain day(s) this month at church, what are different ways we can fast? I have never really fasted and I just want a better understanding of what fasting means? Do we have to stay away from food completely and just drink liquids? What if we have medical issues or have a strict diet regimen? And if I am also understanding this correctly, when we fast we draw nearer and closer to God correct? Or He may show us or teach us something in our walk with Him? I just want to make sure I partake in this the proper way. Thanks for your time.
Not to steal Dr. Miller's thunder here but this is an area of Biblical study that I feel passionate about. The idea of fasting comes from the idea that one is to be so devoted to God that they would take something from themselves, e.g. food, in order to show sorrow for past sins committed and a desire for true repentence. Most of the historic fasts of the Old Testament were caused by the people wanting to turn the wrath of God from them and to bring back his favor to their lives. So in fasting and prayer, which should be done during your period of fasting, your devotion to God is shown since you willing to put aside anything that would hinder growth towards a relationship with God.
On that note I believe food is not the only thing that a person can fast from. David Nassar wrote a book called a Call to Die. In the book/workbook a person is asked to give up something that they do everyday for 40 days. Instead of doing that activity you are supposed to spend that time reading the word and praying. This is another vlaid form of fasting from something in order to grow closer to God. So I would say that there are somethings, e.g. facebook, t.v., computer time, that can be fasted from in order to allow God to draw you closer to Him. That is a personal decision in all of our lives.
I think the main point of Dr. Miller's sermons have been one phrase over and over again that he hints on at times. That phrase in Hebrew literally means, And they put from their midst the things/ idols which are detestable to God. Maybe the message in the end is not fasting, but to help us get rid of the things that are detestable before the eyes of God.
Hope that answered some of your questions. Dr. Miller may have greater wisdom than my age has allowed me to have.
The important thing is that we are not trying to manipulate God. We are simply showing devotion to Him by expressing that He is more sufficient for our lives than anything else--even food. We are also exercising spiritual discipline by refusing to be mastered by anything (such as our appetites). During our fasting times, we spend more focused time in prayer and meditation on God, and we actually grow stronger in our walk with Him.