God’s Law – Plum Line for Nations

Have you ever noticed how often the “Law of God” is fondly spoken about in the Psalms? For instance Psalm 19:7 reads; “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Or Psalm 119:97 “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”

Another way to translate “Law” as it appears in Hebrew is “Torah” which is “Instruction”. Psalm 119:97 would read something like, “Oh how I love your Instruction! I meditate on it all day long.” We all know the great sense of awe when we feel God is speaking to us, or perhaps when we receive fresh revelation or understanding in the Word, it becomes life giving instruction for us, guiding our steps and lighting our path. This kind of instruction is life giving, like when a Parent or trusted leader gives sound advice and we feel a weight that we were carrying lifted from our shoulders.

This life giving law of God has application for personal development but also for nations. David the greatest king of Israel loved the law of God because it provided him the blue print of how to live and how to guide the nation to which he was king.

I like to think of the law of God like a set of blueprints that were divinely given to Israel, detailing how to live in this fallen world.  When they followed the plum line of God’s law (Amos 7:7-8), Israel prospered, when they departed from the law the nation fell into hard times.

This blueprint of God’s law was the “truth”, the truth of how to live and how to prosper as a people. It revealed reality to the people saying, “this is the way walk in it”, (Isaiah 30:21).

Very interestingly nations that are founded on God’s law and built upon a Christian foundation are shown to be the least corrupt of all nations globally, reported by a global corruption watch dog.

A study conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Science was given the task of determining the cause of the pre-eminence of the west. They studied first our military thinking that it was the source of the west’s success, then the political system (democracy) and finally our economic system. But after twenty years of study the conclusion was made that the source of the west’s success was Christianity, here’s the quote from the head of the study;

“But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West is so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.”

What a shining example of the power of Gods laws to bless a nation, as it says in Deut 4:5-8

“See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”  What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? 8 And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?”

Looking at the rise and fall of the various systems of man over the 20th century is like watching a contractor building a house but refusing to follow the design plans, the blueprints of how to build correctly on plum; Socialism, Communism, Dictatorships, and now the crumbling we are witnessing of Western Materialism. If we deny Gods law we are denying reality and attempting to build a house but without the plum line and plans to do so.

Psalm 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.”

Similarly Jesus gave the parable of the man building his house upon the rock and the man building upon the sand in Matt 7:24, when we deny Gods law, his instruction, what we build will not stand in the storms that life brings and the storms that nations must face. Wall Street built upon sand when it became immoral and denied Gods law and it crashed the same as the house in Jesus’ parable.

God warned the people in Ex 20:2-3 the consequences of not following his law, that ultimately it would lead them back into the slavery in which he set them free from, it would eventually lead to living under oppression and tyranny.

If we think that we can continue indefinitely living in our empire of relativism and humanism we are denying Gods law and building upon that which cannot last and we to, like the people of Israel will find ourselves living under an oppressive regime and tyranny.

God’s law is what was going to sustain the fruitfullness of the land that the people of Israel were getting set to occupy in Deut 8, He kept them in the desert for 40 years to teach them “that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” The fruitfulness of nations is determined by “building to code” as they on construction sites, building following His instruction.

As we pray for government, pray from the blueprint of Gods law, that we would not depart from it, that He would have grace and call us back to it and indeed that He would be the very life giving bread that our nation and the nations need to survive. If Canada is to be a breadbasket of the nations, let it be the bread that sustains the soul and brings true prosperity to the land and people – the law of God.

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Ted Opitz

Ted is a newly elected member to the Conservative party, serving the constituency of  Etobicoke Centre. He was born in the Parkdale area of Toronto in 1961  and is the youngest of four children. Ted’s parents were originally from Poland and immigrated to Canada shortly after world war 2.

In 1978, while still in high school and only a teenager, Ted enrolled as a private in the Canadian Army Reserves and rose to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel during 33 years of service . During his military service, Ted also had parallel careers in the telecom industry as well as completing a BA in English at York University.

Ted has been recognized for his volunteer work with the Polish community and youth in the region. Do to his involvement, he has received various awards for is volunteer work, including Canadian Government Volunteer Award & the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

He is a member of the Citizenship & Immigration Committee, as well as the Department of National Defence, and is also an associate member of various other governmental committees.

Pray that he would be known for his humility, which invites God’s great grace and protects him from pride.

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The Iron Lady

I recently watched the movie “The Iron Lady”, on the life of Margaret Thatcher. I was intrigued as she was Prime Minister during my childhood when I lived in Northern Ireland.

I was too young to really remember much of the issues that were portrayed in the movie that happened within the United Kingdom, except perhaps the violence involving the IRA. I found the movie to be very insightful regarding some of the tough moves her government had to make during her time in office.

There was a scene in which PM Thatcher said something I thought quite profound, so I quickly Googled it so I would remember what she said;

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. What we think, we become. My father always said that. And I think I am fine.”

 It really is a powerful statement she made and it reminded me, “we reap what we sow”, as it say’s in Galatians 6:7-10

“7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

What a good reminder that our thoughts have power, ideas or thoughts must first form in your mind before they are seen in our actions. Think about the power of the habit of really reading the word of God and daily meditating on it, allowing it to consume your thoughts and from there the Godly character that is formed in us becomes the destiny God desires for each one of us.

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Fasting (Part 4 of 5)


(Fasting, 4 of 5)

The guidelines that I am sharing in this article are not meant to be exhaustive and there are many more practical resources available to help a person to fast. I do recommend ‘Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting’ by Derek Prince, which offers some great practical teaching about fasting.

First and foremost, we need to remind ourselves of the purpose of a fast, especially while participating in an extended fast.

We’re not fasting to win favour with God or to gain a position of authority over others because of our apparent dedication to God. We are fasting to help facilitate a greater focus upon God which can help us to hear him more clearly without the ‘clutter’ of busyness, etc. We sometimes fast for breakthrough when it seems that heaven is silent or a situation is not improving with just prayer.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.’ Matt.5:6.

Prayer and Fasting

We can easily become so pre-occupied with the fact that we are not eating that we may forget our primary reason for fasting. Every time we read of fasting in the Bible it always has spiritual goals in mind. The context is seeking to bring oneself into a right or more enhanced posture of communication with God.

Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer – Always. You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast, Biblically speaking, without praying.   (See 2Chron. 20:1-4; Ezr. 8:21; Neh. 9:1-2; Ps. 35:13; Dan. 9:3; Joel 1:14; 2:15-17; Jonah. 3:5-9; Ac. 13:2; 14:23). Obviously we need to keep this in mind when we enter into our times of fasting. We are not merely interrupting our eating, but we are seeking to enter into a deeper and more focused time of prayer.

It is helpful to consider the average time a family spends in the purchase, preparation, eating, and cleaning up food per day?  Answers vary but generally speaking, three hours per day seems the average. Ideally, this is the kind of minimum time that we should be replacing with prayer while not eating.

What is a Biblical Definition of Fasting?

First of all, let’s look at the root word, which is used for “fasting.” The Greek word for fasting is nesteia — a compound of ne (a negative prefix) and esthio, which means, “to eat.” So the basic meaning of the word simply means, “not to eat.”

The Hebrew meaning of fasting, tsôm, is to humble oneself or to afflict oneself. A Jewish fast was usually from sunset to sunset of the following day.

  1.  Normal Fast

There are three main types of fasts described in the Bible, but essentially Biblical fasting was water only. This is called a Normal Fast, abstaining from all food and liquids except water. When Jesus was led into the wilderness to fast for 40 days, most scholars believe that he drank water during this time. In Matt. 4:3 when Satan tempted him, he was focused on his hunger, “turn these stones into bread” and did not seem at all focused about his thirst for water. Water only would be the kind of fast that David employed personally when he humbled himself in seeking God, Ps.35:13; or which was used by Jehoshaphat in calling all the nation of Israel to fast while consulting the Lord before they went into battle, 2Chron. 20:1-3. This was also the type of fast that was expected annually by all the people of Israel on the Day of Atonement, Lev. 16:29,31, which was still practiced by the early Church in the Book of Acts 27:9.

2.   Daniel Fast

Often people refer to a ‘Daniel Fast’ as a Partial Fast. To be Biblical, it would be better to refer to this as a ‘Daniel Diet’, where the emphasis is placed on the restriction of diet, rather than abstaining completely from eating. Examples are: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego eating only vegetables and drinking only water (Daniel 1:8-15 and also Daniel 10:3). Daniel and his companions not only abstained from certain foods, but Daniel also turned to fasting for twenty-one days as he pleaded with God in prayer and petition, Dan. 9:3.  I recommend that we ‘train ourselves up’ with water only before we try fasting for longer periods of time with a partial fast or with various juices.

3.   Supernatural Fast

The last example is an extreme fast or what is called a Radical Fast or Supernatural Fast. No food of any sort or any water is taken during this time. Outside of supernatural aid, no-one can live without water for more than 3 days. Moses existed like this for 40 days, (Deut. 9:9-18). Two other examples of this are Queen Esther’s call to all the Jews to ‘not drink or eat anything for three days, night or day’, Esther 4:16; and that of Paul who went without food or water for 3 days, (Acts 9:9).

Anyone attempting more than one day of this type of a radical fast would be wise to seek medical advice.

 Juice Fast

While a juice fast is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, today many people enter into a juice fast and achieve very satisfactory results for any extended fast, (more than 10 days). It is also important to say that often we may quit a water only fast after 3 days when we could easily consider 7 – 10 days which can be very beneficial spiritually. When considering a Juice Fast, we need to ensure that our prayer focus does not become jeopardized by long periods of preparing a complicated juice, or even by daydreaming about the juice you’re going to shortly enjoy! Believe me, it’s real!

There are many great recipes and ideas out there to enjoy a simple and nutritious juice or smoothie drink, check out your local bookstore for a large selection of books offering different recipes.

Medical Conditions and Fasting

Anyone with a medical condition who may be planning an extended water only or a juice fast should consult their physician before they try fasting.

  • Arthritis and other ailments where a person is taking medication for inflammation. These medications can do damage to the lining of a person’s stomach and must be taken with food. A person must not be ‘legalistic’ in their approach to fasting with such conditions and there are some modifications a person can try with fasting. For example, taking pyslium powder just before your medication can be a great help.
  • Diabetes is affected by a person’s blood sugar levels, which are obviously affected by what they eat. Again, there are numerous examples where people have been able to modify their normal routine and yet still manage to control their diabetes.
  • It is quite normal for a person to experience headaches or to feel tired, or dizzy while fasting and one should be prepared to adjust their normal activity levels during a fast. Some person’s blood sugar levels are greatly affected by water only fasts and while they may not suffer with diabetes, they may need to eat something like an energy bar to help get them through. It is wise to prepare yourself physically two days before you begin your fast. During this time a person should limit their intake of food to fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water to help your body detoxify.

Extended Fasts

When considering an extended fast, i.e. a 40-day fast, we need to be sure to pace ourselves. We know many who have achieved a 40-day fast with water only, but I would say that this is quite an extreme fast and not meant for the novice. It is absolutely true that God can sustain a person and empower him or her to successfully complete such a fast. Be sure that God is calling you to an extended fast and perhaps consider a modified fast, (juice, or partial fast), when contemplating something longer than 10 days.

Let me give you one example of a modified 40 day extended fast that includes five segments of water only:

  • Five segment of eight days = 40    days
  • Days one to three of each segment > water only
  • Days four to eight of each segment > juice or a ‘smoothie’

This is quite achievable and yet is still requiring grace and empowering from God. With this modification a person has the benefit of receiving some needed energy while maintain their normal duties in their workplace during their extended fast.

Always remember to keep yourself hydrated and never break your fast with some huge meal. Eat small portions of food. The longer the fast, the more you need to break it gently.

Lastly, we need to exercise a great deal of grace for one-another to fast and pray as they feel specifically led. Our main goal should be to increase focused prayer. “More is Better” is a good quote to keep in mind regarding national prayer. The Apostle Paul said it is not wise to measure ourselves by ourselves, see 2Cor. 10:12. One person’s grace to fast my be for 40 days, another might be for three days. We should bless whatever a person can do to increase prayer for our nation.

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Fasting for Breakthrough (Part 3 of 5)


At one time or another, all of us know what it is like to have been in need of a breakthrough in some area of our life. Whether it has been a needed breakthrough in our understanding of a certain situation; or financial provision; a health issue; or even a breakthrough for a wayward teenager; and the list goes on! Our normal course of action is prayer, careful consideration, advice from others, more prayer, waiting, etc. Yet there are times when all of these have happened and you’re still no clearer, the problem is still there staring at you, and you are left questioning, “Is there any real victory?” At these times we need a clear word from God and a fresh ‘filling’ (Eph.5: 18) of His presence, his power and his provision.

I want to share with you that in times like these, there are countless stories of people who have entered into extended periods of prayer and fasting that has produced great spiritual results of breakthrough. A relationship that was unloving, suddenly becomes loving; what hadn’t worked before suddenly does work; the job that hadn’t materialized suddenly is there. It seems like fasting helps to ‘kick-start’ the desperate or fervent prayer that is needed for a personal breakthrough. Fasting helps to remove any pretense in prayer, where we are able to clearly say: “God, I can’t do this! I need your help!” We enter in to the fervent, desperate prayer of James 5:16:

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Breakthrough & Humility

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

How many of us know that God’s way is the best way? Of course we do, yet, when we face a problem, instead of humbling ourselves we can tend to try every conceivable idea known to man to deal with it. If this doesn’t work, we can be susceptible to whining, scheming and manipulating ways to change things. I think it really is true that sometimes God has to get us out of the way to get something done.

In the Bible, the act of fasting is often associated with humbling oneself. For example, if pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said, “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm 35:13). In fact, the very act of fasting is voluntarily abstaining from food for the purpose of humbling ourselves before God in prayer. It is a visible posturing oneself in weakness, (physical effect of fasting), so that we can rise up strong spiritually. We know that when we see victory spiritually, i.e. God’s victory, it will affect everything else.

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Est.4:15,16

Queen Esther called for a three day fast, abstaining from both food and water, for all the people of Israel. Going without food is one thing, but to also go without water for three days is probably the limit that anyone can do. They would have been physically weakened; unable to defend themselves, and that was the exact effect of this fast. They humbled themselves in absolute dependence upon God to save them from certain annihilation.

True humility gets God’s attention, 1Pet. 5:5-6. When we are genuinely posturing ourselves this way, in a concerted effort for breakthrough, we will often have the testimony that God’s Power has been made ‘Perfect’ in my weakness! 2Cor.12: 9.

Once we embrace humility in our walk with God, and do not try and use fasting as some meritorious act that seeks to force God’s hand to bless us, I believe that we will see greater and greater breakthroughs in many areas of our lives. Here are a few examples:

Breakthrough for Problems of All Sorts

David Yongi Cho pastors the largest church in the world – over 700,000 members! He and his staff have such a belief in the power of prayer and fasting that they rarely, if ever, counsel people. If someone comes to them with a great problem or urgent need, their standard answer is, “go to Prayer Mountain and fast and pray for three days”. If they return with the problem still unmet, they tell them to go and fast and pray for a week. (Then for ten days/then for forty days.) They do not think it possible that a person would ever return to them again with the problem still!

In the biography of Rees Howells, “God’s Intercessor”, Mr. Howells became burdened for the abuse of the child widows of India who were reduced to live on a handful of rice per day. He felt called to intercede for these unfortunate women, and in doing so, he realized that for breakthrough, he needed to abstain from his normal diet and entered into a kind of ‘fast’ by choosing exist on a diet similar to those he interceded for. He had to leave his home for his mother could not have stood his living on so little. He had one meal of porridge, every other day for ten weeks. He woke daily at 5 a.m. to begin his intercession; carried on his normal day of work in the mines of Wales, and continued his intercession at 5 in the evening. In doing so, he was reminded daily, of the trials of those who he was interceding for. He said, “I would have gone on like that all the days of my life to release those widows of India”, (p. 121 ‘God’s Intercessor’). It was a remarkable testimony of God’s powerful breakthrough that came in 1949 when a new Indian constitution was created with legal changes to protect the inheritance for the benefit of widows.

We will look at corporate fasting in a later e-letter, but, I would like to say that the testimonies that we can testify to ourselves of divine breakthrough through a corporate call to prayer and fasting are amazing. Often, for example, we hear of a person’s healing that has been won through the corporate strength that is attained because of the call of prayer and fasting. (see Mark 9: 29 NKJV.) I believe that fasting helps us to focus one’s energies on the resources available in our great God.

Breakthrough for Clearer Discernment

Those who fast often can experience a greater discernment of good and evil. In fact, it seems to be a major by-product of fasting. God seems to give us an opportunity as we fast to take a look again at our lives and the world around us and to discern what is good and acceptable and what is of God and what isn’t.

It seems like where there has been a concern in making a right choice, things become much clearer. A person’s discernment becomes sharper with things like right and wrong, or what may grieve the Holy Spirit, or possible benefits, or negative consequences. People whom I know have testified that during periods of fasting they are much more able to discern what lines up with God’s grace-filled commandments verses someone’s legalistic interpretation.

 Breakthrough in Personal Renewal

Most of us have gone through deep valleys of being spiritually “dry” and we sometimes can feel like we will never get out of it. Fasting helps us to re-focus on God without any distractions and in that place, God meets us as one who says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11: 28.

There are various signs of dryness; one example is when you have become indifferent to the various needs around you, for example, those who are lost and in need of salvation. Fasting helps to awaken in us to where we are spiritually and then, opens the way of repentance. Therefore, we are able to come out of the valley of indifference to the things of God and receive God’s forgiveness and experience His cleansing of our soul and spirit.

An important result of biblical fasting is the renewal of a person’s own prayer-life.

Every time we read of fasting in the Bible it always has spiritual goals in mind. The context is always seeking to bring oneself into a right or more enhanced posture of communication with God. Biblical fasting always occurs together with prayer – Always.

You can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast (Biblically speaking) without praying.   (See 2Chron. 20:1-4; Ezr. 8:21; Neh. 9:1-2; Ps. 35:13; Dan. 9:3; Joel 1:14; 2:15-17; Jonah. 3:5-9; Ac. 13:2; 14:23).

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Fasting (Part 2 of 5)


 There are several positive effects, both spiritually and physically to be attained through the discipline of fasting. Fasting comes with some challenges and yet, if God is in agreement with your fast, He will give you amazing grace to carry it out. I know many examples of people who were so amazed that their hunger for food became hardly noticeable and was replaced by a deep hunger for God. That is God’s grace! Many find that through fasting they become more able to stay focused in extended prayer times. Clearly, through fasting, a person’s senses become sharper both physically and spiritually. Many people testify to being able to discern a situation more rapidly and with greater accuracy; others share how they experience more  ‘downloads’ from God in their Bible reading; often while sleeping, people experience more ‘God dreams’; and I can testify that you can watch a person’s own spiritual gifting become much more pronounced during an extended fast. “Yeah God!”

 These are all good reasons to develop a lifestyle where fasting is practiced. Here are a couple of other specific reasons why we should fast.

First, Training Ourselves

 “Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial”


A pastor friend of mine describes fasting as “spiritual muscle-building”. This is when our ‘spirit man’ (see Eph. 3:16, 17) enters into training to hunger less for the things of this world and more for God and his kingdom. Through fasting we soon discover the power of the appetites that seek to control our lives. By periodically denying ourselves by fasting we are asserting that we will not be controlled or mastered by the appetites but, rather, we will serve notice as to who is in control. In his book ‘The Celebration of Discipline’, Richard Foster says, “More than any other discipline, fasting reveals the things that seek to control us.”  

In his book, ‘The Coming Revival: America’s Call to Fast, Pray and Seek God’s Face’, the late Bill Bright states, “Food is the grandfather of all lusts.”

I would say that most of us could identify with this quote for we have all had our own struggles with the power of food over ourselves. One way or another, we are bombarded with our appetite for food. Food has become a hobby! I just read an article this morning in today’s paper that stated “immigrants arrive healthier than native-born Canadians but start to lose their health advantage within a decade.” Because of embracing the Canadian diet and lifestyle, many are developing adverse health issues. The article lists many factors, such as a pre-disposition to diabetes, but basically, our love with food and indulgence in North America is unfavorably affecting our immigrants.

There are other appetites that originate from the need for self-gratification, for example, the need for praise, or impulse shopping. Speaking to the Corinthians, Paul openly associates our appetite for food and our appetite for sex claiming they both should not have mastery over us.

“Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. He then says: ‘food for the stomach and stomach for the food, but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord.” 1Cor. 6:12ff.

I believe that Paul is speaking from personal experience regarding the victory that one can have over appetites that would seek to control us. Do we really get this? That same victory is applicable to us! We no longer have to be controlled by the various appetites; fasting can help to put us into the driver’s seat. Take a look online sometime at the success that the discipline of fasting has had in helping to strengthen men in overcoming addictions to pornography. (In saying this, I’m not indicating that this is the only remedy to this challenge, but simply that it has proven to help many). It is also interesting that Ezekiel, when speaking of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, he doesn’t immediately focus on the sexual immorality, but rather identifies being arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned, as their main sins. The sexual deviances were the “shoots” from deeper “roots” that are listed here. The sins of self-gratification had become out of control and led to greater and greater manifestations of more blatant sins.

(Ezekiel 16:49,50). See how this relates to James 3:16.

“A man who eats too much cannot strive against laziness, while a gluttonous and idle man will never be able to contend with sexual lust” ‘The First Step’ Leo Tolstoy


 Second, Going Deeper

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled’.  Matt. 5:6

True spiritual fasting focuses on God. This involves our attitudes, our actions, our motives, desires, and even our very words. We can become dull to the reasons behind our actions, which are seen, in our attitudes and especially our motives. In our pursuit of God by prayer and fasting, God allows a ‘Holy Interruption’ from our normal routine where the Holy Spirit begins to put His searchlight on our inner lives. He begins to reveal:

What He resists in you, like: pride, unforgiveness, double-mindedness, or indifference.

He reveals your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and then joy and a transformed life.

He reveals His Word to you and it becomes even more dynamic and powerful in you.

Through the personal revelation of His love, He leads you to a dynamic personal revival causing you to bring others into this newness as well.

God’s purpose in all of this is never to ‘punish’ his children, but in His loving mercy, He prunes us, or disciplines us, so that we will hunger more for Him and less for the world and resulting in a greater fruitfulness for His kingdom, Hebrews 12:5-8.

Third, A Searchlight on our Motives

We have to be careful that fasting does not become just a ‘religious act’, or something that is performance-based. That performance can lead us down the path of expecting something from God and seeking to gain notoriety from our peers. We need to remember that our fleshly tendency is to view ourselves, and others, from the outward, but God views us from our hearts, or our motives. God often reminds me of Paul’s statement in 2Cor.10:12:

 “When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

In doing so, we easily open ourselves up to the ‘spirit of religion’ which attaches itself to any outward Christian behavior, see the context of Matt. 6:1-18. Fasting is high on this list.

In Zechariah 7:4-6, like Isaiah 58, God overthrows the false notion that fasting in and of itself is a meritorious act, without any inner transformation. The text reveals that the motive for their fasting was purely selfish and therefore, became a matter of utter indifference to God. In their very act of trying to win over God, they were bringing upon themselves even greater separation from Him. God will not be used to gratify the selfish motives of man.

The bottom line is that we cannot make God love us more, He already loves us infinitely more that we could ever imagine. When we fast, we are doing so, not for the motive of gaining God’s nor man’s approval, but, we are doing so to press into God and say that we hunger and thirst for Him.

Rob Parker



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Is Fasting for Today? (Part 1 of 5)

Whatever the reasons may be, none of us are to come under any condemnation because we may choose not to fast. As much as I believe that fasting is for today, an individual needs to come at this subject not under legalism, nor the compulsion of man, but because they have been drawn by the Spirit. Remember, “flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to spirit”, John 3: 6. For those who do become convinced, I believe that fasting is liberating, and is a powerful tool for any disciple of Jesus to employ.

To begin with, let’s first be convinced by asking a couple of questions:

a)   Is fasting only an Old Testament teaching?

b)   Did Jesus model fasting for us?

c)    Did the early church practice fasting?

d)   Is fasting an essential practice?

First, fasting is taught in both the Old and the New Testaments and essential truths can and should be gained about this subject from both testaments. For this first in a series of five articles on fasting, I will limit my use of Scripture to the New Testament.

Following the context of Matthew 6:1, we are taught not to do our “acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them.” Jesus highlights giving, prayer, and then fasting, underlining that these are worthless if we hold a wrong motive to be seen by men. In this context, he is not condemning the activity of fasting, He is simply condemning the wrong motives by which proud people fasted. Isaiah did the same in Isaiah 58.

In verse 16, Jesus said, “When you fast”. He doesn’t say: “If you fast”, he is taking it for granted that fasting, like prayer and giving, are important elements to a Christian disciple. He tells us how to fast, on the assumption that we would, and in doing so he is helping us to realize that fasting is a powerful means for intensified seeking of God in prayer.

Secondly, the Synoptic Gospels all record that Jesus was sent by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days to prepare himself for ministry. Matthew and Luke also mention that he went without food for that entire time. It was during this period that he was challenged and tempted by Satan and Jesus defeated him through the Word of God and I believe also through prayer. We should not miss this fact that Jesus, as the Son of God, began his earthly ministry with a forty-day fast, which should at least cause us to pause and ask the question:

“Can we face the hazard of life and ministry without walking with Jesus through the wilderness of fasting?”

Shouldn’t this story shake us? He was the Son of God and we are not. But he did say, “As the Father has sent me, I also send you”, Jn. 20:21. Under the Spirit’s leading, Jesus prepared himself for this confrontation by fasting! Here is Jesus standing on the very threshold of the most important ministry in the history of the world! On him rests the salvation of the world! And God wills that right at the very outset that this ministry would be threatened with destruction! Of all the hundreds of things Jesus could have done to fight off this threat, he is led by the Spirit to humble himself and to fast.

If anything, the very fact that Jesus modelled fasting underlines it’s importance as a spiritual discipline. This example of Jesus convinces me that fasting is a God-given strategy, which helps to emphasize our weakness and dependence on God. Therefore, room is made that his strength / his power, would be made perfect in my weakness! See 2Cor. 12:9. Also, this story of Jesus in the wilderness teaches us that fasting helps us to focus and indeed can become a weapon in personal overcoming.

 Thirdly, Jesus was questioned by John’s disciples regarding why his disciples did not fast, but John’s disciples did and so did the Pharisees. Jesus replied, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast,” Matt. 9:15. Jesus was ‘taken away’ at the Ascension and between then and his Second Coming, we are expected to fast.

The early church practiced fasting. In the Acts of the Apostles and the New Testament letters there are several references to the apostles fasting. (see Acts 13:2,3; 14:23; 27:9; 1Cor. 7:5 [NKJV]; 2Cor. 11:27 [NKJV]). These passages involve seeking God for His direction; and the laying of hands on those called to minister. Also, there are numerous examples in the Early Church where fasting was frequently joined to a person’s prayer-life that the mind, might devote itself with less distractions from the world. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church pp. 379).

So we cannot dismiss fasting as something of an Old Testament practice abrogated in the New or as something that only Catholics may practice today.

I intend to bring four more teachings on fasting. There are many spiritual truths that can be applied with this subject and also, I will devote one teaching on the very practical question of How to Fast.

Let me leave you with one quote to ponder:

 “If you want things to remain the same, do nothing differently”

Rob Parker

National House of Prayer

Posted in Inspiration, prayer, Prayer Life, Prayer Training, Praying for Canada, Resources, Schools of Prayer, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One Free World International – Freedom Figther

Last evening NHOP had the privilege of supporting Majed El Shafie, in the release of a recent documentary called “Freedom Fighter”.  Majed El Shafie is a survivor of torture at the hands of the Egyptian government because of his conversion from Islam to Christianity. He has an amazing testimony of escaping to Israel via a stolen jet ski and eventually relocating to Canada.

Once landed in Canada he started a human rights organization can “One Free World International”, which seeks to bring attention to the plight of millions of Christians around the world that suffer great atrocities because of their faith. Many people do not realize that Christians are far and above the most persecuted group in the world.

In addition to shining a light on the plight of his fellow Christians, One Free World seeks to bring aid to any minority group of a country that is persecuted because of their faith.  At the meeting last night represented were Falun-Gong, Jew’s, Christian’s and Wiggers (Muslim sect from North China)

“To the degree that you are willing to protect the freedom of your neighbor is the degree that you will enjoy freedom for your own beliefs”. This is something that Majed El Shafie really understands, that without freedom of religion it is simply impossible to have a democracy, the freedom of conscience and belief is what makes up a free person. Christianity is a great proposal to society, a truth that is believed in the heart never to be imposed upon the people. Indeed Christianity is the only religion in the world where it is not by which we have done to merit the favor of God, but rather what he has done for us.

I encourage you to check the trailer for “Freedom Fighter” and become educated to the plight of our brothers and sisters around the globe that we may pray accordingly.

Posted in Contemplative Prayer, Events, Global Missions, human rights, Inspiration, International issues, Life in Ottawa, NHOP People, Ottawa Watch, Prayer Ministries, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Your Bible and the Newspaper

A Common practice at NHOP is to read the News Papers, for two reasons – Firstly to look for things to pray into, but also to see answers to prayer as well. The major newspapers report from different perspectives so it is important to read from the various sources in order to give you a broad viewpoint, recognizing the signs of the times in prayer.

You would be amazed at how often things we have prayed into, that we can see the answer to those prayers in the paper.

Recently I read an Article by John Stonestreet in which he explains how German theologian Karl Barth used to advise his students to “Take your Bible and your Newspaper, and read both.” “But interpret the Newspaper through your bible”.

I think this is an awesome quote and it reveals so much of the Christian walk in it as well.

We interpret the world through the revelation of the authoritative word of God; it informs all that we do as Christians and how we pray. And from there we engage in the world with prayerful action.

Stonestreet explained that where many Eastern religions encourage its adherents to remove themselves from society (Monastic traditions as well), Christ prayed that his followers would not be taken from the world but protected from the evil one.

Matthew 5:15 “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Christ did not come to remove himself from the world, he came because “God so loved the world”.  He removed himself to get aside and pray to discern the will of the Father we read in scripture. From being in that place of prayer he prayerfully engaged. The Bible and the Newspaper is a great way to hear Gods voice directing in prayer and maybe showing you the fathers heart for various situations as well.

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Change Agents

I recently returned from Western Canada where I had spent the Christmas Season with family and I was reminded of some obvious differences between the East and the West. One obvious difference is the prevalence of brick buildings verses the wooden structures of the west. Another glaring difference is the amount of buildings or streets and avenues that begin with ‘Saint’ reminding us of a day when the Church played a very active role in shaping society.

Even on the Peace Tower at the centre of our Parliament, are the inscribed scriptures, which simply points to an era when the government recognized that the majority of Canadians held to at least some Christian principles.

What a different time period it must have been.

Since then it seems that the Church has abandoned some of its role in these areas of society. Today we may occupy ourselves more with critiquing state run programs while all the while we are trying to convince culture that we are still cool and relative.

“If only people could come to our service and hear the hip music and hear the captivating speaking, then they would believe.”

It’s a bit of shock to read through a recent poll through the Ottawa Citizen, which states that half of all Canadians believe that religion does more harm than good.

Could it be that the Church has pulled back so far that we have successfully removed ourselves from the culture and that our worth is no longer recognized in society?

My generation is very good at locating and lobbying for change in all aspects of society. Look at the occupy movement, or the many different young people lobbyist groups calling for new legislation or even the simple act of buying free trade coffee – because it’s the right thing to do.

While we are good at recognizing wrongs and using every possible technology to shine a light on them, we often fall short on actually putting our own hands to the plough.

Christians have done an excellent job of educating who to contact and who to write and where to blog etc. for the purposes of motivating our government to take notice and address different social concerns.

The only thing is that it places so much of the solution in the hands of government. We need to remember that politics and government are downstream from culture. As people are raised up to transform a situation in society our government reflects that change in its leadership and governmental policies. It was Ghandi who said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

What if George Müller seeing all the homeless children and orphans in Bristol, had rallied the government to the need and was preoccupied in organizing the local church to care for the problem rather than recognizing the call of the Lord on his life to take the lead in addressing the great need himself? It was because he stepped out himself that that Lord, through Mr. Mueller, raised nearly 11 thousand orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children, many of them being orphans.

Its this kind of gospel worldview that has lead Christians historically to lay hold of the plough and “be the change that is needed in society” enabling once more for the Church to be that recognizable institution in society. Proposing a different kingdom and not imposing the kingdom, but living the alternative kingdom of God will distinguish once more the Church in society.

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