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Friday, February 19, 2010

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Isaiah 58:1-9
Psalm 51:3-6, 18-19
Matthew 9:14-15

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ascending fast

"Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high!" —Isaiah 58:4

On this third day of Lent, we again have the privilege of fasting in imitation of Jesus. Jesus stated that His disciples would fast after His physical body was taken away, that is, after His ascension (Mt 9:15). Thus, fasting in the New Testament is associated with Jesus' ascension. When we fast, we have an "immeasurable scope of power," which is "like the strength" God the Father "showed in raising Christ from the dead and seating Him at His right hand in heaven" (Eph 1:19-20).

The power of fasting is like the power of Jesus' ascension. When we fast, we have the power of "releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke" (Is 58:6). This is only the beginning. Fasting will lead to provision for the poor, light breaking forth, quick healing, vindication, glory, prayer-power, guidance, abundance, strength, the rebuilding of ancient ruins, the restoration of ruined homesteads, delight, and nourishment (Is 58:7-14).

Fasting is powerful and catalytic, as was Jesus' ascension. Therefore, it is a privilege to fast. Because of our God-given opportunity to fast, we don't have to be so frustrated by our human limitations. For example, by fasting, we can impact Russia and China. By fasting, we can accelerate situations which seem to be "taking forever." By fasting, we can penetrate the hardest hearts. Because of the ascension power of fasting, our lives are not so much frustrated, but fulfilled.

Prayer:  Father, I thank You not only for my food, but especially for my fasting.

Promise:  "Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed." —Is 58:8

Praise:  Fasting brought George healing by revealing to him where his priorities ought to be. He changed his lifestyle and found greater joy in Jesus.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 26, 2009

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