They strengthened the believers and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must pass through many troubles to enter the Kingdom of God,’ they taught. In each church they appointed elders, and with prayers and fasting they commended them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. (verses 22,23)
Read Acts 14:19-28
There was great excitement among the kids in a youth group recently as they signed up for the 40-hour Famine. They agreed not to eat for forty hours, in part to raise money and in part to gain an empathy for those who regularly go without food for long periods.
When Paul and Barnabas and the new elders of Antioch fasted, it was not for charity. It was to forgo earthly needs so that they could focus on heavenly things. The followers of Jesus made few decisions without first fasting and praying. Their relationship with God was more important to them than everyday comforts.
Fasting is not a prerequisite for worship. But when you are surrounded by creature comforts and filled with good food, it can sometimes be hard to focus on God’s will for your life. Try stepping back a while and see God working in your life – your God ‘in whom you have put your trust’.
Lord, help me to focus on you even when I am surrounded by material things, for in you alone I receive true peace and joy. Amen.
by Kathy Hoopmann, in ‘Guidance for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2002)
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