by winston davenport, june 11 2014
Many people ask me my viewpoint on fasting. They want to know when I fast, what I fast, and how long I fast. My life is a constant demonstration of power, love, and redemption. Naturally, other Christians want to know my "secret." Many of them assume it's because I live a fasted lifestyle.
It is time to reveal to the world my "secret." I want to use this week's teaching blog to explain how important fasting is to me, and the extent to which it undergirds the supernatural lifestyle I live. If you will take note and start fasting the same number of days I do each year, you are certain to witness a similar breakthrough in your own life.
Ever since 2008, I began fasting ZERO days a year.
And if you will dedicate your life to fasting the same number of days that I do, I guarantee things will begin to improve for you!
The truth is, fasting is not the key to spiritual power. It is not the key to breakthrough. In fact, in this article, I will show you that fasting is spiritually irrelevant to a Kingdom believer in the 21st century.
That being said, I'd like to remind my readers that if you like fasting, if you feel that it is an important part of your life, don't let me stop you! Go for it! Who am I to tell you what you should or shouldn't do? This blog is simply an explanation of the conclusions that I have personally arrived at in regard to this subject.
The biggest problem with fasting is that it is works-based. The general idea of depriving oneself of (usually) food is that, if I fast, God will either be motivated to give me something or talk to me, or I will be positioning myself to better receive from God. Friends, let me state it simply: If God's voice, blessings, revival, or whatever is contingent upon me-doing-anything, grace is being amended by works. Either everything we have or could have is because of what Jesus already accomplished, or what He did wasn't enough and we need to supplement it with something as ridiculous as "not eating."
Is God really so persnickety that He is incapable of talking to me or giving me revelation on a full stomach?
Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and they will turn away from the voice of a stranger."
Answer this: Why do we hear from God? Is it because we fast and deprive ourselves of sustenance? Or because we are His sheep? One is works-based, behavioral, and conditional, the other is a matter of identity.
If you study the Bible, you will see fasting in many places, especially in the Old Testament. Biblically, fasting is almost always a sign of mourning. When the Jews would get captured and their kids slaughtered, they would cover themselves with sackcloth and ash, and they would fast.
Yet fasting is taught in today's church in a different context. No one fasts because they are sad today; they fast as a means toward attaining spiritual breakthrough.
This concept is not Christian; it is pagan. Eastern religions and philosophies teach that fasting is the way to spiritual breakthrough. Native American tradition teaches the same thing.
If another Christian is teaching you to fast, or trying to encourage others to fast, they are subscribing to eastern philosophy. Just so you know.
Our breakthrough as Christians does not come by fasting, taking communion, tithing, submitting to authority, confessing our sins, or any other of the hot-button, Barnes & Noble bestseller shelf nonsense. Our breakthrough came once for all time because of the Cross and the Resurrection. Trying to add anything to the finality of Jesus's work is self-righteousness and vanity. Christian authors and pastors have been peddling superstitious periphery for centuries, whether Catholic indulgences, penances; or Protestant next-best-thing, Sid Roth-featured hype.
And none of it works.
The only thing required of us is, as Jesus said, "to believe."
In Matthew 9:14, John the Baptizer's disciples asked, "Jesus, how come everyone else fasts, but you nor your disciples fast?" Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the Bridegroom mourn while He is with them?"
If you believe Jesus is with you, right now, my question to you is the same as Jesus's: How can you fast?!
Biblically, fasting is a sign of mourning, not of spiritual seeking. Jesus Himself taught His disciples that this was the purpose of fasting. Before He ascended back to Heaven, here's what He said would happen:
"It's a good thing that I am leaving you, because after I go, another will come in my place, and He will teach you all things concerning me. For a time, the Bridegroom will be gone, and they will fast, but when He is returned to them, they will fast no more."
Jesus, in referencing the procession of a traditional Jewish wedding, explained that, when He was gone, everyone would be filled with longing, and they would fast because they missed him so much. But when He returned, there would be feasting and celebration.
We see that, for the next forty days after Jesus ascended, the disciples did indeed fast. They waited in the Upper Room for Jesus to send the Holy Spirit that He had promised. And as most of you know, forty days later, Jesus returned as the Holy Spirit, and He has never left since!
Friends, we are not without Jesus. We are filled up with Jesus. Ephesians says, "The fullness of the Godhead indwells us bodily." The only way you could make a case for being "without the Bridegroom" right now, is if you had absolutely no faith. Jesus could not be with us any more than He is right now. It would be inappropriate to fast.
Finally, people ask me about Jesus's saying in Mark 9:29. The disciples had a difficult time casting out a demon. Jesus said, "This kind will not come out except by prayer and fasting." Sound familiar? Well, read it in your Bible. Unless you are reading the KJV, the words "and fasting" won't be there. Perhaps in a footnote you will see that some manuscripts add those words in, but the earliest manuscripts say nothing about fasting. Those words were added in; Jesus did not say them.
In the majority of instances where fasting is mentioned in the Bible, it is with a negative connotation. The Old Testament prophets, Jesus, and the apostles all condemned those who fasted, because they were doing it for religious purposes, trying to get the attention of God or man.
I am not against fasting. In fact, I think educated fasts for nutritional or cleansing purposes can be a helpful process. But let's not confuse a helpful natural process with a Buddhist-Hindu philosophy that depriving oneself of food will lead to spiritual breakthrough. (It might be helpful to note that, if you deprive yourself of food for long enough, you will definitely have visions! However, LSD can produce the same results in less time.)
Jesus did it all. It is finished. You have been sozoed, meaning that all well-being has been restored to you! Jesus is with you one hundred percent, and you could never have more of Him than you do right now. You have the Holy Spirit of truth, and "you know all things." The Kingdom of Heaven, which is righteousness, peace, and joy has already come, and it is inside you. This is not a time for fasting; this is a time for feasting!
Faith (alignment with the truth of what Jesus has already accomplished) is the only secret you need. What Jesus did was enough. He doesn't also need your empty stomach.
by winston davenport, june 11 2014
BY WINSTON DAVENPORT, JUNE 8 2014
Research shows the the number-one reason we dislike others is because we think they dislike us. We decide whether or not we like an individual within the first two seconds of engaging them, either visually or conversationally. If we're introduced to someone who doesn't seem all that excited to meet us, we tend to dismiss them sub-consiously. We don't want to open our hearts to a potentially hurtful relationship. But, if, when introduced, the person says something such as, "Oh, Winston, I've been looking forward to meeting you!" it's a sure bet that we'll walk away thinking, I like him or her.
In light of this information, it's easy to see why so many people fell in love with Jesus when they first met Him, heard Him speak, or saw Him heal a sick person. When confronted with the true character and nature of God—who is, in fact, personified by Jesus (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15)—it would be very, very difficult not to like Him. After all, He loved us first!
And yet every day I am confronted by those who claim that God is a monster or sociopath. They hate "Jesus" and how He tries to make them feel guilty. They resist deity that tries to boss them around, condemn their behavior, and disapproves of them.
For whatever reason, their image of Jesus is distorted.
His beautiful Name has been associated with legalism, condemnation, racism, and inquisition. Interestingly, if I ask someone on a college campus, "Do you want to follow Jesus?" the response is usually negative. But if I say, "Do you support my values? I believe in giving to the poor, no matter what the cost; giving my life for what I believe in; accepting and loving everyone, no matter who they are or what they've done (except judgmental people); that we must all work together and live in unity," most everyone gladly embraces this message as revolutionary. People get excited, overjoyed! They may not know it, but I just described the values that Jesus came to enforce! People would love to follow that Jesus! This was the reaction in the Book of Acts whenever the unadulterated Gospel was announced. But is the Church's "gospel" today really bringing excitement, zeal, and joy? If not, we must examine how we've been representing the Son of God.
Several misconceptions about Jesus circulate among the human race. Many misconceptions are the result of ignorance: People haven't encountered the Bible or its true heralds. The remedy is to circulate a realistic perspective of who Jesus is among non-believers. To make the message of the Gospel loud and clear: That sins have been forgiven (yes, even your sins! (1 John 2:2)); that God is not mad, nor judging us; and that He's not responsible for the hurt and disappointment their lives have accumulated.
Other misconceptions have been propagated unknowingly by His followers, thinking they're doing the Kingdom of God a service. For instance, certain Catholic leaders thought that the preaching of purgatory, of penance, and even indulgences were helping to accomplish the Great Commission. Three hundred years ago, Puritans believed they were propagating God's holiness by condemning sinners, outcasting the imperfect, and burning witches or heretics at the stake. The solution to this problem lies in teaching Christians the truth about the Jesus they follow. To clarify misunderstandings. Aqulla and Pricilla took this measure with the zealous-but-confused Apollos (see Acts 18:26).
And sometimes, religious leaders have purposely twisted the truth about God in order to keep the masses under control. This problem can be traced all throughout history, all the way back to the Pharisees whom Jesus readily condemned. While He was trying to bring freedom to the masses, the religious elite fought tooth-and-nail to keep them bound. You might be surprised to hear that this dilemma reaches its clutches into today's Christianity as well. Wherever you hear preachers teaching that we must still give the Law its place, that, while grace saved us, the Law is still an important part of following God, welcome to twenty-first century Pharisee-ism. Or when Churches use their pulpits to guilt congregations into parting with as much money as possible—Jesus is being misrepresented. Whenever a street-corner sign-toting preacher yells threats of condemnation and apocalypse, the Gospel is being tampered with.
The cure? Confront the offenders. If they do not listen, we must expose them. Neither confrontation nor exposure needs to include malice or defamation, but we should emulate the apostle Paul's reaction to those who intentionally contaminated the very simplistic, wonderfully pure Good News of Jesus Christ. Gospel misrepresentation is not to be tolerated. With compassion we must correct the errors that are being espoused in the name of Christianity. This might mean taking uncomfortable stands.
When Christians preach condemnation of any kind, they are siding with the devil, the accuser of the brethren, rather than the Holy Spirit, who convicts of righteousness (John 16:10). When we see Christians condemning homosexuals, we must respond—and thus accurately represent—Jesus as He confronted the accusers of the adulterous woman: "Let the one of you who is without sin cast the first stone!" That makes us uncomfortable. After all, isn't it politically correct among Christians to condemn homosexuals? As the Gospel is misrepresented, we must be the ones who will take a stand for the real Jesus, who perfectly reflects the real Father. "You have no right to condemn a person involved in homosexual activity, adultery, divorce, scandal, etc. unless you yourself are sinless."
As long as people sustain the belief that God is disapproving of their behavior, has even more rules for them to follow, and is just a sigh away from sending the to hell, they will respond exactly as we do when we meet someone who appears to not like us: They shun Him.
Another area that the Gospel is misrepresented is when it comes to undeniable goodness of God. When people are taught that God makes them sick, allows them to get sick, or withholds healing, they develop a distorted perspective of the Father. Walls go up. Deep-rooted bitterness germinates. When God is credited for allowing the poverty that afflicts billions of starving men, women, and children, it's no wonder some people are perfectly content to reject Him! By teaching that God is in control of every earthly occurrence—and thereby attributing disaster, heartache, and preventable tragedy to His "sovereignty"—we fan the flame of a distorted Jesus, a distorted Christianity. That's why some individuals aren't open to hearing the Gospel—they believe they've heard it before, and they're not only uninterested, they're appalled. Wouldn't you be?
When we as ambassadors, represent God as love, demonstrated by Jesus's every word and action, we will not only see the nations flocking to the revival of the restored Gospel, we will begin to witness greater signs and wonders accompanying the (finally) accurate word of Truth. As it has been stated, it's time to put the good back in "Good News." The reason that there are relatively few willing to repent (reminder: repent means "change your way of thinking") is because we're not majoring on God's overwhelming nature of love. The Bible says, "God is love." "Perfect love casts out all fear." It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance, not the fear of judgment (Romans 2:4).
Scripture says that the reason we're able to love God is because He loved us first. That means that until a person understands that God loves them—and that His love isn't just a word; it's a practical state of adoration that extends into our spiritual, physical, mental, relational, and financial states of being—of course they're going to immediately decide they don't like Him, just as you, within a few seconds of meeting someone who clearly doesn't like you, determine that you don't like them either.
Let's adjust our misrepresented Gospel and make sure that people are getting to know the real Jesus within seconds after we introduce them.
by winston davenport, june 8 2014