Fasting together: Recognizing the Promise. Glad to be back and my apologies for yesterday’s malfunction. It was the strangest thing, I had partial internet and could access some sites, such as gmail, but that was about it. AT&T came out and said they had installed a new update the night before and only a couple of people had their system not take the update….guess who?! But it is fixed and we are continuing on with our Fasting Series. Remember you can read previous posts, Fasting in Preparation for a New Year, Rebuild and Restore, Daniel Fast Basics, Anoint your head, wash your face, When Fasting Turns Ugly, Is there POWER in fasting? Just keep doing good, Daniel Fast Snacks and So you think you can fast?
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess…she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Luke 2:36-37.
The story of Anna, the prophetess, as found in the Gospel of Luke, is fascinating on so many levels. Let me introduce this amazing lady to you…
Anna was elderly. The Bible tells us she had been married for seven years and then widowed. Then it is a little difficult to decipher whether she had been a widow for 84 years or she was 84 years old when we encounter her in Luke 2.
If it is the former, then she was around 105, which would not be out of the question, and many scholars agree this could be the case. She could have married at 14, a very common age to have married then, became a widow at 21, and then we come upon her at the temple 84 years later, at the ripe old age of 105.
This lovely lady served in the temple, night and day!
The Word even tells us she didn’t leave. She is the only woman mentioned by name in the New Testament as being a prophetess. (Philip’s daughters are said to have prophesied as well in Acts 21:9 but were not titled as such that we know of) Anna was highly honored in this regard as someone who could touch the throne of heaven with her prayers.
What is her significance here today?
Joseph and Mary had brought Jesus to Jerusalem to “…present him to the Lord…” Luke 2:22. As was the custom in those days, every Jewish male baby had to be brought to the temple and a sacrifice made to the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.
The parents of Jesus first encountered Simeon when they arrived at the temple. “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.”
“Waiting for the consolation of Israel.” What does that mean?
The same word used here for consolation is the same word Jesus used later when He described the Holy Spirit as the Comforter. The word is paraklesis and it means “…one who comes alongside to help, one who pleads a cause…”
So Simeon was waiting for the Comforter!
He was waiting for the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph handed the child, Jesus, to him the Bible says, “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”
The Comforter, the Consolation, the Messiah, had come!
As far as Simeon was concerned, he could die in peace. What he had been working for, waiting for and living his entire life telling others about, had finally arrived.
Then they encountered Anna, who had spent her time much like Simeon, fasting, praying and telling everyone she could about the One who was to come. She saw Joseph, Mary and Jesus with Simeon and this is what the Bible had to say about their meeting:
“And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:38 KJV.
Look closely, or you will miss it. She comes up. She was not introduced. But immediately, in that instant, she gave thanks, and began to give God praise. She didn’t hesitate for one moment to tell everyone there that this was the REDEMPTION of Jerusalem!
How did Anna know? Because she fasted; she prayed daily. She spent time with God, she knew Him and she was waiting for the promise.
She recognized Him when He came.
Will you know Him?
Will you recognize Him in an instant?
Like Anna, we must spend our days in relationship with Jesus Christ. We cannot afford any less than to love Him, to delve deep into the Word and into prayer and fasting. We must deny our flesh the pleasures of this world and realize that these things will pass away. We will not be taking them with us!
Only what is done for Christ will last. Only reaching for the lost will be what really matters in the end. Reach out to Him today…He is waiting for you!
Today’s Daniel Fast recipe is Minestrone Soup! Yum!
3 c. baby spinach
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. onion, diced
½ c. chopped zucchini
½ c. frozen green beans
1 stalk celery, chopped fine
4 tsp. minced garlic
4 c. vegetable broth
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans (drained)
2 (15 oz) cans white kidney beans (drained)
½ c. carrots, julienned
3 c. hot water
2 T parsley
1 ½ tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp basil
¼ tsp thyme
Sauté onion, zucchini, green beans, celery, and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. Add spinach then simmer another 20 minutes.
The Daniel Fast, A Devotional, is a great tool for ANY fast that you choose as a sacrifice to the Lord. 21 days of devotions and recipes too. Available in eBook or paperback!