The purpose of practicing spiritual disciplines is to increase the development of our inner being as Christians. When we employ the practice of spiritual disciplines we are engaging in training to produce spiritual patterns of behavior. It allows us to draw closer to God, rely on His provision, and seek His guidance. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that requires abstaining something essential in our daily lives for spiritual purpose.
This pamphlet highlights the four spiritual benefits for fasting. Fasting facilitates deeper intimacy with God. (Matthew 5:6, Hebrews 11:6) Fasting reveals our weaknesses resulting in more reliance on God. (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:19) Fasting is another form of worship. (Acts 13:2) Fasting is another method we can employ to ask God to move more powerfully in our lives. (Ezra 8:23) It emphasizes the importance of prayer, proper attitude, and behaviors to avoid while fasting.
This publication also explores four different types of fasting. Three of these types involve sustaining from food including the Daniel Fast, total no food or drink fast, or simply no food. The fourth fast is non-food fast explained as withdrawing from other things or activities. There are additional biblical fasting methods that are not mentioned in this publication. For example, marital sex (1 Corinthians 7:1-5) and refraining from sleep (2 Corinthians 11:27).
Overall, I believe that this pamphlet provides a comprehensible outline of fasting and the proper way to do it. I would recommend this pamphlet for small group, Sunday School, or personal study.
Rose Publishing produced a study relating to money entitled, “What the Bible Says about Money.” This PowerPoint presentation provides a biblical perspective on money management. It highlights key Scriptures revolving around proper/improper stewardship, using money for the Glory of God, and the dangers or pitfalls for those who love money. It also identifies why giving is an important aspect of worship and the manifold blessings that God bestows for those who freely give. When viewed as a slideshow, the PowerPoint presentation provides a menu to access specific topics relating to the topic of money. There are a 105 slides in total.
There are three biblical components related to worship that are marginally addressed: first-fruits, tithing, and seed offerings. These elements of worship are only mentioned within Scriptures content of the PowerPoint but are not expanded upon. Unfortunately, this presentation does not address the use of these components from Old or New Testaments viewpoints. It also does not define these components our explained how these components were used to glorify God or the building of His kingdom. I believe that these three biblical components are crucial to money management and are misunderstood by many.
I appreciate the ease of navigation to quickly access specific topics related to money. However, I am a bit disappointed that the three biblical components related to worship are only mentioned and not expounded upon. While I would recommend the PowerPoint to others, I would not consider this a complete study on money management from a theological standpoint. This presentation would be ideal for Sunday School or Bible Study.
What makes us true disciples for Christ? True discipleship is more than acknowledging God, being baptized by water, identifying ourselves as Christians, and attending worship services religiously. Jesus made this clear to the mixed multitude of followers in Luke 14:25-35. Not everyone that followed Christ were true Believers or Disciples. It is evident through the Scriptures that Jesus wanted people to be aware of the requirements. He was not seeking enthusiasts, fascists, or groupies who falsely identified themselves as His disciples. Jesus was specific about the requirements.
True Disciples will…
Love God with all our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37; Luke 14:26-27; John 14:15)
Study the Scriptures for teaching, reprimand, improvement, and training in morality which will equipped us for every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Possess faith in God (Hebrews 11:6)
Assist in spreading the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 19:9-10, John 8:31)
Acknowledge that we are not exempt from enduring affliction, persecution, and suffering (Matthew 10:24-25; Luke 14:27)
Pursue Christ (Luke 14:27)
Be productive, fruitful (John 15:8)
Teachable (John 14:26; John 6:60-66)
Live our lives characterized by love (John 13:35)
Worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24)
In Psalm 15, David asked God, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” David was making inquiry to what characteristics were necessary to be Citizens of Zion. This Psalms identifies five important characteristics for the Citizens of Zion. The Citizens of Zion will be…
Psalms 15:2 ~ Sincere about their relationship with God and be blameless in their Christian Conduct. Obedient to all ordinances and commandments of God.
Psalms 15:3 ~ Those who avoid speaking evil (gossiping and backbiting), and are careful not to cause harm to anyone.
Psalms 15:4 ~ Values and respects virtues and godliness, but despises wickedness and does not envy their possessions.
Psalms 15:5 ~ Philanthropists who freely gives to the poor within their ability. They will not accept bribes or be a party in extortion.
When we compare the requirements with the characteristics, we are able to see how they align with one another. In knowing the requirements and characteristics, do we still say “Yes”? If we examine our personal relationship with God, are we meeting His expectations? Are we sincerely striving to be the true worshippers that God seeks?