Summary: One of the greatest ways to discover spiritual power is to fast and pray
Keys to Finding Spiritual Power
February 22, 2004
The Teens are doing a fund raiser called the 30 Hour Famine to raise money for famine relief in other parts of the world. They will be giving up food for 30 hours and will only be allowed to drink water. The purpose is to not only help raise desperately needed money for famine relief but also to raise awareness about the reality of hunger in the world.
The thing that impresses me most about the project is the fact that they are giving up food for the 30 hours. In our modern society that is a true sacrifice. We have become so focused on what we need that the thought of giving something up has become foreign to us.
You have to give up to go up in life – John Maxwell The truth is that life is usually filled with trade offs. We trade one thing or area for another. What would you be willing to give up to get closer to God? What would you be willing to sacrifice to gain more of the power of God in your life?
This morning I want to look at the positive aspects of sacrifice through the lens of fasting. If you have your bibles with you open them to the book of Esther.
A Tough Choice
It is impossible to understand this situation without some additional information from history and other parts of the book of Esther. The Jews are not in Israel because they have been carried off to the Babylonian empire after they were conquered.
Xerxes was the king of the empire at this time and was well known for being cruel and ruled over the Jews with an iron fist. His cruelty went even into his own palace. We see earlier in Esther that one of the king’s queens, Vashti, was stripped of her royal title and position when she refused to do the kings will.
Esther faced a great dilemma because she knew the plan to kill all of the Jews but to stop it she would have to break the law of the king. Xerxes had made into law that anyone who entered his inner court without invitation would be put to death unless the king gave an immediate pardon.
The reality is that if she goes to the king she could be executed but if she remains silent her people will be killed. The fear that Esther felt was real and it was valid. She reminded Mordecai of this and he challenged her to take a stand
A Time to Stand (13-14)
Mordecai understood that Esther was afraid and that she was facing a difficult decision and that literally she was between a rock and a hard place but he encouraged her to take the risk and step out to be counted for God. The fact that she did so put her story in the Bible and she has been remembered through history for her courage.
Esther was positioned by God to be at the right place at the right time to be used for the right purpose and accomplish the right plan. The same is true of you.
I do not believe that we have been brought together by coincidence, happenstance or some twist of fate. I firmly believe that you are a part of this church by the plan and design of God and the fact that you are here means that you are part of God’s plan for this church. I believe that God brought me to this church and that it was His plan for me to be your pastor. If I didn’t believe that I would not be here. We are here for such a time as this to accomplish the plan of God for this church and this community.
Now is the time to stand up and be counted because we are at a crossroads and it is one that intersects mortal life and eternity. I believe that we fail to understand just what is at stake for those who do not know Jesus. Those who die without Christ will spend eternity without Christ. Would you want that for even your worst enemy?
The truth is that we have been called to be witnesses for Christ in this world so that we can make an impact that lasts throughout eternity. If you don’t stand for Christ, who will? If you don’t share the love of Christ, who will? If you don’t shine with the light of Christ, who will? If you don’t answer the call, who will?
Your presence in this church is for a reason, you have a role to play here and you have a part in the big picture. Will you step out and be counted?