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2020/10/28 Fasting and New Anointing

Ron Sawka Ministries

Oct. 28, 2020; Cheshvan 10, 5781

“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:18–19).

“Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matt. 9:17).

Fasting and New Anointing

Last week I began to write about how the Lord wants us to receive new anointing this month. This doesn’t mean we are to be once more “baptized in the Holy Spirit,” because just like water baptism it’s a one-time affair. However we must be sure to always “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). The Lord wants us to be filled so that the Holy Spirit can always be flowing out of us—so that “out of [our hearts] will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:38).

Fasting Results in New Wineskins

One way to receive new anointing is by fasting. When asked why His disciples didn’t fast, Jesus explained that right then He was with them and filling them (note the connection with filling and with fasting)—but that the time would come when He, the bridegroom, would be taken away and then they too would fast. He went on to explain that new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins “or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved” (Matt. 9:17). So, how does one make themselves into a new wineskin? One way is through fasting.

When we fast, we humble ourselves. We deny ourselves for Jesus’s sake. We put things into proper order. He is the Lord and we serve Him. Fasting ensures this. We put Him ahead of the demands of our body and soul. Our spiritual senses are sharpened. We don’t know all of the workings of this mystery, but clearly fasting works to help us become a new wineskin that can receive the new wine—the new anointing the Lord wants to pour into us.

Fasting Secures Our Way Forward

When I was led to share about fasting, I was reminded of our earliest days as missionaries when we were still preparing to come to Japan. The way wasn’t going to be easy. We were newly baptized in the Holy Spirit, and the evangelical mission that we had planned on coming with had closed its doors to people like us. But the Lord kept pressing us to continue the plan to go Japan as missionaries.

In March, 1975, I accompanied an older retired missionary to Japan on an exploratory trip. The Lord led me to contacts who would sign necessary documents. So, we planned to come—Teddy and I and Mike, our year-old son. There was so much to prepare. But then the Lord clearly led me to fast. I knew very little about fasting, but knew I had to obey.

I hoped the fast would only be for twenty-four hours, but the next morning the Lord made it clear that I needed to continue. My flesh surely didn’t like it, but I obeyed and continued. I think I fasted for four full days. That was in May, and then we moved to Japan at the end of August.

What Were the Results of That Fasting?

We didn’t see it right at the time, but just a few months later we were able to move to Japan as missionaries. Note the following things:

  1. Financial support was actually raised pretty easily. During those first four years, the dollar fell significantly against the yen. However, financial support just seemed to increase. We definitely had no lack.

  2. Testing was easy. Every new missionary runs into testing at the beginning, as did we. Looking back, I can see we had no real problems in handling the various issues that arose.

  3. Fruitful ministry. Even while we were in language study, the Lord opened up doors of ministry. Whether it was to Christians or non-Christians, God brought people to us and they were touched for Him.

  4. Favor. We have thoroughly enjoyed our life in this nation. Japan has the reputation of being a difficult mission field, and many do not last long. But we’ve loved our time here. I know this is because of the favor of the Lord on us. Hallelujah!

You May Not See the Results of Your Fast for a Few Months

It’s instructive to note the example of Nehemiah. He knew God wanted him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He fasted, and this occurred during the ninth Hebrew month, Kislev (roughly late-November to late-December) (Neh. 1:1–4). Afterward, he went about his normal job. But, roughly four months later (Neh. 2:1), the miraculous happened! First, he got permission and authority from the king to go rebuild the walls. Second, he was given the financial resources he needed. Third, he was able to overcome all obstacles. Fourth, his work was successful. And fifth, he had great favor.

So know there will be concrete results, but probably not right away.

Even Though Something May Clearly Be the Will of the Lord, We May Still Need to Fast!

Finally, compare Nehemiah to the first group who returned to rebuild the temple (see Ezra 1–4). It was clearly God’s will, but the enemy was still able to thwart them for seventeen years. Nehemiah had a similar assignment (to rebuild the walls), and the enemy also tried to thwart him but could not. Sometimes fasting is the only way to clear the opposition and secure the way for what God wants us to do.

Be blessed! Thanks so much for praying!

Ron and Teddy

Yarn Alive Report

Coping well!

There may be a virus going around, but Yarn Alive (YA) continues to do well. A few items of note are as follows:

  1. Donations of yarn and knitting materials continue to pour in. No kidding! The warehouse is full of donated boxes of yarn.

  2. Mini-bazaars help provide finances. Normally bazaars/craft fairs are held twice a year. Items the women have knitted for YA are sold. This brings in money and raises awareness of YA around town, and even in other cities. Obviously, they haven’t been able to do that this year. However, they hold mini-bazaars. The women sell things to each other or buy things for others. The money is reduced, but enough still seems to be coming in.

  3. Thank you for praying for YA, and please continue to do so. The Lord is the one who has built YA. He is the one who is causing it to grow and flourish.