Scripture: Matthew 9:14-17 NIV

Then John's disciples came and asked him, "How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?"

Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."

The footnote in my NAS Bible for verses 16-17 state this: "The old and new cannot be combined. See note on Luke 5:37" which follows:

"Wineskins were used as containers for liquid. If filled with new wine, the old skins lost elasticity and burst when the wine fermented. The point is that the new teaching of the grace of Christ cannot be contained within the old forms of the law".

History of that era details the Pharisees fasted twice a week - "conspicuous piety". (They wanted people to notice and think they were very 'spiritual'.) There were 3 required public fasts. John's followers were probably fasting in mourning of John having his head chopped off. They did go and collect his body.

In Matthew 14 Herod the king had unwittingly offered a portion of his earthly kingdom to the daughter of Herodias because her dancing had pleased him so much (hmmn). John was in prison at the time. She asked for the head of John the Baptist due to being prompted by her mother, Herodias. The Baptist had previously told the king he should not have Herodias as she had been married to Herod's brother, Philip.

John's disciples wanted to know why they and the Pharisees had to fast when

the disciples of Jesus didn't.

If fasting was enjoyable, they would not have cared, would they? But it's not pleasant to restrict yourself for a certain length of time and not eat. Even fasting for an early a.m. lab draw can be tedious when you are used to waking up and immediately having breakfast. I have heard both clergy and non-clergy, though, call for a fast on a certain day in order to help enter into prayer during a crisis.

Just this week I watched a video on Youtube wherein a person is doing and leading others to do an "intermittent fast". Claims are that the body can heal and rest during these intermittent fastings. (Going without food for a certain length of time.) The warning is always given to check with your doctor prior to fasting.

So in today's world, how do we know if the Lord wants us to fast? I believe if you are a Christian, the Lord can cause you to understand what He wants you to do. He can show you in the scriptures or you may hear it in a sermon. You can also hear His voice encourage you to do or say something.

We are having a mini class reunion tomorrow for lunch. I was thinking about high school and remembering my shorthand class which was part of business education. Secretaries used shorthand to take down letters from bosses, like Della did for Perry Mason on TV.

Our teacher was Mrs. Pickering. Believe me, you paid strict attention to her. Imagine facing her at the front of the class plus anything she had written on the chalkboard (in shorthand) which meant absolutely NOTHING to us.

Yet we knew it was a language that could be learned. Even more, we had signed up for it. In our heart we believed that we could learn it.

Many times, our minds were weary and our hearts heavy and we almost wanted to give up. But not quite. Weeks passed until one day, we walked into class and we could read what she had written on the board. Oh, happy day! Oh, yes, we would still need to work hard and look up new words, etc. In time it was no longer a jumble of lines and curves, but a real language!

It can be that way for you to listen and hear God speak. Maybe it won't be audible but eventually it will be more than a hunch . . more than I think so . . it will be "I know!"

Did you guess the shorthand notes read "I love you x 5"?

Mind how you go! (I say that at the end of every podcast . . well, most of them.).

Do you know why you should mind how you go?

Because God minds how you go . . . and He minds how I go!

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