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Consecration: 7 Tips for Fasting Success

We’re entering the first week of the annual West Angeles January Consecration! If you’ve never fasted, or you need a little inspiration to get you started, here are 7 tips to help make your fast a successful one.

Millions of Christians throughout the world begin the New Year with a period of consecration, extended prayer and fasting. When we fast and consecrate ourselves, we do so to bring ourselves closer to God; to cleanse our bodies, to develop discipline, and to prepare ourselves for God’s use for His purpose.

Fasting leads us to the diet and physical conditions God wanted for us when He created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:29), helps us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24), and develops within us optimum spiritual, mental, and physical functionality (Daniel 1:18-20). But do you have a tough time starting a fast, or maintaining the eating principles required? Do you want to fast, but you don’t know where to start?

Here are 7 tips to help make your time of fasting and consecration a success:

  1. Think…It’s for God – and we don’t want to let Him down (Matthew 6:33). Fasting gives us clearer reception to hear God’s voice and enables Him work in our lives. Fast to create a deeper relationship with God in your relationships, your home, your marriage, your church, and your life.
  2. Do remember…It’s good for you. – Fasting cleanses our bodies from the inside out, and helps us to develop temperance, discipline, and moderation (Daniel 1:8); as a result, it provides us with a healthier lifestyle, better memory, and a better body condition for the healing of both physical and mental afflictions. During your fast, turn off media; clean, de-clutter and organize your home, increase prayer and meditation time. Limit foods, beverages, and anything else which enters the body – including intercourse for a mutually agreed-upon time (1 Corinthians 7:5).
  3. Do your homework. When we fast, we limit the quantity of foods we eat. Fasting returns us to a moderate,quote-fast earth-based foods diet which consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and spices; and we eliminate artificial and processed foods and drinks; dairy, alcohol, fast foods, sugar, and salt. There are many advances in vegetarian and vegan food preparation these days, so fasting doesn’t restrict you to only celery, carrot sticks and water!
  4. Be creative! Start by making a list of the healthy foods you like, and begin your fast by limiting your fasting “menu” to those items. Use those foods as the foundation to create your own new recipes, or to alter existing recipes into a healthier version. The use of spices is okay.
  5. Have only healthy snacks around the house and at work. Get rid of the chips, sodas, dairy, candy, sweeteners and other sugary items. Replace them with snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, unsweetened apple sauce, figs, dates.
  6. Juice! Juicing is a great element to add to our diets at any time of the year. A day of juicing can be a healthy, nutrient-filled addition to your year-round eating routine, and a good way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Remember that pureed vegetables are “juices” too! Include pureed vegetable soups on days where a fast calls for liquids only, as a warm “green meal”, or an alternative to a salad.
  7. Drink lots of water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. When we drink lots of water, it flushes out impurities and helps re-balance us. It also helps fill us, and keeps the cravings at bay. Try starting each day of your fast by consuming more water than you usually do; work up to consuming 1 half-gallon of water by noon.

A final important tip to remember: You will eat again. Often, we don’t want to start a fast because we believe we can’t give up our favorite foods. Sacrifice for God, however, is an important discipline which fasting teaches.

If principles such as renewal, transformation, peace and self-control are important for you to develop in your life, then a consecration is a great place to start. Resuming “normal” eating habits after a fast, however, doesn’t mean going back to consuming the unhealthy foods, drinks, and habits! When you feel the difference in your body and mind without the extra sugar, salt, and even pounds – who knows? It may inspire you to make a permanent change.

Allow fasting, consecration and prayer to inspire you to use moderation as a lifestyle, to break the yoke of bondage to unhealthy habits, and to maintain a clearer connection with God.

FOR FURTHER READING: Genesis 1:29, Exodus 34:28, Leviticus 20:7, Esther 4:16, Joel 2:12-13, Daniel 1:8-14, 10:3; Matthew 6:16-18, 33; Luke 4:2-4. 18:12; Acts 13:2, 14:23; 1 Corinthians 7:5, Galatians 5:16-25.


PLEASE CLICK HERE for the 2017 Consecration Calendar and Guidelines.

NEED FASTING RECIPES? Try our delicious recipe for Fruit Salad HERE.

REMINDER – Always check the ingredients in commercially prepared foods and juices. Many products which claim to be healthy still add sugar, salt, and other additives.

DISCLAIMER – The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.  Please consult your doctor or physician before starting any eating plan.

 

SERMON: When Faith Becomes Frustrated

For the last Sunday Sermon for 2015 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, visiting Pastor Joseph A. Connor asks us to keep praising God through our frustrations.

Pastor Joseph A. Connor used the story of Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha in Luke 10 as the basis of his sermon titled, When Faith Becomes Frustrated. 

“The apostle Paul said, ‘I want to know Him,’” said Pastor Connor before the Sunday evening sermon, “and that’s what our objective should be: to know God beyond the limit. The end of the year should be a time to look back and see what God has done, to see how far God has brought us from. And hasn’t God brought us from a mighty long way?”  

Added Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., “Martha’s faith was frustrated, but she said to Mary, ‘Jesus is talking. That’s more important than anything on the face of the earth…and He might not be here tomorrow.  I just want to worship Him and praise Him.’”

“Praise Jesus for who He is,” said Bishop. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve come here to praise Him!  I want God to move in my life; I want to know  Him beyond the limit! Take the limit off God. My God can do anything but fail!”

This entire sermon and many others are available HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand.  Highlights from the sermon follow:

“No matter how much we love Jesus, or how sincere we are in our service to others, there are times – if we’re honest – when our faith becomes frustrated.”

“It has been said that everybody needs a friend.”

“Could any of us truly have gone through what Jesus went through?”

“Life in the spotlight…can be a lonely road. Living under the constant scrutiny of the public is a demanding and sometimes demeaning lifestyle.”

“We need companions with whom we can be ourselves…friends who have no hidden agenda.”

“Even Jesus needed human friends: and so do the rest of us” – Pastor Joseph A. Connor

“Most of us don’t have real friends. We have friendly enemies.”

“A friend loveth at all times. A friend can disagree without being disagreeable.”

“Even Jesus needed human friends, and so do the rest of us.”

“It’s nice to be with somebody with whom you can be yourself.”

“Whatever we as God’s children do, we should do it with pride and with style.”

“Whether pushing a broom or serving a table: whatever we do represents not only us, but the God who made us.”

“The God I serve is first class!”

“Whatever we do, others should be aware that they are in the presence of one of God’s redeemed children.”

“Some of the biggest arguments in the church occur around the kitchen!”

“A friend can disagree without being disagreeable” – Pastor Joseph A. Connor

“All of us at times become frustrated in our service.”

“Frustrated faith is faith that is out of character – and all of us can act out of character at times.”

“When faith becomes frustrated, we lose the joy of serving and and even living for God.”

“I have a difficult time understanding how you can speak in tongues and not speak to me.”

“Faith can become frustration when we feel that, while we do the work, others receive the recognition.”

“When you are frustrated, you may work your fingers to the bone.”

“Some of us have come to the end of 2015…not able to accept the different ways that others serve Jesus.”

“Jesus’ heart is big enough that there is room in the Kingdom of God and in the church for both the Marys and the Marthas”

“We need Marthas to teach us to speak the truth, and we need Marys to remind us to hold our peace.”

“Jesus calls on us to be Mary and Martha”  – Pastor Joseph A. Connor

“Jesus not only points us to Calvary, but also to Gethsemane.”

“Don’t let your frustration keep you from praising God.”

“He’s done too much  for me to let my frustrations quench my spirit.”

“When faith loses it’s hope, do what David says, ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!’”

“I think we ought to give God some praise! We ought to make some noise in here!”

“My high school teacher told my mother I was not college material. But because my mother said to me ‘You are college material’…I got a Bachelor’s Degree….I got a Master’s Degree…I got a Doctorate…I’ve got reason to give God praise. If you’re really thankful for what God has done for you, thank Him for everything and shout Hallelujah!

“Give Him the glory!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Luke 10:38-42, Psalm 23:5-6, Psalm 100:1-4.

Pastor Joseph A. Conner is the pastor of New Beginnings Sanctuary of Praise Church of God in Christ in West Philadelphia. He is the chief adjutant and personal secretary to Bishop Benjamin J. Ravened, Sr. of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction of the Church of God in Christ.  Pastor Connor founded a successful after-school program for boys which has served as a model for similar programs in the West Philadelphia area. He is also employed as a social worker for the Philadelphia Prison System. A graduate of Antioch University of Pennsylvania, Conner also attended the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia He holds a Doctorate of Ministry degree.

Conner is the proud husband to June Conner and the father of Jasmin and Joseph, Jr.

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Praise the New Year in with West Angeles! Please join Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr, dynamic Evangelist Missionary Joyce Rodgers, the West Angeles Mass Choir, and other special guests for Watch Night Service at the West Angeles at the Cathedral, December 31 at 10 p.m. 3600 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016.

Please join us for the Afterglow Breakfast! We’re having breakfast in the Crystal Room immediately following Watch Night Service, 12:30-2:30 a.m. on January 1, 2016.  Cost: $10 per person. West Angeles North Campus, 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016. See you then!

February Prayer Calendar

Sunday, Bishop Blake rolled out a February Prayer Calendar based on the theme for 2015. The calendar and instructions are both available below.

Prayer Calendar (February 2015)

Prayer Calendar Instructions (February 2015)

 

Bishop Blake Calls For Our Renewed Commitment In 2015

Click here to hear this complete sermon and more at West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

For the first Sunday sermon of 2015, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake calls on us to renew our commitment to God. The Church of God In Christ theme for 2015 is inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14-15:

Christ’s extreme sacrifice calls for our extreme commitment.

“Individuals who’ve made extreme sacrifices, extreme commitments, and radical departures have transformed the world,” said Bishop in his sermon, giving examples of men as varied as Osama Bin Laden and Bill Gates as illustrations. “Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated because of his commitment to freedom and justice. Bishop CH Mason, because of his stance on war, came under scrutiny of the FBI. The Apostle Paul, radical servant of the Lord, ultimately was executed because of his commitment to Christ. God depends on us to Love and serve Him, and to do His will…God needs someone who will live for Him in Jesus’ name.”

Some of our favorite quotes from Sunday’s sermon:

“When God gives an assignment, He also gives the ability.”

“It’s not the package – it’s the medicine in the package.”

“If you don’t know Jesus, you’re spiritually dead.”

“A spiritually dead person is unresponsive to God.”

“Jesus articulated that greater love when He died for the sins of humanity.”

“Jesus was very man and very God.”

“How many of you know that the Lord is worth our praise?”

“There’s a promotion on the other side of your commitment: make a commitment unto the Kingdom of God” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“It’s not you: it’s the God that’s in you.”

“God gives you the strength to endure.”

“That trial is working for you; that person that hates you is working for you.”

“What you see is temporary. Look at what you don’t see!”

“The Holy Ghost shows up to let you know that God is going to take care of you.”

“Jesus Christ not only died for us, He’s alive and well and in the room right now.”

“We need some radical servants in the church today!”

“God wants us to seek the righteousness of God.”

“Since He died for me and made the ultimate sacrifice, the least I can do is live Holy and live righteously.”

“God is love.”

“I love Him because he loved me first”.”

“Every day, we ought to serve God a little bit better.”

“God gets rid of folk who are lukewarm.”

“If you’re gonna be around me in 2015, be glad in the Lord: and rejoice!”

“The fire that you’re going through is going to set you free!”

“Raise your hand and say, ‘Since you died for me, I’ll live for you’! Say, ‘Yes!'”

“In 2015, say, ‘Yes, Lord…in my home; on my job, in my life: Yes, Lord, I will do Your will!'”

 

2015theme art

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8; 2 Corinthians 11:16; 2 Corinthians 4:1; Romans 8:6 Ephesians 2:1; John 15:13; Philippians 2:10-11; 1 Timothy 1:15; Philippians 2:5-11; Matthew 6:33; Revelation 2; Philippians 3:14; Revelation 3:14-16.