Posts

Consecration: 7 Tips for Fasting Success

We’re entering the first week of the annual West Angeles January Consecration! But if you believe that fasting is not for you, or that you can’t get through the month without your favorite foods, then we’re here to help. Read our post below to find out more about the benefits and importance of fasting.

Millions of Christians throughout the world begin the New Year with a period of consecration, extended prayer, known as 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 use for God’s purpose.

Fasting requires us to limit certain foods, beverages, practices, and habits.  It helps to lead us to the physical conditions God wanted for us when He created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:29); it helps us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24), and it develops within us optimum spiritual, mental, and physical functionality (Daniel 1:18-20).

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? If so, then know that you’re not alone.

7 Tips to Consecration Success

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

  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 to 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, you may also decide to turn off secular media; to clean, de-clutter and organize your home, and to increase prayer and meditation time. Consider everything which enters the body – including intercourse, which you may limit for a time mutually agreed-upon with your spouse (1 Corinthians 7:5).
  3. Do your homework. When we fast, we limit the quantities and types 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 and recipes to those items. Use these foods as the foundation to create new recipes, or to alter existing recipes into a healthier version. It is also a great time to try new vegetarian or vegan options. Remember: the use of spices is okay too.
  5. Have only healthy snacks around the house and at work. Replace the chips, sodas, dairy, candy, sweeteners and other sugary items with healthy snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, unsweetened applesauce, figs, and 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, a good way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, and a great meal-replacement option. Remember that pureed vegetable soups 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.  Just be sure to check the ingredients of commercially-made soups though, or make your own.
  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 to re-balance us. It also helps to fill us up and to keep the cravings at bay. Try starting each day of your fast by consuming more water than you usually do; start your morning with at least glass of water. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily; work up to consuming 1 half-gallon of water by noon.

A Final Important Tip to Remember

Often, we don’t want to start a fast because we believe we can’t give up our favorite foods, or we’re afraid that we don’t have the strength or willpower. Sacrificing for God, however, is an important discipline which fasting teaches, and it brings us unparalleled clarity and connection to God.  One thing that’s very important to remember when you’re enduring the rigors of a fast though: you will eat again.  But resuming “normal” eating habits after a fast doesn’t mean going back to consuming the unhealthy foods, drinks, and habits. Start by increasing your intake of foods like applesauce, nuts and pureed juices in your diet, instead of foods loaded with sugar.

When you’ve experienced the difference in your body and mind after clearing out the extra sugar, salt, and even pounds – who knows? It may inspire you to make a permanent change.  And if principles such as heightened awareness, mental transformation, peace, and self-control are important for you to develop in your life, then a consecration is a great place to start.

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 2018 Consecration Calendar and Guidelines.

TIPS – To increase your daily water intake, drink one glass of water every hour between the time you rise or arrive at work and lunchtime. For example, if you drink a 16-ounce glass or a standard single-serve bottle of water each hour, you could easily drink a half-gallon of water between 9 AM and 12 noon.  Nutrition experts suggest that we drink water before, during, or after our meals instead of juice or sodas. Drinking water before a meal can help curb your appetite too.

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 for treatment of specific medical conditions.  Please consult your doctor or physician before starting any eating plan.

 

Watch Night: A Historic Time of Reflection and Renewal

Learn about the significance and history of New Year’s Eve – also known as Watch Night – and the traditions designed to bring Christians closer to God.

The significance and historic symbolism of New Year’s Eve have been overshadowed in recent years by revelry and broken resolutions. Some in society have even discouraged the tradition of making resolutions, citing studies which tell us that only 8 percent of us keep them, and that resolutions may even be harmful to us![1]

But did you know that the Christian New Year’s Eve church service – also known as Watch Night Service – was created to bring Christians closer to God, and also has very special significance in the African American community?

"Waiting for the hour": Watchnight, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

“Waiting for the hour”: Watch Night, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

 

WATCH NIGHT IN HISTORY
The Watch Night Service tradition can be traced back to the Moravians, a Christian denomination from the Czech Republic during the mid-1700’s.[2]
John Wesley, the British founder of the Methodist Church, adopted the Czech practice of celebrating Watch Night, along with other English Puritan principles, when he instituted the Methodist Covenant Renewal Services[3]. These services were started in August of 1755 as a means of creating for Christians a more formalized and personal connection and covenant with God. British Methodism soon developed the custom of holding these Covenant services near the beginning of the New Year. The service was preceded by a period of preparation through prayer, fasting, reflection and self- examination, which has been credited as the modern source of today’s New Year’s Resolution[4]. The singing, prayers of allegiance and gratitude, testimonials, and scripture readings provided Methodist Christians with a Godly alternative to other secular ways of celebrating the day.

In America, however, another tradition was unfolding. In 1770, the first Watch Services were held in America at the St. George’s Methodist Church. Two slaves, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, were a part of this congregation and they later left the church after being denied the right to pray alongside white worshipers. In 1794, they became the renowned founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.)[5].

The founders of the A.M.E. Church inspired the celebration of a new Watch Night tradition when, on December 31, 1862 – also known as “Freedom’s Eve” – the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in African American communities.
Gatherings  of African American slaves, as well as free blacks, came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. At the stroke of midnight on that day, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy, as many people fell to their knees and thanked God[6].

WATCH NIGHT SERVICE TODAY

Watch Night Services usually begin between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and often end just past midnight. Today, the services may combine praise and worship, testimonies, and prophecy for the year to come, but many African American churches still honor Watch Night’s connection to the abolition of slavery.

Over 150 years has passed since the first “Freedom’s Eve,” and tradition now brings Christians of all colors together for worship and celebration each year. African American Christians have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since 1862, praising God for safe deliverance through another year: but, most importantly, honoring the ancestors’ prayers for a future of freedom and liberty.

Karen Lascaris is a regular contributor to Westa.org. She is the author of “In Our Own Image: Treasured African American Traditions, Journeys, and Icons”, published in 2001 by Running Press of Philadelphia.

_______________________________________________________

References:

[1] Forbes.com, “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Years Resolutions.  Here’s How They Do It.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/.  Accessed 12/26/2015.

[2] “Watch Night”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchnight_service, accessed 12-28-2017.

[3] “The Covenant Service”. http://www.methodist.org.uk/who-we-are/what-is-distinctive-about-methodism/a-covenant-with-god/the-covenant-service.  Accessed 12/27/2017.

[4] “Why We Make New Year’s Resolutions”.  LiveScience.com.  http://m.livescience.com/42255-history-of-new-years-resolutions.html, accessed 12-28-15.

[5] “The Official Site of the AME Church”. www.ame-church.com/our-church/our-history/, accessed 12-28-2017.

[6] “First Watch Night Service Occurs”; The African American Desk Reference,
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture. http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/first-watch-night-service-occurs, accessed 12-28-2017.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Not all Slaves were freed by the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Only 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves were freed at that time. Freedom’s Eve was a call to action for all Black Americans; a moral imperative to fight for the full realization of freedom for their brothers and sisters who were still enslaved.
  • All enslaved Africans were freed from chattel slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy during the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery on December 18, 1865.
  • In the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, the tradition of the late night service is called Midnight Mass or Eucharist.  Like the Watch Night service of the Church of Scotland, it is attended on the night of Christmas Eve.

_________________________________________

Praise the New Year in with West Angeles! Please join Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, the West Angeles Mass Choir, and other special guests for Watch Night Service on December 31, 2017 at 10:00 PM the West Angeles at the Cathedral, 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, 2018. Cost: $10 per person in advance, $12 at the door. West Angeles North Campus, 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016. See you then!

January is Consecration Month. Please join West Angeles Church of God In Christ in fasting in prayer for the month of January, 2018.  Complete guidelines and prayer calendar available in the lobby, and on Westa.org.

Pride And Humility- Bishop Charles E. Blake

Pride And Humility- Bishop Charles E. Blake from West Angeles COGIC

Bishop Charles Blake speaks about pride and humility using the story of Nebuchadnezzar, who faced God’s judgement after taking the credit for God’s works. Bishop Blake reminds us: “Do not take God’s Glory.”

Add to Cart

Pages

Sunday Bulletin

Sunday Bulletin

The West Angeles Sunday Bulletin

Want to know what’s going on each Sunday at West Angeles Church? Have a look at the West Angeles Sunday Bulletin!

The Sunday Bulletin is a wealth of information. It includes Order of Service and instructions for worship. Included is the Sunday Hymn for those that like to sing along. You can also find the breakfast and dinner menu for the Crystal Room. In addition, service times for the entire week are available so families can plan ahead!

As you move forward through the bulletin, you’ll find the Scripture Reading for the day and the Prayer List for the week. The West Angeles Church Mission Statement is ever-present. There is a space to take notes from Bishop Blake’s sermon for those that wish to take the Word home with them on paper. You can also find more information on things such as Baby Dedications and Christian Education, and about how to get involved with the church and its programs, Lastly, there is information about important upcoming dates and updates on church-wide campaigns.

All the information that you need on a weekly basis is available in the West Angeles Sunday Bulletin! Check it out each week!