Monday, June 5, 2017

FHE ~ Fasting and Testimonies

     With Fast and Testimony Meeting being yesterday ~ I realized that my teenage son has been " forgetting " that it is Fast and Testimony Sunday. So I realized that it was time to go over again, why Fasting is so very important. I decided to have FHE on that subject. As I was preparing a lesson, it just confirmed in my heart how very special this gift is that Heavenly Father has given us. It is a gift to be able to make a sacrifice for our Father in Heaven and also, to be able to share our Testimonies with our brothers and sisters in Sacrament. Here is what I've come up with ! 

Prayer ~ 
Song~ Childrens Songbook 14 ~ I Kneel to Pray
Lesson ~ 

Yesterday was Fast and Testimony meeting in Sacrament ! We were blessed to hear the testimonies of our brothers and sisters in our branch/ward. We invite you to fast with us on the First Sunday of each month. 

 Tonight we are going to talk about Fasting and Prayer and then have a special family Testimony Meeting. First we are going to go to our Family Calendar and we are going to put a special sticker on each Saturday before Fast and Testimony Sunday. That way when we see the sticker, we know it is a special weekend and it is time to prepare to fast ! 
~ ( I am just going to use little cheap star stickers I found at the bottom of our craft drawer ! But it is important that we put something on the calendar to remind us all that it is time to prepare to fast. That is one reason I did this lesson for FHE ~ My son was using the excuse, that he forgot it was Fast and Testimony Sunday. )

Fast and Testimony Sunday is such a special day. We observe it the first Sunday of every month. We are asked to Fast for a full 24 hours ! That seems like a really long time, but the blessings are so worth it ! 

To Fast is to to without food or drink for a full 24 hours - while spending time in prayer and attending our Church meetings and paying our Fast Offering. If we just go without food and drink - we are just hungry. If we go without food and drink, while praying often and being in a lovely spirit of fasting, where we talk with our Father in Heaven and we go to our Church meetings and we pay the Fast Offering to help others ~ we will receive the blessings of the Fast. 

What are some blessings of Fasting ? Let's talk about that ! 
* We will have a much stronger relationship with our Father in Heaven ~ we all want that ! 
* We will be forgiven of our sins, if we repent in the way He asks us too.
* We can receive personal revelation , or special messages just for us from Heavenly Father when we pray and ask questions ! 
* Sometimes, we can receive healing and even miracles, if it is what Heavenly Father wants from us. It is a beautiful thing to Fast for someone or yourself, who is needing help with a big problem, or is really sick. It sure makes us all feel better ! 
* When we are struggling with temptations, we can Fast and ask for help with overcoming and avoiding those temptations
* It's good for our health to Fast once a month - it can even help us to be stronger physically 
* It is good for us to practice self-discipline and we can do that by Fasting. 
* When we Fast and we donate our Fast Offerings, the money goes to families who are in need. It really makes us feel love and compassion for those who are in need, knowing that we have sacrificed and Fasted and donated the money we would have spent in food, to them. It is such a beautiful feeling. 

     Another big blessing of Fasting, is we get the opportunity to share our Testimony in Sacrament on Fast and Testimony Sunday ! It can seem kind of scary at first, talking in front of all of those people, but just remember that they love you and are excited to hear your Testimony ! Heavenly Father is so proud of you when you share your Testimony and it is helpful to all who hear it. 

Here are some tips for sharing your Testimony : 
* Fast before you share your Testimony on Sunday ~ we just talked about Fasting , but did you know that when you Fast before you share you Testimony, it becomes quite powerful! 
President Eyring taught us , " ..........By our fast, we both keep our covenant to care for others, and we prepare to keep our covenant to bear testimony." WOW !!! How cool is that ? 

* We need to make sure to keep our Testimony simple and pure. We shouldn't get up there and tell funny stories, or tell everyone about our fantastic trip to Disneyland, or go up there and give a twenty minute talk! We need to remember that we are bearing our Testimony to help others follow the Gospel and have faith. So we need to keep it simple and pure. :) 

* Some of the things that we can share in our Testimonies is how we know that God lives and that Jesus lives and that they love us. We can share that we believe in the Book of Mormon, and that we know President Monson is a real true Prophet of God ! We can give powerful testimonies when we are being pure and true and sharing our love for the Gospel and the things we know in our hearts to be true. That is a beautiful Testimony! 

* Sometimes when we bear our Testimony or we hear others do it, we say things like " I love that we have the Book of Mormon"  or " I believe the Gospel is true. That is a good thing, for sure! But we need to be strong and proclaim that WE KNOW! We KNOW the Book of Mormon is true. We KNOW that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Doesn't it make you feel really strong and proud when we proclaim that we KNOW something is true ? 

* My last tip ~ Share your Testimony often !!!! We need to make sure to not just say it in Sacrament Meeting on Fast and Testimony Sunday, but we need to bear it often ! Share your Testimony with your family , like we will be doing tonight ! Share it with friends, or even online ! Share it with extended family. We are so blessed to have the Gospel, we need to rejoice in it and share it with others ! A wonderful way of doing this, is to share our Testimony often. :) 

Why do we pay Fast Offerings ? We talked about this earlier, but we take the money that we would have spent on food for our 24 hour Fasting time, and we give it to Fast Offerings at church. It is easy, we just use a tithing envelope and we check " Fast Offerings " and put our money in and then give it to our Bishop etc just like tithing ! 
We are blessed to be able to help others when we pay our Fast Offerings. Elder Joseph B. Worthlin taught that : " Fast offerings are used for one purpose and one purpose only : to bless the lives of those in need. Every dollar given to the Bishop as a fast offering goes to assist the poor. " 
Wow! Isn't that incredible ? We truly are taking care of one another when we Fast and give our Fast Offerings ! It sure feels amazing to be able to help those in need and love and care for them. 

I would like to close by sharing this neat story from Heather at WOMEN IN THE SCRIPTURES . 
She had been taught that fasting helps the poor. But she didn't really understand how. One day she was in college and she was fasting during a class and this neat experience happened to her : 

" As I sat in class with my hungry tummy rumbled and the thought came to me, " Would you be willing to go hungry so that someone who was starving could eat ? " 
It was then that the connection between fasting and caring for the poor became clear to me. I realized that my going without food wasn't just about mastering my physical body or personal suffering. I was voluntarily sacrificing what I had , and what I wanted, on behalf of another. I was going hungry so that someone else could have food to eat. I was suffering so that someone else didn't have to. That was a powerful realization for me and forever changed how I viewed fasting. " 

Isn't that true ? We really do have the opportunity to Fast so that we can help someone else have something to eat. We not only get blessed by Fasting, but we get to bless others ! It truly is so much more than just being hungry and thirsty for a day. We receive the most amazing blessings, like the ones we talked about earlier and many more, and we get to share our Testimony which is also something that is a huge blessings, and we get to love and care for others who don't have as much as we have. We get to love them as Jesus does. I want to invite you to fast with us this next Fast and Testimony Sunday, we can experience this as a family, and enjoy the blessings of it together. You can come and talk to mommy and daddy any time if you have any questions about fasting and whether you are ready to begin fasting. :) I say these things in the name of thy son, Jesus Christ, Amen. ~ 

Family Testimony Meeting ~ We would like to give everyone an opportunity to share their Testimony tonight. ( You can pray first to invite the Spirit, you can dim the lights or light some candles to make it feel really special ~ if you have a karaoke machine I know this sounds silly, but ours has a microphone that you can just talk into and it goes through the speakers etc, have a parent welcome them to the Family Testimony Meeting and they can start off by bearing their Testimony so that the children get a good idea of what's going to happen, then you can either open it up for anyone to go bear their testimony or you can ask each individual child etc if they would like to bear their testimony , either way, be prepared because this is a mega spiritual and tender thing for a family to do together !!!! ) 

Activity ~ ( and treat ! ) GOSPEL GRAB BAG has the neatest lesson on Fasting and they have a cute little printout to help you remember why you Fast and it is a Pizza !!!! So cute ! For my FHE, I ended up just making pizza for the family for dinner, and we talked about the things it stood for : 

P ~ Pay Fast Offering
I ~ Invite the Spirit with prayer.
Z~ Zip on past the kitchen ! 
Z~ Zap hunger by reading the Scriptures
A~ Ask Heavenly Father for Strength 

Cute huh!!!! It is linked above where it says Gospel grab bag.

Close your Family Home Evening with a prayer ~ Don't forget to bless the food, and enjoy! :) 

Love , JL~ 
Happy Parenting ! 

Another resource you can use for Fasting is : 

FREE for the first month and $10 a month after :) 

You will have access to a TON of FHE lessons, with activity pages, quizzes, plus all of the Living Scriptures movies and audio plus more ! SO WORTH IT ! Use this link and you receive 50% off your first month and it's only 9.99 a month after that ~ trust me, it's invaluable. We love it so much and wish this had been an option for us when our kids were really little. Download to any device, and you can use it offline too for car rides etc... so worth it people !!! LOL ~ Love, JL~ 

The Red Headed Hostess : 

I hope this gives you some good ideas on having a great Family Home Evening on the importance of Fasting ! Happy Parenting! Love, JL~ 

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