21-Day Fast (Day 8) NO TRESPASSING

It’s Not My Body – I’m SOLD-OUT!
During a fast it is difficult to avoid thinking about the effects that fasting has on our body. Well at least we think it’s our OWN body. With the grumbling stomach, the fatigued muscles, the loss of body mass, and just the general feeling of exhaustion, we’re quick to take ownership. But, upon reflection and study we find a passage of scripture in I Corinthians 6:13…

Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

Reading further in I Corinthians, Paul goes on to hit even closer to home…

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

NO TRESPASSING
So as we continue to fast, pray, and seek God’s face, it’s a good reminder to allow God to take ownership of the body, the very Temple of the Holy Ghost. Not until we begin to fast are we truly cognizant of just how many things we, as the body of Christ, allow to trespass on His property.

I think it would behoove every Christian to post a “NO TRESPASSING” sign on their lives. This works for several reasons. One, it reminds us, that yes, God granted us use of this body, but it is temporal. So giving way to things that contaminate our temples violates God’s sacred trust in US! Secondly, our enemy is well aware of this “NO TRESPASSING” sign even as he dares to tread on the property for which Christ gave his life. When this happens, God is prepared to aptly defend his territory. After all, He gave the most precious thing He could, His only begotten son, that we might have life, and have that life more abundantly. I’m reminded of one of my favorite scriptures in James 2:19 – Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Your Body Does Matter
So many people feel it’s inconsequential what happens to their body. That’s not the way God sees it. If that were true, then what happened to Christ’s body would have been inconsequential too. But Peter says, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24). Christ loves us too much to allow us to be banished to a fiery pit for eternity. Do you wonder if Hell is real or not? There’s no way God would have went to the lengths He did to save us if it were not!

God’s made a great investment in you, and He’s prepared to defend it. Why don’t WE do what WE can to live a righteous and holy life? We can bolster that defense, by avoiding the deadly things of this world that could contaminate us and ultimately destroy us.
 

So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)

How Do I Feel?
I still have my moments. Literally positioning my hands to type, my arms become fatigued. Climbing stairs feels like I have 50 lbs. attached to each foot. Maintaining my liquids has been key though. Spiritually, the Lord is fueling my thoughts continually. When I get in that realm, I’m motivated to go farther. I’m definitely in uncharted territory. I’m currently wiping off my own personal “NO TRESPASSING” sign. It’s gotten a bit weathered, and the words a bit faded over time. I want my enemy to know beyond the shadow of a doubt when he’s overstepped his boundaries. All I can say is, he better be prepared to suffer the consequences! If God be for me (and He is), who can be against me?

21-Day Fast (Day 7) Eating Like a Bird

As I prayed today, I realized that fasting is not new to me in another sense. Spiritually, I’m ashamed to say, I’ve fasted for way too long! And I can’t say, in all honesty, that I could have before this fast really appreciated these words by Job in chapter 23 verses 10-12…

 10But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.    11My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

   12Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Eating Like a Bird 

When I read this passage in Job, I could not help but envision a tiny bird, whose sight is limited, and its ability to provide for itself impossible. Suddenly, as the mother bird arrives at the nest, the chirping babies vie for the attention of the necessary food. Little by little, the birds are able to gain strength. With each meal, their tiny bodies fill in with their first flight soon in their wings. They don’t know what journeys lie ahead for them, they just know, they desperately need this food, and not until they mature enough, will they be able to take flight.

As we journey on this fast, our spiritual vision too is limited at best. Without the food that we’ve grown accustomed to physically, it has heightened our sense spiritually. And so like the small birds, we begin to chirp (or pray). Suddenly, when WE need it the most, our Heavenly Father swoops down and gives us even more than our necessary food.

It’s still quite early in the fast, but as I cherish each spiritual meal with the Master, I’m excited about the journeys that lie ahead. Physically, I can’t feel the strength, but spiritually, I feel my wings beginning to surge even as I find the comfort of being beneath shadow of Almighty’s wings.

Psalm 91:1-4

   1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

   2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

   3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

   4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

How Do I Feel? 

For today anyway, I feel as though I’ve lost my pre-occupation with food. That doesn’t mean that it’s not an ongoing issue in my fast, but I’m coming to grips with it. My hunger has somewhat subsided. I have to say I was waiting for this moment in the fast, and it arrived late yesterday. I’m still weak mind you, but as a whole, I’m feeling as normal as can be expected. I think I let my self dehydrate. Once I loaded up on water, I was amazed at the turnaround physically that I experienced. The hunger pangs are not as frequent, and I rested much better last night.

Praise the Lord for his sustaining and keeping power!

21-Day Fast (Day 6) The 3 P’s – Plan, Process, Product

The Student Teaches the Teacher

If you’ve stopped by our News Page, you will have stumbled on the latest entry from me about my son Nathan preaching last Friday (1.04.08). He did an excellent job in the small amount of time he was allotted. He came out of the gate with a very inspiring and motivational thought about the 3 P’s of living for God. Sitting in the audience it dawned on me that my son was actually delivering God’s Word to, not just the church in general, but to his dad. Even as I write it I’m deeply touched that God would inspire my son to deliver something that would bless me… his father.

The 3 P’s of Living for God

Not to worry, I’m not going to re-hash is sermon entirely, but I had to share this as an entry today because the words he spoke to me rang ever so true this day, the hardest day of my fast so far.

Plan

God has a plan for each of us Nathan said. Not exactly a deep thought but reassuring nonetheless due to its context. I think at times fasting is a bit extreme, especially 21 days, but I’m following an ancient biblical principle and God doesn’t just throw things in His Word for the sake of taking up space. So I trust God that there is in fact a Plan behind this entire idea of starving yourself and feeling weak, worn, and depleted. Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Process

Ah, here’s where some of us stumble. The best laid plans often fall short because they remain just that; plans. They’re either drawings, diagrams, or some sort of strategic battle plan. It all looks good on paper doesn’t it? The planning stage of any project seems to be where I love to spend the most time. I try to encompass every facet. I try not to leave any stone unturned, and to take into consideration every foreseeable outcome. The execution phase or process, is the acid-test. Will the plan hold up once the actions begin to manifest? Here’s where my trust in God is paramount. Lacking faith or trust at this moment will lead to failure, not on God’s part, but on mine. So as they say in show business, “The show must go on!” I will be like Paul, I will I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Product

Here’s where some serious rejoicing can come in. Job was indeed a man that went through the process without the advantage that we have of knowing what in the world was going on. We can read back over his story and garner a harvest of thought and encouragement. Imagine the trust and tenacity Job chose to exhibit during the darkest time of his life. He said this in the midst of it all, “If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” Job 14:14. He didn’t have the Word at his disposal as we do because his trial preceded Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. At least we can seek solace in the scriptures, Job was actually living HIS scripture…for the first time!

Now consider II Corinthians 4:16 – For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Or, how about in Galatians 6:9 – And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

And finally, to sum it all up in I John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Indeed, what a product!

How Do I Feel? 

I like how Pastor put it yesterday, “I feel pretty puny!” I went to bed early last night (for me) at 8 p.m. and woke up at midnight wide awake. I decided to get up and see what the Lord wanted, and we had a great Bible study this morning until 2:30 a.m. When I woke up for work at 4:30, I felt fine for the first few minutes and the dizziness, nausea, and weakness was almost too much to bear. I pressed on anyway. I was greeted at work with a host of smells that nauseated me almost to the point of vomiting. I rushed to my office in time to rest and let it subside.

It appears that my sense of smell is in overdrive. I wasn’t aware that this sort of thing happens and it may not to everyone, but even the smell of my own cologne made me gag today. By 9 a.m. I was feeling as normal as one can feel after 6 days of not eating.

One other note. I mentioned that I was drinking 4-6 cups of herbal tea. Not anymore. I gag at the smell and the mere thought of the taste. I’m on strict water with Real Lemon added, either hot or cold.

21-Day Fast (Day 5) More Than Just Food

The Last Holiday Party of the Season 

Last night was the final family party for the Holidays. I sat it out. Yes, I missed it, but now that it’s behind me, I consider this a small victory for my spirit. But, this was not without a lesson learned. As I prayed this morning it dawned on me that when fasting food, you’re actually fasting everything that’s associated with food.

With the family party, I sat out the meal and prayed. Not that this makes me a saint, I just felt like that was the thing to do. Once the meal was over I did return to socialize. But, there’s so much socializing that surrounds food. Eating together is a time to bond with family and friends. Even Jesus chose the night in which he was betrayed, to give direction to His disciples over a meal.

So, when fasting food, this is just one example of what else we fast; essentially, time from our family (if they’re not fasting with you). Now, that’s not to say the only social time we spend with our families should revolve around food, but it’s just one facet that I miss. We discuss things at the dinner table. We share feelings and experiences. As a parent, I give encouragement and direction during dinner. It’s an element our society has gotten away from as they move towards watching T.V. while eating or eating at separate times due to varying schedules.

I know this is only for 21 days, but when something like that has become a part of your family culture, you certainly miss it. I’ll have a new found appreciation for not only the return of food at the end of the fast, but for the bonding time I spend with my family at the table.

Woe is Me?

I’m sorry that this entry has a somber tone to it, but as I reflected further, I’m reminded of the sacrifice that Christ performed for me. I don’t deserve his love and mercy, and I certainly didn’t deserve the gift of His Life for mine at Calvary. He’s made possible all the blessings I have today. So rather than focus on the loss of something, how about I focus on all I’ve gained and will continue to gain during the fast? Perhaps the feeling that I am neglecting my family during meal time, could be a clear indication of my neglect with my relationship with Jesus.

How Do I Feel?

Physically I feel OK. I’m not feeling stellar by any sense, but focusing on the short term isn’t wise. Focusing on the long term benefits of the fast keeps me encouraged. Another HUGE plus is my closeness with my Master. The meals I’ve missed and social time I’ve missed, are of little consequence when I factor in the meals of His Word and His presence that have been so bountiful!

21-Day Fast (Day 4) He’s Been There Done That

The Daniel Fast 

I stumbled upon an excellent blog site called the Daniel Fast. This site is an valueable resource for those that would like to observe a 21-day fast similar the one Daniel performed in the book that bears his namesake.

Daniel 10:2-3 2In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. 3I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

Our consecration fast differs from this in that our fast has been designated a “foodless” fast as it were. With this kind of study however, I am seriously considering this fast for future fasts throughout the year. The above mentioned site will be an excellent resource detailing what would be acceptable and what would not be, when observing the Daniel Fast.

HDJD it?

How did Jesus do it? 40 days in the wilderness. Yes, he was the Son of God, but I firmly believe he endured this trial, as many have since, entirely experiencing every human feeling, emotion, and discomfort. We’re quick to point out that he endured the suffering of the trial and subsequent crucifixion, fully within his human form, but rewinding the events of his life let’s not forget the scripture states in Hebrews 2:17-18 17Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

That being said, I’m grateful to have a Savior who can relate to what I am going through. I have the modern conveniences at my disposal, and yet the same hunger I’m experiencing, He experienced, and came through victoriously. What did that benefit us? Paul continues to admonish the reader in Hebrews 4:14-16 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. By Christ arising victorious over the same human temptations and desires He became a suitable aid to help is in the time of need.

Calvary was an all-important event in our salvation through Jesus Christ, but not only was His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection paramount to our salvation, so too was His life and how He lived it.

I’m not sure HOW Jesus did it, but I’m glad I know WHY – So that he could pave the way for me to go to His throne, and not meekly, mildly, and apprehensively, but BOLDLY! And, He is there to help (succour) me through my trials and tests because “He’s been there – done that!” He now possesses all power in Heaven and in earth. In this case, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s definitely WHO you know.

Do you know Him today? Please don’t turn Him away…Jesus!

How Do I Feel? 

As I sit at my computer today, my stomach is growling. Somewhere I read that this is supposed to stop after 3 days. FYI – it doesn’t. Physically, I feel much better than I thought I would at this juncture, but with 17 days left, the journey is still young. But, having a Savior that not only CARES, but SHARES in my experiences, makes this journey much more meaningful.