21-Day Fast (Day 10) Begging Bread

Begging Bread
In Psalm 37:25 David makes a brilliant observation he says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Living for God certainly has its benefits as it says later in Psalms, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” I’m loving living for God!

Doesn’t it bless your soul to know that if you are righteous and living for God, you will never be forsaken and have to beg for bread? You say, “Wait a minute, a loaf of bread is only a dollar or two, what’s the big deal?” It’s a HUGE deal. For not only does me being righteous (my righteous is of God) provide me with bread, but there is a generational blessing here that cannot go unnoticed; “nor his seed.” What blessed assurance in knowing that I’m sowing not only into this present generation, but in my generations to come. Hmmm, that’s a lot of bread.

Bread of Heaven
“This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever,” Jesus told his followers. In terms of bread, we’re definitely talking Wonder-ful Bread, not Wonder Bread. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual (I Corinthians 15:46). So, if the natural axiom David stated in Psalms applies, we will never have to beg for the spiritual bread Jesus was talking about. Praise the Lord!

When we need more of the Lord in our lives, He’s there! And, not only will he be there for you, but as David pointed out, your seed will never be begging for this Bread! Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

So see, there’s no begging involved. You simply ask, AND you teach future generations to follow suit.
 

How Do I Feel?
With this being day 10, I’m extremely weak. I still have to work. This requires a great deal of walking around our plant, and in and out of our plant, but I’m blessed with a desk job, so this helps on the occasion I get to sit at it. I’ve cut out any extra-curricular activities. Each motion brings with it fatigue. I have to rest half way up the stairs. I have even had to rest my arms while typing this. This morning I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to continue the fast.

On a more positive note, not only has my appetite slowed down for food, but for other non-value added aspects of my life as well. T.V. and movies don’t hold the allure. I don’t feel like reading anything but the Bible. Sadly, even keeping up with my fellow bloggers has been a chore. With the exception of the latter, I don’t mind the reprieve from all that is Hollywood and entertainment. During our carnal times we feel can’t miss one episode of our favorite show, or one more chapter in our favorite book. Fasting gives you a chance to be released from that nonsense for a while to clear your head…and your heart.

Fasting Help 

For some excellent Fasting resources stop by www.gracenewsinfo.com blog and see my latest posting there entitled Fasting Resources.

21-Day Fast (Day 9) Living Sacrifice

A Living Sacrifice
A painful prospect for one to consider, don’t you think? A living sacrifice. It is a biblical principal however, and to be observed by those professing to be a Christian.

Paul Knew It 

Paul states in Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

It’s almost a contradiction in terms, “living” and “sacrifice.” But it is possible. In another place Paul states that he, “is crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Paul lived the lifestyle of which he spoke. When admonishing the Corinthians in a second letter, he implores them…

3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

It is quite possible then to live a sacrificial life, but not literally die. Dying in spiritual sense, means you are no longer actively pursuing the ungodly appetites and desires of the prideful flesh. Your focal point is about bringing the flesh under submission to the will of the Spirit. Have you ever felt that inner turmoil before? As a Christian, I’m certain you have. The Galatians did as well…

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Galatians 5:17)

Note that the “S” in Spirit is capitalized. This infers a reference to the “Spirit of God.” It is that same Spirit that you are filled with, combating your will. Yet, the flesh will not willingly submit. It is at the intersection of our flesh and our spirit (small “s”) that the will of either is broken down. Depending on what has been gaining the greater degree of emphasis in your life, that particular facet of your being will arise victorious.

David Knew It 

Long before Paul, David had it nailed – Psalms 51:6 – Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Further in that same Psalm 51:16 – For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Where do we get the spiritual edification? Our inward parts. How does that take place? Through the broken and contrite heart.

Now Let’s Do It 

In sum, the living sacrifice that God is looking for and pleased with: a broken and contrite heart. This is exemplified by our prideful fleshly nature dying, and our spiritual nature gaining prominence. When we are motivated by the Spirit we will not consider living for God drudgery. We will not consider it an imposition to attend church a couple of nights a week. We will not consider financially supporting the ministries of the church just another bill. We will do it cheerfully, lovingly, and with a pure heart.

It is instinctual to want to do what it takes to survive. We cater too often to the needs of flesh because after all, it is the most visible part of who we are, and will often exhibit the loudest protest when we miss the mark. But, our fleshly tabernacles are temporary, and represent only one facet of who we are. There is an internal spirit we all possess, that is screaming for attention. Why not actively pursue God’s will for your life. Sure the flesh will whine, but your spirit will be singing the Hallelujah Chorus!

How Do I Feel?
After that my previous remarks, I’m sure you know where I’m going. I feel the battle is leaning heavily in favor of the Spirit. Under the current conditions, my flesh doesn’t stand a change. I’m feeling an intimacy with my Savior, and I’m enjoying every moment. I’m not where I want to be yet, but the feeling of God planting wisdom in my inward parts is fascinating to me. My mind only has a limited memory capacity, but once something gets into your spirit, not even the flesh is a challenge.

The hunger pangs have subsided and only occasionally rumble. My cravings for certain foods, has all but disappeared. My muscles are weak and can only take a few moments of continuous activity before I have to rest. There are some minor aches in my back, arms, and legs. But, I was told my color looks better, and that I actually appear healthier – physically I don’t feel it, spiritually I’m getting there.

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.