21-Day Fast (Day 11) The “Mind” Field

Scripture: I Peter 1:13-16 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

I Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

The Mind Field

Yes, I am aware that the customary spelling is “mine” field to refer to the landmines that are present. But, for the purpose of our post today, I’m calling it a “mind” field. Our mind, the seedbed of our thoughts, is in fact where the majority of our battles take place. Sometimes our mind feels like a minefield. Doesn’t it? We’re bombarded with so many thoughts bred out of…

  • How we feel
  • What we see
  • What is being done to us
  • What is being done to someone else
  • Current affairs
  • The economy

There are literally thousands of triggers each day that set off thoughts in our mind. Some of these thoughts can be explosive and if detonated, acted upon, they could inflict serious casualties, not only to our selves, but to others. In our scripture today, Peter admonishes us to, “gird up the loins of our mind.” What an interesting juxtaposition of terms here; the mind and the loins. What would one have to do with the other?

The Birth of a Thought

If each action we perform, or commit is preceded by a thought, we must all gird up, or guar the birthplace (loins host our reproductive organs) of our thoughts. By guarding what triggers these thoughts, and not allowing them to penetrate to the point of execution, we can and will arise victorious over the very thing the devil intended to elicit a certain response out of you. Now that we know we must guard the birthplace of our thoughts, let us discuss the “how.”

Guard Against Pride

Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” What kind of mind would Christ have had? For starters, he wasn’t thinking ill of mankind. In fact reading further in the same chapter, 6Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (Philippians 2:6-7). Even though, Jesus was God, manifested in the flesh, he did not exercise superiority over man; he took upon him the form of a servant. Humility is essential if one is to guard their mind against pride! 4The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts (Psalm 10:4).

Guard Against Negativity

Not much farther in the book of Philippians, we are given some further instructions on protecting our minds. 8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8). Contrary to what some my “think” I cannot force you to think differently. This requires training on your part. A terrific start is allowing yourself to focus on the list Paul gave us. Doing so will prevent the negative mindset that so permeates our society today.

Guard Against Carnality

1Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin (I Peter 4:1). Yes, you read correctly, Peter again instructs us to “arm” ourselves against our own flesh. It opposes all that is good. It seeks only to satisfy the primitive nature that tainted us so many thousands of years ago in Eden. No good will come of giving into the carnal nature of the flesh. I know we are fleshly creatures, but our appetites and desires should stem from our spiritual mind rather than our carnal mind. 6For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:6).

The Armor

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15A nd your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:13 – 17).

Again, we see reference to our loins, and that for very best protection we must employ truth! Of course we need more than just our mind protected, which Paul makes provision for here. I do not think it coincidental that Paul starts with truth. We have a foundation of truth on which we can stand, on which we can build, and which we can use to protect ourselves from false doctrine and from attacks of the enemy.

In Closing

“Truly,” truth is our greatest defense against attacks on our minds. Perhaps that is why the wisest man of his time said in Proverb, ” Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding (Proverbs 23:23).

How Do I Feel?

Physically, I’m amazed at how good I feel today. Perhaps the best day I’ve had since I started. Being over half way there is an exhilarating feeling as well. Which begs the question, should I be in anticipation about the fast ending? Doing so could potentially put me at risk of making this more about an endurance test than about a spiritual journey and getting closer to the Master. After all, yes the destination is our focus, as is Heaven. But, let’s not shortchange ourselves of the journey that’s ahead, which holds for us many more joyful experiences.

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!