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.

21-Day Fast (Day 3) – Broken vs. Fractured

You had to know this was going to happen. The guy goes on a fast and he’s already getting deep and philosophical on us. OK, I admit I’m a “thinker” and my wife constantly accuses me of being “analytical” even when I’m NOT on a fast. So here’s the latest “dish.” Did I say “dish?” Yup. When you aren’t eating food, you have to dine on something, so why not the Word of God?

The inspiration for this thought came after Pastor Stephen preached our communion service message entitled, “Let Me Be Broken.” I’ve been “nibbling” on it ever since (there I go again with the “eating” references). As I shared with the Lord my desire to be just that, broken, I was deeply impressed upon in my spirit that we have so many that say they’re willing to be broken but fail to allow themselves to be engulfed by the entire process of being “broken.” Simply stated, they only go as far as being fractured, and stop before they can be broken.

What Do You Mean by “Broken?” 

There is no greater imagery of what it means to be broken than the night that Jesus was betrayed. Consider this passage in I Corinthians 11:23-26

 23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Jesus showed us that in order to be of any use one must be broken. He symbolized it with this sacred breaking of the bread that represented His body, and He demonstrated it with the breaking of His body at Calvary. Had He not become broken for you and I, we would not enjoy this great plan of Salvation. It wasn’t until the bread was broken that it could actually be effectively used. If you refer to yesterday’s post you’ll see that this bread I am referring to is Jesus Christ!

A Full Break is Better Than a Fracture

Thankfully, I’ve never experienced a broken bone, but I have had some close calls. In fact, I’ve been told a time or two that it would have been better if I would have just plain broken the bone. But because it was a fracture, there wasn’t much they could do. I think as Christians we opt out of the process of being broken too soon. If you are not careful, you will stop at simply being fractured which puts you at risk for more pain and suffering than if you would have just allowed your will to be broken. But because you stopped too soon, or you allowed other priorities to creep in, you are fractured. The healing process is prolonged and actually, medically speaking, that injury could plague you with aches and pains the rest of your life, never being fully allowed to heal. I think this is when Christians become bitter, resentful and critical; they’re fractured, they’re not broken.

How Do I Feel?

I feel just fine in the Lord. I’m not going to allow the weakness and temptations of the flesh to undermine what God’s trying to accomplish. Stopping this process too soon could very well put me at risk of simply being fractured and not completely broken. I want to be used of God in whatever capacity He’s called me. That’s going to involve a breaking process, but if I allow the great Potter to form and fashion, mold and shape me according to His perfect design than break away Lord. Make me stronger and of more value to your Kingdom.

 

21-Day Fast (Day 2)

Why I feel the compulsion to log this fast I have no idea. I just feel like it’s such a rare experience fasting for this length of time, I wanted to capture and learn as much as I could from it.

No REAL Hunger Pangs Yet

As I write this I’m midway through the day and have had minimal hunger pangs. I’m sure they’re coming mind you, and I’m sure with a vengeance. One thing physically that I’ve avoided while fasting this time is anything like breath mints, gum, or even any flavored beverages (other than tea). Some people I know that fast, still drink juice, coffee, and even pop. I’m not trying to rationalize my use of tea but the warm light beverage soothes me only ever so slightly. What I’ve noticed when I’ve tried to fast and still drink those other beverages, they actually increase my cravings for food. Eliminating them, at least for me, is the only way to go.

The Workman’s Fast

One thing our pastor has instituted was the Workman’s Fast. On this fast one would avoid food and drink (other than water) until 5 p.m. at which time they would eat, and then fast for the remaining time until 5 p.m. the next day. This fast is an excellent option for those that cannot fast for extended periods of time, or for those who may have a strenous job, but would still like to participate.

More on Motive 

I think here the overall intent is to spend less time eating and more time in prayer. Simply avoiding food, from a Christian perspective, is not fasting. We must accompany our fasting with prayer and Bible reading/study. The intent is to sacrifice the appetites of the flesh in favor of pursuing God and becoming more spiritually in-tune with His will and design for your life. Not that food interferes with that necessarily, but hitting the flesh where it hurts the most can certainly bring about a sobering sense of reality. Plus, I think there’s a beautiful sense that we are looking to Jesus for our Daily Bread as it were versus looking to our refrigerator for sustenance.

John 6:47-51 –  47Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48I am that bread of life. 49Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  50This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

How Do I Feel?

Aside from dealing with my pre-occupation with food, I’m feeling a tenderness well up in my spirit. A soft wooing as it were to come closer. I feel a part of me stripping away, and yet another part of me growing stronger. I know, I know, it’s only been 2 days, but much like I get when I’m about to go on vacation, I have an excited anticipation about where this will lead me. The only difference with this trip is, the less baggage the better!

Biblical Fasting

I wish I could take credit for this excellent resource on fasting but I can’t. Here is a link to some very valuable information about Biblical Fasting.