Friday, January 29, 2010
I am so thankful for these past three weeks. They have humbled me and shown me how far I have to go before I reach the mark God has for me. I went through a cycle over this time. The first week I began excited and ended feeling sick and achy. I would try and pray and feel like I wasn't getting anywhere. Week two I felt better physically and found myself no longer caring about food, at least not as much. That was the good news. The bad news is that I felt that every time I prayed it was a battle. I felt irritable and like I was fighting something. I was very unsure and the only way I could pray with any conviction is when I was praying that everyone elses prayers would be answered so that was my focus. I found myself avoiding God at some points in the week. It was a difficult space and I was glad when the week ended. This week my hunger came back. I am not sure if it was hunger or if I could feel the end was near and so thought about food too much. I felt more temptation this week. It seemed as is I was fighting a "what's the use" type of attitude. Since the fast started I have gone through a couple of personal disappointments and battling some personal demons. It has been hard; much harder than I expected. Not the food part, but the spiritual battle. I feel drained when I expected to feel energized. The good news of this week is that I dug in and prayed. I didn't always feel the presence of God but I pressed through. I turned off the TV for the most part and prayed and read. I needed God's word and I needed the words of a book I was lead to read. Together they helped me get back on track. Tonight I spent a wonderful time in prayer and then listened to a message over at the Mars Hill site. While the message was convicting it also pushed me to want to work harder and draw closer to God. I am still waiting for answers to the prayers I wrote down as my focus and I am hoping for some of those answers, but regardless God has been hard as work on me through this process. This is and has been a transforming experience and although I would not have said so last week, it is an experience I do want to repeat.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 12:13 AM
Friday, January 22, 2010
I was reading about the Children of Israel in slavery in Egypt. Moses has just told Aaron his brother and the rest that God is going to deliver them. He confirmed his words with signs and I love what happens next. Verse 30 and 31 of Exodus 4 say that when Moses told them God was concerned for them and saw them in their misery, they believed, they bowed down, and worshipped. How good that they believed God and did not question why they had to suffer or whether God was good. They just believed and they worshipped. I sometimes fall short, especially on the "not questioning" God part. I see the misery and wonder why. I have to say that seeing the earthquake in Haiti has made me have moments of wonder even though I know it is a good wake up call for all men and it is a great opportunity for the gospel. But it is hard to see misery and suffering. The earthquake gave me perspective while I am fasting. I could watch the news and see people who had nothing to eat or drink and nowhere to call home and I could be grateful for my beans and my vegetable soup. I could thank God for my water and grapefruit juice. I am so grateful for a place to call home. We are so blessed. I am thankful to be able to take time to bow down and worship. I am no better or worthy than anyone else and it is only a matter of location on earth that I am so well off and not homeless due to an earthquake. But whether I am blessed with much or in the middle of disaster God is good and He is not willing that anyone perish. He does not afflict us willingly but only to draw us to Himself. The gospel is being spread and is going to be spread in a greater way in Haiti, at least for a time. Let's remember to do good and spread His gospel where we are. Let us remember daily that God is good and sees what we live with. Let us remember to hear the voice of God and believe it, every day.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 11:51 PM
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
"Stop feeding what you want to die, and starving what you want to live." What more can I say. It is so much easier to relax in front of the TV or watch a movie than read my Bible or spend time in prayer. It is so much easier to grab McDonalds than to actually cook. I read the above quote on another blog I read sometimes and it literally took my breath away because it is so true. We pick what is easier over what is better. I am so thankful for this fast, even when I am grumbling about it. It forces me to think about how I am living, how I am spending my time. It has shown me up close and with no way to wiggle around it just how addicted to food and eating what I want to eat that I really am. It gives me a chance to feed what I want to live, to draw close to God and to take inventory of my life in this new year. As for today, I suggest not eating vegetable soup every day (minus one), for a week! Tonight I got sick of it and just a few minutes ago fixed a veggie burger, plain of course. It tasted wonderful. Again, I wonder if I am feeding what I shouldn't. I want to get past even worrying about what I eat. I would have failed the manna test for sure! I am still praying that by the end of this time I will not care so much about food and that I will see the power of God revealed in answered prayer. Let me know your answers to prayer fellow fasters. It is so encouraging to hear what God is doing!
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:16 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Sometimes when I am in church it seems that God talks to me about different things than what the sermon is actually about. We have been fasting for one week now and I have harbored a fear deep inside me. What if I go through the fast and nothing happens in my life? What if God does great things in everyone else and nothing in me. You see I am very unwilling to live my life the way I always have. I want so badly to see and experience the power of God. In fact, I think I would be thrilled if God answered everyone elses prayers except mine. That would still be powerful. But I still want to change. There have been a couple days when I felt free from the bondage of food but then a day like today comes along when I wake up dreaming about bread. I cannot believe the grip food has on me. I also long to see a breakthrough in my group of High Schoolers on Wednesday night. I so want them to believe in God and know that He is good. So many of them have not had much good in their lives and they cannot see a good God. They are afraid that if there is a God He is not good. I know better but I cannot make them see. Only the Spirit of God can do that. There are also things I want in my family, mostly that we would all serve the Lord with passion and not be distracted. I want so much. I long for so much. Sometimes I feel paralyzed and afraid that it will never happen. Faith is believing what we cannot see, hoping for what is not yet. Today I felt certain that God does not want me to be satisfied with the way things are. He wants me to be unwilling to accept anything but His answer. I feel assured that what I am praying for is His will. I also feel assured that part of the answer to my prayers is being unwilling to live like I always have and being willing to risk a life of faith. It is not about performance. It is about commitment. Those of you who are fasting with me, We've made it through a week!! Let's press forward and see what God does.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 7:38 PM
Friday, January 15, 2010
Today I was sick, yucky, icky, sick. This evening I feel better but for most of the day I felt miserable and guilty because nothing on my "to do" list was getting done. At least being on the fast was not a problem as I did not feel like eating much. The truth is, I am getting a better attitude. I am enjoying the feeling of not being excited about the whole food process. It is a good place to just eat because you are hungry, not because it is necessarily something you want. Eating without it being recreational is good for me. I am starting to focus less on what I am giving up and more on the important part of the Fast, drawing near to God. Oh, how I long to change, to be who he wants me to be. I am so well aware that I am not young anymore and that time is something I cannot afford to waste. At times I feel envious of you that are young and I want to beg you to use your life for God, give it all to Him. I am praying that all of us will be set free from the bondages that keep us so tied to this earth. He made us to be "strangers and aliens," to resist putting down roots. When Abram was called it was a calling to a land He knew not, to a place not on a map, called to simply obey, by faith. His calling is ours, we set out, by faith, commiting our life to Christ, not knowing the direction we are going, not knowing the path or even what we are to do. I have an idea for the new year. Let's say yes. Let's embrace ministry opportunities and quit worrying about whether it is the right direction for us or not. Now, I must add a small disclaimer, if after prayer you hear a definite no, then obey that. But, if you are having trouble hearing God's voice and you are wondering what you should be doing with your life, I suggest saying yes. Let's live actively for Christ, actively seeking a new country, the Kingdom of God, bringing as many with us as we can, helping them grow in the grace and mercy of God until we all go to our true home.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:36 PM
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I would like to know how Daniel was able to be "fatter" of face after his Daniel fast. It does not seem possible and I will be very disappointed if that is the outcome of my face, thank you very much. Okay, so we are as a church fasting and it is hard for some and easier for others. For me it is like I have an easy day and then a hard day. Today I can tell is going to be hard. I woke up feeling very hungry but not wanting to eat. I did not want to go off the fast. That is not a temptation, at least at this time, but I did not want to eat what I had. Then I got to thinking about those people in Haiti that have been devastated by the earthquake and how most of them did not have much to begin with. I am pretty sure they would be delighted to eat what I can eat and what I have in my cupboards. I think I am seeing that I am pretty spoiled and that I don't really know what hunger is. Last night at Life Trek I was so encouraged by what our leader, Andy, shared at our leadership meeting. He is fasting and struggling with the irritability, fatigue and other things that we are all dealing with. But he shared how God is moving at his workplace and how God has been moving him to speak to people. It encouraged me to believe God for great things during this time with Him. It encouraged me to quit thinking about the food part of the fast and concentrate on the God part. I slipped a little this morning when I got up so hungry but I did go straight to prayer before I ate. I want to see God move in our church and in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I believe it will happen. I want to see the kids I minister to on Wednesday nights come to the Lord and am tired of waiting. I need to see the power of God in my own life and in the lives of those around me. I am grateful for this time of fasting and prayer, even on a hungry Thursday morning.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:58 AM
Monday, January 11, 2010
I am such a wuss. I woke up thinking about chocolate cake. I don't even like chocolate cake all that much. It is like if I know I can't have something I want it. By the end of today I felt filled with anxiety, had a headache and wanted to sleep. All this after one day of a Daniel Fast. A Daniel fast is a fast where I can actually eat. I am not deprived at all but you wouldn't know it by how I was feeling. When I got home today I was feeling so anxious. I started cleaning like crazy (a good thing) and I ate some salad while I made my dinner of rice and veggies. At some point it dawned on me, duh, that this fast is not just about not eating but it is about drawing near to God. I put everything on hold, got down on my knees and prayed. I prayed over my list we all put together of things we desire to see God do. I confessed how far from holy I am and how sorry my attitude is. I asked God to forgive me and help break the chains of food and every other chain that binds me and keeps me from the place God has for me. I thanked God then, for his mercy which I need in abundance. I asked forgivness for my pride that so often thinks so much better of itself than it should. I asked God to help me through this. If you are on this road with me I am sure you are doing better. I have struggled with food issues my entire life. But I also know that unless we give equal time to the prayer part of fasting it will all be for nought. After praying I felt like a weight had lifted off of me. He is so good! I am praying that we see the power of the Spirit released, the only power that will break our chains, that we will forge deeper commitments to our God and know Him in a way we never have before, and that our church will grow and prosper.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 7:59 PM
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Today at sundown I started a new adventure. Our Pastor has called our church to a Daniel fast for the next 21 days. At first I was very excited and was encouraged by the enthusiasm of my family. I prepared my kitchen and figured out how I would manage it. As time got closer I found myself thinking about modifying it here and there. I kept trying to find ways to make it a little easier. You see, I feared failure. I feared startind something that I would not be able to finish. I feared letting down the people around me and more than that letting the Lord down. I was so encouraged by the sermon this morning. The battle is the Lord's always. It is not about my perfection. I'm not and the truth is that I might fail. I don't want to. But like Pastor Sean said this morning I can either get right back up when I fail or continue flailing on the ground in failure. In the past I have been more of a flailing on the ground type of person. That is where my fear was. Having the freedom to get right back up and go on set me free to get excited again. I am excited to see what God will do. I need Him to do some huge God-sized things for me and for my church. I am excited because I have never successfully fasted for more than one day before and I am ready for food to lose its control over me. I am excited because I long to see God work and to hear all the testimonies that I know are going to come. I am hoping I make the 21 days without a bump but I am so thankful that God took the fear of that bump away so that I can do this, not as a test I have to pass, but as a privilege I get to participate in. I will try and blog about how it is going and what God is doing from time to time as the month goes by. For now, I go forward through life without chocolate and caffeine free!
Posted by Random Thoughts at 9:26 PM
Friday, January 8, 2010
Yesterday was a first Thursday of the month which means I get to be a mentor mom at Mop's. I love Mop's and wish I had known about it when my girls were pre-school age. Being as my girls are five years apart I could have been there forever! As it is I love being with the young moms now and learning from them. They are supposed to be learning from me but I guarantee that I am the one doing the learning. I have been thinking about regrets this week and had determined not to waste any more time on past mistakes, but, there I was at Mop's listening to young mom's who are making decisions that I wish I had made years ago. I love their confidence and enthusiasm for life and love to hear about what they do that gives them all of their energy. Of course being young helps but I discovered several things while listening at my table this week. They are physically fit. I am coming to see how tied together physical and spiritual fitness are. These ladies at my table run, some of them marathons. They play tennis, they walk and they chase after toddlers. I wish I had done some of that when I was younger but in keeping with my determination to not dwell in the past I just came home from work that day and went walking for a mile. ( I am out of shape so a mile is pretty good for me) They make time for friends and help each other. Some of the ladies at my table watch the children of the others so that they can work or get to appointments. I can tell they talk to each other and make time for one another. When I was younger I did not have a group of young mom's for a support system and I am so glad they do and that they appreciate it. I slipped a little and felt that deep regret of not forming those solid friendships when I was a young mom. It would have helped me be a better person and a better mom. I felt the weight come upon me again and had to pray this time to get rid of it. I could not exercise this one away! It seems that when God is dealing with me in an area of life, like wanting to live in the present and not in the past, he gives me opportunity to make a choice. Like yesterday, He allowed me to make the choice to dwell on past regrets or to move on and determine to make different choices now. I did feel that regret and was kind of in a funk all day but then I remembered what the lesson is about. God cannot teach me to live in the present without giving me the choice. He had to allow me to be in the position of taking hold of those regrets in order to let me choose not to. It is like deciding to give up chocolate. It would be easy if all the chocolate on earth would just disappear, but no, instead we have to actually decide not to eat it. I cannot grab hold of the joy God desires me to have in this present life if I live in my past decisions. That is why Paul made a conscious effort to put his past behind him. It is how David could be a man after God's own heart after commiting murder and adultery. It is how this "chiefest" of all sinners can walk forward, knowing that all of my sins of the past are banished, never to be thrown at me again.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 5:59 PM
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sometimes the regrets I carry keep me from moving. Regrets are like weights. They are heavy, and like a weight are hard to get rid of. I am way too fond of looking back at the would of, could of, should of's of life and not so good at asking what I need to do today. I try. I ask God for direction and for guidance. There are times when I move forward and do as He directs. But there are those other times when I am hampered by what I have missed and how much farther along I should be on this road God has given me. One of my resolutions for the year is to not let regret paralyze me. I don't want to be sidelined by past failure. Paul was so wise to "forget what was behind." Jesus knew what He was doing when He told the woman "Go and sin no more." They knew that one of the secrets to effectiveness in the present is to walk forward from the past, to let it be the past. It is hard at times. Some of the fallout of those past regrets may be a constant reminder of the past. That fallout also needs to be placed in the present. Consequences of past failures are to be given to God. We are to trust that the God who is All Powerfull can work out those consequences for His Glory, redeem them. We are set free from our past failures in Christ, whether those failures happened before or after we were saved. The same sacrifice for sin covers and forgives our failures. I know in my mind that I should live with no regrets. I know that God has forgiven me of everything and that my time is fresh and redeemed for Him. I know that He is working, even in those situations borne out of my failure. He is so precious, such a Savior, the great Redeemer. He is in our present and has forgiven our past. Let's surrender all of our today's and tomorrow's to Him and cast out all of our yesterday's. Let's walk as the redeemed, forgiven, cleansed believers that Christ says that we are.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 6:01 PM
Saturday, January 2, 2010
I don't always start the new year at Genesis but this year it seemed good. I was in need of feeling that sense of beginning, of creation. While reading today I was struck by the story of Cain. When he offered his sacrifice and it was unacceptable he was downcast. In other words he felt rotten. Whether that was because he actually wanted to please God or he just felt it wasn't fair only God knows. What struck me was the way that God responded. He reassured Cain that if Cain did well his sacrifice would be acceptable. Then He warned Cain. Sin is crouching at the door. It desires to have you. You must master it. Three very true and sobering statements, as true today as they were for Cain. First God reassures us. He wants us to be in the Kingdom, to walk with Him. He wants us so much He sent His Son as the only Acceptable Sacrifice for our sin. Unlike Cain we have a sacrifice made that is sure and acceptable. It is ours for the taking and like any sacrifice for sin it is free and costly. It is free, we cannot pay for it or earn it, we cannot make it better or somehow more acceptable. It is costly, we give our lives and our wills to the Savior. We should see the cost as small as God loves us and wants our best but it is hard think for the flesh to turn over control. It is the war we fight daily between the flesh and the Spirit. But God is rich in mercy and accepts our repentant hearts when we blow it and casts our sins into the deepest part of the depths, not to be fished out. But God's warning is for us also. Sin is crouching at the door and when it comes in it brings death as Cain would learn. Sin starts small, cutting corners, small lies, a lingering look, a harsh word....Sin grows until it is stopped. The only stop for sin is repentance. That is where the words "you much master it" come in. While we cannot overcome sin ourselves we must repent of it and put it to death. The mastering comes when we renew our mind with the Word of God daily, the mastering comes when we avoid, run from, and turn from every thought that would lead us to sin, from every situation that causes us temptation, every UnGodly influence that invades our life. It is serious. God takes sin seriously. Yesterday may have been a fresh, new year but in my house sin was lurking at the door and I did not master it well. I was irritable and said things that I regret. I am thankful my family was gracious to both put up with me and forgive me. I am thankful that like New Years day today is a new day, a new day to serve the God I love so much, a new day to love my neighbor, a new day to love my family, and a new day to master that sin that still crouches at my door.
Posted by Random Thoughts at 10:40 AM