Wednesday, July 14, 2010

40 Days of Fasting

Fasting is one way of seeking and finding the actual kingdom of God present and active in our lives. And because we are then more immersed in the reality of the kingdom, practically utilizing the "keys," our lives take on the character and power of Jesus. This will assure us that our work is his work and that he is working. Though we act, and work hard, it is after all not our battle and the outcome is in his hands. ~Dallas Willard

This is day three and day three is always the toughest day for me with fasting. I have fasted often in my life, but the longest fast was something like fifteen days I think. Yes, I did just come off a fast for seven days just two weeks ago (Prayful Fasting for My Church) as I was called to do and I would not be fasting now so soon afterward if I have been called to do so again. The previous fast was for my church about each person's financial situation, but there was more.

The Lord showed me another vision towards the end of my fast. This one was of a pole of gigantic proportions in a giant hand plunging it into the ground on our church property down into solid rock. It was firmly planted and unmovable. I did not get the feeling it was about keeping the property or building a new building, but rather that our church will stand firm wherever we end up worshiping.

There was also another message, one that came from a dear blogging friend, who felt led to pray about my church even though she is from half way around the world. This message was Ecclesiastes 11:1. Caste your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. She also wrote that she had a sense God wished the church to be generous with the blessings He is bestowing. IS bestowing! I felt that our two jobless members would be getting jobs soon, and one has. Tonight another told us she had applied for another job so that she could give more to the church and she not only got the job, but God answered every prayer she had about the job in the most amazing ways! In addition, I feel that everyone is well placed in our church, each according to his gifts, probably better than ever before.

However, all this came with an...IF. The "if" was that the people would be willing to honor and sacrifice to the Lord. What that would be was the part I personally was not given, but it was given to another.

During my seven day fast, without anyone knowing I was fasting, our pastor also felt a calling to fast. A fast that the entire church would be asked to do...not for a day or two but for forty days. Not everyone can do a food fast for forty days due to medical reasons, but they were asked to fast in some way and spend extra prayer time seeking the Lord's will with our church. We have added a prayer time at our church on Wednesday evenings and before Sunday services.

My husband and I have chosen not to eat solid food for our fast and usually we have this agreement that we do not fast at the same time. (If you have ever fasted for a time you might understand why. Let's just say it is very challenging, at times, not to be just a bit...grumpy.) However when called by the Lord, we just do what we are to do. We both did not feel led to do a water only fast, but mostly water only supplementing with small amounts of raw milk and/or raw juices as needed; usually just four ounces in a day is just enough to get by. The Princess has chosen to fast sweets and desserts. She wanted to try one meal a day and we agreed to let her do that for a week, but when dinner time hunger gripped her tummy, she reconsidered. She is young, her time will come. We also have the TV service off, but we do watch a DVD every few days. We have the first seasons of The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, The Andy Griffith Show and when we have the time, which is rare, we may choose a movie.

During this forty days I decided to finally do The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren that has been in want of some page turning since my husband read it...perhaps seven years ago?

In the meantime, I had been receiving another message over and over: A sermon from our pastor and then one on the radio about taking ownership. How the Israelites were not willing to take ownership of the land God had given them and the blessings He gave when they finally were willing to take ownership. I don't know if that was for the whole church, but I am sure that one spoke to me.

I have been purposely trying to be a wallflower in the four churches we attended since we moved to Georgia. We are not a church hoppers, we just try to go were we are led to go, but regardless of where we went, I have tried to stay in the shadows with the gifts the Lord has given me. Part of me felt I was being humble, part of me was unsure, part of me felt I needed to learn temperance, but another part of me also knew there would be a time I would need to be willing to step out and do my part in the Lord's work openly.

I felt led to offer my testimony regarding my last fast and all that I have written here about the messages and visions the Lord had given to me. It is not like I have never shared such things with individuals, but the Lord wanted me to do this in front of all the people in my church. I offered this to our pastor and he ask me to wait two weeks when he would be calling for the fast. I thought about what I would say, prayed about it, then asked the Lord to give me what He would have me say, which I should have done first.

You know, I used to lecture, act, and even sing in front of crowds. I rarely get stage fright and there were only twenty-four people, including the children, in our church that day, all of whom I have known for quite awhile, but standing up in front of them and telling them what I felt was a message to us all from the Lord...that was an entirely different experience! I so have a new appreciation for pastors and the unbelievable responsibility they have to give the message God wanted the people of that church to be given that day.

As in awe as I was and still am—For who am I to give messages from the Lord and what if I these messages were from my own hopes and not really from the Lord? Who would ever trust or believe me after that?—there is something in me that is at peace, that it is all part of the plan and that God is preparing all the people in our church for the people He is preparing to come to our church.

The thing that amazes me the most is that when I look at the circumstances from the world's point of view, things look pretty disheartening for our little church, but fasting does have a way of helping me see things from the perspective within God's kingdom. When I am there, I feel joy and anticipation for our church; I just feel something exciting is going to happen, but I do not know what...yet.

My Lord, thank you for our church, and for hearing and answering our prayers. Please let us hear You clearly and have courage to do what You what You wish us to do.

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Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.