Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 20 of 40 - The Half Way Mark


Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God. ~Andrew Murray

Walking and talking with God without solid food makes for an interesting, rather insightful, journey. I am one to often see things from a different perspective than most anyway, however sometimes it is more difficult to detach my emotions and see it all from a third person viewpoint, better yet from God's viewpoint. Fasting seems to make that easier.

I have said many times before, so I apologize to those of you who read my blog all along and probably will roll their eyes with the thoughts of there she goes again, but I am in agreement with Dallas Willard and others when he writes that Jesus wanted us to understand that we are living in God's kingdom and we should to see all from that perspective. God's kingdom, our eternity, is not something that we enter upon death like a vacation spot to which we have been working to go, but what we have begun already living.

Dieter Zander stated, "Then I read Dallas's book The Divine Conspiracy. It dawned on me—Jesus said the kingdom of God is at hand. It's now. It's here. God's presence is among us, and we can experience the reality of his kingdom before we die. It wasn't just a brochure anymore. It was an epiphany for me."

I wondered, still wonder, if I will make it through all forty days of this fast, but then I also think how little of a sacrifice this really is when I see it from the kingdom perspective. I have no answers yet for which the church body is seeking, I seek those answers too, but they have are not the priority in my prayers. I am doing this not for myself and not for my church as to what we should do in the future, but for each individual of my church and some others God has brought up to me. The only question I have been asking myself of late is do I love each one of them enough to make this sacrifice for them for twenty more days.

Probably most people made the commitment to fasting from the unnecessary things of their lives, the things we could have lived without all along. It is good to strip those things out of our lifestyle for forty days, so we can see just how unnecessary they are...but when you do that as well give up something as necessary to life as food...well, all I can say is that it saddens me that people miss out on the fullness of the blessing.

I am thinking of the parable of the talents right now—actually, God has been placing that before quite a bit—He seems to be telling me that He is giving not so much according to needs, but according to how much He can trust with each person and how generous they will be with what He has given each one. This speaks to me personally so much. I am, have been, the one who would bury the one talent, not take the risk of losing it, but wanting the reward He would give to the one who had the most and risked the most.

I am not walking around in the wilderness alone with my only needs being to find places to rest and pray and drink as Jesus did. I have my child for which I must care and other obligations so I opted for fasting solid food only, having raw milk and juices as I needed to have the energy to what is necessary, so even my sacrifice is not as complete as it could be. I still feel the physical effects of the fast though. Because I only have so much energy to expend and because my mind and heart is more focused on praying, I have found that I tend to ration the activities of my day, giving attention to only the things that are more necessary. Fasting truly helps one to restructure priorities. I am not judging those who fasted less important things—no, not at all!—what each fasted is between him or her and God. However, I am feeling sorry for some because many have not ever fasted food even for a day or one meal a day for a short time and just believed they could not do it.

My husband has said that what people do not see when they enter a fast is not so much that it will change circumstances (although that does happen), but that it changes the person—I would say they see things from the perspective of the kingdom more. Things have been certainly been changing in me. Since our new pastor settled in, I have been feeling quite a bit of nudging from the Lord and I am quite ashamed that He has had to nudge me so much before I would act on it. I am to use the talents I have in His service and not hide them as I have been.

I have even felt the need to change in how I homeschool. It has been changing gradually this past two years, but this year I am going to go with my first love on that. I am letting go of the "school" and immersing into the living books approach as I wanted to do and felt led to do. Things are changing in our home life also and at this point I am not so sure we will be turning the TV service back on...well, not until after that time of year I dread the most (Halloween), at least.

~ My Lord, twenty more days...one part of me feels that because I have already done twenty days, I can do twenty more, no problem, and the other part feels like having done twenty, I am not sure I can do twenty more. I know all things are possible through You and I know that You are opening my heart. I love You enough to do it, but I questioned if I loved each of the church members to do it for them and You have shown me how to love them, to see them as You see them, with all their sins washed away. They are all so beautiful, Lord. Thank you for that. ~

3 comments:

  1. Seeking: Such a long fast. I've never gone so long. I keep being told God is calling His people out ~ out of their churches [because so many are worldly], out of their comfort zones, out of the world. He is setting His people apart for Himself. This is part of that I think. He wants people who are wholly His. Blessing my friend.

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  2. Never have I, but I think it is important that people know first hand by our example that it is possible. I know it is, but that does not make it easy.

    I am having a low-energy day, but yesterday I was doing very well. My husband had a low-energy day yesterday and has been doing all sorts of things today. Fasting is a trial, but the discipline part is also knowing that you could end it and yet choose to keep your commitment.

    I am hoping that some of the people in my church will consider modifying their fast to making greater sacrifices as to God's calling of each. Not because it is a contest, or because they must, or because it earns them anything, but because they desire to do so and are called to do so by the Lord.

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  3. I meant "neither have I." My brain just was not working on all thrusters yesterday.

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