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Fasting Day 7 & 8

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Words of Encouragement

Encouraging fellow believers is one of the most basic things that we as Christians need to be doing. Instead of tearing each other down over denominational differences (which I believe are of the enemy) or the color of the carpet (or any other trivial thing). God’s word is God’s word. His interpretation is the only interpretation we need or should ask for. When you find a church or fellow believers that encourage you — and not always with pretty words that make you feel good, but by lovingly convicting you of sin in your life and helping you to live closer to God — stay with it or them! Be encouraged by their words and actions and learn to follow in God’s will by doing the same when you are ready!

Day 7

It was another loss, not a complete one, but one none-the-less. That’s it for me, though. With the encouragement of my brothers and sisters, with God’s word today fresh in my mind I will not be defeated! I draw the line today and I will toe it and I just dare the enemy to cross it. I am a child of God and I will not be stymied in my efforts to draw closer to the Lord. This fast isn’t about eating healthier, it isn’t about starvation. It is about focusing on God so that He is all I see. All I think about. All I know. That would be perfection. That won’t happen in this life, I know, but that is what we all need to move toward when we fast.

Day 8

Today started out really good. Went to church to worship God, not out of any sort of need to perform ritual, not from any need to do what others are doing, and not even just out of obedience. I went to church to worship God because I wanted to make sure He knows I love Him and all He’s done for me. That is going to be my focus for the rest of the day, my love for Him.

Recipe of the Day

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Red Beans and Rice with Diced Potatoes

EVOO
1/2 cup of dried red beans
1 cup of brown rice
Cayenne Pepper
Salt
Pepper
1 small sprig Rosemary
2 small potatoes
2 cups water
Tarragon

Take the red beans out early and soak them for at least 2-3 hours. Once they are soaked, rinse and continue with recipe.

Take the potatoes and dice them into about 1 inch cubes (about bite size). Put them in a small baking pan.

Take the Rosemary and finely chop it until it’s almost a powder (it doesn’t have to be uniform). Set aside.

Put rice in a pot with some EVOO, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika (hot or mild is up to you), tarragon – all to taste – and 2 cups of water. Set aside.

Season the potatoes as you did the rice, setting aside the rest of the rosemary (I had some left, you might want to use it all) in the fridge until future use. The leftover rosemary should be good for up to a week. Place the potatoes in the oven at 450 for 35 minutes.

Take the red beans and put on to boil for about 20-30 minutes until desired tenderness. Drain most of the water and then add to rice. Set rice and beans to boil for about 10 minutes, then lower to a low boil (not a simmer). Depending on when you started boiling the red beans the rice will get done after the potatoes.

Praise God and enjoy!

Fasting Day 6 & 7

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Keeping the Proper Focus

In today’s world there are so many distractions to what is most important that it can be very hard to tell someone (or even yourself), No, enough is enough. I’m putting my focus back on what it needs to be on regardless of what you want. Don’t let yourself lose focus on the goal while you are fasting. Even while God is revealing His will to you, don’t let that lose your focus for the rest of the fast. Continue strong in the word and in prayer. If you are finding it hard to do in your current situation, perhaps you should consider changing that situation if you can.

Day 6

Yesterday was a complete loss, in my opinion. I allowed myself to be kept from the word, prayer and God in large part by those around me and in small part by myself when I did have time to myself. I can be as fully committed to the food part of it as I want but without the rest, as my pastor says, than it’s just a really harsh diet. I’d rather be fasting than dieting.

Day 7

Today I’m recommitting myself to staying in the word, in prayer, and in communion with God almighty. May He grant me strength and remove the road blocks in my way to keeping to the spirit of the fast.

Fasting Days 5 & 6

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Fasting isn’t just about spiritual renewal. It’s about drawing closer to God then you were before. As one of the three disciplines outlined by Christ that every Christian should follow, we should all be fasting when we feel the need to draw even closer to God. Of course don’t expect nothing to happen. If you are honest in your reasons for fasting and honest and steadfast in your fast, God will pour out into you. Be prepared for it! It can be overwhelming. Just don’t forget to give God the glory and praise. Even if your fast shows you His will and it’s opposite what you were wanting, praise Him! If you’re honest to yourself, you’ll accept that apparent negative revelation to your need. Live in God’s will and not your own.

Day 5

Day 5 finished out without any new revelation, but I’m still pressing forward because it is after all only the 5th day. I’m still feeling closer to God then I ever have before and that in and of itself is reward enough. I’m still studying the word as He is still drawing me to Ephesians. I’m having to really rely on God to keep me from temptation with the food aspect of it now. I’m starting to really miss milk and meat and bread. The sacrifice is worth it, though. A closer relationship to God is worth any sacrifice and every effort.

Day 6

Still having issues with missing food. I’m trying not to eat too much as I’m on a very limited budget and still have two more weeks to go starting Sunday (the 21st). Today I haven’t been in the word as much as I’ve been reflecting on God and what He has revealed to me thus far. I’m also seeing people come back into my life that I thought I would never see or hear from again and some of that started even before I started fasting! I do believe this to be an ongoing thing with God as I learn to be a better Christian, but certain people I’ve looked for before and have only just now found even though they’ve been there the entire time.

I do believe God will restore friendships if both people haven’t hardened their hearts to each other. So who knows. Perhaps I’ll start finding even more folks I used to know.

As I continue on into day 6 and get ready for day 7, I am going to remain faithful no matter what happens. God has already done so much when I was only a little willing to let him move in my life, how much more can He do as I continue to open my life to Him and put aside my own wants and needs.

My personal prayer for today is one of praise and thanks. I have nothing else to ask of God. So much He has already done for me, what else can I ask for? Perhaps God has already even revealed to me the job He wants for me and I’m just being obtuse because I’m not believing it fully. I hope not, I hate being obtuse (I’m fairly partial to oviod, though).

Recipe of the Day

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One bunch fresh asparagus
EVOO
Salt
Pepper
Two big portabella mushroom caps

Rins asparagus, cutting off the woody bottoms afterward
Take the portabella caps, clean and slice thickly

Put the asparagus in a large mixing bowl with the mushrooms. Drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper to taste, toss, bake in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Fasting Days 4 & 5

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Corporate vs. Private Fasting

As I continue to seek to draw closer to God over this period and continue to share with you, the world, my experiences in fasting, you might be wondering why I’m being so public about this, especially after referencing Matthew 6 repeatedly. Well, first, this is a corporate fast. I am fasting with my local church as a whole as I said in my first post, Fasting Days 1 & 2. Secondly, corporate fasting has a history of being public. When Ezra called the Israelites to fast, it was far from a private affair. In Ezra 8:21-23, he didn’t just invite the Israelites to fast, he told them that they would fast.

21Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” 23So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer.

They were out of doors, at the river side, having just told the king (Artaxerxes). We, as a church, are essentially doing the same. We have been telling the world just how God provides for those who believe and are faithful to Him. We’ve told them that regarding the building project. We’ve told them that regarding the healing (physical and spiritual) of ourselves and others. We’ve told them that we are trusting God in all areas that we need His divine and super-charged guidance in, and He’s listening!

God is providing for us, has been providing for us, and will continue to provide for us. We just need to get into a space where we are listening!

Are you listening? I know I am. I’ve asked for clarity on a subject and oh boy am I getting it! Of course I’m not done yet! I’ve still got 13 days to go. 13 days of burying myself in bible studies, devotionals, sermons, and blogs to read. God, FILL ME UP!

Day 4

Oh wow, what a day. What a day! After recognizing that God is speaking to me about what He has in mind for me eventually with regards to my singleness, I spent some time rereading Ephesians, following along with the footnotes in my study bible as I go along. I’m listening, and I’m doing my best to obey. I’m glad for a shepherd who isn’t afraid to lead and obey what God is telling him.

Day 5

As I move into day 5, I pray that I can continue to be so submissive to His will. It’s hard. I don’t like public speaking but He’s calling me to share His word from sea-to-sea, all across this globe. He wants me to share His word. I don’t know exactly how this will ultimately manifest itself, but first I need to be changed to where I can be effective in His eyes, not my own. I know part of that effectiveness comes from knowing Scripture well. It’s part of the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20), after all, and I so desire to have every piece as strong as God can make it. I have nothing to do with making this a strong armor. That’s a work of the Father above. I start out with enough faith, the size of a mustard seed, to trust and believe in Him. He does the rest. He provides people to water and nourish. He provides people to weed around me and to help me grow in His word. Even after I’m mature He still provides caretakers to make sure I don’t get sick and whither. And after I’m mature, He works in me to provide the same for another new believer. For one I might water, another I might prune, another I might weed. Where He needs me, there I want to be.

Recipe of the Day

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Something I want to do during these next few weeks is to share my recipes with you. Each day you will get my favorite recipe for that day, starting today.

Simple Fried Cabbage
Cabbage, eighths, and the eighth’s in half
EVOO
Salt
Pepper
White vinegar
One small onion, julienned

Cook in a lightly oiled (EVOO) cast iron skillet, put salt and pepper on the bottom of the pan.

Place in as much cabbage and onion as the skillet will hold. saute on medium-low to medium heat with no more than one-eighth cup vinegar until tender.

ENJOY!

Fasting Days 3 & 4

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Fasting With Style

In Matthew 6, when Christ tells us how to fast when we fast, he tells us to fast in secret and to put on a normal face, bathe ourselves and to wear decent clothing. Though he’s talking about personal fasting in this instance (especially about doing so in secret), all the precepts apply to corporate fasting. Don’t tell others you are fasting (though I guess I and pastor are, but we are sharing our experiences fasting more then we are bragging about it). Don’t put on a sad countenance. Don’t wear dirty clothes. Don’t not bathe. Don’t make people question you as to why you look the way you do. The whole point of fasting is to draw closer to God, not gain man’s approval.

My mom has been rolling her eyes at me because I’m fasting (I let her and my family know because I do live at home with them and they are going to question my changed eating habits). She just doesn’t get it. She thinks this is something I’m doing on my own and not as something to get closer to God (something else she seems to not approve 100% of, not sure why). She actually told me last night that this is only going to last until this Sunday. Can you imagine that? Telling God that His provision for me will last only until Sunday. I say telling God because I know she wasn’t talking to me. I wouldn’t have made it these 4 (this being the 4th) days if it wasn’t for His provision and grace in my life. Perhaps this is something I can use to witness to her and help her understand just what’s happened (and is happening) in my life.

Day 3

I spent a good deal of time yesterday not just rereading and studying Ephesians — though it’s looking as if I’ll be in it the rest of this fast — but I had some good God moments where I got to talk to Him and, most importantly, listen to Him. A lot of the verses, posts from Christians, and blog entries by Christians that He’s been putting before me are dealing with a very specific aspect of interpersonal relationships. While He’s using Ephesians to remind me of how He chose me even before I was born, He’s also using others around me and the rest of scripture to prepare me to be the Godly spouse He wants me to be.

Yes, I said spouse. Whatever God is getting ready to do in my personal life, I believe it is indeed leading up to marriage. I also believe He has shown me how He wants me to go about beginning this relationship. There is no other way to explain it. He is making sure I am a Godly mate before he fully reveals His choice in spouse for me. I only pray that I continue to be obedient to His will in this and other aspects of my life.

Day 4

As I begin day 4, I start off by staring at two oranges, a banana, and a glass of good, high pulp, nothing-but-oranges orange juice. I know God will continue to provide for me as long as I remain faithful. I am going to get more into the word today as I’m very excited as to what God has to show me. Perhaps at the end of this I will make public a copy of the notes from my study of Ephesians during this time.

God is already moving and revealing and it’s only been 3 days! I can hardly wait to see what the next 18 bring!

Fasting Days 2 & 3

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Fasting Isn’t For Everyone

As I enter my third day of fasting, I am continually thankful that God has continued to protect me and provide for my every need. I look around me and see that fasting isn’t for everyone, especially if you have a medical condition you need to talk to your physician before beginning any fast. While we trust in the Lord for protection, He has provided us with healers who have a knowledge about what is and isn’t good for our bodies. For some people fasting just isn’t possible, at least not a food fast. For those people, I recommend giving up something else that gets more attention than God, then give that time to God. For those people it might be Internet, or it could be TV, or it could be any number of other things that this world presents us with that isn’t God-centric.

Day 2

Yesterday was a beautiful, if clammy, day. Woke up praising God for his wonderful protection and provision. One thing really stood out to me, though. As I was going through looking for bible study material for a friend and I, one book really moved my heart. For some reason God is calling my attention and my heart to Ephesians. So after my bible study, and after spending time with my nephew and really thanking God for just everything, I read Ephesians. I didn’t pay any attention to the footnotes (I have there study bibles, chock full of footnotes) or any of the other extraneous pieces. I just focused on God’s word through Paul and went to bed with those words in my heart. When God speaks, we need to listen.

Day 3

As I begin day 3 and get ready to end the first stage of my fast, I already know where I’ll be focusing in on the word. God is drawing me to Ephesians. He has a message for me there. I just need to be diligent in prayer seeking His wisdom as I study Ephesians today instead of just reading it.

God respects doing any of the three disciplines (and we are called to do all three) as long as you go into it with the right focus. Don’t give just because others will give you praise. Don’t pray because others will look favorably upon you. Don’t fast just because it’s a good diet. Give to receive God’s blessing, pray for His insight, and fast for His fellowship.

Here’s looking forward to all that God has to offer!

Fasting Days 1 & 2

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Fasting, It’s Not Just An Option

Yesterday was the first day of a 21-day corporate fast that I’m participating in with my church, Bridges of Hope Fellowship.

Why fasting? Well, in Matthew 6 Jesus gives us 3 disciplines for every Christian to follow: giving (Matthew 6:1-4), praying (Matthew 6:5-15), and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). The language is clear that Christ did not consider these disciplines optional, but we are to do them for all the right reasons. Why corporate fasting? We are seeking God’s direction as we move forward in building our new, permanent facility. While the building is not important, it is a tool for us to better reach our community. From the beginning we have went to God and asked for His direction and provision to go forth in this endeavor. So far we have found His favor because of our faithfulness and as we near completion (should be done by the beginning of July) we are not only praising Him for providing for us but continuing to seek his will as we outfit the church with what will be needed to deliver His message to our community. So we are fasting as a body to draw closer to Him so that we may seek His will and hear His word without distraction (Fasting Focus)

We are also, as indicated at the above link, seeking healing in the body of our members. As imperfect beings, we are subject to the ravages of disease and time. We are believing in God for a healing like has never been seen before.

Lastly, but no less important, we are seeking the salvation of family, friends, and co-workers. It would please us to know end knowing that our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, co-workers, and friends were with us in heaven, sharing in the eternal reward that only God has to offer. In this regard, all we are asking is that their hearts be open to God’s word and that we are given the boldness to proclaim it as we are lead to do so.

That is just our corporate goals. Many of us may (or may not) have individual reasons as well for joining in on this fast. Personally I have several things I’m praying about or for.

  • Spiritual renewal in my family
  • A job for myself and others without work
  • That God continues to lead me in my relationships with others, and one in particular
  • A friend, that his heart may become unhardened to God

I know God will show me His will in each area that I am praying over, both the corporate and personal reasons.

Day 1

My first day was simply amazing. God has blessed me with a loving church that has no qualms about going out and doing His work. They also have no qualms about loving on everyone that walks through the doors. It helps to have a great, Godly leadership. Elders to help lead us (with the pastor being the senior Elder) and Deacons to do what needs to be done.

The biggest thing God has personally shown me is that He is indeed going to be faithful to His children that are faithful to Him. I have also seen personally just what the enemy will do to keep us from being faithful to Him in this endeavor.

Day 2

God is truly showing me what He has in mind for me. From Godly men giving instruction on having a Godly marriage to even the curriculum this week for the bible study I’m in with a good friend. Some of this He has been showing me for a while. I’m ready to listen God, speak to me!

As I continue in my fast today, I will continue to seek to be closer to God through reading His word, through prayer, and through giving of my time to that work which He is leading me in. To God be all the glory!

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