Fasting confession: Erica and I got into a heated argument on Sunday night. We both were not seeing the other perspective. It took a good hour to work through the situation and come to reconciliation. The peace at the end was sweet and sincere. However, the pre-peace atmosphere was quite rough.
How strange? It was Sunday. We have had a wonderful church experience. We were praying and fasting. We were tempted to be selfish and we bit the bait. 😦
Jesus was tempted during his wilderness/fasting experience in Matthew chapter 4. However, Jesus was perfect in the test. He flawlessly quoted scripture to ward off the devil’s deception. In February, our sermon series will be diving into this specific topic of temptation. Look over that chapter if you get a chance. It will be a powerful study on the three types of temptation. When we consider how we are tempted today, our temptation generally goes back to one of the same three that Jesus faced. Temptation to satisfy our Appetite, Acceptance, and Ambition.
How is your fast going? The church-wide fast will conclude Saturday night. Sunday, will be quite special. Come expecting a great day.
All for now,
I am still feeling the momentum from Saturday and Sunday. It was amazing to join with over a 100 guys on Saturday morning, hang out, eat breakfast, and hear Ted’s story. I have to admit that it was odd to be fasting and preparing breakfast. I ate part of the breakfast and avoided part of it. Other than that, it was smooth sailing. I was stunned at how many strangers were at church on Saturday and Sunday. Ted really drew in a slew of guests. There were some amazing stories of God touching the hearts of men AND women.
In my devotional Bible reading, I can’t get out of Matthew chapter 13. I read it each morning and chew on each part. Today, I was locked into verses 44-46. I want those verses to be lived out in my life. I also read a lot of the Bible for sermon preparation each week. This reading is all over the place and is a slightly different type of study. Today, I am starting to dig into the message for this coming Sunday.
What have you been reading lately? What is God telling you?
I have switched my fast this final week. I have switched meat with carbs. So I am fasting from most carbs. I am continuing to eat veggies, fruit, and minimal amounts of brown rice or sweet potato. I am not eating sugar, bread, chips (this is the BIGGEST for me), pasta, oats (this is also BIG for me), etc.
It still amazes me how a limited fast like this is a struggle. We went to Jason’s Deli after church yesterday. I can fill up on a salad and still be upset that I didn’t eat a cracker or bread or ice cream. God speak to me!!
If you haven’t fasted yet…JUMP IN this week! Even fasting for one day produces results in your life. In fact, I encourage everyone to continually fast throughout 2017: once a week or once a month.
I have seen some clear differences. I am coming to conclusions faster and they seem to be not as confusing. I hear messages from God more frequently as well.
How do you hear from God?
Today, I was praying with my early morning men’s group and I sensed a clear message from God. In the middle of my prayer, I was talking to God about a frustration I had. I was really talking fast and hard about the situation and being honest with God about my displeasure. In a conversation, there should be at least two parties involved. Meaning when you pray, you should talk AND you should listen. BUT…how do we know when it is God talking and not simply our imagination? I know it is God when several factors line up.
1. The message lines up with Scripture. If God is speaking to you, it will not ever contradict what the Bible says. If you are not familiar with this, study what the Bible says about the subject. Ask someone if they know where it is found or how the Bible teaches this subject throughout the books. If the word I get from God is challenging or asking me to do something bold, I will always ask at least two other people to confirm with me in prayer about the word.
2. I feel a peaceful confirmation. This one is so hard to describe. It sounds like a fairy tale. However, when it is the Lord speaking, it is accompanied with a peace that feels like no other peace. It is almost impossible to put into words. You just know that you know. Having said that, I still have other people pray with me to confirm all the things I have felt inside.
Looking back over my life, I can see a couple huge decisions that were made during a fast. In 1998, God confirmed to me during a fast that I should marry Erica. I remember the exact place I was standing when I received that special word. In 2009, I was fasting and praying about where we should move. God showed me a vision of the house we were to buy. We had been looking at several different options and we wanted to know for sure where to go. During prayer at the church, I saw an arial view of the house. It was accompanied with a peaceful confirmation.
How would those examples line up with Scripture?
What does the Bible say about marriage? It is between a man and a woman (that are not already married). It is until death. It should be between two people that are going in the same direction. Both spouses are to be looking to God for their salvation and sanctification. In our case, our lives matches scriptures mandate.
What does the Bible say about a business transaction? It should be done legally and ethically. Would I be able to provide for my family in the context of this neighborhood, location and monthly payment? How would it interact with our calling and family life? We knew that all these were “a go”.
I hope this helps some in your conversations with God.
All for now,
Welcome to Day 10!
I’m not sure if you all know this, but I am in a pastors’ discipleship group that meets weekly. There are 7 of us from all over the United States that meet via internet video. Jeffrey Garner and Mike Breen are leading us through many different scriptures, exercises, and discussions. It have been so fruitful. This fasting and prayer combined with my discipleship group is changing me. I encourage those of you who have not joined a group to GET IN ONE. Pick one from our list. It will take several weeks to feel like there is chemistry. Give it time. Click here for a list.
Last week, in my group, we were told to spend the week seeking God for our window into the gospel. What is the way you specifically and personally are able to share the gospel with other people. How has your life experience continually pointed you to Jesus? How can you use that to point others to Jesus?
This is what I have come up with so far. I thought I would share the rough draft with you. I welcome your thoughts. Those of you that know our personal story will not need a lot of explanation as to how I came up with it.
What can God do with your present that seems hopeless and lost?
When we are faced with trauma and unanswered prayers, we can look to Jesus who not only knows every detail of our life but experienced trauma and unanswered prayers himself. Our Savior relates to our experience by his own experience of betrayal of his own people, the Jews, and being forsaken by his father on the cross. This betrayal and abandonment is not wasted. It is the very foundation for the salvation of the world.
What can God do with your present that seems hopeless and lost? A lot.
Day Two! Our first non-church day fasting and praying together.
I had a VERY difficult time getting out of bed today. I wanted to keep sleeping. This is not normal for me. I typically have a fairly easy time waking up around 5:30am. I struggled with a headache for most of the day. Finally, this afternoon, it went away. I am actually feeling good at this point.
For those who missed my post yesterday, I am fasting from meats, sugar, junk food. I am eating fruits, vegetables, lentals, some whole grains. I ate a fruit smoothie for breakfast. Erica made a vegetable soup last night. I ate that for lunch. I ate a banana as a snack this afternoon. I have not drank enough water today. That is always something I struggle with.
I had an impromptu prayer meeting after coming to the church this morning. Something was going on in my office, so I left and went to the prayer room. I had a quick and powerful time expressing myself to God. I encourage you to jump into these types of conversations with God throughout the day. LISTEN. He will speak to you. What is he saying?
Sometimes during a fast, I feel heaviness and even slight depression. It does not last through the day, but will linger here and there when I think about what I am fasting from. If this happens to you, don’t worry. It is normal is MISS what you normally enjoy. You will have cravings. That is normal. Supplement or replace your activities with reading the Bible, prayer, conversation with others. If you struggle with this, be honest with someone you trust. Have them speak words of encouragement to you. Make sure you go to someone that is also fasting. This is very important.
How was your day two? Please comment on this post!
All for now,