Fasting: How to Develop an Appetite for God

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 ESV

Most revivals and spiritual awakenings began with a small group of people praying and fasting. People broken over their sin, who hungered for God to revive, to breathe life into dry bones.

And fasting is not easy. I love food. I don’t love being hungry nor the crankiness that often accompanies my growling stomach.

But there is something that happens as my stomach growls and I turn my heart and mind toward God in prayer.

I begin to ask God that I would hunger for Him more than I hunger for physical food.

Oh that I would not be satisfied with anything other than God and His ways. That sin would turn to ash in my mouth and that I would hunger to know God more, to serve Him with excellence, to bring Him glory for He is worthy of all of me.

As I my stomach growls I am reminded to pray for those who have no choice, but to fast. Oh, Lord may we, Your Church, care for those in need for we are needy for Your grace.

When my crankiness over my empty stomach threatens to spew its venom, I understand why so many in this world are angry and hateful. They are starving for God. Only He can truly satisfy and they don’t even know they need Him. Oh Father may those who do not know You come to know You. Use me and Your Church to bring those starving for You to the table of Your grace and mercy.

Sometimes all it takes to desire more of God is to stop filling ourselves with things that do not truly satisfy.

What have you learned when you were fasting?

Angela

Already Not Yet Victory: How to Falter and Still Win

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.  1 John 5:4 ESV

Sometimes I wonder if John really gets it. I mean there are days when my faith is strong and I feel and see the victory that comes from my faith. Other days my faith seems more like a pipe dream. I don’t act like I have faith at all. I scratch and cling to what I want or how I want it. I fail to overcome anything.

But John doesn’t say strong faith is the victory that has overcome the world. No, he says our faith. Our faith in the finished work of Jesus is what has overcome the world. And our faith is a gift from God.

My victory over this world is secure because of Jesus’ work on the cross, but it isn’t complete yet. This side of Jesus’ second coming we live in the already and not yet of His victory. One day sin and death and pain will be completely overcome. Until that day we struggle against sin, we falter in our walk with Jesus, and we get up again in the power of the Holy Spirit.

So when we falter God is not there to condemn us. No, in Christ there is no condemnation for those who believe. He isn’t waiting to strike us with lightning. Will He let us experience consequences? Sure. But He can never love us more than He already does. And through the faith He gave us we overcome this world. We get up again, scraped, scarred, and we walk knowing Jesus won the victory.

What a day that will be when our faith (our victory) will be sight.

Angela

Faltering Steps: How to Walk by Faith

 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:15, 19-20 NIV

I know what I need to do. It isn’t that I don’t know what to do. I just don’t do it. I don’t control my temper, wake up early (when I know God has called me to do so), use my time wisely. I keep doing what I do not want to do. I struggle and it kills me. I hate what I am doing. I HATE it.

I hate the sin that lives in me. This morning I hit snooze for an hour, excusing my behavior by citing the time I got in bed last night. I let harsh words roll off my tongue, words that were not necessary. I excused them by pointing out someone else’s behavior.

I don’t fall from my ancestors Adam and Eve do I?

I cry out with Paul:

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Romans 7:24 NIV

I keep stumbling, my steps falter. I begin with the desire to please God and I make a mess of it. I seriously set my alarm every morning for an hour I would prefer to sleep through and I pray I will get up. And I rarely do it…I make plans to take deep breaths and respond instead of reacting. I know how to cool myself off before I allow words that cut fly from my mouth. Still almost daily there is someone I wound with words.

So how do I walk by faith when all I seem to do is stumble? Who will save me from this body of sin and death?

Paul has the answer.

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  Romans 7:25 NIV

Jesus. He saved me and He sent the Holy Spirit to live in me. He makes it possible for me to walk by the Spirit. To live a life that pleases God. So this stumbling sinful woman will get back up strengthened by the Spirit and take another step and another. And whether I falter or I finally walk a few steps firm in the faith, God is there. He forgives, He encourages, He corrects, He guides, He loves.

How do you walk by faith even when faltering?

Angela

The Incessant Drip: How to Stay Sane with All the Things

“There is another leak,” my husband looked up to the ceiling and back down to the floor near his feet. A drop of water ran down our yellow walls.

He raced to turn the water off at the meter. I crutched after him and helped him dig through mulch and mud to find the shut-off valve.

That makes six leaks in less than a year and no one can tell us why nine-year-old copper pipes keep leaking. The only answer to keep our belongings and house safe is to re-pipe…the whole house.

My heart squeezed tight because who wants to repipe a house? And who wants to deal with sheet rock dust right before Thanksgiving when family is coming to visit? And recovering from foot surgery and……

But God…

When I slow down and look for His hand under the incessant drip of things like leaks, minor health issues, and repairmen who “remember my house” something happens. I find little things for which to thank God.

We live on a pier and beam foundation making re-piping easier.

All the leaks were found before they caused any horrible damage.

My schedule is more flexible because I cannot drive (foot injury), so there are fewer scheduling conflicts with repairmen.

This is a first world problem.

Somehow gratitude refocuses my mind. I am able to slow my wildly beating heart and stop the twitching above my right eye because I see God at work. I see His plan in the midst of the wild and crazy.

God uses gratitude to change my thoughts and soon my attitude changes too. I begin to see the ridiculousness in the situations. I see people as complex individuals who need grace just like me. I realize that my irritations are mine and I get to decide how to respond to them if I choose not to react. I can tell all the crazy things that seem to need my attention now to wait a minute. In those precious moments I can take a deep breath and choose how to respond.

When I slow down to respond I can also acknowledge that all the things are stressful. That it is ok to feel a bit out of whack and overwhelmed. Then I can focus to figure out what is the next thing. The one thing I need to do now to take care of all the things. And then I can focus on the next and the next. Suddenly all the things while still big and looming are manageable. I have a plan of attack and with slow and steady progress I will handle them.

All because I took a second to look for God’s hand, to express gratitude for what He is doing. Staying in sane in the incessant drip requires us to slow down, look around, and thank God for He is good.

What do you do to help manage all the things in your life?

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Angela