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This was me on January 1st

I was reviewing my journal and saw (and remembered) my pre-fast state of mind.  This is what I wrote on January 1st, the day before I began the 21-day Daniel Fast:

“Abba, I know.  Look at me.  I am so in love with food.  with coffee. wine. sugar. white flour.  I am addicted to those things.  I crave them.  This behavior is pathetic.  Yes, I AM in bondage.  I don’t know what it would feel like to not have that bondage.  WHY am I struggling with giving up this idol?  I don’t know.  Holy Spirit, please reveal to me WHY I don’t want to give it up.  I hear you answer almost immediately – I have believed it is my friend.  Like smoking was.  It makes me “feel good”.  Instant gratification.  THE FLESH.

I think it’s my friend.  But it isn’t a ‘person’, with emotions.  Is that what I want?  Something inanimate, to make me ‘feel good’?  …with nothing I have to give back?  That’s no different than pornography.  Yes, that’s my flesh speaking.  My flesh controlling me.  Is that what I want, to live by my ‘flesh’s’ desires?  The flesh is weak, Jesus said (Matthew 26:41).

God, I am so scared of this.  Making this commitment to fast.  I’m afraid I’ll fail.  Yet I KNOW that You’re big enough to give me strength, to provide for me.  Right now you’re making me think of the story in Your Word of the rich young man.  He couldn’t give up his riches for Jesus (Matthew 19:22).  Think of his regrets all through the rest of his life.  The same thing happened to Esau.  Esau LOVED choice food and he gave up his birthright for a rich fatty meal  (Genesis 25:28).  Later he regretted it.  (Hebrews 12:17)  Is that what I’m going to do?  Give up this opportunity to go on a biblical fast to satisfy my FLESH??!!!!??

Spirit, please help me.  Teach me.  Pound it into my psyche.  Let me understand the seriousness of “choosing” the things to satisfy my flesh… coffee, sugar, white flour, alcohol, etc….. these things that offer instant gratification, over a closer walk with You.  Yes.  They are my idols.  I must admit that.  I don’t seem to think I could give them up.

Thanks to the supernatural strength God provided me, I was able to complete the fast.  He showed me that food was never meant to be my friend, nor was it designed to be my comforter.  God provided me sisters in Christ who helped me along the way:

(1)  Justeina Brownlee and the True Identity Ministry team, who challenged me to do the fast and who offered support and prayer along the way.

(2)  Kristen Feola and her cookbook, “The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast”and her blog, who offered so many awesome ideas for Daniel fast foods and meals.

(3)  My daughter who sent me a kindle book, “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst.

(4)  Lysa TerKeurst, whose teachings in her books, “Made to Crave” and “Craving God: a 21-day devotional”, taught me such important truth and broke personal bondages.

I want to close with a scripture, a scripture I have seen over and over again.  It is my daughter’s life verse.  It is the name of her blog.  Ephesians 3: 14-20.  I saw something I had never seen before.  Look what verse 19 says:  “…to know this love (the love of Christ) that surpasses knowledge —that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

“Filled”.  Feeling full.  Not with food.  But with God!!!!!!  Oh yes, that’s what I want!

FASTING

I recently completed a 21-day Daniel Fast.  I had been doing some online bible studies with True Identity Ministries and was challenged by founder Juseina Brownlee to join her and others on this fast.   I’m telling you, I was so scared.  I really didn’t believe I’d be able to make it for 21 days, with no coffee, no sugar, no processed foods, and yes I’ll be honest, no glass (or two) of wine, when feeling stressed out.  But I did it!  No, I take that back, GOD did it!  It was so incredible, the strength God gave me during this time.  He gave me desire to actually WANT to find recipes that were filling and delicious and ‘daniel fast’ friendly!

But the thing I want to testify to is the power of this fast!  Before I began the fast I was asked to write down my primary motivation for fasting.  I knew it was to intercede for people in my life who did not know Jesus.  I have loved ones who aren’t saved.  I also have a job where a day doesn’t go by that I pass the path of a teenager who is living in darkness.  (I work as a drug and alcohol counselor and my primary workload is with incarcerated teens.)  My heart has been so heavily burdened for these young people, not to mention my own loved ones.  I was also motivated to fast for a specific person, who was struggling with an alcohol addiction and whose marriage was failing.

The day I completed the fast, I was asked by a co-worker to do her three-hour class with a group of 5 teenage girls who were receiving Intensive Outpatient treatment for drug, alcohol and other chemical abuse.  My co-worker said she was scheduled to do some ‘packet work’ and I could find the material in her drawer.  Guess what the lesson was?  Step 3 of AA – “made a decision to turn my life and will over to God as I understood Him.”  WOW!  For the next three hours I was blessed to share not only my own story with these girls, but to help them process who God is for them.  I shared a modern day clip of the prodigal son story from the bible.  At the end of the class, one of the girls came up to me and said, “something happened today…. I don’t know what.  But would you be able to get me a 12 step book  from AA?”  To further validate that God had worked in this girls heart, the next day, my co-worker asked me, “what happened with ________?!?!!  …. Before today she had always been so angry and rebellious in class.  Today she wrote me an letter, apologizing for her behavior.  She said she wanted her life to change, and she wanted God to help her.”  !!!!!!!!  WOW

Then another miracle happened!  This week I received a phone call from the person mentioned above, with the alcohol addiction and failing marriage.  He said he needed to talk to me, NOW!!!  He sounded desperate.  When I arrived at his home, he was weeping.  He said he felt horrible and he didn’t know what to do.  He was overwhelmed with grief and guilt and shame.  He said his eyes were ‘opened’ and he saw what he has done to his wife, his family and his life in general.  He kept saying how sorry he was.  We talked for quite awhile, and when I said, “…you don’t KNOW how many people have been praying for you!”, he answered, “How about if I pray now, and then you and ______(his wife) can pray for me?”  I couldn’t believe my ears!  I stammered out, “…what????” and then he repeated it!  Then he prayed.  It was the most beautiful prayer I think I’ve ever heard.  He asked God to come into his life.  He told God how desperately he wants to find Him and to have a relationship with Him.  He told God he was sorry.  WOW.  wow,wow,wow.  This was the very same person who had rejected having a relationship with God for so long!

So yes!  I believe in the power of Biblical fasts!

I also learned about myself through this fast.  I learned how I was turning to food, (and yes, to that glass or two of wine) for comfort, instead of turning to God.  Fasting breaks my enslavement to food.  I learned that by fasting I am not deprived, but instead am EMPOWERED!  Empowered by the Holy Spirit!

Thank you Abba God, for your great love.  BY YOUR MERCY, please continue to bring the lost ones into your fold.  Because YOU deserve it God, you DESERVE trillions upon trillions upon trillions of your saved ones, in your presence, praising you for your unfailing love and mercy and kindness!  All blessing and honor and glory and power, to You, Oh God!    Blessing and Honor and Power and Glory

 

 

 

THEREFORE…….

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Romans 12:1

One by One

He does not lead me year by year,

Nor even day by day;

But step-by-step my path unfolds,

My Lord directs my way.

Tomorrow’s plans I do not know;

I only know this minute.

But He will say, “This is the way,

By faith now walk in it.”

And I am glad that it is so,

Today’s enough to bear;

And when tomorrow comes, His grace

Shall far exceed its care.

What need to worry then, or fret?

The God who gave His Son,

Holds all the moments in His hand

And gives them one-by-one.

Running this marathon

   I have done a couple of marathons in my life.  I haven’t actually run the entire 26.2 miles, but I have walked/jogged it.  I remember the one I did in Apple Valley, Wisconsin. 

   It was about 17 miles out.  There was no one there.  I was all alone.  All I could see is flat farmland.  It wasn’t that much fun.  There wasn’t people there, excited for you, like there was in the first 1o miles.  I had fallen behind and so was running/walking alone. 

   I think that’s what this Christian walk is like.  You start out all excited, full of enery and adrenaline.  But then suddenly you’re walking alone, with no encouragement.  Do you quit?  No, you focus on the finish.  And that’s what we’re told to do in our walk with Christ, as well.  Fix your eyes on Jesus, on the finish, on the prize.

Dear Loved One,

 

I know you’re hurting right now. You’re feeling unloved and unworthy. You feel hopelessness and despair. You don’t know what to believe in anymore. You had so much hope for a bright exciting future, and suddenly its gone! You’re in that awful place of expectations being destroyed. You’re feeling despair.

But the Bible tells me as your brother or sister in Christ, I’m supposed to encourage you with the TRUTH of these times. (1 Thessalonians 5)

Because YOU KNOW the truth. You are one of the blessed children of God, that has accepted Jesus, that believes in Jesus, and knows how God’s plan for us all is going to end! What a gift that is! You KNOW we are living in end times! You are going to be raptured up to Jesus before all the really bad stuff happens! You already have a place and a position Jesus has prepared for you! And according to Bible prophecy, this is all going to happen very soon!

These truly are such exciting times we’re living in! Satan DOES NOT want us to take ANY pleasure in this fact so he BOMBARDS us with anything he can to take our peace away. He’s done that in your life right now. But friend, REGARDLESS of what struggles you’re having in any relationship right now, that doesn’t change your relationship with Jesus! THAT’s what you must think on! Experiencing the presence of God….. That’s what you need right now! And that’s what GOD wants you to have and to experience!

This past year I’ve done a lot of searching through the scriptures, trying to find out what was the ‘secret’ to those disciples’ endurance. After everything that happened at River Hills Fellowship, I was in such a bad place. Maybe a little like how you’re feeling now. I had so many hopes, plans and dreams….. I envisioned a bright future in a church where I felt loved and had purpose. I had expectations that I would get to do the thing(s) I loved doing (encouraging in the Lord, sharing the Word, singing songs, etc.)

And for the past year now, I have been waiting on the Lord. The first few months were much like what you’re feeling now. But then, as I continued to study the Bible, I saw that many of the people God called had bad things happen to them. You can start at the beginning of the Bible and go all the way through, and find they all had ‘stuff’.

For example, Jacob worked for 7 years in the fields for Laban, EXPECTING his marriage to Rachel. But he was deceived and instead got Leah. (Genesis 29:20-25). Imagine how he felt! We all know the horrible stuff that happened to Job. And the Bible tells us Paul experienced all sorts of physical, emotional and spiritual trials….. Which he considered nothing compared to what was coming! There’s so many great examples in the Bible, …. I just don’t have the time or the room to list them all!

What I found, was that all these people had ‘found’ God. They had experienced a personal touch from Him. Even when their situations didn’t immediately change, they found they could hang on because they had experienced God. For example: Hagar. Do you remember her? She was Sarah’s maid whom Sarah had given to Abraham to bear a child. But then, Sarah ran Hagar off! But God appeared to Hagar out in the wilderness! He basically told Hagar that her son Ishmael would be hated by all. Now what mother wants to hear that?!!?? Yet Hagar praised God….. Not because of what He had told her about Ishmael. But because she had experienced the presence of God. She would NEVER forget that day. She even said to God, “You are a God that sees!“ And He sees YOU too!

I have found that experiencing God’s presence is the answer in these times. (By the way, Hagar’s story is found in Genesis 16.)

I still don’t have a church. I want to be ‘doing something’ for God, yet no doors seem to be opening! But I have this amazing peace, and these last few months I have felt the love of God for me in ways I never have before! Nothing compares with that!

I’ve been doing a lot of studying and researching and praying about these times we live in. WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO? The thing that comes through over and over again, is we’re supposed to just be ready, watching, and doing the job Jesus assigned for us to do. What IS that job? I don’t know what it is for you, my friend, but God does not speak in riddles. I know He will help you understand what it is He wants you to do in these last days. Maybe you are called to just WAIT, to love whomever God has placed in your life…. Love them in their imperfectness, …. I don’t know. But God does.

One of the things we are specifically told by Jesus is this: “Be on guard so that your hearts will not be weighed down with dissipation (indulgence) and drunkenness and the WORRIES OF THIS LIFE…..” (Luke 21:34). Like I mentioned earlier, I notice that over and over, we are told to ‘be on guard’. I think Jesus knew that Satan would be attacking our minds and emotions so ferociously these end days. You are weighed down right now with depression and hopelessness, because you had set your mind and heart on expectations that aren’t coming true. But I think Jesus wants you to instead, set your expectations on the things YOU KNOW ARE COMING TRUE. And that is His soon return and the glorious life you will experience with Him!

My friend, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, I pray that God will reveal Himself to you today in a very special way. Don’t run from him….. Run into His arms! He loves you so much!

I am attaching one of my songs. It’s called “Peace, be still.” I want you to imagine Jesus speaking those words to you. He doesn’t always give explanations, in fact most times He DOESN’T explain our pain. He just expects us to trust Him. And He just says, “Peace, __________…. Be still. Trust me.”

Is is really true?

I just read a statistic that only 30% of Christians believe the Bible.  I don’t know if that’s true.  To be honest, I don’t know WHAT to believe anymore. 

Well, except for 1 thing.  The Bible.  THAT I CAN BELIEVE.

Why would anyone throw out the ONE thing that’s believable in our world today, the ONE thing that’s trustworthy, the ONLY thing that can be counted as truth?