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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

 

 

 

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THEY HAD DRAMA TOO

Don’t you just love the people in the Bible?  I mean, it’s such a breath of fresh air, to step into the lives of these men and women who are so…….. HUMAN.    I mean, really, it seems like the big news this week has been what the stars wore at the Academy Awards!  Well, I guess there HAS been the Charlie Sheen news. 

For the past month I’ve been doing a pretty intensive study on Genesis.  We all know the story of Adam and Eve.  I understand how easily that could have been me.  I mean on first glance, it seems like, how could Adam and Eve have been so STUPID?  They had everything.  It was just that one tree they were to stay away from.  And of course, that’s the one they wanted. 

 I think of how blessed I am…… Oh, how very blessed I am.  But I have days when I think I must have something else, or more.  That human nature in me keeps trying to pull me in that direction of dissatisfaction and rebellion.

I’m encouraged when I think about Noah.  I like to think of him as OLD & WAITING.  Like so many of God’s annointed ones.  Abraham.  Sarah.  OLD & WAITING.  God had told Noah to build an ark.  When Noah is first mentioned in Genesis 5:32, he is 500 years old. When Noah enters the ark, he is 600 years old.  He building an ark during those 100 years, building and waiting.  Waiting.  For WHAT, he does not know.  Abraham is old and called to a land he doesn’t know.  He’s OLD & WAITING.

This week I have been studying the life of Jacob in his older years, when he sent his sons to Egypt to fetch grain, because there was a famine in Canaan.  And they would have starved to death.  So he sent his sons – well, not all his sons.  Not Benjamin.  No, he wouldn’t send Benji.  Because years earlier, Benjamin’s brother Joseph, by his beloved wife Rachel (who died giving birth to Benjamin), had been killed by a wild beast.  That’s what he thought.  Benjamin was all he had left of his memory of Rachel.  So he refused to send Benjamin, who by now was 24 years old.  But when the brothers came back with the grain from Egypt, they also came back with some dire news!  The pharoah’s official (who none of them knew was none other than Joseph himself!…. oh yes, what a story THAT was!) had demanded they bring back Benjamin to show their good will.  And one of the brothers – Simeon – had been kept as hostage until they returned!  But Jacob refused to let Benjamin go.  WOAH!!!!  What about Simeon?  Yes, that’s what I love about the Bible.  I love that we see the main characters of the Bible with the same flaws we have! 

I have 4 children, a couple grown step-grandchildren, and two young grandbabies.  Angel is 3 and Caleb is 2.  I can’t IMAGINE what it would be like to lose any of these children, like Jacob (thought) he lost Joseph.  I can’t imagine the scar it would leave on your psyche.  I can’t imagine the people who have lost children to horrific crimes in our world today.  How could you ever trust that your remaining children would be safe? 

My son Jimmy was seriously burned by hot grease when he was 18 months old.  It took me YEARS to ever feel like my children could be safe again.  I was in a constant state of anxiety, worrying about what bad things could befall my children.  And so when I read in Genesis 42:4 “But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, “Lest some calamity befall him.”, I understand. 

But what about Simeon?  Commentaries say he was there, held as a prisoner, for at least 2 years.  The brothers DID eventually go back, and with Benjamin this time.  Because the famine did not let up, and they had to go back for more food.  Yes, God’s plan in this all worked out, through all this human drama.  Just as his plan continues to work out through all OUR human drama.

Anyway, this story of Joseph and his brothers and Jacob:  It’s a great story, and you can read it for yourself starting in Genesis  37. 

HELD

I know that look.  I saw it in their eyes.  They are hurting.

Al and I saw some very good friends of ours last weekend.  Their hearts are hurting for their grandchildren.  We’ve all heard the stories in this world we live in.  Choices made by people – bad choices – and the children are the victims.  And we are left stung by the hurt we feel inside.  We are left feeling so helpless, so frustrated, because it seems there is nothing we can do.

I dedicate this post to our friends.  I want to remind them that God is very close to you right now, in your pain.  Please claim His promises on your life.

You are being HELD.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18
“I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Joshua 1:5 

 

And for those precious children?  This is what God says to them:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

WHAT IS TRUTH?

“What IS ‘truth’????” I can almost hear the sarcasm in his voice. 

Who’s asking?  It is Pontius Pilate.  He was asking this age old question over 2000 years ago.  He didn’t know it at the time, but he was asking the only one that has the answer to “What IS ‘truth’?”  Jesus had just finished telling Pilate that He, Jesus, was, in fact,  a king.  A king whose only purpose in our world was to testify to the truth.

Oh, how this teaching applies to us today, in 2010.  Do you really know what to believe?  When you read something in a magazine, watch it on t.v., surf the internet?  Do you really know how much of it you can believe?  Do you believe the tales that people tell you?  Do you know WHO you can believe IN anymore? 

No, we live in a world where we don’t, we won’t, we can’t sincerely believe in anything. 

But I challenge you today, THERE IS something to believe in.  THERE IS Someone to believe in.  There is truth:  The only truth.  It lies in Jesus.  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John  14:6 

It is the thing that, as a Christian, makes our joy complete.  The apostle John referred to it in 1 John 1:4-5  We write this to make our joy complete.  This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

And the truth is this:  We were lost in our sin, with no hope of ever saving ourselves.  But God, who loves you and loves me so much, sent His precious son, Jesus, to ‘be’ our sin.  To free us, forever.  It was our only chance.  And He gave it to us.  THAT IS THE TRUTH.  I stake my life on it.

A BUSHEL AND A PECK

A few weeks ago the Lord put the song, “A Bushel and A Peck”  in my head.  It’s very strange, I don’t even know how I know this song or why in the world I suddenly thought of it.  It was like the Lord wanted me to sing it to Angel.  So I picked up my guitar and started singing it. 

It’s a catchy little tune.  In fact, the song is so persistent, I find it running through my head all the time.   I bet the same thing will happen to you when you listen to it.  I dare you.

Here’s me singing it to Angel.  You can notice her hugging her little pony.  (Thanks, Missy, for the videos, which I borrowed from your blog!)

And here’s Angel singing it on her own (with Mommy’s help!)

Why is this information important?  Good question.  

The word “bushel” itself dates back to the 1300’s and originally means  a large indefinite quantity.   The noun “peck” means a large number or amount or extent. 

I think God wants us to know how much He loves us.  In fact I don’t just think,  I know.   Because He says it here, in Jeremiah 9:23-24:   “This is what the LORD says: ‘Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches.  But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!'”

Our God loves us a bushel and a peck!

“And I pray that you…..may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”  Ephesians 3:14-21

WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY

BOOK a bird in the muck

Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; point out the right road for me to walk. Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation.  Psalm 25:4-5

 

 

blogwordfilledwednesday

I WILL MAKE YOU FISHERS OF MEN

angel&firstfish

   Our grandaughter caught her first fish this weekend!  WOO HOO!

   I’m reminded what Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:19AKJV.  Another translation says, “Jesus said to them, “Come, follow me! I will teach you how to catch people instead of fish.”

   Sometimes I’m burdened because I want to witness, to evangelize, to bring lost to Jesus, and I feel like I fail so miserably.  But this morning I learned something very important from the Lord:  HE will teach me HOW to do it, in HIS way, in HIS timing.  I learned that the most important thing for me to be doing is to be listening for HIS instructions every day.  And He gave me a good example of how this works.

   I am a manager at a fast food restaurant.  I work with many young people that are hurting and struggling.  They need Jesus.  They just don’t know they do.  They have been blinded by the world.  They think the best they can hope for is the partying that they talk about all the time.  One of our backline cooks is a young man that’s kind of a loner.  I’ve seen him carry around books about New Age, and Muslim and other cultish beliefs.  I’ve never had an opportunity to talk to him about it.  But on Sunday he told me he was going to be taking his GED test on Monday.  On Monday morning, when I was spending time in the Word, the Lord just layed him on my heart so heavily!  It was amazing.  So I prayed that the Lord would help him get through that test, and do something amazing for him.

   I went to work Monday afternoon, and he was working that night.  I asked him how it went.  He said, “Amazingly well!  I did really good.  It seemed way too easy!”  And then I told him how the Lord had placed him on my heart and prompted me to pray for him.  He didn’t say much.  He said, “Thank you.”  I’m sure the Lord will be saying more to him, on his heart.

   Then, on Tuesday at work, a young girl shared how she was going to go to the doctor on Wednesday.  When I asked her what was wrong, she started naming off some medical things, but then she started tearing up, and said she wanted to ask the doctor for some anti-depressants.  She said she felt like she was going crazy.  Her family situation is a mess.  Her sister just recently tried to commit suicide.  Her boyfriend isn’t giving her any emotional support. 

   How I wanted to tell her about Jesus right then.  But it was like the Lord was holding my tongue.   What I said instead, and I felt the love the compassion that I know was Jesus himself,   I said,  “Amy, I love you.  I’m so sorry.”  It’s wierd.  Those few words I could tell, had such an impact on her. 

   Then this morning, (Wednesday morning) when I was spending time with the Lord, again I heard Him tell me to pray for someone, for this young girl.  And I did.  I asked God to supernaturally intervene in her situation.  To guide the doctors this morning.  To bring her to Him through all of this. 

   And tomorrow, when I see her at work. I will tell her also how God laid her on my heart;  how God had me praying for her.

   So what’s my point?  It is that JESUS teaches us how to be fishers of men.  Let us not ever think WE know how to witness.  Only Jesus knows how.  Because I believe every single person that is reached by Jesus, is done so when Jesus meets them in THEIR situation.  Their personal situation.  Let us remember that witnessing is such a personal thing and daily listen for the Lord’s direction, guidance and instructions.

blogwordfilledwednesday