Tag Archive | fasting

Running Against the Wind

Woosh!!!

As I exited my cozy church’s warm interior, a bi-i-i-itter wind smacked me right across the face.  It sucked the breath right out of lungs and carried it off to some far away place.  Brrrrr!!!!

This isn't me, but I know how this woman must've felt. BRRRRR!!!! (Click pic for source).

I frantically grabbed at my scarf, trying to pull it up over my shriveled frozen face, that had been smiling so sweetly just a warm second ago back inside the church, but, I couldn’t distinguish between woolly scarf and woolly coat collar through my gloved hand.

So, against my hand’s better judgement (“No! no!  Back in the glove!  Back in the glove!”)  I had to uncover it to feel the difference between scarf and jacket. I quickly wrapped that scarf around my head.  Mission accomplished! But the wind was still blowing, so I ran for the car, shivering all the way. Did I already say how Brrrr-y it was?! Brrrrr!!!!!

As I ran, though, this interesting thought blew around my brain — sometimes my heart acts like I have a glove on it.  I can’t seem to tell the difference between a lie and the truth about myself, or my God, or the culture, or what’s best in any given situation because the similarities are close enough and my heart isn’t sensitive enough.

Know what I mean? That’s when I need to go to God to uncover my heart for me, to free it from the dulling effects of the world.

Which is why I’m joining my church tomorrow for our annual 3-week fast.  I’m looking forward to waking up all my physical and spiritual senses.

I wanna hear what God might be saying to me,  to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34).  I want to feel in my heart, and know in my head, the subtle differences between selfishness and love, pride and humility, God’s voice and my own.  I want to wake up and smell the coffee 🙂

For me, fasting is all about getting closer to God.  And, because running against the wind, culturally, is a normal part of being a Christian, we need to be wrapped up with His warm presence for protection.

“Create in my a clean heart, O Lord.  Renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

For practical tips on fasting, click on the “Fasting Basics” links to the right, or click on the word “fasting” in the topic cloud to read more Gloriadelias on the subject.  Here’s one of my favorites: DIVE!

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Peony Faith

Peonies, Hidcote Garden, Cotswolds, Gloucestershire taken by UGArdener, a flickr photo

“But thou, O LORD, [art] a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalm 3:3

“…thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Psalm 18:35

(You can open the following link in a new tab/window to hear Fernando Ortega sing  Give Me Jesus while your read…)

A sad sight caught my eye as I left my neighborhood this morning.  It tugged at my heart-strings.  All along the road the beautiful blooms on my neighbors’ peonies  had been smacked down to the ground by yesterday’s driving rains, like the peony in the photo above.

The gardener in me wanted to stop the car, run over and lift up their pretty pink and yellow faces.  I wanted gently shake the water off, and restore their dignity, poor things.

Often the driving rains of life smack me face-down into the mud, too.  Just when I’m in full bloom and the weather’s fine, along comes a downpour.

That’s when I need a little help, ’cause, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to lift myself back up again.

I have to call for the Gardener to save me.

And when, in particularly desperate times, I add fasting to my pleas, it seems to hurry him up.

He lifts me up, shakes off the rain, restores my dignity.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6


Let’s pray:

Oh, Father in Heaven, I’m so glad to be one of the flowers in your garden.  You are the Master Gardener.  You provide all I need to grow  — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. ( Galatians 5:22)

Take over today, Father.  May I be a bright, beautiful flower that brings You and the people around me pleasure to be around.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

P.S. Know any flowers you wish were in God’s Garden?  Take a moment to pray for them. 🙂

P.S.S. Click on the fasting links to the right for lots of tips and encouragement to get growing!

Don’t cry over spilled groceries…

I had to make a quick run to the store for milk and juice before everyone woke up.  I ended up buying a cartload, of course.  “Be careful.”, the cashier said as I walked out the sliding doors to the parking lot.

Strange,” I thought.  Usually they say, “Have a nice day.” or something.  Hmmm..

I pushed the cart out into the lot and didn’t get very far before the front left tire jammed into a rut and — CRASH! Everything toppled out onto the pavement as the cart flipped over and crashed down next to it all.  It couldn’t have been much worse.

“Figures!”, I thought, “If that cashier hadn’t said, ‘Be careful’, none of this would have happened!”

A friendly, young bagger strolled nonchalantly out to help me, as if this wasn’t the first time a customer had wiped out in front of the store.

In fact, he said as much.  He’d tripped there lots, he said.

“Well”, I asked, tossing my goods back into the bags, “are they going to fix it?!

“They patch it all the time, ” he told me.

Later, when I was back at the store, I saw another hapless customer tripping over that same rut.

Made me think of my own ruts.  Holes in my character, that is, that others trip over again and again, like anger, or selfishness, or pride.

I try to patch them over with a quick apology or a promise to do better next time, but the holes remain.  Maybe it’s because I’m too afraid to endure the pain and mess of jack-hammering to the root of the problem.

Fortunately, when I stumbled over the store’s rut, my groceries were o.k., nothing hurt, eggs intact, cookies not crushed.

But next time, when someone stumbles over my ruts, my bad attitudes they might not be so lucky.  Who’s feelings might get damaged?  Whose ego might I crush?  And can those things be replaced as easily as store-bought cookies?

Stop, Drop, and Pray!

Let’s pray:

Oh, Father, thank you for loving me and for putting up all my ruts in the road.

I says in the Bible, “Make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled.” (Hebrews 12:12)

It takes a some effort to smooth out the road and fill in all the holes.  And it might take some time.  So, help me not to be lazy.

Especially if I’ve allowed my soul to decay enough that I have to pull out the jackhammer of fasting. (click on “fasting” for a how-to guide and encouragement from The Rock Church in San Diego, CA)

That is one of the hardest spiritual disciplines for me, Father, but you promise great results:

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness…” (Hebrews 12:11)

So, have your way with me, Father.  I don’t want to make others stumble or fall.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Do you know the One who can can fill your potholes?

Click on the pic below to be introduced.

Pikes Peak summit road

Get the Lint Out!!

The other day while rummaging through the fridge, something caught my eye down below.  The vent grill was loose, and, oh-my-goodness!  filthy.

So, I bent down to give it a quick wipe off, but more and more lint kept coming out the vent holes.  Pretty soon I was on all fours with a wooden spoon handle digging out 2 monster lint balls.  That’s them above.  I call them Fred and Martha.   I’m sure my fridge is breathing a little easier without those two.

As I ate what I found in the fridge ( in, mind younot under )  I pondered the lessons to be learned from lint.

Like, why it’s a good habit for a Christian to fast periodically. 

 Fasting opens up our souls; gets the faith-clogging sins and bad habits out in the open so God can deal with them like Fred and Martha — into the garbage!

 

“…as far as the EAST is from the WEST, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

How ’bout you? Need a little de-linting?   To the right,  click on the fasting links for help and encouragement, and the word “fasting” in the tag cloud for lots of hints, helps and encouragements to get you started.   Come on, get the lint out!

 

THE LINT PRAYER:  Oh, Father in Heaven, You are and you are a Rewarder of them that earnestly seek You. (That’s what Hebrews 11:6 says.)  I’m earnestly seeking You now. Thanks for loving me and being so patient with me. 

The Bible says that when we walk in the light as You are in the light, we have fellowship with one another. (1 John 1:7) That’s what I want, Jesus, fellowship with others, especially with You.

So,  I confess that I’ve been walking in the dark, lately, by hanging onto these sins and bad habits:__________ (say as many as come to mind. Take your time. Get it all out.)

Thank you for forgiving me when I confess my sins, Father. (1 John 1:9)  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Do you know Jesus? Click on the pic below for a quick introduction.

Get me outta here!!

Travel!  Love the sound of that word.  This time of year, when the snow falls deep and the winds blow cold, cities like Miami  or Honolulu have a pleasant ring.  Here’s another city with a pleasant ring, all expenses paid:

“…a city with foundations whose architect and builder is God.” Hebrews 11:10

Sometimes the worries fall deep and the wind blows cold in my soul.  My faith gets a little chilly. 

That’s when I pack up and “head to the city”:

” If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for themHebrews 11:15-16

Here’s my travel essentials:

my journal,

and my Bible.

The Traveler’s Prayer:

“Oh, Father in heaven.  Thank you for loving me and inviting me to a warmer place with a better view. You said,’Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ (Matthew11:28)

“And you offered, ‘Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.’ (:29)

“I want rest and peace in my soul, Father.  I’ll come to You. 

“Help me to come to You every day, not just to visit, but to stay —  every hour, every minute, by your side.  I’ll run into You arms with my arms open wide.

In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Not a Christian? Longing for a better view?  Click the pic below for a quick introduction to the Builder of a better place:

Fast!

“This is the first workday of the first week of the first month of the first year of the next decade!” ~ the radio announced this morning. 

 Lotta firsts in that sentence.  Which reminds me that the Bible says to give “the firstfruits of your produce” to God, which reminds me why my church, and lots of other churches across the country, are fasting for next 3 weeks ~~

“…dedicating the first part of our year to the Lord so that all the rest might be blessed.” (Pastor Cal Rychener)

This is our second year to do this and, fortunately,  I’m not shaking in my boots like I was this time last year, ’cause I know it’s a do-able adventure.  I did it last year and lots of good things came from it, including Gloriadelia.  Who knows what’ll happen this year!

Our pastor suggested we write out our top 3 reasons for fasting.  Here’s mine: 

1. To get closer to God

2. To get closer to God

3. To get CLOSER to GOD!

I’m close to a lot of things a lot of the time that aren’t the best for me, so now’s the time to turn away from those and run like mad to the One who IS the best for me, who WANTS the best for me, and brings out the best IN me.  Wheeeee!!!!!

And you know He’s already running toward me…

and you 🙂

Any little, feeble steps we take toward our Abba Father will be met with open arms.

Run!!!

“I will run the way of Thy commandments for Thou wilt enlarge my heart.” Psalm 119:32

** see side bar for fasting links.

Great Lines From Movies: Finding Nemo II

Another fun scene from my favorite fish movie.  Marlin and Dory have entered the EAC (East Australian Current)  A fast-paced ride through the Pacific.  A short-cut through the ocean!  They have just survived an undersea field of poisonous jellyfish (see above)

The clip is 7 minutes long, but the important part for this post is at the beginning, so you can watch the rest later if you don’t have time for the whole thing:

Christian, do you feel like you’re struggling along, being stung on all sides?  Maybe you need to enter the” EAC for spiritual growth “~~ FASTING.

To me, fasting is like cutting through a cold stick of butter with a hot knife; it’s like tuning in the channel on the radio, it’s like riding a swift current through the ocean.  It gets me where I wanna go fast — to the safety of my Father’s arms.

For more info and helps on fasting, click on the links to the right.  Also, read my past posts on the subject: Mountain Faith, Baby Steps, Orion Faith, Fasting Can Change Your Life, Rock Climbing, and Dive!

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” Romans 11:33

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection…”  Philippians 3:10