Fasting, Transformation

What I found in 21 Days of Fasting

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I found a great page on fasting and love the way the writer has compiled information to describe fasting.

Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. [Dallas Willard].

The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things. [Ole Kristian O. Hallesby].

Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].

Because I had never fasted before I decided to make a realistic commitment. I fasted all food after 6pm. I did this because I eat most of my food in the evenings after work, and I compulsively snack into the night. I often do not like that I do this and wish I could get a handle on it. It made sense to deny myself my snack cravings in this way. I also fasted social media. The first week I cut myself off of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) after 8pm; the second week at 12pm; the third and final week was none all together.

Fasting isn’t just about denying yourself food or other things. It’s about having ideas, questions, areas in your life that you are going to seek God’s counsel for. I had four areas I was and will continue to focus on.

What I learned…

DOF (desires of the flesh)
I can be disciplined to not eat all evening long and before I go to bed. That is fantastic because I have the metabolism of a brick. I am to die to urges (desires of the flesh) and cravings (desires of the flesh). I often eat out of boredom. Time spent eating [when I’m not hungry] could and was spent taking care of other things. Cleaning and organizing my apartment, reading kingdom-minded books, reading the bible, praying, talking to God, listening to God, and getting to bed earlier. Which it was. I even became better at turning off the tv and limiting the amount I was watching, even though I was not fasting tv.
There’s a life outside of the social media and the dof to check your accounts 30 times in 30 minutes. You’ll be fine if notifications go unchecked.

The Word
The word of God can be easy to read. It takes a few tries like my experience in algebra, geometry and statistics (F, F, F). Your brain may not mature enough to tackle the task however after a few tries you’re brain will pick up speed. Last year during this time, my church produced a reading guide and I attempted to read the “overdrive” side of the sheet. I lost momentum and I got behind. I was challenged by the heavy reading of Acts, Romans, and so on. This time around, I completed the reading guide. I only missed a couple of days but it was easy to get back on track. I also picked the easier side of the two.
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Jesus was HUMAN and, a bit of a smarty pants
John 8 is all about how people just didn’t get him. The Pharisees told Jesus his testimony was not valid, that he needed another person to verify who he was. When Jesus told them “where I go, you cannot come” the Pharisees were like where’s he’s going? what does that mean? you can’t come? is he gona kill himself? They just didn’t get it. Jesus said the truth will set you free and the people were like we are free, we’ve never been slaves. They said our Father is God. Jesus said God is not your father because if he was you’d love me but instead you want to kill me. They said he was demon possessed. They said “who do you think you are?” In John 9 when Jesus healed a blind man, the Pharisees “investigated.” They asked the former blind man, how he received his sight. After he told them they didn’t believe he was ever really blind. They even got the man’s parents to come and testify that he was born blind! They labeled Jesus a sinner because he healed (worked) on the Sabbath. They questioned the former blind man again and when he didn’t say what they wanted, they insulted him and threw him out! In John 10, Jesus uses a metaphor about a Shepard (Jesus) and sheep (us). The Pharisees didn’t get it. Jesus was like okay I am the Shepard and you are the sheep in this scenario. *blink*blink* In John 11, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” When Jesus saw Mary and the other people weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; then he wept! When Mary brought Jesus to where Lazarus’ body was, Jesus was once more deeply moved when he approached the tomb. He was deeply moved and cried. Why did he cry knowing he would be able to raise up Lazarus and everything would be fine? He cried because in his human body he felt the sadness and loss. He empathized with the sisters and felt the gravity of the situation.
So many people just didn’t get him. He spoke on a higher caliber and others could only understand what they could see, hear and touch. They couldn’t believe what they couldn’t see. Sound familiar?

God will speak to you
Be still and know that I am God.
You just need to shut off the tv, stop checking your phone, stop, just STOP. Sit and Listen. He wants to talk to you, he wants to tell you things. He wants you to ask him for things. And if you tell him to take you into deep waters, he sure will take you, and then tell you “you told me to take you into deep waters.”
I learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the stuff. The stuff being: my job, chores, tv, bills, stress, insecurities, daily activities, feeling bad because of something I ate or didn’t eat, feeling bad because I didn’t get the dishes done again, saying I’ll do something and not doing it again, telling myself I’ll go to bed early again and not doing it, getting caught up in all kinds of plans and feeling obligated to stick to them, setting up goals and not reaching them, trying to be more this or that, the materials things I wish I had, the money I don’t have, and everything else that I focus on. I don’t want to get caught up in the all the stuff of life. I want to fixate my eyes on Jesus. I want to hear him talk. I want to allow myself to be loved, and sought after by him.

During these 21 days I received confirmation and encouragement on some of the things I was asking God about.
*Very unexpectedly, someone heard me speak about my family and they felt it to pass on to me the story in Judges 6 about Gideon. God tells Gideon to go and save Israel out of Midan’s hands. Gideon said “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manassas, and I am the least in my family.” God said, “I’ll be with you;” I teared up in front of the man telling me this story.

*The Lord disciplines those he loves-Proverbs 3:12
Give to everyone what you owe them-Romans 13:7
*God is guarding my purity. He is acting as my heavenly Father, protecting and vigilant. He’s the dad that answers the door and says Don’t mess with MY daughter.

Highlights:
Romans 6:15-23
Romans 8:39
Romans 12:16
Romans 13:12-14
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Gender Issues, Men, Transformation

one for the Boys

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When I watch my nephew “play” I wonder what life is like through his eyes. He is often in the middle of an intense battle between The Hulk, Spiderman, Ironman and often switches in and out of roles. He could also be present in a land of dinosaurs and dragons, he is most often a T-Rex. He enjoys pretending to fall down, or acting out a failed jump from the couch to the floor. He is loud and the source of brash noises that seem to only make sense in his context. He turns simple crayons into rocket ships as they burst through the sky. He loves to explore and offer up his small courage to a “haunty house” [any dark room] and transforms himself into a spooked sense of self while in play mode. Between these scenarios, there are spurts of eating. He eats a variety of foods and yet, quite nothing at all. If you haven’t caught on, I take pride in studying his every move.
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As a woman that grew up with no brothers with male cousins seen sporadically, my nephew’s methods are appealing and adventuresome. At times, he gets to jumping on me too much and I put my hands up in surrender. Okay, that’s enough I say. And he seems unaware of how I don’t like this activity anymore. I offer some of my own preferred activities like coloring, drawing, reading a book. I’d like to take time to brag that now he finds enjoyment drawing his vicious characters and exploring another version of his imagination. I also have adapted my normal way of doing things to ask him to help me. When I ask him “hey can you help me?” his response is of great willingness and attention. He tries to lift the heavy box, he tries to find the item I am looking for. He loves to help at the grocery store by putting items on the counter for me to scan at the self- checkout. This is not a fast process. I name the item and what he offers me may or may not be that item. But I love to see him listen and search, trying to match words to real life pictures. This is a challenge for him and it’s exciting. Did I get it right?! What is frozen green beans again? Most of all, he wants to DO. He doesn’t want to sit and shut up, and I like it that way.
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A backlash of feminism has produced an assault on men.

In high school, I recognized the similarity of many prime time sitcoms, the buffoon dad/husband. This image is different than a Danny Tanner (Bob Saget) or a Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby), these are the Raymond (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Peter Griffin (Family Guy) and some others. There was a shift in the way the husband/father was portrayed in the evening TV shows from decades prior. These men are often displayed at simpletons that just always get it wrong. *insert mechanical laughs now* Without their wife, they would live as 40-something frat boys eating Doritos and sour cream for dinner. These men are incapable of caring for their children appropriately and safely. They are also inept at romancing their wives. I’m not married nor do I have children. However, don’t roll your eyes too far back. I was a child once, a child of two married people. With this image of a man or husband, what modern woman would want to be married? I feel bad this is the way men are depicted not just in TV sitcoms but also big picture movies. This image subconsciously draws us away from each other as men and women. This reiterates that message of I don’t need a man. I can do for myself. These messages are a direct result of feminism.
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Can we make bunkbeds? Soooo???

And so I see many, many men taking a backseat to the feminist agenda. If they speak up they are labeled as a sexist and misogynist. If they fall in line, they are tamed. They become passive. They become the man that just stands there when someone is disrespecting you as a woman. They say nothing. If they open a door for you, I can open a door myself. If they take you out, I can pay for myself. But if you sleep with him, can you call you yourself? By the looks of it, that’s the only time some women want a man. To lay in bed with and then obsess over the lack of texts and phone calls coming in. Some women assert their Independence, but cling to their phones waiting for the sad, majestic elusive text message. There’s no judgment here because I have been that woman. Scared to know a man by any other context aside from that which I can assure myself success. I believed that interactions between myself and men were of a win/lose situation. If you know that I like you, I lose. If I’m nice to you, I lose. I used to say I’m not an ego fluffer. I’m not his personal cheerleader. Some of you may be nodding your head like, Right! Let me finish, I now see those beliefs were being held by an immature and insecure woman. There’s a quote that circulates on social media:
“Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine brighter.”

I tried to out-shine my fellow man. I was shallow and needed men to know that I was better. I used to believe a man could offer me nothing. The root of these beliefs are for another day.
Four years ago, I went with my pregnant sister to the doctor where we would find out the sex of her baby. When the tech announced there was a penis and that it was a boy, I said “I guess our man-hating days are over.” I have stuck by that statement. How could I welcome a baby boy into this world holding in resentments towards men? How could honor this new member of the family by subconsciously being repelled by all things masculine? How could I take delight in him if I disapproved of his nature?

These days I don’t trash talk men. I actually listen to a few. Men have so much to say and so much to offer us women. Allow yourself to be a woman, soft and beautiful. Allow a man the chance to come through for you. They want to. If a man disappoints you, I plead with you to not become bitter. Do not become prickly. I can only explain this transformation as one produced by God. Without a willingness to be corrected I could not have the heart I have today. We all have value, and I refuse to put down a man in order to self-soothed my own insecurities.

qwRelated Reading:

NEW as of November 20, 2018: https://www.dailywire.com/news/38556/walsh-boyhood-not-mental-disorder-matt-walsh

http://www.girldefined.com/the_trend_of_the_feminine_guy

http://en.gravatar.com/that1liana

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