An Insight on Fasting That You Do NOT Know.

ImageOften times when we are fasting we are looking forward to what is coming.  We spend our pensive times in prayer thinking, maybe even dreaming about what will be, how much better this year will be than last.  One of the aspects of fasting that is often unknown is the ‘rug’ principle.

 

We spend every year sweeping things under the rug in our lives.  You can say you don’t know what I’m talking about, or maybe you are more pious than that and think that only other people do that, but the truth of the matter is; we all sweep things under the proverbial rug.  Relationships that should have been confronted months ago, the out of control spending that has wedged its way into our lives, or even the rouge habits that have grown in significance. 

 

Whatever it is, we all sweep. 

 

Other things take precedence throughout the year.   With work demanding more hours, our family getting more needy, and our country changing things daily, our lives have become a smoldering pot of constant change and adaptation just to keep our heads above water.  So it’s no wonder that when things float to the top, if it’s difficult or embarrassing, we shove it back down into the fray….we sweep it under the rug.  After all, nobody looks under your rug….not even your mother-in-law.

 

One of the powerful effects of fasting is the power to lift the rug in our lives.  Even if you never pray, “oh God! Please lift my rug!”. He will.  He’s a rug lifter.  The rug gets lifted and then we get to deal with all the stuff from the past year that we suppressed, regressed, and swept under the rug.  The great thing is God helps us work through it.  He guides us, supports us, and encourages us.  The difficult news is that you still have to work through it.  There is no magic pill.

 

The Holy Spirit is our guide, and He will guide us in the proper way to confront, talk, share, leave, stay, hold on, let go, walk, run, forgive, love, heal, and establish boundaries.  Whatever it is, listen to the Holy Spirit and he will guide you through the process of cleaning out from underneath the rug in your life.

 

  • Fasting pulls the rug back.
  • The Holy Spirit Guides us in how to sweep.
  • We pick up the broom.
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Alien Inside

As we embark on week two of our 21 day fast, and was wondering if you seen it yet?  That thing that lurks in the shadows…at times you might feel like Sigourney Weaver In the 90’s smash hit, “Alien.”  Running down dark hallways carrying an assault rifle (illegal to carry but let’s be honest, when you are hunting aliens you want more than just 7 rounds in your magazine) looking to kill the alien before it kills you, only to discover that the alien, that scary, slimy, nasty thing, aleady lives inside you!  And fasting is bringing it out!

Have you noticed more of something in your life or in your home since you have been fasting?  Yep, well that’s what’s in you….I know you wanted me to tell you how awesome you are and how you should be encouraged that you are fasting and you are gonna hear from God and the windows heaven are gonna burst open and cherubim are going to descend bringing you fresh fruit from the thrown of God.  Instead you get dry mouth, headaches, body cramps, and a bad attitude.  Fasting takes away the veneer that so many of us live behind.  As that thin Veneer is shattered what’s left is the areas of our life that really do need work.  This is actually part of the process and it is actually God speaking to you.  He knows and wants you to know that these areas of your life are not pleasing to him.  You could keep on faking it, but you decided to fast and get God’s attention so He is giving it to you.  He is showing you that He is not impressed with your anger.  He really doesn’t like the jealousy.  The fighting in the home…..yep He’s not in it.  What about the lying?  He hates it.  Pride?  Arrogance?  Sexual deviance? None of it is in His plan for you. So many of us live with all these nasty aliens lurking in us, and it’s not until we get serious and fast and pray that we even see it to address it.

So what is rearing it’s ugly head in your life this week?  Name it.  Be honest with yourself.  Then attack it and tear it down.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Pick up your spiritual weapons, and go pop-a-cap in the alien lurking inside you.

Exactly What Do I Have To Do?

Sometimes when I ask my kids to do something, they will ask me what they have to do.  They only ask this when there is a chore or an unsavory thing that must be done.  I might say, “clean your room,” and then my 8 year old will ask, “What all do I need to do?  How good do you want me to clean it?”  In other words, what is the minimum that I can do and still appease you Father?  What exactly do I need to do in order not to get punished?

The frustrating thing is when I see this attitude seep into our minds when it comes to fasting.  We ask questions like, “Can I have this?”  “Is this allowed on the fast?”  “What about this?”  “Can I eat this?” And those are ALL the wrong questions.  None of those questions come close to relating to fasting. Those questions belong to a legalistic mindset.

See the question is not can you have this or that, but rather, “What are you willing to give up for a temporary amount of time, in order to hear from God?”  What type of food, or all food, is more important than having God show up in your life?  

Is a steak more important than a new job you want?

Is sugar more important than peace in your home?

Is a hamburger more important than having a child you’ve been wanting?  

What about a finding a Godly spouse?  

What about having a heathen husband get saved?  

What about your indebtedness being wiped out, or the money found to pay it off?  

Do you want to keep the school loans forever? Or is God moving supernaturally in your finances more important to you than sweets?  Sugar?  Meat?  Chocolate? FaceBook? TV?

See I think we have approached fasting from the wrong direction for too long.  We have somehow in our crazy American mindset made it a yearly chore instead of a desperate cry to gain God’s attention in our lives.  A season of time that we set aside and genuinely cry out to God saying, “I need you more than anything!  These hunger pains and headaches pale in comparison to your greatness.  See me!  Hear my cry!  Move on my behalf!  Bring your signs, miracles and wonders down in my life!  I can’t survive another moment let alone a whole year without your favor!

Right now stop and think what you are fasting for.  If you don’t have a need, no character flaws, or spiritual dryness then why are you fasting?  But if you do, then before you pop the M&M in your mouth ask yourself, “Is this little bit of hunger or this little bit of craving more powerful than my desire for (fill in the blank).”

Quit Fasting Yet?

ImageHave you quit fasting yet?  We started on Sunday so today is the end of day 3, did you quit?  How about compromise?  Did you sneak a gallon of Ice Cream or a chocolate shake from Sonic thinking nobody was looking?  You devoured it with a passion wondering how you survived so long without it, but before the sugar can even hit your bloodstream you have a feeling or twinge of guilt….But then the sugar kicks in immediately after that and the guilt is washed away like a blanket of snow under a spring rain.  So since you have already fallen off the fasting wagon (and it never felt so good bounce face first on the dirt road of life), you decide to just forgo the fast.  I mean after all you blew it, you might as well just give up and enjoy life.

That is not what you should do.  What you should do is give your flesh a swift kick in the – pick a body part and insert here – and get back on that fasting wagon and ride it to the house!  Even if you mess up it’s okay.  I have actually had people think that God was mad at them for not completing a fast.  That is a silly ungodly thing to think.  Do you realize how much God is blown away by your sacrifice of faith?  How he is loving it that his kids are willfully giving up food, certain types of food, to get closer to him?  He is wowed!   He is blown away!  Keep it up.  Don’t stop!  Just try again.  And if it’s easier for you then just alter your route to work and don’t drive by Sonic!

Not Talked About Fasting Side effects

ImageFor some reason all anybody ever talks about with fasting is being hungry, and what God is going to do.  That’s fine and dandy, but over the past few years of fasting I have noticed some side effects that happen during a fast that people don’t talk about, but everybody wonders, and most even experience.  So I thought I would share a few and see if any of them happen to you….if they do then you’re normal…..if they don’t, then I’m alone and as weird as ever.  

  • Crotchety – no food, or the food I don’t normally eat makes Pastor Craig a Crotchety man.  I snap at my kids, I snap at my wife, I snap at the crossing gaurd at the school, it crazy!  Normally i’m a pretty nice guy, but take away food and I am not a nice person.  I even have a deal with Patti (my wife) before I fast, I say, “Hey babe I’m fasting and so when I get snippy I give you permission to correct me.  Don’t let me get out of line.”  She’s good at it.  She might like it too much but ya know, what’s a guy gonna do?
  • Sleepless in Seattle – Okay actually sleepless no matter where you live, but the point is that when you fast your body burns less energy becasue it is not working to digest food thus giving you more free energy.  Of course it is a toss up becasue food also gives you energy.  The difference is when you fast you will feel tired, but not sleepy.  When fasting you will more than likely find that you can function very well on 5 hours of sleep a night and not require a nap….not that we really have the luxury of naps, but we can at lest dream can’t we?  Which ironically brings me to the third one…
  • Dream Weaver – You will have more dreams when you are fasting.  Call me crazy but I believe that dreams are from God.  Yep I do.  Why yes it is in the Bible….Yep, a lot…..more than you think.  SO when we fast we are voluntarily putting our body in second place to our spirits.  SO if we don’t fill our time with TV, but seek him, then guess what?  Yep you guessed it, we dream more.  Of course, according to the Bible dreams need to be interpreted since they are symbolic.  Gee now if you just had somebody that could Biblically interpret your dream…..Oh yea!  I can.  Email your dream to craig@southpoint.tv with the subject line “DREAM.”  (Yes I am serious)
  • Hunger Games – Yea, one huge side effect is that you will be hungry…..nope it’s not a game….and it’s not easy.  One of the things that helps me is when I feel an overwhelming hunger pain or a craving for a cheeseburger I say a “Breath Prayer.”  A breath prayer is a prayer that you can say in one breath.  I say, “God I want you more than a Cheeseburger.”  This is of course different than praying, “God I want a cheeseburger!”  A breath Prayer helps realign our focus and helps us to carry on in our fast, past the bumps of cravings and pains. (It also helps to not talk about how hungry you are all the time).
  • Forget Me Not – During a fast you will become more forgetful.  It’s part of it.  So if your anniversary falls during the next 21 days, just skip it and blame it on God.  (of course I jest)  (Maybe….)

Okay there are more, but what do you think?  What are some side effects you have from fasting other than the ones I just mentioned, no copying! 

Guest Blogger – Dr. Nick

The “Daniel Fast” is fast approaching and perhaps an in depth perspective would whet our appetites as we embark on this spiritual discipline.

In 6th Century Babylon, the location of the inaugural “Daniel Fast”, four Jewish captives refused to eat the prime choice meat and expensive wine from the table of King Nebuchadnezzar. Their motivation was definitely an act of obedience to God, but also a strategic move to preserve their spiritual heritage and identity.

A central part of the Babylonian system was to radically change the thinking of every resident, both old and particularly the new. The three-year indoctrination program was designed to dismantle all previous attachments to an individual’s past. The major component of this curriculum was with the use of words and their subsequent meaning.

Daniel 1:6-7, ” vs. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. (NIV)

Words meant something and particularly the name of a Jewish person carried a spiritual meaning.

Daniel – which means, “God is my judge”,

Hananiah, which means, “God is gracious”,

Mishael–“who is equal to God”, and

Azariah, “God is my helper”.

These names were a direct connection to their spiritual heritage and faith. The Babylonian officials declared their names to be changed in order to skew their thinking towards a more secular way of thinking.

Daniel to Belteshazzar, (Bel, ((a false god)) protects my life),

Hananiah to Shadrach, (servant of sin),

Mishael changed to Meshach, which means, who is what Shach is, and

Azariah to Abednego, a servant of a heathen god.

Clearly, this effort was to reprogram the thinking of what their life was meant to accomplish.

Proverbs 22:1 “a good name is better then great riches” is a verse all of us should keep in mind. We live in a society that is constantly redefining history, morals, and words. This is doubly important for believers because we bear the name of Jesus Christ. Colossians 3:17 reminds us that whatever we say and do, we do all in his name.

The Daniel fast originally was enacted to follow the letter and spirit of Proverbs 4:23. This verse admonishes us to “guard our minds above anything else.” These Hebrew teenagers determined to do this via their fast. The king’s food and wine were symbolic of a way of life dedicated to other things besides the “One True God”. Their refusal was rooted in the fact that those who follow God – their faith is without compromise and negotiation. The fast obviously involved a physical component (meat and wine), but the greater motivation was the incontrovertible Biblical axiom. That is, “while we are in this world, we are to set our affections on the heavenly realm in order to change this world.

Whatever area in your life that clouds your view of God should be the focus of your fast.

You Can do it! Seriously, you can.

If you start out saying you can’t do it then of course you will never do it, but if you start out by telling yourself that you can do it, then guess what…You can do it!  

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YOU CAN FAST

Fasting is NOT for the super spiritual, our the super Christian.  Fasting is a spiritual discipline that is for everyone.  Yes, I did say everyone.  Maybe you have never fasted before because it scares you – get over it!  Don’t be a wuss.  In Matthew Jesus said, “When you fast…”  Thus we should all have a time in our lives when we fast, so let me give you some helpful insights into fasting.

Fasting is the act of voluntarily laying aside food, or certain types of food for a period of time.  Fasting can also encompass laying down other things as well that we might feel has side tracked us, gotten in the path of the flow of the spirit, or simply a temporary distraction.  This Sunday SouthPoint Church will embark on its annual 21 day fast.  We are doing what has traditionally been called the “Daniel Fast” which is derived from the book of Daniel in the Old Testament.  

WHAT TO FAST

There are 2 passages that speak about this type of fast.  The first, is in Daniel chapter 1 and the second, is in Daniel chapter 10.  From these 2 passages we discover that this “Partial-Fast” (partial because you are still eating food.  A complete fast would obviously be no food, liquid only) says to eat only fruits and vegetables, no sweeteners, no Alcohol, and no bread.  Now what some people like to do is go all Pharisaical on us and start adding to this list.  They say things like, “You can have no processed foods!” “No Yeast!” “No artificial flavors!” “No Chemicals!”  That’s all fine and dandy if that is what you are fasting, all I’m saying is what the Bible says.  If you choose to fast other things then that is wonderful and great, however those things are not listed in the scriptures in Daniel and so adding them into this fast is acceptable but not mandatory.  You can fast whatever you want, but insinuating that others have to jump on your bandwagon is not very productive.   

WHEN TO FAST

January 13 – February 3 

WHY FAST

So what are you fasting for?  Before you should fast you should always have a reason.  Doing it to lose weight is a reason, you could very well be physically unhealthy.  Possibly one of your reasons to do the Daniel fast is to get your physical body healthy and realigned again and to lose weight.  That’s fine, but there is more.  What spiritual, mental, or emotional thing are you fasting for?  Maybe it’s a relationship you want or need?  A couple of years ago a lady in our church fasted for a husband.  Now she’s married to an awesome Christian man that started coming to our churchthe Sunday the fast ended.  (Yep, God’s pretty cool like that.)  Be specific.  Write it down if you need to, put it in your phone, make it a desktop picture, do whatever it takes to keep it in the forefront of your mind over the next 21 days.  There is even an example in the book of Nehemiah where he took a piece of paper into prayer and laid it out on the floor and said, “God do you see this?”  Of course God saw it.  God knew it was there and knew what was on it, but that act of physically laying it out there caused Nehemiah to be that much more passionate about it.  Passionately write your needs out.  Be specific, and the when those needs are met, specifically thank God for them.

If you have Fasting Questions simply comment here and We’ll answer them together.

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