When things go wrong, you ask yourself, ‘How can there be a good God?’ I think the conclusion that I come to is that both faith and doubt are equally logical choices in the face of tragedy. Faith is to say 'Yes, a future will have pain, but there is a meaning and a purpose deeper than that pain.’ For me, that is my choice–to believe rather than doubt.
MANY OF YOU HAVE ASKED FOR HEALTHY GUIDELINES TO CHRISTIAN PRAYER AND FASTING. REMEMBER THAT FASTING IS ONLY AN ACCESSORY TO PRAYER.
How to Begin Your Fast
How you begin and conduct your fast will largely determine your success. By following these steps to fasting they will make your time with the Lord more meaningful and spiritually rewarding.
STEP ONE: SET YOUR OBJECTIVE
Why are you fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, guidance, resolution to problems, healing, for special grace to handle a difficult situation? Ask the Holy spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. This will enable you to pray more specifically and strategically. Through fasting and prayer we humble ourselves before God so the holy spirit will stir our souls, awaken churches, and heal our land according to 2 Chronicles 7:14. Make this a priority in your fasting.
STEP TWO: MAKE YOUR COMMITMENT
Pray about what kind of fast you should undertake. Jesus implied that all of His followers should fast. (Matthew 6:16-18 9:14, 15) for Him it was a matter of when believers would fast, not if they would do it. Before you fast decide the following up front:
How long you will fast - one meal, one day, a week, several weeks, forty days (Beginners should start slowly, building up to longer fasts.)
The type of fast God wants you to undertake (such as water only, or water and juices; what kinds of juices you will drink and how often)
What physical or social activities you will restrict
How much time each day you will devote to prayer and God’s Word
Making these commitments ahead of time will help you to sustain your fast.
When physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.
STEP THREE: PREPARE YOURSELF SPIRITUALLY
The very foundation of fasting and prayer is repentance. Unconfessed sin will hinder your prayers. Here are several things you can do to prepare your heart:
Ask God to help you make a comprehensive list of your sins.
Confess every sin that the Holy Spirit calls to your remembrance and accept
God’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you (Mark 11:25; Luke 11:4; 17:3,4).
Make restitution as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His command in Ephesians 5:18 and His promise in 1 John 5:14,15.
Surrender your life fully to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Master; refuse to obey your worldly nature (Romans 12:1,2).
Meditate on the attributes of God, His love, sovereignty, power, wisdom, faithfulness, grace, compassion, and others (Psalm 48:9,10; 103:1-8, 11-13).
Begin your time of fasting and prayer with an expectant heart (Hebrews 11:6). Do not underestimate spiritual opposition. Satan sometimes intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit (Galatians 5:16,17).
STEP FOUR: PREPARE YOURSELF PHYSICALLY
Fasting requires reasonable precautions. Consult your physician first, especially if you take prescription medicines or have a chronic ailment. Some persons should never fast without professional supervision.
Physical preparation makes the drastic change in your eating routine a little easier so you can turn your full attention to the Lord in prayer.
Do not rush into your fast.
Prepare your body. Eat smaller meals before starting a fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods.
Eat raw fruit and vegetables for two days before starting a fast.
Your time for fasting and prayer has come. You are abstaining from all solid foods and have began to seek the Lord. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider:
Avoid drugs, even natural herbal drugs and homeopathic remedies. Medication should only be withdrawn only with your Physicians supervision.
Limit your activity.
Exercise only moderately. Walk one to three miles each day if convenient and comfortable.
Rest as much as your schedule will permit.
Prepare yourself for temporary mental discomforts, such as impatience, crankiness, and anxiety.
Expect some physical discomforts, especially on the second day. You may have fleeting hunger pains, dizziness, or the “blahs.” Withdrawal from caffeine and sugar may cause headaches. Physical annoyances may also include weakness, tiredness, or sleeplessness.
The first two or three days are usually the hardest. As you continue to fast you are likely to experience a sense of well- being both physically and spiritually. However, should you feel hunger pains, increase your liquid intake.
STEP 5:PUT YOURSELF ON A SCHEDULE
For maximum spiritual benefit, set aside ample time to be alone with the Lord. Listen for His leading. The more time you spend with Him the more meaningful your fast will be.
Begin your day in praise and worship.
Read and meditate on God’s Word, preferably on your knees.
Invite the Holy Spirit to work in you to will and to do His good pleasure according to Philippians 2:13.
Invite God to use you. Ask Him to show you how to influence your world, your family, your church, your community, your country, and beyond.
Pray for His vision for your life and empowerment to do His will.
Return to prayer and God’s Word.
Take a short prayer walk.
Spend time in intercessory prayer for your community’s and nation’s leaders, for the world’s unreached millions, for your family or special needs.
Get alone for an unhurried time of “seeking His face.”
If others are fasting with you, meet together for prayer.
Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your spiritual focus.
When possible begin and end each day on your knees with a spouse for a brief time of praise and thanksgiving to God. Longer periods of time with our Lord in prayer and study of his Word are often better done alone.
A dietary routine is vital as well. Dr. Julio Ruibal, a nutritionist, pastor, and a specialist in fasting and prayer - suggest a daily schedule and a list of juices you may find useful and satisfying. Modify this schedule and the drinks you take to suit your tastes and circumstances.
5:00 to 8:00 A.M.
Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, watermelon, or other fruit juices are generally preferred. If you cannot do your own juicing, buy juices without sugar or additives.
10:30 A.M. - noon
Fresh vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery, and carrots in three equal parts.
2:30 P.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Herb tea with a drop of honey. Avoid black tea or any tea with caffeine.
6:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
Broth made from boiling potatoes, celery, and carrots with no salt. After boiling about half an hour, pour the water into a container and drink it.
Drinking fruit juice will decrease your hunger pains and give you some natural sugar energy. The taste and lift will motivate and strengthen you to continue.
The best juices are made from fresh watermelon, lemons, grapes, apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, celery, or leafy green vegetables. In cold weather, you may enjoy a warm vegetable broth.
Mix acidic juices (orange and tomato) with water for your stomach’s sake.
Avoid caffeinated drinks. And avoid chewing gum or mints, even if your breath is bad. They stimulate digestive action in your stomach.
STEP SIX: END YOUR FAST GRADUALLY
Begin eating gradually. Do not eat solid foods immediately after you fast. Suddenly reintroducing solid foods to your stomach and digestive tract will likely have negative, or even dangerous, consequences. Try several smaller meals or snacks each day. If you end a fast gradually, the beneficial physical and spiritual effects will result in continued good health.
Here are some suggestions to help you end your fast properly:
Break an extended water fast with fruit such as watermelon.
While continuing to drink fruit or vegetable juices, add the following:
First day: Add a raw salad.
Second day: Add baked or boiled potato, no butter or seasoning.
Third day: Add a steamed vegetable.
Thereafter: Begin to reintroduce your normal diet.
Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
STEP SEVEN: EXPECT RESULTS:
If you sincerely humble yourself before the Lord, repent, pray and seek God’s face; if you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His Presence (John 14:21). The Lord will give you fresh new spiritual insights. Your confidence and faith in God will be strengthened. You will feel mentally, physically and spiritually refreshed. You will see answers to your prayers.
A single fast is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy spirit daily, we also need new times of fasting before God. A 24 hour fast each week has been very rewarding for many Christians.
It takes time to build your spiritual fasting muscles. If you fail to make it through your first fast do not be discouraged. You may have tried to fast too long the first time. Or you may need to strengthen your understanding and resolve. Maybe try a shorter fast and work your way up to longer periods. Take it to the Lord in prayer and see where He leads you.
HOW TO EXPERIENCE AND MAINTAIN YOUR PERSONAL REVIVAL:
1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any un-confessed sin in your life.
2. Seek forgiveness from all whom you have offended, and forgive all who have hurt you. Make restitution where God leads.
3. Examine your motives in every word and deed. Ask the Lord to search and cleanse your heart daily.
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to guard your walk against complacency and mediocrity.
5. Praise and give thanks to God continually in all ways on all days, regardless of your circumstances.
6. Refuse to obey your carnal (worldly) nature (Galatians 5:16,17).
7. Surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Develop utter dependence on Him with total submission and humility.
8. Study the attributes of God.
9. Hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
10. Love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37).
11. Appropriate the continual fullness and control of the Holy Spirit by faith on the basis of God’s command (Ephesians 5:18) and promise (1 John 5:14,15).
12. Read, study, meditate on, and memorize God’s holy, inspired, inerrant Word daily (Colossians 3:16).
13. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
14. Fast and pray one 24-hour period each week. Prayerfully consider becoming one of the two million Christians who will fast for forty days before the end of the year 2012.
15. Seek to share Christ daily as a way of life.
16. Determine to live a holy, godly life of obedience and faith.
17. Start or join a home or church Bible study group that emphasizes revival and a holy life.
Never forget that all glory and honor go to The Lord Jesus Christ.. May He bless you!!!
Jesus always seems to be pairing God’s forgiveness of us with our forgiveness of others.
But why? Growing up, I thought it was a way of guilting us into forgiving others, like Jesus was saying, Hey, I died for you and you can’t even be nice to your little brother? As though God can get us to do the right thing if God can just make us feel bad about how much we owe God. But that is not the God I see in Jesus Christ. That is a manipulative mother.
So much talk about forgiveness can make this following Jesus thing feel like a Pansies Anonymous meeting. Slogan: Treat us like shit, we’ll totally forgive you; but doesn’t forgiving a sin against us, or an evil done to many, come perilously to just that? Isn’t forgiving over and over just the thing that keeps battered women battered?
I suspected that it might not be true that we should forgive evil, because when faced with evil, Jesus wants us to be holy doormats and say it’s OK.
Somewhere along the way I was taught that evil is fought through justice and might. The way we combat evil is by making sure that people get what they have coming to them. An eye for an eye. You attack me and I’ll attack you. Fair is fair. And there were times in my own life when I’ve been so hurt that I was sure retaliation would make me feel better. But inevitably, when I can’t harm the people who harmed me, I just end up harming the people who love me. So maybe retaliation or holding on to anger about the harm done to me doesn’t actually combat evil. Maybe it feeds it.
In the end, if we’re not careful, we can actually absorb the worst of our enemy and on some level even become them. It would seem that when we are sinned against, when someone else does us harm, we are in some way linked to that sin, connected to that mistreatment like a chain. And our anger, fear, or resentment doesn’t free us at all. It just keeps us chained.
What if forgiveness, rather than being a pansy way of saying it’s OK, is actually a way of wielding bolt cutters and snapping the chain that links us? In all fairness, I should say that this is just the kind of thing that got Jesus killed. He was going around telling people they were forgiven. He went about freeing people, cutting them loose. And that kind of freedom is always threatening.
Day 15: Favorite Lead Couple: Yoo Eun Soo and Captain Choi Young ~Faith
Like I have expressed before, I’m a sucker for dramas that force the lead couple to work together. Especially if there is a Greater Good to be protected. It keeps things in perspective. In this case, the stability of the kingdom of Goryeo.
The gist: The vulnerable new King of Goryeo is greeted upon return to his home country by assassins, who slit the throat of his bride. Fortunately, said slayage happens in close proximity to a door to “Heaven”- aka a wormhole that leads to modern day Gangnam- where legend says dwells a great healer. Lee Min Ho’s loyal soldier is sent to find the Great Doctor. He locates plastic surgen Yoo Eun Soo, kidnaps her back to the past, and promises on his life that if she saves the queen, he will see that she gets back home. Political, magical, romantic, and time-travel wibbly wobbley timey whimey hijinks ensue.
Why they are awesome: Can you say, partners? Because they do, literally. Well, after Eun Soo teaches him what that means. It is as equal a power structure as you can see in a historical show.
They actually have a fight when she witholds some information, not because he wants to forbid her from doing the dangerous thing, but that she needs to tell him the plan so they can do it together.
Time and again, Eun Soo, despite being a woman in 14th century Korea, designs and executes her own plans in her attempts to gain the information needed to survive the hostile court and find a way back to her own time.
And Choi Young helps her, while leaving the decisions up to her (once he realizes that all attempts to control her are futile. There is a learning curve).
A lovely side effect of this is that we get so many opportunities to see the relationship between these two develop -from when she’s calling him “psycho” because he kidnapped her to what she initially thinks is an elaborate drama set (he does express sorrow and regret for doing that to her, btdubs which is another unique thing)- to when she’s affectionately calling him “psycho” because she managed to save him from blood poisoning and now he’s rescuing her from house arrest. There’s lots of quests and quiet moments of adorableness. And talking. They talk a lot. Honestly, about their feelings and what is going to happen to their relationship in the future and shit like that. It’s great.
And that totally awesome moment when she saves everyones lives by out-noble-idioting Choi Young’s attempt at noble-idiot. That was beautiful.
I don’t even care that they only get to kiss once- there are so many emotional moments that don’t involve kissing it totally makes up for it.
Honorable Mentions: Lee Jae Ha and Kim Hwang Ah ~King 2 Hearts
I close my eyes, sick of the riddles, and to my surprise all I could see were dandelions - as if they had been painted on the fields of my imagination, a hundred thousand suns. And I remembered something else that makes us human: faith, the only weapon in our arsenal to battle doubt.