Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lent 20: Fasting for life

Fasting is a Lenten discipline. It’s part of pre-Easter routines for many Christians. But not eating is hard, especially when we live in a country of abundant food. Advertising and restaurants surround us and bombard us with the message of “EAT! you're starving!” and “MORE! Feed me, feed me!”

I’ve found that a regular fast schedule gets harder, not easier. On the chosen day, food is everywhere. I’m hungry by breakfast and famished by lunch. I feel hopeless by supper, and hate going to bed without a snack. I even usually wake up during the night in anticipation of being able to eat again. During the day's process, I wonder how much good fasting does.

When we deny ourselves food, are we using the time to focus on spiritual and life values? Jesus said that God was pleased by a contrite heart. Fasting must be accompanied by an openness to hear from God. A willingness to die to self and hunger for more of God’s presence. A renouncement of faults and turning to the living One.

One of the reasons for fasting is to appeal to God, to ask him for favor and help. But in the process, we are transformed. Rather than miraculous intervention, we often find ourselves changing on the inside in ways that God uses to bless others.
God's peace to you today!

*Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Proverbs 8:10, 11 NIV

*The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more, the Lord will be your Everlasting Light, and your days of sorrow will end. Isaiah 60:19, 20 NIV

*"Even now," declares the Lord, "return to Me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12, 13 NIV

*So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: 'To an Unknown God.' This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I'm telling you about." Acts 17:22–23 NIV

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