Archive for the ‘The Divine Experiment’ Category
My mom tells me I prayed with my mother when I was 3 years old to accept Jesus into my heart and forgive my sins, I don’t remember it!
I do however remember being in about the 2nd grade and realizing that I indeed needed a saviour and committing my life to Christ at that time.
Another new awareness happened to me in about the 4th grade, when I was 14, 19 and 30 something; I loved the Lord and wanted to follow him. But my REAL awareness of needing a saviour was when I was 34 and realized my rebellion and undeserved anger towards my husband was being sown into my children. Then I understood, I really AM a sinner! Before I just thought I needed Jesus as a “ticket” to get into heaven.
Then about 6 years ago, after my “food detox” God was able to detox my heart. I realized that prior to that time, for most of my life, I had been following God with a “sense of duty”, you know, the “good girl syndrome”. My personal relationship with Jesus had, for the most part lacked the passion of….a relationship. A woman I was counseling with suggested I did not understand God’s passionate love for…ME! That God delighted in ME! She was right!
I didn’t understand delight and I could not even really receive the passionate expressions (verbal and otherwise) from my loving hubby, who was always telling me how much he loved me and how beautiful I am. My counselor suggested I read the book of the Song of Solomon in the Bible to understand how much God loved me.
I did understand the concept of delighting in something; I learned that when our first grandson was born. I could watch that little guy all day. I took in every movement, response, word, sound; even when he was naughty I just loved him to death as I corrected him! So….this is how God felt about me? Wow! I didn’t feel it but at least I understood it.
Reading the Song of Solomon didn’t connect the dots between God and I, as if He were saying the loving words of a spouse to me, but it DID connect that God gave me a husband who loved me and said those loving words to me…you know, your hair is like the goats on the hills of Bashan (or something like that). Phil is always saying wonderful loving things to me, that I don’t deserve.
It finally hit me, God delighted in ME so much that when I was a teenager, before I even knew I needed it, He gave me a husband who would adore me and live as though he adored me! Wow! Thanks God!
I’m sure before the end of my life I will have even greater understanding of God’s love and delight for me but I must say that living with delight is much better than living with duty!
Jeremiah says “I have loved you with an everlasting love and with loving kindness I have drawn you”….do you hear his loving whisper across the ear of your heart?
Maranatha! for you!
This is our first day to post until the Imminent Return of Jesus Christ. As soon as we figure out how, we will be creating a separate blog (I think, have to see what our web folks at www.spaceacres.com say about it).
Some of our friends may not agree or even approve of what we share, we hope you will ask God, who reveals truth, to reveal truth to you. Seek truth, pursue it, don’t just hang on to what you believe out of pride or fear. Seek truth, that is all we ask.
This is Day 1 Maranatha. Maranatha means “Our Lord Cometh”. It is our intention to always share accurate, biblically based information that will give you the ability to make wise choices about your future. How many days do we have to write? We don’t know, maybe 1, maybe a thousand, but as long as we are alive and able we will post until Christs’ return.
Day One; the rapture did not happen, the Holy Spirit is still on the earth, drawing men to consider Jesus.
What will the earth be like on the day AFTER the real rapture? Jesus talked about it: Matthew 24: Two men will be together, one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be working together, one will be taken, the other left. The day after the REAL rapture, the earth will be TOTAL CHAOS. Drivers of cars will be taken, pilots, boat captains, children, bosses, workers, husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends.
Our media has depicted some of what it may look like with all the “alien abduction” movies, the “end of the world movies”, etc. But just like man cannot create anything close to God’s creation, man cannot bring destruction like God.
Why will some be left and others be taken? You might be thinking, a loving God would never do that! You are correct, God sent Jesus, Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life, the bridge between God and man, heaven and earth, mortality and immortality. No one comes to the Father but by Jesus, but WHOSOEVER Will May Come! Anyone can come to a relationship to God through Jesus Christ.
No one has to be here for the day after the rapture. 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
John 3:16-19, Good News Translation: For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its savior. 18 Those who believe in the Son are not judged; but those who do not believe have already been judged, because they have not believed in God’s only Son. 19 This is how the judgment works: the light has come into the world, but people love the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds are evil.
More Information: www.needhim.org
Maranatha! Our Lord Cometh!
I have recently been feeling challenged about my personal walk with God. My mission statement is “To be an accurate representation of Jesus Christ and a catalyst that draws people to God.” But do I really emulate Jesus in my every day life?
Our Pastor constantly reminds us that the book of Acts, and all the epistles that follow are OUR story as believers. I decided to really study Acts and see what MY story as believer should look like. I was immediately challenged in Acts chapter 4: 24-37. This passage conveys how the early church walked out life in relationship to one another, God and the world. I began to realize that what these people LIVED is The Fear of the Lord.
The Fear of the Lord is an awesome thing. Psalms tells us The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Proverbs tell us it lengthens our days, gives us strong confidence, is a fountain of life, makes us satisfied, keeps us from evil, brings riches, honor and life. These are great benefits. What does the Fear of the Lord mean and how do we find it?
The Old and New Testament references to the Fear of the Lord or Fear of God have multiple meanings; reverence out of respect and terror as one who can take your life pretty much sum it all up. Jesus said in Matthew 10:28 we should not fear the one who can kill the body but not the soul, rather we should fear the one who can condemn them both to hell. That kind of Fear of God is not very popular today but it may be necessary to keep our flesh in tact.
When we are walking in the flesh we are walking in the Fear of man. Galatians 5:19-21 says “the works of the flesh are evident.” Then it lists them: “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these…those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” New American Standard version
I believe the key word here is PRACTICE, which is quite different from being caught in temptation and falling in weakness. The Greek meaning of practice is “to exercise, to be busy with, to carry on”. It has a meaning of intention behind it. Even the Apostle Paul said we will all struggle against the flesh but when we Practice walking in the flesh, knowing we don’t have to, then it becomes a problem. There are no eternal benefits to walking and “practicing” the works of the flesh, so why do we so easily accept them?
Possibly we don’t spend time comparing them to God’s ideal for us, we are not in God’s Word so we are not transformed into His image. Also, it is not possible to walk in the Fear of the Lord or walk in the Spirit (because then you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh), without a fresh infilling daily of the Holy Spirit. This is easily accomplished; all we have to do is stop long enough to ask God to fill us freshly with His Spirit on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean getting saved all over again each day. It simply means allowing Gods’ spirit to invade and direct our flesh.
I have decided to begin to take note of my life in comparison to the 8 things I noted in Acts 4, to ask the Holy Spirit to change my heart so I naturally walk in the Fear of the Lord.
8 Ways My Story should match the Early Church
1. The early Church recognized God’s Hand at work, even in persecution.
Acts 4:27-28 “….Herod and Pontius Pilate with nations and peoples, even Israel itself!—met in this very city to plot against your holy Son Jesus, the One you made Messiah, to carry out the plans you long ago set in motion.” The Message translation
I tend to get upset about politicians, world events, even the weather interfering with my life and even my ability to minister.
People who walk in the Fear of The Lord recognize that God’s hand and His purpose determines ALL things; even evil cannot over throw God’s plans, but rather will help fulfill them. This leads to seeking God, faith and empowerment even against all odds.
People who walk in the Fear of Man believe one of two things: 1) their life is controlled by others and that people ruin God’s plans and desires, this leads to hopelessness, bitterness and unbelief. 2) they are self-made (God helps those who help themselves) and must strive to succeed, even in spiritual ventures. This leads to pride and a competitive spirit.
2. The early Church prayed for boldness to speak the Word of God.
Acts 4: 29-30 “And now they’re at it again! Take care of their threats and give your servants fearless confidence in preaching your Message, as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.” The Message translation
Being married to a person with the gifts of prophecy and evangelism has really put me to the test here, I tend towards people pleasing. I try to speak truth in a soft way that can be easily accepted but reality is that truth will always offend someone, no matter how I say it. It would be much easier for me to be a “silent witness”.
People who walk in the Fear of The Lord pray for boldness to speak the Word of God.
People who walk in the Fear of Man want to be a “silent witness” or choose to boldly address controversies that do not bring glory to God, in order to make themselves look spiritual.
3. The early Church asked God to work through them, to stretch out His hand to heal and perform signs and wonders In Jesus Name.
Acts 4:30 “……… as you stretch out your hand to us in healings and miracles and wonders done in the name of your holy servant Jesus.” The Message translation
Another scary one for me…..what if I pray for someone and they aren’t healed? What if it really doesn’t work after all? What if someone gets upset with me?
People who walk in the Fear the Lord ask God to stretch out HIS hand to use them in healing, signs and wonders for God’s glory, in Jesus Name, and do not take their own reputation, failure or success into account.
People who walk in the Fear of Man look to man’s ways for healing and change. They do not want to “fail” in the sight of man and usually want to help others with an underlying motive of personal recognition, comfort or benefit. They are self-motivated.
4. The early Church prayed for Unity.
Acts 4:32 “and the congregation who believed were of one heart and mind”.
I have my own ideas about how things should be done and tend to look for people who agree with me, LOL! I must constantly pray for God to transform my mind and heart to that of Jesus.
People who walk in the Fear of The Lord pray for unity and God’s will with one heart and mind. Their goal is to see the work and word of God go forward.
People who walk in the Fear of Man have a personal agenda to be fulfilled and do not want to “link” with others in unity, work or vision. They fear getting ripped off or not being recognized.
5. The early church was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking the Word of God with boldness.
Acts 4:31 While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence. The Message translation
Again, I really need boldness. It has become easier to pray with people out loud and to share the Word with people one on one in a setting where they want it, but to stand up in a crowd that may be antagonistic and share the Word will definitely take the Holy Spirit in a much bigger way; I don’t like conflict and I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings AND I want everyone to like me….sorry person that I am!
People who walk in the Fear of the Lord are filled with the Holy Spirit which results in speaking the Word of God with boldness.
People who walk in the Fear of Man are filled with pride and bold about personal beliefs and agenda.
6. The early Church did not claim anything as their own but all things were common property. There were no needy among them.
Acts 4:33 “The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.”
I like to think of myself as giving, however, I also choose whom and when I give things away. I don’t have a lot and don’t collect things or money, however, I do find myself judging whether someone deserves my gift. God has been working on me with this one. It’s not my job to decide who deserves it, it’s just my job to obey when He tells me to give it.
Acts 4:34-35 ”And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.” The Message translation
Wow, can you imagine if we really lived that? I believe there would be a lot more people in church, a lot less crime and a lot less need for anti-depressants for people who have too little or too much. I wonder….if I had the ability would I go that far, it would seem crazy to do in our culture, like Jim Jones or something.
People who walk in the Fear of The Lord see themselves as stewards of their time, money, talents and possessions and consider all things as belonging to God. They freely share what they have with others. They give as unto the Lord and so do not need to control how their giving is used or distributed. This is not an unwise or thoughtless giving, rather, a giving in faith in God’s ability to protect and provide.
People who walk in the Fear of Man only give what benefits themselves, or their cause and need to control what is given. They make judgements about those in need to determine whether they are deserving or not. They may need to appear to give freely, as Annanias and Saphira did, to receive approval from men. (Acts 5)
7. The early Church was marked by great power and abundant grace.
Acts 4: 33 “The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.” The Message translation
Power and abundant grace…..not quite there yet. I have plenty of grace for myself but maybe not so much for others.
People who walk in the Fear of the Lord are always ready to tell others about the saving power and love of Jesus Christ and they find favor and grace with both God and man.
People who walk in the Fear of Man are weak, self-centered witnesses and gather glory for themselves.
8. The early Church was endeared towards one another; recognizing each one as a gift from God. They even gave names of endearment, such as changing one man named Joseph’s name to Barnabas which means Son of Encouragement.
Acts 4: 36 “….Joseph, called by the apostles “Barnabas” (which means “Son of Comfort”).” The Message translation
Endeared towards one another. I recall when I was younger everyone called each other “Brother and Sister” and it seemed old fashioned and embarrassing. Kay Arthur called people “beloved” when she spoke and I thought that was silly. I guess I need to have more of an attitude of endearment towards people other than my immediate family.
People who walk in the Fear of the Lord rejoice when others succeed and bless their brothers and sisters in Christ both in word and in deed.
People who walk in the Fear of Man are jealous and envious when others are lifted up. They must put down others to elevate themselves in the eyes of men.
I’ve got a lot to work on but I have new understanding and have asked the Lord to create a new heart in me, one that walks in the Fear of the Lord. I really do want My Story to be like the Book of Acts, I think……I know when I ask God to do something new in me He does it and usually it’s not that comfortable, so here we go….
Psalm 19:13 “keep thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me”.
Some of the commentary is from a sermon by Spurgeon for full sermon go to http://www.spurgeon.org;sermons/0135.htm
Psalm 19 is my “scripture of the year”. I thank God for the way I can feast on the same scripture many times and get something new out of it. The first thing that jumped out at me as I read this Psalm for the first time was “presumptuous sin”. I wondered what that meant.
- The Dictionary definition said: Unduly bold, audacious, arrogant.
- The Strong’s Concordance said: Arrogant, proud, insolent. The word is used 13 times in the Bible.
In OT Jewish law there was no atonement for presumptuous sin. There was only the punishment of excommunication or more often death. Numbers 15:28-30 states that atonement can be made for unintentional sin but for sins of presumption, because that type of sin brings reproach on the Lord, they are to be cut off and there are some examples of them being killed. “his guilt shall be upon him.” Thank the Lord we are not living under that law today.
What are presumptuous sins? I heartily recommend reading Spurgeons sermon first given on June 7, 1857 on Psalm 19:13; you can read it on the internet at http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0135.htm, be ready to be thoroughly convicted and drawn to the foot of the cross. As I read this sermon I could almost hear his voice; it was extremely convicting.
Spurgeon pointed out that refusing to seek God through His word and not using the tools we have available is presumptuous in itself. Even more so for us today with the internet, TV, videos, CD’s and radio full of opportunities to read, listen to and understand the Word of God.
In addition he lists 4 things:
- Sin against the revealed knowledge of God and the light we personally walk in.
- Going against your conscience “God has written His law on the hearts of men”.
- Going against the admonition of friends and family.
- Going against special warnings from the voice of God against sin.
“You have sinned against reproofs, but what is worse still, you have sinned against your own solemn oaths and covenants, and against the promises that you made to God. He who plays with fire must be condemned as careless; but he who has been burned out once, and afterward plays with the destroying element, is worse, than careless; and he who has himself been scorched in the flame, and has had his locks all hot and crisp with the burning, if he again should rush headlong into fire, I say he is worse than careless, he is worse than presumptuous, he is mad. But I have some such here. They have had warnings so terrible that they might have known better; they have gone into lusts which have brought their bodies into sickness, and perhaps this day they have crept up to this house, and they dare not tell to their neighbor who stands by their side what is the loathsomeness that even now doth breed upon their frame. And yet they will go back to the same lusts; the fool will go again to the stocks, the sheep will lick the knife that is to slay him. You will go on in your lust and in your sins, despite warnings, despite advice, until you perish in your guilt. How worse than children are grown-up men! The child who goes for a merry slide upon a pond, if he be told that the ice will not bear him, starteth back affrighted, or if he daringly creepeth upon it how soon he leaves it, if he hears but a crack upon the slender covering of the water! But you men have conscience, which tells you that your sins are vile, and that they will be your ruin; you bear the crack of sin, as its thin sheet of pleasure gives way beneath your feet; ay, and some of you have seen your comrades sink in the flood, and lost; and yet you go sliding on, worse than childish, worse than mad are you, thus presumptuously to play with your own everlasting state. O my God, how terrible is the presumption of some! How fearful is presumption in any! O! that we might be enabled to cry, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins.” Spurgeon, June 7, 1857 www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0135.htm
2. Deliberate Sin. This is sin that you know is wrong, it may be a weakness but it is one that you refuse to overcome and in fact feed and nurture in secret. I can’t say it any better than Spurgeon, he lists 2 versions of this:
a. Sin that is a weakness that you refuse to overcome.
A man, again, who is suddenly tempted and surprised into a sin which is not his habit, but which he commits through the force of some strong temptation, is guilty, but not guilty of presumption, because he was taken unawares in the net and caught in the snare. But there are other men who sin deliberately; there are some who can think of a lust for weeks beforehand and dote upon their darling crime with pleasure. They do, as it were, water the young seedling of lust until it grows to the maturity of desire, and then they go and commit the crime. There are some to whom lust is not a passer-by, but a lodger at home. They receive it, they house it, they feast it; and when they sin they sin deliberately, walk coolly to their lusts, and in cold blood commit the act which another might haply do in hot and furious haste. Now, such a sin has in it a great extent of sinfulness, it is a sin of high presumption. To be carried away, as by a whirlwind of passion, in a moment is wrong; but to sit down and deliberately resolve upon revenge is cursed and diabolical. To sit down and deliberately fashion schemes of wickedness is heinous, and I can find no other word fitly to express it. To deliberate carefully how the crime is to be done, and, Haman-like, to build the gallows, and to set to work to destroy one’s neighbor, to get the pit digged that the friend may fall into it and be destroyed, to lay snares in secret, to plot wickedness upon one’s bed—this is a high pitch of presumptuous sin. May God forgive any of us, if we have been so far guilty!
b. Sin that is happening over a long period of time when you have time to reflect on your actions, decide to change and you choose not to.
“Again, when a man continues long in sin, and has time to deliberate about it, that also is a proof that it is a presumptuous sin. He that sins once, being overtaken in a fault, and then abhors the sin, has not sinned presumptuously; but he who transgresses to-day, to-morrow, and the next day, week after week, and year after year, until he has piled up a heap of sins that are high as a mountain, such a man, I say, sins presumptuously, because in a continued habit of sin there must be a deliberation to sin; there must be at least such a force and strength of mind as could not have come upon any man if his sin were but the hasty effect of sudden passion:.
3. Sin that is a product of design, in other words, planned sin against God to show rebellion specifically against God. The example of presumptuous sin in the book of Numbers where a man went out and picked up sticks on the Sabbath, in plain view of everyone, as a public statement of breaking God’s command. His punishment was death, he did not fear the Lord. Today we can be forgiven for this sin, however, over and over the Word cautions us, “do not harden your heart”. A heart hardened by disobedience becomes calloused to both the voice and discipline of God himself.
4. Feeling we are above temptation and sin ourselves, feeling we can go so far to the edge of sin but no further.
“There is suicide in men risking themselves in that way; and if there be suicide in the risk of the body, how much more in the case of a man who puts his own soul in jeopardy just because he thinks he has strength of mind enough to prevent its being ruined and destroyed. Sir, your sin is a sin of presumption; it is a great and grievous one; it is one of the masterpieces of iniquity.”
Another commentary I read talked about presumptuous sin as trying to “manage sin”. This made me think of the medical model of “managing disease”. Disease, like sin, cannot be managed, it morphs and changes paths to other parts of the body. Sin cannot be managed either. God told Cain in Genesis 4:6-7, “sin is crouching at your door and you must master it’.
I personally felt that ‘sin is crouching at your door” in December of 2009. Personal hardship and family division were working to cause me to harden my heart against love and vulnerability. On Christmas Eve, as we were coming home from our son’s home, I felt as if my heart was closing up. I told the Lord, “I don’t want my heart to be closed but I feel I cannot stop it.” Later that evening we went to a wonderful Christmas Eve service at St. Philips in Franklin, TN. It was on our “bucket list” to attend a Christmas Eve mass, something we had wanted to do for 34 years of marriage. The priest was from India and was warm and welcoming, you could sense the presence of the Lord upon him.
In the middle of his message he suddenly shouted, “Do not close your heart, your heart belongs to God!” I felt as if he was standing in front of me shouting at me, like a good slap across the face. Phil later shared he had the same feeling. I began to pray in earnest, that night and for many nights afterward that God would show me how to open my heart. That miracle happened about 3 weeks later, I’ll have to write about it another day.
Many people say I know I can go this far and no further with regard to sin. We should rather say “I cannot do anything that would grieve my Lord” and run, like Joseph, from temptation, and like Jesus, speak the Word of God to temptation, making every effort to walk in the Fear of God.
We are all at risk for these types of sin, even the most devoted believer. We must walk in humility before God and continually ask Him for His help to walk rightly before Him. David was a man after God’s own heart however, he fell hard into sin and this Psalm is his prayer: “Keep me from presumptuous sins” as he acknowledged his own propensity for sin. Spurgeon reminds us:
Think it not enough to abhor sin, you may yet fall into it. Say not, “I never can be drunken, for I have such an abhorrence of drunkenness;” thou mayest fall where thou art most secure. Say not, “I can never blaspheme God, for I have never done so in my life;” take care; you may yet swear most profanely. Job might have said, “I will never curse the day of my birth;” but he lived to do it. He was a patient man; he might have said, “I will never murmur; though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;” and yet he lived to wish that the day were darkness wherein he was brought forth. Boast not, then, O Christian; by faith thou standest. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”
- Paul admonishes us to mortify (kill) the lusts of the flesh that dwell in our hearts. Paul even then lists them; fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, inordinate affection.
- Hebrews 2:5-9 warns us to not be hardened by sin’s deception.
- Hebrews 10:26-39 tells us if we sin willfully, there is no other sacrifice for sin. v29, talks about trampling the son of God under foot and insulting the spirit of Grace with intentional sin.
A heavy sense of personal responsibility came over me as I read the scriptures, Spurgeon’s sermon and considered my own life. He further made it plain that all of us are guilty of presumptuous sin and must continually seek to free ourselves by coming back to the cross. I don’t remember the last time I heard such a plea from the pulpit but I felt a witness of the Holy Spirit as I read his words.
How can we be free from presumptuous sin? Only by confession of our guilt to God and laying ourselves at the foot of the cross for mercy.
Spurgeons Altar Call:
If any of you feel, then, that you have presumed against God in sinning, let me just bid you look at your sin, and weep over the blackness of it; let me exhort you to go home and bow your heads with sorrow, and confess your guilt, and weep over it with many tears and sighs. You have greatly sinned, and if God should blast you into perdition now, he would be just; if now his fiery thunderbolt of vengeance should pierce you through, if the arrow that is now upon the string of the Almighty should find a target in your heart, he would be just. Go home and confess that, confess it with cries and sighs. And then what next wilt thou do? Why, I bid thee remember that there was a man who was a God. That man suffered for presumptuous sin. I would bid thee this day, sinner, if thou knowest thy need of a Savior, go up to thy chamber, cast thyself upon thy face, and weep for sin; and when thou hast done that, turn to the Scriptures, and read the story of that man who suffered and died for sin.
This revelation will call me daily to ask the Lord, “keep me from presumptuous sin and let it not have dominion over me”. Further, “let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.”
I became interested in fasting this summer because I wanted to help people who do the Daniel Fast learn how to eat during that type of fast. I also knew some of my clients faced big issues and wanted to fast for them.
A friend loaned us a book about fasting that was a spring board and then I went to God’s Word to see what it said. I definitely knew God was calling me to fast, however, I also heard him say “Fast for yourself, not for anyone else”.
As I studied fasting I saw a principle I had not seen before. God does not want us to fast to be heard, to get results, finances, etc. Those things are by-products of a true fast.
God is concerned about our hearts being right and open before Him. He promises 18 things that will happen if we fast HIS way and the provision, direction, healing are all listed in those 18 things. He does not want those things to be our focus.
When we fast, God wants us to focus on allowing Him to loose the bonds of wickedness (deeply rooted sin) in our own lives, allow Him to undo our heavy burdens, allow Him to set us free from oppression and He wants us to be aware of people, things, ideas we have Yoked ourselves to that are not in His plan for us.
I did not really think I had any “bonds of wickedness” but I was obedient. Phil and I fasted together for 24 hours, starting with dinner on Monday night and breaking our fast with dinner on Tuesday night. My particular focus was “Lord, show me the bonds of wickedness in my life”.
When you ask God to show you something, look out! For the last 6 months God and I have been working on my “bonds of wickedness”. One by one God is peeling back my layers of “holiness” and self-righteousness and showing me His heart for me.
The root of my “bonds of wickedness” appears to be rebellion. Not the kind that is overt, immoral, drunken, rebellion but a much more subtle and probably more evil kind, “sweet rebellion” my friend Donna called it. “Celeste, she said, you have sweet rebellion”. I didn’t understand it at first but I now see that as doing things to please others and making sure I get my way at the same time, I also find myself doing this with God.
People pleasing is a yoke God is revealing to me now. I am 54, these things are deeply rooted in my life. Today God revealed to me that I am more in covenant with myself than I realized. I try to provide my own Identity, Authority, Possessions, Provision and Protection rather than getting that from my covenant relationship with God and my covenant relationship with my husband.
When I made a list of the Identity that I can receive from both God and my husband the qualities were AWESOME! Why would I not forsake my own, frail identity and inability to provide for myself and accept theirs and in turn give them mine? I can only say it is deeply rooted in my flesh and God is going to have to pull out the roots and replant in fertile soil.
Oswald Chambers put it best in My Utmost For His Highest.
“I must will to believe that this can never be done without a violent effort on my part to disassociate myself from my old way of looking at things and by putting myself right over onto Him”.
A violent effort is what it feels like as God reveals my old nature and as I allow Him to give me His new nature.
This is the beginning of my fasting experience, after 6 months, I haven’t even gotten to the next step so it may be awhile but it feels good and right and I know it will produce all those 18 things promised in Isaiah 58.
What did I eat or not eat?
The first 24-hour fast we did was water-only. We drank water and spent our time in the word and prayer. Sometimes we prayed together, sometimes alone.
This is an important point. Fasting is not doing without food so God will hear you. He specifically says in Isaiah 58, don’t fast to be heard.
Fasting is spending the time and effort you would normally put into food into prayer and the word instead. We call it fasting from food and feasting on the Word of God and fellowship with Him.
The rest of the fasts I have undertaken have been fasting from Breakfast, with water only and nothing until lunch. Taking that time of day to seek God about the “bond’s of wickedness” in my life.
Ask God how he wants you to fast. A Daniel Fast is eating only fruits and veggies, mostly raw and unprepared so you are not spending a lot of time in the kitchen. We have a cookbook with 100 pages of recipes, most of which are vegetarian and many using raw fruits and veggies. You can inquire about our cookbook at
Here are some tips:
- You MUST drink water, half your body weight in ounces each day. You can live without food but not water. Don’t fast and drink sodas or caffeinated drinks, just water or you may get very sick.
- You should drink only distilled water if you are doing a water-only fast.
- If you are on medications you may need to discuss your fast with your doctor as it may affect the effectiveness and dosage of your meds if you are doing a long fast.
- If you are going to do a juice fast, you MUST use freshly squeezed veggie juice and some fruit juices. Use ONLY organic veggies and fruits for juicing or you will be getting highly concentrated doses of pesticides and chemicals.
- Don’t try a juice fast on bottled or canned juices, they are just concentrated sugar. Get a juicer and make your own. A Champion, Omega or Green Star are the best. For more information about juicers go to our website.
- If you are doing some food, make sure it is fruits and veggies, not prepared foods, you may get some severe reactions from eating fast food or prepared foods when you are fasting.
- If you use broth, be sure they are organic, vegetable would be better, health wise, than beef or chicken. Whatever you do, don’t use some type of MSG laden broth as it could really make you sick.
- Get outside for 30 minutes a day to get your Vitamin D.
- You may go through some withdrawal symptoms as you get off alcohol, caffeine, sugar, non-sugar sweeteners and chemicals in processed foods.
- If you drink diet soft drinks regularly (1 or more a day) you may experience flu-like symptoms on the 5th day of being off those soft drinks. This usually lasts approximately 24 hours and can include vomiting and diarrhea, headache and body ache. Drink water or broth, allow yourself to rest and you should get over it. Always seek help from your medical professional for all matters pertaining to your health.
- Realize that as you fast your body may go into a cleansing mode, which may bring on different symptoms. More information.
- Break your fast with a vegetable soup or broth.
However you decide, don’t get hung up in the details, just get with God and trust Him to work out the details.
I would love to hear your experiences and insight on this vital practice.
The Fast God Honors: Isaiah 58: 3-14
Are there things in your life that continually keep you down, sick, stuck? Fasting is a powerful way to break those things! Look at the benefits God lists of the right kind of fast.
What WILL happen: v14 “The mouth of The Lord has spoken”. You can count on these results if you follow the instructions.
- Your light will break forth like the morning. That can happen in these ways:
- Revelation. You will receive divine revelation.
- Needs being met, any kind of needs. Wherever you have darkness, closed doors, barriers and obstacles, count on light coming into that place or situation or relationship.
- Covenant elements being revealed to you and established in your heart and life:
- Identity as a much-loved child of the KING of the Universe, the Creator.
- Authority: Understanding the authority you have In Christ and living in that.
- Protection: Accessing the protection God has promised His children.
- Provision: Looking to God and receiving everything you need for life and Godliness from Him.
- Possessions: Seeing yourself as a steward. That everything you own as coming to you from your heavenly Father and knowing He provides all things.
- Your healing will spring forth speedily. Body, mind and spirit.
- Your righteousness shall go before you (protection).
- The glory of The Lord will be your rear guard (watch your back).
- You will call and The Lord will answer. You will cry and He will say, “Here I am”.
- Your light will dawn in the darkness and your darkness will be as the noonday. Even your darkest hours will only be as dark as daylight.
- The Lord will continually guide you.
- The Lord will satisfy your soul in drought (spiritual drought or physical)
- The Lord will strengthen your bones.
- You will be like a watered garden.
- You will be like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
- Those from among you (your family, those you influence and are in community with) shall build the old waste places.
- You will raise up the foundations (godly foundations) of many generations.
- You will be called the Repairer of the Breach (broken places)
- You will be called the restorer of streets to dwell in
- You will delight yourself in The Lord
- God will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth
- The Lord will feed you with the heritage of Jacob (as the All Sufficient One)
Fasting is not a time to seek God for other people but to get yourself in a place where you can hear His voice and experience His blessings.
Choose to fast a meal, a day, or several days or weeks but when you fast, be sure you spend that time in the Word and prayer, not doing other things. Then it is just a diet.
Here is the way God says we should fast. We need to ask Him to do these things in OUR LIVES:
- Loose the bonds of wickedness
What are sins you continually struggle with, or maybe you don’t even “count”as sin? Here are a few, you may struggle with some not listed here.
Identify the bonds of wickedness in YOUR life, not those belonging to other people. This is about YOU purifying yourself before God and kicking out the flesh and the enemy from wreaking any more havoc in your life.
- Self reliance or Independence
- Robbing God by not tithing
- Love of money
- Stirring up trouble between other people
- Witchcraft or sorcery
- Selfish ambition
- Outbursts of anger
- False spiritual teaching
- Sexual promiscuity
- Sexual sin in your thought life
- Adultery in your thought life
- Self pity
- Lewdness (sexual perversion in thought, talk or action)
- Manipulating people, circumstances, finances to accomplish your own or “God’s” will or for self-protection.
What to do next:
- Confess these things as sin, no matter how much you see them as vital or a coping mechanism, stress relief, habits, and family patterns. They are just plain old SIN. Tell God you recognize them as sin and ask His forgiveness.
- Ask God to break the bonds of all of these sins,
- Ask God to forgive you for participating in these sins
- Ask God to show you any other sins or bonds of wickedness you are unaware of.
Pray this prayer:
Heavenly Father, I recognize these bonds of wickedness and sin in my life:
Name them – ALL
I ask you to forgive me for allowing these sinful ways of thinking, acting and relating.
I ask you to forgive me for participating in these sins.
I ask you to break the power of these sins completely and permanently from my life including any demonic strongholds.
I ask you to break every bond of wickedness from my life.
I understand that there may be more bonds of wickedness and ask you to reveal them to me so I may be free.
I understand that you love me in spite of my failures and wickedness and that if I were the only person on the face of the earth you would have sent Jesus to die just for me.
I receive your forgiveness and love in Jesus Name.
THEN: Ask God to replace these sin patterns in your life with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank you for loving me. I receive your Love. I receive your Holy Spirit in a fresh and new way. Please fill all these empty places where sin had a place in my life with the fruit of your Holy Spirit: Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. I purpose to crucify the flesh and renounce the sins I have participated in and choose to receive the fruit of your Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit not the flesh. When I stumble and fall, or participate willingly in sin and wickedness, please remind me and show me how to walk in the spirit. In Jesus Name.
- Undo the heavy burdens
What are your heavy burdens? Losses in relationships, self esteem, powerlessness, loss of a loved one, financial burdens, and physical burdens? Make a list of your heavy burdens.
Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, I receive your love today. Thank you that your word says that the burdens you give us are light. I ask you to undo the heavy burdens in my life. These are the ones I can think of: Name them ALL. Thank you for removing these burdens and giving me YOUR burdens, which I know I will be able to bear. In Jesus Name.
- Let the oppressed go free. The word “oppressed” presents a picture of a clay pot that is under so much pressure it is about to crack into pieces. What are the areas you feel you are about to crack into pieces? Make a list of those areas. Ask God to set you free from those things.
Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, your word says, “whom the Son sets free is free indeed.” I ask you to set me free from every oppression in my life. I ask you to strengthen the places where I feel I am “cracking up” and send away all the forces of evil that are oppressing me. Please show me where I am participating in that oppression or opening myself up to it, in Jesus Name. I receive the freedom that Jesus Christ gives, in Jesus Name, Amen.
- Break every yoke. These are places where you are tied to or “hooked up” with unbelievers, wicked philosophies, anything that is not of God. Make a list of these things.
Pray this prayer: Heavenly Father, your word says that YOUR YOKE is easy. These things that I have been hooked to are dragging me through life. I pray that you would break these yokes and I commit myself to only be yoked to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Do not do these things:
- Do not make everyone else do your work because you are fasting, exploit others
- Do not use it as a time of leisure for your own pleasure
- Do not use it to win an argument or bring harm to someone else
- Do not do it so that God will hear your voice
- Do not do it to put others into bondage to you or someone else
- Do not have a judgmental attitude or entertain judgemental thoughts towards others
- Do not blame others for your problems
- Do not isolate yourself from your family and friends
Do these things:
- Keep the Sabbath – 24 hours
- During your Sabbath, do not do your own pleasure, this is the Lord’s day
- Honor the Lord on that day with all of your activities and thoughts
- Do not spend the Sabbath doing your own pleasure or speaking your own words
- Call the Sabbath a delight, not a burden
Share your bread with the hungry
- Share your food
- Share with others what God is doing in your life
- Bring the poor and outcasts to your house (these could be homeless or possibly social or spiritual outcasts.
- When you see the naked, cover him (this could be physically someone who needs clothing or it could be someone who is spiritually naked and destitute)
- Physically naked – buy someone some clothes, clean out your closet and give things away that are good quality that you don’t need or that God tells you to give away.
- Spiritually naked – you will have heightened spiritual awareness, use this to pray for people, clothe people with dignity in your words and actions.
- Extend your soul to the hungry. This is mentioned twice. Again, share food that you eat and spiritual food you have been given through this time of seeking God and being in the Word.
- Satisfy the afflicted soul. When you see a need, meet it, whether praying WITH someone, FOR someone or meeting a practical need.
There are many things I have not understood about Jesus and the way He lived His life but today I believe it all came together for me.
For 33 years Jesus lived fully as a human being. Jesus lived with His earthly father and mother and siblings. He worked for His earthly father, as all men did, learning the family trade of being a carpenter. He lived and took part in the social and religious culture of His time learning and following traditions of men. He experienced life as every human in every culture does.
At the age of manhood, 12, Jesus identified Himself with His heavenly father. At 30 years of age, Jesus’ humanity was buried in water baptism and He was filled with the Holy Spirit, the heavenly dove. His heavenly father identified Jesus as His son and proclaimed to Himself, to Jesus and the physical world and the spiritual world Jesus’ true identity. “This is my beloved son, I am extremely pleased with Him.” Matthew 3:17.
Jesus had passed the test of humanity. He had managed to live in the world but not be of the world and His true father was extremely pleased.
John the Baptist declared Jesus mission in life: “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand and he will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Why was Jesus Baptized? Jesus mission to baptize us with the Holy Spirit is a gift to us, Jesus in the flesh could only be with one person at a time, after His death, the Holy Spirit came to fill ALL men and the fire of God is available to all of us.
Baptism, to the Jew was extremely significant. They were required to do a full body emersion before they came into the presence of God to present a sacrifice. They also saw baptism as a “new birth”, cleansing from the flesh and taking on the spirit. Jesus’ baptism was significant for his new identity with his heavenly father.
Likewise, when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we have a new way of looking at things, rather than operating in the flesh, we have the ability to operate more fully in the gifts of the Spirit and allow the fruit of the Spirit to have full expression in our lives.
What is the significance of the winnowing fan, threshing floor? John the Baptist said Jesus would bring his winnowing fan to the threshing floor. Every significant event in the Old Testament regarding God’s covenant with his people took place on a Threshing Floor. The Threshing Floor was the place where the seeds were separated from the chaff, revealing the true harvest. Jesus works in our life to separate the chaff our fleshly accomplishments and life views from the true, life giving seed that comes from God alone.
Jesus had to fast from being human so He could accomplish His mission from God. Immediately after being baptized, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. So, he was declared as the supernatural Son of God and then led out to be tempted. He fasted for 40 days. I believe He was fasting from being human, cleansing himself from the 30 years of walking, living, learning the ways of men.
I think that is what Isaiah 58 is all about, fasting from being human. At the beginning of the chapter God rebukes Israel for the way they fasted. Their reasons for fasting were:
- To win a debate or be right about something. (V4)
- To strike someone you thought deserved judgment or punishment.
- To be heard by God.
- To look spiritual.
God rebuked them, not only for their motives but for what they did while fasting:
- Finding things to do for pleasure (perhaps to take their mind off not eating)
- Exploit those around them, making others carry their responsibilities, exploiting, taking advantage of others.
- Trying to “look spiritual’ to others.
They were definitely just “being human”.
Then in verse 6 God tells them what He wants them to fast from:
- To loose the bonds of wickedness.
- To undo heavy burdens.
- To let the oppressed go free.
- To break every yoke.
In other words, fast from being human. When I began to think about fasting this summer, my goal was to fast for some other people I thought really needed God’s help. God specifically spoke to my heart that I was only to fast for myself. To break the bonds of wickedness in my own life, undo my own heavy burdens, be freed from my own oppression and break every yoke in my life that was not of Him.
I thought, OK, well I don’t really think I HAVE too many of those things but I’ll do it, well it has been 6 months and he has revealed and continues to reveal MANY areas I need work on. It has been amazing and freeing.
With regard to Being Human, 1 John 2:15 & 16 lays it out like this:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world:
- The lust of the flesh
- The lust of the eyes
- The pride of life
Is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; BUT he who does the will of God abides forever.
From these three things grow every temptation known to man. In the Garden of Eden, these were the only three things Satan had to offer Eve – The lust of the flesh…the apple will taste good. The lust of the eyes – look how beautiful it is, it cannot be bad. The pride of life – if you eat it, you will be wise, in fact, you will be like God himself!
This is hard; we can’t do this on our own. We are only able to do this with the Spirit of God in us. Even then we must every day submit ourselves to the guidance and character of the Spirit of God in order to DO the will of God.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary
1 John 2:15-17 “The things of the world may be desired and possessed for the uses and purposes which God intended, and they are to be used by his grace, and to his glory; but believers must not seek or value them for those purposes to which sin abuses them. The world draws the heart from God; and the more the love of the world prevails, the more the love of God decays.”
John Wesley’s Commentary
“The desire of the flesh – Of the pleasure of the outward senses, whether of the taste, smell, or touch. The desire of the eye – Of the pleasures of imagination, to which the eye chiefly is subservient; of that internal sense whereby we relish whatever is grand, new, or beautiful.
The pride of life – All that pomp in clothes, houses, furniture, equipage, manner of living, which generally procure honor from the bulk of mankind, and so gratify pride and vanity. It therefore directly includes the desire of praise, and, remotely, covetousness. All these desires are not from God, but from the prince of this world.”
“He who is born of God alone turns to God; he who is of the world turns to the world; the sources of love to God and love to the world, are irreconcilably distinct.” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
So, on a daily basis, we must fast – from the bonds (when I think of the word bond I think of a medieval movie of a dungeon. There are prisoners lined up against the dark, damp wall with bonds (metal bands) around their wrists and ankles and chains that hold them to the wall, the chains extremely limiting movement. They are not free to move around, even to take care of their most basic needs.
So what are the bonds of wickedness from being human?
The lust of the flesh: Indulging our appetites
Our flesh, our physical bodies CRY OUT for pleasure, comfort and approval. We want comfortable homes, relationships, even food. We also cry out for pleasure, which often becomes an escape due to the lack of comfort in our lives.
- The appetite for Pleasure – God put the desire for pleasure in us. He gave us the desire & ability to gain pleasure from relationships, from sex, from food, from accomplishments and talents, even from helping other people. These things are not bad in themselves; they are bad when we feel we must have them over God and without regard to how our gaining those things affects other people.
- The appetite for Comfort – God also gave us the desire to be comfortable and at ease. To desire peace and in our hearts, our minds, our bodies and our world. Comfort becomes wrong when it becomes the main thing and when we use other people, or even the power and word of God to gain our own comfort. Sometimes it is emotional comfort we seek. We often look for that in relationships and use other people to fulfill our own needs rather than having our focus on meeting the needs of others.
- The appetite for approval
God has an answer for these things:
In His presence is fullness of joy.
My God shall supply ALL your needs according to His riches in glory (not our resources).
The Holy Spirit is the comforter.
The lust of the eyes:
- Material possessions
- Physical beauty
The pride of life:
These are the things Satan offered to Jesus when he tempted Jesus in the desert.
Comfort – you haven’t eaten in 40 days – turn the stones into bread. He first came at him with his humanity and meeting his base needs. Most of us are caught in this first temptation and satan doesn’t have to tempt us in anything else. Meet your own base needs, you deserve it, you have to (eat, have pleasure, have comfort, etc.).
So when we are tempted to meet our own basic needs for pleasure and comfort, the bonds of wickedness may involve:
- Using people because we are afraid otherwise our needs won’t be met.
- Taking advantage of other people’s weaknesses or needs so our needs can be met.
- Compromising ourselves because we are afraid our needs won’t be met.
- Being nice to people so our needs can be met or we can get what we want from them.
- Stealing because we are afraid our needs won’t be met.
- Lying because we feel we must protect ourselves or to get our needs met.
Pride – throw yourself off the temple roof, the angels will catch you & you won’t be hurt.
Lust & Power – worship me & I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world & their glory.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
|“The things of the world quickly fade and die away; desire itself will ere long fail and cease, but holy affection is not like the lust that passes away. The love of God shall never fail. Many vain efforts have been made to evade the force of this passage by limitations, distinctions, or exceptions. Many have tried to show how far we may be carnally minded, and love the world; but the plain meaning of these verses cannot easily be mistaken. Unless this victory over the world is begun in the heart, a man has no root in himself, but will fall away, or at most remain an unfruitful professor. Yet these vanities are so alluring to the corruption in our hearts, that without constant watching and prayer, we cannot escape the world, or obtain victory over the god and prince of it.”|
The fast God chooses Isaiah 58
Matthew Henry’s Commentary:
“A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God’s house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man’s faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighborhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.”
Our life group has been reading the book Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning. The central theme of the book is understanding how loved we are by our heavenly Father and living in that love, as “The Beloved”. “The Beloved” living in the light and understanding of being completely cherished by God.
Being loved to that degree, being delighted in by God or anyone, is something I did not understand or receive until I was 50 years old. The initial understanding came when I realized how I felt about my grandson, Josiah. From the moment his little head crowned, I delighted in him fully. If he was sleeping, talking, playing, even “being naughty” I loved to watch him be himself. When he needed correction, I gave it because I love him, not because I am irritated. When he needed tenderness, I gave it. Wanting to have fun, I participated, why? Because he made my heart sing!
I realized that was what delight looked like in real life. Being totally consumed with and pleased by something or someone.
Then I read Song of Solomon, to try to understand God’s delight in me. Honestly, I could not “get” the man/woman example of God and myself in Song of Solomon. I kept reading and suddenly as I read the words of the loving husband towards his wife, I realized those were the words my husband often spoke over me, and I did not receive.
I am amazed at the love God has for me, that God would give me, a 15-year-old girl, a man who would love me like the Father himself loves me. A man who would delight in me, relish our relationship and tell me over and over of his love for me and my beauty to him.
God’s word says before we call He will answer. He gave me something I didn’t even know I needed in my husband! How sad that it took 34 years of relationship with that man to recognize the gift from God he was to me. How sad for me that it took so long for me to receive it. How happy I am that I finally beginning to understand it and receive it. What else does God have for me that I am not “getting” or receiving?
Psalm 25 is the Psalm I have gone back to continually this year. I have a weird habit when I read a book, magazine, anything really, I start at the back and flip forward, I always want to get to the end and so I miss the beauty of the journey. True to form, I focused on ALL THE OTHER VERSES in Psalm 25 for most of the year, finally, on August 18, more than half way through my year, I “got” the first verse. I will start to share that today, and in future blogs.
Psalm 25:1 To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
Now I am asking these questions…..What is my soul?
My Soul is the thing inside of me that I constantly want to be touched.
Who do I lift up my soul to?
- My husband?
- My clients?
- My friends?
- My children?
- My grandchildren?
- A counselor?
- A doctor?
- The latest ideology?
Is lifting up my soul emotional intimacy?
Can I have emotional intimacy with people and not with God? I think when you have emotional intimacy with people and not with God, the relationship becomes perverted in some way, not pure.
Father, I ask you to teach me how to lift up my soul to YOU, then teach me how to help others lift their soul to you. In Jesus Name.
When you lift up your soul to God and have spiritual and emotional intimacy with Him, you begin to trust Him because you have bared your heart and in that intimacy you find kindness, love, favor, forgiveness and delight.
Jeremiah 31: 3-4 “The Lord has appeared to me of old saying: Yes, I have loved YOU with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness I have drawn you. Again, I will build you and you SHALL BE rebuilt”.
What does it mean to lift up your soul?
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child who runs to the parent with a minor owie, for it to be kissed. The major owie that only time will ease the pain and heal, but the arms of the parent bring comfort. The nestling of the child’s head on the breast of the parent, the peace that comes as wailing turns to sobbing and then to the low occasional moan, hurting, yet wrapped in safety and comfort.
Psalm 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child whose bug in a jar; fish in a bowl or beloved pet has suddenly been taken in death. Finding comfort and safety in the face who understands the pain, grieves with them and the arms who comfort and support until the pain of loss has ended.
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child filled with delight, running to share the treasure of a flower, a pebble, a picture drawn by stubby crayons with small and loving hands. It is the child receiving the delight and wonder of the parent as they share the joyful moments of discovery and creativity.
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child experiencing the pain of rejection by people, the hurt of mean and careless words, the loss of a beloved playmate. The child finding comfort and rest in the eyes, the touch of a parent who understands the pain and loves in a way that you know everything will be all right.
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child caught in the act of rebellion or disobedience, shamed and worthless in his own sight. Hiding, lying, protecting herself from the look of disappointment, rejection, anger she knows is coming and yet, treasuring at the same time, her disobedience. The child finally repents when lovingly forced to examine her harmful and rebellious actions; receiving both forgiveness and love in the discipline administered by the loving parent. The rebellion at last replaced by submission to the love of the parent who wants only the best for their child.
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child busy at joyful play who blushes as she catches the parent watching, doting, and enjoying the child being herself. The child pretending not to notice but checking to make sure she is being watched, filled with the pride and confidence that comes from being valued and delighted in.
I believe in the lifting up of your soul, there is the child whose eyes, filled with love and admiration, want to be just like the one they know loves them so much. They imitate the walk, the talk, the mannerisms, the habits of the loving heart and hands. The one who revels with them in accomplishment and discovery. The one who mourns with them in loss, regardless of how insignificant that loss may be.
I only wish I had BEEN this parent, all the time. Always engaged in the moments of life, rather than watching them pass, counting them as many interruptions in my “vital daily activities”. If only I had KNOWN this parent who was so able to connect with me in my moments of joy, pain, confusion and grief. If only my children had known a parent who disciplined in love and from a heart of instruction, rather than correction. Of course, there were moments of “perfect parental perfection” in my life and that of my parents. Moments when I, and they, were engaged in the child, delighting, consumed in the world and heart of the child.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter if I was perfectly engaged and connected with my children or if my parents were with me. We are human and so child-like ourselves. Part of lifting up my soul is forgiving myself for my failure and forgiving others where they have failed me. We cannot give what we do not have and our heavenly Father does not expect us to.
Psalm 103:13-14 “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For he knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. v17 but the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him.”
The answer to our dilemma
Psalm 25:1 “To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul”.
We are The Beloved and Treasured Child of our heavenly Father. We feel His delight when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sin and stop trying to make up for our sin on our own. Our heavenly Father is Always engaged, always ready to enjoy the delight of His creation. He is available when we are filled with grief. He is touched by the feelings of our physical and emotional pain. He understands how easily we fall into temptation and even “gets” our need to protect ourselves and walk in rebellion.
Heb 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted, as we are, yet without sin.”
He loves to watch us as we joyfully engage in the gifts He has given us to use and to be. He lovingly corrects us when we want to become someone else or engage in the activities or attitudes that bring us harm.
He walks with us daily, works with us, counsels us, corrects us and gives us good things, He makes sure we have everything we need for life and for godliness. 2 Peter 1:3
To Him, To YOU O Lord, I can and I will and I do lift up my soul. O My God, I trust in You.
As we begin to be the child, to lift up our soul to Him, we will be better able to have spiritual and emotional intimacy with others. To have the sense of safety and confidence to engage on a heart level with husband, children, parents, friends, a lost and lonely world who also need a loving Father.
There are some areas in my life and family where we have been stuck for a very long time, now I am beginning to see some of those things miraculously change. Although I have prayed and asked God to help, these areas have not changed for many years. For many of those years, I begged God, cried and felt so much sadness and hopelessness that these things were controlling my life. Then I detoxed my body and began to see I could take control of something, my food, which positively affected my physical health. I suddenly began to feel empowered.
Victory physically with my health has been amazing but other broken places have been a shadow. Now that I know how to help my body, I have begun to be proactive in other areas. I have the energy and the positive outlook to do so. I believe God has abundance for us in every area of life. Jesus said, “in this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world.” He also said he came to give LIFE, and that more abundantly, not just muddling through.
Several months ago we had a guest speaker at our church, a pastor from Nigeria. He spoke about things that don’t belong in the life of a believer and sending them away so they don’t return. He spoke of things you just can’t seem to see a change in and how to bring that change about, taking authority over things in your life that just don’t belong there because you belong to Christ! This resonated in my heart.
A few years ago a wise older woman said to me, “our salvation is freely given by Christ and was paid for on the Cross, however, our inheritance we have to fight for”. She used the example of the children of Israel being given the promised land but had to go in and take possession of it and that involved battle. The interesting thing is that the battles they fought were basically that they showed up and God did the fighting, in fact, many times the enemy destroyed themselves and the children of Israel didn’t have to physically fight at all. This was even demonstrated in the 1960′s in the 7 day war in Israel.
Paul refers to battles in the New Testament. He tells us to fight the good fight, to put on the armor of God and stand, he tells us that the weapons we fight with are not weapons of the flesh but they are actually MIGHTY through God. The weapons of God pull down strongholds, they cast down false reasoning and imaginations and bring every thought into the obedience of Christ. Those are the weapons I need in my life, mighty ones! Ephesians 6:10-17
Well, this pastor from Nigeria said we need to identify the things in our lives that don’t belong because we are children of God and belong to Him. Then we need to tell those things to leave and not return. That sent me on a mission to see what things in my life and family do not belong.
I made a list of my parents, Phil’s parents including his birth mother and step mother, Phil & myself. Then I made a list under each person’s name of sins, weaknesses, struggles and burdens that I know about that do not belong in the life of a believer. Hmmm……for a bunch of Christians each one of us had a pretty long list!
Things like financial hardships, broken relationships, pride, divorce, immorality, fear, lying, addictions to things like pornography, alcohol, drugs, bad relationships, chronic sickness, depression, even spiritual pride….you know, just everyday struggles
Once the list was made, I distilled it into categories, poverty, immorality, fear, infirmity there were 10 things. 10 common things that do not belong in the life of a child of God. 10 things I see passed from generation to generation. These are the things that do not belong.
Then I began to pray, I said, Father forgive me first for allowing these things in my life, forgive my husband, my parents and my children for allowing these things in their lives. According to your word, these things do not belong.
Then I went down my list. Poverty, you do not belong in my life or in the lives of my family. We belong to Christ. Jesus said He came to give abundant life. Jesus said my heavenly father would supply all my needs. Poverty I command you to go from poverty of thought, poverty of finances, poverty of community, all forms of poverty are to go from my life and the lives of my family and are not to return. I receive the abundance God has for my family and myself in every area because of the blood of Jesus Christ that covers my life. I went through all 10 things. I did this for several days.
Now I am beginning to see these things be removed and even disappear from my life and the lives of my family. When I find myself thinking or going back to those old ways, I speak to that thing again….you do not belong and you shall not return. I receive what God has for me and that is all.
The blessings of the Lord are rich and He adds no sorrow to it!
What doesn’t belong in your life?
Anyone can do this, just make your list, start with yourself. What are the things in your life that are causing you pain, sorrow, trouble? Is it poverty? sickness? loneliness? relationship problems? addiction to something like alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, gambling, sex? immoral relationships? divorce? You get the idea. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you have accepted His sacrifice for your sin, these things do not belong in your life! Use a concordance and read what the Bible says about these things. Then do what I did, say to those things “you do not belong!” Say it in faith because that is what GOD says, because Jesus death paid for our healing, and all our provision. Then receive the things God has, abundance, community, health, freedom, purity.
I know this sounds really simplistic but done in faith, it works! Ask God to teach you about it if you don’t understand, He will guide you into all truth.