Tag Archives: Christianity

Daniel Fast Day 19…A letter from God

8 Jun

love letter envelope

I stubled across this on the Internet today, and I LOVE,LOVE, LOVE it. It is a love letter from God to each of us. I’m not going to add to much commentary because it speaks for itself. To see the original site visit: www.fathersloveletter.com

My Child,

You may not know me,
but I know everything about you. 

Psalm 139:1

I know when you sit down and when you rise up. 
Psalm 139:2

I am familiar with all your ways. 
Psalm 139:3

Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. 
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. 
Genesis 1:27

In me you live and move and have your being.
Acts 17:28

For you are my offspring. 
Acts 17:28

I knew you even before you were conceived. 
Jeremiah 1:4-5

I chose you when I planned creation. 
Ephesians 1:11-12

You were not a mistake,
for all your days are written in my book. 

Psalm 139:15-16

I determined the exact time of your birth
and where you would live. 

Acts 17:26

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Psalm 139:14

I knit you together in your mother’s womb. 
Psalm 139:13

And brought you forth on the day you were born. 
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented
by those who don’t know me.

John 8:41-44

I am not distant and angry,
but am the complete expression of love. 

1 John 4:16

And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 
1 John 3:1

Simply because you are my child
and I am your Father. 

1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. 
Matthew 7:11

For I am the perfect father. 
Matthew 5:48

Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. 
James 1:17

For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. 
Matthew 6:31-33

My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

Because I love you with an everlasting love. 
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless
as the sand on the seashore.

Psalms 139:17-18

And I rejoice over you with singing. 
Zephaniah 3:17

I will never stop doing good to you. 
Jeremiah 32:40

For you are my treasured possession. 
Exodus 19:5

I desire to establish you
with all my heart and all my soul. 

Jeremiah 32:41

And I want to show you great and marvelous things. 
Jeremiah 33:3

If you seek me with all your heart,
you will find me. 

Deuteronomy 4:29

Delight in me and I will give you
the desires of your heart. 

Psalm 37:4

For it is I who gave you those desires. 
Philippians 2:13

I am able to do more for you
than you could possibly imagine. 

Ephesians 3:20

For I am your greatest encourager. 
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

I am also the Father who comforts you
in all your troubles. 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

When you are brokenhearted,
I am close to you. 

Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb,
I have carried you close to my heart. 

Isaiah 40:11

One day I will wipe away
every tear from your eyes. 

Revelation 21:3-4

And I’ll take away all the pain
you have suffered on this earth.

Revelation 21:3-4

I am your Father, and I love you
even as I love my son, Jesus.

John 17:23

For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. 
John 17:26

He is the exact representation of my being. 
Hebrews 1:3

He came to demonstrate that I am for you,
not against you. 

Romans 8:31

And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression
of my love for you. 

1 John 4:10

I gave up everything I loved
that I might gain your love. 

Romans 8:31-32

If you receive the gift of my son Jesus,
you receive me. 

1 John 2:23

And nothing will ever separate you
from my love again.

Romans 8:38-39

Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party
heaven has ever seen.

Luke 15:7

I have always been Father,
and will always be Father.

Ephesians 3:14-15

My question is…
Will you be my child? 

John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. 
Luke 15:11-32


Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications 
©
 1999-2013 http://www.FathersLoveLetter.com

Daniel Fast Day 18… “Hanging” out with Absalom

7 Jun

This week, I am wrapping up my study of David from the book of 2 Samuel. Prior to this study the only thing that I knew about David was that he was a king, he knocked out Goliath when he was a boy with a slingshot and he danced through the streets. I have learned however, that his life was so much more than that.

Yesterday, I finished reading about the story of David and his son Absalom. I read Faulkner’s “Absalom! Absalom!” back in a college literature class and I vaguely knew that it was related to the biblical story, but Faulkner’s writing (run-ons anyone) was difficult to make it through and I didn’t really study the parallels.

Absalom Absalom

However, as I read the story…I became captivated. David’s life was better than reality tv and the story of him and his son was so full of conflict, emotion and action that I literally thought to myself “you can’t make this stuff up.”

Here is how the story goes… (short version of course):

Amnon and Absalom, were two of David’s sons. They had a beautiful sister named Tamar. Amnon was in love with his own sister and raped her. Absalom, being the protective brother that he was, was horrified at his sister’s victimization. He allowed Tamar to move in with him and even named one of his own daughter’s after her.

David found out about the rape, and he was furious that this happened. However, he did nothing about it. So, Absalom let his anger over-take him and he killed his own brother and fled. A couple of years went by before David saw his son Absalom again, but he did eventually receive him and hug him after Absalom devised every way possible to get his father’s attention.

Absalom’s bitterness toward his father continued to multiply until he finally decided to take his father’s throne. He turned some of David’s people against him and David and his men literally left town.

When Absalom’s men came after David’s men, David instructed his soldiers to not harm and ‘be gentle’ with Absalom because he was his son. As Absalom was riding in to the battle on a mule, his hair got caught in a tree and he was left hanging trying to get free (I told you that you can’t make this stuff up!) and in his anger Joab, the leader of David’s men, killed Absalom while he was still hanging.

Absalom Hair Caught

David, as Absalom’s father, was of course devastated. He wept and mourned the loss of his son even though his son was guilty of treason and murder. Before he died, Absalom had built amonument to himself which you can visit today (maybe not the same monument, but tradition has it that it is in the same location). 

Absaloms Monument

What I really liked about this story, and what really ‘spoke to me,’ during this time of fasting, was how Absalom took something that was good (his protection of Tamar, his disbelief that his father refused to punish the crime) and turned it into something bad.

  • How easy is it for us to do the exact same thing?
  • How easy would it be for me to turn this time of fasting into just another weight loss attempt?
  • How easy to turn my interpretation of right and wrong into judgement of someone else?
  • How easy to give ourselves credit for God’s work?

Let us remember that nothing we have is of our own doing, but everything is a gift from God. Let us not let bitterness, ego and self-righteousness drive our decisions, lest we too be left hanging by our hair from a tree.

Not I, Lord, but YOU.

I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

(Psalm 30:1-3)

Daniel Fast Day 17…on Sin and Cupcakes

6 Jun

I have never stuck to a diet, an exercise regime, even a plan to wash my face every night before bed. This is the first time in my life, that I have actually made a commitment to a lifestyle change and stuck it out….

Almost.

I work full-time Wednesday through Sunday which leaves my days off as Monday at Tuesday. Tuesday morning, me and my little bug (4-year-old daughter) went out on the town to celebrate the last day of 3-year-old preschool. We had a girls day, complete with manicures and pedicures.

20130606-135422.jpg

After being out in the Houston heat all day (95 degrees!!), and still being about a 45 minute drive from home, we decided to stop by Barnes & Noble. Immediately, I was captivated by the smell of coffee, and if you remember from the beginning of my fast–there is nothing I love more than a grande white mocha with extra whipped cream, nothing I tell you!

Now, I know that I am fasting and at that point I had made it past 2 weeks without so much as cheating even a little bit. But, my daughter wasn’t fasting….

“Hey baby bug, would you like to have a snack from the café?”

“Sure Mommy! Let’s go!”

So off we went to the café. I was resolved. I was determined. I was not going to cheat even though I hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast and we were going on 2 o’clock.

Then she ordered a cupcake. Not just any cupcake either. A strawberry cupcake with cream cheese filling.

Oh. My. Heavens.

I ordered a nice bottle of Fiji water and then took a bite of that cupcake.

“Would you like to share with me Mommy?”

Who can say no to that?

I ate half a cup cake, right there in the Barnes & Noble café. Yes I did.

And it was not nearly as good as I had hoped. Afterwards, I was sad and I had a stomach ache. I felt like a failure. I felt like I had let myself and God down. I felt awful.

Which led me to this post. Everything that happened was a perfect example of the Christian struggle with sin:

  • We do not prepare to face temptation or occasions of sin.

“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Luke 22:46

  • We are tempted.
  • We do not turn to God when we are tempted and ask for help.

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Mark 14:38

  • We put ourselves in a situation which is a near occasion of sin.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

  • We rationalize, use other people and look for reasons that what we are doing is okay. (I am hungry, she ordered it-not me.)
  • We try to minimize our sin.

Taking this one step further, we then have two options:

1.) Confess and acknowledge our wrong doing and turn away from future sins.

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. (Acts 3:19)

2.) Feel ashamed, embarrassed or even afraid of God. Refuse to acknowledge the sin and keep on sinning.

God, help me to choose the first. Help me to recognize my sins when I commit them so that I am aware and can turn to you instead. Hopefully, if I can overcome the small with your help, then the big things will be easy too.

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1 Timothy 6:9

Daniel Fast Day 9…Ice Cream dreams and Prayer Reminders

29 May

Last night I dreamed about ice cream. It wasn’t just any ice cream though, it was creamy and covered with chocolate syrup. I woke up *convinced* that I am having sugar and dairy withdrawal and that my body is trying to tell me that I am deficient in some way. Then, it occurred to me: I am deficient in the ‘prayer’ way .

I admit it. I am blogging about God and the Bible and fasting, but I am not good at praying. I typically fall asleep, get distracted, fail to find time….well you get the idea.

However, those days are behind me..I have a solution! The other day, while browsing my local Lifeway Christian Store, I came across this little ‘notepad to go’:

front veiw

Not impressed? Just wait. The minute second I saw it, I knew that I could use this.

And the best part? It was only $3.50!

back veiw

How many times have you heard that someone was having a rough time and you offered to pray for them?

Now, how many times have you actually sat down and intentionally made that prayer request? Be honest.

That’s what I thought.

This simple binder ring binds together about 200 or so papers that I can use to write prayer requests on. It is small enough that I can take it with me wherever I go.

So, after paying for my new ‘notepad to go’ I pulled out my handy Sharpie box (I really do carry this with me, because you just never know when you might need a purple or green sharpie) and began to work on my new prayer cards.

Sharpies

There are so many things that I want to talk to God about or pray for, but my daily needs get in the way. For instance, Memorial Day just recently passed, but I have rarely ever really prayed for our men and women in the service unless I knew them personally. I often get so busy ‘asking’ God for things, that I forget to praise Him. These cards will serve as a reminder so that whenever I have ‘just a minute’ I can truly pray for those things.

Here are some ideas that I have for what I will be putting on each page:

  1. The names of people I want to remember to pray for .
  2. Specific prayer requests that I have.
  3. Bible verses to meditate on.
  4. Traditional prayers for times of need.
  5. Things that I am grateful for.
  6. Prayers for those who have passed before me.
  7. Causes in the world. (Ex: hunger)
  8. Prayers for our civic, church and community leaders.
  9. Praise and adoration.
  10. ….many more!

Strength          Gram

I predict that the opportunities to use these will be great. For example, I can use them when:

  • Waiting at the doctor’s office
  • Sitting in the car wash
  • When my kids are bored and need something to do (ask them to make a card with a special request, ask them to pray)
  • During down time at work
  • While I’m eating a meal

As I make each card, I am offering that prayer up. As I come back to each card, I have the opportunity to be reminded of the prayers He has already answered.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

What do you do to help you remember to pray? Do you have a prayer routine? Feel free to share your comments!

Daniel Fast Day 5…I’ve Gotten it all Wrong

25 May

Today is the 5th day of my Daniel Fast, and I realize that not even one week into it, I’ve gotten it all wrong. It’s a good thing that there are 16 days left. During this first week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about food. What should I buy? What should I eat? What should I not eat? Am I hungry? I began to notice a trend. I was focused on the “I” not on “Him.”  So today, at His nudging, I opened up my study that goes along with 7,called Staging Your Own Mutiny Against Excess and it immediately directed me to Isaiah 58.

7

Isaiah 58 is God’s response to people who were fasting and asking why they were not hearing from God. Isaiah 58: 2-3 says:

For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

God’s response to them was that their fasting was not enough. It is not enough to fast, to pray and to seek God if we do not seek to do what is righteous in His eyes. You can read the rest of Isaiah 58 here.

God replied with a very specific list of things that He wanted and did not want His people to do.

God did NOT wanted His people to:

  • Do as they please
  • Exploit their workers
  • Quarrel, strike one another
  • Turn away from their own flesh and blood

During a fast, God wants us to be kind. He wants us to treat other people well and rid ourselves of anger and resentment. Those emotions take us away from God. They do not draw us nearer to him. Isaiah 58:4-5 says,

You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

I should not be spending my fast in leisure time: browsing the Internet, watching the latest episodes of Revenge and catching up on Facebook. I should not consume foods or products that come from places where slaves were utilized to manufacture, grow or produce goods for my consumption. I should not allow my change in diet to affect my attitude with my spouse, children or co-workers. I should mend relationships with family members whom I bear a grudge against.

Instead, God DID want His people to:

  • Loose the chains of injustice
  • Set the oppressed free
  • Share food with the hungry
  • Provide shelter to the wanderer
  • Clothe the poor
  • Do away with malicious talk
  • Honor the Sabbath

If I use these verses as my guidelines, then I have a lot of work ahead of me for the next 16 days. He has called me to charitable work, that in my own selfish desire for things and ‘personal time,’ I have pushed to the way side. He wants me to speak well of Him and others. He wants me to go to church and honor the day that He has set aside as Holy.

Lesson 5: If God has called you to fast, and He must be the one to tell you what to do and what not to do during this time.

Then, when I do these things in a spirit of fasting toward Him, he has promised:

The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

He has given me the strength I need for the past 5 days to endure the discomfort of a change in eating, but now He calls me to a change in action.

Lesson 6: God will satisfy all of your needs if you wait in obedience.

Isaiah-58-11

What changes do you feel God calling you to make?

Daniel Fast Day 2…I wasn’t expecting a miracle

22 May

Day one of the Daniel Fast came and went without a hitch. I was a little sleepy and had some stomache growling, but nothing too serious. As the day drew to a close, I crawled in my bed for my evening prayer and scripture study. Before I began, I prayed that God would make Himself apparent to me during this time of fasting and prayer and that my doubts would be erased.I was not expecting the answer (miracle?!) that I got. Read to the end of this post to see how God works in amazing ways when we just confess and ask.

Then, I picked up the study that I am currently working through by Beth Moore entitled David:Seeking a Heart Like His.

David

To be perfectly honest with you, I love Beth Moore bible studies, but this one wasn’t really ‘speaking’ to me lately. Well, last night we finally got into the good stuff! David and Bathsheba. Here is a man who is the King. He has everything he could possibly want, but he is not satisfied with that. (Sound familiar?) He spies someone else’s wife and he wants that instead of the bazillion other wives and concubines that he has. He brings her to himself and not only sleeps with her, but he gets her pregnant as well. Then, he sends for Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, and tries to trick him into sleeping with Bathsheba so that he can pass the unborn child off as his. When that doesn’t work, he has Uriah killed. Read the story yourself in 2 Samuel 11.

Most of us have heard this story before, but what I loved about the lesson was the fact that God gave David multiple opportunities to confess, repent and stop sinning already. Moore writes:

After he committed the act of adultery, even though the consequences of the pregnancy were already at work, David could have fallen on his face before God, repented, asked for mercy and begged God to help clean up the mess he had made. Throughout his encounters with Uriah, he had many opportunities to consider his actions and recant. He didn’t.

How many times have I been in the midst of sin and just decided not to confess, not to repent, and not to stop sinning already? Too many. I put my Bible away, lay in bed and began to make my confessions to God.

That should be the end of the story right? Confess, God forgives, the end? Apparently God’s ways are bigger than that. Keep reading…

Do you see those sleeping guys at the bottom of the picture? That is what happens to me when I pray in bed. Something like, “Dear God…I confess…zzzzzzzz…”

sleep prayer

Well, tonight on just Day 1 of the Daniel Fast, God was NOT having it. He had bigger plans for me that I expected.

At 3:28 am, I was sound asleep. At 3:29 am, a strange sound woke me up. It sounded like our new beagle puppy, Chloe, had somehow escaped and was scratching on the front door. So, I ventured to the front door…then the back door….only to find a beagle puppy sound asleep on the kitchen floor. On my way back to bed I felt the nudging of the spirit, “You didn’t finish praying and you have been tired. I wanted to spend time with you, so I woke you up.” 

Alrighty then….I lay back down, wide awake and began my prayers. First confession, then thanksgiving, and then a special prayer for someone very close to me who was recently diagnosed with cancer and needs healing. 

In the darkness, I heard my husband’s voice, “What time is it?” he asked.

“About 3:40,” I said. “What are you doing awake?”

“I can’t sleep,” said the man who could literally sleep through the bombing of Hiroshima.

“I think God woke me up. He was asking me to pray.” I said.

“Hmmm….” he got out of bed and went to the living room where he later told me that he spent some time with God too.

Before you think that we are these especially dedicated people (or just weird insomniacs), let me assure you that is not the ‘normal’ case. I haven’t been wakened in the night since my youngest (going on 5 years old now) was a baby and even then it was just to make sure she was okay and go quickly back to sleep. I do not wake up early unless I have to, and I certainly do not forsake sleep for …. well, anything.

Skip ahead five hours. I just dropped my son off at school when the phone rang. An excited voice on the other line said, “I just got a call from MD Anderson. My lymphnodes are clear. The cancer has not spread. There is no evidence of disease.”

Praise be to God. Not only did he answer my prayer, but he woke me up and reminded me to pray. Speechless.

Lesson 4: If you are open to God and make yourself available, He will surprise you with his faithfulness.

CANCERFREE-01