Tag Archives: fast

Search Inward

Many of us are celebrating the Lenten season. It is a season of fasting and renewal, a season that reminds us that we are but dust. Life is fragile. Life is but a breath. It is a season that looks to the Cross. We spend these weeks mindful of the shortness of life, but even more mindful of the One Who poured out His blood at Calvary so that we could have new life—life in Him. As Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the Wilderness, so we spend this time in self-reflection, repentance, and prayer.

Some people are trying to stick diligently to the removal of some item from their life. Some people may have even publicly noted an ongoing battle with trying to stay true to a vow to give up this thing for Lent. It is important to remember some things about Lent and fasting, because many get lost on the journey to the Cross. Lent instructions are not found in the Bible—it’s something that was instituted by the Church. However, with the fasting, one should be mindful that publicly boasting or grumbling is not applauded (see Matthew 6:16). Fasting is personal. The idea of fasting during Lent is to remove something that is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus, and then replace that thing with something that will bring you closer to Jesus Christ.

Remember, Lent is all about Jesus. If you are keeping yourself from drinking soda or eating sweets but that doesn’t interfere with your relationship with Jesus, and you have not supplemented these things with more time in prayer, reading God’s Word, or spending time doing something that brings you closer to Jesus, then you are missing out. This is a time to search inward, a time to repent and renew yourself in Him. Today, whether or not you celebrate the Lenten season, take time to look inward. What is getting in the way of your relationship with Jesus? What has become a stumbling block? Pray for the removal of this from your life. Pray for a closer relationship with Jesus. Seek Him diligently today. Pray for your heart to open and spend time in the Word. Ask Him to speak to you in a new and awesome way.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1 [ESV]

“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God.” – Psalm 42:1 [ESV]

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 [NLT]

Worried About Others

I laugh so often when I read the Book of Jonah. There are so many eye opening moments in this book that have certainly convicted and humbled me. Some people will focus how Jonah finally followed God’s command and went to Ninevah. Some people will focus on the how the people of Ninevah repented and changed their ways. I like what happens just after the Ninevites  hear the message and believe. They fast.

Right after that God relented. When he did it made Jonah angry. He was not happy that God was forgiving of these people. They were “bad” people. They did wrong. The Bible says that Jonah then went and plopped himself nearby and “waited to see what would happen to the city.” That part gets me every time. What was he waiting for? Was he waiting to see if they messed up again so he can say, “Hey God, look I told you they were bad people and you were wrong to forgive them”? Was he waiting to see if perhaps God would change his mind (which is not possible)?

There are moments in our lives when we do this too. We get angry at the injustice in the world—and there is much of it. We speak with unforgiving lips. We act as the judge. Imagine each person who committed those wrongs finding forgiveness. God relented. They accepted Jesus and have been redeemed—but what about what they did? What about the rape, murder, adultery, lies, theft??? What about……. You can sit just outside watching and hoping that others pay for what they have done, or you can receive God’s forgiveness and show that same forgiveness to others.

“Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city.” – Jonah 4:5 [NLT]

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My Judgment

Jonah said he didn’t want to go to Ninevah because he knew that God was “a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are too eager to turn back from destroying people” (4:2 NLT). How true!

In today’s verse we read the phrase “my judgment.” We need to remember that it is God’s judgment, not our own. God is forgiving and God does not want to lose any of his children. We read in 4:11 that “Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness” (NLT). That is a lot of people. I bet you also know some people living in spiritual darkness.

Remember today that God does not want to lose any of his children. He relentlessly pursues each one of them. Rather than concerning yourselves with judgment, perhaps we should forgive and do our part to add some light into this darkness. I don’t have a number for you of those living in spiritual darkness, but I think it’s fair to say it’s over 120,000 people. God is merciful and compassionate. He wants each one to come home.

“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” – Jonah 1:2

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Rush Rush Rush

In the grocery store check out, there is often a race to see which register to choose to get finished the fastest. In this rush rush world, people do not like to take the time to count out their cash to make a payment. It is so much faster to swipe a card. Companies have raised the limit required for a signature to make things go even faster.

There was a lady peering into each checkout lane as frequently done so as to select the lane which would most likely get her out of the store fastest. She came toward my lane because she did not see anything on the conveyor belt and assumed that she would be ready right away. Her quick glance missed that the man in front of her had not even had the opportunity to empty his cart. He had a large number of small cans of cat food in his cart. Her quick glance and rush to make a decision caused her to be in the lane that would take the longest.

From this story, we can be reminded the need to further examine before making decisions. We can also be reminded of the need to slow down in the first place. Why must we rush around so much? Today, take a moment to pause and take a deep breath.

“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.” – Proverbs 19:2 [NLT]

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