Archive for the ‘Fasting’ Category

hello I’m Dr. ed Peterson the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. Thank you for joining me on my journey of INTENTIONAL living. This is the conclusion of a three post series i began on Monday but for me this is the most important element as it contains the lessons learned thus giving me new tools for applying God’s word to all situations in my life. For whatever reason this series has no podcast as every time i recorded it and went to post it, it would erase. yet every night when I would do a test it would work fine. One of those things that makes you go hummmmmmm????

It has been my experience that soon after i have decided to surrender to a more God filled life and i have set my intentions on Him that i soon afterward feel as though my favor with God and man has evaporated! My great God experiences seem to dry up. In those times i’m not even able to consider spiritual things. This was one of those times and I can’t give you any specific reason for why it occurred.

In the past i have considered these type of moments as a great loss with regards to my relationship with God. In this situation i am thinking differently. i am recalling how blessed i have been in my relationship with Him and even though it may seem like or feel like it has ceased to exist, I know that it has not! Knowing that allows me to look at this whole situation as not a great loss but a great benefit.

Galatians 5 talks about this matter. “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).”

i heard the voice of the spirit… and the voice of my flesh… and made a choice of my own free will… gratify the cravings and desires… of my human nature without God. So you might be thinking that i’m making this to spiritual or that i’m being overly dramatic… perhaps just so i have something to post about? Since these posts and podcasts are about my personal life i assure you there is no lack of material.

So what did happen? The simple  answer… there was a battle. Two opposing thoughts, two opposing voices. Galatians 5:17 says, “ed’s desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to ed’s flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that ed is not free but is prevented from doing what ed desires to do.”

my inner strength was not enough to defeat my outer collapse because as i read down further in Galatians 5 it explains that “the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”

Someone is saying that’s all well and good ed but you still haven’t explained what happened! Okay… It has been my experience that soon after i have decided to surrender to a more God filled life and i have set my intentions on Him that i soon afterward feel as though my favor with God and man has disappeared! Great God experiences seem to dry up. In those moments i’m not even able to talk about spiritual things. Heaven on earth is the farthest things from my mind which leaves me with little or no hope.

So now what? First i had to confess my actions of wrong doing and ask forgiveness of God. Through posting this i’m asking Ann Marie to also forgive me. Finally i’m asking each listener and reader for forgiveness as what i did was not according to the word. Is that necessary one may ask? Absolutely!  The word says, “to whom much is given much is expected.” i have been given this privilege and platform to share life with others. With that comes this responsibility, “ed is not to seek his (self) own good and advantage and profit , but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].” 

If ed lives by the [Holy] Spirit, let ed also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit ed has his life in God, let ed go forward walking in line, ed’s conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

It’s now almost a week later and guess what? my want is back, my “in the moment” satisfaction is nowhere to be found. Self satisfaction, surrendering to self wants is fleeting. The struggle is now stronger because it had previous success. But… i can assure you that as of this moment the battle has already been won, the victory is mine and the Glory is God’s.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

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Hello i’m Dr. Ed Peterson, the host of the me and I Am post and podcast. i’m glad you decided to join me today as i share with you about my journey of intentional living. Again before i start i must apologize that there is no podcast. After attempting to record 3 times… well, i gave up. Not sure what the issue is because when i tested it last night everything worked fine. You can come to your own conclusion… i’ll just leave it that, i’m not supposed to podcast it for whatever reason.

FranticIt was around 9 P.M., i was in for the night or so i thought. i had been to the store earlier and had rejected the idea of buying any of that “stuff”. Now, i know none of you have ever experienced this but i did. As i sat in my comfy recliner, watching mindless television, it hit me. “i…  want something,” meaning of course… a snack, something sweet, which i was now regretting having not purchased anything earlier. i remember thinking on the question of what i wanted as though it was worthy of great consideration.

The next thing i know i’m at the store, grabbing a cart and making my way down the isles. In the bakery section i loaded my cart with 4 pieces of chocolate cake which by the way had plenty of chocolate frosting covering them. i would have selected more but there was no carrot cake with vanilla crème frosting to be found. After further, careful consideration of countless other possibilities i decide on an almond coffee cake… for the next mornings breakfast of course, but knowing that i might have a slice tonight should my other items not fulfill my want. Continuing down the isles i looked left and right examining the shelves from top to bottom as though i was listening intently for something to call out my name. When i hit the ice cream freezers the choices were endless… which is why i ended up with three, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Recesses Peanut Butter with Chocolate Chunks, and Vanilla Toffee Crunch. After a stroll down a few more isles again listening intently, i made my way to the check-out counter where the two clerks immediately began discussing their favorite deserts with me. Somewhere in their exuberant sharing the cashier says, “so your having a dessert fest?” and now there’s a  name to go with what i was doing.

Returning home i carefully laid out the selections buffet style making sure that each could be seen easily, but… there was no need to choose… the intention was clear… eat them all! And within an hour most everything was gone and within 24 hours it was all gone.

Now one might ask, why? What came over me? Why the extreme, especially for someone who has had relatively little in the way of sweets for over a year? A single five letter word… FLESH/self as in my mind, my will and my emotions. As clear as i spoke “i want” a still small voice inside me began resisting. At every isle the voice asked me, “are you sure you want to do this, what are you doing, what’s going on?” But not once, not for a second did i pause to consider the voice. i might as well of said, “shut up and leave me alone!”

i’m not sharing this because i’m proud of it, quite the opposite. Now please listen or read very carefully. i don’t regret the things i’ve done, i just regret the things i didn’t do when i had the chance. What i didn’t do when i had the chance was listen to the Spirit inside me, i didn’t do the wise thing for my health and i didn’t consider Ann Marie when i had the chance.  i brought her on this rampage with me, without any regard for her. She has been struggling to get back on track with her diet and i added to the struggle. 1 Corinthians 10:23 the verse i shared in the opening has a following verse which says, “Let no one then seek his own good and advantage and profit, but [rather] each one of the other [let him seek the welfare of his neighbor].” Now, eating all that was in no way for my own good, advantage or profit. my point here is that i did not seek the welfare of my neighbor, more specifically the welfare of my best friend, my wife. What example did i set for her? my misplaced encouragement… and let’s just leave it at that… misplaced.

So there you have it, “the story.” What you don’t have are the lessons learned which are the most important elements of these posts. As the verse above says, “let him/ed seek the welfare of his neighbor” i always want to be respectful of readers and listeners time and this is running longer than i anticipated. i am unable to cut it short as the lessons are what i will take with me as i move forward from this… and face new… challenges in living my life INTENTIONALLY for God.

Thank you for joining me on me and I Am and i look forward to you joining me in just one more wake up for the conclusion of this series on Permissible And/Or Profitable.

 

Hello I’m Dr. Ed Peterson the host of the meandIAM posts and podcasts. Todays title is Permissible… And/or Profitable…

After recording today’s podcast 5 times and each time while saving it, it disappeared, i have to assume that it just wasn’t meant to be. So i apologize for any inconvenience but here it is in print.

1 Corinthians 10:23 (AMP) says that, “All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character] and edifying [to spiritual life].”

GroceryQuestion? What do 4 slices of chocolate frosted cake, 3 pints of ice cream, and an almond coffee cake have in common? Yes, they all have calories. They are all sweets. No they are not all desserts all though i suppose the coffee cake could be a dessert depending on when you eat it? The answer is… flesh/self. It was actually a trick question, that is unless you had spent the last year growing INTENTIONALLY in relationship with God, and… had been on some type of fast the entire time which included the removal of sweets from your lifestyle.

It was around 9 P.M., i was in for the night or so i thought. i had been to the store earlier and had rejected the idea of buying any of that “stuff”. Now, i know none of you have ever experienced this but i did. As i sat in my comfy recliner, watching mindless television, it hit me. “i…  want something,” meaning of course… a snack, something sweet, which i was now regretting having not purchased anything earlier. i remember thinking on the question of what i wanted as though it was worthy of great consideration.

Want to hear more? At all curious what i did with my want? And how does 1 Corinthians 10:23 fit into this? You’ll have to join me in just two more wake-ups as my grandchildren would say when they are anticipating a visit from me. Two more wake ups and i’ll share the lessons learned while uncovering the questionable choices i made and the actions that resulted. So until two more wake ups be blessed and live life INTENTIONALLY!

 

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When my children were young we had a discipline that worked well for us when they did something they knew was wrong. We didn’t count to three but i suppose it was built-in and not as obvious as it is today. Our intent was to instill good behavior and not emphasize the bad. We decided that they would write the truth or the good behavior according to the bible, thus confess what was to be their words and actions versus the wrong. Example, If one of them spoke unkind to mom or dad they would write… “I honor my father and mother.” It started out when they could barely write with having to write it 10 times and at the last time used it was 5,000 times of whatever the correct behavior was. There were a couple other twists as well. Once the assignment was given all privileges ceased. All of them, even a trip to Dallas to be with grandparents held no privileges until all 5,000 times were written. During that incident we knew we had accomplished something as my son volunteered to help my daughter write so they could enjoy the trip. I said there were a couple twists and the second one was how the verses had to be written. They could not write a column of I and a column of honor and so on. They had to write it as a sentence and they had to say it as they wrote it. Get caught not saying it or writing it in columns and it was torn up and started over.

i have been disciplined by someone whom i have put in the position of authority over me, someone whom i have given permission to correct me. The following are the words of that correction.

“I am going to make an observation that will require you to read between the lines. God has brought great changes into your’s and Ann Marie’s life in the last three months especially. You have been fasting and allowing God to make the adjustments that He wanted to make and you guys have grown leaps and bounds.  But the real test is when you walk into circumstances that surround you with the relationships and circumstances that locks you into an old way of thinking and relating. Then you find out just how much of the change has become permanent.”

Thus todays post is applying my own method of correction to myself. With-out going into detail of my bad, i am writing or in this case typing word by word what the proper behavior is for my bad. It would seem that not enough of the change has become permanent.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

That’s verse 9 of Galatians 6 but verse 10 goes on to say, “Right now, therefore, every time i get the chance, i am to work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to me in the community of faith.”

i spent this morning grumbling and complaining, to myself of course, that i was tired of who i am and what i do. i tried as hard as i could to think of who i would rather be or better yet what i would rather be. my conclusion is that i have been this and done this for so long i can’t even imagine something else. It seems like all i do is give, that i am always watching out for and thinking of others and i am tired of it… thus the writing assignment.

Well i won’t bore all of you by continuing with my writing assignment in this post or blog. i’ll let you get on with your day and i’ll get back to the assignment which i’m thinking is 100 times.

i do not allow myself to get fatigued doing good because at the right time i will harvest a good crop if i don’t give up, or quit.

Please click the player or the link to listen.

 

Have you ever heard the story about the young Zoad, who came to a sign at the fork of the road.

He looked one way and the other way too. The Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.

Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants. and he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance.

If I go to Place One, that place may be hot. So how will I know if I like it or not?

On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool, if I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool.

In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue. So Place One may be best and not Place Two.

Play it safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play it safe, I’m no dunce. I’ll simply start off to both places at once.

And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance went no place at all with a split in his pants.

Those words of wisdom come from Dr. Suess and they really do describe times in my own life and possibly, a few others as well.

Tuesday on my way home after having had the entire day to think on Isaiah 58 as it pertained to what was my current fast, and i knew i had to make a decision just like the Zoad. Let me see if i can bring Isaiah 58 and the Story of the Zoad  together.

Isaiah 58 describes two roads or two fasts. Imagine with me that this is my Place One – They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people, aw-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’

“Well, here’s why:

“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?

Now imagine with me that this is second type of fasting is my Place Two – “This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.”

i was at a fork in the road. Do i continue the fast i was on and just do better, or do i start all over with a new fast?

i looked one way and the other way too. i  had to make up my mind what to do.

Like the Zoad i scratched my head, and my chin, and my pants. and said to myself, “I’ll be taking a chance.

If I go to Place One, that place may be easy. But how do i know if I’ll like it or not?

On the other hand, though, i’ll feel such a fool, if I go to Place Two and find it’s too hard.

In that case i may leave fasting for another day . So Place One may be best and not Place Two.

Play it safe,” cried the ed, “I’ll play it safe, I’m no dunce. I’ll simply start off to both places at once. STOP!

I know i can’t start off nor stay in both places at once.
i knew i had to take what seemed like a chance, but was in all reality, the right thing to do.

And thus i began a new fast, so that i didn’t end up going no place with a split in my pants.

Please click the player or link to listen.

Through fasting and prayer, the Holy Spirit can transform my life. Sometimes it seems like those are just nice words but upon examining my life daily i can honestly say, “That is what i desire.”Fasting and prayer are for me the most powerful spiritual disciplines i can participate in as a disciple of Christ.

i want to be a help to you which is why i’m sharing with you on this or any other topic. From the word, personal experience and observation i want to share with you what i have learned. Whether you complete a 1-day fast or an extended 40-day fast, my prayer is that His love and blessings will be poured out on you as you take this exciting step of faith.

Isaiah 58 1-9 is rocking my world this morning. It’s a clear picture of what a fast is not and, what God intended a fast to be.

i’ll share it with you. – “Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back—a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins! They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people, aw-abiding, God-honoring. They ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side. But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’

“Well, here’s why:

“The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like?

“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’

Well… That certainly seems to about more than just skipping a meal or two. It would seem to indicate a lifestyle which includes fasting.

Isaiah 58’s words are eye openers, “busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me. To all appearances you’re a person of right-living, aw-abiding, God-honoring. You ask me, ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on your side. But you also complain, ‘Why do i fast and You don’t look my way? Why do i humble myself and You don’t even notice?’

i shared yesterday that my fast was to put me into position for the power of God to flow through me but, what i didn’t say, because i didn’t realize it until reading these hard but honest words was that in some ways “The bottom line on my ‘fast days’ is profit.”

Wow, there’s no hiding anything from God whether intentional or unintentional.

my motive in fasting must be to glorify God, not to have an emotional experience, and not to attain personal happiness. When my motives are right, God will honor my seeking heart and bless my time with Him in a very special way.

If renewed closeness with God, and greater sensitivity to spiritual things come from a fast, then i can’t be disappointed. Isaiah 58 was not what I was looking for when I started posting today but it certainly fulfilled it’s purpose.

In closing, This was a “mountaintop experience” for me but if you don’t have a “mountaintop experience,” it’s okay. After completing my first 40 day fast i simply had the feeling of a nearness to God that i had never had before, but others who have fasted report no particular results at all. Still for others, their fast was physically, emotionally, and spiritually grueling, but they knew they had been called by God to fast, and they completed the fast as an act of worship.

Click the following player button or the link to listen.

i said that i would eventually get back to fasting and… today seems to be the day. For me it’s day 21 of my fasting journey, the changes are becoming more and more apparent to me. The previous post was “Overcoming the Enemy of my Hunger for God.” You may want to go back and read it first. If for no other reason than to read the quote from John Piper.

Here’s the driving force for me in doing this fast. i have been given the opportunity to share life for a season, with a specific handful of people. i made agreements with them to pray for them not once, but every day, and often within that day. To be in position for them so to speak.

i don’t recall the circumstances, but i read Matthew 17:14-20 (it will be obvious that it’s from the Message but it doesn’t change in meaning regardless the translation.) “At the bottom of the mountain, they were met by a crowd of waiting people. As they approached, a man came out of the crowd and fell to his knees begging, “Master, have mercy on my son. He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly, falling into seizures. Frequently he is pitched into the fire, other times into the river. I brought him to your disciples, but they could do nothing for him.” Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! (AMP. O you unbelieving (warped, wayward, rebellious) and thoroughly perverse generation!) How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” He ordered the afflicting demon out—and it was out, gone. From that moment on the boy was well. When the disciples had Jesus off to themselves, they asked, “Why couldn’t we throw it out?” “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus.

i began thinking about what Jesus had said. “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to their lives!” They were disciples and i am still His favorite one, but… i like them were found to be out of position. Before Jesus got to the bottom of the mountain He had been on top with Peter James and John. They experienced… let me just quote it. “His meaning Jesus appearance changed from the inside out, right before their eyes. Sunlight poured from his face. His clothes were filled with light. Then they realized that Moses and Elijah were also there in deep conversation with him.” That’s experiencing the presence of God! One can hope!

There was a difference from what took place on the top of that mountain from what took place at the bottom. At the bottom there was feasting and celebration of which the other nine disciples were partaking in. Several commentaries state that the disciples were not prepared for what they needed to accomplish, they were out of position, they had no sense of God and were not focused at that moment.

my spirit rose up with those words and i felt like i got additional clarity regarding what my commitment to this group of people needed to be. i need to be in the position that Jesus, Peter, James and John were on top of the mountain. i must do today what others will not so that tomorrow i can do what others can not. i don’t mean to sound boastful, but for me that’s the invitation God presented to me. Do i have to accept, certainly not. But this group includes my best friend, and wife, my children, my grandchildren as well as several others. i must be in position to be able to pray big audacious prayers for these people in my life. Thus i embarked on this fast of liquids for an unknown length of time. One of the greatest benefits of the fast has been that i don’t have to ask what are we having for dinner every night.

i didn’t share that there were other things at play in this story from Matthew 17 but they weren’t as important to me as what i have shared.

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for
heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we
drink in every night.” ―  John Piper

The title says it all. This involves a repositioning of some things in my life , more specifically it involves fasting. My last memorable fast was over 7 years ago and to this day i can recall everything about it. So why? Why have i waited so long before doing it again. Oh, there have been short fasts but even those have been years ago. How long is this fast for? No idea but it will be 14 days on Monday and i see no end in sight. Fasting is quality not quantity. Today i’ll share some of my thoughts on fasting. First off it’s one of those personal matters between myself and God. While I am sharing portions of my fast, please take the time to speak with God about any fast you would engage in. As it stands right now i will continue this line of posting on Monday as Friday, tomorrow is MEASURE #9.

Fasting is a physical expression of my spiritual hunger and my longing for God. Before i can fast, it is essential to get a vision for it. Why do i fast? What is my pursuit? What do i gain by fasting?

Without a vision, fasting will become something to be done only occasionally (been there done that). Instead, i want to institute it as a normal part of my lifestyle. Fasting is more than a suggestion; it’s a discipline that must become intricately woven into my lifestyle of prayer. 

Some options for starting and ending a fast. If i want to establish a lifestyle of fasting, habits have to change. Some people ease into a fast by eating only fruits and vegetables for a meal or two (depending on the length of the fast) before starting and ease out of a fast the same way. 

Because long fasts and a lifestyle of fasting may cause your metabolism to drop, exercise can boost metabolism.

If doing a water fast, add a bit of lemon or honey to the water for a little healthy boost of energy. Juice fasts – only drink 100% juice. V8 is wonderful for juice fasts – it can also be warmed up and drunk like a tomato soup. A green tea is good for your body as you fast, as it helps with the detoxification process. It is also helpful for those who are addicted to caffeine, as green tea is caffeinated. However, it is best to break caffeine addictions. 

Depending on the intensity and length of my fast, my body will switch into detoxification mode, eliminating many poisons and waste products. Because of this process, it is essential to drink a lot of water and fluids. i have goals for myself with how much water i need to drink in a day. i pay attention to what my body is telling me and currently i am sustaining my body with a bowl of soup each day. 

i have set other goals. Why am i fasting? The simple answer is to reposition myself. Fasting transforms everything. Things like what i’m praying for, who i’m praying for, my bible reading, study and worship. 

It’s taken me 7 years to get some vision! 

“Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit, that I may grow in the knowledge of your great love and truth.  Help me to seek you earnestly in prayer and fasting that i may turn away from sin and wilfulness and conform my life more fully to your will.”