My Fasting Blog
Scriptures of Meditation:
My Utmost for His Highest
Compelled by Love, by Heidi Baker
Simple today, get focused and organized. Try to eliminate the clutter and set my heart on what God wants for me.
I read all of Ezra and Nehemiah, I didn’t realize how much those 2 books go hand in hand. Beginning to see it tie into Isaiah 58 and the vision of One Child. How each of us has our role, our gift and our part to play in restoring God’s kingdom on the earth. Repairers of the breach. Restorer of streets to dwell in.
Began listening to some intense worship.
Started the day with worship…intense, deep, cleansing, convicting worship. Understanding that worship is necessary to water the seeds of our sweat in the ministry. It restores, strengthens and turns the focus not on what I do, but in Who God is and my personal relationship with Him. What I do means nothing without who I am in Him. Starting to see the pride of my own heart rising to the surface and have that dull ache and lump in my throat knowing that I have to let my Redeemer deal with it. A deep desire to be alone is consuming me. Even with shutting out the voices that I have grown accustomed to with social media, there is still so much to do and things that seem pressing. Learning to prioritize never becomes a habit that takes no thought, it is always something that has to be intentional.
Opted to read a passage for today from My Utmost for His Highest…
Have You Ever Been Alone with God? (1)
When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples —Mark 4:34
Our Solitude with Him. Jesus doesn’t take us aside and explain things to us all the time; He explains things to us as we are able to understand them. The lives of others are examples for us, but God requires us to examine our own souls. It is slow work— so slow that it takes God all of time and eternity to make a man or woman conform to His purpose. We can only be used by God after we allow Him to show us the deep, hidden areas of our own character. It is astounding how ignorant we are about ourselves! We don’t even recognize the envy, laziness, or pride within us when we see it. But Jesus will reveal to us everything we have held within ourselves before His grace began to work. How many of us have learned to look inwardly with courage?
We have to get rid of the idea that we understand ourselves. That is always the last bit of pride to go. The only One who understands us is God. The greatest curse in our spiritual life is pride. If we have ever had a glimpse of what we are like in the sight of God, we will never say, “Oh, I’m so unworthy.” We will understand that this goes without saying. But as long as there is any doubt that we are unworthy, God will continue to close us in until He gets us alone. Whenever there is any element of pride or conceit remaining, Jesus can’t teach us anything. He will allow us to experience heartbreak or the disappointment we feel when our intellectual pride is wounded. He will reveal numerous misplaced affections or desires— things over which we never thought He would have to get us alone. Many things are shown to us, often without effect. But when God gets us alone over them, they will be clear.
1/14/11 and 1/15/11
Learning about the true meaning of being poor in spirit, how important it is for us to be interdependent and willing to share all of what we have with each other. We must receive just to live. How much I have learned that I don’t know by reading the lifetime of wisdom of Mother Teresa, this particular phrase has haunted me the past day or so…
“Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs from you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Sick and imprisoned for friendship, He wants from you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?”
I’m being challenged to start believing God for signs and wonders. Not only in our every day life, but on each of our trips. Jesus told us that we will do greater things than He did, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The key to this is operating in love and wow, I’ve got a long way to go. Our teams are getting great at seeing needs and finding ways to meet them – which must continue – but I’m also ready to see our teams start laying hands on the sick, blind and broken and seeing their restoration and healing manifested in front of our eyes. Not for our glory, but because when Jesus is lifted up then He draws all men unto Himself.
Being poor in spirit does not mean being depressed and having nothing, but a posturing of the heart where one is wholly given, fully yielded, completely desperate, and totally dependent on God alone. This is a paraphrase of something that I read in “Compelled by Love”, by Heidi Baker.
It’s been rewarding to already see the fruit of becoming more focused and the freedom there is in not knowing. I’m not omnipotent, surprise – I know, but God is – so since He is, I don’t have to be. All I have to do is listen, obey and trust. My job is to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. I find it easier to breathe and easier to hear and the pressure of the always impending “to do” list eases. His burden is easy and his yoke is light. It’s a change from “doing” to “being”.
Finished reading “Compelled by Love” and it has revolutionized my vision beyond what it has been. There’s so much more. Walking in love is the only key to operating in the supernatural and the only way to revival is through love.
We had an interesting conversation with some friends today that are planning to go with us to Ethiopia in July. We were amazed at the opposition and resistance that they have received from their own family…Christian family, I might add. Somehow those who have not grown up in church seem to get this whole love and action thing more than the church. This has really bothered me the past year and honestly, to the point of rage. I realize that is an issue for me and I am learning to ask God to let me learn how to walk in love and have compassion on the church. Finding a balance between compassion and justice is such a fine line and after reading the words of Mother Teresa, I’m realizing how much farther I have to go and that this will be my life’s ambition.
Just as a whole, why is the church so anti-love? Seriously, if we break it down – that’s exactly what we are. When we are anti-love, we are anti-Christ. As we talked with our friends, it dawned on me that they have taken that step to operate in faith and in deed. Love is staring into the face of God, listening to His heart and doing what He says. Obedience and surrender should be our daily posture. The Lord took me back to when Moses was in front of God’s face for 40 days on the mountain and when he came down, his face was so radiant that it had to be covered…it was almost offensive to those who saw it. And these were the chosen people of God. Then the Holy Spirit brought to my memory James chapter 1: 23-27:
23For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
Well, when a member of the body of Christ stares into the Word of God, the face of God and chooses to walk in love…our lives become a mirror of God. And those who are either complacent or ignorant (this includes me!) when they see the reflection of the challenge of love on the faces of those close to us, the easiest thing to do is to tear that person down. Why? Because we are offended by the love of God and challenged to become that same reflection. Do we fear that if we reflect God that we will lose ourselves or our identity? In fact, it’s quite the opposite…in Him we FIND ourselves and our purpose.
Verse 25 talks about looking into the perfect law of liberty, well – what IS the perfect law of liberty? Let’s start with Isaiah 61:1-4
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.[a]
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,[b]
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,[c]
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.
This is not just what Jesus was called to do…this is what WE are called to do…everyday as a lifestyle! I have to remind myself and those reading this that all of this challenge is as much for me as for anyone. I have to check the motives of my heart every single moment of every single day. At first, this stressed me out because I began looking for every mistake or judgment that crossed my mind…but now, I’m releasing the Holy Spirit to have free reign in convicting me. Strangely enough, the last two nights in a dream the Lord has revealed the ugliness of my motives. These are “little” things and to be up front, I’m right in my perception and discernment but I’m now aware that I’m wrong in how I have left this gain a root in my heart. Minor just isn’t minor any more. I pray that my heart and spirit would be so enlarged daily that I don’t ever get complacent in holding myself accountable to the mirror of the Word and the Holy Spirit.
The western church just has not been used to being poor in spirit and I don’t mean that we should desire poverty or beat ourselves up…but be so dependent on God for every day that we live. Many places in the world have an unusual advantage because they are so poor in the natural that they have no choice but to trust God for their next meal, their next breath. We suffer not in the natural, but we suffer from a different kind of poverty – poverty of spirit. This is VERY different from being poor in spirit. We have forgotten how to love, in order to love…we must be able to receive the love of God. We have become so ill-equipped because we are so self focused and full of pride.
This brings me full circle once again to the reason for this fast, what is the kind of fast God wants from us?
Isaiah 58: 1-12
1 “Shout with the voice of a trumpet blast.
Shout aloud! Don’t be timid.
Tell my people Israel[a] of their sins!
2 Yet they act so pious!
They come to the Temple every day
and seem delighted to learn all about me.
They act like a righteous nation
that would never abandon the laws of its God.
They ask me to take action on their behalf,
pretending they want to be near me.
3 ‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!’
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
4 What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me.
5 You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance,
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind.
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes.
Is this what you call fasting?
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
6 “No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
and remove the chains that bind people.
7 Share your food with the hungry,
and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
8 “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
9 Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
This is LOVE. This is God. Anything other than this is simply the spirit of the world, the spirit of anti-Christ. In order for us to walk in love, we MUST look into the perfect law of liberty, understand who we are, deal with our pride and learn how to receive and give the powerful force of love.
We spent the past few days with our travel group families and while we were driving, strangely Psalm 23 came to mind and especially the phrase, “you restore my soul”. I thought about it as the miles passed and I realized that God has divinely and strategically placed each of our families together for a much greater purpose. The connection we have through adoption was just the first step, there is something very special about this group. We sharpen each other. We make each other laugh. Most importantly, we make each other love more. Being around them restores my soul.
Today, I had another very fruitful meeting and received an invitation to go to Cambodia and also a healthy dose of confirmation. Confirmation that it’s time to re-prioritize the investment of my time…yes, even more strategically than before. Change is good. Challenge is good.
Coming closer to the end of the fast, I’m excited about the strategies that God has given our ministry during the last few days. I guess we had to get through the heart issues at the beginning of this time before we could hear effectively on all that God has set before us as priorities. It means cutting out some of the “good” things and focusing on the very next step of obedience, even if it doesn’t make complete sense. We are taking a look at our time, our systems, our accountability and how we raise funding to support the work God has called us to. I’m realizing that it’s not just ok to ask people and businesses for support. In fact, it’s part of my stewardship in the ministry to not only cast vision and support other ministries’ vision but to realize that we have to ask in order to receive. God has recently reminded me through random situations these past few days that His favor is on us. My daughter’s latest memorized Scripture is Psalm 5:12, “You will bless the righteous, oh Lord, you surround them with favor like a shield”. A couple times as I flipped channels today, I’ve ended up watching a minister talking about favor as our inheritance. In my Bible reading, it’s been all about Joseph. I got an email from a friend today who is also doing the fast and the closing was this phrase,” May he also remind you that his favor is for a lifetime.”
I choose to press more and more into His favor, we gain God’s favor by seeking His face. It brought back to mind one of my favorite quotes from a book called “Finding Favor with the King” by Tommy Tenney: “No matter how skillfully you manage to move the heart of man, you still haven’t done much if you stop there. Artists, musicians, writers and advertising agencies all depend on this ability to influence humanity. Learn this lesson from Esther: if you move the heart of God, you move the hand of God. One nod from God and destiny is altered. Nations transformed, history rewritten.”
Some days it’s just one of those crazy frustrating days that I wish I understood...it's part of my control issues being worked through. I KNOW this, but man sometimes the human side and the father in me (that wants to fight for my kids) just comes out and it's not the prettiest thing. One of the things that I'm trying to learn is how justice must be accompanied by compassion and sometimes justice just wants its way and wants explanations. My idea of justice is not always God's way. We are grateful for those in our lives that allow us to be real and honest with and for them to feel free enough to kick our butts with perspective and the Word - we need it. Looking back it will be amazing, walking through it...not so glamorous. But I guess redemption isn't always polished.
Today is the last day of our social media fast. However, it is not the end, it’s the beginning of what I desire to become a lifestyle of dependence on the Holy Spirit. I’m learning more and more that above anything else, I need Him. Our confidence and hope are in Him. Other things in life are good, but ultimately unnecessary in comparison to the wisdom and favor of God. Our job is to seek first the Kingdom of God and not the next trend or marketing tool…again, I’m reminded that it’s not about building our kingdom at all and when it’s not about us, we eliminate the sense of competition, a life of works and strife. We must strive for excellence and be aware of the times and seasons – but be more aware of the greatness of our God.
One Child Campaign is a ministry outreach of Faith Central Ministries. The vision of the Orphan Awareness and Vision trips is to create a united effort of ministries to give voice to the over 5.5 million orphans in Ethiopia and around the world. This will be accomplished through sponsorship, empowerment and discipleship that will meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the children. This trip will immerse you into the lives of orphans and street kids. It will create an experience that will raise awareness not only to the orphan, but also for the body of Christ to realize the impact it can have through advocacy and adoption. An important part of our ministry is to provide resources for adoptive families. This is a mission to raise up a generation with selfless faith. Together, we can breathe hope into the orphan crisis.