Lord, if I am to fast for forty days. Let my fast draw Your attention to me. Let me show You, much like a child asks a father to watch them, what I can do. Does this mean I am showing off? You better believe it Lord! Will others know of my actions? Some might. Will I make a spectacle of the fast? Nope! Still others may never no of the fast. Guess what Lord? It is not for them to see anyway. I care not what men think of my actions. I feel pretty confident that my actions would be seen as "crazy" by many. I can totally relate to that observation.
During a period in my life, I thought a lot of Your followers were crazy! Why? Maybe cause they did strange things? Maybe cause they were so withdrawn from the world, I could not relate to what they were doing? Whatever reason Lord, I think it is safe to say that fasting and prayer is something strange and unusual to many. I can even relate the fasting to something we Americans do at the first of a year. We make a new years resolution. I think we all know how the majority of those go. Still, I believe the reason they do not go well for us is because we lack a reason. We lack a why.
If I have reasons to do something along with why, I will become a juggernaut with my follow through.
The "reason" is my catalyst for taking action. It does not hold any real power. It does not even have any substance that can drive me to follow through. A reason is just talk. A reason is just a discussion. A reason is just a whiff of vapor. Two or three reasons give weight, yet that lack any real power still. Multiple reasons only give me fuel to take action. Regardless, I can have a pile of reason and still lack follow through.
What about friends? Oh they can help me with my follow through. They can motivate me to action and even to continue with my follow through, yet they are just friends, family, and co-workers. They are not everlasting. They are filled, muck like myself, with sinful desires and weakness. If I depend on them, I will be building on something that does not last forever. In the end, failure is all I will have. So while these people are good and have the potential to help me, they are fleeting. This does not mean that I can not draw on them for strength and assistance, nor does it mean I can not lead the same to them. This is to clearly help me understand that if I am to succeed, then I need something more than reasons to succeed with my fasting. I need power!
Lord, I can draw on Your Spirit to help me. I can call on Your Son Jesus to help me. I can even cry out to You Father for assistance. These are truly powerful pieces that have been extended to me by You. Does this mean I will not use what You have freely given? Nope. I will call on You for strength and assistance. I will call on You to drive sin's temptation from my life. Yes, I will cling to You like a remora does a shark. A successful fast is only possible if I am attached to You. Does this mean I will be successful with my fast? Maybe… Maybe not. Why Lord? Cause I have a free will to choose. I have a choice. What can help me at this point Lord? WHY!
I need something immovable. I need something to put behind my wheels to keep me stationary on this hill. I need a parking break. I need an anchor. I need something more if I am to overcome. Lord this does not mean that I can not depend on You. I truly believe that it will require more of me. I need something internally to help me maintain focus. I need a WHY! I need two WHYs! I need a hold bunch of WHYS!
You are great Lord! I can build my life around You and never fail! Peter writes of how I can maintain without ever failing! I want to bolt on WHY at this point Lord. I want to have something burning inside me that drives me to stay the course with my fasting. I will resist temptation. Why? Cause You will not tempt me with anything without providing me a way out. Joseph left a coat and split at this point! You are good Lord and You do provide me with another option. I guess my WHY needs to be my safety phrase or word that reminds me to stay focused on the goal.
My "why" Lord, will be the thing that gives me that added nudge over my "personal" will. I need to tip the scales in my favor Lord. I want to show You what I can do during my forty days! I need a WHY!
My why will be to show You what I can do!
My why will be cause You did it also!
My why will be cause I want to be an example to my children!
My why will be cause I want to be a good husband to my wife!
My why will be cause I want to be the man You want me to be Lord!
My why will be cause without You, I am nothing!
Enough taking Lord. It is time for action! The twenty-second is coming fast and I need to make a list. A list of things I will deprive myself of to ensure YOU are number One in my life!
The list I will go… To You be the glory.
1. I will not choose any food or drink. I will eat and drink what is placed before me. Yes, even the stuff I do not like.
2. I will focus on serving others ahead of myself. My will shall become second to all others You place in my life. I will humble myself to all others You send. I will receive what I deserve in a time of Your choosing.
3. I will encourage and lift up all others You send into my life. My encouragement of others should have no limits.
1. Choose nothing, rather eat and drink only what is offered!
2. Give all of myself to others. I am last!
3. Encourage and lift others constantly!
40 Day Fast Concluded | My Three to You
The item on the top of my list for fasting to You is… "Choose nothing, rather eat and drink only what is offered." This sounded like a good fit after reading about how You were in the desert for forty days. What a pain in the rear. I tell you what, this one has hurt me deeply.
Success Achieved: 98%
The second item on my list for fasting to You is… "Give all of myself to others. I am last!". This one I have struggled with during this forty days. I have not done the best with this one. I feel that I have robbed time or kept some of myself for me, over surrendering all of myself to others. It has been good and bad up to this point, however I have not given You my best on this one.
Success Achieved: 40%
The third item on my list for fasting to You is… "Encourage and lift others constantly.". This one has been rather easy. I have found the more time I spend with You, the more positive statements I have to give to others. Maybe this is cause I am starting to become inline with Your second command, "Love my neighbor as myself.". I feel pretty good about this one, however it could use some improvement. I need to discover more ways of encouraging and edifying others around me.
Success Achieved: 80%
Recap of Items | Highlights
This was the first thing You were tempted with Lord. Satan said, "If You are the Son of God, turn that stone to bread." Interesting. You were tempted with food. In my youth, this seemed like an excellent idea. Sure! Do it! So I wrote it down.
I maintained this one Lord. This is the one that even my family knew I would not give in to a whim. I can say, "I held and maintained a good fight with this one.". This has to be one of my greatest achievements in denying my flesh. My pain and suffering was horrific. I even over come many obstacles in my life during this period. I have run through a myriad of emotions with this item. My energy was at an all time low and I was unable to maintain a "pretty" face. People could see it in my eyes and on my face. You know, I was not seeking sympathy or affirmation. I was honestly beat down emotional and physically with this one. You taught me much about myself and people through this item. Some were joyful, while others brought tears to my eyes and broke my heart.
I failed maybe twice with this one. Once I know for sure. I was in total defiance of this fasting item. I premeditated this entire process over a five day period. It took me coordinating with three other people to make this happen and then I took, rather than it being offered. Yes, I took it. It was mine. I wanted it. I planned it. I took it! I was totally in the wrong. I totally broke down and asserted my will.
There is to much to write here. I will summarize with bullets.
- Sugar deprived
- Feelings of neglect
- Feelings of humility
- Feelings of anger
- Feelings of sorry
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of resentment
This list could grow longer and has been one painful journey for me. I do relate to some of Your basic fundamentals. Things I come to call Jesus 101 items.
There are many stories that have come from this item. All are painful. There are too many to write. Let me bullet them.
- Wife and the root beer float.
- Son and Burger King.
- Daughter and the lemon bars.
- Coworker and food in general.
- Coworker and Burger king.
- Damaged food and Mr. Edwards. Then Damaged food and Mom.
- Customer and bottle of 50 year old sake.
- Friend and bag of chips.
- Wife and food on the counter.
All of these stories have real powerful in my life. I can recall many feelings and emotions felt during the unfolding of each of these stories. This is why You bring me to my knees Lord. When times are bad, suffering is great in my life, You step in and show me the joy in the situation. You step in and show me something I have been missing all along. You give me a piece that I have been missing that now makes me complete for another season. You are forever molding me to Your liking. I am but a vine that You clip and tie to an arbor.
A. My reward is directly tied to my motives.
B. I can glean why Ester walked before the king at the risk of her life.
C. I have overcome my fear of heights.
About ten to twelve days in to my fast, I was called into question about drinking. I had to explain to her that this was not possible, even at a wine tasting that I was hosting. I let her in on my fast. She knew right away my position. From that day forward, she started offering me things to eat and bringing me stuff. Then another few people found out via my wife and mother. Ha ha... this was very funny to them and very painful to me. There was some reward with them knowing. This also served to draw others into my situation. I think all in all Lord, this was an excellent thing all the way around. I benefited and many others did as well.
Lord, there are individuals that You have placed in and around my life. They are close to me and they will protect me. Let me invest in them.
I thought. If Satan offered You power and riches, this would have been over other people. The people would have been Your servants or slaves. Guess what? I need to surrender all of myself to those around me. I will be the servant, slave, or prisoner to all that You send into my life.
I was forced to bend to the needs of others. Some of these people, I felt, did not deserve my time. Others, I felt, did deserve my time. You taught me much of giving of myself to all that come before me. I learned that many people come to share in the struggles of living life. Many just want someone to help share the burden. This is a very difficult subject. I can say, "This one revolves around service and is directly tied to the second greatest command.". I did listen and share in the sufferings of others. I have listened to some painful stuff and did not attempt to help. I was just there to listen and understand their situation. The interesting thing about this was that some brought things I needed. Some come to listen to me. Some come to share in my suffering. There is much to learn from loving my neighbor as myself.
I have robbed time from family. I have robbed time from my children and wife. I kind of gave to those I saw out daily except for my family. I listened to a request for my time and then I pushed them off. Like I was someone important. I asserted my will over someone here as well. I took care of my needs or wants over the needs of another. My selfish nature burst forward on multiple accounts. I do not believe I can count all of my faults Lord. I am such a selfish person. I keep doing the things I do not want to do.
Sharing in suffering and joy is one of the best rewards I can have in my life. There is great reward in taking part in this activity. I can benefit as well as the other person. Lord, struggles are powerful. The bond the fellowship together in ways that can not be explained.
- Reading biographies have new meaning to me.
- Real struggles add value to my life and those experiencing them.
- Pain and suffering enable the body of Christ to draw closer together.
This was the odd one out. You were asked to throw Yourself down from high. I opted for encourage and lift others. I was not seeking to test You, I wanted to do for one of those You send into my life. You said, "Anything I do for one of them, I do for You.". Then let me encourage and lift others around me. Let me glorify You through another person!
This does remind me that I have overcome my fear of heights during this fast. My story of climbing a ladder to the top of a gas canopy comes to mind. Yes Lord, I am over my fear of heights and I know why.
I am sold on this one Lord. This one ties directly to the second greatest command. This one serves to build Your kingdom. This is a powerful tool for Your kingdom.
I failed on several accounts with this one. I took part in a couple conversations that did not encourage and lift others. I did routinely seek ways of encouraging those You placed in and around my life. I really need to do a personal inventory of those You have entrusted to me. This would help me keep perspective on those near to me, yet I do not feel it would help me with those drive by people that You send into my life. I tend to do ok with the drive-by individuals. It is the ones that You have placed in my life that I have failed over and over.
This was difficult for me only because of my rumbling belly. I was hungry and it was difficult for me to speak loving words or encourage others around me. This put me in a difficult situation Lord. Dare I say, "impossible!" I know... I know. It was not impossible, yet it was challenging. Only because some of these selfish people would not even offer me a bite to eat and I had to encourage them? WOW! Talk about really digging into my pain button. I can say, "I really wanted to let a few know what I thought of them." yet I did not. I remembered what You told me, "Love them as I love myself."
We are all selfish. The real challenge is, can I offer out of my poverty to someone else? Can I really give out of my nothingness? Would I be willing to share and expect nothing in return? This is not an easy task. I was starving, yet I gave my plate of food to someone that had nothing. I was hungry, yet I demanded that someone eat my food or I would throw it in the trash. Yes Lord, encouraging others while I had nothing was difficult.
What I do know to be true is… Let me give what I have to another, You will take care of my needs. You have always done so and will continue to do so Lord. Let me not hold fast to anything, rather let me give it to someone in real need.
This has been a pain filled joy that has scared me for life.
Glory to You Lord!