As our church prepares to participate corporately in an extended fast, several things have been rattling around in my brain:

As we sample from the buffet of life, the more we eat of those things that have no nutritional value, the less room we have for the things that will nourish us.

Of course this applies to real eating – the more ice cream and cake I eat the less room I have for veggies & fruit. But it also applies to all of life’s activities. The more mindless TV I watch, the less time I have for reading or exercising. Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with ice cream and cake or even mindless TV. I’m just saying a steady diet of them makes us fat and weak, both physically and spiritually. And if we partake of those things FIRST, we close the door to those other things that can bring us great joy. Lord, help me to make good choices.

    “So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.
     “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
               Matthew 6:31-34 (NLT)

If we focus on what we’re giving up instead of what we’re gaining we’ll never be happy.

Which would you rather have – a life of contentment or a life of lack? You can have either life from the same circumstances. Again, I’m not saying that there isn’t real lack in some of our lives. But for most of us, we have a house in which to live, enough food to eat and people who love us. I want my focus to be on those blessings, not on what I lack. As we look toward the fast, I can look at things I might be giving up and feel bad about that, or I can look at what I hope to gain and be excited for things to come. Our culture is so acclimated to looking at what we don’t have and wanting bigger, better and more. Lord, help me to be content with You and not long for all those other things.

for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
              Philippians 4:11b-12

One of the purposes of fasting is to strip away all the things that grab our attention and turn it away from God – to help us realize that He is the source of every good and perfect gift and to be content.

Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, who created all heaven’s lights. Unlike them, he never changes or casts shifting shadows. In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession.
               James 1:17-18

This morning I’ve been humming a song we sang in worship yesterday…

I will wait…I will wait for the Lord. How good is the Lord, to those whose hope is in Him.
I will wait…and let God be God. I will wait, I will wait for the Lord.

(Thanks, Pastor Larry, for writing it.)

Be blessed, all!

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