As the end of April 2013 arrives, have you reflected on our Father’s personal hand of blessing to you? April has always been one of my favourite months. In this part of the world, its maple syrup season, the spring rains are washing the world clean so buds begin to sprout … and best of all, there are no pesky mosquitos or black flies bothering me! (They come in May!)
Yesterday, with the assistance of a tractor, I pulled a large tree out of the ground. It took a considerable bit of pushing and pulling to rip it out by the roots but I joyfully won the battle. Then, overnight I dreamed about leading a spiritual revival in a remote, unreached part of the world. I was embarrassed to be the most needy person for revival in attendance. My sin roots go down deep. In fact I’ve had some for so long that they’ve become characteristics instead of sin. That shows how calloused my conscience is.
Maybe that is why I see my greatest blessing this year to have been the successful survival of 30 days of fasting. Actually it was the ‘fasting’ that was the major accomplishment, not the 30 days. I don’t do fasting. I’ve never done it before. That is something I’ve fervently, and habitually, steered clear of. Just missing one meal leaves me weak, dizzy and faint. I admire the fortitude and discipline of those who do it periodically. And I have great awe for the three individuals I know who have fasted for 40 days. But I’ve always thanked my God that He never required me to feel burdened to do it.
Then, mid-winter, I had a couple of flu days of feeling blah and listless, with no appetite. As I recovered from that bout I reasoned with my stomach that we’d survived a couple days, why not go for 30. I had no grandiose plans of losing weight or being a stalwart spiritual model. It was just a challenge. Water kept me going for the first week and juice was added the second week. My energy level immediately plummeted, physical effort became exhausting, thinking became high alert, research and contemplation became bliss, and the “you can’t fast” monster went into retreat.
No great spiritual awakening, physical well-being or mind boggling visions burst into my consciousness during that period of time. But the month after the effort became a time of extended refreshment and renewal. During the fast my attitude had been jiggled, a lot of roots were pushed and pulled, toxins washed out and dormant resources were tapped into. And my calloused conscience was scraped raw in a few places. This refreshment and renewal have been a special time of healing, clarity in insights and re-invigoration.
What has been your experience / recommendations in fasting?
In another letter I’ll be bursting with the insights I’ve researched about redemptive giftings. The Body Life / Teamwork courses that I’ve been teaching will gain a brand new perspective! I’m intrigued to find deeper foundational scriptural roots out of which the branches of leadership style, personality traits, relationship skills, motivational focus and management issues branch. From the days of Creation, all the way through to the seven churches of Revelation, comes a stream of inspirational principles that show our Father’s handiwork in inspiring His Word. Learning about, absorbing and applying the characteristic battlefields and birthrights that each person in a godly team has, will be stimulating.
I’m the most blessed person around … and soooo pleased to be the beneficiary of faithful pray-ers who inadvertently sustained me during this latest challenge. I sure appreciate your reminders to Father to continue guiding through upcoming unknown and unsuspected challenges. The ranks of our earthly pray-ers is becoming thin, since several have shifted their residence to a higher place.
Learning and surviving through a variety of challenges … john
(original e-newsletter post – April 29, 2013)