Thursday, November 17, 2011

God = Love

Day 5

Fifth day into my modified fast and I feel surprisingly well!  I feel calmed and hopeful!  I surprise myself waking to songs of praise in my heart and head.  I’ve doubly surprised myself by being faithful to my reading plan and resolve.

The prescribed reading yesterday was Psalms 119.  I was gripped with emotion at verse 8 where the psalmist writes “I will obey your order.  Please don’t leave me all alone”. NIRV

That cuts to the core of my fears.  Alone.  Separated from God.  Separated from love.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I love solitude and crave it horribly at times.  But this is different.  God’s love for us is declared throughout the scriptures but it’s more than that!  God is love! 

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 John 4:8

The absence of God is the absence of love?  Does an atheist or agnostic claim there is no such thing as love?

Happy to note that one very important request of God has been answered very quickly and clearly.  Thank you Father for showing your mercy, love and favor on your children!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Seeking God

21 Day Prayer and Fasting

Pre Fast  Saturday, November 12 2011

I bolstered my resolve to begin this fast plan in earnest.  I do realize it must be a ‘modified’ fast for me to be able to physically carry through to the end.

Nutrition Plan
With that, I have decided my fast will be of liquids only.  Meaning soups (pureed), juice, milk, protein shakes and tea are fine.  I will be abstaining from sweet tea, soda, shakes other than protein shake and solid foods of any type.

What do I hope to accomplish?
I hope to gain a closer relationship with God. 
I hope to hear his voice. 
I hope him to guide me directly in a personal decision.
I hope him to heal Ruby and restore her sight.
I hope God himself will change my beloved's heart or align my heart with his.

Although I will not be writing all that I eat, I do plan on journaling each day.

I invite you to join me in this journey.  Please feel free to email me with any private question or comments or leave your comments here.

Day 1 Sunday, November 13 2011
I read through the selection from Daniel for Day 1.  When Daniel began his fast it was in sadness.  He was distressed by a vision from God telling of a great war.  Daniel’s fast was also modified.  He abstained from ‘rich’ food and no meat or wine.  At the end of his fast he had a vision of an angel.  It must have been visible because the others with him were afraid and ran away!  Daniel was also gripped with fear and fell face down on the ground!  The angel reassured him helping him to his feet and told him that God sent him to Daniel! 

“Do not be afraid”.  This is my favorite verse.  Kind of a cheat for a favorite verse because it recurs so often in scripture.  “Do not be afraid”.  Beautiful.  We are not to live in quaking, shaking boots but in joyful sneakers!

“You decided to get more understanding [through fasting and prayer].  You went without food as you worshiped your God.  Since the first day you did those things, your words were heard.  I have come to give you an answer”. – Daniel 10:12 NIRV

Wow! God heard Daniel’s prayers from the first day he decided to commit to his fast!  Not only was Daniel heard by God but God himself sent his personal messenger to give Daniel his answer!

Could it be that God is listening to me?  He must know that I’m actively seeking him.  Truly Awesome!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Listening for God's Voice

Recently, I've been praying over a particular subject.  Actually praying is putting it gently, rather I've been begging, imploring, searching for a definitive answer from God.

I decided that I should follow several biblical examples of some others before me seeking God's desire for them and have begun a time of fasting, prayer and study.

It seems that my Lord has pointed out some details I need to address through a blog called 'A Place Called Simplicty'.

I like to think that I'm a good person.  I encourage others, attend worship regularly, pray, and even teach an occasional Bible class.  But of course, I know there is more to do.

We are told, I am told in 2 Timothy to flee from evil and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.

Not hang around (evil) and check it out like a building on fire, but flee!  Run for it!  But what do I do?  I watch with eager eyes all the horrible pain and sadness that one man (or woman) can inflict on another!  I reason with myself and my heavenly Father. "It's only  tv".  "I need some downtime".  But all the while my head and heart are being filled with impure, degrading images.

Looks like my fast needs to extend to my entertainment habits!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Butterfly Moments

My desire to adopt began when I was in my early teens. My mother like so many mothers in China found herself in some very difficult times with impossible decisions to make. I spent some time in an institutional orphanage separated from my sisters and family. I was very young, so young that everyone said it was not possible that I actually remembered my time there. I do remember. It was painful, lonely and confusing. I remember no joy filled days playing in the yard or enjoying cheerios. Just one gray day after the other. My story ended with my mother returning for me and my sisters and we were reunited. Difficult times followed but I had a family again.
God has been preparing me my whole life for this moment. He has directed me to counselors, doctors, believers and experiences educating me to love and nurture this child. I believe that He has been working with her as well and that she will be ready for us.
I don’t expect all rainbows and sun streaked days with our new daughter. She has suffered mightily in her little life. But I do trust that God has brought all of us together purposefully in His perfect timing and that as we turn to Him for guidance and support we will do more than get through; we will thrive and grow together as a new little family. I am so thrilled and honored that my Heavenly Father has entrusted this little one to us!
There have been so many little butterfly moments throughout our family building process that it's difficult to get them all committed to paper but this one I must share. It makes tears squeeze from my eyes each time I think on it. God is also working with the sweet hearted foster mom caring for my little girl. Knowing that her precious little temporary daughter will be now leaving for her forever family she has welcomed into her home and her heart another little daughter of our Heavenly King out of the institution! What a chain of blessings when we listen and obey our Father’s calling! We answered the call to fall in love and bring our daughter home and another little child’s prayer for a home has been filled.  This little child now has a home life visiting the markets and coloring, and playing with her foster mommy like my little one has been enjoying. God is great!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Little "Closet" Cleaning

In preparation to bring our little adopted daughter home, I've been very busy trying to create some space and order in our home.  It's been quite a task and thankfully I've got some great friends helping me along the way.  Today I have spent the entire day devoted to the task of cleaning out my bedroom closet.  Pulling out junk that has fallen behind the clothes racks, under the dresser and shoved in every inch of space. Some good stuff was salvaged but I'm embarrassed to say just how much trash was hiding in the dark corners.  How'd that stuff get in there anyway?  Well, I got my bags out (one for charity, one for re-sale and one for trash) and sorted through every nook and cranny.  Every article was scrutinized.  Do I need this?  Should I hang onto that Beatles T shirt?  How can I let go of my comfy sleep shorts!  Maybe I should keep those jeans.  I know someday I'll get back into those. 

Well, I'm happy and probably a little too proud, but my closet looks great!  Straight out of a magazine!  And what a great feeling!  All organized and peaceful.  I'm confident my mornings will be much less chaotic.

When I sat down to read my Psalms for the night, this one leapt off the pages and into my wee little brain.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

Try me, and know my anxieties;

And see if there is any wicked way in me,

And lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23
Our Father knows every little nook and cranny in the closet of our hearts and minds.  He made us!  He knows where to look and find the good stuff and the not so good stuff.  I find it comforting to know that David and I are not that different.  He knew that he had some "cleaning out" to do and he knew who could help him reach those dark corners and get rid of the junk he was hanging onto.  Like David, I must call on the Father to help me "clean my closet" and loosen my grip on the stuff I don't need.  Only my loving Father can restore order and peace in my heart and keep me moving closer to Him. 
Dear Father, I ask you to shine your light into the darkest corners of my heart and encourage me to fill my trash bag with the junk that keeps me away from you.  Help me to make more space in my heart and mind and fill it with you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sitting on the Bench

I've been sitting on the bench for a very long time!  I've thought about getting in the game but I really think I'll get hurt and I'm just not too cool with that idea.  So, I continue to sit.  O sure, sometimes I get excited and yell out encouragement to one of the active players.  Good going out there!  Great point drive!  But I always return to my place on the bench, content to just be hanging out on the sidelines.

Well, I'm done with that.  I've been training long enough.  I have all the best equipment.  It's time to suit up and get in the game.  Here I go...