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Rituals

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All obsessions are rooted in fear.

Those whom I have met over the years, obsessed with weight-loss, diet, speaking in tongues, a new fresh anointing, were filled with fear, full of themselves and convinced of failure. Reminds me of how I have lived for most of my life. Oppressively fearing judgement, focused on what I should be doing for God, always failing, rarely experiencing peace and joy. Trapped in a cycle of repentance and failure—weaned in religion’s misunderstanding of obedience.

There is only one door out of the insanity. Grace.

Ritual

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for a bowing of one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is. 58:5

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right that has not forsaken the commands of God.

Is. 58:2

Tough to pull the wool over God's eyes. We can pull the wool over other’s and our own eyes, but not God's; He sees the heart. At first glance their fast seemed noble. It seemed they were eager for God to come near to them, lying down dressed in sackcloth, covered with ashes, making an awful hullabaloo to God. But, like the modern church, ancient Israel was plagued with religion-itis . . a disease of convenience. It works like this—wrap something up in a pretty little package, offer it to God, and hope it is pleasing to Him. God does not want our works or our pretty little gifts; He wants our very hearts and that is where the Israelites blew it! That is why their fasting was an insult to God's intelligence. What God is saying in Isaiah 58 is: "Do you really think you can appease Me by offering something such as your little fasts and expect Me to turn a blind eye to the corruption and rebellion in your heart?"

There is a good lesson here. When something becomes an empty ritual, it no longer has the power to affect the heart.

How can a tree bear two different kinds of fruit? The answer is it cannot. All we are doing is doctoring up some of the fruit to make it look like something it is not. Someone who fasts because they sincerely long to know Jesus will reflect that in everything that they do. It will be reflected on every level of relationship they have. God does not respond to the things that we do, He responds to a change of heart, and it is here we come to the true purpose of spiritual fasting.

Spiritual fasting is a tool to help us change our hearts before God. Fasting is not something we are offering up to God but instead it assists us in offering ourselves up to God. The motivation for fasting is more important than the fast itself.

When a chef is preparing food, he uses many tools of the trade: pots and pans, slicers and dicers, spoons and spatulas etc. He uses all these tools to create tasty culinary delights. Imagine sitting in a restaurant and watching the chef come out of his kitchen, plunk down all his dirty pots and pans on your nice clean table as he smiles with pride and delight. "These are my special tools."

We do the same thing with God. Somehow we think that when we go to church, fast, speak in tongues, or read the bible that we can offer these things up to God as being pleasing to Him. Yet these are the tools God has given us to help us give back to God. What He truly desires is our heart. Fasting is a wonderful tool to refine our love and focus, not a penance to earn grace. And there is the balance.

The Guest

Think of fasting as an invitation for Jesus to come and live with you for an appointed period of time. If it helps, set up a bed in the guestroom, a place setting at the table. This is useful if only to solidify in your mind the reality of the presence of Jesus. And be sure, it delights God’s heart when we put any energy towards creatively making Jesus real in our thinking and imagination.

Jesus has come to live with you for awhile. How much time will you spend watching TV—what music will you listen to? What would you do for entertainment? What you listen to, He listens to. What you imagine, He imagines. What you eat, He eats.

Feeling a little trapped?

Don’t! You’re the one who invited Him in when you became a Christian. He wants to commune with you so that He may become the Center of your existence, the Foundation of your house, Healer, Friend and Lover.

Too close for comfort?

Yes, God can make you feel uncomfortable at times, but there’s a purpose. It causes growth and maturity resulting in deeper relationship.

The fullness of God has been set within us. We don't need more of Him; it’s just that our lives have become so cluttered with distractions, fears and dependencies on this world that we are unable to sense and experience that fullness. We become spiritually numb, the part of us that is connected to God becomes cold and indifferent. The Holy Spirit grieves and grows silent, creating emptiness He uses to draw us back into fellowship. The problem is that we often fill that emptiness with things.

Don't do that!

Feel empty! Feel the pain! Allow your heart to suffer.

Don't be afraid, the emptiness will draw you to Jesus.

amen!

The Article Above is an Excerpt from FASTING TO FREEDOM

http://www.freedomyou.com/


That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; Act 17:27
 
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Yes, God can make you feel uncomfortable at times, but there’s a purpose. It causes growth and maturity resulting in deeper relationship.

The fullness of God has been set within us. We don't need more of Him; it’s just that our lives have become so cluttered with distractions, fears and dependencies on this world that we are unable to sense and experience that fullness. We become spiritually numb, the part of us that is connected to God becomes cold and indifferent. The Holy Spirit grieves and grows silent, creating emptiness He uses to draw us back into fellowship. The problem is that we often fill that emptiness with things.

Don't do that!

Feel empty! Feel the pain! Allow your heart to suffer.

Don't be afraid, the emptiness will draw you to Jesus.
This is a word for today, thanks Coconut. Holy Spirit draw us closer to Christ, AMEN.
 
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