Jesus said, "He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth: there is nothing false about him" (John 7:18).
First off, I am thankful to the Lord that I am still fasting. It has been over 37 hours (who's counting?) without food and I am still alive. I am not going to exercise until the fast is over, because I don't want to be ridiculous to my body. I feel like it has been 38 days. Two more days will make 40 days.
I feel a strong desire to thank my blogger friends who are fasting and praying with me, and even praying for my needs and desires, and so thank you. But I feel a need to acknowledge that God is that One that I owe my allegiance to, which is obvious, of course. I guess that it is just difficult sometimes to receive gifts from other people. I want to receive them graciously and appropriately. It is something that I am learning to do in my old age (so to speak, I am 43). I don't have to give all of the time. I can learn to receive someone's love and gifts.
My husband and I have developed in our relationship over the years so that I am learning how to place myself in the position of receiving and he in giving. He is a natural giver, but when I placed myself in charge of the relationship years ago, because I did not know how to receive his gifts, did not know how to trust was the basic issue, then everything went topsy-turvy, out of balance. Well, yeah, so God has been helping us to be a godlier couple. I have learned that God wants me to trust Him, and while doing so, give clearance to my husband to act manly, like taking charge of things. Even if he messes up, He'll be watching my best interests, and everything will turn out all right. But, still there are times that He has had me draw a line. So there is wisdom involved, wisdom and direction that are needed. Being married to an unbeliever for so many years as I was was like being involved in hand to hand combat all of the time. Combat with the devil. Good practice. Good training. Don't volunteer for that, but if God puts you there, then fight. Fight in a way that doesn’t look like you are even fighting. (Fast like you don’t look like you are fasting, is an analogy that comes to mind, that I might try to apply.)
Okay. There is a tangent. Not sure exactly what the topic for me today is. Actually, I do and I am getting to it. I think that there is a placebo effect of my fasting. I think I am weary, but is it just in my mind?
I want to address the "issue" of my oldest daughter. Bonnie said that she had it on her heart to pray for her. Let me share a little bit about my first born. She is 15 and a half and in the tenth grade at a Christian boarding school in Kentucky.
Oh my. Where to start? At a very young age she accepted Christ. I kind of pressured her to do so, but I thought that the Lord was leading me in it. She understood exactly, from a spiritual perspective, although she was very, very young. I won't tell you how young, or you'll think she was too young, to become a believer, but I don't think that she was too young.
After she accepted Christ, and then again several months later in a deeper way, she was a marvelous witness for Him. She would talk about the Lord to people in lines at stores. Once when she was signed up for an all day ski lesson, at the pick up time the young woman said to my husband and me, "she told us all about the Bible and Jesus." She was smiling and had a nice tone when she said it.
Starting at about age eight, one could see the developing of an attitude problem, though she was still absorbed into the things of God. She wanted to hear the entire Bible on tape, so we listened together in my car. (I bought her the collection for a present.) She wrote commentaries about sections of the Bible, like Esther and Ruth.
About age 11, she went on a three week trip to Australia for a People to People tour. She was gone for three weeks. She wanted to bring a whole bunch of bibles on the trip, so I bought them for her.
Two weeks into the trip I get a call from the instructor for the trip that my daughter was causing problems preaching all of the time, and forcing her views on others, and that she didn't seem to get along with the other kids. The woman said, "The purpose of this trip isn't religious, and she has all of those bibles..." The woman said that the other kids didn't want the bibles and my daughter stuck some in the children's baggage anyway. When my daughter came home, most of the bibles that were sent off with her came home.
At age 12, one day my little girl decided she didn't want to do some chores that she was told to do. She had to stay in her room for the day. I gave her a list of things to do to get out of her room. They were not that difficult. She had done the same things at other times. But she refused to do anything on the list. Two days later, my husband and I said that we were going to take away her dog if she did not comply with basic rules.
Well, she ran away with her dog. She was only gone about two hours at the most, but it was frightening. The police ended up being called because she had run away, but when the police came, we had already found her. I asked them to speak with her. As they did, I watched and saw that she was smirking. She wasn't frightened, or didn't think the matter was serious, etc.
That is when I thought that she should actually go to boarding school. (I had thought about it before that, and she had even said that she might like to go to a military school.) I was afraid for her because her father and I had no control over her, because she had disengaged herself from the relationship with us. She went to the Christian Boarding School in Kentucky for five months at that time. She was then home for about a year and a few months, and then went back again. She went back near the start of ninth grade and will graduate high school there.
She is not very happy in some ways, because she is not following the Lord for her life. However, she is doing well, in that she has a 4.0 and is like a star at the school. She is ranked second in her class. She has learned a lot of social skills in getting along with others, which didn't come naturally for her.
Her basic problem, spiritually as I see it is as follows. She had been puffed up about her knowledge of the Lord and what she could do for Him. She didn't realize the relationship part of the relationship, and the need for humility. She was trying to win disciples her own way, in her own strength, and of course God couldn't use her that way.
My daughter has been protected from sex, drugs, alcohol and things like that and I know that she has never done any of those things, because she has never had opportunity that I can see. However, she has engaged in spiritual idolatry in her mind extensively. She has gotten into darker types of music and books, although her access to them is limited, because the school has banned the obvious bad stuff. When she was home she listened to a CD that she got from somewhere and on the cover it said, "To Lucifer," and one of the songs was something about hell.
On the other hand, she is in the school choir and every Sunday travels all around the Kentucky region singing hymns. She has taken the required Bible class this year, and she didn't have to. She could have put it off. She also defended Christianity in the form of Christmas cards this past couple of weeks.
To my friend who has been a mentor to her for many years, she has been sweet and kind. She can be sweet and kind, but to her parents she presents herself as not so.
She wants to enter into a six year college and medical school program right out of high school. Her resume reads very impressively. Several months ago she informed me that she would be going to University of California at Irvine this summer of 06 and staying with Grandma, and going to classes there, working at a lab doing research and volunteering at the hospital (all as a high school student). Okay I said, and have been helping her arrange that. It will be just the thing to help her get into the medical school program immediately out of high school. She wants to be a surgeon, and would make a good one, because as long as she has lived, she has been a natural leader of people, she is good mechanically, she has done surgery on pigs (at the farm at her school), she is very good at science and math, she is a hard worker and motivated to surpass her mother, which is good.
So that is my daughter. Pray for her that she returns to the Lord. Once she had written a beautiful poem on a church bulletin about it being so late to return to God after everything that has happened. She was 14 at the time that she wrote that. Crazy, but the enemy deceives us. Pray that her eyes would be open to see that Christ loves her, and He is not surprised by her actions. I think that He has allowed this root to grow up big so that He could pluck it out. Like me with the pride thing, God let it build up big enough so I could see it and understand it, repent of it. He is letting her see her own heart, the way that it is, full of pride and dark, so that He can remove it. Before she want astray and was puffed up about her knowledge of the Lord and trying to accomplish things in her own power, she couldn't see her state.
I pray that she would change for the Lord. She hangs out with kids that want to do the wrong thing. She doesn't choose kids that want to do the right thing. She is influencing my oldest son into confusion, because of her constant pulling upon him to think badly and do badly. He is impulsive and swayed at times, but inwardly does not have rebellion against the Lord. I want him to stand firm in the Lord, and pick good friends and use the opportunities that he has to seek the Lord. I want him to learn how to stand up to peer- pressure and stand up on the side of the Lord. That is the battle that he is in.
It is difficult to share, but I would appreciate your prayers. Thanks.
ADDENDUM: Is anyone still with me? I posted this all (the above) earlier today, but I want to add to it, rather than starting a new entry for today. Just a few thoughts: The Lord asked two discordant things when He told Abraham to give Issac as a sacrifice, and when He told Abraham that through Issac would come all of the future blessing of children. Abraham knew this when the boy asked, "we have the wood, but where is the sacrifice?" And Abraham gave the name of the Lord, Jehovah-Jireh "I AM PROVIDER." He answered to the boy, "The Lord Himself will provide a sacrifice." Abraham could not understand because it was impossible to make sense of what God was saying. Abraham simply had to obey. That obedience was drawn out of his faith. That "Against all hope, Abraham in hope obeyed" (Romans 4).
As I am continuing in this fast, I am realizing how much I like food, and how good it smells and looks. But not thinking about that for long, just noticing. What I am realizing really, what I am trying to keep with me spiritually, is just how humility can be more and more, because we are, because I am, really a sinner. So more and more humility doesn't reach how low I should go. And I should go lower still more, but I don't, and that huge gap is filled with grace. God's grace. We come to Him in such ignorance, but He just loves us in grace upon grade. May I be that way, pouring out grace upon grace, not self-righteous in my own drummed up works and acts of humility. I feel so pathetically self-righteous!
Saturday I am going to break my fast, about 70 hours after it began. I am going to have a nice dinner with my husband, and a little before that have a snack so I don't get sick with the dinner.
How are y'all doing with the prayer and fasting?