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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Night Reflections

This was a great weekend in our home. Once our youngest got over the particularly nasty stomach bug she had been wrestling with the latter part of the week things were lovely. We had some good family fun time together. My dear husband has been on a romantic streak to knock my socks off, (gotta love it) and now everyone in the house is soundly asleep leaving me with my thoughts after a full and blessed weekend.

My loving mom bought me a book for Valentine's day called Celebration of Discipline. I am in love with it already. Not because I've read THAT much of it, but I sense that it was a devine gift, and a timely one at that.

I read a phrase on a web site a while ago and it has really stuck with me since then. It's a phrase that sometimes when mentioned in the presence of others can cause reactions ranging from total agreement to utter distain.

What am I speaking of? A "fasted lifestyle". That dainty two word phrase has been rolling around in my head, in a continous loop, for weeks now. I came across that as I was reading about the mission of the International House of Prayer which is connected with The Call prayer events held nationally. Those two words just rip right through me. Hmmmmm, wonder if that is conviction ;) I had NOT lived the most fasted of lifestyles in my youth and the longer I have been growing in my walk with Christ the more it actually becomes appealing to me to shed off anything which might slow me down in my race.... hence, the appeal of a fasted lifestlye (and then, the not so great appeal of a fasted lifestyle when my flesh begins to consider the cost!)

So, as I have been thinking about a fasted lifestyle and what in the goodness that would even mean played out in my life I receive this book from dear 'ole mom. Some highlights from the first 10 pages that have me thinking vigorously this night:

The moment we feel we can succeed and attain victory over sin by the strength of our will alone is the moment we are worshipping the will. Isn't it ironic that Paul looks at our most strenous efforts in the spiritual walk and calls them idolotry, "will worship"? ( Here the author references Col. 2:20-23 KJV) (Celebration of Discipline pg. 5)

The will has the same deficiency as the law- it can only deal with externals. It is incapable of bringing about the necessary transformation of the inner spirit. (Celebration... pg.6)

The Disciplines (here the author refers to the classical spiritual Disciplines) allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us. (Celebration... pg.7)

Ah, so you see, I am mulling over all these things, knowing in my heart that God is calling me deeper. Desiring to answer the call. Jumping up in my flesh to try to make that happen, and then settling down in the Spirit to wait for Him to do the transformative work in my heart and soul the way only He can. I definitely don't want to go about striving in will worship, and I am not keen on treating myself poorly for naught! I am however, seriously up for pursuing God wholeheartedly... WHATEVER it takes! (Luke 11:9-10 AMP)

Well, I leave you chewing on Paul's words, only this time with the Amplified Version ( I am such a wordy girl and I do so love the Amp version! hehe)

Col. 2:20-23:
20If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world's crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?--such as]
21Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them],
22Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines.
23Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.]