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Getting Aligned With God: Fasting

significance of fasting

 

Hi!!

Welcome to the first step to Getting Aligned with God! Today we will talk a bit about fasting. There’s lots of confusion when it comes to fasting and there are many scriptures in the bible that give certain specifications for fasting; when it’s done, why, where, who, what, how and how long.

Well, for me fasting starts with a choice. It’s a choice to deny the flesh of something it craves, and seeking to fully fulfil my spirit. It’s me decreasing so that God in me may increase (John 3:30-31). Christians fast for healing, answers to prayer, closeness to God, to have certain things broken off them, to help them get aligned with God.

Letting go of what we want, especially when it’s no good for us, sometimes requires a little extra umph, extra help, some reinforcement. That’s where fasting comes in.  The first 2 scriptures in our January 2018 SWP (scripture writing plan) were scriptures pertaining to fasting. Have you decided what you will fast from? There are many ways to fast. There’s the Daniel Fast, there’s fasting where you only drink water and/or juices, and then there’s a fast where you fast from things, people or situations that pull you away from God or have a strong hold on your life. For instance foods, that guy who you know you need to move away from or that friend or family member who criticizes your faith, or fast from social media! For me, I’m fasting from sweets; no candy, cakes, ice cream, cookies, pies, cinnamon rolls, all the things that I absolutely love. I don’t eat these things all the time but I do love them and sometimes the cravings can get out of hand or I’ll find myself turning to them when I’m a bit stressed or frustrated. So, I’m starting this year off in getting aligned with God by denying my flesh and instead of baking something to try to ease a frustration, I’m going to God, I’ll be praying and reading scripture instead. As for the length of a fast, it depends on you. Every year my church does a 21 day fast in January and we started this past Saturday, January 6th. Some people do 40 days as Jesus did when He was tempted in the desert by satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Then there are short fasts throughout the year. I do these based on what’s going on in my life, or if I’m seeking clear answers from God. I’ll do a week-long fast and say, not eat anything all day until 4pm. If you’re not sure, pray and ask God, He’ll give you a time period and what to fast from. During this type of fast, you can ask someone to fast with you or to be your prayer partner during your fast.

Fasting is a way to help to train you to run to God first and not to those things, people or situations that pull you away from God. In order to move forward with God we have to be in line with Him.  We have to be on the same side of the fence, we can’t straddle. Fasting is making a choice for our relationship with Christ. It’s also a way to make your spirit more sensitive to His voice. Fasting requires us to depend on Him to get us through denying our flesh and in the first week, you may find that your flesh is screaming at you like a 2-year-old having a temper tantrum because it wants what it wants. When your flesh starts screaming, you yell back at it with scripture! I also must warn you of the spiritual warfare that comes with fasting. It’s the enemy, the devil, satan, trying to trip you up and pull your affections away from God. That’s why prayer is so important during fasting! You can’t fast and not pray, you just can’t. Your fast will be in vain. You can’t get close to the Father without having a conversation with Him and that’s prayer.

You don’t have to go through your journey of fasting alone. I have set up a Facebook group that pertains to this series and there we will share about our fasts, and other things we’re learing during this series. If you’re interested, click here!

I look forward to this journey with you and please, if there are any questions, comments or concerns feel free to ask!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

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Categories, Sexual Healing Series

Identity Crisis (Sexual Healing Series)

Before we get started:

  • Pray for Holy Spirit to be with you and guide you through this process as you won’t be able to do this alone.
  • Get a prayer partner or accountability partner or join our closed Sexual Healing group on Facebook here.
  • Be open and honest with yourself and transparent with your prayer partner or accountability person about any struggles or issues you’re having.
  • Enjoy the journey knowing that God is on your side and is more than willing to heal you!

identity-crisis-banner

 

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.


We were both fresh out of college when we got married. We were all lovey dovey and couldn’t stand to be away from each other. Then time passes, and the reality sinks in that you actually have to start doing life together, real life things like budget, pay bills, communicate. Before long, things started to get a little rocky. All of a sudden marriage didn’t look like I thought it would or should. All of my expectations weren’t being met, Hubby wasn’t being my knight in shining armor. He wasn’t telling me how fine and beautiful I was every day, or being affectionate everyday. He didn’t bring home flowers, and chocolates. He didn’t make me feel special, loved or needed everyday. In order for me to feel loved and cherished I needed this meer man to make me feel special because that’s what I expected and that’s what I needed him to do to make me feel secure and not doubt that I deserved to be married and to be loved unconditionally.  I needed him to do all these things every day so that I wouldn’t feel guilt and shame from my past and to some how prove to myself that I was worthy of love and valuable.

Looking back, this is what I expected from all my past relationships. I craved the attention and affection. My home life was so full of dysfunction and unpredictable circumstances, not the stability and security that a young girl needed. I wasn’t getting attention and affection from home from my mom and my dad was killed before I’d been born. There was no daily healthy affirmation or confirmation of who I was. So I sought the attention and affection elsewhere. I knew that my mom loved me but she had so many of her own demons to fight that she couldn’t fully give us what we needed, she couldn’t give what she didn’t have herself. If one guy wasn’t attentive enough, there was always another guy and another guy who was always available to make me feel beautiful, wanted, attractive and loved, special.  I thrived on the attention! The more attention I got, the more I felt validated and it took away from the hurt and pain that I had to deal with at home. It got even worse when I was in college. By then I was utterly boy crazy! I was so depressed from my past and I just covered it up with sex and all the attention I could get.

Well, this behavior played out in my marriage. Hubby and I didn’t get proper premarital counseling, we went in to marriage blindly, like sheep led to slaughter! We got what Hubby and I like to call “bootleg” counseling. The church we were attending at the time didn’t have any kind of marriage or premarital classes or counseling. We met with our pastor for about an hour. He asked all of five questions and when he found out we were living together, the only thing he told us was to stop having sex, not telling us why, and that we needed to get married sooner rather than later. So, we did, we got married and a few months later all hell broke loose!

I was expecting my husband to be my savior. My redeemer, the one to restore me and he couldn’t because that’s not his job. He needed someone to do and be the same for him and I couldn’t because that’s not my job either. Only Jesus can do this. We both came into marriage broken, battered and bruised filled with the pain and baggage from our pasts. He didn’t know who he was in Christ and neither did I so we put these unrealistic expectations on each other. You can’t be broken and get with another broken person and expect them to make you whole. No other human on this earth can complete you, ever. That’s not what humans are to do, only Jesus completes us. That’s why no matter how much sex, drugs, alcohol, food, shopping, attention you get or have, you’re never fulfilled. There’s a place in us only meant to be filled with Jesus and Jesus alone.

Path to Healing:

After some time, Hubby and I went to counseling and dealt with some of our past issues and learned how to work with each other. We also began to learn who we were in Christ. Throughout this journey, God called me to teach His truth about sex and during this journey He healed me as well. By replacing the lies with the truth, I was healed. My husband couldn’t and didn’t heal me, Jesus did. My husband isn’t responsible for my happiness and neither are my children, I am. People will come and go, will hurt you, try to break you, discourage you, knock you down, talk about you, wear you down, but Jesus won’t! All these things I experienced growing up because no one taught me who I was in Christ. I only heard of God here and there, but never about Jesus dying for my sins, my healing and wholeness and that I can be co-heirs with Him and be a child of God! Since I didn’t know these things, I went searching to fill this void in all the wrong places. Again I say, ignorance is NOT bliss. The things I did when I was young followed me into my marriage. My getting married didn’t make my hurts, pains, and flaws go away, they were just magnified! God uses marriage to draw things out of us and man is it painful sometimes.  I’m always amazed at how my husband knows exactly what button to push and how God shows me something about myself that I need to let Him in to heal or that I need to work on. Once I learned that I am God’s treasured possession, His daughter, the one He takes delight in, His child that’s fearfully and wonderfully made, I was able to relax and enjoy my marriage more! When my husband was being very human, it was easy to forgive him because I understood that he’s human and that God is working on him just like He’s working on me. My husband needed to have his junk uprooted too. So, knowing these things, it became easier to extend mercy and grace towards one another.

Work it out:

Not to say that you will be perfect going in to marriage, but BEFORE you get married, deal with you now! Learn who you are in Christ so that you won’t go into marriage with all these unrealistic expectations that will only put your marriage in crisis mode. You need Jesus now and you will most definitely need Him when you’re married! If you’re already married and things are already in crisis mode, focus on getting your heart right. Don’t look at what your husband is or isn’t doing. Let God handle Him, you focus on what God is telling you to work on.

Now, I want you to write down some of the lies that you believe about yourself or circumstances and then beside each one, write truth. For instance, for me it was not feeling worthy or valued, so my go to scripture was Psalm 37:23 (NLT) The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights (takes pleasure) in every detail of their lives. Just knowing that God took pleasure in every detail about my life blessed my heart! I didn’t have to worry about anyone else, because I knew that my Father cared about me. Below are some scriptures to get you started. Take time to write them out, meditate on them and use them to replace the lies and learn who you are in Christ! 

  1. Romans 12:2
  2. Psalm 37:23
  3. 1 Peter 2:9
  4. Psalm 94:19
  5. Romans 6:6
  6. Deuteronomy 7:6
  7. 2 Corinthians 3:17
  8. Isaiah 62:3
  9. Galatians 3:26
  10. Ephesians 2:10
  11. Psalm 139:14
  12. Song of Songs 4:7
  13. 1 Samuel 16:7
  14. Proverbs 31:30

Prayer:

Gracious and loving Father, thank you for your unconditional love, mercy and grace. Thank you Jesus for the forgiveness of sin.  I pray for every person who’s dealing with an identity crisis. Father I pray that you begin to show them who You created them to be. Show them how You see them. Father I pray that you will replace the lies told them by the enemy and replace them with Your truth. I pray for healing and wholeness in their hearts and minds. I pray for marriages to begin the healing process and I pray for wisdom and guidance for those preparing to be married. Lead them to wise counsel Lord and I pray that they take heed to all that they learn. I pray that all will continue to press forward towards all that you have for them! In Jesus’ name, Amen

I look forward to hearing about your experiences this week and if there are any other scriptures you’d like to share, questions or you just want to chat with someone who’s walking this same path, join us in the closed Facebook group here!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon