One of my favorite daily devotional sites is Internet Cafe Devotions. It’s written by multiple women. Today’s hit the spot so I thought I’d share. I’m still trying to “regroup” from our fabulous 7 day vacation to my sister’s house so right now laundry is superceeding blogging….but I hope to write one in the next day or so on a subject that’s re-molding me.
Read Revelation 4:1-7
I was driving down Wilbur Ave. tonight on the way to the store, in hot pursuit of an overdue birthday gift. Listening to the radio, , Christian worship leader and songwriter, was singing over the airwaves. He was singing about knowing God. So, moved by the music of the moment and in my meager attempt to know God better right there in the car, I began a conversation with Him. It began somewhat like this…
“Lord, I want to know you better and love you most. I get so distracted and it’s in no time in my conversations with you that it seems I’m up and about, attending to whatever demanded my attention and took me away from you.”
Right then, I noticed a deer on the side of the road entering a fresh, snow fallen yard. After slowing to watch him make a trail of fresh hoof prints, I continued my conversation…
“It seems it doesn’t take much any more to take my focus off of you. I say I need direction, and then I’m in a hurry, off to the next important thing on my list.”
I was thankful that the traffic was light because it allowed me to slow down. I asked myself, ‘What is the next important thing, anyhow? What is so important that I allow it to capture my attention away from the One which I claim I want to know so much more than anyone else?’
Somehow, that thought led me to thoughts of fasting. I was taught that fasting is giving up something, abstaining from something, or sacrificing something in order to show God that you’re serious about a specific issue on your heart. As I drove down Wilbur, I thought about when people fasted in biblical times, it says that ‘they fasted and prayed’. They gave up food. I’ve done that.
‘Lord, I am giving up food for the day so that you will give me guidance for the decisions that I need to make.’
I’ve voiced that commitment. I’ve skipped breakfast. I’ve also skipped the breakfast prayer and by lunch, I’ve once again been distracted. If you’re like me, it’s not until you’ve taken a bite of sandwich and then bam! You remember that sandwich was not supposed to be a part of your nutritional intake. You’re supposed to be fasting. Now what do you do? Do you stop and repent or just finish off the day with good intentions of repeating the process of fasting again tomorrow, trying once again not to fail
Me? I go about the rest of my day, living in guilt and shame over my pathetic inability to show God that I am serious to know Him better, to put Him first (and keep Him first) and give up something to prove how serious I am. I then determine that next time, possibly tomorrow, it won’t happen again. And, I really am serious this time! And, I am determined. And, honestly, I am sincere.
Sometimes when I have thought about the idea of fasting in terms of proving to God that I truly want a deeper relationship with Him, I wonder how serious I really am. Am I willing to give up anything He might ask of me? Anything I enjoy but would be willing to do without for a time, just to know Him better?
I think back to other times in my life, like when a friend used to bring Twinkies to school in their Barbie lunch box with the purple handle. I had carrots in my brown paper sack. I determined that I was going to make a trade. I told my friend that I’d give her my carrots for that freshly plastic wrapped Twinkie. Deal?
How about I throw in the chips? Deal? They are Fritos, after all.
She tells me she does have something that I do have something that will work, should I still desire what she has. She wants the necklace around my neck. I hesitate. My mom gave me that necklace for my birthday and I wear it practically every day, even in the shower. However, the desire for that Twinkie takes over. I cave in and unclasp the necklace. I hand it over because that Twinkie has my name written all over it and I can hear it quietly and persistently calling out to me.
As the necklace finds a resting place around the neck of its new owner, she hands over a fluffy, greasy little cake equipped with preservatives that will keep me alive an extra 5 years. After having eaten the whole thing in a matter of mere seconds, I wonder… was what I sacrificed really worth it?
It makes me think. How badly do I really want the relationship with God that I give lip service? How much do I want a deeper, more intimate relationship that will satisfy any hunger or need I might have? Am I willing to ask, ‘Lord, what is it you want from me?’ Am I willing to hand it over or do I entice him with what’s in my little sack and say, ‘I’ll give you my carrots!’’? Would that gesture actually cost me anything? Will I actually have sacrificed anything? Given something up? Will it show Him I serious I am about knowing Him best and loving Him most?
Carrots Lord! I’ve got fresh peeled baby carrots. Surely, they’re worth something!
No deal. He doesn’t want my carrots.
Chips? I’ll throw in the chips.
He’s not into chips. Especially not Fritos.
Then He eyes the Twinkie in my brown paper lunch sack. I look at my Twinkie and then look back at Him as He looks at me while waiting for my decision. I really want that Twinkie and He knows it. I’ve been waiting all day for that Twinkie.
I hand it over. In fact, I even throw in the rest of my lunch because, I want Him more.
And you know what He does? He throws it away. You see, He didn’t want that Twinkie. He just wanted me. All of me.
Lord, so often I start out the day with the best of intentions. I intend to walk with you, step by step and read your word, verse by verse. I intend to talk with you throughout the day and not just as I close my eyes to sleep. But Lord, you know the distractions that come up and the things that happen that throw me off. I apologize and ask your forgiveness. The One who I want to be first in my life ends up neglected and unintentionally in last place. Lord, I need your help to stay focused and to not stray from the path that will lead me into a deeper relationship with you. May my footsteps be ingrained beside you and not out in front or lagging behind. May my fingerprints be found throughout the pages of your word. May my thoughts be filled with your praises and my eyes focused on your goodness and may you be my first love and my life reflect that desire. You are so good and I praise You in Jesus’ name.
Sherri has written for over 30 years and has a passion for encouraging the weary and offering hope to the hopeless, giving all to the glory of God. She has been married 29 years to a wonderful man and they now live in Southern Oregon . They have three grown children and a beautiful new granddaughter.
You can find Sherri daily at her personal blogspot: www.plantinggardens.blogspot.com