December 31, 2012
It is on New Year’s Eve of each year that I have typically looked back upon a combined annual trail of God’s goodness—contrasted with my personal failures. Failure for me is not necessarily failure for someone else. Failure often is subjective.
I define my personal failure in terms of moments when I chose to respond to an environment through the emotional filter of my wounds—versus that through the filter of the new heart given to me by Y’shua many years ago.
It is through Teshuvah; a turning-away from our natural predispositions; and a returning-to our redeemed spiritual predispositions; that we will ultimately look back upon a given year and see His grace in our dealings, versus our personal disgrace.
I recall over three decades ago, the surge of the love of God running through my new heart. The sensation was that far beyond anything I had experienced through drug experimentation as a youngster, and far beyond any emotion I had experienced before, otherwise. Immediately upon the yielding of my life to Y’shua, I was graced with supernatural love, grace, compassion and kindness toward everyone. It is this romance, to the newly redeemed, which seems euphoric in nature. I recall in those early days thinking, “Oh my God, is this the way it is going to be hereafter? And this is free?”
The reality is that the “honeymoon” stage of one’s spiritual conversion is generally short-lived. The decisive turning-point is typically that which hinges upon a shocking sting from the Spirit of Religion—fluidly manifested wherever Believers congregate in suits and ties. Yes, I said it. I will agree with you, that there is nothing inherently wrong with suits and ties. However, men act differently when they are in suits and ties (key word: “act”).
It is following each “sting” that we are met with a choice; whether to die to the hurt, or whether to allow the hurt to fester into a lingering wound which ultimately prevents us from moving in the love, compassion, kindness and mercy which we were generously shown by Y’shua Himself in the beginning.
How is it that we can begin this race with such love and compassion toward the world about us, only to find ourselves decades into the race, feeling tired, beaten, despondent and numb? This metamorphosis does not occur overnight; rather it may occur over a period of many weeks, months and even years.
Lest I continue to bore a hole deeper into the mire of discouragement, allow me to counter this trend by reminding you that though our spiritual numbness may develop over an extended period, this numbness can be healed—overnight, whereupon our “first love” experience with Y’shua is rekindled.
For many, your current state of spiritual numbness and despondency in question cannot be attributed to a given sting or wound. Rather, it corresponds with the discerning of the compromised state of the Church at large in this country, which is indeed impetus for deep and seemingly unquenchable sadness. I know it very well. Irrespective, and again, the experience of our “first love” encounter with Y’shua can be rekindled, overnight.
It is at this point that I apologize for inducing spiritual arrest, as I drop the “F-Bomb.” Yes, the “F-Word,” which, in the context of this article, and the larger context of the mission of this web site, is downright unconscionable.
Brace yourself, for here it goes: “F-f-f-f-f-asting.”
There, I said it, “fasting.”
I sincerely hope that you will continue to like me, despite my vulgarity.
I have an extremely sensitive physiological construct. For example, when I dare to wear clothing that is not pure cotton or pure wool, I itch immediately, and ultimately breakout in rashes of all sorts. If I have more than a scant portion of sugar or caffeine, or artificial sweetener, I become nervous, hyper, and agitated. I’m also extremely sensitive to noise, a condition rooted in a severe case of tinnitus (perpetual screeching noise in my head—going on 13 years at this stage). And because I am very sensitive, I lose a minimum of 1 pound a day while fasting. Fasting therefore has been an extreme challenge for me, ongoing.
Y’shua said in Matthew 6, “When you fast…” My, was He not being a bit presumptuous in word-selection, by saying “when,” versus “if”? He was being so bold as to assume that we would be fasting—as a lifestyle. No wonder He is considered to have been a “radical” while He walked about Israel. He overturned a few tables in His day, and He has certainly upset my personal “applecart” by presuming that for me, fasting is a matter of “when,” and not “if.”
Do you realize that when you purposefully fast for spiritual purposes, you are actually dying, physically? You are starving your body, in essence killing it. But you are dying physically, that you might in turn live—spiritually.
It is critical at this juncture in history especially, that a lifestyle of fasting be adopted hereafter, that we might “endure to the end.” “Those who endure to the end, shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).
It is as I personally approach the dawn of 2013, that I have opted to engage a 21-day fast, that I may further die to elements within me which, as I look back upon 2012, came between me and deeper or renewed intimacy with Y’shua. In divulging such, I am reminded that also within Matthew 6, Jesus warns that fasting should be done “in secret,” that we may be rewarded by our Father in heaven. Why therefore, would I opt to divulge to you that I would engage a 21-day fast, January 1 through January 21? I have done so that I might in turn influence you to consider the same.
Misery loves company, doncha know.
But for real, and on a sobering note; the spiritual climate over this country, since November 6th of 2008, has been steadily falling, in an accelerated fashion, into unprecedented darkness. This darkness shifted into “overdrive” on November 6th of 2012. As the result, the love of many has grown cold. Matthew 24:12-13 reads, “Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many will grow cold, [and again] but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
Look at the landscape about you, friend; the forecast within Matthew 24:12-13 is now upon us.
I have witnessed within the Body of Y’shua abroad in this country, over the previous four years, a subtle yet steady hardness and coldness encroaching upon the hearts of the Redeemed. For many, this process cannot be attributed to one noteworthy event, but is rather attributed to a series of events which systematically envelop a given soul with hopelessness. And is this very chain which binds, the chain of hopelessness; that can be broken in an instant—through fasting and corresponding prayer.
It is time, dear friends, to “pull out all the stops,” to draw upon our more lethal weapons in the battle of good and evil, the battle that rages within—far more so than the battle that rages without, and to deal a death-blow to the works of darkness which would seek to dampen the fire of your “first love,” that heart-condition that was in the beginning flooded with the love of God.
There could be a number of reasons why you cannot join me in such a fast at this time. If so, I would ask that you would pray for me as I do so, between January 1st and January 21st. If you are able to join me, do send me a note indicating so, and I will equally pray for you.
Understand that a fast can be defined on many levels. The fasting of food is most pointed. And it need not be a complete fast from food. In my case for example, I will do so gradually, slowly tapering my food intake until I am down to water-only. I have to do so gradually, or my body goes into shock and nearly shuts-down in more ways than one.
Compromise, indifference, insensitivity, coldness, callousness and spiritual despondency are all about us, dear friend. And it is contagious. We can receive immunization to such, through the powerful weapon of fasting. The battle is raging, dear friend; and it is time to “lock-n-load,” and to engage the works of darkness head-on, that our lives will more so illuminate the darkness about us “like a light upon a hill.”