Thursday, 30 July 2015

Borrowed that Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer

Why re-invent the wheel? 
I found a good link for guidance to fasting and prayer on the Campus Crusade website.  

The only thing I want emphasize is this:  Pray about the period, the type and the reason(s) for your fast before embarking on it.  Be sensitive to what God wants throughout the fast period.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Fasting that God has Chosen

So, how does fasting God's way look like?  I guess I could just say, "Oh, everything opposite to my previous blog" and leave it at that.  But I am not doing that.  So, let us see what God says in the Bible.

Isaiah 58:6 "Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.' If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, 10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.  12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 "If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight and the holy day of the LORD honorable; if you honor it, not going your own ways, or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly; 14 then you shall take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

1.  Fasting time is Freeing-time: Enjoy the Grace!
Wow, when I read the very first verse, I have a mental image of all chains breaking loose, and the power of freedom swooping on me.  I mean, God desires to free His children from any bondage or addiction that harms their being.  This should come as a relief to anything that might be oppressing a believer.  God's Word is the axe needed to chop away at the roots of wickedness and sin.

2.  Fasting time is Repentance-time: Reflect on God's love and mercy, and show compassion to others.
It is not a time to indulge in self.  Oh no..not the time to hoard on foodstuffs or clothes.  In fact, the prophet Isaiah being God's mouthpiece informs that we should show compassion to those in need.  Our time of repentance before God and reflection on His love and mercy towards us is a great impetus to show our love and compassion to those in need.  And for a start, they might just be our own family and friends.

3.  Fasting time is Delight-time: God's Presence + our faith in Him = Powerful, delightful, honorable blessings.
Okay, I need to hear that Hallelujah! at this juncture.  Seriously, what do you expect?  If fasting is done at the foot of the cross of Jesus, then surely God promises to exalt the humble (1 Peter 5:6).  Basically, if believers bow their head before the Lord Jesus, their head will be raised up amidst the gloom and darkness, amidst the wickedness and injustice, amidst oppression and depression.  Our heads will be raised up during the time of obedience.  
Not only that, God will guide His people with clarity, honor His children as we Rest in His Presence.  We would see the Light!  Don't even be surprised when prayers are answered and blessings overflow in our lives.

Plan to fast regularly, not feast daily.  And interestingly, the passage above does not speak of weight loss:-).  Fasting God's way affects our mind, heart and soul.

In Delight-time with God,

Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Fasting that is Not

A couple of days ago, a young lady asked me to explain about fasting.  How timely! I had just been reading Isaiah 58.
So this one is for you, young lady.  

Isaiah 58: 3b . . . Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers. 4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the LORD?

For those of us who put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we need to understand the kind of fasting that pleases God.  What better way than to discover what does Not please Him.
Well, according to the verses above, the following stances definitely do not give God any pleasure:
1.  Seeking to gratify self during the period of fasting.
2.  Treating workers poorly or unfairly during the period of fasting.
3.  Engaging in quarrels, arguments and fist-fights.
4.  Being a "drama-mama" and pretending to be all serious and solemn during the period of fasting.   

Selfishness, injustice, dissension and hypocrisy have no place in our mind and heart during the period of fasting.

 To be continued. . . . 

Feeling hungry for God's Presence,

Friday, 10 July 2015

Reliable Service = One Thankful Customer

Some time ago, I was on the Hedman Alas bus from La Ceiba to San Pedro Sula in Honduras.  I booked a ticket on their Executive Plus section which has more leg space (and a snack meal) and sometimes they even play Christian worship songs in Spanish!  

Unfortunately, the bus which left punctually had some trouble about an hour into our ride.
Hedman Alas was prompt in serving their customers.  Thankfully, I did not have a flight to catch that day and so, I could do the Honduran thing - relax under the trees and wait for another bus to pick us all.

About two hours later, we got on a much smaller mini-bus and with legs close to my body, we continued our journey.  Now, I was thankful for the ride but I did not understand why I had to pay Excutive Plus price for that ride.  Or could it be that Singaporeans really expect much from others?  So, I gently asked if Hedman Alas could look into this discrepancy.

I am happy to report that after about 2 months, the bus company decided to offer me a ride on the same route.  The free ticket does help but I am thinking, "Thank God that they are reliable! I am one happy Promodias customer."  Personally, I like to see business serve their customers well.  Hedman Alas did not disappoint me this time.

If you travel often enough in Honduras across major cities, you can consider Hedman Alas and be a Promodias member.  Bus rides are slightly more expensive than the other local companies but Hedman Alas staff members are definitely more professional, reliable and usually punctual.  You can even deliver urgent documents and other approved items through them (station-to-station or city-to-city at a low cost).  

Oh by the way...Hedman Alas is not paying me to write this blog.  I am doing this because I think it's a reliable and safe bus service company.  And yes, I have travelled on other buses in Honduras but I still like Hedman Alas' service.  And I write again if it's not reliable or safe.  But for now, it works for me in Honduras.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men...