"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

This blog has been moved to www.fallenpastor.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stress And Fasting

Ever have a lot of stuff hit you at once?

Of course you do. It's called life. I've got about eight projects going on right now that I need to finish yesterday.

One of the ones I'm really anticipating is that I've been asked to preach next month. I haven't preached in almost a year. I miss preaching. It's at the church Cynthia and I used to go to when we first go married.

I made amends with the pastor and I'm planning on going there and giving my testimony on my fall. I'm not giving gory details, but I do plan on telling them about how despite our sin, Christ does forgive and cover all of our sins. I'm nervous, yet excited.

It's one thing to be transparent on a blog, but it's another thing to open your life, soul and heart in front of a congregation. Most of the people there didn't know I fell. I have the feeling they'll be understanding.

I also know that hearing the story of forgiveness from Scripture might help some of them as well. But then again, they might light torches and chase me out of there. Who knows? No, of course they won't. They're great people and will be very supportive.

I've just been under a huge amount of stress lately at my work and with other projects. So, I decided to fast. Which isn't easy with a lifelong health condition I have. However, fasting is extremely important.

I read a book by John Piper on the subject once and I'm loosely paraphrasing his definition here. He said that fasting gets our focus off the gifts and puts our mind on the giver of the gifts. I enjoy the process of fasting.

As consumeristic (is that a word?) Americans, we're so tied down on eating and gluttony. We have drive-thrus so we don't have to get out of the car. We go to the grocery store and the junk food is stacked on the end of the aisle. The candy is right next to the register. The restaurants have buffets for us so we can keep shoveling it in. And those things aren't bad, trust me. I love the convenience.

But once in a while, I have to remind myself that the gift of food is just that - a gift. I have to concentrate on the giver of those things. And when I do, I break free of those bonds and pray for a few days and thank Him. After the initial hunger goes away (and it takes a while), it's easier to focus on Him and what He wants me to do.

Check out Piper's book, "A Hunger For God," if you can. It's available on Kindle as well. (I don't get a kickback either.) Usually you can buy it from his website for cheaper. If you can't afford it, you can call them and work something out with them.

So if you're feeling stressed, realize that it may be because you're too focused on the world. Take time to focus on the Giver of all that is good.

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