Day 2 of the 21-day fast: The waking (up) is the hardest part

Today was the first day of my fast where I had to do it on my own without the surroundings of church people or anything. It started off with me waking up at 5:45am so I can make it to our morning phone prayer time at 6am. First of all, that alarm tone I chose was not very urgent. It was like a morning ring of calmness. Luckily I heard it. But yeah, that was one thing I had to fix. I chose a much more louder and urgent sound. Making this a daily routine will not be easy.

I knew that I didn’t want to pray and possibly wake up anyone while I was praying out loud, so I got into my car and did my prayer time with the team there. It was cold. I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts. I was planning to go out for a run afterward but realized that I could only withstand the cold morning air for so long, even if I was just sitting in my car.

It was a great time of prayer too, just sharing with everyone who joined in. It was a slow start because everyone was just getting comfortable with the idea, but there were a good amount of just prayer requests that were shared.

Following the phone prayer time, I realized that I had a lot of time on my hand. In fact, that was my prayer request. This will be a constant prayer request for me because if I am to wake up this early in the morning and make every single effort to not go back to sleep after the prayer session, then I know I wil have a lot of time on my hand to do more praying, journaling or anything else. So I felt that this was God testing me during this fast, seeing how well I’ve planned my time. Firstly, I needed to eat. Knowing that I had to limit my eating to only meals with no snacking, I had to get something in my system quick. I don’t eat breakfast normally but this was the opportunity for me to do so. One banana and one yogurt had to last me until around lunch time where I will just make some porridge.

Anyway, after the morning prayer, I went back to my room just get warm. Then and there, I dove into the devotional that the church provided and read through the verses that accompanied it. These verses were familiar to me.

My devotional for today with my scribbled notes. Click to enlarge.

This is taken from Isaiah 40. But the last verse was what caught my attention.

but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Do you want to know why this verse stood out to me? I think this was the exact same verse that was hung on a picture frame in my house while I was in college. During a visitation to my roommates church, which was mostly Chinese, they had this picture frame in their store with verses written in Chinese. We bought a framed Chinese calligraphy picture of a verse about eagles from the book of Isaiah. Looking through the rest of the book, there are no other references to eagles in Isaiah. This had to be it.

This is clearly God speaking to me and encouraging me that He has been with me even since my college days, reminding me to put my faith in Him and I will soar. I continued on my devotional by praying some more, touching on the prayer requests that were given during the phone prayer. I wanted to soar in my prayer life and in my trust in God. I have had glimpses of it but I don’t know if I had ever made an effort to fully commit to letting God help me soar. WOW! That is a huge commitment. I know that my prayer life hasn’t been the best and even though I do the weekly prayer with my prayer team, it still feels like my effort to pray daily isn’t there. Can this be a step for me to really take control of my prayer life? Can I truly let God be in control?

This is most definitely God in action. Using a verse that I had on my wall but somewhat didn’t pay enough attention to (since it was written in Chinese) and somehow used it to come back into my life today.

I still wanted to go out and walk in my neighborhood, so I did just that. It’s about three miles of a walk — something I do daily anyway — but my walk was a lot slower. I was just really enjoying my walk. Plus I knew I had a lot of time anyway and nothing to rush back to since I was fasting media, so I took my time. I normally listen to music when I do these walks but because I am fasting media, the only exception is Christian-based media. I normally don’t listen to Christian radio stations but this was now my chance to get more of that in me instead of my old habits. I had listened to Air1 for the past couple days just to get myself ready so I did some of that during my walk. But it was actually another radio station that I discovered a couple days ago that really got my attention. There is a station by the name of KTLW and I believe it’s a station of a bunch of different Christian programs all in one. It had some pretty good stuff, like a Greg Laurie interview with Chuck Smith. Not bad.

It was just good listening and I was fine with it, but I didn’t sense that God spoke to me until an interview came up during the latter portion of my listening. It was an interview about evangelizing. Check out the site and video.

How do I know this was a message from God? Because this is the exact thing I am so passionate about. I relate well with people who don’t go to church. In fact, if I didn’t grow up in a faith-based family, I don’t think I would ever step foot in a church. So how in the world are we going to evangelize to people just like me? The interview talked about how Jesus built relationships with people, loved them and cared about them. He didn’t give them pamphlets or tracts and told them to come to church. No, that isn’t how you share the Gospel. That isn’t how you evangelize. The term “evangelism” is frightening until you realize that it is as simple as just connecting with someone and then sharing what you care about.

I am part of my church’s local impact team and part of our goal is to go out to the community and share our story. Many of the people we reach don’t go to church. Yet do we feel obligated to make them come to church? No. Our goal is just to show them love. And by that, we hope we can establish a relationship and maybe down the line, the topic of faith comes up and it is easier to share because we trust one another. That is the start of making disciples.

How fitting that this interview came on and it touched on exactly what I care most about? I am an outsider. I understand the outsider. So being able to love like that is what I am best at. And here is God reminding me that that could be what I am supposed to do. Like the blog post I wrote last week, that’s the talent God wants me to use to glorify Him.

Can you believe that this all happened to me today before 9:30am? God’s doing great things and I think I am picking up His messages now that my life is much less distracted from everything else. God can do so much in me if I spend the time and effort to let Him speak.

That’s it for now. I still have a full day ahead of me but lot of it will be occupied. I will do some leisure reading and some eating before getting ready for work at 2pm. Once again, I will be thrown back into the media mix. But I will not watch TV even though wrestling is on and the Stevie Wonder concert I attended will be airing. Throughout my time at work, which I will spend at home because of the holiday, I will just stick with work-related media things and keep it simple. I’ll probably eat the two salads I copped from work, the last of the probably bad-tasting fruit cup, and clock out and go to bed at 10pm.

Pray for me and that this revelation isn’t wasted and that I will remain steadfast in this time of fasting and praying. The food fast is easy. The media fast is harder. But I’ve already reaped the benefits of the fast so far and I want to see what comes up next. Praise God!

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