When this news broke, it saddened me. I knew that he had to be punished for his horrible act of violence. Yet in my heart I knew that the death penalty was just not right.
I scrolled through my Twitter account and I saw tweets of people being happy with the decision. People I know and people I follow, there was a sense of joy in the decision. Some were instantly demanding more, that they wanted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to have the most brutal form of execution.
Reading all of that broke my heart.
I remember when the news of Osama bin Laden’s death made its way around the Internet. It was the same reaction. A celebration of his death. I didn’t feel right about celebrating. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the “eye for an eye” mentality so many people seem to desire.
I tweeted my instant reaction.
You know, I always share the above video and it still means a lot to me. The whole point of Easter is the resurrection. As much as it was great to have Jesus come to earth, do miracles, preach and even die on the cross, none of it meant anything until he was risen from the dead. We as a people were so broken that we needed a resurrected Jesus. Not just a savior who would come down and do good, but we needed a savior to sacrifice and conquer death.
I like the above video because it illustrates that we needed a resurrected Jesus. The finality of His mission here was to be raised from the dead. That’s what makes this entire faith work. We believe of the resurrection and the new life it gives us. With that, we are made new in Him.
This is what we celebrate. We celebrate the fulfillment of the promise. The resurrection saved us. We are no longer slaves to our own death because Jesus conquered it. In Him, we are alive.
I’m sitting here overwhelmed by a ton of stuff. I got so much going on and I don’t know if I am in the right place.
My frustration continues to come with people not being responsible. In turn, I have to clean up their mess and that affects the important things I need to do. My heart is not in the right place. I can’t find my balance of being sympathetic and being firm.
Then I got so many responsibilities that I still have to do and I know that I have to do it all on my own. Asking people for help isn’t helpful because those people aren’t reliable.
Then I have to start worrying about other things. Ironically, it’s prayer responsibilities that I have to do and I need prayer because I am going to tip over.
God, please calm my heart. It’s OK to be angry, but don’t let that override my connection with you. May you give me all that I need and allow those people I have to depend on everything they need. May I not complain of my problems but celebrate in your deliverance instead. Thank you. Amen.
For 21 days I fasted and spent my time praying. What happened? Check out my story and four other friends who did the same thing. God did some great things!
Originally posted on Love God, Love People, Change the World:
Last week, we as a church concluded a 21-day fasting period. During the fast, each person spent time in prayer daily to focus on God and to deepen the relationship. The purpose of the fast was to cut out distractions from our lives such as social media or junk food and in its place spent time to draw strength from God. Along with prayer, it opened up an avenue for us to connect with our Lord and it enhanced that relationship.
Before Jesus began His ministry, he spent 40 days in fasting and in prayer. He wanted to connect with His Father. Despite the devil’s attempts to tempt Jesus away from his fast, Jesus resisted because His relationship with God was strong. Jesus depended on God for strength, not the temptations and distractions from the devil.
Several members of our church experienced great change in their lives during the three weeks of fasting…
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My crew these days are basically board and card gamers for life.
I am not sure if this is the official announcement of what’s next for me after the 21-day fast. I can tell you that on Sunday, I ate three cookies. It was actually the first time in three weeks I had sweets, snacks or anything of that nature. It was really good. Then afterward, I regretted eating so many of them. But that’s small potatoes compared to what I will endure next.
Even though the 21-day fasting period is over, it still doesn’t mean that I can go back to my old ways. I am still doing OSL and that remains as the tough part for me. I still will be off media mostly for the entire duration of the remaining two weeks. Because of the two-hour limit per week the OSL guideline allows, I decided to watch some old TV shows last night. It wasn’t anything to binge on, rather I was at a state where I needed to feel some emotion. I ended up watching an episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” where Will’s father abandoned him. I needed to cry. Then I watched “Family Matters” and the episode where Carl is living with guilty of a death of a victim in a shooting. I equally wanted to cry some more last night. I have no idea why I was compelled to do that. I didn’t go over my two-hour limit and this morning I thought that maybe I could have resisted it more. But a part of me wanted to just cry last night and that was the trigger.
But what’s next? Yesterday the crew played some board games as I worked. It was a nice thing for me and it reminded me that there is a certain bond with the fellowship I have with these guys who so happen to be in my Life Group. It’s growing to be this really amazing bond of care and enjoyment with one another. I want this to continue and transition into something more amazing.
Took a picture of my lunch.
Today was the last day of the fast and it was one of the busiest days. I had to wake up for the morning prayer, which went to over about an hour. Then it was OSL since we didn’t do it on Tuesday. Then it was volunteer appreciation day at the park (with tacos) and after being out in the sun for about five hours, it was board game night in which I brought work with me.
Physically I am exhausted, but spiritually, I know that I am closer to God then I was three weeks ago. I think that during this time of fasting, I was able to really avoid all the snacking that I usually do (and I’ve lost weight) and really focus on God. Also, it gave me a lot of time to meditate and pray and because of that, there is a whole lot of changes that will go on with me. My focus is strong and my desire for God has become stronger too.
So what now after this fast? Well, I can tell you that I can easily go another week without snacking. In fact, the snacking has been something I don’t care much about anymore.
Friendly front yards in my neighborhood during my walk.
You know what I don’t like to do and I try to avoid it whenever it comes up: a countdown. And this is the situation I am in. This fast will come to an end tomorrow for me and my fasting of sweets and snacking in between meals will end. I don’t want to count down, but here I am doing it. I want to avoid it. I don’t want to take away the dedication of the fast and crawl back like some addict.
Let me tell you what it’s been like not snacking, not having sweets for almost three weeks. When I am out hanging with friends who want to go get boba or something like that, I have to sit there and not order anything and watch them eat. Not easy.
Then we have dinner together and someone brings cookies. I can’t have any. And last night at the end of dinner there were two more slices of pizza left. Can’t have it.
It actually wasn’t as tough for me to resist all that during the three weeks. In fact, because of it, I actually think I’ve lost weight. I’ve upgraded a notch on my belt. But as I get closer to tomorrow, I have to think about what I have learned in this fast and how I am approaching the end of it. Do I just binge on sweets when it ends? I don’t want to. Yet today they had extra cookies and pretzel buns for me to take home. Oh the temptation. But I think I can control it. If I can hold off on it the day after, then maybe I can win it going forward.