Think on these things: Bad Alliances

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“Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, “to those who carry out plans that are not Mine, forming an alliance, but not by My Spirit, heaping sin upon sin; who go down to Egypt without consulting Me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.” Isaiah 30:1-2

Have you ever entered a business relationship with someone you knew you were not supposed to? Throughout the history of Israel, the people were called to come out of an old way of life. Egypt represented that old way; when things got tough, the Israelites reverted to what was comfortable. They always knew they could take a trip to Egypt and find what they lacked. Perhaps this was their reasoning: “If we can’t get it accomplished under the new way, why not go back to the way we used to do it? At least we know we can get it there.”

When God calls us into a walk of faith, we can expect to be tested in this walk. If we enter into alliances that God has not ordained, it will only bring heartache. Such was the case for Israel. “But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace” (Is. 30:3).

Beware what you perceive as an alliance that may advance your business. It may actually bring you great distress if God has not directed you to align it. Ask yourself what the motive is behind this possible alliance. Make sure that it is not based on fear or a quick fix. Get confirmation that God is leading you to make such an alliance. Then you will not end up in the way of Israel, experiencing shame and disgrace.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Think on these things: What will be written on your epitaph / tombstone?

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What will be written on your epitaph? How do you want people to remember you? What type of legacy will your life leave behind?

I interviewed a very successful and powerful man one time for a magazine when this question came up. The man ran an international business that is a household name to all. He was a professed Christian, but he had difficulty answering my question. “I always knew someone would ask that question some day. I am not sure I am any more prepared to answer it now either,” was the man’s answer. He grappled for a few nice words, but it was clear he had not seriously considered his life much beyond his business success.

It is said of George Washington Carver that he got up early in the morning each day to walk alone and pray. He asked God how he was to spend his day and what He wanted to teach him that day. Carver grew up at the close of the Civil War in a one-room shanty on the home of Moses Carver – the man who owned his mother. The Ku Klux Klan had abducted him and his mother, selling her to new owners. He was later found and returned to his owner, but his mother was never seen again.

Carver grew up at the height of racial discrimination, yet he had overcome all these obstacles to become one of the most influential men in the history of the United States. He made many discoveries with the use of peanuts and sweet potatoes. However, after he recommended farmers to plant peanuts and sweet potatoes instead of cotton, he was led into his greatest trial. The farmers lost even more money due to the lack of market for peanuts and sweet potatoes. Carver cried out to the Lord, “Mr. Creator, why did You make the peanut?” Many years later, he shared that God led him back to his lab and worked with him to discover some 300 marketable products from the peanut. Likewise, he made over 100 discoveries from the sweet potato. These new products created a demand for peanuts and sweet potatoes, and they were major contributors to rejuvenating the Southern economy.

As he made new discoveries, he never became successful monetarily, but he overcame great rejection during his lifetime for being black. He was offered six-figure income opportunities from Henry Ford, and he became friends with presidents of his day, yet he knew what God had called him to do. His epitaph read:

He could have added fortune to fame, but caring for neither, he found happiness and honor in being helpful to the world.”

[John Woodbridge, More Than Conquerors (Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1992), 312.]

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

Transformation in the mind begets transformation in your Christian Life

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There is a change taking place in my mind. It has been slow and impactful in other areas, but right now its making its presence known. I am changing.

After I did a near 3 week fasting from watching my shows – I don’t watch TV – I feel less inclined to watch the more ‘morally questionable’ ones. I am at least 3 shows behind for most of them and its like I scan over them, feeling somewhat repulsed. I can’t explain it.

Somehow, I expected my behaviour to change later rather than sooner. As much as possible, I have been feeding on daily sermons or bible study with Chip Ingram. I have been praying without ceasing. I have been listening to my favourite gospel, worship songs. Even when I wake at night, my subconscious seems to be having a worship session going on upstairs. I have been more concious of my behaviour. I am revolted by negative people and negative conversations. I apologise readily. I have abstained from fleshly indulgences – and that’s the biggest miracle in itself because I have no urges to do so. Its like I am a cigarette addict and I don’t want to smoke. God is good.

Its incredible the transformation taking place. Its not like I wasn’t serving God before. Now I feel like I am serving him with my whole mind, body and soul. Its not like I wasn’t a Christian before. But now I want to go to church, help the ministry; I am even considering whether God would put me in full time ministry, because I hate my day job.

God is changing me from inside out. I am reading my bible more, and have the desire to. My gifts are operating with a little more clarity. I am sharing readily what he tells me, for other people. He is taking back everything the devil has stolen from me, as per my request. He is opening doors. Miracles are happening. He is always my ‘goto’. He is always in my ear, my heart, my mind. God is everywhere around and in me; and I am aware of it. If this is what happens when you feast your mind on Him everyday, then I want more of Him.

 

Copyright © 2014 · All Rights Reserved · Denise N. Fyffe

10 Tips for Healthy Fasting

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By: Cherie Calbom

Many people think about fasting in January for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you need to renew your body and soul. Did you gain weight during the holiday season? Maybe you’re feeling sluggish or toxic and need to cleanse your body in short order. Or maybe you want to fast for spiritual reasons, such as a breakthrough in your personal life or for revival in this land.

Whatever your reasons for fasting, here are 10 tips to ensure you fast smart.

1) Prepare Your Mind

Before you begin, think about why you want to fast. What do you want to achieve? It’s important to have the right mindset before you start or you may lose heart early on. Pray for discipline and a strong will to complete the fast.

2) Stock Up

Shop for everything you’ll need before the day you begin. Not having everything you need on your first day is a sure way to fail. If you’re doing a juice fast, for example, look at the recipes you’ll be using, and make sure your shopping list has all the ingredients.

3) Drink Water

Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of purified water while you are fasting so you can flush away toxins and waste. This will also help you stay energized. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired and hungry.

4) Go Easy

Gentle exercise, such as walking, is good, but don’t overexert yourself. Your body is working hard to eliminate toxins, remove damaged cells and restore vitality. This important work is often not completed when we eat regular meals. That’s because the body focuses its attention on digestion throughout the day. Fasting frees your body from this daily chore so it can work on cleansing, repairing and healing. It’s like taking a week’s vacation to thoroughly clean your home.

While all this important work is going on inside, you want to give your body the rest it needs. Take more breaks. Avoid exhausting work. Go for walks. Get fresh air and sun. Go to bed early, as powerful healing hormones are released while you sleep. Relax before bed by taking a bath, reading a good book or listening to beautiful music.

5) Choose a Plan

Many people think fasting means a strict water fast. Some people even try to follow the model of some biblical heroes—no food or water, which can be dangerous. But there is more than one type of fast. Choose the one that is best for you.

Water fast. A strict water fast for more than two or three days is not recommended unless you can completely rest and are medically supervised.

Juice fast. Freshly made juice is rich in antioxidants that bind toxins so they don’t damage cells—and those antioxidants are critical, especially during a fast.

Unlike in biblical times, where the air, soil and water were virtually pure, we have thousands of different chemicals pouring into our atmosphere every year. Most of our food is sprayed with pesticides and packaged with preservatives, additives, dyes and fillers. (Therefore, you ought to choose organic produce.) Our water is treated with chemicals, and our air is assaulted with industrial pollution.

Toxins are stored mainly in our fat cells. When we fast, those toxins are released in greater amounts. Without antioxidants to bind up free radicals, our cells can be damaged.

On the juice fast, you can drink vegetable juices, purified water, coconut water, veggie broth and herbal teas throughout the day. I emphasize vegetable juice because fruit juice has too much sugar, which can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar, leaving you tired. However, you can use a little fruit to flavor and sweeten veggie juice recipes.

All this will keep you healthy, energized and hydrated. To keep from boredom, try new juice and green smoothie recipes, such as those in my book The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.

Daniel fast. As described in Daniel 10:3, the prophet abstained for three weeks from delicacies, meat and wine, which would include all animal products and alcohol. This is a vegan diet, in other words, and includes abstaining from rich foods and desserts.

One meal a day. Everyone can fast for one meal or from certain foods. You can deny yourself coffee, sweets, soda pop, fast food, snack foods and junk food. None of these things are good for your body anyway. And if you can’t do a strict fast because of your age or health, choose instead to give up some of your favorite foods. You could also fast one meal a day and drink a veggie juice instead.

6) Be Wise

You may have a physical condition that would make water or juice fasting unwise or dangerous. Seek medical advice first. However, be aware that many doctors have little knowledge of fasting or training in nutrition. People who should not do a strict water or juice fast include women who are pregnant or nursing, people who are anorexic or bulimic, anyone who is emaciated or underweight, and those who are on dialysis.

Be aware of medications and their effects while you fast. For example, a vegetable juice fast can lower your blood pressure quickly, so you would need to cut back on medication, for which you should seek your physician’s advice. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia can modify a vegetable juice fast and include green smoothies made with avocado for extra protein and fat. This would also be my recommendation for anyone who is elderly or weak.

During your fast, if you become so hungry you could eat the plaster off your wall, you may have parasites or yeast overgrowth. It could be that freeloaders in your body are screaming for food. You may need to do a parasite cleanse or a yeast-control diet to get this infection under control before continuing any other kind of fast.

Please note: Children under the age of 15 should not do a strict water or juice fast.

7) Determine the Length

You can fast from one day to an extended period of time, like Jesus did for 40 days. Most people can easily handle a three-day fast. If you work, start on Friday. Then you’ll have the weekend to complete the fast at home.

8) Know the Symptoms

As your body releases toxins, you might get some detox reactions, such as headaches, tiredness, foggy brain or bad breath. (Chew parsley for your breath.) This can be part of your body ridding itself of toxins that could cause disease, which is a good thing. Don’t quit your fast when this happens. The symptoms should pass rather quickly.

9) Pray

Fasting and prayer are linked throughout the Bible. Whenever we fast, we are admonished to pray, which facilitates our spiritual growth and renewal.

10) Break Smart

How you break a fast is as important as the fast itself. Break your fast the first day with only vegetable juices, green smoothies, raw fruits and vegetables, veggie soups, dehydrated vegan foods or steamed vegetables. Never break a fast with a heavy meal like a burger and fries or steak and potatoes, as you can harm your body and end up with stomach cramps and digestive issues.

Bonus: Know the Benefits

The ancient discipline of fasting offers health benefits no other therapy can provide. On the physical side, it rapidly rids the body of waste and toxins—like changing old water in an aquarium. It can eliminate edema and lower blood pressure. A study published by the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine in 2002 found that 90 percent of 174 patients with high blood pressure who incorporated fasting achieved normal blood pressure. Each of the participants who had been on antihypertensive medications were able to get off their drugs.

Fasting also helps rebalance your body’s pH level. The typical American diet is mostly acid forming. A slightly acidic body contributes to weight gain, cancer and a host of other diseases. Fasting facilitates weight loss—water weight first, then fat. This ancient practice appears to reset the metabolism, much like a computer reboot.

A fast also gives your digestive tract a rest. This helps your digestive system heal, which can lead to significant health improvements. Allergy symptoms often improve with fasting. Autoimmune disorders may heal. Fasting improves insulin sensitivity by lowering blood sugar, which helps diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In addition, fasting is part of our spiritual heritage. It was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament. The Orthodox Church still has four main fast periods during the calendar year.

However, fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines of the 21st century. It is rarely discussed in most nonliturgical churches or on Christian TV. Yet Scripture admonishes us to fast and pray.

According to Scripture, when God’s people fast with the right motive, seeking Him with a broken, repentant and contrite spirit, God hears from heaven (2 Chron. 7:14). He promised He will heal our lives, our churches, our communities and our nation.

Our land is in desperate need of healing. Repentance, fasting and prayer are the only hope for our nation. Fasting and prayer can bring revival and a change of direction in our country. It can also rekindle our love for Christ. Fasting is a powerful spiritual tool to make a difference in our lives.

Cherie Calbom, M.S., C.N., is the author of more than 20 books, including The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies and her most recent, Remedies for Stress and Adrenal Fatigue, releasing this month. She holds a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University. Cherie and her husband, John, offer juice health retreats throughout the year, along with health and healing conferences. For more information, visit juiceladycherie.com

Day 100 – Spiritual Exhaustion and why we need the power of Fasting

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Featured Image -- 1148God has a way of making a thing known to His servants. How he chooses to, will definitely vary.

My bones and muscles were devoid of purposeful energy today. I feel a slight presence of exhaustion permeating from every limb even to the night hour. Before my eyes opened, to see the new dawn, this morn, I knew my excursions to neighbouring churches had taken a toll. I doubt it is so much what I did in the physical, as it is what I have been doing in the spiritual.

I am a new woman and purpose-filled and purpose driven. My days of ‘spectating’ at church services are done. Now, I am actively scaling valleys, climbing mountains interceding and fighting the adversary on behalf of others on a regular basis; all in the spirit realm. This is an exhausting feat on the human body. If I hope to continue and have an effective ministry, I must apply the principles of God to endure the race.

From now on, it is not business as usual but I am certain it will be diet-interrupted. Fasting. There is a reason why fasting was introduced; this was so that the flesh would be weakened and the spirit, spirituality and communication of man to God, strengthened. This is what is required for a fully engaged spirit life.

The bible is rife with examples of men and women who sought God’s counsel and used the powerful tool of spiritual warfare, that of prayer and fasting.

Moses Fasted Before Receiving the Commandments – Deuteronomy 9:9-18

  • Moses fasted for 40 days when he went up to the mountain to receive the commandments. When he came down and broke the commandments because the people sinned, he went back up and fasted 40 more days.

Elijah Fasted While Escaping Jezebel – 1 Kings 19:4-8

  • Elijah after his confrontation and victory over Jezebel’s false prophets, was fed by an angel twice and then he journeyed to Mount Horeb for 40 days without food.

Esther Fasted for the Safety of the Jews – Esther 4:15-17

  • When the entire Jewish race was threatened by genocide, Queen Esther fasted before approaching the King and asking for his help in saving the Jewish people.

Darius Fasted For the Safety of Daniel – Daniel 6:18-23

  • When Daniel was accused of breaking King Darius’ law and was throne into the lion’s den; the king himself did not sup that night and fasted until he was assured of Daniel’s safety the next day.

Daniel Fasted for an Answer to Prayer – Daniel 10:1-3

  • Daniel fasted many times, especially in seeking an answer from God, for the visions he saw. He received a direct answer via the Angel Gabriel.

Jesus Fasted before He commenced His ministry – Matthew 4:1-2

  • Before the devil approached Jesus, He fasted for 40 days in the desert. After which he begun His ministry here on earth.

 

Apart from seeking spiritual strength, power and authority; there are many more reasons for fasting.

Here are a few reasons why people fasted in the bible, courtesy of Rock Church:

  • In times of war: The Benjamites fasted and defeated the other Israelites. Judges 20:26
  • Repentance: The King of Nineveh ordered the whole city to fast and repent. Consequently, they were forgiven of their sin. Jonah 3:5 
  • When facing danger: Ezra fasted as he prayed for wisdom and protection when he prepared the people to return to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra 8:21, 23
  • Courage and Wisdom: Esther and the Jews of Shushan fasted when faced with their destruction planned by Haman. Esther 4:3,16; 9:31
  • In times of grief: A seven-day fast was held when the bones of Saul and his sons were buried. 1 Samuel 31:13; 1 Chronicles 10:12
  • In times of distress: David fasted after hearing that Saul and Jonathan were dead. 2 Samuel 1:12
  • Ultimate denial of the flesh: Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights before being tempted by Satan. Matthew 4:2
  • Spiritual Power: Jesus said this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29
  • Wisdom: Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted at the appointment of elders for the churches. Acts 14:23
  • Set aside self for holiness: Paul suggested that husbands and wives abstain from sexual relations to give themselves to fasting and prayer. 1 Corinthians 7:5
  • Answered prayer: Cornelius fasted four days, after which time an angel appeared to him. Consequently, he and his family received the gospel and were baptized. Acts 10:30-31
  • Mourning: During his time of mourning, Daniel fasted three weeks, after which time he received a vision. Daniel 10:1-3
  • Special revelation: Moses fasted for 40 days and received the law. Exodus 34:27-28
  • Spiritual Recuperation: Elijah fasted 40 days after killing prophets of Baal. 1 Kings 19:1-9 

So with this new knowledge, I am sure like me, you will embark on a new journey and understanding of what is required of us and also what is given to us; to help us endure as God’s  children and servants here on earth.

 

Copyright © 2015 · All Rights Reserved · Denise N. Fyffe

Think on these things: God’s Selection Process

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God’s Selection Process

“So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, ‘Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.'” Judges 7:5

Would you ever take on an army of 100,000 with only 300 men? Sound preposterous? I agree. However, this is exactly what happened with Gideon. It was bad enough that he began with 10,000 against 100,000, but this was too many men according to God. He would not allow Gideon to fight with this many soldiers, because the temptation would still remain to believe that it was the strength of his army that won the victory. God told Gideon to pare down his army to a mere 300. This would ensure that God would receive total credit for the victory. This is a law in the Kingdom of God. All glory must go to Him. “Announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained” (Judg. 7:3).

Now there are 10,000 men left but that was still too many. God gave Gideon an interesting selection method for the 300 as he took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink” (Judg. 7:5b). What was the significance of this? Those soldiers who lapped water like a dog were soldiers who were more aware of the enemy around them compared to those who kneeled to drink. The lappers were men who were on constant guard to the danger around them, keeping their eyes up and looking about them. The others could be easily picked off.

If you and I are going to be one of God’s elite, we must be battle ready. We must be sensitive to the spiritual dangers around us. We must be trained to go about our business while, at the same time, discern when the enemy of our souls is prowling about seeking to destroy us. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Beware of the spiritual dangers around you.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.

2015 Testimony #9 – 40 Days Fasting – Week 1

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By: Denise N. Fyffe
Copyright © 2015, Denise N. Fyffe

Week 1

The Lord is doing a new thing; well new for me anyway. Let me establish this, no matter what anybody thinks, God is not a little, old, miserable man in heaven. He is not sitting, waiting for you to mess up and He is definitely not rigid in all things. God is flexible to our current situation and needs and meets us where we are at, to bring us to where he abides.

If you live in constant sin, he might put people in your path to influence you and impress upon your conscience. Then he might get someone to talk to you about your problem, Then He might give you the urge to go to church. And then the urge to repent might come. God does different things to change our course, towards His will.

I have started a 40 day fast. Oy vey, the thought alone scares the Jesus out of me; well not really. I never thought that I would be doing one of these anytime soon, especially not before 50. But here I am. This fasting process does not have my strength behind it, it has Yahweh’s, because I would have quit long ago from the headaches I usually get when I do not eat or skip a meal.

So far, its day 4 and I am fine. God has modified my fast however, to meet my faith where it is at. You see, I do not yet believe that I can do full day food fasting without eating food; but he has tricked my mind into doing it. Each day, I only have something to eat at lunch time, and I drink some water to hydrate. It’s a hellish summer here in the Caribbean, so I get to drink water again. Then, I do not eat again until lunch time the following day. But if you look at it, I am actually going 24 hrs without food. My brain just realized that today :( .

This fast is easy. I am not getting the headaches and my mind is not consumed or focused on food. I feel easy, disinterested and engaged to follow through to completion. I am certain that one day, I will be doing an unmodified, traditional 40 day fast. Just not today. Right now the Lord is helping me to get my faith and body to the place where I will do a no food fast for 2 days, 5 days, 2 weeks, 1 month and then 40 days. That’s him telling me this now.

If you have followed my blog, you know where I am coming from. I was a diabetic; so, I have done BBM fastssocial media fasts,  juice / soda fasting, TV / Internet shows fasting and then half day food fasting. At the moment, I am on a summer long, no shows fast. As a reward, I have gotten more than a dozen new book ideas, at least two have been published.

Remember, God meets you where you are at and helps you to grow.

Fasting is about sacrificing for God, so he takes all genuine sacrifices that costs you his servant something. If it didn’t cost you, He rejects it outright.

Constant prayer and worship is done during this time as well. Because I am a writer, I am also tapped into Him for the novel that I am writing during this period. There is no doubt in my mind that this is all God, because I have never written a novel like this before. I have attempted novels, but one took me like 3 years to reach 10,000 words. With this one, I was at 5000 words in a few hours that night. I see snap shots of visions and I just write what I hear.

God is good and faithful to His servants and children. If you have fears about fasting, bring it to Him. He will impress upon you what to do and how to go about it.

 

Think on these things: Why Christians need to struggle?

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It is said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly. Without the struggle in the cocoon, it could not survive as a butterfly.

The Lord prepares each of us in similar ways. Some of our childhoods seem to have been harsh and born from a seemingly unloving God. However, the Lord knows our struggle and will make our life an instrument in His hand if we will follow Him with an upright heart. He does make all things beautiful in His time if we are willing to be patient.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders.