Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The two go hand in hand

'(Asceticism) ... releases the soul from bondage to the body, permitting union with the divine.'

This week, as part of our Transit Course with 24-7 Prayer, we had assignments to do - we each had a 10 minute slot which was to be filled (in any way we wanted) by exploring something we have learned in order to teach the rest of the group.

One thing (alongisde hundreds others) that I have really been challenged about thus far is this topic of 'fasting'. Now anyone who knows me will know that I am quite a fan of food, anything from a 14oz rare steak to raw fish, I love it (exceptions naturally being mushrooms and tomato soup) so this whole concept of 'giving up food for God' really got my wee mind ticking.

In order to do my 10 minute power point presentation I had alot of reading to do, largely into asceticism and its practice, fasting and its routes, biblical examples of fasting and a couple of christian books on the topic, I further did some interviews with members within the community here who fast. I can now positively say I am well versed in this topic. Which again in itself presents a further challenge - I have not found one bad thing that comes from fasting, we can all put up with headaches and grumpiness, yet all comments and readings were positive - folks testified to how blown away they were by God, how in tune with God they were - I may love my food but am I missing out on something here???

The answer is obviously yes.

Matthew 6:16 'and WHEN you fast ...'
Luke 5:34-35 'Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not! But someday the groom will be taken from them, and then they will fast.'
Acts 14:23 'With prayer and fasting they turned the elders over to the care of the Lord.'
Luke 2:37 ' ... there she worshipped God with prayer and fasting.'

Clear biblical commands.
Not debatable.
Confidently, I feel its possible to say, that as Jesus interested folk, we should be fasting.
Fasting as Jesus talked about it.
Fasting on behalf of others.
Fasting to get to know God more.
Fasting to worship him.

Empty words can't feature here.

It's pretty simple really, pray and fast, the two go hand in hand, the troubling bit is us, are we really willing?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Run the race

No reserve.

No retreat.

No regret.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

You're not blue cuz you haven't got a clue!!

I'm blue, I'm blue ... why aren't you?
You're not blue cuz you haven't got a clue!!!

This was our chant that echoed through the streets of London as our team of 6 marched from the train station to the subway - let me tell you, some funny looks we got to the point where Andy was commonly stopped by strangers for a 30 second photo shoot.
Pondering the day has lead to much reflective conviction. Climate change is really quite a big issue when you come to think of it, and it's my generation that's going to be effected, so really I should be concerned about such issues - this has heightened my awareness of it all - I'm now actually alot more concerned ...
The main motivation for the protest (I think this is right) was to encourage our government to back supporting other countires who can't afford to pay for protective modifications such like water barriers - hence the protest/demo being called 'The Wave.'
So as you all know I'm part of this on going wave also known as 24-7 prayer, and part of their core values is this theme of justice, which if I'm honest has always seemed, to me, a bit vague and my understanding of it was limited - but events like today have helped me realise that as Jesus followers we have a responsability concerning justice, it is our requirement almost, to stand up for causes and ongoing political and worldly issues, today we acted as advocates for the poorer, on behalf of tearfund we stood to encourage support for the poorer and raise awareness, to me, this is what Jesus would do, this is what he would advocate - therefore to ignorantly overlook these things, in my opinion, is foolish and arguably counter-christianity.
God's widening my perspective and my maturity. I'm growing up.
I like it.
How true that chant that started off as a flippant joke rings true ... you're not blue cuz you haven't got a clue ... I didn't have a clue, I don't have a clue, but I'm getting there, that's the challenge, that's the fun in living.