Sunday, January 16, 2011

Garment of Praise

"and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." -Isaiah 61:3

One of the things that I struggle with the most when I fast is what Jentezen Franklin calls 'dethroning King Stomach.'. I really love to eat and when I choose not to, it kind of seems like I am a person who is trying to quit smoking. I start going through withdrawal and I get cranky. I know it sounds silly, but I start spiraling into a slight depression. And if I had to guess, there are probably some others reading this that might admit, at least to yourself, that you go through a little bit of that as well. God never told us that fasting would be easy. If it was, more people would do it and I'm not sure that God would think as highly of those who choose to participate in it.

With that said, I think it is important to understand that during a season of fasting, we should really strive to rejoice in this discipline. Isaiah tells us that God gives us a garment of praise rather than a spirit of despair. When fasting, let's try and maintain a spirit of gladness. God is honored when we choose to abstain from food and other things for His sake. What a great way to show our commitment and dedication to God. So, the next time you feel like I do during fasting times, don't allow those negative thoughts to enter into your mind. Try and imagine your Father in Heaven watching you... Rejoicing over you... Beaming with pride as His child works to hear His voice and follow His direction. What a great thought! Rejoice!

-Pastor Josh

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