There is only one thing that keeps most churches from prospering spiritually; They have yet to find God. ~ Chpt:2
I said I would share, so...& I'm only up to chapter four! I am forced to read this very slowly even though I could zip through it in an hour or two. Somehow that would defeat the purpose.
God works in very strange ways. Up until I went to pay for my items I was actually carrying round two other, very different books! But this & the Franklin one on fasting, seemed to be the two the Lord wanted me to have & so, here I am, slowly wading my way through two books by very different authors that seem to belong together.
I will try & be very honest so I hope that doesn't make you uncomfortable.
Firstly fasting. Something I have tended to be a little erratic about until the last year or so when I agreed to fast with my friend, who fasts regularly on Wednesdays; that's my Thursdays. Knowing someone else is on the same journey, however many miles apart we are, is very helpful for me & helps me to stay committed to the practise of fasting regularly. Fasting is something our Lord assumed we would do, along with giving & praying, but somewhere along the way the modern church got out of the habit & now doesn't even understand the spiritual purpose of the fast.
Anyway I had been feeling the Lord wanted me to do a slightly longer fast for some time. I usually stick to a 24 hour fast though I think that is the most difficult fast to do. Occasionally I venture into a 3 day fast but rarely longer for a couple of reasons. Doing without food is the easy part for me, strange as that may sound. I often accidentally miss meals because I am far more interested in what I am doing than I am in stopping to prepare something to eat. Food preparation is the bane of my life. I really hate it & it puts me off my food because food is only fuel & I have very little interest in it otherwise. If someone cares to plonk something in front of me I'll happily eat but if I have to go to the trouble of preparing it myself I would rather do without, so given that mind set ignoring a grumbly stomach I can do. The problem is I have a great many inground ways to distract myself from my stomach ~ & ignoring a grumbling tummy is not the main purpose of a fast!
Secondly my energy level tends to be low naturally. On a fast it can plummet alarmingly & I think it's dodgy driving on the mainland like that which limits my available days for fasting. So I have been looking for a window of opportunity for the longer fast, which occurred unbeknowest to me this week, which is EKKA week, & I have no driving on the mainland. Naturally as soon as I even thought about purposing in my heart to fast all sorts of things started happening to prevent it!
Now the main purpose of the fast is not prayer, though prayer is the tool; it is entering into closer relationship with God. Enter Holiness, Truth & the Presence of God. Along with my bible this is what I have been studying on this fast. All the reviews I have read on this little book warn that if you are serious about God it will strip you bare so I have approached it very cautiously indeed. I am no fonder than anyone else of being stripped bare & exposed! Hence only being up to chapter 4!!!
I have said all too often that God has lead us on a very peculiar dance, moving us outside the mainstream church time & time again, & I have never understood it. The church is His bride so surely we should be part of it...but then there is church & then there is The Church. They are not necessarily the same thing. And there in chapter three Frangipane nailed it for me. He says bluntly we are all addicted to the familiar, however awful that may be. It is why our jails are full of repeat offenders, why women marry men just like daddy & why most people, worldwide, live within 50 miles of their birthplace! And it is why Christians stay in dead churches! "These things may not necessarily trap us in sin as much as keep us from God."
God does not want our religion, however comforting to us that may be, or however wonderful we think our church is. He wants us ~ & in order to get us He will often move us outside our comfort zones because that way He is sure to get our attention! It is not necessarily that mainstream church is a bad thing ~ it is where we stand with it because it may be bad for us, lulling us soporifically rather that urging us into a more intimate relationship with Christ.
Now why am I reading this while on a fast? Good question! One of the benefits of fasting is that it gives clarity of vision. Seriously, I like writing when I'm on a fast because the inner eye is so uncluttered, the mind lucid & the images sharp as crystal. Ember, have you ever tried this? Anyway, the fast alone tends to reduce everything to its essentials & so reading this little book while my outer life is less cluttered & my inner world cleaner & clearer means I should get maximum benefit. Yes?
So them's my thinks for today. What do you think?