Monday, September 30, 2019

After the fast

It's early, so I'm going to take stock throughout the day, notice how I feel, notice what has changed...

One change, in previous fasts, I was daydreaming and watching food videos all throughout, just waiting for day when the fast is over and I could eat again. I probably ate too much, too soon.

Today, I wasn't chomping at the bit to start eating. I knew it would happen, but it didn't need to be immediately. I had some hot water with lemon instead and focused on what was more important. It was an hour and a half later that I slowly chewed a small slice of watermelon, and I was good. I went back to what was more important. I like that - answer to prayer number 1.

I wake up early (God's idea, not mine). But, since He wants to spend time with me at 5 am every morning, I want to spend time with Him; often groggily to begin with, but that's what you do when you love someone with your whole heart - you spend time with them. That's our time and believe me, no one in this house is awake to interrupt me at 5-7 am and that's nice.

So, before I am fully awake I begin to pray in the spiritual tongue God gave me. Why, because everything in His Word that He gives to children, to those who love Him with their whole hearts, I want that.

"You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment. 31 And the second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor in the same way you love yourself.’ You will never find a greater commandment than these.”'(Mark 12:30-31, The Passion Translation)

For years I have been fascinated with and continue to find greater meaning in these verses. At times I focus on verse 30, in passionately loving God with everything I am and have, and continually opening more and more to Him. Today what I see anew is in verse 31.

In the way that The Passion Translation (from The Aramaic texts) quotes Jesus here, I notice that the second commandments is we must love others in the same way we love ourselves. I realize now that this is both a command to our will, to choose to actively love others, but it is also a law that describes how we unconsciously love others - bear with me, this is good.

We actually do love other people in the way we love our selves! Let me explain - if we inwardly hate ourselves, we will treat others with hatred, if we don't trust ourselves or God, we won't trust other people. Whatever we hold against ourselves, we will hold that against everyone we try to be in relationship with. If we are to have any hope of loving others in the way God created us to, it must begin with healing ourselves, in learning to forgive, then accept, then love ourselves.

I'm not talking about behaviors, sometimes we need to learn new ways of doing things and often we need to make restitution for ways we have harmed someone else.

I'm talking about doing what needs to be done inwardly so that we can love, so that we are able to grasp with our mind and heart what love truly is and where it originates. We cannot give to anyone what we do not possess. Proverbs 23:7-9 describes it this way:

"For as he thinks within himself, so is he.
He will grudgingly say, '“Go ahead and eat all you want,”'
but in his heart he resents the fact that he has to pay for your meal.
You’ll be sorry you ate anything at all,
and all your compliments will be wasted."(TPT)

Yes, yes, I know, we all feel the emotion we describe as love and I personally believe the closest emotion we feel that God would agree is love is how we feel towards our children. What we often call love might more accurately be identified as concern for the welfare of others, it might be a desire to please God with our attitudes and actions, it might instead be infatuation or lust, or it might be possessiveness or emotional need. But is it love as defined by the One who first loved?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says that we can do things that outwardly look like love, but without love in our hearts, they are may benefit others (still a good thing) but they we have gained nothing, we remain empty inside, it's all a sham, a show, an act:

"If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains,  but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.
And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value." (The Passion Translation)
Verses 4-8 describe how you know you have true love within yourself, it is no longer something you strive to do, it is a way you have become:

"Love is large and incredibly patient.
 Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous[g] when blessing comes to someone else
Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. 
Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. 
Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.
Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. 
Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Tell me more! As much as we value the spiritual gifts, God values love even more:
Love never stops loving.It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten."
Where in this list is your conscience pricked? Is it taking no delight in what is wrong (I think of t.v. shows, or relishing someone else getting their comeuppance) or is it being easily irritated (may be with our children or spouse), or is taking offense or dwelling in a failure and making it your new identify? 
Instead of feeling condemned (Satan's tool, not God's) be convicted to give this over to God, to repent of this attitude and lack of love, and ask Him to give you more love, to fill you up with love for yourself as His child as well as for others. That is my daily prayer, that my ego decrease, and that He increase so that I am more and more walking-talking LOVE. (John 3:30 TPT "So it’s necessary for Him to increase  and for me to be diminished.")
NOTE: Love is not staying within abuse. The most loving thing you can do is no longer participate/condone someone else's lack of control or desire to hurt you. Staying without requirements to change coupled with enforceable consequences is not love, not for yourself, certainly not for your children, and not for your partner. That's right, it is good or loving for the abuser. They continue to live in a cycle of anger, jealousy, self-loathing, and loss of love. They have no chance to change, while they have "permission" to continue as is. 
A person who has love for themselves, who recognizes their innate value to God, does not abuse themselves or others, and does not remain in abuse.

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