Ok, so I know this whole project is supposed to be a consecutive 7 week project, but my life just doesn’t really work that way. At first I was trying to do each area in 2 weeks and I am still going to do that but I just any not be able to do it on a continual basis. With traveling, family visits, and just life mixing in I just have to take my moments when I can.
With that said, lets jump in to the lesson on Food.
|Photo Credit:Sherry Holmes (my awesome mom!)
This is supposed to be a video based lesson but unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my hands on the videos, however, I think I can still answer all of the study questions based on just the book reading.
The chapter opens up with some “group guide” questions:
Does your lifestyle influence your food choices of do your food choices influence your lifestyle? Why?
To be honest this question is a hard one for me to answer. Why? Because it changes from time to time. On one hand, my lifestyle will influence the food choices we make because we are busy, school in in session and I just don’t have time or something similar. But then I will make a decision that we need to eat better or save money or something along those lines and then my food choices will influence my lifestyle for a time. Its a vicious cycle really.
How could food become an idol in our lives that distracts us from God’s kingdom?
There are so many different directions that I can go with this one. I know individuals that use food as a comfort measure (sometimes even I fall into this trap). Others use food as an excuse for why to do or not to do something. Dietary restrictions such as allergies have also been know to become a distraction or and idol rather than just another thing to navigate through each day. What ever the reason, food like any other “thing” out there runs the risk of becoming an idol and distracting from God’s kingdom.
What are some practical ways you can live out Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:35-40?
Matthew 25:35-40New International Version (NIV)
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-24044A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>36 I needed clothes and you clothed me,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-24045B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>
I was sick and you looked after me,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-24045C" data-link="(C
)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> I was in prison and you came to visit me.’<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-24045D" data-link="(D
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37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I love the ministry of hospitality. I just love it. The ability to invite people into my home and provide a basic need, food and shelter, possibly even clothing, just makes my heart happy. I believe that when we show this kind of love to each person that we cross, no matter what their station in life we are showing some practical ways to live out Jesus’ words in this passage.
Setting the Scene
Food is a tricky area when it comes to fasting, especially where there are young lives in the mix. Jen made the decision to live off of just 7 (go figure right!) basic foods for a month. She didn’t really require her children to join in so that made things a bit more complicated. I don’t have the budget to be able to do one thing for me and the hubs and another for 2-6 children (I babysit 2 kiddos 4 days a week and sometimes I have extras joining in on top of the 2 that are here all the time) so I had to really take some time to evaluate what I was going to do to fulfill this week’s lesson.
I made the decision that we would just eat out of our fridge and pantry for 2 weeks. Whatever we have in there is what I will create meals out of for our family. Practically speaking that shouldn’t be too big of a challenge. Realistically, however, is another animal all its own.
This first week I tried really hard to do my best, but with family in town visiting we have had a few meals that we have eaten out. The meals that we have eaten at home, however, have been all from ingredients we had in the house with the exception of some cheese (because you can’t have burritos without cheese)
The one meal that has been the biggest challenge thus far has been breakfast. First of all I am not a morning food eater. I never have been. I actually scored lower on all my testing as a kid when they made me eat breakfast before taking the test. The problem is I have at least one child that wakes up each day and the first words she says to be after asking if she can get out of bed are “Mommy I am hungry”
Every. Single. Day.
So that meal has been a bit problematic. The others, however, have been just fine.
The Spiritual Side of Things
Fasting is discussed in several different places throughout the Bible. There are 3 different times that jump to my mind when I think about fasting in the Bible. I always think of Daniel and his friends who fought hard to have the opportunity to eat the foods they felt God wanted them to eat, ultimately succeeding in proving their point to those in control as well as remaining faithful to God. The second event that comes to mind is of Esther requesting her people fast and pray for her as she prepared to go uninvited before the king in an attempt to save her people. This young girl, who had no desire to be in such a position, relied on the faithfulness of God and the people, through the act of prayer and fasting, to save an entire people group. And the last event that I recall is that of Jesus fasting for 40 days in the desert as he was being tempted by Satan himself. Jesus knew that he would need the strength of the Lord, His heavenly Father, to get through the coming days and it was through prayer, fasting, and recalling the words of Scripture that he was able to overcome the temptation of the flesh.
On a personal level, my dear husband and I have partaken in an annual “Daniel Fast” at the beginning of the year. We take time to fast, eating only the foods that Daniel and his friends ate for 40 days, as we pray over the new year, our goals and plans for our family, and asking God to be the center of our family life. We haven’t always been consistent with it but in the years that we have taken the first 40 days of the year to center our marriage and family on the Lord we seem to find that things go just a bit smoother.
Paved with good intentions…
Fasting, of any kind for any reason, has to be done with the right intentions. When you make a decision to fast from food and the reason behind it isn’t to draw closer to the Lord all you are really doing is setting yourself up to be very hungry.
Fasting also shouldn’t be done with the idea of changing God behind it. Realistically, the idea should be about coming before the Lord in prayer and petition for HIM to be changing YOU. That should be the ultimate motivation.
For the next few weeks my prayer when it comes to fasting has simply been “Lord, help me to find You in all the clutter, chaos, and noise. Help me to sift through all the junk and find You in all things.”
That is my intention behind jumping further into this study.
Have you ever fasted for any reason? If so, why and what type of fast?
Join me next week when we will finish up the Food lesson as I get deeper into my journey to less excess.