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Volume 09, Issue 36: Stick With A Routine

Earlier this year, we talked about routines being a means to an end. I have been listening to podcasts by Eric Thomas and Mel Robbins that have stirred up new zeal in me about the importance of sticking to a routine and keeping a schedule. I have found that for me, the only way I show up and do the things I said I would is by sticking to a routine. I fail miserably when I ease off my schedule. I really liked how Eric Thomas and Mel Robbins nailed the point that I couldn't wait to lay it out for your benefit.

Most of us don't get up each day without an intent. If you are a young aspiring sportsman like my son, your goal may be to play in the NBA. Students want to pass their exams and most of them have good plans of how to do that. But in the absence of a step by step execution strategy, a good intention may well remain just an intention at the end of the day, at the end of the week, at the end of the month, even at the end of the year or a lifetime.

Eric Thomas emphasized having a schedule. You don't go to war without a plan. We need to be strategic. We may not want to admit it, but the truth is, we are not as strong as we thought we were. We are not as intelligent as we thought we were. We don't want it as bad as we thought we wanted it. It's our routines - it's what we do every day repeatedly that gets us to our desired destinations.

When you realize that your strength is in your routine, you stick with the program. You don't hope or wish your way to your dream, you routinely work your way to it. You don't wait to feel like it to take the actions you said you would, you follow through irrespective of mood or season.

Eric Thomas reiterated that the DNA of your success is in your routine. You are not as deep as you think you are. You have to find a routine and stick with it. Granted, out of 365 days you are going to have a few bad days, but the strength is in the routine. Find a routine and stick with it.

Mel Robbins alluded to the importance of having a morning routine that we also talked about earlier in the year. You must come up with a morning routine that you do every single morning, or at least more mornings than not, that puts you in control of yourself and in control of your day. You will be amazed by the power that you get from starting your day off right and being bigger than your excuses and being in control.

First and foremost, wake up on time. When that alarm goes off, get yourself out of bed. Why is that important? For persistence, says Mel Robbins. This is because the first decision that you are making of the day is to actually get up and get moving. That means you are persistently bigger than your excuses. You are persistently bigger than feeling lazy. And you are persistently beating the feelings that typically stop you.

Secondly, figure out your priorities for the day and then get to work on them. These are the things that matter to you. Whether it's sharpening your skills on a certain subject, or getting your reports ready for a meeting; or whether it's changing how you treat your spouse or your kids, or getting some exercise going because you said you would.

Start your day by getting up on time, figuring out your priorities and getting to work on them. Have the focus and the discipline to start your day off with you in control and with your priorities front and center. Find a routine and stick with it day in day out and don't allow your excuses to stop you. Refuse to let other people's priorities hijack your day by laying out your priorities on a schedule to make sure you get them done first.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 35: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part V)

Breaking your fast successfully

Every fast gets broken at some point. If you mess up on your fast and you eat the thing you were giving up, that's one kind of "breaking your fast." But, if you finish the entire time period you planned to fast without eating or doing the thing you gave up, you still have to "break your fast." So how do you do that? Here are some keys Jamie gave to successfully breaking a fast:

If you break your fast early:

If you find yourself breaking your fast before you planned to, don't beat yourself up. However, if God called you to fast for that original time period, jump right back onto your fast. Repent and rededicate yourself and your fast back to the Lord and get right back on that fast! The Bible continually reminds us to pay our vows to the Lord. So, go ahead and finish all the days you originally promised God. You will be glad you did.

If you finish your fast:

But if you finish all your fasting days successfully, you still must be careful breaking your fast. If you have abstained from all food, take great care when you begin eating again. Eat only light foods that are easy on your stomach - nothing heavy or fatty at first. Eating heavy foods too soon can hurt you and send your body into a tailspin.

It's good to bring your fast to a spiritual conclusion as well. When your fast is over, sit down with the Lord and talk to Him about how it went. Talk with Him (pray) about what you learned, what He did, and what He taught you during the fast. Additionally, don't be like the lepers who got healed but never turned around to thank Jesus. Be sure to thank the Lord for everything you can think of, and write down what He did on your journal as a memorial to His work!

Jamie concludes the study by reiterating that fasting can be easy, fun and glorious. It doesn't have to be hard. She reminds us that the keys to victorious fasting are simply to:

  • Keep our minds on Jesus at all times
  • Seek God first
  • Prepare for our fast in advance, and
  • Cast all our cares upon the Lord - even our cares about the fast itself

If we will do these things, we will see the Lord use our fasts to take us into a whole new experience with Him! I am grateful to Jamie Rohrbaugh for providing this study in the YouVersion Bible App. I hope that you too are inspired as I am to take your fasting to the next level.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 34: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part IV)

Thwart the enemy's attack

Some of the fasting failures we have had are as a result of falling prey to the enemy's attack on our fasts and we didn't even know it. Now that we are aware that the enemy may attempt to distract us from our fasts by tossing darts at us, we need to learn how to thwart the enemy's attack against our fasts. Here is what Jamie had to say;

As you move through your fast, it is possible - indeed, likely - that you will notice spiritual warfare against your fast. The devil loves to send darts against anyone who is seeking God.

The good news is that we don't have to give in to any of the evil darts the enemy sends against us. Satan and his minions are defeated foes, for Jesus Christ defeated them all with His life, death and resurrection. All we have to do is stay hidden in Jesus and wear the armor of God, and we will defeat the devil every time.

Examples of enemy darts you may see launched against you during your fast include;

  • Abnormal, crazy, even ludicrous demand on your time from outside sources (sometimes in ways that appear fun like parties or dinners).
  • People around you becoming grumpy towards you for no apparent reason
  • Temptation to violate your fast everywhere you turn (free snacks at your office, lunch or dinner invitations, more food commercials on TV than you have ever seen in your life, etc)

These types of things can often be the devil's attempt to rob you of your prayer/Bible study time; to get your mind off Jesus and get you responding/talking out of your flesh; or even trying to divert you from your fast completely.

When these things happen, what can we do? Jamie recommends that we anticipate these things and proactively thwart each dart before it gets to us. Here's how?

1. Purposefully clear your schedule of as many things as you can

The enemy would love to distract you with busyness to rob you of your prayer/Bible study time as you fast. Counteract this by putting your time alone with the Lord on your calendar. Do what it takes to safeguard your time with the Lord. Honour the Lord and honour your fast. This is a precious time!

2. Use hunger as a reminder to pray

When you feel hungry, stop and pray for awhile. Pray to draw closer to Jesus. Ask God to accept your hunger as an offering to Him, a sweet fragrance in His nostrils. Ask Him to take your hunger for food away, and give you a hunger for Jesus instead. Pray for grace to fast, and pray through your prayer list. When you use hunger and cravings as a reminder to  pray, the enemy often quits tempting you with hunger. But even if he doesn't, you can thwart those darts by simply turning them around and using them as prayer reminders.

3. Help keep your emotions in check by thanking God often and giving generously

Hunger sometimes plays on our emotions. If you get hungry, it can be easy to get grumpy too. That's exactly what the enemy wants: he wants you to take your mind off Jesus so he can ravage your life. To counteract these darts of the enemy, be aggressive about blessing God during your fast. Focus on your many blessings and thank God for them all. Help somebody every day during your fast. Offer up both your thanksgiving and your generous acts of service to others as a love offering to God. This beats the enemy at his own game, and it is part of what  makes fasting acceptable to the Lord. Above all else, remember fasting is about seeking God and aligning our hearts with His.

Psalms 91 says that if we dwell in the "secret place" of God's presence, we will be safely hidden under his shadow. No evil can befall us there, and nothing evil can even approach our house. So, let's remember to seek Him first and foremost during our fasts, and we will be completely protected. Next, we will finalize with how to break our fasts successfully.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 33: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part III)

Seek God First

Having seen how to prepare for a fast, let's now consider what we should do when fasting. Jamie reiterated that the main to-do list during a fast is seeking God first. The Bible tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we do that, God will give us everything else we need. We should remember and obey this command all the time, but especially while we are fasting.

Here is the thing, if you forget to seek God first while you're fasting, what good does your fasting do? Without seeking God, your fasting becomes deprivation at best and starvation at worst.

Fasting is only fun, fruitful, and even easy if you are so consumed with God that food loses it's importance! So be sure to seek God first during your fast. So, how do we seek God during a fast? Here's how;

1. Spend time alone with Him at the very beginning of every day.

Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer and get first of all in harmony with Him. This is a tangible way to put Him first. When you seek Him first, the rest of the day just flows. Things work, and there's order and calmness even in midst of chaos. God will make it worth your while if you will seek Him first each day.

2. Keep a journal, and write down what God does and what He says to you.

God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. So, as you walk through your fast, keep your eyes out for God's hand at work in your life. When you see Him move, write down what He does and says. Doing so creates a memorial of thanksgiving to Him.

3. Maintain a high level of expectation every day of your fast.

Psalm 23 says that the Lord's goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. In other words, every day - and certainly everyday while you are fasting - you can expect something good to happen. In my experience, you get what you expect. As Jesus said over and over in the Gospels, "According to your faith be it unto you." Expect breakthrough every single day of your fast.

As you purposefully seek God during your fast, the enemy may toss darts at you. However, you can defeat him easily as you learn to recognize those darts. Next, we will talk about how to recognize and overcome them. Seeking God first during your fast is the best protection from the enemy's darts you could ever have.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi

 

 

Volume 09, Issue 32: Seeking God Through Fasting (Part II)

Preparation for fasting

Jamie's plan was all about fasting and loving it. It's teaching us how to fast and pray with joy, power and miraculous results. She says that we can live a lifestyle of fasting and prayer, and it can be easy! This girl speaks my language. Let's see what Jamie had to say on preparation for fasting.

For our fast to be victorious, we need to prepare for it several days in advance. Here is how you prepare:

1. Pray about your fast through the day for several days before you start

Ask God to give you the desire to fast, so that fasting will be easy. Pray also that God would give you so much hunger and passion for Him that your desire for food pales in comparison to your desire for Him. Ask Him to keep your body strong and steady during the fast. Ask Him to keep your mood steady; your insulin and glucose stable; and your stomach calm.

If we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, God's word promises to keep us stable and steady - Psalms 91:1

2. Write down your prayer list

Decide why you are fasting in advance, and write down a list that you will pray over repeatedly during your fast. For example:

  • Are you fasting to draw closer to Jesus?
  • Are you fasting because you sense God wants to do something new in your life, and you are drawing closer to Him and asking Him to do it?
  • Are you fasting for breakthrough in your own life or someone else's regarding a particular situation?

No matter why you are fasting or what you need, write down your prayer list. Use that list to inspire you to stay on your fast. Keeping a list will also help you notice God's answers. Write down a list of your biggest needs, then pray through the list each day.

3. Schedule time to pray and read the Bible during your fast

Fasting without prayer equals a really miserable form of dieting. Nobody has time for that! Be sure to set aside time in your schedule in advance so that you can pray and spend time alone with the Lord every day during your fast.

4. Prepare your body practically

First, drink lots of water. Drinking water while you fast will curb your hunger and will help you feel full. It will also cleanse your body and help eliminate the headaches that can occur when people fast.

Secondly, pare down your eating for a few days before your fast. If you eat fewer or no sugary snack foods or high-calorie meals for a few days before your fast begins, your body will have an easier time adjusting to your fasting regimen.

Then begin the fast after 2-4 days of preparation time. Next, we will delve into what to do during a fast.

 

For His Glory,

Lillian Chebosi