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Archive for the ‘Word-UP Wednesdays’ Category

Howdy!  I apologize that it has been a long time since I posted anything.  In the middle of my ADVENT series, our family got sick.  We licked it in two days, only to have another sickness come back with a vengeance after our kids returned to school.  We spent the whole Christmas Holiday sick, hence so few posts. I think I will complete the ADVENT posts at a later date, in anticipation of next Christmas and re-post them at that time, with some editing.  (When I’m tired I tend to type too much!  I think I embody the term “ruminative writing”…I can hear my Written and Oral Communications prof shout “Cut the fluff!”  Ah, editing, how I love thee…)

I hope you had a Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  This is the time of the year when we set goals and resolutions; this is all very well and good.  However, unless we were given superpowers as a gift at Christmas (!) few of us have acquired the necessary character and ability to keep our resolutions!  We know where we’d like to go this year, but we don’t have the steam to get there.  This Word-UP Wednesday is about a little-used practice that helps us not only set our compass in the right direction, but receive the God-power we need to get there: fasting!

Our first outside source is an interesting site called daniel-fast.com (which also has a blog on wordpress)  According to author Susan Gregory, the Daniel Fast is a restricted vegan diet practiced for up to three weeks.  It is based on Daniel chapters 1 and 10 where the prophet-statesman Daniel fasted from meat, bread, and wine and focused on eating vegetables and drinking water to humble himself before God as he prayed (presumably, three times a day as was his custom).  The word vegetables in Hebrew has been expounded to define anything growing from a seed–including seeds themselves–so that fruit, whole grains, legumes, and nuts are included.  Because this is a fast that includes solid foods, it can be maintained for an extended period of time: traditionally, for three weeks, the time it took for Daniel to receive an answer to prayer when he fasted as recorded in the book of Daniel, chapter 10.

Source: Uploaded by user via Amanda on Pinterest

Susan Gregory has developed recipe books on her website so give you ideas how to fast.  Recipes can be made for the whole family, adding meat and dairy for children or making modifications for family members with health concerns.  Here are some free recipes that should be easy to make.  I came up with a few of my own, which I hope will make it into a Recipe thuRsday post this week (like the Salsa-Stuffed Peppers above).

Our second outside source is a local area church (Bethany Assembly) who is doing the 21-day fast as part of its series on gaining Momentum in the New Year.  If you’d like to join in, here are short, daily devotionals–statements of faith and prayers based on Scripture–that accompany each of the 21 days.

Our third outside source (Jentezen Franklin Media Ministries) is a short outline of a Daniel Fast used to ask God for healing.  The website also has fasting contracts that responsible family members can sign and keep each other accountable to.

Explanations of the spiritual benefits and reasons for the fast are given at the above sites.  I hope you will use them to celebrate the New Year in a way that keeps you running strong in Hope until the next year (and beyond).  God really does speak to us when we seek Him with diligence!

Helping of Hope.  Right Choice: Use Daniel-Fasting to ask God FIRST what He may accomplish through you this year; humble yourself (through denying certain foods and acknowledging your dependence on Him) to bring yourself in agreement with His much better plan for you.  Bright Future: a greater power at work in your life to transform you into someone God can use to defeat giants, move mountains, and minister to hurting people!

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Word-up Wednesdays are all about sharing a “word” from an external source that pertains to making right choices in Faith, Family, Food or Fun.  Today’s word-up is: Get your Word on!

The Bible is one of the best resources for advice on all four F’s and is a source of hope for many.  It isn’t a judgmental, hypocritical, ancient book!  It has erotic love poetry, vibrant history, emotional prophecy, comforting promises, principles for living a blessed life, and warnings about unseen dangers.  More importantly, it comes from the God Who gave us the capacity for Faith and Fun and Who blesses us with Food and Family.

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, why not get into the very book that instigated both the Pilgrim’s dinner at Plymouth Rock and the Thanksgiving proclamation by Abraham Lincoln?  You may discover that you have one more thing to be thankful for 🙂

One of the pastors at my church (Jeremy Godwin) has written several how-tos that should make Bible-reading more interesting and “organic” (I love organic things, don’t you?).  I’ve put a couple of my own comments on his relatively short posts: I’d love to see some of yours there too.  Here are some direct links to Pastor Jeremy’s “Beyond Just Reading” series:

Beyond Just Reading: Round 1 (Slow Reading with Strange Questions)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 2 (Exhaust a Scripture)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 3 (Exhaust a Topic)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 4 (Bio of a Builder)

Beyond Just Reading: Round 5 (Fact Check a Preacher)

Helping of HopeRight choice: Get your “Word-on” in the way that suits your personality and learning style best: read the original Hope resource, the Bible!  (I hope you’ll follow Jeremy Godwin’s blog too: he has a lot of great stuff about relationships and communication too).  Bright future: a closer awareness of the One who wants the best for your Faith, Family, Food, and Fun.  His “Word” (the Bible) will show you how to receive blessings in each of those F’s as you draw closer to Him by spending time reading His Love Letter to YOU.

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I hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween.  I’m starting a new segment on Wednesdays that includes hope-filled ideas from outside sources.  Today’s Word-Up is: REDEEM HALLOWEEN!

I love celebrations because they contain all four F’s: FAITH, FAMILY, FOOD, & FUN!  I think it is important to redeem Halloween as a kickoff celebration to Thanksgiving: let’s spend a whole month celebrating all the goodies we have in Christ!  To that end, here is a link to Pastor Jack Hayford’s encouragement for the season (“Redeeming Halloween”), the source of our Word-Up Wednesday theme.

In “Redeeming Halloween”, Pastor Hayford uses Biblical examples to demonstrate how we can impact our culture with light while avoiding our tendency to protest, denominational separatism, moral snobbishness, and sniping at cultural traditions.  Instead, he asserts, we need to positively reflect Christ in how we celebrate this season by using His creativity and “flavor” to represent Him in an accurate and attractive way.  Halloween–or Hallowed Evening–whatever it’s alleged connection to older, pagan traditions, was the evening before the celebration of Christian saints and martyrs on All Saints Day (November 1st).  Hallowed Eve is supposed to be like Christmas Eve, feasting in anticipation of the next day’s observances.  Pastor Hayford recommends the following ways Christians can “Redeem Halloween” and bring it back to its original import (paraphrased with suggestions from me):

  • Emphasize the “gratitude” theme with Halloween as the kickoff and Thanksgiving as the Grand Finale.  Helping of Hope suggestion: You could cut out leaves for a Thanksgiving Tree on Halloween, have party guests or immediate family write what they are thankful for on them, pin them to a felt or foam core tree and send out the rest of the leaves to more distant relatives and friends (or take extra leaves to church/school for others to fill out).  Children love receiving the leaves back in the mail and reading with anticipation what each person is thankful for before pinning them on the tree!  You can re-read the leaves on Thanksgiving–when you take the tree down–and say a whopping prayer of thanks to cover them all!

    A new Reason for the Season! I made this tree out of foam core, painted it, and hung it to the wall with a 3M strip. We use push-pins to hold the leaves in place (make sure they don’t go into the wall! You may need to make your tree of two layers if you have long pins)

  • Share testimonies (personal stories) of how God has provided for and delivered you (healing, comfort, etc.)  Helping of Hope suggestion: Children love stories!  My Mom has a story of a friend whose club foot/shrunken leg was healed right next to her at Bible college.  You don’t forget a story like that any time soon!  If you don’t have any miraculous stories like that, consider  sharing other ways God has been faithful to you or ask relatives or a pastor for stories of God’s faithfulness to share.  Your denomination may have a publication detailing God’s amazing work around the globe and this may spur your family on to start an adventure all your own, creating new stories for next year!
  • Show adventure videos portraying heroes of the faith.  Helping of Hope suggestion: for older children, Voice of the Martyrs has books and videos detailing how famous Christians have suffered for their faith and overcome.  Use your best judgment when discussing with children the cost martyrs are willing to pay for our freedom today.
  • Have children reenact heroic Bible stories and record them to play for next year.
  • Engage in traditional Halloween fare like pumpkin carving and trick-or treating (chaperoned to protect from scary or occult themes) but with a “saints” theme: go as Bible Characters or even modern-day heroes of the faith (like Tim Tebow).  Helping of Hope suggestion: Churches, Schools, and Malls can all be safer places to trick-or-treat to reinforce the positive aspect of the Hallowed Eve celebration.   Trade trick-or-treat gatherings with healthier candy!

Helping of Hope: Halloween isn’t too far gone.  Right Choice: Culture starts at home!  Make new, God-honoring traditions that invite family and friends to celebrate “Hallowed E’en” in its original, positive context.  Bright future: a significant cultural impact that empowers present and future loved ones to reach out to communities with hope and light.

In keeping with redeeming Halloween, I’ve pinned a fruit salad idea that works well for Kids and helps to reinforce Halloween decor.  Enjoy!

Source: via Amanda on Pinterest

 

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