DAY 34 – LENT 2020

We will never forget this LENT – it will mark the rest of our lives.

The past couple of days, I’ve been hearing again how critical fasting is to ensure our immune systems run at optimal levels. It was sobering to consider that according to Dr. Ken Berry our immune systems when eating the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) full of sugar and extremely high in carbohydrates can diminish the are immune systems by as much as 70%!

And the wisdom of intermittent fasting (I.F.) – the earliest Christians practiced this type of fasting regularly. We call it I.F. today, but it has been the practice since the beginning of our faith.

Two days of weekly fasting throughout the year. Extended fasting annually during Lent. God knew how the bodies He designed would function the best and yet we have largely abandoned the practice.

Everything that can be shaken is being shaken in our lives. And the single most powerful tool we have to live optimally is a healthy low carb diet, a regular practice of I.F. and mixing in genuine days/times of fasting.

I wonder if one of the fruits of LENT this year will be a great revolution with regards to lifestyle changes? When all the data is analyzed in the coming months/years as to who were able to best fight off and recover from COVID-19, will people finally be willing to admit that a LCHF lifestyle with fasting was the best way to be living?

I think that his might be one of the lasting legacies from LENT 2020.

DAY 30 – LENT 2020

What strange days these have been! And yet, I cannot think of a better time to be fasting than at this time of crisis.

Fasting enhances everything – there is a sensitivity when fasting that I am noticing this year more than ever before.

I am more sensitive to the Lord’s voice, to His promptings.

I am more aware of the needs of the people around me.

I am more willing to pray for anyone and everyone I am meeting.

I am more bold in my willingness to share the hope that I have within me.

I am not afraid of COVID-19 (unlike so many Christians at this time) as I know that my immune system is operating on “all cylinders” – it is truly ‘turbo charged’ in this time of crisis.

I am motivated daily to keep going and stay focused in this season of prayer and fasting.

…for such a time as this!

DAY 26 – LENT 2020 – mental faculties enhanced

So what comes to mind on Day 26? I hosted an early morning prayer meeting, as we can no longer gather after 5pm due to a country-wide curfew being enforced. It was awesome to gather with a group of men to pray for this country, for one another and any other concerns. Gathering for prayer while fasting is something special. It was a special morning.

I followed that by taking a long prayer walk with my wife – and that too was an incredible time together. For us together and for us with the Lord. Prayer knits hearts together. There are a lot of raw emotions that are flaring up in these stressful days – more prayer is needed, not less. Again, fasting is a catalyst.

But the thought I have right now about this day is the mental clarity that happens when we are fasting. The mind works differently. Whatever “sober-minded” means, fasting bring it out!

I have accomplished an incredible amount today – podcasting, writing, corresponding, and even getting an important email update sent out to hundreds of people.

I know that fasting has enhanced everything today. Fasting was catalytic in the productivity. I guess the more we want to accomplish, the more fasting we should be doing!

DAY 25 – LENT 2020 – Fasting and mental endurance

So we press on – Day 25 has begun. 15 more days ahead of us. My body has fully adjusted to this cycle and I experience no physical hunger whatsoever. And so I engage this battle in the mind which actually drives me into more prayer. Even yesterday, I took nearly a 2 hour prayer walk by myself.

Long fasts often feel like a type of ‘psychological warfare’. What do I mean? The vision for a long fast grows in the weeks leading up to the fast. As I began to think about LENT 2020, I began to dream about the things in my life that I wanted to see transformed, areas in my relationship with God that I wanted to see grow.

The beginning of the fast is also mentally quite easy. It is the sprint at the beginning of the race.

The end of a long fast is also like the end of a race where finishing strong is quite normal.

But when we have settled in and we are only 10 or 15 days into a 40-day fast or even now we are 25 days into, everything is getting tested mentally. My commitment to continue is getting tested. There have been a couple of nights, that I have lost sight of the fast, my vision for the fast and have eaten something.

The battle mentally, the ‘psychological warfare’ aspect, is to keep focused on the goals that have been set. Of course the global COVID-19 pandemic became an added focal point which has made this particular fast very motivating! It feels like lives depend upon Christians fasting and praying at this time…why? Because they literally do! That has helped.

LENT 2020 hasn’t been the mental battle that LENT 2019 for the simple reason that last year I went 46 days with no food whatsoever, with no feasting days! The one day of feasting per week this year has helped. I guess it feels more like I am doing 6 one-week fasts, more than a single 40-day fast.

DAY 24 – LENT 2020 – You can ask “WHY” but hold any answer loosely.

Even as politicians, medical professionals and other media people are looking for someone or something to blame for the Coronavirus, so too are spiritual leaders across the world. The million-dollar question that anyone and everyone is trying to answer is “Why”???

This blog post is about the more theological/philosophical question, “Why is this happening?”, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. And there are no shortage to answers being given. I live in the Middle East so I am hearing and reading daily about the Islamic answers being proposed. And mixed into their theological proposals, there are incredible conspiracy theories being entertained as well!

But let us turn as Christians for a moment to consider the many answers that are being given by different Christian voices. My email inbox is full and social media is buzzing with diverse answers. I’ve seen the MSM media bring on famous pastors for their commentary in recent days. And what is being said? Some are ‘sure’ this is God’s judgment, others are ‘sure’ that this is a demonic attack, while others are ‘sure’ that COVID-19 like any and all other diseases is merely something that happens in the fallen world in which we live. To add further confusion, there are those who are advocating a mixture of two or three of these positions! And then these Christians leaders can all quote Scriptures to support their conclusions.

People of faith can and are walking away confused from these mixed messages. To be honest, some are completely contradicting one another. And it becomes even more confusing when some are claiming that God has revealed to them the answer!

I jumped in on a virtual men’s Bible Study the other day and all of these sentiments were expressed – and interestingly, it largely was dependent upon the type of Church that the men came from. Those who came from churches that strongly emphasize God’s meticulous control over everything that happens were speaking about God’s role. To be fair, some softened their language to talk about God “allowing” this for some purpose. Others from more of a Charismatic/Pentecostal background viewed this as a demonic attack/assignment. From across the spectrum, there were those who were thinking of this as God’s judgment on a world that has largely turned their backs on Him.

So why am I weighing in? Do I have an opinion? For me personally, it doesn’t matter that much. I can see how people can build any case they want to build as to “why” this is happening. People I know and trust are coming to entirely different conclusions.

My belief is that God doesn’t answer our “why” questions nearly as often as we think He does/is. I am not saying there isn’t an answer, but without special revelation, we simply cannot know what it is. Some will say, “Exactly and God has revealed to me such and such a thing” – but then again, I am watching well-known Christian voices from the very parts of the Church that claim “special revelation” contradicting one another.

So my counsel in all of this is think deeply, pray fervently, study diligently, listen carefully and then whatever conclusion you come to, HOLD IT LOOSELY!

What is clear is that there are many things that we can/should be doing over and against fighting amongst ourselves as to why this is happening. I am fasting and praying. I am seeking the Lord. I am endeavoring to love others well, to encourage people and help them overcome their fears in this hour.

One day we will know “why”. Not just to this question but to every single question. And that to me is one of the things I look forward to in eternity in the Age to Come.

Summary: you might know why, you might not know why, or you might know part of the reason why…therefore humbly hold your answer(s) loosely. In the meantime, do and be what you know to do and be as a Christian.

…for such a time as this

#coronavirus #covid-19 #why #theodicy #cause #sovereignty #evil

DAY 23 – LENT 2020 – Since everything has changed… what about YOUR diet???

We will never forget 2020. Even if the COVID-19 phenomenon ends tomorrow, we’ve all been marked by this. It is a global marker that we were all remember for the rest of our lives.

I realize that when God got my attention back in 2015 about my. toxic diet and my addiction to sugar, that He most certainly had in mind THIS event. By God’s grace, I’ve been able to point people to a low carb lifestyle and right now, my parents-in-law, who are in their 70’s and fully Keto, are at far less risk from the Coronavirus than they would have been had they not changed their diets. Their story alone would make it all worth it, but there are many many others – I think of one of my colleagues who has lost over 100lbs following Keto. She too is far healthier right now and not feeling nearly as vulnerable to the pandemic as she would have been had she not made the dietary lifestyle changes.

I am sad for the many others who I have tried to motivate – I sent them all the resources, the studies, the before/after pictures, the video links…BUT still no changes in their diets. Still obese, still unhealthy, still on a trajectory to not live their full lifespans due to their negligence…AND at this time, I am sure many of them wish they had followed my advice (or the advice/counsel of the people (doctors, nutritionists, health & fitness trainers, etc.) whose resources I sent them. And even re-sent them.

I am sure that people who are metabolically unhealthy, seriously overweight, who do not exercise are that much more fearful in the light of COVID-19 because they are more at risk. This is not disputed.

Sometimes it is ‘godly sorrow’ that leads to real change. And that is my prayer for so many right now. This pandemic has come and will go. And many were unprepared – they were unprepared spiritually, and they were unprepared physically.

But let us let LENT 2020 be the year, that the crucible of these circumstances will mean that this is the LAST TIME you are caught unprepared, unhealthy, obese, vulnerable.

This could be the last global pandemic we have in a long time or it could be a foretaste of what is to come. (Note: the way I read and understand the Bible, and the way it was understood by the earliest Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries), I believe the latter to be the case).

But the question in 2020 is what FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE are you going to do? Will you allow the crucible of these circumstances and your condition to be the catalyst for change? To do whatever it is going to take to ensure that in the future you are prepared?

EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED and so can your diet! So can your health! You can break your addictions! You can lose as much weight as you need to! You can ensure that the next time your life might depend upon your health and fitness being optimal (as it does right now), that you are ready!

Do whatever you need to do…but as Nike has made famous…”JUST DO IT”!

…for such a time as this

DAY 22 – LENT 2020 – Increased Prayer

Sometimes when I am fasting, I am not necessarily increasing my times of prayer which of course isn’t ideal. The whole concept is to “fast AND PRAY”! Just being honest.

…but this LENT is turning out to be quite different. Due to the unusual circumstances, the global crisis with COVID-19, new restrictions being placed upon seemingly daily, our times of prayer have been increased greatly.

My wife and I just got back from literally a 2 hour+ prayer walk. We prayed for ourselves, our community, the country we are living in, and many other things that the Lord led us to pray for.

I know we will look back on this difficult season with incredible gratitude for how God led us in prayer and how He answered our prayers. There are so many things to be exploring with God in these days – I mean most of our hobbies and interests have been taken away (gyms, sports, restaurants/cafes, vacations, etc. etc.). What a time to be laying our lives out before the Lord and just allowing Him to speak into our lives, into our priorities, into situations and even into our futures. So much right now is unknown – nobody knows when or how this COVID-19 thing ends. But we have the privilege of communing now, of connecting daily in prayer with the ONLY ONE who knows the future.

So at the end of our 2 hour prayer walk God had a few divine appointments to end it all off for us! We went into a couple of restaurants and a Caribou Coffee that were open for take out/away, and got to pray for a number of those working – both Christians and non-Christians. What a way to end our time of prayer!!

So whatever you are doing today during LENT 2020, make sure to be praying about anything and everything – because the Lord indeed knows what the days ahead hold for us all and where we are going.

…for such a time as this.