Lent | Fasting: Day

The why of fasting

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Today's Text: Isaiah 58:1-14

psst – look for a note about #SheSharesTruth at the bottom of the page!

Text: Isaiah 58:1-14, Luke 6:21, Psalm 73:25, 26

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”
-John Piper, A Hunger for God

We had suffered a severe loss – our baby daughter – and we were sitting at our kitchen table with an older couple who had a similar loss two decades earlier. I’ll never forget how she described the feeling I hadn’t been able to put into words: “Losing a child makes you feel less bolted down to Earth. We are being weaned – our longings are changing.

I think fasting can have a similar effect. In fact, I believe it’s meant to.

Fasting isn’t about inflicting pain upon our bodies and it’s not about removing sin from our lives – the latter would be repentance and should not be limited to a season. Biblical fasting is a withholding of things – good things – that have taken a too-important role in our lives. Fasting is about dependence. 

Losing a child is an extreme example, but it shows us that often, it takes extreme circumstances to awaken us to our need for our Savior – to wean us from our earthly comforts. Fasting is a way of awakening that need – a way of saying I’m not hungry for God the way I want to be – I have too many comforts tuning out my need for Him and I want to silence something loud for a season in an effort to shift that dependence to Christ. 

The kind of fasting I’m talking about is the practice of removing distractions. An elimination of good things that have become too important. Sometimes fasting involves food, but certainly not always. It could be a season where you read no other books but the Bible, or when you spend your evening television time in prayer.

Wherever there is a subtraction, let there also be an addition.
When you remove a comfort, apply a discipline.
Wherever you find success in your efforts, thank the Lord.
And wherever you fail, thank Him also. For there you will discover your great need for Him.

Luke 6:21 says, “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied.”

In Psalm 73:25, 26 David says, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

While Lent is not biblically mandated, repentance is. We don’t need a date on the calendar to tell us it’s time to free fall into the arms of our all-satisfying Savior; but this season of approaching the cross is in so many ways a process of emptiness to fullness. It is timely for us to consider where our affections lie – what earthly pleasures distract us from heavenly ones.

Are you feeling bolted down to Earth, comfortably satisfied with a life that has little need for a Savior? Or are you achy and empty, ready to drink in the living water that can satisfy you forever?

“And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
Isaiah 58:11

Hey loves,

Just a quick note to tell you that – WOW – we loved seeing all of the #SheSharesTruth devotionals pour in over the weekend! Between the link-up itself and the links in the comments of the post, we think there were over 200 women studying and writing about Psalm 130 together! We’ve been working our way through the list and haven’t gotten to through all of them yet, but we are crazy blessed by what we see happening! 

Let’s do it again this week, shall we?

So, for Friday, we encourage you to study Psalm 38 – another penitential Psalm. This one is a little longer (I know some of you girls memorized Psalm 130 as a part of your study last week), but may I recommend even copying it down in a journal, then re-writing it in your own words, or re-reading it in several translations as a way to grasp what David is saying?

However you work (we know everyone has their own methods!), we are looking forward to Friday where you can share in your own words what the Holy Spirit is teaching you in Psalm 38. No pressure – but we’d love to have you join us!

  • Aj Herodias

    I learned a lot about fasting with The Mystery of an Empty Stomach by Pastor Joey Bonifacio which tackled about how Jesus used the wedding as a metaphor of fasting in Mark 2:19 and Luke 5:34. I hope you ladies would anticipate more of Jesus when you stoop down and fast. God bless your day!

  • Lisa Selan

    This was perfect for me today!!! I chose to give something up during this season because I knew that it was more about me – my desire truly is less of me and more of Him! But, in the last week when I subtracted that ‘good’ thing what had I added back in that was more of Him? This has challenged me to place in this void more of Jesus – praying and reading is Word. I am excited for today!!! #onlyGod

  • Viktoriya Montik

    This has been eye-opening to me! For years I tried to understand fasting, and I’m finally beginning to grasp the why of it. Before I saw it as a religious way to show God how desperate I am for Him to hear me. I know He does, and now I think it’s a way for me to grow stronger in my faith and learn to say no to the world and it’s comforts and YES to our God and friend! Thank you and may God continue to bless each and every one of you ladies!

  • Rebekah Noel

    Hi there! I want to receive the emails and become a part of this :)

  • yngmxuoo

    Tom learned of Hucks sickness and went to see him on Friday, but instant payday loans yhxqkbtoq payday loans payday loans http://bestpaydayloansnocreditcheck.co.uk of natives all dressed in long clean white garments whichthey wear with dignity and ease.

  • What am I clinging to that’s tuning out my hunger for God? What do I need to reconfigure to get my focus on God?

    I want to memorize and meditate on his word. I want his word to come to my mind at every moment; because every moment I need it to guide me.

    I don’t want my flesh ruling my emotions, my thoughts, my choices. I want the Spirit ruling all.

    I want love to clearly be my choice in all things. In every day of my life.

  • I loved the passage in Luke, that reminds us that we may be hungry now but we WILL be satisfied. It's almost a reminder of his promises for me, that he WILL take care of me, do not worry.
    I've thought of my Lent commitment as a way of directing me back to his word, but I love how you put it…being "tied down to earth" and the things we "give up" aren't typically "BAD" things, they can be good. A reminder that putting anything before our God is wrong, it's not necessarily what we put before him that is bad, it's the simple truth that HE is our priority and focus in this life.
    I'm LOVING this series, ladies! Thank you SO MUCH!

  • camillabering

    Thankful for today's reading, both Raechel's words and the scripture, just wanted to highlight a couple of things that convicted/stood out to me.

    "Are you feeling bolted down to Earth, comfortably satisfied with a life that has little need for a Savior? Or are you achy and empty, ready to drink in the living water that can satisfy you forever?"

    I so often live a life of complacency, it is comfortable and downs't require a lot from me. But it leaves me feeling empty, and not quite satisfied. I want to drink in he living water that can satisfy forever, I want to be so in love with the Lord that it shines through and affects every area of my life. The way I live and love.

    “And the Lord will guide you continually
    and satisfy your desire in scorched places
    and make your bones strong;
    and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”
    Isaiah 58:11

    Then these verses reminded me of a song I haven't listened to in a few years, so simple and so true. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHTFsggjTkA

    God has redeemed me, not I. God has fed me, not I. He has given me living water, not I. He has renewed and healed me, not I. and NOTHING is impossible for Him. I am learning this over and over and over again: Him not me. HIM. He has done it all, so I don't have to. I just get to receive grace upon grace as he pours it on me.

  • Isaiah 58:1-14 (with particular reference to verses 6 to 9)

    What really struck me about this passage is that when God talks about the kind of fasting that is acceptable to Him, that gets his attention, He is talking about things that remove the focus from ourselves. In the previous verses, He talks about how we ‘humble ourselves’, ‘bow our heads down like reeds’, ‘spread sackcloth and ashes beneath ourselves’ – the focus is all on us and how ‘contrite’ we are. BUT! In the latter verses (6 to 7), He says the fasting he accepts is one where we loose the bonds of wickedness (could be through intercession, could be even literal), we free the oppressed, we share our bread/clothes/homes with those who don’t have, we give, give, give and give again! The focus is never on us in these verses – the focus is always on the Message that we are bringing to others around us!

  • Ashley Lynn

    Praying that my subtraction is adding more of the Lord in my life! I open my heart to him– now and always! Thanks for another great devotional!

  • cindyvcordeiro

    Lovely & touching. Thank you for reminding me once again why I need to fast this Lenten season.

  • "• We fast because we’re hungry for God’s Word and God’s Spirit in our lives.
    • We fast because we long for God’s glory to resound in the church and God’s praise to resound among the nations.
    • We fast because we yearn for God’s Son to return and God’s kingdom to come.
    • Ultimately we fast simply because we want God more than we want anything this world has to offer us."
    ~Preface points from Francis Chan and David Platt of the "Hunger for God" by John Piper; (which I have been reading on and off since I read Rachel's quote and listened to the video I linked by my 1st comment)… just HUNGERING for GOD …

    Blessings and thanks for the prayers to those who prayed for my husband,
    Peggy

  • jojoparks28

    I now have a better understanding about "season of lent" , as always thanks to you SRT,honestly I never read the bible until I started reading SRT…the feeling of longing to know everything about Jesus is slowly (but SURELY) being satisfied…

    have a blessed day girls!

  • Mary Kelly Roberts

    I am loving this devotional today. I am doing Kelly Minter's "No Other God's" Bible study right now and todays devotional ties right in! Which I know is no coincidence. You should definitely check it out if you are serious about ridding yourself of idols!

  • EssieJean

    Oh wow. Like so many of you, Isaiah 58 hit me hard with it's beauty and truth! Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible (in fact, I love all of the prophets – people usually look at me like I'm slightly cookoo when I say that…), but, somehow, I'd never noticed this passage before. What a wealth of encouragement and conviction can be found here!

  • Nicole Rodriguez

    I cried today. I needed to cry. My husband and I lost our second child – a baby boy – almost 8 years ago. This March 26 will be 8 years that he was born and died. He was stillborn. My heart still aches for him.

    But like you stated above, "Losing a child makes you feel less bolted down to Earth. We are being weaned – our longings are changing."

    Oh how true this is.

    I never knew God and His love and faithfulness like I know Him now.

    I'm still not where I should/want to be in my walk with Him. I have so many earthly desires that convict me on a daily basis. But Sisters, can I tell you how badly I yearn for Heaven?! Don't get me wrong, I love my life here and my husband and I were blessed with two more sons after losing Alex, but just knowing my baby boy is in Heaven waiting for me — Oh how I cannot wait for the day!

    This Lent devotional series is making my heart ache – and in only the best way possible. I love this place of sisterhood and faith.

    • Claire

      My heart breaks for you, cry and cry out to the Lord he will be your rock through the pain. Praying x

    • tina

      Nicole, I am truly sorry for your loss….I pray God be with you in that terrible ache, that mothers ache for a child not in her arms….I pray the Lord gives you the peace in knowing that Alex though he is not here with you, he is safe with the Lord and one day, one day soon you will be together again……that is MY prayer too, nearly 10 years on…..but, can I also say to you dear sister, in love, that you are where you are meant to be……you are NOT where you USED to be… God orders our steps…He guides us, and He has you in His arms right now…..
      God bless you dear sister… Tina x x x

  • ricea710

    Fasting for me is a time in which I try my better self. Not to say I'm not a good Christian or anything like that, but this past year has led myself to stray away from my faith. My mother always told me when I was younger that instead of giving something up, I could work on something else. Recently, I let go of someone in my life who at first meant a lot to me. Letting go of this person has been tough therefore; I am putting my faith in Christ that He will bring myself out of this troubled time. Through this season of lent, I have been focusing on letting go and it has been working, of course it has because Christ never leaves us.

  • Rachel Nordgren

    Woah baby…Isaiah 58 just sent my head spinning today. Thank you, Lord, for such a clear picture of what You desire fasting to be!

    I feel like the Lord may be imposing a Lenten fast on me…I didn't make a conscious decision to give anything up. Ladies, I have been plagued with the most terrible nightmares for the past couple of weeks. Wars, blood, rape, bombs, my husband dying, animals being abused, being chased through dark buildings and being trapped on sinking ships. I've woken up drenched in sweat and felt like an emotional wreck for the rest of the day. I've been so mad at the Lord, asking Him why He won't just take the night terrors away and let me sleep in peace. I think it is because He wants me to depend on Him in the darkness of the night, when I am tempted to rely on sleep instead of Him for peace and rest.

    Please pray for me, that either the nightmares would cease or the purpose of them would be revealed. Pray that I would deeply know my need for the saving grace and comfort of our Jesus.

    • tina

      Rachael, praying you are covered with the peace of the Lord tonight and throughout this week….I pray psalm 91 over you….especially verse 1-5….whoever goes to the Lord for safety…….you are my God, in YOU I trust…….He will keep you safe……He will cover you with His wings, you will be safe in His care, His faithfulness will protect and defend you….
      Keep safe dear friend, sweet dreams…..x x x x

      • Rachel Nordgren

        Thank you, Tina! Jesus brought Psalm 91:5 up for me…"You will not fear the terror of the night" and that was definitely on my mind as I was falling asleep. Last night was sweetly dreamless, and I am so thankful!

    • EssieJean

      Oh dear. That sounds so terrible! I'll never forget one time when a mentor of mine told me that every time she wakes up from a bad dream, she uses that time to pray for the first person who comes to her mind upon waking (i.e. your husband after the dream about him). Maybe the Lord is trying to get your attention about something like that? I will definitely pray for you – exactly like you said – that either the nightmares will go away, or their purpose will be revealed.

      • Rachel Nordgren

        I'm not exactly sure what the Lord is trying to get my attention about, but I will definitely use that if (ugh…the pessimist in me says "when") the dreams come back. Prayer is the way to focus my mind back on Him instead of on the fear from my dreams.

  • teawithsb

    This is such a beautiful portrayal of fasting. It also changed my heart towards fasting. In all the years of hearing about fasting and even participating a couple of times, I never thought of it as removing things and stir actions that tether us to this world. Thank you so much!

  • WOW. Isaiah 58 has never spoken to me as loudly and so clearly as it did today. Thank you Lord for this study.

  • Praying for your husband, Guest. (I’m on my phone and not sure how to reply to just your post.)

    I find so much encouragement here everyday. Thank you to SRT and the commenters!! I enjoy coming to this place each day and finding so much truth and love in one place. My heart is so thankful!!

    I hope each and everyone of you have a blessed day!

    • Guest

      Thanks Kyla! I appreciate your prayers. (I don't know how to do it via a phone either…no problem though) Peggy

  • amcdonald21

    Such a beautiful devotion today. Isaiah 58 rocked my world. "Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" Amen and amen. Lord, help me to see the people I come into contact with every day who are broken, who need you. Let me see them the way you do. May I be your hands and feet, for your glory, and may your light shine through me. Help me to be transparent, so that your love will be evident.

    God bless you all!

    • Rachel Nordgren

      Isaiah 58 rocked me, too! I know I've read it before, but today it just leapt off the page. Amen!

  • I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it, when it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus.

    This is what my heart keeps singing through this Lenten season.

  • Raechel, there is so much truth here; solid food, that I need to read it all again! When you said "Fasting is about dependance." This was a new thought for me. So grateful to be studying up on the biblical fasting.

    • Raechel Myers

      Thanks, Valanne! I feel like I'm learning right alongside you all! The Spirit cuts into me with these words just as much as he does y'all!

  • im surely gonna join. Been anticipating this weeks devotionals since Friday. I myself was blessed by last week's. Glory be to God. Im so excited. God bless you all.

  • Janee White

    For once, I have so much to say, but can't say a thing. I've been rocked by the scriptures that I have read – rocked by what Raechel wrote. Rocked by the timing of this all – and literally shaken to the core by His faithfulness found in promises.

    So much to say – yet speechless. So I just say thank you.

  • Beautiful devotion on "why? fasting" … from beginning to end. Thanks Rachel! I love the quote from "Hunger for God" (book by John Piper) and the tie-in of all the scriptures but THIS is what I'm taking away today straight from you, God's heart in these your words:

    :Wherever there is a subtraction, let there also be an addition.
    When you remove a comfort, apply a discipline.
    Wherever you find success in your efforts, thank the Lord.
    And wherever you fail, thank Him also. For there you will discover your great need for Him."

    This is what I needed!

    But because "Hunger for God" is where I am, I went to follow up your John Piper quote, his book and finally the "Desiring God" website and found this video (besides other blog posts and goodies from John Piper) and just thought I'd share the link here too: http://www.desiringgod.org/seminars/hunger-for-go… and a great link to 146 p. pdf "Hunger fro God" seminar notes … it's like having the real book. (maybe it is) http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/seminar-not

    Blessings SRT and thanks for so many Psalm 130s reflections to read too-looking forward to this 2nd penitential one: Psalm 38 – enJOY a blessed week in God's Word, in His Presence and with SRT,
    Peggy

    I asked for prayers for my husband in the Psalm 130 comments but since there is so many there, easy to miss.

    A week ago, he was in a rollover accident in a truck on MN slippery roads, and praise God, alive and recuperating with a neck brace from a vertebrate injury. Would you please pray for him and that God would use this to bring Jesus salvation message into his heart?

    Thanks!

    • Guest

      Here's another good quote:

      John Piper explains:

      "There is a hunger for God that goes beyond the desire for private experience. It longs for the public display of his glory in the world. It longs for the great dishonors against our God to be set right. It is not content to hope for private revelations of his saving help, as precious as they are. It yearns for the open triumph of his hand in the establishment of God-exalting truth and righteousness — in universities and courts of law and advertising agencies and political debates and all the media of television and radio and newspapers and magazines and movies and the Internet. It is driven by a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples." (A Hunger for God, 165)

    • drasch

      Praying for you and your husband.

    • Candacejo

      Sure will pray for your husband. ♥

    • Valanne

      Praying for your husband's salvation as well as healing from the injuries.

      • Guest

        Thank you Valanne! Thankful for both salvation and healing prayers! May God bless you and yours!

    • Ashley Lynn

      prayers sent!

  • Fasting in my mind was always giving up something to highlight prayer, denying myself of something to let God know I’m serious about what I’m praying for. While I believe that is a part of fasting, I’ve never looked at fasting as a letting go of the distractions that keep me from a close relationship with my Savior. It’s been one of those “Ah-Ha” moments. Grateful!

    • tina

      Deborah, aren't they amazing……… those ureka moments….uh-ha God does it again….design us just enough to take it in….bless you sister, x x

    • tina

      Sorry Deborah, predictive writing is all well and good, except when you don't check spelling of unusual names…. sorry rebekah….x x

      • tina

        Oops it's done it again…I mean and do type rebekah, but somehow my kindle wants to re name you Deborah, lol…….sorry about that…x x

  • Jacqueline

    I want to silence something loud for a season in an effort to shift that dependance to Christ. #shereadstruth

    This is where I am. Like you guys said: getting to the need(matters of the heart). I am very grateful for all that god is doing through this ministry. These devotions have been giving LIFE I tell you!

    My “loud” has been my desire for marriage. I admire the gift of marriage and desire to share in that calling one day. Marriage is honorable. I know god withholds no good thing from those he love. However, when your desires become your focus and it sits on the thron of your heart- it takes gods place. This is where I dont want to be- in a place where my dependence is upon provision rather than the provider. So as we continue in our season of drawer nearer our first love please keep me lifted in prayer.
    My prayer is that we may not focus on his hand- those things that he gives but that we would get to his heart!

    -God Bless

    • AnnaLee

      I'm in the same boat, Jacqueline! Praying for the both of us. The Lord has perfect timing and will continually guide us and strengthen us in all we do as we submit these things to Him. He knows us, sister. Don't get discouraged.

    • EssieJean

      Oh Sister. I know where you are, because I have been there myself. A little over a year ago, the Lord helped me in a great battle against this very idol in my life. I am so glad to know that He is on my side, and will only do what is best for me, even though that monster may still raise its ugly head every once in a while. I will be praying for you – that you will find your whole worth and identity in your relationship with Him and His love for you!

    • Amanda

      Jacqueline, I completely relate to you! Sometimes my worldly longings become my focus. My desire for LOVE and marriage as well becomes overpowering at times. This series is opening my eyes and reminding me that HE is our provider and he DOES love us! More than any creature on earth ever could, and THAT is amazing and comforting.

  • Angeline

    Out of context this would sound crazy, but Thank You, Lord that I am not in a place where I feel bolted down to earth! Thank You, Lord that I am not in a place of comfort or satisfaction. Thank You, Lord that I am in a place of loss and confusion. I am achy and empty, and I am ready to drink Your living water! Thank you!

    • EssieJean

      Amen, Angeline! I've been in that place of loss and confusion for the past six months, and he Lord has delivered me from parts of the confusion just this weekend. I am so grateful for His provision in my life, but today, I almost found myself wishing I was back there, in that place of totally and completely depending on Him.
      Praying that you will continue to praise Him in your storm, and that He will draw you closer in the midst of your confusion, and that I will learn to continually be that vulnerable before Him, though He has now met some of my needs.

  • Steph_Lilac

    "We don’t need a date on the calendar to tell us it’s time to free fall into the arms of our all-satisfying Savior; but this season of approaching the cross is in so many ways a process of emptiness to fullness." *immediately starts singing "…and I'm freeeeeeeeeeeee free falling."*
    We don't have to wait until designated times of fasting to begin to cut extra distractions out of our life. Wow! Fasting is not relegated to a time frame it's in fact a lifestyle because it creates the habit of giving God His time before we do anything else. This concept just knocked me over my very hard head. My sweet sisters I'm praying that this may be the best fast of our lives. May God keep us and preserve us for His Glory. In Jesus' name, Amen. xoxo

  • wiscogurl

    In thinking about my fast, today's scripture made me realize how much more I have to gain by putting all my dependance in The Lord instead of the other unimportant strongholds I give priority treatment to.

    "The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes." (Isaiah 58:11, 12 NLT)

    Wow, some of us will REBUILD cities! Just stop and imagine being one of God's pioneers. If He can take ordinary people like you and me to do extraordinary things, sign me up! I definitely want to be on that team!

    • tina

      AMEN, wiscogurl…..AMEN….I want to be right there with you being pioneers for the Lord….. Blessings…..x

  • I came to SRT because I'm not interested in wishy-washy, watered down, 'I'm ok, you're ok' devotionals that aren't aligned with the Word. I've left behind the milk; I'm ready for the meat.

    And I have just been handed a beef tenderloin.

    I'm completely bolted to the earth.

    I have several friends and loved ones who were widowed in their 30s and have lost children tragically. I don't really grasp their yearning for heaven because I'm satisfied with what I have here. Happy marriage, healthy kids, comfortable home. Heaven is a place that I anticipate in my old age, not something I consider my true home. My "yearning for Him" has been a yearning for understanding, enlightenment, truth, and knowing His will for me. Why do I not yearn to be with Him?

    Sounds like there are some things in my way. Time for some prayer.

    • tina

      Drasch, praying for God to show you the way to go…..x

    • Amanda B Williams

      Confession: I held my breath after that first line. So glad/relieved/humbled/grateful you found something to chew on here.

      Thanks for your honesty today. I can relate. I know so many others can too. Glad you are here, Sister. xo

      • drasch

        Sorry to incite panic! I am asking for depth, and I am getting it, whether I like it or not. ;) Thank you for your dedication; you are being used to His glory. Thank you all for answering the call.

  • Candacejo

    This year, during the Daniel Fast season at the beginning of the year, I blogged every day in January for those participating in the Daniel Fast. I was struck with the passage in Isaiah too…for the first time in my life I read it differently. It jumped out at me! When the Lord says, "Is not this the fast that I have chosen?" I started to share it here but it is just too lengthy. If you like, you can read it here, God Will Restore! http://www.hopeinthehealing.com/2013/10/09/god-wi

    Love what Raechel said, "Wherever there is a subtraction, let there also be an addition.
    When you remove a comfort, apply a discipline.
    Wherever you find success in your efforts, thank the Lord." Amen!

    • Jane

      God placed the Daniel Fast on my heart and in my life in the last few years. He has encouraged me to take part about 3 times per year and what a blessing it has been! God has shown much mercy, grace and power through these times of prayer and fasting. This experience has lead me to fast additional things in my life during the same time like social media, TV, etc. Whenever I think "it's too hard" I remember what Christ did for me, the blessings and favor God has freely given me and the fact that HE brought me to this and He knows the blessings that will come as well as the glory that will be given Him!

  • refreshedwoman

    I am achy and empty and ready to drink the living water. Thank you.

  • dearlyl0ved

    I really loved the first scripture, Isaiah 58. I think that in verse 9 we see a change of tone. It goes from a godly pointing out of our shortcomings to a promise of what COULD be. I love those promises!
    v. 9} Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
    v. 10-11} Then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be ulike a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
    He doesn't stop at verse 9 with answering us and acknowledging our desires. He makes promises to USE us. When our springs are flowing we are watering and blessing others. When we are sacrificing a part of ourselves to restore our relationship with God we are allowing Him room to expand inside of us. How cool is that? God math… Subtraction that leads to Addition. :)

    • Steph_Lilac

      "God math… Subtraction that leads to Addition." Hmmmmmm so profound as it's math that shouldn't make sense but absolutely does. Thank You God.

    • AnnaLee

      I love this. We're allowing room for Him to expand in Us. Lord, keep expanding. Have your way in me, in us.

  • “Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing shall spring up speedily;
    your righteousness shall go before you;
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
    Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’” (Isaiah 58: 8-9)

    Psalm 73:25-26 was my thoughts all throughout yesterday and this morning! It’s such a beautiful verse– it speaks of such wondrous love. Wow.

    I love how sweet our Lord is. Yesterday, I found that my heart was rigid, ruly, and trying to be self-disciplined out of guilt and condemnation… and so was my fast. Tired, discouraged, and honestly, a little bit scared (it got a bit out of hand and was not one that was sweetly seeking and meditating on the Lord, but one that gave me a lot of disdain for everyone and everything). As I cried out to the Lord in confusion, weariness, and because I knew He was my papa, the only one who could truly save me, He quieted my soul and made me go to sleep. In my little heart, I was a toddler having a bad dream, and He held me close. As verse 9 says, I cried, and He said, quietly and gently, “Here I am.” Like 6:21 says, I was hungry, and I was satisfied with His sweet, unending love for me.

    I now have a deeper love and understanding for Lent. While it’s a time of me getting closer to Christ through giving something up, it’s HIS rest, love, mercy, and unending grace that I’m to be meditating on and surrounding myself with. Praise Jesus. He’s so quick to compassion, slow to anger, and abounding in love, grace, and mercy. Be blessed today, sisters. I pray that the Lord would make His face to shine upon you; that His sweetness would always be before you. xo

    • dearlyl0ved

      Ms. AnnaLee! Can I start by saying that you are a great encourager? It was encouraging to me to see and read all the responses you made to other posts and other sisters. So sweet.
      Psalm 73 is such a precious reminder. Our dependance on God. That He is constant and always there.
      Thank you for your testimony and openness. I am so excited to walk through this season with you!
      Be blessed! xo

    • Steph_Lilac

      AnnaLee, I was in the same position of not really approaching this fast in the manner it should have been. Our God is an awesome Restorer! Thank you for being transparent and sharing you're heart of your trepidation. Your testimony is amazingly helpful and a true blessing.

      • AnnaLee

        Thank you Steph! I was almost self conscious that I'd sound a bit over the top with it, but I'm glad God used it in such a way to bless you! Praise God :)

    • tina

      AnnaLee, thank you so very much for your encouragement, and the encourager you are to many….I love to read your comments, wise for one, I believe so young(from your picture)…..this journey we are on, though we are all at different stages means that we can be support and encouragement to others…..keep holding on to the Lord…you are doing great….an inspiration ….bless you Annalee…..God be with you, and He is….x x x

      • AnnaLee

        Haha, I'm 18… so yes, I'm pretty young :) probably one of the youngest on here. Thank you for YOUR encouragement! It's all Christ. He is so good. Praise God, that He gave us all each other to truly grow in the word together no matter where we are at. I love you all so dearly. Blessings, sis. xo

        • Jenny

          AnnaLee, you are soooo cute and wonderful woman of God!!!! Like everyone has said already, you are just a wonderful encouragement to many ladies in helping us seek The Lord……. I am truly blessed The Lord had me stumble upon SRT and all of you ladies to encourage me on my walk with The Lord -thank – you for being you…….

  • LaurieEW

    Thank you so much for this perspective on Fasting, for the first time in my Christian walk it clicks, too bad it took a week into lent to do it. I am too comfortable on earth, I realize that

  • I am a total beginner for this season of Lent. It has never really been a strong part of the Easter season at the churches I have belonged to . Yes it has been mentioned, but never really taught or emphasized. I have been praying for months now for a deep hunger for God's word and the willingness to make more time for him. This entire lesson has made this come alive for me, and I can't wait to get into His word each morning. I am thankful today this study, I am thankful for the way Christ is speaking to me, I am thankful for the teachings that he has placed on the heart of SheReadsTruth. You have been a part of that answered prayer, and I continue to pray today that I will let the lesser things go, that the distractions would be removed, and my hunger and thirst will continue to grow for His Word.

  • I haven't figured out a fast for this lent. I've never done it before, and the thought of giving up food for a day seemed too hard. But today's devotional made it cleared what is binding me to the earth. Too many things in fact. So I will limit myself to one TV show at night, and spend the rest of the time with God, reading his word or the devotions of Spurgeon, who i started reading. Thank you. I need to be hit over the head with this stuff sometimes! Blessing to everyone today.

    • dearlyl0ved

      Tricia I want to encourage you to spend tonight asking God, "What am I relying on when I should rely on you?" It may be so little or trivial, but giving it up to rely further on God is the heart of this whole thing. Maybe its just one type of comfort food? Maybe its a way you are spending unnecessary money? Maybe its a relationship that is distracting your walk? Could be anything! Whatever will help you restore your walk with Him! :) xo

    • Steph_Lilac

      I too was hit over the head! Sometimes we need to have our worldly distractions literally knocked out of our heads. It hurts for a season but when it heals we are so much deeper in the Lord.

  • JessicaLoves___

    How convicting this passage in Isaiah is! Isaiah 58: 5-6 get at the fact that, just because we "call this a fast," doesn't mean it fits the bill. The rest of the chapter lays out what we're truly called to — not a day or a season where we tell ourselves we're being humble, but a lifetime of actual humility! Wow. Thanks for leading us to this today!

    • Jenny

      I agree!!!!! Don't fast just to say you are fasting, fast like you really mean it -in the right context (who are you fasting for?) Not to please yourself -but to do it for The Lord………

  • I love this…I've been wrestling with the thought of, "Don't settle for the lesser in place of the excellent." ("Let go of the lesser" is becoming my mantra.) And this post puts more words around that…love the image of being bolted down to something. May that always be the Lord and His word. Thank you so much for your vulnerable words and speaking through your pain to minister to our hearts.

    • tricia

      Morgan, I like that mantra – Let go of the lesser. God has so much in store for us if we would only look to him always

  • Joanne Sher

    Lord,, let my subtraction this Lenten season point me toward the addition of Your presence. Let my longing for You replace my longing for chocolate. May my hunger for God increase manifold, andmay I long more for heaven than anything, anyone, or anywhere else.

    • Jenny

      That is so my pray this Lent season as we'll and even after Lent I just want more and more of Him…… I want to be on fire for our God!!! I don't know if you are familiar with the Christian singing group; Bethel? But they sing a song that goes something like; " I want more, I want more…….." That is my prayer (like you) I want more of Him every hour and every day……

  • heartstrings85

    Im so glad to be reading this lenten season with you all! Im learning so much about what fasting really is.

    • AnnaLee

      I think all of us are! Praise God. He's so good for bringing us closer to His heart during this time.

      • Jenny

        I agree whole heatedly……. I too am learning soooo much about Lent I didn't know about before……. Praise God !!!!

  • Are you feeling bolted down to Earth, comfortably satisfied with a life that has little need for a Savior? Or are you achy and empty, ready to drink in the living water that can satisfy you forever?

    I am achy and empty ready to drink in the living water that can satisfy me forever……yes I am…..I have everything to gain, and nothing to loose…
    .
    Lord show me where to go, what to do that my shadowed life may be bathed in your Light, guide me towards a full life in YOU, that the emptiest of places will be full in your love, Grace, mercy, ….that I may know and have within me, your living water that will never run dry….Lord that 'the old rubble from my past,' will and can be used to build anew within me and around me New foundations in YOU ….lead me Lord,in this time of repentance, to my knees, so that I will know….. when I stand up…..I am renewed, restored refreshed in YOU….Thank you Lord for your great love that accepts me, 'rubble' and all, and that out of that 'past rubble' you Lord can bring about good, and new hope and blessings and redemption and restoration, …….You are God, You are good, You are God….for always….Thank you Lord….

    Happy Monday , Sisters…xxx

    • AnnaLee

      Tina, your heart is so beautiful. Praying that during this time, the Lord would humble our hearts and bring us to our knees, so that as you said, "when we stand up… we are renewed, restored, and refreshed in Him." Happy Monday sweet friend.

    • Steph_Lilac

      Tina I really enjoy your posts! They are always packed with God nourishing food that you love to share. That is my prayer also, in which the old rubble of my life will be used for the construction of a new foundation in Him. Thank you for that, may God richly bless you.

  • “Wherever there is a subtraction, let there also be an addition.” This! I spoke at a children’s service 2 weeks ago about choices and the effect of choosing God over other things. But this has convicted me. Not only should we choose God we should actively do something as part of that choice. I spoke about prayer and I still think that’s the most important part of our relationship with God- it causes us to be relational! But it’s easy to pray, to read by bible every day and yet still be grounded in this world. Not to allow God to actively use me each and every day. I don’t want to feel satisfied I want to be longing for more of God!

    • AnnaLee

      Yes Claire! Amen! May our season of fasting and/or meditating more on Christ's sacrifice help us to submit our lives to Him more!

  • "Fasting is a way of awakening that need – a way of saying I’m not hungry for God the way I want to be – I have too many comforts tuning out my need for Him and I want to silence something loud for a season in an effort to shift that dependance to Christ." This was exactly what I needed. It sickens me how much of my time is so easily wasted on distractions when it should be used to glorify Christ. Please pray for me as I eliminate the distraction of social media and finally focus on what God has been laying on my heart for a long time: writing.

    In whatever you're eliminating this season, sisters, remember "God is the strength of my [your] heart and my [your] portion forever.”

    • AnnaLee

      Amen, Sana. I'll be praying for you, that He'd be the focus of more of your daily thoughts and actions. I love writing– I pray it blesses you abundantly and gives you a new love for the savior and the abundant life that He wants you to lead. Blessings sister. xo

    • dearlyl0ved

      Amen! God will totally bless your efforts! AND he will use your writing to bless others. You sacrifice a little, and God not only blesses you but others… too cool. AND you could use the time to write for #shesharestruth :)

    • wiscogurl

      Sister, you are not alone. Depend on Him to help you. Even if you slip, stop and pray. I've taken the attitude "Satan you can't take this away from me! I will spend time with The Lord and I don't care if you fight me every day. I'm not a quitter!" Yes, I speak that aloud… :-)

    • Janee White

      God's timing is always perfect. I feel the same sickness,when I look at how much time I spend peering into the lives of others, and watching television – when I could be peering into the life of Christ and writing the book He's asked me to write.

      In the psalm you quoted, my translation says this "earth has nothing i desire besides you". I pray your desires are not for what this world has to offer, but for what can only be found in Christ. I pray today, that the freedom from social media propels you into a divine time of writing. I pray the Words on His heart be seen clearly with your eyes. I pray that the Lord will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and that you will be like a well watered garden, whose waters never fail.

      God bless you dear one….

    • Diane Lemyre

      Oh YES Sana' I do hear you. I too am guilty. I spend way too much time on social media, reading a book, crocheting… Yes it is OK to do these things but when you have no time left to spend with Jesus… it is too much. I am going to make the effort to make a change and seek God over this Lent season. I think I shal make it a goal to read the bible only during Lent and spend quality time after dinner. God bless you and all who are involved in SHE READS TRUTH. This is a wonderful thing and I have been so blessed.
      Diane L

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