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Fasting, Hunger Strikes & the Mystery of the Empty Stomach

January 6, 2010

Like thousands of others around the world, I’m starting 2010 with a season of prayer, fasting and consecration. Fortunately for me, our whole office (Every Nation Nashville) is doing this fast together. Left to myself, I’d start the year sleeping, feasting and watching TV. I’m pretty unmotivated and lazy by myself. Like most of us, I’m a much better Christian in community than alone.

 During the fast, I’m re-reading Joey Bonifacio’s little book, “The Mystery of the Empty Stomach” for the 100th time. I think it’s one of the best fasting books ever – not because Joey is one of my best friends ever, but because he writes about fasting in a way no one else does. Joey actually makes me want to fast.

Here are some of my favorite “Empty Stomach” chapters:
-From Duty to Delight
-From Deprivation to Desire
-From Desperation to Devotion
-From Diet to Deposit

Here are a few Joey quotes from Mystery:
“Fasting is associated with desperate situations. Through the centuries, people fasted mostly when they found themselves in tight spots. Jesus, on the other hand, was espousing a new and higher motivation to fast – not one borne of desperation, but out of devotion.”

 “We fast not to twist God’s arm so he will pay attention to us. We already have his undivided attention. We don’t fast in order to make ourselves worthy of his acceptance. We already have his unconditional love.”

 “We fast not so he will hear us, but for us to hear him.”

 “The Pharisees’ idea of fasting was to deprive the flesh in order to strengthen the spirit. They were focusing on the wrong thing. Jesus was telling them that fasting was not about depriving yourself. Rather, its about desiring the Bridegroom.”

Hope that encourages you to seek God like never before. 2010 could be your best year ever!

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