Today is day 9 of my fast. I have spent more time in the Word and with God than I ever have in my life. It has been wonderful. God has spoken to me through His Word, people, and in dreams. My mental acuity is great. I have completed several drawings and have learned more about idol worshipping than I ever want to know. I have realized that food is my idol. I know that Pastor Ronnie has said this same thing and I wholeheartedly agree with him.
In my studies of the Corinthians and Ephesians I was amazed at their lack of devotion to God and their love for idols. Idols come in all shapes, sizes and forms. God took me through the scriptures of Acts and here is what I discovered:
A Riot in Ephesus
23During that time a serious disturbance concerning the way of Christ broke out in the city of Ephesus.24Demetrius, a silversmith, was in the business of making silver models of the temple of Artemis. His business brought a huge profit for the men who worked for him.
Ephesus was an important port city in Asia Minor where people came to trade and sell goods. It was the largest city in it’s day. The population was 400-500,000 people. It is one of the seven cities mentioned in Revelation. Paul lived and worked in ministry there. It housed the Temple of Artemis. Today Ephesus stands in ruins. It was destroyed by the Goths in A.D. 262. The ruins are located near Selcuk, Turkey- a tourist hotspot today. I have a friend who is going to be traveling there this spring (and may I just add how much I am coveting her trip! That’s another blog for another day! LOL )
I asked myself what the Temple of Artemis was.
Here is what I discovered in my research.
The Greek Temple of Artemis was known as Lady Ephesus or Dianna. She was a fertility god. Here is a picture of her. ‘At Ephesus, where her great temple was one of the seven wonders of the world, Artemis was represented with a mural crown, with a disc behind the crown; on her breast, a garland of flowers, as a sign of her influence in spring time. Lions cling to her arms; as mother of wild beasts, she has many breasts; her legs are closely bandaged and ornamented with figures of bulls, stags, lions, and griffins; at the sides are flowers and bees. The many eggs denote fertility. She represented childbirth, fertility, hunting, wild animals and the wilderness. People worshipped her and brought her sacrifices. ‘ There were many “festivals” in honor of Artemis. This temple became one of the seven wonders of the world.
Pretty disgusting if you ask me.
Acts 19: 25-28
25He called a meeting of his workers and others who did similar work. Demetrius said, “Men, you know that we’re earning a good income from this business, 26and you see and hear what this man Paul has done. He has won over a large crowd that follows him not only in Ephesus but also throughout the province of Asia. He tells people that gods made by humans are not gods. 27There’s a danger that people will discredit our line of work, and there’s a danger that people will think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is nothing. Then she whom all Asia and the rest of the world worship will be robbed of her glory.”
So, here we have Paul, a man of God, preaching the gospel to people who worshipped this idol. ( and many, many others. ) The workers- artisans of these idols ( they were made and sold in mass quantities-producing a great living for these craftsmen) became angry because Paul was pulling people to God’s side- taking away their business. Paul was telling people about his Living God! In sharing his passion many people came to know the One True God!
Acts 19: 28-29
28When Demetrius’ workers and the others heard this, they became furious and began shouting, “Artemis of the Ephesians is great!” 29The confusion spread throughout the city, and the people had one thought in mind as they rushed into the theater. They grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus, the Macedonians who traveled with Paul, and they dragged the two men into the theater with them.30Paul wanted to go into the crowd, but his disciples wouldn’t let him.
Do you see how the craftsmen were defending their work? Their idol? Demetrius’ workers became furious because they saw something being taken away from them ( money) rather than seeing something being given to them. ( The One True God.)
Aren’t we the same way? When we feel like someone is taking something away from us- don’t we react much the same way? Instead of surrendering to GOD, we fuss and fight and cause chaos and confusion. It’s sad. I see this happening all over and it hurts my heart for God. When will we give up our own idols and fully surrender to God? Our idols come in many forms, control being a biggie. I recently removed myself from a situation because the “control idol” was so huge it was causing chaos, conflict, anger, hurt, pain, jealousy, untruth, deceit and just plain spiritual blindness. It has caused me to search my own heart.
The purpose of the fast is to surrender my all to God and in doing that I have discovered other things that were hidden in the deep recesses of my heart. Things I did not know were there.
One of those things has been my all consuming love for food. In the past 9 days I have discovered just how big my food idol is. It has been incredibly hard to stop eating for 9 days. God laid this fast on my heart several months ago and I have been rolling it around in my mind since then. I knew I would do it eventually, I just didn’t know when. Well, WHEN is here. LOL
I have experienced God taking care of me and giving me strength. The strength I have gained from this has been unexplainable. Just when I think I am strong and get confident, another temptation comes along and I have to cry out to God again and again for help to get through it. I have cried in desperation and in grief. Just as a child cries, a mother responds with tenderness. God does too. He has heard my cries, my moanings & groanings and he has responded with a gentle and tender love.
In 9 days I have had communion twice and I have sensed the presence of God. This is how God has taken care of me. I have feasted on Him and not food. I have been fed the Word so much that I have actually felt “full.” The desire to eat has stayed with me-lessening everyday. It never completely goes away and I think that is to keep me in check. I am not hungry and I know that is hard to believe- but believe it. It’s true.
God has fed me through prayer, music, studies, Christian teaching DVD’s, Joyce Meyer, books, my family-especially my husband. My prayer warriors, encouragers, church leaders and my Pastors. I have learned that the power of God lives inside of me and all I have to do is be willing to surrender my ALL to God. To TRUST. To stop asking how, when, why and where and just TRUST. Why is that so stinking hard to do? I don’t know…it just is. God the Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth has all the answers, knows all the plans and if we would but ASK- he will reveal those to us when we are ready to hear them. Trust and believe.
“Lord, Help my unbelief!” ( Mark 9:24)
God has given me Him and he has taken away some of the desire for food. I have discovered that my true hunger pains are those of God drawing me nearer to Him. He wants me to live a life of surrender and this is His way of teaching me how to do it. I must stop hindering the work of the Lord because when I hinder that work- I am also hindering the life of another. Ouch. I don’t want to be like the Ephesians.
Our surrender is never easy but if we look at it with the crucifixion of Christ in the foreground we gain a new perspective. We must stop putting God in the back and start putting him in the front.
Tonight I am tiredand happy. Tomorrow night I will break my fast. I am committing, with God’s help, to a lifestyle of fasting. When I do return to eating I will have to be careful of what I eat for a few days-keep it green and healthy. I am planning to eat as close to the earth as I can. Fruits, veggies and some meat and chicken. My downfalls are sweets and salty snacks. God has used this time to prepare my heart for many, many things. I covet your prayers over the next several days, weeks and even months. The warfare will be there in some shape, fashion or form. I must be armed and ready for battle. I hope you will join me.