Did you guys miss me as much as I missed you??? Haha. Well, it has been quite an adventure the past two weeks and I'm so ready to share it all with you guys. I know it's only been a few weeks since "day sixty-three", but it feels like it's been forever. I hated that I had to step back from the 90 day challenge for that amount of time, but it was necessary and very fulfilling. That first week was jammed pack full of wedding celebrations in Nashville, coffee dates, dinners and everything in between. I got to catch up with my pastor in Franklin, Tn as well as many people who have encouraged and mentored me over the years. I felt like it was a week long counseling session where I walked away feeling so restored, refreshed and inspired! God knew exactly what I needed! I did not have a moment to work on the challenge, but continued implementing "wholeness" as a part of my daily lifestyle.
The second week was spent traveling with a tour company called Appleseed Expeditions that I do some part time work for. During this trip we led about 130 sophomore Catholic boys from Missouri to Indiana to Ohio and back to Tennessee on an educational journey of the underground railroad and civil war. I think I may have enjoyed this tour more than anyone else. It opened me eyes to things I had never seen before now, helped me really connect to our historical past, and brought even more revelation as I bridged this physical road to freedom to our spiritual one. Many MANY stories are yet to come from the past few weeks of my own adventurous journey! Stay tuned.
With that said... I feel like this challenge is about to get a whole lot more intense. One of the things I felt like the Lord was telling me the last few weeks was that it was time to take this thing to the next level. I also felt that those 2 week were almost like a marinating period. God was allowing everything that had happened up to that point to be somewhat of a foundation for what was about to happen. And what God was revealing to me in this little "break" was something that needed some time to soak in. Personally I've been majorly challenged by some powerful sermons, prophetic words, deep conversations with some really wise folk, questions of His great mystery, and awesome yet terrifying truth spoken by His very word. These are things that needed time so that the full flavor of what God wants to reveal to His people is properly represented and tasted.
Whether you've just been reading these blogs for fun, or they have encouraged you to seek HIS face even more (which I pray they have)... I think we are about to head down the road of no return. There may be times in the following 25 days where I say something I was told to say that will not bring comfort. And there are times you may literally feel the loving arms of the creator of the universe wrapping around your soul. But as I've said before, I am here to speak the truth and nothing but the truth (so HELP me God). Only the TRUTH can set us FREE. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!
As I learned about the underground railroad last week I was most interested in the brave souls who found freedom worthy of dying for. If you are not that familiar with this railroad: it was a system of trails (before the abolition of slavery) helping fugitive slaves to escape into Canada, free states or other places of safety. It was not an actual railroad nor was it underground. Although, many of their hiding places were. The conductors were people who were daily risking their lives to help lead slaves along this path to freedom. Harriet Tubman was one of the more famous conductors and she has quite a story too. We got to walk along one of the actual trails they walked and look up on the hill they would have to see the lantern the would lead them to safety!! You see... most slaves did not even know this freedom could exist or that it was attainable until they met a conductor or someone speaking of this possible truth. Once they began to hear it over and over again... some began to desire it. Then it became an obsession that outweighed any consequence of getting caught. If true freedom existed, they would rather die trying to become free than continue on living enslaved.
I remember reading about this as a child and perhaps I can attribute my love for Justice, Freedom and secret passage ways to the underground railroad stories. But for the first time it became REAL to me. In some strange way I began to relate to the chains of the slaves, the reckless courage of the conductors, and the passion and drive of the abolitionists! Every single person involved knew the price of freedom and was willing to lay down their own lives so that someone else could attain it. This to me is true sacrifice. Many abolitionists and conductors had thousands of dollars placed on their head. But sadly hundreds of thousands turned their head at the very mention of slavery not wanting to get involved in the least bit. How often do we do this? Not only do we have modern-day slavery going on in our very back yard and with our brothers and sisters around the world... but we have millions more who are enslaved to the lies of the enemy. How often do we go about our daily business not even allowing ourselves to see that hell is consuming the lives of so many every second! And I don't just mean people dying... I mean people living in actual hell- mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
I truly believe that if we call ourselves followers of Christ then we must wake up to what is really going on around the world and not just in our own little neighborhood. And when we do... we begin to identify with God's heart on a whole new intimate level because we begin to see how He aches for the dying and hurting globe. We will start to see why He has such a heart for justice and speaks so highly of His own FREEDOM. He is truth, and He can and will set us free (if we give Him back the authority to do so). I wonder how many of us don't feel comfortable with this freedom yet because we are still too attached to our chains in some area of our WHOLE being. Truth is... we will NOT be able to properly identify the lies (and call them out) until we dig our face into the word of God. How else would we know what He really thinks about us... especially when we don't feel it. You are a child of God and you were created to live in His freedom on earth. When we walk in freedom we testify to it and we help lead others out of their own slavery with His grace and mercy and love.
I want to be a modern-day abolitionist risking my own life for other people's freedom. I want to see many others decide not to turn their head from this evil thing but face it directly with the power and freedom of Christ. Even though we may get a price put on our own head from the enemy, it is a small price compared to what He paid for our very own freedom. We can no longer allow the slavery of this world to be justified down to worthlessness. Every single human being is a creation of our living God and deserves a chance to fully live abundantly in Him. I want to be a conductor on this road to freedom pointing to Christ every chance I get. He is the light on the hill directing us towards our Father... and we have the awesome chance to be a part of something greater than ourselves.
It begins in our own hearts. Have we first accepted the free gift of freedom He's already paid full price for? Even if we've made that initial commitment to Him there may still be areas of our lives in which we are still enslaved. I encourage us all to take the next few days to search deep inside our mind, body, soul and spirit.... asking God to reveal any places that are weakened by lies we have believed along the way. We need a good ole detox of our crap... and need God to fill us right back up with the revelation of His love for each and every one of us. The journey to becoming whole is also the road to freedom... and He is with us every step of the path.
My prayer is that we will become so familiar with our freedom that we will not take it for granted but we will be able to spot out the chains even faster. That we will have keen vision and sharp discernment when calling out the lies of the enemy! I pray that we will see hundreds of thousands of followers of Christ step into a deeper place of freedom and begin to stand up against the enemy (not each other) so that others can walk in it as well. It is our privilege and responsibility to be LIVING representatives of this freedom so that they will know that it really exists and they will desire and seek the same... so much so they become obsessed to the point of losing their own lives for HIM. The Truth shall set us Free!
B90: (Daniel 7:15- Hosea 9:17) The last thing I think I mentioned about Daniel was the Daniel Fast. Most of you have probably heard about it before, but basically Daniel wanted to prove to the King's men that He could be stronger and healthier by living off only what God provides in the land. After 21 days it's clear that Daniel was right and they began to adopt His diet for the rest of the men.
[The purpose of the spiritual fasting is to consecrate (set aside) a specific period of time to draw closer to God to hear from Him. A powerful side benefit of the Daniel Fast is the improvement in health that most people experience because of the plant-based eating plan. When the bodies that God designed and created are fed the good quality foods He created especially for it improvements in health result. The high fiber in the fruit, vegetables and whole grains cleanses the body and improves digestion. It's not uncommon for cholesterol levels to drop, for blood sugar levels to balance, for weight to be lost and for a general feeling of well-being to be experienced.- excerpt from http://daniel-fast.com/]
I also believe that it helps reveal how all things are connected and why "wholeness" is so important. So much of the time I can directly correlate what happens in our physical system with what God wants to do in the spiritual. God wants to nourish our soul with the word of God... but just like our cells, if they are toxic they can not hold nutrients at the same time. If we are consciously allowing toxic things enter our mind, body and soul... we can not possibly soak up all of what God wants to feed us with. We become spiritually malnourished and either become overweight with knowledge of the word but no healthy spirit.... or become frail and thin with spirit but no wisdom of the word. Balance does exist, they go hand in hand. We are being deceived if we think we are spiritually healthy and fit if we are toxic in other areas of our lives. We must look at the whole picture!
This is one of the reasons I've decided to partake in the Daniel Fast for the last portion of this 90 day challenge. I feel as though I can't continue to talk about it unless I'm willing to walk through it myself. If anyone else feels the need to join me then please let me know! I'd love to have a community of encouragement and accountability along the way! I must warn you though... if this fast becomes about duty and not love I may have to stop. We do not obey God out of obligation but out of love. And we must always keep our ears open for what He's calling us to do, which may be different for everyone.
Disregard and disassemble the lies, run forth in His truth, follow His promises, step into His freedom and feast on His love. This is my prayer for all of us today. Amen.