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Starve Him Out!

 

Many years ago God sent my wife Pam and I to a small church in Sierra Vista, Arizona. The Church was called Shiloh and was pastored by Larry Deason.

I specify this name and church simply because there existed two churches named Shiloh in Sierra Vista at that time.

P. Larry baptizing my lil Girl

At any rate…

Pam and I had been going to Shiloh for nearly a year when my dear friend John “P” came up and said he had a word from the Lord for me.

John turned in his Bible and reads Numbers 33:55.

But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell (Numbers 33:55 KJV).

What John had not known was that Pastor Larry had approached me the day before, Sunday and said the Lord gave him a Word for me saying I needed to fast and pray until I rid myself of some personal and spiritual issues.

John & Ruth: Dear Friends

 

When I asked Pastor Larry about the issues and about how long he thought I should fast and pray Larry simply said the duration for fasting was up to me and the Lord, but he thought I should likely fast for at least seven to ten days. As far as the issues went, Pastor Larry saw me as a very rebellious young man who couldn’t get enough fasting and prayer.

I told him he should mind his own business and get out of my face; just kidding.

 

With John bringing me a Word from the Lord the following day I was inclined to begin as soon as possible. Not very fond of fasting, and yet…

Long story short, I fasted, eating nothing and drinking mostly water or small amounts of fruit-juice with one short period where I drank a little milk for my stomach somewhere around days 15 thru 20.

What I did not know, was my church family and friends were chatting about the relationship between Pastor Larry and I.

You see, I was always the guy asking the questions, challenging his messages, disagreeing with his interpretations and because of my devotion to chasing the truth Larry was regularly pressed during services and didn’t like it one little bit.

I did however follow his rules.

Shiloh was one of those rarified churches where the congregation regularly engaged in Q&A during every service. No arguing allowed!

We, the congregants raised our hands and shot questions at the Pastor for anything someone didn’t understand about the current message. We merely were required to stay on topic.

I loved it!

Most of the time, Pastor Larry would calmly, patiently answer everyone’s questions; however, there was this one curious young man who just dug into the slightest discrepancy; burrowed into any inconsistency, challenged anything within the message that didn’t line up in the Word; leastwise, based on my understanding at that time. Oh yeah, that was me if you figure it out by now.

 

Anyways, my church family and friends started to believe Pastor Larry was attempting to starve me out.

The thought had never occurred to me then or now. Nah, Larry wouldn’t do that, would he?

No, he wouldn’t.

Day 20 into the fast and I still didn’t have an unction to stop fasting.

Twenty-three days into the fray and everyone’s telling me Larry just wants to starve me out of the church.

Then at the end of day 24 I heard/felt the release from the Lord! Hallelujah!

Whose Pizza did you say?

I was more than a little hungry and yet I couldn’t just eat a hamburger. Bummer Dude!

Later that week Pastor Larry and I talked about the fast. He had heard some of the same rumors and thought them odd.  I just thought they were funny.  The things people think; which of course includes me.

I learned a lot about myself during those 24 days. It certainly taught me how to spend quality time with my Lord.

Pastor Larry and I never really became friends for our personalities carried too many things both in common and contrary. I love the things I’d learned at Larry’s church; for one, how to appreciate a good bowl of popcorn.  You have no idea how good popcorn smells until you haven’t eaten for 15 days and then walk into your friend’s home right as popcorn is popping on the stove.  Oh my, that’s a killer.

 

I did learn during both this and many other fasts that you must take the tiger by the tail when you start straying from the things of the Lord. Too often we allow small “bad” habits to remain because they pleasure our flesh; unfortunately, those are the very habits Satan uses to undermine our walk with the Creator.

Jesus doesn’t want or accept second place and why should He?

He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

For by Him all things were created (That’s you and me) that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (We were made for Jesus’ good pleasure)

And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (So that Jesus may take first place in everything, including our hearts.)

I’m not completely sure of what all I rid myself of during those days of fasting; however, Jesus knows and that is good enough for me.

But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell (Numbers 33:55 KJV).

I must have succeeded during the fast because I have enjoyed many long and wonderfully exciting years walking in the things of the Lord.

Typically I do not live with pricks in my eyes or thorns in my side or vexing in the lands in which I dwell.

Thank You, Lord!

Generally speaking when those horrors come my way I’ve usually brought them upon myself.

That’s when we learn longsuffering, right?

By suffering long.

Have a blessed day and remain faithful to the Rock of Ages, my Lord, Jesus Christ.

Ciao!

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