A Ministry of Christian Chefs International (CCI)

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012

“Not eating when there is no food is not fasting, it’s starving. Fasting is done only when there is food, and we voluntarily abstain from food.” - Daniel Lima, Jump In NW

Fasting is something that most of us would like to never have to think about, yet it is something God calls us to do. But fasting is more than just abstaining from food; fasting is also about abstaining from all forms of selfishness.

"Is not this 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? 
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter--
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Isa 58:6-7 NIV

When we seek justice more than pleasure, righteousness more than a meal, we are truly the disciples of our Master.

Susanna Krizo
Board of Directors, CCI


The Soul of an Apprentice

The Story of God's Faithfulness

One thing that I love and appreciate about God's character is His faithfulness. And though I praise God for showing Himself faithful to me over and over again, today I would like to zoom out and look at the big picture of God's faithfulness through out all time and give praise to Him for His faithfulness on the grand scale! From Genesis to Revelation, we can see His faithfulness by the working out of His purposes and promises with His people.

Follow along with me as I highlight some key events through out the Bible. Can you see the thread of God's faithfulness in carrying out His plan weaved all throughout the story?

After God had created the all things, He begins in Genesis 1:28 by commanding mankind to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth". God's desire was to fill the earth with a people for Himself, a worldwide worshiping community. Things were all good in the garden until mankind disobeys God and sin enters into the picture. Not long after that in Genesis 11, mankind begins constructing a tower and saying "let us build this tower so that we will NOT be scattered over the face of the earth" (Gen 11:1-4). They were defiant of the very command given by God initially to spread out and fill the earth. So God intervenes on the building of the Tower of Babel, confusing their languages and causing them to scatter all over the earth (Gen11:7-8, Acts 17:26). This is where diversity comes into the picture! But God still desired to have His own worshiping community among the earth. Now that the people were scattered, God initiates a plan to re-gather worshipers from each of these languages and people groups.

How is God going to reach all of these nations? Israel! He sets aside the nation of Israel that would go and be his missionary nation.

"The Lord had said to Abram, 'Leave your country, your people, and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you; and all the people on earth will be blessed through you." Genesis 12:1-3

What is the 'blessing' of Abraham? It is salvation through faith in Christ! But also God has a larger context for what He is going to do for the world through Abraham and his family. He would bless Abraham and his family so that he would in-turn go and bless all the nations of the world. This was command was for all the descendants of Abraham, including Isaac to whom God repeats the command in Genesis 26:4, "...through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed". And to Jacob God says in Genesis 28:14 "All people on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring." Jesus would come through the people of Israel as the object of blessing for all nations and the family was the means.

What does this mean for you and me? The New Testament speaks of us as spiritual descendants of Abraham, fellow members of this family through whom all nations would be blessed.

"If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Galatians 3:29 (see also Eph. 2:11-19, Rom 9:8)

As His people and His church, heirs according to the promise, we have a part to play in the mission of God that His people have always had through out time. We have a part to play in the story of God's faithfulness in carrying out His plan for the world!

The thread of God's faithfulness continues through out the rest of the Old Testament as we can see God's design for Israel to be a light to the nations. Story after story we can see God making His own name great and building up a reputation for Himself among the nations through His interactions with Israel. Here are a few examples: The Ten Commandments served purpose in God's grand plan. God's said "Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations" (Deuteronomy 4:5-6). Gods reputation spreads to the nations after parting the Red Sea and Jordan. This is the reason Rahab feared God (Joshua 2:9-10). God gave Solomon great wisdom so that "Men of all nations came to listen" (1 Kings 4:34). You can see a powerful impact on Gentile nations that other stories have such as Shardrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:29) or Daniel surviving the lion's den in Daniel 6.

This same thread carries on into the New Testament as well. Christ comes and models God's heart for all the nations of the world in stories like his interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-42) and healing various Gentiles like the demon-possessed man from the Decapolis and telling him to reach his own people with the good news of God's mercy and goodness (Mark 5:1-20, 7:24-30). Luke 4:44-43 tells of a time that Jesus left a city that had many needs saying, "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to other towns also, because that is why I was sent." Many other story display the ambition of Jesus' heart and ministry to make the Kingdom of God known where it had not yet been known. We can see this same heartbeat in the Apostle Paul as well through out the book of Acts and the Epistles as he and his missionary band struggle to raise up churches all over the world. He says in Romans 15:20, "And so I make it my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ is not yet known, so that I wouldn't build on any other man's foundation."
How amazing that we have written accounts of God's faithfulness to His people and His plan in the past. Now we know that He is indeed faithful in keeping His promises and carrying out His great plan of redeeming a worshiping people for Himself among the world. So what's next? What has God promised for our future?

Revelation records a scene recorded by John that has great meaning in light of God's promise to Abraham, this thread of God's faithfulness and plan through out the Old and New Testaments.

"And they sang a new song, saying: 'You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and by your blood you purchased for God members of every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth." Revelations 5:9

"After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." Revelation 7:9,10

As we can connect what is happening in Revelation with what God started in Genesis 1 and 12. God will be faithful to finish what He has promised. Matthew 24:14 says, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come." God is a faithful God with a mission, and from cover to cover the story is a story of His faithfulness in carrying out His great mission.

There is incredible news for us! This same God full of power and goodness and faithfulness wants and plans to use you and I as He finishes the final chapters!

Here is my challenge for you now: What is one thing you want to do this week in response to what you have learned about God's faithfulness in carrying out His plan of redemption?

Until all hear,
Brittany Hasenkamp


From the Burner

- Life lessons from Christian chefs

The devil cannot just walk right up to you and rob you of your health, peace or family. He cannot just come into your life to enforce disease and destruction. If the devil can do that, then he does not have to walk about "seeking whom he may devour". He only has to walk straight up to anyone he wants to devour and devour him! But since the Bible says that he goes about seeking whom he may devour, the truth then is that there are people whom he cannot devour. You see, the devil goes about like a roaring lion trying to stir up fear in people with his roars. But the people who are not devourable are those who refuse to be intimidated by his roars because they know that the true Lion of Judah, Jesus Christ (Revelation 5:5), has already come and rendered powerless him who had the power of death. (Hebrews 2:14, NASB) They know that the devil cannot just do anything to them because the Lion of Judah resides in them, and that He is greater than the devil who is in the world. (1 John 4:4) My friend, the Lion of Judah is in you. He has given you rights, privileges, authority and power. He redeemed you with His blood. Therefore, everything about you and your life is redeemed by His blood. So if you are fearful about losing your job, cover your job with the blood of Jesus. If you are worried about your children's safety in these days of terrorist attacks, plead the blood of Jesus over them. If you have received a bad report from the doctor, speak the blood over yourself. Whatever you have covered with the blood of Jesus, God declares, "Protected! Redeemed!" And the devil flees when he sees the blood. And when he flees, he takes with him sicknesses, diseases, pains, sufferings, destruction and loss. Once the devil knows that you know who you are in Christ and what you have in Him, his days of intimidating you are over, and you are numbered among the undevourable! Thought For The Day Everything about you and your life is redeemed by Jesus' blood.

Debbie Rommeney Lowe
Mercy Chefs