Give Me That Mountain

Eliminating Distractions

Faith and Unbelief. Day seven-two...

When I'm trying to carry on a conversation with someone while a TV is running in the background, I tend to give the person about half of my attention—if that much. There's just something about the audio‐visual stimulus that sucks away my attention.

No one, of course, likes to spend time with someone who has one leg on another planet. And if Sherrel is the victim, she calls me back with a comment like, “Earth to Mike! Hello!”

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Writing on the Heart

Faith and Unbelief. Day seventy-one

Are you interested in doing a fast, either for the first time or with a different perspective?

If so, what does a fast for a new‐covenant believer look like?

different perspective

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All for the Sake of Appearances

Faith and Unbelief. Day seventy...

In Shakespeare's play, “Hamlet,” Queen Gertrude makes the comment, “The lady protests too much, methinks.” This famous line has become a modern‐day response to those who make such a big deal out of something that their big deal comes off as suspicious, at best.

People frequently have religious practices that come off as suspicious. And the fast is certainly one of them.

queen gertrude and hamlet

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Traditions Can Become Meaningless

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-nine...

Has anyone ever said to you before a meal, “Will you ask the blessing?” Here in the Midwest, I can't image any Christian who doesn't occasionally “ask the blessing” over food.

When my children were little, asking the blessing before eating was something I had them do as a way to encourage them to pray publicly. But it's very easy for such an experience to turn into meaningless repetition.

saying grace

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Fasting Challenges Unbelief

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-eight...

I remember clearly those days when I tried to perform for God like a little dog might try to perform for its master.

I lived with the hope that God would pat me on the head and tell me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

dog performing

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Fasting Is Not about Persuading God

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-seven...

As I learned the hard way, fasting is not about going without water in the middle of the summer. Fasting is not about a lot of things we assign to it.

Before I became a Christian, when I thought about fasting I thought of gaunt men and women who had gone on some kind of a hunger strike for some kind of a cause. But fasting, from a Biblical perspective, is not about raising the awareness of a specific issue.

hunger strike

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Getting Rid of Unbelief

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-six...

When I decided to go on my first fast, it was during the hottest days of summer. I hadn't read any books or heard any sermons on the subject. The only kind of fast I knew anything about was what Jesus did in the Bible. So I just woke up one morning and decided go without food or water.

Needless to say, by the afternoon of the second day I was beginning to visit La La Land. Fortunately, I ran into a friend who saved me from dehydration.

la la land

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A Higher Standard

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-five...

When I ask friends who have grown children, “How are your kids doing?” I hope to hear about good jobs and good health. I hope to hear something like, “Oh, they're doing great. Everybody's healthy—thank God! And all three of them are in positions where they make plenty of money.”

It's almost as if, when asking that question, I want to measure another person's quality of life by the measure of the health and the prosperity they're experiencing—and of course I don't want to hear about any family troubles.

upscale dining

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Misplaced Hunger

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-four...

You haven't eaten yet today, and all that stands between you and the delicious‐looking snack in that vending machine is a crisp one‐dollar bill.

The problem is—you don't have a crisp one‐dollar bill, and the bill you do have is limp and crumpled.

vending machines

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Unbelief Challenges Faith

Faith and Unbelief. Day sixty-three

I've always had complete confidence that my string trimmer would start on the third pull. But in the middle of the summer this year, when I pulled the start rope for the third time my trimmer just wouldn't start–acting as if it was flooded. It was a big hassle to get the thing to run that day.

I didn't used to have any doubt that the trimmer would start. But now, I find a lot of strange thoughts going through my head as I get ready to trim the yard. Thoughts like “We have guests coming over in a couple of hours. What if this sucker won't start? How am I going to get the yard looking nice?”

string trimmer

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