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Discipline, Fasting and Nutrition

Staying active can help your metabolism from slowing down.  According to an article on, thermogenesis, the food processing part of your metabolism actually remains fairly steady throughout your adult life.  This is where discipline comes into play, resisting the urge to satisfy the earthly desires of hunger.  In the context of Olympic athletes, the apostle Paul refers to the rigid training necessary to compete at this level.  Like a boxer preparing for a title bout, discipline is essential to get yourself in the best possible shape to reach your full potential.

Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air [just shadow boxing]. 27 But [like a boxer] I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached [the gospel] to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified [as unfit for service], 1 Corinthians 9:26-27.

Hunger is often dictated by the overall mood you are in.  Upon hearing bad news, appetite can be lost.  When a secret service agent, a body guard to the king receives news of Israel’s vulnerable state, Nehemiah is brought to tears.  This weeping inspired a fast, crying out to God in prayer for a plan to restore the walls surrounding Jerusalem.  Nehemiah’s fast lasted for a season, three to four months.  At the conclusion of this fast, detailed in chapter 2, God provides a clear vision, a plan of action to quickly restore this structure.  During any fast, abstaining from food for a period of time, tends to alter your perspective, seeing life or situations through God’s eyes.

They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach; the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its [fortified] gates have been burned (destroyed) by fire.”  Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying [constantly] before the God of heaven, Nehemiah 1:3-4.

When Babylon takes Israel captive in the Old Testament, chief officials brought some young boys to Babylon.  The goal was to retrain these young men into the ways of Babylonian traditions.  When a commander forced these men to alter their Jewish diet, a few refused to adhere to this daily ration.  Rather, Daniel came up with a ten day test.  This combination of fruit, vegetables and water is known as the Daniel fast.  At the end of this ten day challenge, those who participated with Daniel appeared to be healthier than those who ate the king’s finest food.  Learning to balance exercise with nutrition not only makes you feel better, but improves your overall appearance.

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile (taint, dishonor) himself with the king’s finest food or with the wine which the king drank; so he asked the commander of the officials that he might [be excused so that he would] not defile himself, Daniel 1:8.

In the past decade, churches have challenged members of their congregation to participate in a fast each January.  Depending upon the pastor, fasts vary from a Daniel fast, media fast to a strict fluid only fast.  Over the last four years, I have done a nutrition based fast, giving up soda and other unhealthy foods I tend to eat.  I have had mixed results.  During the first fast, I was focused and dedicated, losing nearly twenty pounds in January.  Unfortunately, my latest fasts have been unproductive.  I guess I entered each of these without my heart truly into it.  Thus, the lack of results speaks for itself.  As a new year approaches, may the Holy Spirit prepare your hearts and mind now so that your next fast will be transformational.

by Jay Mankus

Waking Up Fat

For the first 18 years of my life, I was a lean, mean running machine, never weighing more than 140 pounds.  In college, I grew out, gaining the freshman 25, then bulked up by working out several days a week.  By the time I married, I leveled out at 180 pounds, exercising a few times each week to stay in shape.  After being chased by stray dogs for several miles on consecutive days, I decided to retire from jogging.  Subsequently, as time passed, one day I woke up fat.

When you stand and look at yourself in a mirror, its only uplifting if you’re in shape.  Unfortunately, countless individuals have developed 6 packs, cases or keg shaped bellies.  Some where along the way as your metabolism slows down, all it takes is poor eating habits or consuming too many calories by drinking beverages to become bloated.  Once you reach this point, you only have 2 real choices, make drastic changes or accept your obesity.

Although millions are annually concerned with their physical weight, people can also become spiritually obese.  Usually, this process begins with an innocent break from God.  “I’m not going to go to church this weekend?  I’m too tired to read my Bible.  I just don’t feel like praying today; nor do I know what to say to God anyway.”  Often, one day becomes a week, weeks turn into months and before you know, you haven’t talked to God in years.  If you find yourself here, remember the words of  1 Timothy 4:8.  Put Jesus’ words from Matthew 7:24 into practice or else you might become like me, waking up fat.

by Jay Mankus


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