Proverbs 16:3 (NIV) Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.
For our household, the Daniel Fast begins tomorrow. I am a bit overwhelmed with preparation and planning the meals for the next 21 days as we fast and pray to commit 2016 to the Lord and His Plans for us. My husband and I have had a few days to ourselves which rarely ever happen without work. Sharing a meal on New Year’s Eve, we began to discuss the fast and what our goals and objectives were for this time. I expressed some challenges as our whole family will be embarking on this journey together and meeting the dietary needs of our girls. He shared his thoughts on the purpose of the endeavor and not losing sight of the meaning of this time set aside for Jesus. See change is always difficult for human beings even temporary interruptions like a dietary limitation. There are so many things we can eat and few things not listed but those limitations totally change our family’s menu. No meats, no sweets, no bread or caffeine. Sounds simple right? When you read the prescribed changes, it becomes overwhelming and suddenly no one is searching for insight from the Lord but to simply endure the days of “suffering”. With this thought in mind, I have purposely not shared the finer details of our conversation as I think each individual and family should decide for themselves. Fasting and prayer are not a religious act when done in context with the Word but rather a time set aside to honor God rather than our bellies. It is to remove our attention from the physical needs and emotional strongholds of life to complete indulge in the Presence of God. It is the opportunity to commit to the Lord whatever you plan to do in the coming year, and He will establish those things that line up with His Word, Will and Way.
Okay, but what if my goals and objectives for this New Year are not the same as the Lord’s Best for me? What then? Fasting and prayer align our heart with God’s Heart. It allows us to spend time with the Way, the Truth and the Life rather than pouring over Pinterest trying to make a meal plan or surviving a month without caffeine. The idea of prayer and fasting is removing our attention from ourselves and subduing our flesh to be filled with more of Jesus and achieve the Mind of Christ. When we commit any portion of our life to God, He is faithful to make it count and bring success to our endeavors. Even a time of fasting, even if we do not, cannot or will not limit ourselves to the fast of others, I really believe that if we give this our heart’s attention above all else.
Hebrews 8:10-13 (NIV)
This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
I Corinthians 2:15-16 (NIV)
The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
One’s goal in fasting must never be what they do but who they are. We have been given the Mind of Christ. Daniel did not have the outpouring of the Holy Spirit without measure that came after Jesus died on the Cross and released His Spirit. He was compelled by his relationship with God to continue to observe Levitical law from which we have been freed and delivered through the Power of the Blood of Jesus establishing a “new” covenant. With the new covenant, we are given access to the heart of Jesus Christ because His Spirit lives in us. When we fast it is not in observance of the law but of the new covenant that we have entered into. This makes a difference. We must enter fasting with the mindset of knowing Christ, obtaining understanding determined to use His Wisdom in the coming year. Fasting is different for everyone. Daniel fasting is a guideline but not a rule or regulation. You decide what you will commit to the fast and the amount of time set aside to commune with God. Fasting is subduing our “self” and apprehending our mind to wrap it around the unfailing love given to us and using that love to guide and direct every activity, action and attitude this year.
Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NIV)
The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you.
Believers and the church will become influential once their commitment is established again. God established us to be a holy people. His Holy People. We are Children of the Living God. He promised us by decree that was signed in the Blood of His Son. I think He meant it, don’t you? It says “if we keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to Him” that “all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the Name of the Lord, and they will fear (respect) you.” The church has lost its influence because it is powerless in loose commitment and a total lack of self-control. Those who choose to be holy are judged by their own as “too religious” or “limiting grace”. Nothing could be further from the Truth. God has a standard of living that sin keeps us from. When an individual decides to commit their life to Christ, make Him Lord and live a holy life – they will prosper and find success in all they do.
Proverbs 24:3-4 (NIV)
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) How much of your life will you contribute to the fast that you will begin tomorrow? Will you give your all? Will just give some? Will you give until it hurts? Whatever you commit to the Lord, He will return to you pressed down, shaken together and running over poured into your lap. What does that mean exactly? In the passage in Luke, the Lord is talking about judgment of others but this carries over to every area of our life. God does not give like for like or we would be in a serious bind. No, He pours out His Unfailing Love and Favor on those who give up parts of their life. Those who surrender all the pieces of their broken heart will have a new one. Those who commit all their attention to His Word will have greater understanding. Knowledge gives way to understanding and wisdom builds a strong house. You cannot live by wisdom you do not have and without understanding the knowledge you are given, what good is it anyway? This time you set aside for the Lord by fasting and praying should lead to more knowledge, greater understanding and a firm foundation of faith for 2016.
Psalm 111:7-9 (NIV)
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.
What if I told you that God’s Plan for your life is already activated? What if I told you the “works of His Hands” are faithfully creating a way and His Justice will not allow Him to stop according to the Grace you have been given by Jesus? Would you believe me? What if I told you that His Covenant is working miracles and supernatural outcomes all around you? It is established in the Heavenlies, what would be your response? Where is it? Why am I not experiencing the Favor of God in my life? They are established forever, but “enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.” 2016 has already been established by God for your good. He has a plan that is filled with hope for your life. Will you enact it is the question? Will you make a new commitment to follow the Lord, walk in His Way, be faithful and remain upright?
Psalm 90:12; 14-17 (NIV)
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.
Fasting does not create a new order or decree concerning you today. It moves us and our sin that is keeping us from God’s Goodness established just for us. It turns us through repentance from rebellion to righteousness which will open the floodgate of Heaven over God’s Children. The Lord is not slack concerning His Promise, we are stubborn. Even in our noble acts, we are overtaken by religiosity and judgment. If I gain nothing else in the next 21 days, Lord grant me a heart of wisdom. May I be satisfied each day with your unfailing love before I reach for anything other. Lord, may I begin and end each day with praise for it is the joy that fills my heart. Lord, thank you for the gladness that overshadows every affliction. Thank you Jesus for your favor that rests upon me – Lord, teach me to walk in it. Lord, establish me first and then the works of my hands for your service. This is why we fast. This is why we pray. To establish a greater connection with His Unfailing Love and Overwhelming Grace so our faith leads to righteousness, godliness, holiness and obedience. It will change ever outcome in 2016 but not until first it changes and establishes me.
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.