New Hope Community Fellowship
Friday, February 21, 2020
Developing Disciples for Kingdom Deployment

21 Day Fast 2020

21-Day Fast

 

Let’s

F.a.s.t.

 

FOCUS. ACT. SACRIFICE. TRUST. 

 

 

January 12, 2020—February 2, 2020 

 

DAY 1

 Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 29

Scripture:  2 Chronicles 29:34

“The priests, however, were too few to skin all the burnt offerings; so their relatives the Levites helped them until the task was finished and until other priests had been consecrated, for the Levites had been more conscientious in consecrating themselves than the priests had been.”

Observation:  King Hezekiah did not waste time during his reign.  In the first month of his reign he ordered the priests and the Levites to repair the temple and clean it from defiled items so the doors of the temple could be opened again.  King Hezekiah chose to do what was right in the eyes of the LORD, although he had been raised by King Ahaz, his wicked father.  It was said that King Hezekiah’s father was so wicked that he had his son pass through the fire, which some say this meant he sacrificed his son by fire to the god, Moloch.  Like King Hezekiah, the priests and the Levites had a choice to make.  Both were given the same assignment, but the Levites were more conscientious, attentive, ready, and cheerful about consecrating themselves than the priests. 

Application:  Remember God can always see your heart before your hands even touch your assignment.  Your posture, disposition, motives, attitude and intention behind what you do are more important than what you do.  The priests and the Levites were asked to do the same thing – consecrate themselves and the temple; however, one of them chose to take the assignment more serious than the other. 

As you begin day 1 of the fast and consecration, be like the Levites - conscientious, excited and serious about the next 21 days.  See this as an opportunity to spend time with God seeking and praying about what He wants you to do, and what He wants you to stop doing.  Have the right posture, motives, and attitude while fasting, and ask God to consecrate you not only for 2019, but for your entire life.  Be prepared in your heart first so that your life is dedicated to not only serve God exactly where and the way He desires, but also to serve Him with a clean heart.

Reflection & Prayer:  Father, I pray that I would enter the next 21 days more conscientious than ever about this time of consecration, fasting, and prayer.  Change me in such a way that impacts my life so that my destiny will shatter the ceiling of my life and move me to the next level You have for me.  Prune and prepare me, and then position me so that in Your timing I put into action everything that You have assigned me to do.

And LORD…may my walk continue to be a stark contrast from the way I used to live before You entered my life and saved me.

Day 2

Today’s Reading: Daniel 10

Scriptures: Daniel 10:17-19

“How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe.” Again, the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. “Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

Observation: Daniel prayed to God and it seemed as though there was no hope. It appears God did not hear him or as though God had forgotten him. Daniel pleaded, prayed, fasted and nothing happened! As time went on, Daniel became weaker and weaker. Finally, God revealed to Daniel that he heard him from the very beginning, but there were evil forces working against him. In fact, not only did God hear him, but He was also working behind the scenes the whole time and left Daniel with peace, strength, and assurance that He would fight Daniel’s battle.

Application: There are times in our life when we pray and feel like it has fallen on deaf ears. It feels like we are alone, and God is nowhere to be found. However, this passage reveals to us that God hears the prayers, pleas, and petitions of His people. You might be waiting on God now and feeling like He has forgotten you, but we serve a God who often times is working behind the scenes for our benefit and His glory. In the meantime, we must receive the peace and strength that only comes from Him.  On day 2 of this fast remember our God is faithful!

Reflection & Prayer: Father, there are times when I am waiting on You and wondering if You even care. Do You hear me? Are You still there? While I trust You to work behind the scenes on my behalf please give me peace and strength. You are my sustainer, so I put my faith and trust in You! In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

DAY 3

 Today’s Reading: Matthew 6

 Scripture: Matthew 6:21

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Observation: Earlier in the passage while Jesus is teaching the disciples how to pray, He tells them to pray, “May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (vs. 10).  It is as if God is reminding us not to get too wrapped up in what this world values and lose sight of His values. The more we are focused on the Kingdom of God being manifested here on earth, our treasures, the things we value, begin to reflect the heart of God more than selfish ambition.

Application: On day 3 of this fast, let’s take a moment to reassess our values and our treasures. Do they reflect the Kingdom of God or have we become so impacted by this world’s system that we value it, more than we do the Lord?  Trust me, it is so easy to get caught up. Social media, television, YouTube, the radio, etc. are all around us. We also can become so influenced by the multitude of messages that are streaming through these mediums that we lose focus of what the voice of God sounds like. Perhaps this is a time for you to reconnect with God, and make sure that your treasures are in alignment with what He treasures.  Let the Kingdom of God manifest on earth as it is in heaven, through your life!

Reflection & Prayer: Lord please give me discernment.  Show me what is helping me and what is hindering me.  I want to treasure what You treasure.  I want a heart that is pure and devoted to You.  As I move into this time of prayer and fasting change me, cleanse me, redirect me, and realign me. Show me those areas I could not see before and I thank You now that on the other side of this fast I will be able to say, “My heart reflects God’s heart.” By Your grace, I can and will be the person You have already designed and empowered me to be. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

Day 4

Today’s Reading: Romans 12

Scripture:  Romans 12:2

“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

Observation:  Don’t just go along with what everyone is doing without putting any thought into it. Be deliberate and stay focused on what God is telling you to do. When you follow God’s instructions you will experience a total transformation from the inside. The world does not offer this kind of change. God wants to rebuild, develop and mature you.

Application:  It is important to regularly read the Bible and pray. When we do these two things on a consistent basis it is easier to distinguish the difference between the voice of the culture, and the voice of God. It is easy to get caught up in the things of the world without giving much thought to it or questioning why we are doing it while needing to slow down enough to think where this will lead me.  As believers, we are in the world but should not be swept up in all the hype, music, social media, fashion and idols of the day. People should be able to look and talk to us and see a notable difference. How will this fast be different from last year? What spiritual disciplines will you cultivate this year to develop your spiritual walk? Here are a few options: Read a Bible verse a day, listen to the Bible instead of the radio, join a small group Bible study, or S.O.A.R. daily.  Be encouraged.

Reflection and Prayer:  Father, my desire is to follow Your path and not the ways of the world. I pray that I hear Your voice over everything that is competing for my attention. May Your Word be a lamp to my feet and guide me. May my heart be filled with Your Word and that I choose to follow the path You have for me. I pray that I experience the transforming power of Your Word in this season.   In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!

 DAY 5

 Today’s Reading: Galatians 5

Scriptures: Galatians 5:16-17

“So, I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want.”

Observation: Paul encourages the Galatians to walk in the spirit and not in the flesh. The spirit and the flesh oppose one another. They are not friends. The flesh doesn’t like the spirit, and the spirit does not like the flesh. We can’t just do whatever we want to do!

Application: It’s interesting to me that our time of fasting and prayer opens with this passage in Galatians. Although I’m usually excited about beginning the fast, my flesh gets in the way by reminding me of what I “can’t have” during this time. Regardless of what I decide to sacrifice, I’ve decided to not focus on what I’m giving up, but on what I’m getting. I like to think of it as - redirecting my mindset. This is a time I get to lay aside something that I probably could use a break from anyway, and direct my heart, mind, and spirit toward God and what He wants for me.  Fast, and see how God wants to lead, guide, and direct you this year?  Carve out some time with God each day, pray, yield to the Spirit, and watch your spirit soar. Yes, it may be hard at first, but I promise, it’s worth it!

 Reflection & Prayer: God, I need you. It is evident just by the fact that I’m committing this time of fasting and prayer to you, I know that my flesh will want to take over, so I’m trusting You to keep me as I focus on You and Your Word.  I am ready and open to listening to what You have to say to me.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Day 6

Today’s Reading: 1st Kings 8

Scriptures: 1 King 8:18-20

“But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood- he is the one who will build the temple for my Name. The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.”

Observation: Solomon had built the temple for the Lord.  This was the same temple his father David had in his heart to build for the Lord.  Solomon dedicated the temple to the Lord, blessed the assembly of people and then prayed to the Lord for them. God is a promise keeper so we should be comforted knowing that what God has promised will come to pass.  Sometimes, the fulfillment of their promises is coming through you. On day 6 of your fast be assured that God will keep the promises He has made to you. They will come to pass at the appointed time. Expect it and give thanks and praises now for it.

Application:  In this time of fasting you should reflect on God’s promises to you. See which ones have come to pass and which ones you are still waiting for the appointed time of the fulfillment of that promise. Give thanks to God now and don’t lose heart if what you have been promised hasn’t materialized in your life yet. Pray and ask God for guidance, peace, and clarity as you wait for your God-given promises. In your time of prayer write down what God speaks to you in your spirit. Then, hold on and be encouraged knowing God is the promise keeper!

 Reflection & Prayer:  Father God, I thank You for keeping Your promises to Your people. I pray that on this day of fasting and consecration I will be steadfast, unmovable and always abounding in Your Word and Your promises to me. May I be strengthened in my inner man and encouraged knowing just as You kept your promises to David and Solomon, You will keep Your promises to me. I expect it and rejoice in it now.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 Day 7

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1

Scripture: 1Peter 1:11

“They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.”

Observation: Peter was explaining to the people how fortunate they were to be living and experiencing the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah.  He made known to them that the prophets who spoke of Jesus in the Old Testament wished they could be in their shoes.  He also shed light on their mindsets and attitudes towards their mission. God told the Prophets all they needed to know. He told them they are serving the next generation through their obedience. That information alone was enough to motivate them. He also shared with them that the Messiah would suffer, and that glory would follow that suffering. Christ showed them how to suffer, and the benefits of His suffering not only for the kingdom of God but for you and me too.

Application: Verse 13 says “Prepare your mind for action and be completely sober.”  Understand that trials and suffering are coming, but God’s grace is actively covering you.  Don’t be distracted or intoxicated with fear, anger, greed, worry, or lust.  Be “Sober Minded” in all things, and situations. Just as the prophets had to understand that they would not get to see or experience the Messiah, you may not experience the benefits of what you made sacrifices for in your lifetime, but your children will, and your community will.  You must stick to the mission even if you’re not alive to experience the blessing. Realize whenever you suffer for God, glory will always follow. Christ suffered and paid the ultimate price, but he also gained Glory. Glory is gained through amazing achievements. Christ died for us who deserved death and at the same time conquered death. He did the right thing even though it caused him great suffering. We are His Glory. What is God asking you to sacrifice, give up, or change for someone else’s sake?  In this time of prayer and fasting, ask God to help you understand the value of sacrifice for the next generation. Ask God to help you understand suffering and to keep it in the right perspective. Ask him for the strength not to be moved by what the world is doing, and to keep you sober-minded.

 Reflection & Prayer: Lord, You made a great sacrifice for me, and I, in turn, ask that You give me the same strength and selflessness. Lord, give me the courage to overcome my fears and worries. Make me more like You. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 Day 8

Today’s Reading: Ephesians 5

 Scriptures: Ephesians 5:15-16

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”

Observation: This section of Paul’s letter to the churches in Ephesus is a call for believers to Spirit-filled living. This includes growing in godliness as defined by learning to live a life that honors God and follows the example of Christ. We are to live in such a way that our lives are as pleasing, fragrant offerings to God.

Application: Dedicated seasons of fasting and prayer provide a great opportunity for self-examination by God.  The exhortation to look carefully at how you walk is to assess your lifestyle to see if a disconnect exists between your beliefs and your behaviors. This is because your behaviors are the indicators of what you truly believe, even when it differs from what you say. In an age where everything around us competes for our attention (television, social media, and even work), how you spend your time serves as a direct reflection of your priorities.  Where do you spend the most time? Time is extremely limited and how you manage your time is crucial to living a life that honors and glorifies God. In our verses, it is the unwise person who cares less about living a Spirit-led life because the majority of their time is spent not on what pleases God, but on what pleases them.  Let this be a time to get clear on exactly what God wants you to do, and then use the time He has given you to do what He’s told you to do. In these times letting your life be filled and led by God’s Spirit, is the best way forward.

Reflection & Prayer: LORD, as I fast and pray, please help me to look carefully at my life; to see it as You do, and to make all adjustments necessary to live in a manner that is pleasing to You.  I ask for wisdom to live life well so as not to waste a moment. Please help me to properly prioritize the time I have and to maximize every opportunity You bring my way so that I see and seize the chance to glorify You in all I do. May I be a blessing to others in the process.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 Day 9

Today’s Reading: Genesis Chapter 13

 Scriptures: Genesis 13:14-15

“The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west.  All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever.”

Observation:  The Lord came to Abram, gave him instruction and proclaimed a blessing over his life.  Abram acted on God’s instructions, but there were things he did along the way that blocked the blessings God declared over his life. Abram was told to leave his father’s house and family, but he took Lot his nephew with him. This eventually created envy and strife between Abram and Lot. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  Where there are envy and strife, you will find distractions, and end up wasting time and energy on someone who is not even supposed to be there. Once Lot was removed, God spoke, reaffirmed His blessing on Abram and encouraged him to go forward.

Application:  Sometimes we hear the Lord clearly and move in the direction He has said, but along the way, we are unconscious of the things we do that actually block blessings established over our lives.   What is the proverbial Lot in your life that is blocking the blessing the Lord has already declared over you?  Get into the habit of asking God to search your heart and reveal anything that is keeping you from His best for your life. This time of seeking the Lord through fasting and prayer is the perfect opportunity to listen and realign yourself to His instructions for your life.

Reflection & Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessing You have already proclaimed over me. During this time of fasting, please help me identify and remove anything that is keeping me from receiving that blessing and moving within the purpose for which You created me. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 Day 10

 Today’s Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3

Scriptures: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-3

 “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

Observation: The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Christians in a town in Greece called Thessalonica seeking prayer.  Paul knowing the power of intercession asked the believers to intercede with laser-guided, very specific and a targeted prayer request.  We all need to pray for others, and we all need the prayers of others. 

Application: Prayer is one of the greatest privileges we have as Christians, not only a privilege but one of our most powerful weapons.  On this 10th day of fasting and praying, be reminded that prayer connects us with the unlimited resources of our Father.  One of the factors that make our praying so weak and ineffective is that we pray such generalized prayers.  Asking for specific prayers is not a sign of weakness; it’s a mark of dependence.  We must seek God’s will and pray deliberate prayers for ourselves and for others.

 Reflection & Prayer: Father God, thank You for giving me this opportunity to seek You for my Pastor, church, my brothers and sisters, and myself.  I ask that You teach me how to petition You with specific, and targeted prayers.  You said in your Word “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” so today Father I ask that You remind me that the power of my prayers is in the petition of my prayers.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 Day 11

Today’s Reading: Exodus 23

Scripture: Exodus 23:25

“So, you shall serve the LORD your God, and He will bless your bread and your

water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you.”

Observation: Between 20th and 31st verse God makes 12 promises to His people who choose to obey Him.  He begins by sending us an Angel to keep us and take us where He wants us to go. He ends by promising to deliver us from our enemies so that we can have the life He desires for us.  In the key verse (v25) God blessed them by taking anything harmful out of the food they ate AND the water they would drink! THEN He promised to protect them from sickness.

Application: We serve a God who not only delivers and sets us free but heals as well - all as a part of the divine exchange.  He is our Heavenly Father and we are His heavenly-bound children.  He leads – we follow.  He guides – we obey.  He gives us life – we give Him worship.  During this 11th day of prayer and fasting meditate on the promises in this section that lie in wait for you this year. That is if you choose to obey and worship Him alone.  Ask God what promises does He plan to fulfill in your life this year and then continue to pray accordingly.  God is a good God.  He desires only the best for you and seeks to establish a covenant (promise) that He will fulfill every day of your lives.

Reflection & Prayer: God, thank You for the Angel You sent to keep, lead and take me further into Your will this year. Thank You for the promises You brought into my life today. I believe that You are the God that heals and the Blesser of my life.  I choose to worship You alone and obey Your Word.  Please help me to do my part while I trust You to do Yours’.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 Day 12

Today’s Reading: Genesis 45

Scripture:  Genesis 45:7

“God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”

Observation:  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but let their father believe he was dead, although they had allowed him to be sold into slavery.  While in Egypt, God gave Joseph favor and eventually he became a great leader - second only to Pharaoh.  Later, there was a famine that impacted those near and far in such a way that everyone had to come to Egypt for provisions, including Joseph’s brothers.  As they arrived, they did not recognize Joseph; however, he recognized them.  After a series of events Joseph finally revealed who he truly was to his brothers.  He could have said, “I will finally get my revenge, lock them up!”  In fact, his brothers feared that Joseph would seek revenge, but instead when he revealed who he was he extended forgiveness AND dealt kindly with them.  He could have said, “I hold no grudge, now return home,” but he was also kind to them.  Joseph went on to share with them how God had preserved him, provided for him, elevated him and kept a nation from perishing.

Application:  When you are sent by God you don’t always know the “why” behind the “where.”  In Joseph’s case the reason why God sent him to Egypt was to preserve a remnant and therefore, a nation would not vanish but continue.  Sometimes God sends you ahead of the problem, but will you go without explanation?  When you arrive and it doesn’t “appear” as if God is anywhere will you serve Him or disobey Him? Who will not perish, but be saved because you stayed, stuck it out, and served God without bitterness, hatred or unforgiveness? 

On Day 12 of your fast, where might God be trying to send you in 2019?  Who might God want you to forgive? How may He want to use you?  We must never limit our journey to me, myself and I…because God just might want to expand your journey to her, him and them.

Reflection & Prayer:  Father, let nothing I experience in life get me stuck or glued to bitterness, hatred, rage or anger.  Help me choose to move on and go wherever You send me, to serve whomever You desire, and to witness with the love of Christ first, my life secondly, and my words last.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 Day 13

Today’s Reading: Psalm 27

Scripture: Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and my salvation whom shall, I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?”

Observation:  This Psalm records David’s resolve that the Lord is all he needs in the day of battle and the Lord is the sum of all he wants.  While the enemy is seeking to take his life, David makes it known that his sole desire is to give his life away in worship.  For when the enemy comes to devour him, the enemy will stumble and fall because he doesn’t have the light.  Even though an army encircles him, David’s heart won’t fear because the Lord is his Salvation.  When war breaks out against him, the Lord Himself is the stronghold of his life. Therefore, there’s no reason to fear, for whatever weapon the enemy forms against him, it shall not prosper.

Application: Often times the most sinister enemies are those which come from within us and thereby stymie our spiritual health and fortitude. Proverbs 4:23 cautions you to guard your heart because the sum of all that you do flows from your heart.  So, if the Lord is shining a light on your heart during this fast and exposing areas of bitterness, unforgiveness, envy and the like; let Him lead you in wholehearted repentance. The Lord is the stronghold of your life and therefore protects and keeps you from those things that seek to devour you. Like David, the Lord is your Light and your Salvation; you have nothing to be afraid of because He loves unconditionally and knows you altogether.

Reflection & Prayer: Father I know that You are my Light and my Salvation and that You are more committed to me than I am to myself.  Please expose any sinful dispositions that I’ve been holding on to. You love me perfectly, so I know I can trust You with the most intimate recesses of my heart; therefore, I confess my sins and repent of harboring them in my heart.  In so doing, I have a blessed assurance that I have the forgiveness that I’ve asked for; for when I confess my sin You are faithful and just to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen

 Day 14

Daily Reading: Psalm 139

Scripture: Psalm 139:1

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.”

Observation: GOD KNOWS YOU…that is powerful…penetrating, thought-provoking…and packed with layers and layers of meaning.  This dispels the lie that “nobody gets you, understands you or really knows you.”  This even disqualifies those who are closest to you, like your mother, father, best friend, husband, wife, sister, or brother because they really don’t KNOW you.  This is perplexing because what you “think” you know about yourself is only a partial knowing that will grow…but is still limited and will never lead to you fully knowing yourself.  This touches every tear you will shed, every laugh you will laugh, and every loss you will have.  It speaks to when you are truly happy, angry, frustrated, excited, scared, embarrassed, surprised, disappointed, hopeful, or even confused…God KNOWS it all.  This is humbling because God KNOWS all your secrets, every place you have gone, every deed you have done, and what you hope certain people will never find out…God already KNOWS.  You cannot run, hide, avoid, excuse-away, or lie to cover up truth because nothing can hide from Him, in fact, the light and the darkness is the same to Him. 

YET…God still decided to form you and cover you in your mother’s womb and then gave you safe passage into this world.  YET…nothing was spared concerning your creation for you are a marvelous work of God - fearfully and wonderfully made.  YET…He still thinks precious thoughts of you, although He KNOWS you.  YET…He stays whether you are in the dark or light.  YET…He hedges you from behind and before and still protects you.  Yet…God LOVES YOU!   Wow, someone KNOWS the real you…and still loves you….and that someone is God.  

Application:  You must always be mindful of God’s love for you.  Let this become a weapon to answer yourself, others and the Enemy when such things are said like, “You don’t matter,” “No one cares whether you live or die,” or “No one loves you anyhow.”  Make sure you respond with: “I matter to God,” God cares,” and “God loves me anyhow, His thoughts of me outnumber the sand!” The second application in this text is trust God’s call for your life.  The God Who shaped you in your mother’s womb, created you with every gift, skill and talent you have, has perfectly matched every experiences, gift, skill, and personality to your purpose.  God tailor makes it all so that you are not only loved by God but useful to Him.  In fact, others are already waiting for you to get into position because they need what God has placed in you.  The last application is: if God knows the real you that changes everything!  Let that sink in and shift your mindset, posture, and awareness and acceptance of yourself.  You no longer have to put up with feelings of inferiority.  This year do what God told you to do and stop disqualifying yourself.  God KNOWS the real you so if you have nothing to prove to “them” – whoever they are. Then you can stop performing, you don’t need to be a perfectionist, throw people-pleasing away, and stop pretending to be someone you are not, and the world does not need anyway…they need the real you!

Reflection & Prayer:  Abba Father, how kind You have been to me.  How merciful You continue to be to me.  When I think about the fact that You really KNOW me it brings up feelings of happiness, amazement, reverence, embarrassment, confusion, peace, discomfort, shame, and gratefulness.  It is easier to pray when I am asking for something or fulfilling a prayer request for someone than when it concerns the real me – the not perfect or have it all together me.  Thank You for accepting the real me.  Thank You for loving the real me unconditionally.  Thank You for using the real me in service to You, a holy God.  Thank You for not stopping Your work in me because You could have left the real me just like I was.  Thank You for loving me enough to confront, challenge, and change me.   Please, continue to reveal me to me. May I get more comfortable with sharing the real me with You, and then with others until one day the real me is no longer hiding but shows up daily.  And when I get it wrong, because I will…please be there waiting for me.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

-Day 15

Today’s Reading: Psalm 53

Scripture: Psalm 53:2

“God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”

Observation: This passage speaks to the foolishness of the Godless and the restoration of Israel. God is merciful and wants to save his people.

Application: I definitely don’t consider myself Godless, but I do have to ask myself the question, “Do I seek God?”  In the busy-ness of my life with work, school, family, social media and extracurricular activities, is there room for God?  Do I seek Him?  I can certainly name numerous times when I seek out other activities and people, but do I put that much energy into seeking God? Whoa!  This causes me to think and look at the truth of the value God has in my life. God wants you to seek him and spend time with him.  Thank God for his mercy toward you! You’ve made it to day 15 of the fast. Seek God and stay strong.  You can do it!

Reflection & Prayer: Dear God, thank You for Your mercy towards me.  I need it so desperately!  When I tend to get too busy and forget about You, remind

me that I would have none of what I’m busy about if it were not for You.  When I seek You, I find peace, love, and joy, and for that, I am grateful.  I love You, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen. 

 Day 16

Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 6

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 6:14-15

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?”

Observation: This passage of Bible begins with an exhortation, a command, for the believers in Corinth not to be yoked together with unbelievers. Next, the command is followed with examples to heighten the contrast between believers and unbelievers to reveal the stark dissimilarity between them. In fact, the examples can be viewed as things or forces that oppose one another (i.e. light/darkness and righteousness/ wickedness) not just dissimilar because they are total opposites. 

Application: Many times, this passage is misquoted and emphasized only in the context of marriage. However, although it is applicable it is not limited to such confines. Within this text, God reveals to you the danger of being yoked with someone who is not “like-minded” or who has opposing views or lifestyles. For instance, a yoke was used for two animals of the “same kind” to plow a field.  In order to do so they needed to be the same, so they could both understand the farmer’s commands in order to work together to accomplish the desired goal in the field.  A farmer didn’t use the same commands for different animals. Therefore, if two animals of a “different kind” were yoked together they run the risk of running in different directions creating more disaster than productivity. Here we learn the danger of being yoked with someone who is an unbeliever. It can be disastrous!

Reflection & Prayer: Father, as I make decisions and form relationships in my life, family, and business, please give me the awareness to be connected with people who are like-minded. I pray that You would also give me the courage to evaluate my life to ensure the call and purpose on my life is not negatively impacted by relationships that oppose who You are and who You have called me to be.

 Day 17

Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 6

Scriptures: 2 Chronicles 6:1-2

“Then Solomon spoke: “The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever.”

Observation:  Looking at the scriptures we can only imagine what type of feelings were invoked when Solomon announced and launched building plans for a permanent temple for the LORD in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah. What we do know is that they worked together, completed the project, and the LORD was pleased and dwelled in the Temple. Then they did what we all should do when God dwells with us, they praised God. Solomon was a wise king and he led the people in a prayer of dedication. He took on a posture of humility and thanksgiving. He called the whole assembly to honor the LORD who is faithful.  

Application:  Some building projects seem to take forever. Even a simple remodel can test the patience and passion of even the most even-tempered individual. However, a completed project can lead us to give God praise because He helped us see it to completion. On day 17 of the fast may you remember that every project in your life that God has established shall be completed.  Be encouraged to praise Him for it’s His presence that keeps you during the project and His presence that dwells once it is completed. 

Reflection & Prayer:  LORD, help me to appreciate the wonderful works You have brought forth in my life.  May You be pleased to dwell in me, and may my heart be full of praise and prayer.

Day 18

Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 2

Scriptures: 1 Peter 2:20-23

“For what credit is it if you sin and are mistreated and endure it? But if you do good and suffer and so endure, this finds favor with God. For to this you were called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving an example for you to follow in his steps. He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth.  When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.”

Observation: In this letter, Peter gives instructions and insight into God’s purpose and virtues of righteous suffering.  In chapter 2, we discover that all disciples in Christ Jesus are special, chosen by God, extremely precious, like living stones that God pours LOVE into, so that others may have a living example of God’s lovingkindness toward them.  We are living trophies of God’s love for us on constant display.  Peter teaches that it’s God’s will that by doing good, our loving actions will shut the mouth of all haters.  Here we learn that our Lord Jesus Christ’s sufferings are not only a major part of God’s restorative work for all, but His sufferings are also a perfect example of how we are to respond when we are inevitably faced with righteous sufferings.  The revelation of Peter is that Jesus will not to be alone in His suffering.  You also are enlisted into the ministry of a righteous suffering and Jesus is our forerunner of how to embrace the reality of suffering in our lives.  You have a perfect example of how you are to respond when you will inevitably face righteous suffering.

Application: How do we get into position to be God’s Trophies of LOVE?  During this time of fasting receive and obey Peter’s charge to the disciples to lay aside all that is not like God in your life and lifestyle. Take the time during this season of spiritual reflection to search and make a fearless moral inventory and assessment of yourself.  Take the time to also sit before the LORD, allow God’s written and spoken Word to be your filter to weed out attitudes, behaviors, and mindsets that are not in alignment with the Love of God. Write down what the Holy Spirit reveals to you. Then, fortified with the assurance of who you are in Christ, pray with thanksgiving in your heart, ask God to give you an eternal perspective, God’s perspective, on your current struggles, tests, and sufferings. Ask the LORD to make an assessment of your struggles to see if they are indeed “Righteous Struggles.” If they are not, then make amends to correct it. If they are a righteous struggle, then trust and believe that God will empower you to willingly accept the suffering as the Lord Jesus Christ did in His life and ministry.

Reflection & Prayer: Abba Father, grant me the courage to honestly search myself for Your likeness, touch my eyes in order that I may be able to see with Holy Spirit clarity and precision my situation from Your perspective. Lead me to right actions and good works that will ultimately result in You receiving Glory by means of my life and love. Father strengthen me to endure until You finish Your workmanship in me, and I reflect Your likeness as a son or daughter of God for Your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name, I pray Amen. 

Day 19

Today’s Reading: Leviticus 15

Scripture: Leviticus 15:31

“You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.”

Observation: In this chapter, we find that the Lord is giving Moses and Aaron instructions for the Levites (priests) and the Israelites, so they will not die.  These instructions were put in place so the priests could worship God and know how to live clean and safe before God.  Other guidelines would include the Israelites so that they would have clarity about worshipping God and living differently than other nations.  Like, in our times Israel still wants to do what was right in their own eyes, with whoever they want, in a way that was relevant for them.  When God spoke, commanded or made laws they were not random ideas or lists of “do’s and don’ts,” but for the sake of order and not chaos.  God, like all creators of new things, knows what is best for His creation.         

Application:  The Creator of heaven and earth cannot be compared to any man, animal, leader, god, or idol.  He cannot be found in any tomb, is not made from any man-made material, and was there before angels, men or demons came into existence. When He really wants something done, He commands it and there is NO ONE who can stop it.  At once thousands of Angels will show up for orders at His call, so why is man not mindful of God?  Why do we resist obeying our Creator?  Some say, “What He is asking doesn’t make sense.”  Yet, when you walk into a courtroom there are rules, protocols, “do’s and don’ts,” a dress code – just try walking into court with no pants on, and you’re even told when to rise and sit down.  You don’t say, “Why do I have to rise and then sit down…that doesn’t make sense?”  “Why do I even have to come to court?”  “Why do I have to even follow the laws of the land?”  “Why do I have to go before a Judge…who is he/she and what makes them so important?”  You must also do for God what you so easily do for man.  As you so easily stand on your feet, if our former President, Obama walked in the room.  If former, President Obama said, “Follow me” you would rise up and follow him even if you are thinking, “Where are we going” as you move forward.  You don’t even know President Obama personally and yet honor and obedience is expected and given to him.  The same is true when God sets certain standards in place, asks you to do something or requires something of you.  We are in a personal relationship with God, so we should honor Him as we come before Him, worship Him, and follow Him immediately.  On the 19th day of your fast think about whether God is really more important than a President or Judge when He asks you to do something just because he said? What position of authority does He really play in your decision making, obedience and loyalty?

Reflection & Prayer:  Father, I don’t like to be told what to do.  There is something in me that rises up in opposition when I hear, “You cannot do….” However, please continue to be gracious, patient, and merciful because I want to.  I want to trust You enough to go when You say go, to do what You say, and stand even if it means pain and persecution…because that is really the desire of my heart so I will keep trying. 

One more thing LORD, when I miss the mark…please forgive me…and never forsake me…because I really do love you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Day 20

Today’s Reading: Psalm 150

Scripture: Psalm 150:6

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”

Observation:  This is the last Psalm or song; it is an exhortation. The Holy Spirit speaks to us, through the writer, in no uncertain terms, that we are to praise the Lord; it is not a suggestion, but a command. The entire Psalm provides clarity as to who, what, where, how and why God is to be praised. We are to praise Him, period! We are to praise Him both because of Who He is, but also for what He has done. We are to praise Him with everything we have, and not be quiet about it.  Our praise, celebration, and gratitude ought to be noisy!!!

Application:  It would be a mistake to think that your praise is limited to where you worship (the sanctuary on Sunday), but He wants your praise to reach His sanctuary, in Heaven, throughout the day! There should be no ceiling to your praise.  Wherever you are, you can turn 360 °, look up and look down, and see that praise is due to our God, for Who He is and what He has done. The first instrument which should be used to praise the Lord is our mind, then our voice followed by our body. While a list of man-made instruments is mentioned, they can also be symbolic of the universe of instruments, made to praise the Lord. Should you think that they are limited to musical instruments, the Holy Spirit clarifies the matter and says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”

Reflection & Prayer:  Holy Spirit I ask that You open my heart and mind to the opportunities I have throughout each day, to praise You Lord, with all that I am, and all I that I have to offer. Let me not withhold praise from You, nor give Your praise to another, for it is rightly Yours and Yours alone. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Day 21

Today’s Reading: Joshua 1

Scripture: Joshua 1:2

“Moses my servant is dead. Therefore, the time has come for you to lead the people, the Israelites, across the Jordan River into the land I am giving them.”

Observation: Moses led the people as far as he could. It was now Joshua’s turn to take the lead. In this passage, God is instructing Joshua to move forward into the future. He is reassuring Joshua that he is with him and that he will be successful. God is constantly giving Joshua the encouragement he needs to lead the people into the promised land.  Joshua was probably afraid.  Most people would be afraid if faced with Joshua’s circumstance. However, if Joshua focuses on the fact that Moses is dead, his eyes won’t be on the God who has already ensured his success. Moses served his purpose and now it is time for Joshua to do the same!

Application: Everything in your past wasn’t bad. However, if you cling to the past instead of living in this moment, you will lose out on what God is presenting you with today. The simple application of this passage is this question, “What are you holding on to that has already served its purpose?” Even something good can be bad when it’s out of season. Allow God to reveal this to you during your last day of fasting. Ask and ye shall receive. God will show you the areas of your life that need to be released so that you can move into 2019 grabbing hold of every single thing God has pre-established for you to have today, RIGHT NOW, and throughout the year! 

Reflection & Prayer: Lord please help me to release the dead areas of my life. Help me to not be so tied to the past that I miss out on the beauty of this moment and the hope of my future. God, I trust you with my heart. There may be some areas in which I am still afraid to let go, but I am asking you today, to use this time of fasting as an opportunity to free me of yesterday and launch me into my newness. Give me to faith to rise above my fears and possess the land that you have for me. This is my time and I choose to believe that You have equipped me with everything I need to lead in this new season of my lives. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 

 

 Daniel 9:3-5 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.”