Fasting 

Daniel 10:2-3
“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.”

Daniel finds himself in a place where he desperately needs direction from the Lord. He has seen the spiritual condition of the nation and knows that the only hope for his people is a work of God. He determines to set himself to seeking the Lord. Along with daily prayer and digging into the Scriptures, Daniel chooses to set out upon a voluntary fast.

Fasting is a spiritual exercise that involves denying the body physical things in order to focus attention on spiritual things. Fasting is often associated with both prayer and personal repentance, and is designed to bring us into step with what God wants to do in and through our lives.

Technically, fasting is to restrict yourself from all food for a period of time, but actually,  a person can fast from just about anything. Here Daniel has chosen to restrict himself from “pleasant food.” Because of his age, it is likely he ate something each day, but limited it to absolute necessity. We can follow his example by setting aside something that tends to occupy a lot of our time, and give that to the Lord. Today, one of the most valuable fasts may be to give up social media for a week and use the time to pray and read the Bible.

Whatever we choose to fast from, we should understand that much of the value of fasting is to train the flesh to say no. The same drives that compel me to eat, also tempt me to do what is forbidden, or to react in an ungodly manner. If I can resist the flesh’s desire for a cupcake, I can learn to resist its desire to complain, lash out in anger, or to be right all the time.

Why not choose to fast this week? Perhaps you will set aside food for a few days, or maybe there is something else that you can lay down for a while and give that time to seeking the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

The Mornings 

Psalms 5:3 
“My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up.”

On a regular basis, how would you describe your mornings? Do you wake up grumpy, dreading another day? Or late, rushing to get your responsibilities done? Or perhaps you arise and rush to get the morning paper, check the news, or peruse Facebook, or the web.

David declares that his mornings began with the Lord. Even in the midst of difficult and trying times, he would start his day off enjoying fellowship with God. David determined that before he spent time walking about in this life, he would first spend time with the Lord. There is something special about beginning our days with the Lord. Like the early morning offerings sacrificed at the Temple, we should bring our lives before God as a morning offering. When we give the Lord first place in our day, we will find that He prepares us for what is ahead.

There have been so many days where I have had encounters with others, and realized, what I read in my morning devotions, proved to be the very counsel they needed. I have found that during morning prayer, the Lord will impress upon my heart someone who needs prayer; and later find that they were going through something difficult. I was able to participate in their victory by simply praying for them. Most of all, I have observed, when I start my day with the Lord, I avoid many of the pitfalls that I trip over on the days that I neglect to give Him first place.

Begin today making a commitment to start your day with the Lord. If you are not reading through your Bible regularly, go to http://www.ccvb.net and follow along with us, in the Through The Bible Reading.

When you give the Lord first place, you will find your life being transformed by Him.

Pastor Jim