The Daniel Fast – Day 13 – 21

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming.It is close at hand—a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was in ancient times nor ever will be in ages to come. – Joel 2:1-2 (NIV)

For the past seven days leading up to this last day in the fast I have witnessed many things and gone through a lot of questions in my heart. It seemed as though the heavens became silent and I was hard pressed to know what God was speaking. A few moments before writing this I entered into prayer and worship and before long God began to impress upon my heart these words: Prepare for war. As I meditate upon what He is speaking I see the unfolding of great and cataclysmic events this year. The scripture above from Joel is a vision of a time to come of great turmoil as the end of days comes to dawn. We are living in what can be called ‘End Times’. Much as people have begun to mock the prophetic vision that Daniel wrote about, but most of what he wrote is unfolding before our very eyes. As Jesus wrote in Matthew 24, so it has begun to to materialize.

As a believer, or even as a person who may not necessarily ascribe to what the Bible says, be advised that the one thing that distinguishes the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is the characteristic of making events known before they occur. This is commonly known as prophecy. The birth, life and death of the Messiah, Jesus, was written of in the book of Isaiah ( Chapter 9, from verse 6, and Chapter 53), and it came to pass that he did walk on the earth and records of his crucifixion are there in history. So be encouraged that God is mighty to save and has gathered His mighty host to do battle on His and your behalf, if you are on His side. No weapon formed against you will prosper and no stronghold will withstand His mighty arm!

There are many things that will happen this year that will have far reaching effects on human history on a scale that will make the impact of September 11 Pale in comparison. Some will be economic, others political, others natural disasters and others man- made. Be prepared for war.

Ours is not to fight, but to trust in the Lord of the battle! Whatever you will go through, or have begun to experience, just be encouraged that ‘they that are with us’ are more numerous than they that are against!

Be blessed! Be encouraged! Be strong in the Lord! Believe!

Prayer: Open my eyes to see that the armies that surround me in the heavenly realms are more powerful than those that would want to see my destruction. The Lord is my strength and my shield. His name is Jehovah Nisse, a banner over me. Bless the Lord oh, my soul!

The Daniel Fast – Day 5

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. – Psalm 48:9-10 (NIV)

What could be more delightful to God and edifying and strengthening to our souls than to meditate on the unfailing love of God! The more I ponder over His faithfulness, His intervention in times of need, His ability to always be there with an answer in the nick of time, the more I remain in awe of Him. There’s no God like our God!

A strange thing is unfolding as I proceed with this fast; as I approach God daily, my attitude is more on just wanting to be with Him and enjoying His fellowship than in piling petitions at the throne of mercy. Perhaps that’s really what God desires most from us; the ability to approach Him without any other agenda other than to say ‘Father, I love you, you are awesome!’

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Draw me closer to you Lord, that I may know you more.

The Daniel Fast – Day 4

‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountain fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.’ -Psalm 46:1-3(NIV)

As I enter into the fourth day of this fast, my attention is drawn to the many difficulties people will face or are facing this year. Some have already had issues with health, finances, loved ones. Reports of hospitalizations, stories of fire accidents and robberies are already beginning to surface. Like Meshack, Shadrack and Abedneggo, we may be cast into the fiery furnace but we have the assurance the our Father in Heaven is an ever present help in trouble. As I continue to seek His face, my attention is drawn to His protective nature. He does not promise us to avoid trouble, rather to get us through to the other side.

I am reminded of the words of the song that say ‘ When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with you above the storm, Father you are King over the floods, I will be still know you are God!’.

Prayer point: Father teach me to know that you are above every circumstance and are able to see me through every issue. Pray that God will reveal His loving kindness and mercy to you in every circumstance.

Be blessed!

The Daniel Fast – Day 2

‘Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them.” ‘ – Daniel 10:12

The scripture here encorages us to set our minds to gain understanding and to humble ourselves before God. This determination to seek wisdom and the Lord’s face evokes a certain response from God to our prayers. Let us seek throughout these next 20 days to press on in our pursuit of a response to our prayers.

Prayer points: Pray that you will have the perseverance of Daniel, who continued in prayer for 21 days until he heard from the Lord. Pray for humility and a thirst for wisdom and understanding.

Praise report: On the eve of beginning this fast a friend of mine sent an urgent message on Facebook regarding a young lady who texted her intent to end her life. The message showed her despair and despondency and when he tried to call her she was unreachable. A few of us began interceding that night on her behalf and I am glad to say my friend gave a report that she was finally reachable the next day and testified that she had heard a loud stern voice telling her not to kill herself! She has now given her life to the Lord and is filled with new hope. We give praise to a God who answers prayers! Feel free to share and encourage others if you are blessed with answers to your prayers during this fast. Be blessed!

Understanding the Scriptures – The beginnings of Daniel’s fast

Daniel: 9:1-3
1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
2 In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes: (UKJV)

In the book of Daniel, we are given an account of what caused him to begin a journey to seek the Lord’s face. He had previously been getting disturbing visions of things to come and diligently began to seek God’s counsel as to the meaning of the visions he was having. At this point he was pointed, no doubt by the Holy Spirit, to the scriptures pertaining to the destiny of the people of Israel, who were in captivity in Bablyon. So he begins to intercede on behalf of his people so that God would bring to pass the end of these 70 years and prepare his people for the return to their homeland.

In a similar manner, we are called to seek God’s face at times when we are perplexed by what is going on around us and in due course God will provide clarity and answers. This year will be an eventful one, no doubt, with no shortage of drama in the world arena. Many of us are looking for answers and signs but what we really should be looking for is the one who holds the answers. Beginning today I have resolved to seek the Lord for the next 21 days in a journey that will end on Thursday the 31st of January 2013. I believe God will speak to me and to all those who determine to seek Him as well.

The Daniel fast is not one that is to punish our bodies so that God can listen to us, but is rather a decision to abstain from pleasing the outer man so as to increase our ability to hear what God is saying in our lives. God will honour the commitment you make as you eat simpler foods, smaller portions and you will also be taking care of your body. Remember to take time, like Daniel, to read the word and pray so that the fast is also spiritually useful, as fasting without prayer is dieting or in some extreme cases, akin to a hunger strike! In verse 23 of Daniel 9, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel and says “As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed.”

God the Father is looking for those who are willing to set aside some extra time and effort to pray and seek His face. Determine that you will begin this year with some special time that will refresh you and give you audience with the king! Be blessed and have a happy new year!

Prayer points for the day: Pray for understanding of the word so that it becomes a living guide to you every day. Pray for your country of residence and for God to reveal to you things that He would like to see improve there.

When others helpers fail and comforts flee…Abide With Me.

At the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics the Scottish singer, Emeli Sandé , sang a song in memory of the London 7/7 bombings that has been popular at various different events throughout history having its origins in the church. The hymn, ‘Abide With Me’, is a prayer asking God to remain with the speaker throughout life, through trial and through death. The lyrics are as follows:

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Still sung in the old English style that it was originally written in 1847, the song was originally a poem  written by the Scottish Anglican, Henry Francis Lyte. He finished the poem and set it to music as he lay dying from tuberculosis and managed to live on three weeks longer after its completion. As Emeli sang the song at the London Olympics I am certain that many of the listeners and those moved by its stirring lyrics and melody probably had no idea of the origin of the song. As the writer lies dying in his deathbed, he reaches out to God, obviously not in an expression of desperation, but with a conviction that he needs to be close to his maker and creator, no matter what the circumstance. He recognizes that God has given him joys on earth that are now growing dim and that change and decay are creeping in on him, but still recognizes that God ‘changes not’.

He understands that God is awesome and terrifying but is also kind and good and a friend of sinners. The amazing depth of the revelation of God’s supreme nature yet gentle loving personality is in itself a marvel. Many of us tend to only focus on our Father’s strict nature, emphasizing His holiness and pointing out each others sins as though that will make us closer to God if we somehow go on a fear-fest. The incredible balance seen in the writers poem can only be understood as a person who knew our Fathers nature in its totality. What father would not discipline his children if they went out of line? Yet a loving father will also welcome back the prodigal child! That same loving father also has healing in His wings and through the cross has a promise of eternal life.

As people sing this song at the FA cup final, at the Rugby League Challenge Cup finals and at other sporting events, the song may have different meanings to those singing it, some just grateful to be at those events and fueling their sense of nostalgia. There may be the hope that their team will win and they sing this prayer song. I hope that this song will sow the seed of the desire for Gods presence in our lives on a daily basis so that we do not wait to be on our deathbeds to seek His love and grace. He longs to abide with us through every situation, good or bad.

Be blessed! Be encouraged! Be-lieve!