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 11 & 12

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. [8] You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. – James 5:7-8 (NIV)

One of the hardest things to do is to be patient. It can drive us to the point of despair when we are in situations that require answers which are beyond our means or abilities. These can be life threatening illnesses, financial issues that have deadlines with dire consequences to our well being and other similar circumstances. We do not see the end of the tunnel, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it is so dark that we feel that we are in a deep pit with endless sides rather than in a tunnel heading somewhere. Prayers seem to be hitting a steel ceiling and bouncing back unanswered. God, it seems, must have taken a vacation. In the scripture above James is referring to the return of the Lord. He encourages believers to be patient in the face of all adversity, as can be noted by the use of the phrase ‘stand firm’.

Thousands of years have passed and many are skeptical as to whether Jesus will return or not. In a similar manner, some are mocking you and asking where your God is, as they see your situation somewhat deteriorating. Yet the writer compares this wait to a farmer’s wait for the land to yield its valuable crop. In the same way, what you have sown in faith will bear fruit at the appointed time. There are some crops that require a dry spell to be able to ripen and be dried for harvesting. If the rains continue or fall out of season, they can ruin the crop. In a similar manner, wait upon God for answers, for He is never too early or too late.

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Fill me with a heart of patience, that in due course I may rejoice at your answer, oh God, and that my faith in you will grow.

The Daniel Fast – Day 10

‘In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.’ – Hebrews 1:3-4 (NIV)

The word of God is filled with references of people who spoke on his behalf. These are described here as prophets, speaking in ‘various’ ways to the people and expressing God’s will to them. Paul talks about the last days being characterized by God’s Son, Jesus, speaking to the world. It is a wonderful thing, then, to be able to commune with Jesus, who has the authority to speak on God’s behalf due to His death on the cross. Having paid the price for our purification, He has the right to mediate on behalf of those who have believed in Him.

As we draw closer to God, it is wonderful to know that Jesus, who is the mediator of the new covenant, intercedes on our behalf, having all authority to do so. As in the words of the song, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’, it is comforting to know that He sustains all things by His word and is there to bear all our shortcomings and burdens.

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Speak to me Lord, that I may know your will and walk in your ways.

The Daniel Fast – Day 8 & 9

After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” – Acts 27:21-26 (NIV)

In this passage from the book of Acts we read of the account of Paul’s journey on the way to Rome by sea. Paul had already known of the potential danger ahead and had warned the sailors that there would be great loss ahead, but they refused to listen to him. Even as the storm they were in got worse, Paul was still at peace, because he was still listening to God. As long as there is one man with a divine connection in any situation, God will be there in it. Paul’s purpose in God’s eyes was more important and God graciously spared the lives of those on the ship in order to see it come to pass. Our being connected to God is not only important for us but can affect the destiny of others. Paul must have been in prayer throughout the storm as the angel declares that God ‘graciously’ gave him the lives of all those on board the ship. He is then able to boldly tell them that not one life will be lost.

As we continue in our walk with God let us take our priestly role seriously and understand that we can petition God for the lives of others. It takes a closer walk with Him to get to the point where He can respond to such requests knowing that we serve him. Since beginning this fast I have observed prayers being answered even to requests from people thousands of miles away. Prayer knows only as many boundaries or limits as those that God has. The good news is He has none!

Be blessed!

Prayer point: Pray that God will give you the faith to stand in the gap for others even when you are also in the midst of the storm.

The Daniel Fast – Day 7

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-9 (NIV)

As we proceed into a New Year many of us have different prospects. Some are facing financial challenges. Others have issues with their health. Many thoughts are running through our minds as we ponder what the year 2013 has in store for us. These verses from Jeremiah remind us that the Lord is our refuge and will sustain us through all adversity, seen or unseen. Even if there is an economic downturn, His promise is that as long as we are rooted in Him, we shall never fail to bear fruit and will have no worries in a year of drought.

Trust is the equivalent of faith, and it is a currency that the Lord God understands even more than prayer or good works. Our confidence in Him will carry us through any situation, no matter how hard it seems. If each one of us were to reveal some of the things we are going through it would make for depressing reading. What is evident though, is that for each test, there is a testimony and for each mess, there is a message of hope!

Be confident that as you draw nearer to Him, He will answer every prayer and you will be able to say with confidence that He has become Jehovah Jireh, your provider.

Be blessed!

Prayer: Lord, if you are for me, who can be against me? I will bless your holy name!

The Daniel Fast – Day 6

He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name. – Amos 4:13 (NIV)

One of the promises the word of God gives is that God will reveal his thoughts and plans to mankind. Often we are caught up with our issues and desires that we have no time for the thoughts of the Father. This same God who has all the power of creation has found it fit to reveal Himself to us. The Psalmist declares: “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” Psalm 139:17-18 (NIV). When we take time to get closer to God, We discover a vast treasure of knowledge, wisdom and insight!

Be blessed!

Prayer Point: Reveal your thoughts to me, oh God, that I may walk in your ways.

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!

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.

Thanksgiving pleases God more than sacrifices!

As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving and reflect on what we are thankful for, we may easily be confined to thinking that this is a ritual that we must perform out of some pious duty. Tradition is hard to shake off and many are grateful for what they have and will express it in various ways. In some places, this weekend becomes an opportunity to spend time with family, rekindling and strengthening family ties and to have a wonderful meal in the presence of friends and relatives.

The Psalmist, David recognizes something deeper in the act of giving thanks. In Psalm 69 verses 30 and 31, he declares: “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves.” (NIV). It seems that he has come to the revelation that God is glorified when we give thanks and the combination of praise and thanksgiving pleases God more than any other kind of sacrifice.

At this time many may be going through difficulties, lack or other forms of discomfort or discouragement. David realizes in this Psalm that no matter what the situation, he will give thanks to the creator, our Father in heaven. As he lifts up praise and glorifies God with thanksgiving, it turns into a pleasant fragrance to God, even more pleasant than any physical sacrifice. Those of us who have been fortunate to have good fathers will know how they would react or act when they were pleased with us! We therefore even give thanks in anticipation for the good that our Father will do in our lives.

Make thanksgiving a daily part of your life, and do not limit it to thanks for meals or other periodic gifts that our Father in heaven has given us. As you make this a habit, God will also be in the habit of bestowing you with His abundant love and provision, for a grateful heart is one that attracts him.

Happy Thanksgiving! Be blessed! Be thankful! Believe!