Week Two, January 15-21

If we want to connect with the joy of our heavenly father we must connect with Jesus.  God empowers us to see Him for who is in all circumstances and to obey in all circumstances through His grace, freely given to those who have received new life in Him.

Day 8-21 Days of Feasting by Fasting 

Hear Him

Matthew 17:5b, 8 NLT

5 “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy, Listen to Him”....
8 And when they looked up, Moses and Elijah were gone, and they saw only Jesus.

On the Mount of Transfiguration three disciples had an experience that showed us the Father’s plan for a New Covenant. Jesus took Peter, James and John up to the top of a mountain where He was transfigured into His glorified state. Up until this point, they related to God through the law (Moses), or through the prophets (Elijah). After the vision, Peter eagerly offered to erect three tabernacles – one for each. Then a loud voice from Heaven was heard saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to Him.” When the disciples looked up, they saw only Jesus.

On the mountain, God made it clear that we would only discover His pleasure by listening to/obeying Jesus. Today we often refer to this practice as “following Jesus.” Note that obedience begins with recognizing who Jesus is.  If we want to connect with the joy of our heavenly father we must connect with Jesus.  God empowers us to see Him for who is in all circumstances and to obey in all circumstances through His grace, freely given to those who have received new life in Him. Sometimes though, there are areas of our lives where we do not fully embrace the unearned empowering favor of God’s grace. There may be circumstances or areas where we still try to earn our way to the Father. Friends, we cannot earn God’s pleasure but we can walk in it as we follow Jesus Christ. As we seek God today, let’s seek Him for a greater revelation of and fascination with Jesus in our heart.  When we are focused on following with a heart postured in obedience we begin to understand we what it means to be beloved children of God. Beloved, when we are in Christ we can be confident of this that our Abba Father takes pleasure in us.

How does understanding the New Covenant of grace change the focus of your fast? As you pray and seek after God, let His be the loudest voice you hear.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)




Day 9 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Clean Homes and Old Buckets

Romans 8:5-6
5 For those who live according to the flesh, set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Have you ever looked up at your ceiling fan blades or in the deep recesses of your couch cushions and noticed the filth that builds up over time? Even though we might clean on a regular basis, there are times when we need to go...a little deeper. We realize that what appeared to be clean on the surface was in all actuality, quite filthy.

The same thing can happen spiritually. As we go about our daily lives, there are things that can build up over time. Even if we regularly worship, pray and read our Bible, the different pressures and cares of this world can quietly build up, and end up consuming our lives. I’ve heard it related to an old feed bucket in a barn.  As it hangs on the hook it collects the dust and debris that floats in the air on the inside of the barn.  If it doesn’t get cleaned out occasionally it won’t function they way it was intended. The longer it sits the harder the layers of accumulating debris become until one day the bucket has more capacity for crud than for the feed it was intended to carry.  Likewise without even realizing it, we can lose the room in our lives intended to be occupied by our peace, our joy, and our passion for the things of God. Our service to God, which used to fill us with life and excitement, gets relegated to the realm of duty and joyless obligation. 

Fasting is the deep cleaning that occurs when we fasten ourselves to Jesus.   Fasting takes our mind off of the things of this world and refreshes our focus on the things of the Spirit. It is an incredibly effective way to get into the nooks and crannies of our soul and bring all those dusty old habits, broken mindsets and rusty attitudes out into the light of God’s truth. In fasting and prayer, our service to God returns to something we joyfully get to do and want to do rather than something we have to do.

As you pray and fast today, ask God to show you any areas where you could use a refreshed spiritual focus. Like David, in Psalm 51:10-12, pray that God will cleanse your heart, renew your spirit, and restore the joy of your salvation. Pray with confidence, knowing that He wants to fill you with His life and peace.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 10 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Unwavering in Faith

James 1:6 KJV

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering....

What do you expect when you pray? When we pray with earnest expectation, we are exercising our faith. The earnest prayer of righteous people produces powerful results, and the most earnest prayers come from us recognizing our need for God.

There can be a natural tendency to shrink back when praying for the seemingly impossible and long desired but seemingly dormant but we must remember that nothing is impossible with God. If we know the promises that God has given us, and understand His character and the principles by which He works, we can pray with confidence and trust Him for the answer. What has caused us to waiver in our expectation with God? James reminds us that faith and wavering are actually contradictory – he says “nothing wavering”. Know that God never wavers in His love for you. You can trust Him completely.

What are you trusting God for in this season? 
How can you line up your expectations with the Word of God when you pray? Find promises in His Word that answer your need and write them down today.

Adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 11 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Prayer and the Process

I Kings 18:43b-44 NLT
43 ...Seven times Elijah told him to go out and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.” Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, “Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!”

“How do I know God is going to say yes to my prayers?” This is a common question many people have as they seek to have a confident prayer life. However it’s important to recognize that prayer is not just about the answer, but it’s also about glorifying God in the process of waiting for the answer. It is our responsibility to check our motives and believe God hears us; it is through the process of prayer that God prepares us for the answer He brings.

We see an example of the process of prayer in the story of Elijah in I Kings 18. Elijah climbed to the top of the mountain to pray for rain to come. As he waited for the rain, he continued to pray, believing God would answer. When he finally saw a small cloud, he told Ahab to “get ready” because the rain was coming. Elijah knew what to pray for, and God heard him the first time he prayed, but there was preparation that needed to take place in order to receive the answer to his prayer.

It is no mistake that God waited until Elijah had prayed seven times before He answered. In the Bible, seven is the number of completion. In this account, seven represents the completion of God’s process in that time of prayer. God does not want merely to answer our prayers; He wants to spend time with us to prepare us for the answer that will come. Many times we want to skip over the process involved in engaging God in prayer as we wait for our answer. We want to skip over the process because we want God to answer but we want to be in control. But it is this very process of trusting in and surrendering to His preparation that He works maturity in us and readies us for the answers our prayers bring. (James 1:4)

What prayers in your life are still awaiting an answer? Throughout the remainder of the fast, thank God for His process at work in your life and trust Him.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 12 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Praying Boldly

I Kings 18:36 KJV
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant...”

The sacrifice referenced above was a declaration that Elijah was a servant of the Most High God. Elijah belonged to God, and he represented God to the people. However, Elijah’s boldness was not a result of who he was; it was the result of knowing God!

As children of God under the new covenant of Jesus, we don’t have to be timid or fearful when coming to God in prayer. We can approach God boldly. The Amplified Bible with the addition my personal paraphrase puts it something like this:

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace,  which is the throne of God's unmerited favor that is empowers us sinners to break free from sin, that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace [that is His empowering unearned favor towards us] to help [us in exactly the right way]  in good time [at just the right time] for every need.
Hebrews 4:16 AMP and PJ notated

It’s hard to imagine taking a fearless, confident, bold attitude when coming before God in prayer. Yet this is exactly what we are admonished to do! His love, in Christ, towards us, has empowered us to do so. God has already settled the issue of our access to Him, but we can be assured, our access is not because of our own righteousness. It’s because of what Jesus did on the cross. We could not earn this kind of access, we do not deserve it, still He gives it freely to us.  We can come to the throne in such outrageous boldness because Jesus was outrageously righteous and loves us outrageously! When we pray, we come to God in the authority of Jesus’ name, and we can be confident that we will find grace, mercy and perfectly timed help.

Do you approach God with timidity of confidence? Seek God boldly today knowing you are fully forgiven and Jesus has made you righteous. When you approach God in prayer, seek a fresh revelation of who He is in your life.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)


Day 13 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Cultivating Spiritual Hunger

Mark 1:12-13

12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. 13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Even Jesus disconnected from the world to fast and pray. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke speak of Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. They also describe other times Jesus pulled away from the demands of the crowds, His ministry and even His closest friends to pray.

There are times that we, too, need to pull away from the things of the world and focus on God. “The things of the world” can certainly include more than just food. In fact, in our world, it is more likely to be television, movies, Facebook, Twitter, cell phones and internet that keep us “tuned in” to the world. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves, but they are avenues for a mental and spiritual “crowd” to gather around us and drown out the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.

Fasting is a means of disconnecting from the distractions of daily life and consciously choosing to bring God into greater focus. Giving up physical nourishment is the first step in engaging that process. If you think about it, though, we nourish our souls as well as our bodies. We do so through reading, talking, socializing, playing and leisure. When we fill our souls up with all those things, we don’t feel a hunger for God.

During this time of fasting, we are sure to feel physical hunger, but let’s be intentional about cultivating spiritual hunger as well. Let’s draw away from the crowds, and lay aside for a season the activities we use to nourish our souls. Instead let’s allow ourselves to enter a state of spiritual hunger – a hunger for righteousness. Jesus said that being spiritually hungry is a blessed state, because we can be sure of being filled with food that truly satisfies our deepest needs. (Matthew 5:6)

During this time, you will find that being still before the Lord will set 
you in a place of increased strength, peace and hunger for God.
 Are you disconnected from the things that nourish your body and soul? What do you need to deny yourself so that this can be a powerful time in your life?

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 14 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting

Alignment with Heaven

Matthew 6:10 KJV
“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

We have all heard the phrase, “just like heaven on earth.” When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, in Matthew 6:9-13, He provided some insight into what “heaven on earth” might look like. In reality, heaven is a place where God’s will reigns supreme. If we want to have a taste of heaven on earth, then our prayer should be like Jesus’: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...” The purest motivation for our prayers is that God will be glorified and that His will would reign supreme in our lives, just like it does in heaven.

On a more personal level, we can pray that His will be unhindered in our own lives. Rather than imposing His will upon us, God gives us the choice to surrender to it with trust and gladness. As we yield to the Lordship of Christ over every area of our lives, we come into agreement with Him. We experience alignment with heaven and posture ourselves to taste a little bit of heaven here on earth. His will then becomes what we desire and the thing we most seek after. We enter into the incredible adventure of participating in God’s plan to move His kingdom forward on the earth. This is where we find the most fulfilling and joyous life, but it all starts with one, personal “yes, Lord” on our part.

What does God’s will “on earth as it is in heaven” look like in your life?
 Do the desires of your heart line up with the will of God? 
As we seek God together, let’s pray as Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.”

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)