Week Three, January 22-28

Everything God does is expansive, He is not into shrinking wineskins – it is up to us to shed them. As we seek Him in this season, let’s shed the old wineskin and ask God to fully prepare our hearts for what is to come.

Day 15 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
Spoken Word

John 11:43 NIV
When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”

The story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection reflects the power of Jesus’ spoken Word. He already knew in His heart the miracle that was about to take place, but His words spoke the miracle into existence.  Imagine what could happen if we aligned our words with His.  What could happen if our hearts and minds where so full of His word that we could not help but speak agreement with Christ out of the abundance of what our hearts are full of (Luke 6:45).

While prayer is our declaration of our dependence on God, our spoken words can be the manifestation of what’s happening in our hearts. There is power in our spoken words – whether they are used to build up or tear down.  It is so important to keep our hearts filled with the truth from God’s Word so that our words will produce good fruit.

As you seek God in prayer ask Him for the words and discernment that will help you pray and words that may help someone today. Pray that your words would be encouraging, edifying and aligned with the truth of God’s word. Building others up around us with our words allows us to be God’s instrument -- a vessel for His good work. When we pray in agreement with His word we pray with power.  When we allow His word to give us a greater revelation of Jesus, He encourages us in pursuit of His presence.

As God continues to fill us through this season of prayer and fasting,

He wants to take what is now in our hearts and share it with others.
How can you use the power of your spoke words to speak God’s truth in the lives of others?

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 16 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
Taking Off the Grave Clothes

John 11:44 b NIV

...Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

When it comes to the transforming power of God working in someone’s life, God often uses people to bring about divine life-change. The story of Lazarus in John 11 illustrates it was the power of Jesus’ prayer and spoken word that resurrected Lazarus from the dead – but the disciples played a role in this miracle too.

Lazarus was bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face had been wrapped with a cloth during his time in the tomb. When he arose from his death and came out of the tomb, Jesus called on the disciples to help in the transformation process. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." The disciples needed to help Lazarus. Likewise, we all have a part to play in the lives of those around us. This part assigned us is integral to way in which God designed the gospel.  It is His good news, His forgiveness and His redemption we need, but God, in all of His power, chose to communicate His good news message through the lives of you and me.

God has done some incredible things around us during the fast. Could it be that someone around you is still walking around in grave clothes?  We are in new in Christ and continually being made new every day.  The garments Jesus gives us are about hope and the potential of purity that lies within new life because of Him. These garments are what we put on when we put on Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27).  Far to often we proudly and tragically dawn the garments of our destitute past as if they were the latest fashion of our lives.  Those clothes stink of death.  But friends, royalty, we need not clothe our present as if Christ has not conquered the power of sin in our lives.  We must dress our present tense in the hope of Christ the Lord of our future.  What do you need let go of?  What does your brother or sister in Christ need help letting go of? Are you willing to leave your grave clothes behind and put on Christ? Are you willing to help others out of their grave clothes?

Who in your world is still walking around in grave clothes? 
Think about friends and family or those around you who may not know God. What part has God called you to play in the life change He wants to bring?

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 17 –21 Days of Feasting By Fasting

Matthew 17:14-16

14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”

What a great example of humility – this man approached Jesus and knelt before Him in the midst of a crowd. As the father approached Jesus, he believed that Jesus would bring his son relief. But even in his belief, his approach was humble and submitted to what Christ would choose to do. Looking further into the story, we find the father was also persistent and resisted taking offense. Though the disciples were not able to help him, he set aside his temporary disappointment in their failure and continued to seek after Jesus – the solution to his circumstance, the source of relief through his trial.

Being humble before God is realizing our need of Him, submitting to His will, pursuing Him and being confident the outcome will occur in God’s perfect timing.

Be encouraged that approaching God with a heart of humility will always position you to find relief in Jesus. Don’t be ashamed to humble yourself before God, even in the midst of others looking on. Offenses and disappointment may come but continue in your pursuit of Jesus. You may not get relief right away but know that God is never late and His solution is always perfect.

Prayer is a posture of humility. Humble yourself before the Lord each day and bring your cares to Him. He wants to meet you where you are and answer your every need. 
Pray too, that God help you with the disappointment and discouragement that we each face along the way. Is there discouragement in your heart today?
 Write it down and release it to our perfect God.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 18 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
Don’t Worry – Pray Instead

Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Worry seems to be an inescapable fact of modern life. No doubt there is plenty to worry about: our kids, the economy, global warming, war, disease... the list could go on forever! Sometimes it might seem that worry has even replaced Jesus as the focal point of our lives. Jesus Himself admonished us several times not to worry. The great apostle, Paul, tells us in the passage above that there is an antidote to worry...prayer.

When we worry about something, we are spending energy on it, wondering what might happen, rehearsing the “if only’s” and “what if’s” in our mind. Why not take that same energy and refocus it on prayer instead? Worry is like talking to ourselves about our fears.  When we worry we are entertaining our thoughts with the fears generated by our own speculation, but when we pray, we are taking those fears to God. We can’t control the future, but in the words of Anne Graham Lotz, “God is already there!” He has absolute knowledge of our future.  He knows every possible outcome of every possible choice we can make and he promises to be with us every step of the journey.

As we are nearing a close to this season of prayer and fasting, let’s make an effort to convert our worry into prayer. As Paul says in the verse above, “let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers,” and you will find that the peace of God will guard your heart.

Are there things that you consistently worry about? As you go through your day today, recapture each worried thought and send it up to God as a prayer. See how dramatically your outlook improves when the peace of God is activated through prayer!

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 19 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
Walking in the Power of the Holy Spirit

Luke 4:14

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.

After praying and fasting for 40 days, Jesus returned to Galilee empowered to do all the Father had called Him to do. To accomplish the assignment God has for our lives, we also need the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us. God does not expect us to go through the challenges of life without it.

Prayer and fasting brings us to the place where we can “power up”. Walking in the power of the Holy Spirit is living with a comprehension of the God-given strength and authority in our lives to walk out His will.  Understanding that should embolden our willingness to says “yes” to Jesus in all circumstances. Through prayer and fasting, God can prepare us for what lies ahead. We might not know what obstacles we’re going to face, but we can know that God will be faithful to us. He will never leave us and He will empower us to meet whatever challenges life may bring.

Today as you worship God in prayer, let Him know that you refuse to go into the future without His power and that you want all that He has for you.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 20 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
A New Wineskin

Luke 5:37-38 NLT

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins.”

Two things do not mix: new wine and old wineskins. The reason is simple: old wineskins cannot grow and stretch to hold the new wine. The new wine God wants to fill you with is expansive; it is a picture of God’s Spirit. It always brings an enlargement. A container that is dead, dry, stiff and shrinking back cannot be entrusted as a storehouse for God’s valued treasure. Our vessels must be prepared for the fresh, dynamic, living presence of God – everything we do will flow from it. This preparation comes through prayer and fasting, producing a container that is ready for the new thing God wants to do. God’s new wine always changes us – it expands our faith, enlarges our purpose, and brings renewed vision.  It teaches us that it is worth our effort to press into Jesus and walk humbly before the Lord.

Everything God does is expansive, He is not into shrinking wineskins – it is up to us to shed them. As we seek Him in this season, let’s shed the old wineskin and ask God to fully prepare our hearts for what is to come.

What has caused you to shrink back in your expectation of what God wants to do in your life? Are you ready to be expanded beyond recognition? Transformation! 
That’s what God’s new wine will do in and through you.
 Pray that the Lord will expand your life to glorify Him, giving you boldness to step out as new wineskins.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)



Day 21 -21 Days of Feasting by Fasting
What’s Your Assignment?

Luke 4:1-2, 14-15 NIV

1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them He was hungry...14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through the whole countryside. 15 He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised Him.

Fasting and prayer are essential to receiving a clear vision of God’s specific path for our lives. Many times following a season of prayer and fasting we have a more defined understanding of the part that we play in the body of Christ and a greater sense of our particular spiritual giftings. (1 Corinthians 12)

This chapter in the Gospel of Luke describes the circumstances surrounding the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Notice that He went into the desert “full of the Holy Spirit.” However, He returned to Galilee, “in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Being full of the Spirit is knowing God and his character; walking in the power of the Spirit is when we know that we have the God-given strength and authority in our lives to walk out His will.

The power of the Spirit is essential for us to accomplish the assignment God has for our lives. God could be leading you to fast so that you can receive His specific instructions for your life. He will empower you, not just to know Him, but to walk in His power to accomplish what He has called you to do.

Are there areas of your life that need more clarity? Are you walking in the power of the Spirit and living in God’s purpose for your life? Write down those things God is speaking to you. As you conclude your fast, pray that God continually reveals His purpose and gives you ever increasing clarity and strength to walk it out.

(adapted for New Life from awake21.org)