Tag Archives: worship

My First 21 Day Daniel Fast

My First 21 Day Daniel Fast

By Carolyn Dale Newell

But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place;

and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

Matthew 6:17-18 NKJV

Each January, our church sets aside twenty-one days for fasting. This was the first time I had fasted for more than two days. After this experience, I will no longer be a stranger to fasting.

Sure, after the first few days, I felt some dizziness and fatigued. The Daniel fast is based on the foods Daniel ate while in captivity. Primary fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. If it doesn’t come from a plant, you don’t eat it. I abstained from processed foods, meat, dairy products and caffeine.

I did some research about protein, and I began drinking a protein nut milk. After that addition, I felt great.

Without caffeine, I slept better than I had in years. I had really struggled with sleeping. I mean really struggled. I found I didn’t need herbal tea and melatonin anymore. I am watching my caffeine intake, now that I am off the fast, because I don’t want to return to those sleepless nights.

I thought my age had contributed to my lack of energy. I became exhausted after my typical 1.5-mile walk. During the fast, my energy from years ago returned. Another reason to stick to this diet.

I wish I could say I lost more than six pounds, but I am glad I lost weight because it seemed all I could do before was gain it. Imagine losing weight while eating baked potatoes and whole-grain spaghetti. I also stopped experiencing digestive issues.

Now, let’s look at the spiritual effects, because a fast is spiritual. Otherwise, it is just a diet. Notice in our focal verses Jesus says “when you fast.” This indicates that fasting should be as much a part of our Christian life as giving and praying. In Matthew 6, Jesus spoke about all three topics.

Fasting is a time of prayer. You eliminate food, so you can make more time for prayer. I had three particular requests I brought before the Lord. One was to know God more intimately. That has already happened, but it is my prayer continually before the Lord. The other requests involved lost souls, and I eagerly await what God will do next.

During the fast, I read my Bible more, listening for the Lord to speak. He showed me things I hadn’t seen before.

Our worship services were immensely blessed by God. We had powerful services with lives changed. During one service, we had a prayer line, and God removed the arthritic pain in my hand.

A fast is a great way to start off a new year, corporately and personally. I highly recommend it, not just at the beginning of the year, but all year long.

Jesus fasted for forty days before embarking on His ministry. Why would Jesus, God incarnate need to fast? Though He was fully God, He was also fully man. If Jesus Christ felt the need to fast, shouldn’t we?

Lord, thank You for Your Word where we can learn how to draw near to You through fasting and prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Matthew 6:1-18.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Spend time studying fasting and ask God to direct your steps.

 

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

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Who is in Control

 

WHO IS IN CONTROL

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!

Philippians 4:4 NKJV

When the bills are coming due, but not the paycheck. When the unexpected illness occurs. When everything around the house falls apart, including your relationships. When your kids are traveling up and down the interstate. Who is in control of it all?

I hope it isn’t you, and I hope it isn’t me either. Ah… but we want to be in the captain’s seat Because when we’re not in charge, we worry.

We are forgetting one important fact. Something you probably already know, but we tend to need a reminder. God is in control. Did you just utter a sigh of relief? I know I did. What a load off our backs. God controls the out-of-control life that we cannot control.

It is impossible to worry when we rejoice. We cannot be anxious while we praise the Lord. When we recite His attributes, our confidence soars.

God is creator and sustainer. We can bless the Lord for His love and tender mercies. We can smile as we shout about His grace, strength, and joy. We can praise Him for His peace. We can worship Him in victory.

Turn your worry into worship. Let’s begin by counting our blessings. That should take so long that we won’t remember what we were worried about in the first place.

If you have breath in your lungs, you are blessed. If you are healthy, you are blessed. Maybe your health isn’t great, but somebody has it much worse, so yes, you are blessed. If you have a roof over your head, you are blessed. If you have paid your bills, you are blessed. If you haven’t paid your bills yet, you are still blessed, because God said He would supply our every need (Phil. 4:19). If you have a job, you are blessed. If you don’t have a job, thank God for the door He will open.

Now, what was bothering us? God is in complete control, so stop trying to do His job. No wonder we get stressed. We are trying to do the work of God, something we were never equipped to handle.

Our instructions are to rejoice. It doesn’t say rejoice about your struggles. We will have trouble in this world. Jesus told us that. Our verse says:

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!

We rejoice in spite of our trials, not instead of them. Jesus Christ is our joy.

Don’t continue to allow tribulations, the world, people, and the devil to snatch your joy. Cast your cares on Jesus, and turn your worry into worship.

Father God, we rejoice today because You have it all under control. We can rest in the comfort of knowing You’ve got it. Help me remember this truth when I am inclined to pick up my life’s remote control. You are the Captain of my salvation. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 4:4—9.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Today, make a quick list of everything you can thank God for. Keep it handy (on the fridge or phone) and refer to it the next time you become troubled.