Receiving a Vision for the Future – “Daniel Fast” Time - Purity 618
Purity 618 01/03/2022 Purity 618 Podcast
Good morning,Today’s photo of a last year’s sunshiny morning on January 4th of 2021, comes to us from a friend who captured these lovely winter visions of morning presumably somewhere in upstate New York, and, if I recall correctly, somewhere close to their home in Greene County. There were a few more photos from January 4th last year that I had on my phone that will be shared on mt4christ.org today that are worth checking out but I have decided to purge them from my I-phone’s memory to make room for more photos in 2022.
And just to show you I haven’t lost track of time, I also sharing a photo of a January sunset sky from January 3rd of last year.
Yep today, is the third day of the New Year and it is the first Monday. While I normally would be working, and just sharing a single photo, my wife and I decided to enjoy another night last night in wedded bliss and to take the day off from work today to get to the town hall and hand in our wedding license and run a few other errands as man and wife. We have a new collective identity as “The Clark’s” and we will be taking steps to make sure all the necessary documents are handed in to make our marriage legal and to complete TammyLyn’s name change.
The new year is a time for new possibilities and for making resolutions to either make changes to our lives or to recommit ourselves to goals that we have strayed away from in the previous year. And I am here to encourage you that even though it may be the third day of the year, it’s not too late to start a resolution to make a change in your life. The truth is that it is never too late to make a change.
As a man who has gone through many changes in life, I can testify that the catalyst for the positive changes in my life was and is my faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. After I saw the truth that I needed a Savior to atone for my sins and to give me everlasting life, I placed my faith in Jesus to save and change me by surrendering to live my life according to God’s ways detailed in the Bible rather than my own ways.
Through faith in Christ, I have been set free from my addictions to alcohol, drugs, and sex. I have been transformed into someone who continuously seeks the Lord’s will for their life and who lives to encourage others to seek the Lord and to discover their freedom in Christ.
As we draw into the new year, we each should approach the Lord to seek His will for us in the new year ahead. God’s will for our lives is sanctification but with the festive holiday season behind us we may wake up in the new year with the realization that we have gone astray in the common trap of pursuing happiness in the things of this world and may be actively suffering because of our indulging our fleshly appetites or through our failed efforts to create circumstantial holiday joy.
If that’s the case, as it is with me. Let’s just say the feasting has been substantial…. It’s time to repent and turn to the Lord, surrender to His will, and to ask God for a “vision” of what 2022 should be for our lives.
One way we can have spiritual victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil and can possibly receive a vision from God is through fasting and prayer.
Daniel 10:1-3 is often pointed out as scripture that illustrates that a prophetic vision for the future came from God after Daniel had “mourned” and fasted for three weeks.
Daniel 10:2-3 (NLT2) says:
2 When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks.
3 All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
So a “Daniel Fast” could be said to be one in which you only eat vegetables because of verse 3’s injunction to eat no rich food or meat. Also the verse indicates that the duration of this fast would be three weeks. Daniel’s period of “mourning” could also be described as a period of repentance as he was seeking to understand the things that he had seen and what the Lord would do with Israel. At the end of Daniel’s fast, he received a vision from God for the nation of Israel’s future.
Fasting is highlighted in the Book of Acts as well as a means in which the Apostles received spiritual direction for doing the Lord’s work.
Acts 13:2 and Acts 14:23 document how Paul and Barnabas were selected for missionary work after the elders of the church spent a period of time in prayer and fasting.
So if you are in a season where you are looking to make some new year’s resolutions and to recommit yourself to the Lord’s will for your life, you may consider setting aside some time for prayer and fasting to direct your path.
Every year, the leadership at my local church announces a period of corporate fasting for three weeks after new year’s day has past to “get a vision” for each new year. While the fast is voluntary and the “rules” of the fast are up to each individual, the church is open for corporate prayer twice a day for the duration of the three weeks to encourage this period of repentance.
In previous fasts, congregants have been strengthened in their faith, have claimed to received guidance for the year ahead, and, in a few instances, have received healing from physical ailments.
While I can not guarantee miraculous or specific results from prayer and fasting, I have benefitted greatly from these spiritual practices. I believe I have matured greatly as a Christian because of these periods of prayer and fasting because it demanded a “crucifying” of the flesh and a paradigm shift of the mind as I discovered that I could survive physically and thrive spiritually when I chose to abstain from food for a time and instead sought the Lord’s presence, guidance, and strength.
Although I can certainly stand to lose a few pounds, weight loss is not the goal of a fast. While I do have a goal to experience optimal health though diet and exercise, fasting is not about that. Fasting is intended to be accompanied with prayer, a conversation with God, to better “walk and talk” with Him.
So I invite you to embrace the change of the new year and to seek the Lord’s will and vision for your life through prayer and fasting, in whatever way you feel the Lord is calling you.
In order to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we have to try not to be so full of ourselves. That’s why the blog and podcast are called M T 4 Christ. The name is a play on words – as in “empty for” Christ – we surrender ourselves to the Lord’s will for our lives and seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as we seek out our purpose in God’s kingdom.
So consider making this year the year that you decided to give more of yourself to God by turning to Him and seeking His plan for your life in prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting may just be the means that God uses to give you a breakthrough in your life but you will never know it unless you trust the Lord and put your faith into practice.
Today’s Bible verse comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Today’s verse clearly states that we are free from the power of sin when we become slaves to God and indicates that doing so results in holiness and eternal life.
There is so many big truths/promises in this verse for our spiritual walk as Christian disciples that they may seem too good to be true. And unfortunately there is also a great deal of room for error in interpreting this verse.
Let’s try to clarify things by doing the last things first. Paul’s encouragement “Now do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life” could easily be misconstrued to mean that “doing things” to be holy leads to eternal life. If that was the case, there would have been no need for Jesus to come.
We don’t receive eternal life through our efforts at being holy. We aren’t saved by doing things. As Ephesians 2:8-9 and many other verses in the Bible teach, we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Faith in Jesus Christ gives us eternal life, not our “doing things”.
This letter is written to Christians, so the assumption is that the readers of this letter are saved by their covenant relationship with God through putting their faith in Christ. However, as in every church building today, Paul was concerned about false converts in the midst of the congregation. So how do we know the “sheep” from the “goats”? We can have some idea of who a genuine Christian is by the way they live their lives. While only the Lord knows the hearts of men, men with their hearts set on doing God’s will and who have been given to Christ should endeavor to seek to be holy as God is holy.
So Paul is encouraging Christians to live out their faith which will result in progressive holiness, sanctification, and the eternal life, they already have through their faith in Christ. Paul is teaching here that our “Christian status” as forgiven and saved should be no reason to live in sin and he is encouraging Christians to “do the things” physically and mentally that would reflect who they already are spiritually, holy saints and children of God.
And Now, first things first, Paul is telling his audience of the power and position they already have because they are Christians.
He tells them “But now you are free from the power of sin”. They NOW, as in ALREADY, have freedom from the power of sin. They can say no to sin. They already are free from sin’s power and simply have to “do the things” that lead to holiness which we could think of as the state of “saying no to sin” consistently.
This is a powerful statement of faith that contradicts the lie of the enemy that “everybody sins” meaning that everyone is powerless to sin. The enemy wants us to think that we should just seek to ameliorate our tendency to sin rather that to exercise the power that all Christians possess to stop sinning.
The enemy’s lies are compelling because the word of God seems to agree with his logic by telling us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and that all have sinned and those who say they do not sin are liars.
But the Apostle is not speaking of sinless perfection here but power over sin. We are not powerless. We have power over sin meaning although we may never be perfect on this side of eternity we can progressively exercise our power over sin to become more and more sanctified and gain victory in new areas of our lives, or for longer durations between sinning, than we have in the past.
This path of exercising our power over sin is of “doing the things that lead to holiness”, so Paul is encouraging us to exercise that power and to get increasingly closer to holiness as we increasingly get closer to the eternal life that is already ours.
And Finally, the means to this power over sin, and the pathway to holiness is revealed in our accepting our position as “slaves to God”. As I taught yesterday, slaves don’t have a choice. They do the will of their masters. So as slaves of God, we are to eliminate our pondering of the sliding scales of sin and instead seek to do what it right, pure, and holy and to abstain from the sins that have so easily beset us.
The power over sin is ours. Eternal life is ours. Holiness is ours. Now. We have been bought by the shed blood of Jesus, so we are also slaves of God now.
But Paul still tells us to “do the things” that a slave of God would do. We are to exercise our power over sin and become slaves of righteousness.
So keep walking and talking with God. Know who you are in Christ and exercise the power that has been given to you to live a life of progressive holiness and know the peace that comes from being a slave to God.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue to share from Dr. Neil Anderson’s . “Restored: Experience Life with Jesus”. Today, we begin sharing from Chapter 3.
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase Dr. Neil Anderson’s books for your own private study and to support his work.
CHAPTER THREE OVERCOMING DECEPTION
Julie didn’t just ask for an appointment to go through the Steps, she pursued it! As the session began, it didn’t take long to find out why. With deep emotion, she told the story of her troubled life: a violent alcoholic father, sexual molestation, pornography, demonic experiences in her room, and exploitation by legalistic controllers at her church.
She earnestly worked through Step One on false guidance, which added to her composure as she went through Step Two. At the completion of this Step a wonderful thing happened. After reading through the Doctrinal Affirmation, she put her book down, and tears welled up in her eyes. Overwhelmed with the truth of who God is and who she is in Christ, she said, “Wow! That is soooo great!”
Our Lord had just partaken of His last supper with His disciples before He walked to the cross. He knew His destiny, and He was about to leave behind 11 of the chosen 12 apostles, who would have to face opposition from the god of this world and continue the work Christ had begun. Satan had already deceived Judas, one of the disciples, into betraying Christ.
Jesus turned to the Father and prayed, “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). His prayer revealed how this freedom can be accomplished. “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth” (v. 17).
Believing the truth about who Christ is, why He came, and who we are in Him is the basis for our freedom. Knowing the truth set forth in God’s Word is the mark of a true disciple. “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”56
Knowing the truth is our first line of defense against the father of lies.57 We acknowledge this truth in the inner self,58 because a genuine faith is more than just intellectual assent or the accumulation of knowledge. God’s truth must penetrate the heart, the very core of our beings. Only then will His truth bring freedom and lasting change in the inner person.
THE NEED FOR HONESTY
We have been called to speak the truth in love and walk in the light, which means that our lives should be transparent before God and others. Anything less and we are living a lie. David was living a lie when he covered up his sin with Bathsheba, and he suffered greatly. He finally found freedom by acknowledging the truth. He wrote, “How blessed is the man . . . in whose spirit there is no deceit!”59
People caught in the bondage of sin lie. Bulimics lie about their binging and purging. Alcoholics hide their addictions and secretly stash bottles around the house. Sex addicts can keep their sin hidden for years. The first step in recovery is to get out of denial and face the truth. The only thing a Christian must admit to is the truth. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”60
The primary reason Julie, the girl in the story, found so much resolution is that she held nothing back. She was ready to walk in the light and speak the truth. She found forgiveness, cleansing, and freedom. Truth is never the enemy; it is always a liberating friend. Jesus is the perfect embodiment of truth, the liberating light, the best friend a man or woman could ever have. In Him there is no darkness at all. Jesus is the truth, and He sets honest people free.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship