Daniel Fast 2022

Day 11-Dry Bones

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? — Jeremiah 32:27

Have you ever taken an anatomy class? Many of us probably have, but have you taken an anatomy class that works on human cadavers.

When you are standing over the body it may come into your mind that the only difference between the body of the woman lying on the table and you is life. All of the parts were there—her muscles, tissues, and bones—but her spirit was gone. God is the one who breathes life into us, and without his Spirit indwelling our hearts, we are dead inside. The prophet Ezekiel also had an unforgettable encounter with a set of bones. The Lord led him to a valley that was covered with them and asked, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezek. 37:3). Notice that the Lord doesn’t say, “Are these bones alive?” It is quite obvious they aren’t. They are dead. All dried up. Useless.

Ezekiel isn’t too sure where the Lord is going with his line of questioning, so he plays it safe and says, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know” (v. 3). Ezekiel doesn’t answer the Lord’s question with a bold and confident yes because he can’t see beyond the natural process of death so clearly evident before him. His perspective is limited. However, the Lord doesn’t condemn Ezekiel for his lack of faith. Instead, in his love and mercy, he gives Ezekiel a vision of what can happen when God enters a seemingly hopeless situation.

The Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the bones, to command them to come to life. As Ezekiel speaks, he hears a rattling sound. The bones are moving! They come together, one by one. Flesh and tendons appear; skin covers them. However, the bodies are still dead.

Again the Lord tells Ezekiel to prophesy and to call forth the breath of life When Ezekiel commands the breath to enter into the bodies, a vast army stands before him—hundreds of living, breathing human beings. Now Ezekiel can answer God’s question with complete confidence: “Yes! These bones can live!”

Like Ezekiel, you may find yourself standing in the middle of a valley of dry bones. You can’t see beyond what is right in front of you. God wants to change your viewpoint. Whatever you are facing may seem hopeless, but it’s not. Whether it’s a lifeless marriage, a dead-end job, or an uncertain future, the Lord wants to speak life into your situation. Put your trust in his Word, and watch the God of the universe do amazing things.

Prayer for Today

God, I put my trust in you today. Even when situations in my life seem hopeless, I know that nothing is too difficult for you!

Verses for additional study:

Job 33:4

Proverbs 14:30

Romans 4:17


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Day 10-Tunnel Vision

Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. — 1 John 4:11 – 12

From the Daniel Fast–I recently had one of those mornings when I woke up feeling irritable and groggy. I had a massive headache and felt like I’d been hit by a train. All morning long, I carried around a “woe is me” attitude. After a few hours of this self-inflicted misery, I finally sat down and opened my Bible to 1 John 4:7 – 16, the passage in which the apostle John writes so eloquently about God’s love for us and how we are to love one another. Lord God, I know trials are part of life and that you use them to help me grow. Help me to give thanks in all circumstances. My whole outlook changed within a matter of minutes I no longer felt sorry for myself In fact, I wasn’t even thinking about myself at all Instead, my heart was lifted and encouraged as I thought about God and his amazing love.

God’s love is mind-boggling. It’s hard to understand why he chooses to pour out his grace and mercy upon such imperfect, stubborn, and rebellious people. But, thankfully, he does! God loved us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, as a sacrifice for our sins Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for us to experience the full extent of God’s love. However, this love isn’t given to us for our enjoyment alone. God pours his love into our lives so that we might share it with others.

I closed my Bible and realized what my real problem was. I had a severe case of tunnel vision. Tunnel vision, from a medical standpoint, is the loss of peripheral vision—or side vision—which means we see only what is directly in front of us. Just because I didn’t feel well, I’d lost all ability to see anyone else’s needs. My gaze was limited to me, myself, and I.

Even though my headache didn’t go away for several hours, my vision improved immediately after reading the truth of God’s Word He showed me that it’s impossible to love people when I can’t even see them And to see them, I have to stop focusing on myself. When life gets you down and you feel your vision narrowing, spend a few minutes with God Turn your attention to him Your peripheral vision will return, and you’ll be free to share God’s love with those around you. Father, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in my own life that I become oblivious to the needs of the people around me. Help me to humble myself so that I can share your life-changing love.

Testimony about Daniel Fast:

During the fast, I really sought the Lord’s direction for ministry. I have a passion for youth but wasn’t sure where God wanted me to serve. One day my son went on a field trip and picked up a brochure he thought I would like. It was information on gangs. As I read the brochure, my heart broke for those kids. Then it hit me—I needed be involved in urban youth ministry. I told the Lord I would go wherever he wanted to take me, even if it meant uprooting and moving my whole family. Before the fast, that was a big no way. We did move, and God has opened up a whole new mission field for us among friends and family members. My new job, which is in the “bad area” of town, puts me right in the thick of gang activity. Murders are frequent, and most of them are gang related. Despite these challenges, we are seeing God at work. I wouldn’t have experienced any of these blessings if I hadn’t been listening to God through prayer and fasting. — D. OLTMAN

 

Verses for additional study:

Matthew 22:37 – 39

Philippians 2:3 – 4 1

Peter 4:8


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Day 9-Be Patient, and Don’t Grumble!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Maybe you can relate to this ladies day: Having my garbage disposal explode all over the kitchen isn’t exactly an example of enduring suffering, but it certainly was a test of patience. The remnants of apples, beets, and oranges blanketed my hardwood floor. It was a mess a chunky, bright-red mess.

As I cleaned up the kitchen, I felt anxious and stressed. I thought about all the things I had to do and how this wasn’t the way I wanted to start my day. I was angry. I silently chastised my husband for not making the seal tighter when he put the sink back together a few weeks ago. I was irritated that my daughters kept asking when I was going to make them breakfast. Wasn’t it obvious I had a disaster on my hands?

In that moment, two verses came to mind: “Be patient” (James 5:7) and “Don’t grumble” (James 5:9).

Uh oh. I was clearly guilty on both counts. I was certainly complaining in my spirit, and I didn’t have a single ounce of patience in me. Determined not to let this unexpected incident ruin my day, I stopped, took a deep breath, and asked God to give me strength. Not only did he help me clean up the food flung all over my kitchen but also he gave me what I needed the most—his perspective. God reminded me that trials of every shape and size, even the most unpleasant ones, are often heaven-sent opportunities to mature as a follower of Christ. I realized that the garbage-disposal fiasco that morning was an opportunity to put my faith into action by being thankful, despite the inconvenience of it all.

As you go about your day today, view any challenging situations you face as ways to be more like Jesus. When you see the circumstances in your life through God’s eyes, you won’t be rattled when your plans are interrupted. You won’t grumble and complain. You will respond with a thankful heart.

Verses for additional study:

Psalm 7:17

Psalm 28:7

Psalm 118:28


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Day 8-When Affliction Is Good

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. — Psalm 119:71

Testimony from the Daniel Fast–A few years ago, I experienced major problems with my skin when the eczema I’d dealt with since childhood became increasingly worse. I tried everything—topical creams, oral and topical steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, and even light therapy. Most days I walked around in a zombie-like state, exhausted from the itching and scratching that kept me awake at night. I was irritable, depressed, and didn’t feel like myself at all. I was so miserable in my own skin that I knew I’d have a breakdown if I didn’t experience some relief.

During this dark season, the Lord led me to Psalm 119:71, which says, “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” I thought, “Good? There’s nothing good about this, Lord! I look and feel horrible. I’m tired of dealing with this problem, and I don’t understand how anything about it could be good.” However, instead of continuing the pity party, I began to meditate on other verses in that same chapter that reminded me of God’s goodness and faithfulness, which remain unchanged despite any trials he may allow into my life.

Slowly, my mind and heart were transformed as I viewed my situation from God’s perspective. I learned to lean on the Lord for strength.

I developed a passion for his Word. I prayed more often and with greater fervency. I realized that my skin problems weren’t a punishment from the Lord but a way to learn how to focus on him as my source of strength and comfort. He allowed me to experience those physical challenges not because he was upset with me but because he loved me. He redeemed that particular trial, painful as it was, by drawing me closer to him.

Are you going through a difficult time in your life that you don’t understand? Are you weary from the struggle, and do you wonder what God’s purpose might be? Good news: you don’t have to understand why it’s happening; you only need to trust him. The Lord is working this problem out for the good, even if you can’t see it right now, and he will use whatever it takes to transform you into the image of Christ. Embrace his precious promises, and ask him to give you a special verse that will strengthen your faith. Someday soon you’ll look back on this trial, reflect on all that God has done, and be able to say, “It was good for me to be afflicted.”

Prayer for Today

God, I know that there is purpose in the pain of affliction. Keep me from sinking into despair when trials come. I want to bring honor and glory to you, no matter what the circumstances are in my life.

Verses for additional study:

Psalm 119:68–76

Psalm 119:143

Psalm 145:17


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Day 7-A Good Work

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. — Philippians 1:6

Nehemiah had a successful career as cupbearer to the king, yet deep within him, he sensed the Lord calling him toward something different. Something radical. Something only God could do.

The task seemed monumental and impossible. The walls of Jerusalem were broken down, leaving the people defenseless against attack. Nehemiah knew that God wanted him to leave the comfort of palace life to lead his people in rebuilding the city walls.

Nehemiah responded in faith and obedience. He fasted and prayed. He boldly requested permission from the king and for his help in getting supplies. He wisely examined the condition of the walls before beginning reconstruction. He started the work.

From day one, Nehemiah and God’s people endured intense persecution. Their enemies ridiculed and mocked them, hoping that they would give up. But the Israelites kept working day after day with all of their hearts, believing that the Lord would give them success. As a result, the massive city walls of Jerusalem were completed in record time. When the surrounding nations heard that the walls were completed in just fifty-two days, they were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that the work had been done with the help of God.

God calls each of us to a great work. Like Nehemiah and the Israelites, we undoubtedly will face fierce opposition. When the enemy hurls accusations our way and tries to defeat us, we can stand our ground on the truth of God’s Word. I love Nehemiah’s response to his enemies’ relentless attempts to distract him: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down” (6:3). He refused to be shaken and remained focused on the purposes of God. We must remember that just as God was faithful in helping his people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he will also complete the good work he has begun in our lives.

Prayer for Today

God, you have a plan for my life, and I am confident that you will bring it to completion as I surrender to you. I refuse to be distracted by the enemy and thrown off course by his wicked schemes. My eyes are on you, Sovereign Lord, to finish the good work you have started in me.

Verses for additional study:

Nehemiah 1:4

Nehemiah 2:4 – 9, 11 – 15, 20

Nehemiah 4:6

Nehemiah 6:15 – 16

Psalm 138:8

Congratulations! You made it through your first week!

How are you doing so far? God is working in you and all around you. Continue to trust the Lord for strength to persevere. As you begin week 2, remember Philippians 4:13. You can do it!


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Day 6-Cries in the Night

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. — Psalm 145:8

Kristen Feola writes: Last night was a very long night My daughter ran into the bathroom nearly every hour to get sick, and I got up with her. Each time I was awakened, though, it became harder to get out of bed As I pulled the covers off to get up for the fifth or sixth time, I reminded myself, “Compassion, Kristen. Be patient and compassionate.”

At 4:30 a.m., I decided to just stay up and try to do some work on the computer. Almost as soon as I started writing, I heard Isabelle dry-heaving, so I went into the bathroom. In a shaky voice, she said, “I just want you with me.” She was scared and wanted the comfort of having me close. I gave her a kiss on the top of her head and put my arms around her while she threw up. After she finished, I washed her face, tucked her back into bed, and prayed for her.

God, thank you for giving me life, both physically and spiritually, and for sending your Holy Spirit to live in me so I would never be alone.

As I was cleaning up the bathroom, I couldn’t help thinking about how the Lord responds to us in our time of need. Isaiah 30:18 says, “The LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.” Our loving Father doesn’t hesitate when we call out to him. He is always ready to come to our rescue.

No matter what you’re going through, whether you’re sick or lonely or scared, your gracious God is listening. As soon as your desperate cries reach his ears, he will surround you with his unconditional love and mercy. You can find comfort in God’s promise that he will never leave you nor forsake you, which means you won’t ever have to go through anything alone. When you find yourself facing the darkest of nights, cry out to the Lord, and find strength in his presence. He is waiting to help you.

Prayer for Today

Father, thank you for being a God of compassion and for always being there when I pray. Open my eyes to practical ways I can show your compassion to others.

Verses for additional study:

Psalm 116:5

Psalm 145:8 – 9

2 Corinthians 1:3

Colossians 3:12

Peter 3:8

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Day 5-The Breath of Life

The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. — Job 33:4

As a parent I find myself struggling to explain to my kids that even though we can’t see Jesus and feel his arms around us, he is a real person. I read one time that a child had referred to Jesus as an “air person.”

This child was simply stating what is obvious to her: we can’t see Jesus with our eyes, but we knows He’s there. That’s exactly right Jesus is a real person, not some imaginary friend or a fictional character in a story. He’s as real as the air we breathe. Just as our bodies are not able to survive without oxygen, we cannot live apart from Christ. Oh, we can exist just fine, but without him our lives are meaningless and empty.

I don’t ever want to forget what my life was like before Jesus saved me. I was dead in my sins, without hope and without God. I was headed down a path to destruction. But one summer day more than thirty years ago, God rescued me from the kingdom of darkness and made me alive in Christ. He also implanted his Holy Spirit into my heart so that I would never be away from his presence.

If you know the Lord, his Spirit lives in you. Your eyes may not see him, but he is there. This precious gift, who is also your Comforter, Counselor, Intercessor, Teacher, and Friend, is always with you, breathing his life into you so you can truly live.

Verses for additional study:

Ephesians 1:13

Ephesians 2:1,4 – 5, 12

Romans 5:5

Romans 8:26


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DAY 4-Drink Up!

If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says. — John 7:37 – 38 MSG

As soon I got out of bed and my feet hit the floor this morning, I headed straight for the kitchen to get a drink of water. I woke up feeling parched, and satisfying my thirst was all I could think about. I didn’t just sip the water, either. I gulped it down as quickly as I could, and I felt so much better after I did.

Water is essential to life, and our bodies must have adequate amounts of it to thrive. All you have to do is type in “benefits of water” on any internet search engine, and you’ll find hundreds of reasons why it’s important to drink the water your body needs. One way water helps us as we fast is by removing toxins. Toxins are poisonous substances that cause damage to the body, resulting in all kinds of illness and health problems.

Our souls also need hydration, refreshing streams of living water that only Jesus can bring to our thirsty lives Jesus promises that “whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14 ESV). Only the Lord can satisfy our deepest longings. Only he can flush out the toxins of anger, bitterness, jealousy, unforgiveness, and rebellion. Only Jesus, our Savior, can cleanse us from the inside out.

Every time you drink a glass of water during your fast, let it be a reminder that Jesus is your Living Water. He has unlimited stores of blessing, peace, power, and wisdom to pour into your life. Drink deeply of the Lord today. Find delight in the truth of his Word. Thirst for him alone. Lord, I’m thirsty for you and your Word. Nothing satisfies but you. Fill me up today so that my life overflows with your love.

Verses for additional study:

Psalm 1:2 – 3

John 4:7 – 15

John 6:35


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Day 3—His Glorious Name

Praise be to His glorious Name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory.—Psalm 72:19

When a woman is pregnant, they will spend hours flipping through books of baby names trying to find just the right name for the little one. It is important to mothers that their children have names that not only sound nice but also are rich in meaning.

The Bible gives several examples of how people’s names often describe their character or behavior. For example, during the first part of his life, Jacob lived up to his name of “trickster” by deceiving his brother, Esau, and his father in order to obtain Esau’s birthright. Later in Jacob’s life, after he wrestled with the Lord and finally submitted to him, God changed his name to Israel, meaning “straightened by God.”

Dear God, show me if I have any “Isaacs” in my life. Give me the strength and courage to dethrone things that I have placed before you. You are my Master. I serve you and you alone.

When you choose to follow the Lord and receive his gift of salvation, you’re also given a new name You become a Christian, which means “follower of Christ.” However, you don’t earn the right to bear his name because of your righteousness. Your good works don’t give you the privilege of identifying with the Lord. No, the only reason you carry his glorious name is because of Jesus and what he did for you.

Jesus paid a high price to call you his own. He loved you so much that he was willing to die to give you life. Spend a few moments now thanking God for sending Jesus so that you could be set free from sin. Praise the Lord for his infinite mercy and love!

 

Prayer for Today

Father God, I praise you! My mind cannot fathom the depths of your love. Thank you for sending Jesus for me so I could be a part of your family and live with you for eternity.

Verses for additional study:

Genesis 25:29 – 34

Genesis 27:1 – 40

Genesis 32:22 – 28

Genesis 35:10

Psalm 113:2 – 3

Ephesians 2:8 – 9

Titus 3:5


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Day 2—Go to Mount Moriah

You shall have no other gods before Me.—Exodus 20:3
 
I’m being stalked by a guy named Abraham. He follows me everywhere—my Bible study lesson, the Wednesday-night prayer service, the book I’m reading. What is it with this guy, and what does he want with me? Okay, maybe I’m a little slow, but I’m starting to think God is trying to get my attention, and he is using the story of Abraham to do it.

Perhaps you’re familiar with the account. God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. However, at age ninety-nine, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, were still waiting for a baby. When he turned one hundred, though, the most incredible thing happened. They had a son! Abraham’s greatest longing was fulfilled, and Isaac was his joy.
 
Years later, God told Abraham to take his beloved Isaac to a mountain to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Why would God ask Abraham to do such a horrific thing? The Lord was testing Abraham to see whether the love he had for his son was greater than the love he had for his Lord. Although Abraham’s heart was broken at the thought of harming Isaac, he got up early the next morning to set out for Mount Moriah. Abraham knew that to obey God, he had to place Isaac on the altar.
 
Just as Abraham raised the knife to take his son’s life, an angel of the Lord spoke to him and told him not to lay a hand on the boy. God provided a ram caught in a nearby thicket to be the burnt offering instead.
 
It wasn’t wrong for Abraham to love Isaac. The problem was that Abraham loved him a little too much. In the book Counterfeit Gods, author Timothy Keller makes this observation: “If God had not intervened, Abraham would have certainly come to love his son more than anything in the world, if he did not already do so. That would have been idolatry, and all idolatry is destructive.”
 
Are there any idols in your life? God calls us all to surrender our “Isaacs” to him. Don’t be afraid to climb Mount Moriah. Go now, and don’t hesitate. Lay it all on the altar. Your Provider will meet you there and deliver you, just as he delivered Abraham.
 
Prayer for Today
Father, I desire to hear Your voice more clearly. Help me to have an awareness that I need reprioritizing in my life, putting all idols away, and allowing You to reign in my heart. Remind me that when we bring our appetites and flesh under the direction of the Spirit, this brings You great joy. Thank You that we don’t have to work for Your approval but because You are so full of grace you look for opportunities to bless us.
 
Verses for additional study:
Genesis 22:1-18
Exodus 20:4
Psalm 24:3-5
Isaiah 42:8

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