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Join the New Year Fast

Join the Daniel FastHappy New Year! Oh, what a great time to start a new course and establish the direction for the coming months. Beginning the New Year with a period of extended prayer and fasting is the most perfect way to start. And especially since hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of believers around the world will all be opening their hearts to God at the same time! We are blessed to be together for this powerful spiritual experience.

So, when does the New Year Fast begin? Most churches, study groups and individuals will begin the fast on Sunday, January 4th. However, whatever date the Lord leads you to begin your fast is the right date for you. The New Year Fast is not like Lent (a called fast) that has a specific start and end date. If you are fasting with others or with a church congregation, you will want to follow the leaders and the dates they establish.

Most people begin the fast being highly focused on the food and the changes to their menus. I encourage you to keep your meals simple and easy to prepare. One of the greatest mistakes I see today is that people put way too much focus on the food miss out on the powerful spiritual benefits of the fasting experience. Remember, this is a fast (which means to restrict food for a spiritual purpose). Keep the main thing the main thing. Eat simply. And invest most of your time and attention on your Lord.

Most people will fast for 21 consecutive days. And for the Daniel Fast, there are not times during the day when you don’t adhere to the restrictions. There are some fasts where you don’t eat at all during daylight hours, and then eat whatever you desire or within some guidelines after sundown. But that is not part of the Daniel Fast.

Be sure to learn about the fast. There is so much erroneous information “out there” about the Daniel Fast. I have been using the Daniel Fast for decades and I have been teaching about it since 2007. I have researched the fast extensively and feel confident that the information you’ll find in the books I’ve written and on this site and at Daniel-Fast.com is grounded in the scriptures and is accurate. I can’t tell you the number of times discouraged people have written to me sick and not feeling well after they’ve tried to eat only vegetables and drink only water because they didn’t learn the complete background of the fast and just plunged in. So please, study the information on our Daniel Fast sites and the Daniel Fast book includes everything you need for a successful fasting experience (including a cookbook and a daily devotional).

Put your flesh where it belongs . . . under submission. One of the most powerful lessons you can learn on the Daniel Fast is how to put your flesh in its rightful place, which is under the authority of God. Your flesh may throw a fit. It might try to sabotage you and tempt you to break the fast or change the guidelines to satisfy it’s desires. But we are called to walk in the Spirit and not by the flesh. You can work on your self-control muscles during the fast and realize that you don’t have to give in to the whims of your flesh. I truly believe this is one of the most powerful lessons you can learn during your fast.

If you have health issues then be sure to follow the advice of your earthly physician as you pray to your Great Physician. Due to medical needs or special issues, you many need to modify the fast. Keep the core of the fast and make the slight adjustment. This is the same for pregnant or nursing mothers and for athletes who expend a lot of energy.

Get support and encouragement – we provides lots of help, tips, encouragement and support to anyone who wants it through our websites, emails, and Facebook groups. Click on the the Join the Fast link to receive daily emails. Or join our Facebook Group. Also, keep visiting our sites as we update and add helpful information and tips almost every day.

Meanwhile, open your heart to the Lord and submit yourself to Him. Allow Him to direct your steps as you begin this New Year and as you enter into this fasting experience.

Be blessed!

Fasting soon? Then it’s time to say bye-bye to coffee

Cup of CoffeeA lot of us are used to starting our day with a hot cup of coffee or tea. For me, drinking coffee and visiting with my Father is the favorite part of my day. For decades I’ve had “Jesus and java” as the first part of my morning. So not drinking coffee during the Daniel Fast is challenging for me, even after all these years of fasting.

But the is another part of giving up coffee and other caffeinated beverages and foods that we need to address. And that is the withdrawals that can be debilitating unless we taper off the substance before the fast begins. So if you are starting the Daniel Fast soon, I encourage you to start now saying ‘bye-bye’ to caffeine. Here are a few steps you can follow to minimize your withdrawals – and by the way, even if you drink only one cup a day you may still experience serious withdrawals. These can be from light to severe headaches, leg cramps, muscle aches and mild to extreme fatigue. It’s worth tapering off caffeine before you begin your fast if you want to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

Four to five days before your fast begins, start substituting some of your regular coffee (or tea) for decaffeinated varieties. Start with 25 percent decaf to 75 percent regular. Then the next day about a 40 percent decaf to 60 percent regular. The next day try a 50/50 blend. Then go 75/25. And do that again for another day or start your fast, depending on the amount of time you have.

All along, drink more water throughout the day. Try to drink at least four tall glasses of water (16 ounces each) during the day. You might also try increasing potassium-rich foods in your diet including bananas and cantaloupe. Get lots of rest and be aware that you are literally tapering off a natural drug.

If you drink sodas with caffeine, use a similar strategy by substituting non-caffeinated sodas with caffeine-free varieties. And remember, there are some foods that include caffeine, such as cocoa powders and chocolate.

You will be very happy you’ve taken these measures when you don’t experience the excruciating headaches and withdrawals that some people who go “cold turkey” and don’t taper off before they fast.

One more note, when you complete your fast, the first thing you might want to drink is a cup of rich, dark, caffeinated coffee. But remember, your body has been free of the substance for 21 days. So go easy. If not, you may experience jitters and rushes from the caffeine.

Is the Daniel Fast being hijacked?

Spiritual Fasting

I started teaching Christians about the Daniel Fast in 2007. If you’ve read my book, The Daniel Fast: feed your soul, strengthen your spirit and renew your body, then you know that this all came about when I received a word from the Lord to “write about the Daniel Fast.” And my greatest desire is to support and guide men, women and teens so they can have a successful fasting experience.

Since that time I have taught hundreds of thousands of people about the fast in one degree or another. And my team and I have responded to tens of thousands of men and women when they have questions about the Daniel Fast.

One thing I know for sure: the Daniel Fast is a powerful spiritual experience that truly can bring amazing revelations, blessings, intimacy with the Lord and much more to those who engage in the fast. Prayers are answered. Lives are touched. Addictions are broken. Bodies are healed. Relationships are strengthened. And God is glorified!

But lately, and this has all accelerated over the last six months are so, it seems like the true Daniel Fast is being hijacked and unknowing people suffer the consequences. Let me explain what I mean:

One of the most powerful lessons we can learn during the Daniel Fast is strengthening our faith muscles by putting our flesh in its proper place! What is that proper place? Submitted to the Spirit of God! The Bible teaches us this, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. Also, we are called to this truth, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13.

During the Daniel Fast you will wrestle with the flesh. Your flesh will want certain foods that aren’t allowed on the fast. It will whine because it can’t have coffee, tea, soda or juice to drink. And every time you tell your flesh to “take the backseat, I am living according to the Spirit” we grow in our faith. Self-control is practiced. Walking according to the Spirit is experienced. Submission happens.

In our culture today almost everything around us encourages us to pander to the desires of the flesh. It’s an “if I want it, I buy it” mindset. Or an “if I want it, I eat it” way of living. Feed me. Make it delectable. Don’t make me wait. I want it now!

So what does this have to do with the Daniel Fast? And why do I wonder if it’s being hijacked?

In today’s Internet world and the easy and quick access to information, it only takes a computer and a few keystrokes to “publish information.” And with the introduction of self-published digital books including Kindle and Nook, it’s easy for anyone to present their offerings to the world for their consumption.

What am I seeing? A multitude of books and publications being presented about the Daniel Fast that overflow with errors, nurture the flesh, and guide people away from the amazing experiences they can have. It’s like thousands of men and women are walking on a path wanting a powerful spiritual experience using the Daniel Fast. They come to a table piled with books with enticing words and pictures of food! The covers and descriptions include messages like these:

  • Daniel Fast Smoothies: Scrumptious and Nutritious Blend of Flavors That Make Up a Mouth Watering Array of Smoothie Beverages
  • The Daniel Fast Made Delicious
  • Daniel Fast Desserts: a Tempting Assortment of Dessert Meals that Will Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
  • Daniel Fast Desserts: Over 20 Sweet Treat Recipes for Your Daniel Fast

And here’s one that lifted part of the title of my book to promote their offering: Daniel Fast Cookbook: Feed Your Soul and Strengthen Your Spirit with Over 30 Delicious Recipes.

The photo on this book includes eggs, cheese, ham, jam, raised breads, milk and other food not allowed on the Daniel Fast! Just one example!

The photo on this book cover includes eggs, cheese, ham, jam, raised breads, milk, juice, coffee and other foods not allowed on the Daniel Fast! Just one example if the Daniel Fast being hijacked!

So you choose one of the “Daniel Fast books” that feeds your flesh in a “tantalizing” and “scrumptious way” and you keep moving down the path. But here’s the problem, you unknowingly have taken a detour. This detour takes you on a path to satisfy your flesh. “Wow! I don’t have to give up sweet foods. I can make these yummy cookies.” “Oh, look here. I can have all these delectable dishes! I don’t have to deny myself at all. This is great!” And you keep moving along.

Meanwhile, you miss out on the treasure that you could have had if you would have had a true guidebook and entered this spiritual experience as it was originally intended: a powerful, consecrated time of extended prayer and fasting so you can draw closer to God, develop your faith, and learn how to walk according to the spirit rather than by the desires of the flesh.

I understand that the Daniel Fast, being a partial fast, presents some challenges about food. Is it okay to enjoy the foods you eat while on the fast? What about preparing meals for others?

And here is where you, as a follower of Jesus Christ and as a temple of the Holy Spirit, can exercise your discernment. Are you feeding your body? Or are you indulging your flesh? Are you staying within the boundaries of a spiritual experience? Or are you figuring out ways you can stay within the food guidelines but still meet the needs of the flesh by concocting “tantalizing” recipes?

There are times when there’s a fine line when it comes to eating some foods or making up some recipes while on the fast. But I also know that we have a Guide inside of us who will show us the direction that will best meet our desire for spiritual growth.

We have a choice when we enter into an extended period of prayer and fasting using the Daniel Fast. We can “seek first the kingdom of God” and consecrate ourselves for the time and gain in maturity and understanding. Or, we can continue to pander to the flesh and have a mediocre experience with some benefits . . . but still missing out on the supernatural blessings the Lord wants to deliver.

Paul says this, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

And here is even a stronger message from Paul: “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.  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” Romans 8:5-7

Like I mentioned, I have been teaching about the Daniel Fast for many years. The Lord has blessed me with the assignment. And I am humbled when I hear from men, women and teens that have been powerfully touched by the experiences they’ve had while in the Daniel Fast. I know the potential of this fast! I have heard and read the testimonies of thousands! And that’s why I am saddened to see what is happening.

My hope is that people on the path toward their fasting experience will allow the Lord, and not their flesh, to direct their steps. And that they will indeed be able to receive the amazing and powerful gifts, blessings, revelations, and answers to prayer that are available to them.

Okay . . . end of rant! But I do ask you that, as someone who has taken the time read this article, help me and others keep the Daniel Fast the powerful spiritual experience it can be. Let’s work together to keep the main thing the main thing . . . and that is submitting ourselves to God as we enter into a time of extended prayer and fasting and open our hearts to Him so we can be transformed into the people He calls us to be! The Daniel Fast is not about the food! It’s about entering into a spiritual experience that brings us closer to God and allows Him to shower us with the blessings and gifts He so wants us to have.  Please, help me to preserve the true purpose of this method of fasting!

Click here to receive Daniel Fast helps and tips.

Feeling Low? It’s Time to Take a Look in the Mirror.

mirror 13204669_sWe all have those times when we feel low. I’ve been there. I know how you feel. Sometimes we look around and conclude we are so inadequate. Poorly prepared. Not up for the challenges before us. It’s not a very good feeling. And frankly, unless we get a grip on those feelings, they can lead to a downward spiral taking us to a dark place!

If you can relate to these feelings, then keep reading. Because there is a sure remedy, and the benefits far exceed feeling happy or content. Actually, you can fully experience the joy, peace and rest that you long for in the innermost part of your soul.

What’s the remedy? The mirror! But not the mirror you may be imagining right now. Instead, there is a mirror that reflects back to you your real self – your greatness. Your unique treasure of gifts. Your awesome value.

What is this mirror? It’s God’s Word! And in it you will find a true reflection of who you are in Christ. Paul put it this way, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

In “Susan’s Translation” Paul is saying, “I now see myself according to who I am in Christ, but I don’t see the full picture. But when I am face to face with the Lord I will see my true identity – and even though I can’t see it all now, it truly is who I am.”

Our True Identity

So often, we take our identity from the world. We compare ourselves with other people. We take on the labels from parents, siblings, playmates, teachers, spouses and co-workers. We absorb the opinions of people – many of whom we may not even respect. We look at the perfectly coiffed movie stars or the chiseled muscles of athletes . . . and know there is a huge gap between their picture and our self-image. We even compare ourselves with fictional characters in movies and television shows! How will we ever measure up?

Here is the truth. That is the wrong mirror! If you are finding your identity from the world and from people, you are looking in the wrong place! And your reflection will never be the truth. Not only can you end up feeling bad about yourself. But you can also move into an unhealthy dependency for finding your worth and value from the opinions of other people (all you People Pleasers, wave and say, “That’s me!”).

Here is the truth of who you are:

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:13-16

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in [Christ]. 2 Corinthians 5:21

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. John 3:16

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 1 John 4:19

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6

Reflect on Who You Are in Christ

When God created you, He used His perfection, His mastery, His artistry. Yes, because of Adam all humankind was stained with imperfection. But Jesus changed all that for you and me and for anyone who believes: “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

You are highly valued. You are God’s precious child. You are greatly esteemed and needed.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

The Choice is Ours

We have a choice to make. Which mirror will we use when we seek a reflection of who are? Will we rely on the distorted reflection coming from the world and from people? Or will we look into the perfect mirror of God’s Word and embrace our true identity?

The best answer is easy to see.

I had a great day doing a job I hate!

paper 19461564_s (cropped)Okay! Am I the only one who sometimes gets buried in paper?  And I don’t mean just a little bit. But there are times when I have stacks staring at me! And every time I look at the pile (sometimes that’s plural – piles), I hear the sheets calling my name. “Susan! File me! Read me! Toss me. Pay me!”

For me, filing papers is akin to cleaning the darkest and dustiest corner of a damp basement! Not on my top ten favorite ways to pass my time. So I put if off. I resist. I procrastinate.

Eventually, I have to tackle the job or suffer the consequences. True confession. I have been late paying bills because they were buried so deep in the stacks. So I am reforming and trying to keep up with the filing.

Today was the day to organize the way too tall stack of paper that had gathered. But this time, I took a different tact. Instead of grumbling and clinching my teeth the whole time, I decided to make this usually gruesome experience one that was a little more pleasant. Here is what I did:

First, I cleared off my kitchen table and made some labels for the major categories. The labels were just 3″ x 5″ note cards folded in half to make little tents. Then I wrote the name of the category on each one so it would be easy to know which pile was which (I plan to use the same labels next time I do this).

Second, I got all the papers together, which wasn’t too difficult. I practice the strategy of “keep like things together.” So while I might not be the fastest at filing my papers, I do know where they are! Then I put the pile on one corner of the table.

Third, I brought my recycle box into the room so I could use it to toss whatever didn’t need filing. I also grabbed my supply of files and a pencil to mark each one as necessary (I make permanent colored file labels later).

Four, and here is the ingredient that changed my hated task into an awesome experience! I got my little portable Bluetooth speaker ($9.95 at the local variety store) and my iPhone and I started playing worship music.

Wham! Immediately a dreaded job turned into a time or praise and worship as I sang along to the great songs and focused on the Lord rather than my filing! My music of choice was Throne Room by CeCe Winans. Her music took me to a place that was rich. Lovely. Joyful. And before I knew it, the filing was done. I was full of God’s blessing. And God was glorified . . . even by me shuffling stacks of paper!

So I offer this plan to you. The next time you have a job that you really don’t want to do, figure out a way to turn it into a lovely time of praise and worship by playing some great music and getting into the flow. This is great to do when you’re cleaning the house (or the basement), washing the car, fixing meals or even exercising! And now I can’t wait until I get to file papers again!

Be blessed! Our God is so good and worthy of all our praise!

 

Give us this day our daily WHAT?

Daily BreadMany Christians regularly recite the “Lord’s Prayer” at home and during their church services. And a lot of people use Jesus’ teaching about how to pray in Luke 11 as a model or an outline.

One of the instructions from our Lord is to ask our Father in Heaven to “give us this day our daily bread.”

Now, I don’t think Jesus was talking about literal bread! But instead, He was teachings us to ask God to meet our daily needs for food, clothing, shelter, and all the other things we need for a well-lived life.

So here is my question . . . do you know how much you need for your “daily bread?” In a time when so many men, women and couples struggle with financial pressures, this can be a very important number to know! And it can also start you on a path to peace and security.

And then when we know the number, just like Jesus tells us to do, we can pray with clarity and specificity “give us this day our daily bread.”

Your daily bread is an easy number to compute. You add up all your expenses (remember to include those that you pay only once or twice a year). Figure out how much you need for a full year . . . and then divide that figure by 365. Voilah! Now you know how much you need for your daily bread! See, it’s easy.

Now here are the challenges that many people have:

First, they never do the work to see how much they really need to live on! And when you don’t know how much you need, it’s almost impossible to stay within good stewardship boundaries (that’s another way of saying a budget). This is especially true for those who don’t have lots of money coming into their coffers each and every month! So you don’t know where you are. You don’t know where you are going (a money plan). And thus, you have no idea what to do next to manage your finances.

Second, so many people live without a spending plan! Actually, I can understand why. When you look at a lot of the plans financial experts suggest – they just seem too complicated and hard to manage. So, folks give up or never get started in the first place.

I used to be that way until I created the “Six Pots System” I use for my financial matters. Not only is this helpful for managing and tracking my household expenses, but it also serves as a really great system for setting goals and working toward growth. I think one reason the Six Pot System is so successful is that it’s balanced and takes into account how real people live and what we really need to stay on track.

I can’t go into all the details about this in one short article, but here is the gist of the system. There are Six Pots that “hold” the money that comes into my household. And then the funds are distributed according to the designated pots:

Tithing 10%
Investment 10% (never spent)
Fun 10%
Education and Spiritual Development 10%
Savings for Spending 10% (for occasional expenses)
Household Expenses 50% (housing, food, utilities, etc.)

Every dollar is divided according to the percentages and allocated into one of these pots . . . and then the funds are spent only in that manner.

Using this Six Pot System – along with what I’ve learned about God being my Source and how to pray about financial matters – has eliminated the confusion for managing a home budget. Plus, it’s so easy and keeps me on track!

So, how much do you need for your “daily bread?” Do yourself a favor and figure it out!

And then, take some time and figure out your own Six Pot allocations! You might need to shift some of the percentages at first. But I can promise that using this system to manage your money . . . and then to come to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to “give us this day our daily bread” when you really know what you are praying for . . . will make a huge difference in your life!

If you want even more help, check out The Daniel Fast for Financial Breakthrough (best viewed using Internet Explorer). Many people use it whether they are fasting or not . . . and so many have experienced the breakthrough they need and the financial security and peace they want and that the Lord wants for them and YOU!

Be Love

Be Love

My morning started off heavy today. I read a note from a business friend who is really struggling with all the stress and sadness in the world. She’s been through some tough experiences in the recent past that contributed to her blues. But she mainly wrote about the heaviness and darkness she was feeling.

She didn’t end her message in sadness, but rather how she was able “get through” this experience with the help of her husband, family and friends. And so she’s doing better.

But her message caused me to reflect on the really tough times we are in these days. The atrocities going on in Iraq. Natural disasters all over the world. The sad loss of Robin Williams, who for many was a beacon of fun and laughter. And then there are the personal stresses so many are facing with financial pressures, broken relationships, illnesses and disappointments in life.

What Do We Do?

So my first response was to seek the Lord and ask, “What do we do, Father? What do I do?” And the answers were quick and clear.

First is that as children of the Most High God, you and I can put our trust in Him. Even if we don’t understand or if we have questions, our trust can be deeply rooted in knowing that our Father is solid and that He will care for us. We have a security that those who don’t yet know Christ don’t have. And so we can sink into the assurance that our Lord will always be with us. He will never forsake us. And we can count on Him. He says, “Fear not.” And that’s because we can rely on Him and His promises.

The second answer was, “Be love.”

You and are in “in the world, but not of it” (study John 15 and 17). And our hope is not from this world, or circumstances, or even other people, but in Christ. However, we are surrounded by men, women and children who need love. Who need light. Who need hope.

You and I have the love, light and hope of Jesus inside of us. And the world needs what we have! So I encourage you to “be love” to those you meet today and tomorrow and the next day. Whether it’s at the checkout stand at the grocery store or passing someone on the sidewalk. Be kind to your coworkers and your business associates and customers. Be especially loving and caring to your family members and your friends and your neighbors.

Being love to others is always the right thing to do. But today is a really good time to be especially vigilant and purposeful in being love to those we encounter. “Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

We have the light of life inside of us, not to keep to ourselves. Instead, our light is to be shared. God is love. He is inside of us. And we can be His love today to those He leads across our paths.

Be blessed.

 

 

 

When Will We Really Get It?

No Fear Here!Do you know that you and I have everything we need inside of us to be successful, happy and full of joy?

Even as the world seems to crumble around us, we have something non-believers don’t have and that only translates to goodness and success.

The problem is that we “don’t get it.” We’re the same as those who Jesus lamented over when He said, “Oh you of little faith.”

And because of our “little faith,” studies show that Christians have the same problems and challenges as everybody around us. We have the same relationship problems. We have the same money problems. We have the same health problems. We have the same defeats and brokenness as those who don’t know Christ. And why? Because of our little faith.

“Little faith” doesn’t mean small in amount. The Bible teaches us that we are all given the same “measure of faith.” Our measure of faith is similar to the measure of physical muscles. Two people can stand side-by-side and they both have the same number of muscles in their body. But one works their muscles and so they grow larger and stronger. If that same person stops exercising, then the muscles atrophy and return to their weakened and smaller state.

The same is true with our faith. It’s like a muscle. And the more we exercise our faith, the stronger it gets and the more assurance we have in God and His truths.

My Days of Weak Faith

I remember when I realized my faith was very weak. I was at a crisis point in my life and I had no where in the world to turn. In 2007, the U.S. economy started coming apart. My real estate investing business was hit hard. I stayed afloat by using my business reserves. But then they ran out. So had to layoff my employees and close my office.

I moved my operation into my home office because I still had work crews and properties to manage. I tapped into my personal savings to cover my expenses. But eventually those funds ran out, too. I was flat broke. And that’s when I came to the end of myself. That’s when I realized that I was of “little faith,” especially when compared to my big problems. I didn’t know what I would do. I didn’t know how I could pay my bills. I didn’t even have enough money to put gas in my car or heat my house.

Even though I had been a Christian for decades and active in the church and in ministry I had never been so challenged. I felt as if the crutches that had held me up over the years had been knocked out from under me. And I fell to the ground with no helping had to get me up . . .

Only God

This was a huge turning point in my life. I had only God to turn to. Only God to rely on. Only God to help me. And today I praise only God for seeing me through and showing me how to develop my faith muscles so that He could be all that I would ever need.

God lifted me out of that dark and very scary time and put me on a path for security and success that I never could have seen for myself. He led me back into writing to start teaching about the Daniel Fast. Later that expanded into helping Christians integrate their faith in every part of their lives, including health, finances, business development and relationships.

God saw me through and ever since then I have been working my faith muscles so that they are getting stronger and more able every day! Now I now for sure that every promise in His Word is true and available for anyone who will believe. And now I no longer have “little faith,” but instead a strong and growing faith that not only gives me the assurance and security for a joy-filled life. But also the ability to fulfill God’s call on my life to be a witness of His goodness and bring Him the glory.

That is the good news of the gospel! And this same good news is in you!

Where is your home? The kingdom or the world?

What if I told you that you just won a ticket to take up residence in a land where everything is perfect? No money worries. No strife. No politics. No crime. Everybody loves each other. And whenever you need something, all you have to do is ask and it’s yours! And these are just some of the benefits of becoming a full-fledged citizen under this government.

Sounds inviting, right? Just think of what life would be if we lived there!

The truth is, as soon as you make Jesus the Lord of your life, you do have that invitation. And you are indeed a citizen of a new kingdom (Philippians 3:20). The Kingdom of God!

The problem is that few of us who have that almost too good to be true entitlement really understand it or take advantage of our rights and privileges. I was that way for a long time. But now that I’m learning more and more about it . . . my life has become amazingly better! And the same can happen to anyone. As we know, God is not a respecter of persons. We all have the same opportunities and benefits if we choose to “go there.”

Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:33 that our Father has already made provision for everything we need, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” And a central part of our faith life is learning about the ways of the kingdom and how we “live” there.

Granted, we currently have “dual citizenship.” Jesus prayed to our Father about it, “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

We are still “in the world.” And we have work to do in the “family business.” But our home, the place where our heart and hope can reside, is in the kingdom of God. And we don’t have to wait until we leave this world to access the benefits of our “new birth” rights!

Our kingdom life includes rights, privileges, benefits, protection and complete security. And it also includes laws, systems and duties. Jesus came to earth to set up this new kingdom:

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

And even when Jesus taught the disciples to pray . . . He instructed them to live the kingdom way now, while here on the earth, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Luke 11:2

When asked where this Kingdom of God would come from, Jesus responded with an answer that most didn’t understand then and most don’t understand now, “Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21

So what does that mean for you and me today?

I’ve learned that we first must accept that this kingdom is true and that it is ours. And that we are bonafide citizens with papers to prove it! Look what Paul said, “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” And from what John saw in his vision: “But there shall by no means enter [the new kingdom] anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Revelation 21:27

Your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life when you make Jesus your Lord. That’s your legal paperwork to be a full-fledged citizen of God’s kingdom.

Once we have established the truth of the kingdom and our citizenship in it . . . we must live out what Jesus said, “They are in the world, but not of it.” Instead, our life is grounded and based on our first home – our kingdom home. We live from that place while we “operate” in the world. We decide that God is who He says He is. That He will do what He says He will do in His Word. And that means that we can have what He says we can have! Anything contrary to God’s truth is also contrary to us! And why? Because we have rights, privileges, benefits, laws, duties and precept upon which we base all of what we believe and upon which we act!

When we examine our own lives and find areas that are not aligned with God’s ways for the kingdom, then we change. Just like Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” When the word “repent” is translated it means “change.” Change the way you are thinking. Change the way you are living. There is so much more here now because of the kingdom of God. Believe in this good news . . . the gospel! And live this way! Seek first the kingdom of God and His right way of doing things and then you will have everything you need!

His right way of doing things are the teachings of Jesus, who only taught what He already heard from the Father. These are the commandments or the laws of God’s kingdom. And they are all covered in His Word. It’s not the way the world lives . . . it’s a different way of being. Galatians 5:22-26, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

The kingdom of God is the truth . . . and the truth will make you free. You are a member of a new land. The invitation has been issued. All you need to do is accept it, take the hand of your Lord, and live this new life! Just like Paul instructed in Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

And why is the emphasis on “the renewal of the mind?” Because the kingdom of God is within. We need to believe it and then let the truth of God rule our lives . . . our kingdom lives! That is the transformation we go after and that only leads to good.

Daniel Fast for Lent – Finish Strong

DF Finish Strong Challenge

You are moving toward the end of the race! In less than two weeks you will cross over the finish line and enter into a celebration for Easter Sunday!

So today, I want to challenge and encourage you to finish strong! To really “go for it” for this last stretch in the Lenten Journey and cross that finish line with excitement and success!

Perhaps you’ve fallen off the path. Maybe you got frustrated or unmotivated. Maybe you encountered stumbling blocks and haven’t been able to stick with the Daniel Fast for Lent as you had intended. You may even feel like a failure.

But remember this, you only fail if you stay down. You only fail when you keep limping along when you have the ability to pick up the pace and start running again!

So right now I am urging you to brush yourself off and begin tomorrow morning with a refreshed desire to finish the race you started and to finish it strong. Here is what I am going to do to finish strong:

  • Eat according to the Daniel Fast Guideline every day between now and the end of the Lenten Fast (complete on Easter Eve) except for Sundays.
  • Walk at least 30 minutes each day (I walk and pray at the same time – and it’s so wonderful to be with God in this way)
  • Meet daily with my God and open my heart to Him and His Word.

Will you join me? Will you shake off any apathy, mistakes, discouragement . . . and get back in the race?

If you’re ready to finish this Lenten Fast with enthusiasm, strength and success, just leave your reply below! And then get up tomorrow morning with a new bounce in your step and let’s get running!

Love and peace to you! I know you can do it!

Click this link to download a form to keep track of your progress! I Will Finish Strong

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