Posted in Spiritual Discipline

Daniel Fast Journey 2020

I will start off saying that this fast really wasn’t half as easy as I thought It would be. Which I’m glad about because if it would have been easy it, wouldn’t have been a fast. I thought it would be easy because I love fruits and I barely buy any snacks at all. So, yes it wasn’t hard during the time I was at home. You can probably already guess it…
Things got harder the times I was outside, either at work, with families or during the times I was doing a specific activity during which I had the habit of snacking, like reading for an example.

I was very motivated and ready to go for it in the first and a half weeks. The second half of that week and the last week were a lot harder, especially the last week. I found myself losing a lot of focus during those weeks. Which is a shame, but that’s the struggle of a long fast.

When you scroll down, you will see the things I fasted for and the lessons I received in each area. I hope that these lessons can also be off help to you.

I fasted for:

  • Growth in my prayer life:
    • schedule it on a specific time
    • use bible verses to pray with
    • you can start praying from the inside-out or the outside-in. Meaning: you can start praying for yourself and end with praying for others. That would be from the inside-out, or you can pray the other way around.
    • Prayer is realizing you need God.
    • An essential element of humility = prayer.
    • 2 Chronicles 15:2 The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 
    • When you pray, you’re not begging God. You’ve been invited to ask, seek and knock. Matthew 7:7
  • Become more zealous for Christ:
    • James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
      • This specific vers helped me truly realized where the heart of God lies. For a very long time, I’ve mixed God’s priority with the world’s priority one way or another which lead me to make things very complicated for myself. I can now start focussing on the things that are truly important to God. I must say that reading the Bible also helped me to get more insight into these things.
  • Proverbs 29:18 … Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law. (Where there is no vision people perish)
    • I came across this verse while listening to a sermon of MK form TC and he once more reminded me of the importance of knowing where am going, knowing what the goal is. Because the things of the world and the things of God get mixed-up so easily these days, it helps to know what your goal/vision is in life.
  • Matthew 5: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
    • Being the SALT of the earth means being valuable, common, indispensable, and useful. (Zeke AIPC)
    • Being the LIGHT of the world means that you are important and that the world needs your light to shine bright, not to be deemed or hidden. (Zeke AIPC)
    • This teaching has once more anchored my Identity in Christ!
  • Growth in holiness and purity:
    • If you don’t admit that your weakness is real, you can’t ever be strong in that area. (Mike T. TC)
    • My weakness is only a weakness if I’m trying to do things in my own strength. But it becomes a gift if I do things being aware the grace of God in my life. (Charles TC)
    • This fast made me realize that even though I really desire to become holy, pure and blameless before God, I can’t do it with my own strength. I need God’s help.

The lesson that kept repeating over and over again was the importance of the things I exposed my eyes to. I noticed again and again how much that influent me above all other things.

I didn’t pray for things that I can receive directly. They’re things that take time to cultivate. So, as you can read, God gave me instructions on how I can achieve these things over time. As you also may have seen, they’re things that have a lot to do with my current state. Things I can start doing if I want to get to that goal.

Sometimes when we request something from God, the most important part can be that we must change certain things in our lives first or change a certain mindset before we can achieve/receive our request.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

Fasting

What is fasting?

The Bible teaches us that fasting = going without food for a period of time in order to focus on God through prayer.


To make the matter complete, we would add that fasting, if we conceive of it truly, must not only be confined to the question of food and drink; fasting should really be made to include abstince from anything which is legitimate in and of itself for the sake of some special spiritual purpose. There are many bodily functions that are right and normal and perfectly legitimate, but which for special peculiar reasons in certain circumstances should be controlled.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones


There are other ways to fast besides going without food. These ways the Bible doesn’t directly teach on, but the Bible does teach us to get rid of anything that can make us stumble (Matthew 5:30). In this generation, we have so much that can make us stumble. It’s pretty much like the world is waiting to cater to our sins and distractions. So, you might not have to cut your arm, but maybe the internet for some time, or social media whatever takes a lot of your time. The time you can spend in prayer or reading the Word of God.

Several Kinds of fasting:

  • Normal fast: abstaining from all food, but not from water (Matthew 4:2, Luke 4:2)
  • Partial fast: limitation of the diet, but not abstention from all food (Daniël 1:12, Matthew 3:4).
  • Absolute fast: abstaining from all food and drink (Ezra 10:6, Esther 4:16)
  • Private fast: fasting in a way not to be noticed by others. (Matthew 6: 16 – 18)There are some others as well, but I would like to leave it at this for this post.

I do want to mention that point 4 is actually something that is always included in every fast. We are not to go around telling people of the fact that we are fasting. 

For the problem is not wether another person knows or asks about your fast, but wether you want him or her to know or asks so you can appear more spiritual.

Donald S. Whitney


Godly fasting:
= fasting with the purpose to get closer to God.​ Examples of Godly fasts:

  • To strengthen prayer (Daniel 9: 3)

Fasting is calculated to bring a note of urgency and importunity into our prayer, and to give force to our pleading in the court of heaven. The man who prays with fasting is giving heaven notice that he is truly in earnestness in a divinely appointed way. He is using a means that God has chosen to make his voice to be heard on high.

Arthur Wallis
  • To seek God’s guidance (Acts 14:23)

You can pray about any decision that can have a direct impact on your life. The new year fasting I spoke about in my last post is a good example of this kind of fasting. I have been fasting at the beginning of every year for the past 3 years, simply to ask for the guidance of God throughout the year. Another example of this kind of fasting was when I fasted for the right college, right subject to study and the right place to live. So, like I said before it really can be about anything that can have a direct impact on your life.

  • To express grief (1 Samuel 20:34)

“Fasting can be a means of expressing grief for the sins of others, such as for the sins of people within your church or for sins by your country.” For example, The moment that the Holy Spirit really started working in me, he opened my eyes not only to see my own sins but also the sins of my church members and of my country. It was more the general sins that others might see as just something minor. For a week-long I had such an extreme sadness living in me, a heaviness on my chest I simply can’t explain. So, I decided to fast and pray for all our sins. To express my grief towards God, beg for mercy and ask for protection for those who did what they did out of lack of knowledge.

  • To seek Deliverance or Protection (Esther ​4:16)

15Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

  • To express Repentance and the Return to God (Joel 2:12)

In 2018 I fasted once every week for exactly this reason. Because I was very aware of the fact that going to church on Sundays alone wasn’t enough to keep growing as a Christian. Besides that, I also knew that the flow of life could take me away from the path of God. So, I fasted to ask for forgiveness for any sin I might have committed in that week and it also served as a remembrance to return to God.

  • To humble oneself before God (Psalm 35:13)

This is also one of the reasons why I fasted once a week in the year 2018. It truly helped me humble my self before God because it reminded me how much I needed God.

By this we must not conclude that the act of fasting has some virtuous power, and that we have made ourselves more humble; there is no virtue in fallen man by which he can make himself more godly; there is, however, virtue in the divinely appointed means of grace. If we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body (through fasting), we shall grow in grace, but the glory of such change will be God’s alone. For as long as I can remember I was thaught that because fasting itself is a sacrifice, the act itself is more than enough to get God’s favor for what I was fasting for. Which in essence didn’t make any sense, because it will then come to the fact that I’m getting paid for my work, which goes against the sovereignty and grace of God.

David Smith
  • To express concern for the work of God (Nehemiah 1: 3 – 4)

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 4When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

  • ​To minister to the needs of others (Isaiah 58)

I have never done this kind of fasting, but I use to be a Muslim and during the Ramadan it is known to be on your best behavior, combine with good deeds for the poor. But what I noticed is that as sincere those deeds were, they also almost disappeared after the Ramadan period. Most of us also simply went back to our old ways after the fasting period. Isaiah says it all in

Isaiah 58: … For day after day they seek me out;they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. … “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you pleaseand exploit all your workers. 4Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

  • To overcome temptation and dedicate yourself to God (Matthew 4: 1 – 11)

One principle we learn form Jesus’ example is this: Fasting is a way to overcoming temptation and of freshly dedicating ourselves to the Father.

Donald S. Whitney

There are general things that tempt us all, but there are also more specific areas of our personal lives that might be or bring temptations into our lives. It is of great importance to take action against this. Because sin that one doesn’t address might grow to lead one to the end.

  • To express Love and Worship to God (Luke 2: 37)

The very first time I fasted as a Christian was to express my gratitude toward God for His mercy and Grace. As you might have read in my introduction post, I use to have a very hard time living at home which led to some horrible experiences. So, I fasted to thank God for getting me out of that situation and for not giving up on me. Do know that if your expression of love and worship is not sincere during your fasting, it will become a very hard fasting period. But if it is, it will be so much easier! I personally bearly felt anything at all. ​

Fasting with a purpose

I’ve already spoken about this in the New year fasting post, but I would like to add this to it.

Whitout a purpose, fasting can be a miserable, self-centred experience about willpower and endurance. Whithout a clear biblical purpose, fasting becomes an end in itself. Every hunger pang only makes you calculate the time remaining until you can eat. Such thinking disconnects the experience in your mind and heart from the gospel and descends into the deception that perhaps your suffering will earn God’s favor. Although the physical discomfort is unpleasing, perhaps even painful, it is important to feel some degree of hunger during your fast. Your hunger helps you, serving as continual reminder of your spiritual purpose.

Donald S. Whitney

Fasting and prayer

Fasting without prayer is a huge waste of time. It’s no different from a simple diet. I have heard this being said: “Being a Christian is like having a weapon and the bullet of that weapon is prayer”.

In giving us the privilege of fasting as well as praying God had added a powerful weapon to our spiritual armory.

Arthur Wallis

Even though the Bible teaches us that Jesus expected us to pray (Matthew 6: 16 – 17), prayer is one of the most neglected spiritual disciplines. I must confess that my prayer life is way beneath what I would like it to be aswell, but this doesn’t keep me from praying during any fasting period I commit myself to. I have experienced that fasting really does strength one’s prayer life. 

Maybe a small tip if you are having difficulties praying: you can use the Psalm to pray, It really contains about every subject we deal with as Christians. Besides that, there are also prayer books you can buy. You can start with those, as you use those, you will start to have words of your own. But the best way to learn how to pray is by reading the Bible. Because prayer is in some way an expression of what one knows about God. You can’t speak of what you don’t know.

Your heart position while doing Godly purposed kind of fasting is of great importance to God. God, in general, is way more interested in our heart posture than anything else. So, definitely consider your reason for fasting, reflects on if you are doing it for the right reason? or just as a religious duty?

Any blessing which is bestowed by the Father upon His undeserving children must be considered to be an act of grace. We fail to appreciate the mercy of the Lord if we think that by our doing something we have forced (or even coerced) God to grant that blessing which we have asked for… All of our fasting, therefore, must be on this basis; we should use scriptural means whereby we are melted into a more complete realization of the purposes of the Lord in our life, church, community, and nation.

David Smith

Source:

 Book: “Spiritual disciplines for the Christian life”​ (pages 191 – 2019)

The Bible: see the verses noted in the text.

Posted in Spiritual Discipline

New year Fasting

Why?
I write this because I’ve been very content with the end result of fasting at the beginning of the year. This will be my third time doing it and am honestly very excited.
Jesus thought us that certain things can’t be over-won with prayer only, fasting is a spiritual discipline that is not very loved because it always means that you have to sacrifice something, but I still want to recommend you give it a chance.


Two years ago I got sick and tired of being a mediocre Christian. I saw others growing around me and as much as I wished I was growing as they were, I wasn’t ready to do what I knew it took to grow. When I decided to grow, be better and do better as a Christian, I knew I had to do more than only try to spend time in prayer and reading the Bible, because I tried those things before, and that didn’t go very well. I got sleepy when I attempted to read the bible and I all of a sudden didn’t have anything to say when I planned to pray. Which is not like me at all. But I did notice that when we had to fast for something in our church, I took it very seriously and was able to complete them without too many struggles. 


So, I started my 2018 with a determination to grow and a fasting plan. Those times in fasting helped me realize how important growing in my faith was to me and it also helped me to carry that decision more in my heart and through the grace of God, led me to actually cultivate spiritual stability and that brought emotional stability with it.


The second time I decided to fast was at the beginning of this year. 2019. I was very excited to start my year with working on my relationship with my God and letting Him know that I need His presence and help to make this year a successful year. My goal for 2019 was to learn how to love the way God Himself loved his children and to cultivate some kind off financial stability. This time I did the Daniël fasting. I really “really” loved this kind of fasting, because it led to way more than I fasted for.

What is the Daniël fast?
Daniël is a prophet of the old testament in the Bible and He and his friends were chosen to be servants of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. Daniël 1: 1 – 21

Daniël 1: 1 – 21

… Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.15At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. ..

In these verses, we see how Daniël and his friends fasted for 10 days only on vegetables and water. This they did for their preparation to become servants of the king in the palace. This is not the fasting I did, although I’m pretty sure I will try in the future. The one that I did was from Daniël 10: 1 – 3.

Daniel 10: 1 – 3

…2At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

Why I loved this fast?

  1. I loved how it cleared my skin,
  2. I had a whole lot more energy, therefore I got a lot more done through the day.
  3. I cultivated a minimalistic mindset. Since I was decluttering my food, it started to expand to other areas of my life. Which I really loved, because I didn’t even know that I had so much clutter in my life in general. 
  4. It helped me be more aware of what I put in my body. Which led me to try to become vegetarian.  Yes you read it right. I “tried”. Even though I loved the results of it, it wasn’t enough to make me a vegetarian for life.

When I decided to do the Daniël fasting, I wasn’t sure what I was allowed to eat. So, I started to look it up on the internet, but that actually really confused me more… because the one would say that a certain food was allowed and the other would say, it wasn’t. So, I would personally advise that you just focus on the things the bible specifically mentions and let yourself be led by the Holy Spirit. But do keep one thing in mind. “I ate no choice food” meaning… The food you just love, you will have to sacrifice during this fasting.

Your purpose for fasting.

I would like to mention the importants of your purpose of fasting. First of all, fasting without a Godly purpose is a waste of time. I myself noticed that when I fasted without a good enough reason for me, it would be so much harder to continue or even finish it. Also when you fast, make sure to not fast for a bunch of things at once. Pick one or two to give all your attention to, that will bring you much better results.

Our own responsibility
Besides the fact that we are at the mercy of God, I’ve also learned that I had a great responsibility in the making happen what I fasted for. For example, the second time I fasted, I fasted to become a more loving and compassionate person, specifically towards others. Selflove is also very important, but I believed I had more than enough of that. Besides that, I also fasted that in that same year, I would have some kind of financial stability. But, I was only able to accomplish just one of the two. The reason why was simply because I was more intentional about the one and not so much about the other even though God gave me a great opportunity to able to do well on the other as well. 


I was only able to accomplish becoming a more loving and compassionate person because every single time anything would happen that honestly annoyed me to death, I deliberately choose to act in love. This is something I learned from a book. The right fight,  written by John Kenndy Vaughan. A book that I highly recommend. While when it came to becoming financially stable, I realize that as much as I wanted it, I wasn’t ready to do what it took to accomplish that goal. Even though God had given me a huge business opportunity at the end of 2018. So, if I truly wanted to grow my finance all I had to do was work on that. But even that I didn’t take seriously. This opened my eyes towards my own responsibility towards my prayer request to God.

The Sovereignity of God

Because fasting always requires sacrificing something, wheater that is time, food or fun, it’s often thought that because of the sacrifice your making God “will/has to” answer your prayers. But I want to make clear that God is Sovereign. He doesn’t own us anything! But because He is merciful, loving and compassionate He often does answer us. So, it might be helpful to know that God only sustains His plans for our life’s.

Meaning…just because you decide to fast doesn’t mean God, therefore, has to give you what you asked for at the end of the year. I would totally understand if you decide to pass after reading that. The very first time I learned of God’s sovereignty got me discouraged aswell. But don’t forget that He is ALSO a loving, compassionate and merciful God. That in itself should be a great encouragement for us, well at least enough to at least try.

Matthew 6: 18

so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

This tells us that God WILL reward us if we fast correctly and for Godly purposes. To my understanding of God, who sustains only His plans, the reward that is spoken about here, doesn’t mean the specific thing you prayed for. God can reward us in ways we don’t even recognize as a ‘reward’ directly. It might even come across as another ‘problem’. So once again, keep in mind that God is Sovereign.

If you fast and at the ending of your fasting period or awhile later, you notice that God didn’t give you what you asked for, don’t get angry with Him. Trust that He knows best and that He probably has a better plan for you. Take time to rest in that assurance.

In my next post, which will be on the 29th of December, I will get more into fasting itself. While answering these questions:

  • why is it important to fast?
  • what are the different kinds of fasting?
  • what is Godly fasting?
  • The important of repentance during the fasting period…