Devotion: January 2010

The other day I saw a billboard for a local radio station that said, “Listen to Christmas music NOW.” I thought to myself, “Already?” It seems as if the holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year.

Most of us are still trying to decide what to do with all the Halloween candy that’s sitting around our houses. We’re not even thinking about Thanksgiving yet, let alone Christmas. And, probably no one is planning for January 2010.

The next several weeks are going to be filled with parties, food, Christmas programs, food, shopping, and more food. All the festivities can make us feel worn out, bloated, and ready for a fresh start.

Here’s a challenge for you. Consider doing a Daniel Fast as a way to kick-off 2010 to seek the Lord as you bring in the new year.

Last January, Justin and I did a 21-day fast, which was our first extended fast to do together. It was a time for us to humble ourselves and set aside our fleshly cravings in order to draw near to the Lord. The day before we started the fast, we went to a big holiday dinner at my mom’s house. All day long I kept thinking, “Today I’m feasting, and tomorrow I’m fasting.” And, the enemy capitalized on that and whispered, “You can’t do it. You’ll never make it 21 days. Who do you think you are?” I really struggled with fear and doubt, but I knew that this was something God wanted me to do.

It’s impossible to share all the things that God showed us during the fast. I can tell you, though, that it was an incredible experience. Was it easy? No way. Not one day was easy. Fasting is a battle, and the enemy is ticked off when you surrender everything to the Lord. He will do everything he can to discourage and defeat you. Was it fun? Again, no. Going without food for 21 days is definitely not a party. Was it life changing? Absolutely. We saw God answer many prayers during the fast and in the months following. He did supernatural things in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I’ll share one in particular.

One of our prayer requests during the fast was for the salvation of our children. I’ve always prayed that they would know the Lord at a young age and follow Him all the days of their lives. 

Our fast ended at the beginning of January, but God didn’t stop working in response to our prayers. On June 28, Isabelle said that she wanted to know Jesus, and we were able to pray with her at home. Then, just a few weeks ago on October 16, Jocelyn asked Jesus in her heart. Again, we were at home with her and able to see her accept the Lord.

Even if God did nothing else in response to our seeking Him during the fast, Isabelle’s salvation and Jocelyn’s salvation would be MORE than enough. But, He continues to show favor and bless us in ways that we can’t even imagine. He is and has been so faithful!

Maybe you’ve never fasted before, and the whole idea is a little bit scary to you. You think you could never do it. But, you CAN do it because the Lord will help you every step of the way, just as He helped us. The Daniel Fast is a great entry-level sort of fast because you are still able to eat. Only certain foods are restricted.

January will be here before we know it. Begin praying now, asking the Lord if He wants you to do a fast at the beginning of the year. God has amazing things planned for you in 2010. Just as Ephesians 3:20 says in The Message, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!”

God’s Word is clear. Those who long to know Him and desire Him above all else will not be disappointed. He is ready and waiting to bless those who have an insatiable appetite for Him and His Word.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6).