21 Day Daily Fasting Devotional
Welcome to the Journey!
Just like prayer and fasting, reading your Bible is about connecting to God in a more powerful way. It is not about duty but about relationship. When we engage God through reading His Word, we engage the very presence of God. His Word is living and active! As we read our Bible, we are drawing closer to God and positioning ourselves to hear from Him in particular ways.
Once again, as with prayer, choose the time and the place where you are going to read your Bible and devotional every single day, and come prepared to hear what He wants to tell you. Here are three quick things we’d like to share with you about how to get the most out of your devotional time with God.
- Read Consistently
- Read Prayerfully
- Read Expectantly
It is better to read a little every day than to try and knock out two hours of Bible reading or devotions in one sitting. It is so important to digest the Word in absorbable chunks. In This guide we have included a Bible reading plan that helps with that, as it leads you through about a chapter a day. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and certainly don’t compare your “performance” with that of others. If you miss a few days, pick up at the next reading, but stay with it and don’t give up. The key is to keep this simple and make it sustainable.
Talk to God as you’re reading. Don’t rush through. If you come across something you don’t understand, pause for a moment and ask God about it. Reading prayerfully is making space and time to talk to God and giving Him time and space to talk to you. Taking time to meditate on God’s Word is just as important as reading it.
You are about to partake of the bread of life, so foster an attitude of expectancy. Believe that God is going to speak to you through His Word.
Start the Daily Journey Below!
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- Day 15
- Day 16
- Day 17
- Day 18
- Day 19
- Day 20
- Day 21
January 7, 2019
Before you begin reading, take some time and ask God what He wants to reveal to you during this time of fasting. Ask God to use the next twenty-one days to refresh you and draw you closer to Him.
Read Daniel 1:1-20
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were a part of the Babylonian captivity.
These young men were chosen out of the crowd and put on the path to be servants of the king. They were to receive all the perks of the palace. It was not only an honor, but it helped them fit into this foreign land with foreign rules and gods.
Yet, in the midst of this, Daniel and his friends had a difficult decision. “When in Rome, do as the Romans…” was a real option and it had privileges. But, Daniel and his friends knew God had a better plan for their lives. They were left with the decision to pursue the privileges of the foreign land or make changes that aligned them with God’s plan.
The goal of the “special training” of Daniel and his friends was two-fold. First, it was to change their identity. Daniel and his friends received new names to change, not only their titles, but their inner most being. Daniel became Belteshazzar. Hananiah became Shadrach. Mishael became Meshach. Azariah became Abednego. Secondly, the new diet of Babylonian philosophy and the king’s food was to change their appetites. It was to take their hearts and stomachs away from God and teach them to desire the fruit of a foreign land and the beliefs of a pagan religion.
The goal of this fast is to reclaim your identity in Christ, your hunger for the Word and your thirst for righteousness. How is your appetite for God and spiritual things? What do you truly hunger for? Allow God to use this fast to change, not your physical appetite, but your spiritual appetite.
Your true identity lies in Christ. How does God see you? List the different ways God sees you (ex. a child of God).
January 8, 2019
Pray that God will speak to you and show you His greater plan for your life. Ask God to give you greater sensitivity to His voice and the willingness to obey what you hear.
Read Daniel 10:1-11:1
In this passage, we have the second example of Daniel fasting. In this fast, he once again abstained from the “choice foods and wine.” It is clear that Daniel did not want any part of the Babylonian culture to hinder his personal relationship with God.
It is interesting to note that Daniel had to wait for God’s message for twenty-four days. The reason? God’s messenger, the angel Gabriel, was hindered by the King of Persia. Michael had to come to the aid of Gabriel in order for the message to get through. Most scholars would agree that the “King of Persia” is a reference to the demonic power entrenched in Babylon. There was a battle breaking out in the spiritual realm and, get this, Daniel was a part of the victory!
Because Daniel fasted and prayed, he became involved in the spiritual battle. You see, fasting and prayer are not sideline activities; these disciplines involved you in the front lines of God’s activity and movement in the world.
Daniel got involved in the spiritual realm through prayer and fasting. How involved are you? If God needed you to aid in the spiritual battles above, how effective would you be?
Use this time of fasting, not only to draw closer to God and hear His voice, but to get involved in the work of God. Let God tell you how to leave the sidelines and be a vital part of His team.
Could there be any influences or distractions in your life that is hindering you from hearing God’s voice? Are you listening? Are you being persistent in your prayers and not giving up? Remember, Daniel waited 21 days to hear an answer to his prayers.
Ask God to examine your motives for this fast. Pray that He will show you any motives that are not pure and may hinder any spiritual growth during this fast.
Read Matthew 6:1-18
As Jesus is preaching the Sermon on the Mount, He turns His attention to the issues of prayer and fasting. He is drawing a contrast between the prayers of the righteous and the prayers of the hypocrites. Jesus knew that attaching the word prayer or fasting did not automatically make the event a true spiritual experience. In fact, the hypocrites prayed and fasted in such a way that it brought criticism from Jesus. Let’s face it; if Jesus criticized it, it must have been bad news! Jesus warned against three things in prayer and fasting. First of all, He warned not to pray in a way to be heard by men, showing off in a false holiness. Secondly, Jesus warned against the use of vain repetition in prayers as the Gentiles do. It is interesting to note that Jesus said this and then gave us a guideline for prayer (The Lord’s Prayer) that is regularly recited in worship services, locker room prayers, etc. Vain repetition? I think we missed His point! Lastly, Jesus warned not to fast in a way that draws attention to you. Some people brag about fasting for it gives them a sense of false righteousness or holier-than-thou attitude, but Jesus waned against such actions. Fasting is to draw you closer to God, not draw attention to yourself.
Jesus wants us to closely examine our motives for prayer and fasting. To be a hypocrite is to “play a part” as an actor. Jesus does not want us to “play” or “act.” He wants us to be genuinely seeking His face during this fast.
It is easy to simply go through the motions of spiritual activities: worship, bible study, giving, prayer, and fasting. We have to constantly check our hearts and examine our motives. What are your motives? What do you desire to experience or receive from this fast?
Make a list of ways you are tempted to “go through the motions” or “play the part” in your prayer life. What can you do to guard against this?
Ask God to teach you how to spend daily time with Him.
Read Mark 1:29-37
As Jesus began His public ministry, He became “popular” because of His teachings and His performing of miracles. The crowds began to form and demanded much of His time and energy. As the crowds grew larger and the demands of the ministry grew more intense, Jesus had to have time to Himself. Jesus needed time to be refreshed and to spend with His Father. Therefore, in (v. 35), Jesus left the crowds for time alone with the Father. There is always some excuses or circumstances that arise to keep us from spending time alone with God. Sometimes, even the pressure of doing what is right or ministry takes away our time with God. Therefore, we have to purposefully plan to spend time alone with Him, just for our own sake. But, how?
First, establish a quiet time. Jesus rose up early while it was still dark. Decide when you are to spend time with God and protect that time! It can be early morning or at night before you go to bed, but make it a definite time each day you reserve for God. It is an appointment; it is a date with your Father. Protect it! Secondly, have a quiet place. Jesus went to a “secluded place.” It was quiet, away from the crowds. Find a place that is your place to meet with God, away from distractions such as the TV or the phone. It is your protected place to meet with Him. Lastly, have a quiet heart. Psalm 46:10 reminds us to “Be still and know God.” Psalm 62:5 also tells us to “wait silently for God alone.”Quiet your heart and listen to God’s gentle voice.
Even after Jesus went for a quiet time with the Father, his disciples searched for Him. When they found him, Peter said, “Everyone is looking for you!” It almost sounds accusatory, “Where have you been? Don’t you know people are hurting and need your help?” Do you ever feel like it never ends? Do you feel drained from doing good? Do you feel guilty when you take time for yourself? Well, don’t! If Jesus needed time alone with the Father, then we definitely do!
Make a list of the most common distractions that keep you from having a consistent quiet time with God. What can you do to limit those distractions?
Ask God to teach you how to live in a way that turns your world upside down.
Read Acts 17:1-9
“These are the ones who are turning the world upside down.” Is this not we want for our lives? It is our prayer that we begin living in such a way that it literally turns our world upside down. But, how do you live in such a way? In this passage, we see the main characteristic of a life that turns the world upside down. Paul had an unyielding passion for Christ and for evangelism. Without any regard for his own personal safety or image, Paul went to the synagogue to preach Christ. His passion for Christ is evident throughout the book of Acts and in his own letters.
Paul’s passionate efforts to share the Gospel resulted in the conversion of many in
Thessalonica, as in other places on his missionary journeys. His reputation preceded him. He was known as a pot-stirrer, a man who turns the world upside down. What a reputation to have!
Would you like to be known as “one who is turning the world upside down?” It is possible for this to be your reputation! God desires to use you to impact the lives of others!
All it requires is a sold out passion for Jesus Christ! What are some steps you need to take to continue to fuel your passion for Christ? What steps do you need to take to fuel your passion to share the Gospel with others?
- Describe what your reputation at work or school might look like.
- Describe what your reputation ought to look like.
- What can you do to get from the first reputation to the second reputation?
***WARNING: the following prayer may be dangerous to your normal life***
Pray that God will turn you upside down!
Read Mark 8:34-38
The way of Christ is completely opposite of the natural way of the world. Therefore, we must look at what Jesus said about how to live in order to be like Him. In this passage, we have the call of the follower of Christ: “Take up your cross and follow Me.” This goes beyond using the cross as a symbol of our faith. It refers to death.
It refers to the follower of Christ dying in order to have life. The second birth of life must come after the first death. How are we to die?
- We must die to sin. Sin is to have no control over us for our old self was crucified with Christ. Sin is no longer to be our master. (Romans 6:1-23)
- We must die to ourselves. We are crucified with Christ; we no longer live for ourselves, but Christ lives in us. All of our hopes, dreams, and ambitions are dead. Christ must have control over us and all of our dreams. (Galatians 2:20)
- We must die to the Law. We are no longer under religious laws, but we now have a relationship with God. All of religion’s tradition and rules must be dead for us to truly have freedom in Christ. (Galatians 2:19)
Crucifixion was a slow, painful death. Many times, it takes time to die to the things that have held us in such bondage and it can cause pain, but only for a moment. The life of Christ is worth it!
Make a list of sins, dreams, desires, and religious traditions you have not died to yet. Crucify these things!
Ask God to teach you how to love Him above all things.
Read Luke 14:25-27
Wow! If we are to follow Jesus, we are to hate our father, mother, children and spouse? Is this the same Jesus that tells us to love our enemies? Does this make any sense? How can Jesus tell us to love our enemies and those who persecute us, but to hate our own family?
If taken literally, this would be a huge contradiction in the teachings of Jesus and the rest of Scripture. However, Jesus is using a common Hebrew idiom. It is not a literal, factual statement; it is a comparative statement. The same use of the idiom is found in Malachi 1:23 when the Lord says, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” It is a comparative statement of God’s favor toward Jacob over Esau.
Therefore, Jesus is not literally telling us to hate our loved ones. He is saying that in comparison to our love for God our love for others should seem like hate. Our love for God ought to be so grand and awesome that it takes precedence over all other relationships. Our love for God cannot be diminished by giving others what is due to Him alone. So, to hate others is to make sure we love God first and most.
Do you love God with a love that makes your love for others look like hate? This is the cost of being a follower of Christ. He is to have first place in our lives, no exceptions. Is there anything in your life that you love more than Christ? How can you begin the process of moving Christ above that which you love more?
Make a conscience effort to love Christ supremely and journal how it dramatically changes how you love others. As your love for Christ increases, so will your love for others.
Ask God to create in you a servant’s heart. Pray that He will show you how to be a servant leader in the church and in the community.
Read Mark 9:33-35
Who is the best? Who has more power? Who is in charge? Who is the first? Who is the greatest? Can you imagine the disciples of Jesus arguing over this? The very disciples that Jesus was teaching to serve God and others were arguing who is the greatest.
Jesus calls us to live upside down from the philosophy of the world. The world tells us, to be first, you must push others out of the way to get to the top; every man for himself. Do what it takes to succeed. However, Jesus calls us to something different; He calls us to a life of servanthood. To be great, we must be humble and servants to others.
To be first, we must be last. Church ought not to be a struggle for power or control; it ought to be a race to who can be the servant!
Imagine a church that people argued, not over power or control, but over who gets the opportunity to serve others. Would that not be awesome? What would that look like? What difference would it make in our church? What difference would it make in your life?
Jesus clothed Himself with flesh to become a servant to mankind. Jesus spent His ministry healing those in need. Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Jesus laid down His life to be a sacrifice for our sin. Jesus was the ultimate servant. Are you willing to follow in His footsteps?
Find an opportunity to be a servant to someone today. Don’t do it ought of obligation, but out of compulsion for your love of God and others.
Ask God to reveal His grace to you. Ask God to show you how to rest in His love and grace.
Read Matthew 11:28-30
I love how The Message paraphrases this passage: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Though Jesus calls us to a life that requires us to die to ourselves, it is a life of rest.
When you die to yourself, you can rest because Jesus is the One who works and lives through you. You relinquish your control and worries to Him. There is rest in Him! I really love the part about “learning the unforced rhythms of grace.” Grace is a sort of spiritual spa that allows us to find rest, peace, and freedom. Grace allows us to take a deep breath and know that God is in control. Grace allows us to rest in the fact that we are assured of salvation from our sins and we have a greater life in Christ. Grace reminds us how much God really loves us. Grace is relaxing to our weary souls! Grace is a deep massage for our hurting hearts!
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Are you tired of trying to do it own your own? Jesus offers you grace! Jesus offers you rest! Jesus offers you a chance to dance to His rhythms of life!
Compare your life when you are stressed and burned out to you life when you rest in the grace of Jesus. How is it different? How does that change the way you live?
Take a moment today to rest. Find a place where you can relax and focus on God’s grace. Find a quiet place to take a deep breath. Feel your pulse and imagine it is the rhythm of grace that beats with the heart of God. Be renewed! Be refreshed! Cast your cares on Him!
Ask God to show you how to demonstrate the true marks of Christianity through your life.
Read Luke 11:39-54
In this passage, Jesus warns against the behavior and beliefs of the Pharisees. He accuses them of hypocrisy. The Pharisees were living a life of strict rules and religious traditions, but they were far from God. They missed the point of having a relationship with Him! Jesus gives seven accusations against the Pharisees and hypocrites.
If we reverse the actions of the Pharisees, we find seven marks of true Christianity.
Look at the seen marks or characteristics:
- An Inside Reality (vs. 39-40)
- Being as Well as Doing (v. 42)
- Humility (v. 43)
- Integrity (v. 44)
- Empathy for Others (v. 46)
- Consistency (vs. 47-51)
- Desire to Teach Others (v. 52)
Jesus has called us to live a truthful life that bears the mark of who He is. Are you displaying these marks in your life?
What marks do you display well?
What marks do you struggle with?
Choose one or two marks to conscience display to others today. Make a conscience effort to live out those marks in a real way. Let others see what true Christianity looks like!
As you begin today, ask God to reveal to you how to love Him supremely above all things.
Read Revelation 2:1-7
How can we miss this opportunity to talk about love? Today is Valentine’s Day. It is a day set aside to express love to the one you call your valentine, that all-important person in your life. However, why limit it to one day?
As we have seen in this passage. The church in Ephesus was doing all the right things. They were working hard and doing great things. They were intolerant of evil and sin. They endured hardships and they refused to give up.
Yet. This one word changes the whole passage. Though they were doing great things, Jesus said, “Yet . . . “In other words, Jesus point out that the church in Ephesus was missing the point; they left their first love! In the midst of doing good, they forgot about Jesus!
Even in the midst of this fast, we can do a lot of good things (reading the bible, praying, etc.), and still miss the point: Jesus! Don’t forget about your first love!
Do you love Jesus? If so, how is that revealed in your life? Is it only through doing good things or is it through a deep, passionate relationship with Him?
Return to your first love. Return to that passion you had when you were first saved. Return to that excitement and joy you experienced. Return to that commitment. Return to that reckless abandonment!
Write a prayer or letter to Jesus. Tell Him how much you love Him and how you desire to reveal that through your life.
Ask God to reveal any deep, secret sins you are hiding in your life.
Read Joshua 7:16-26
The Israelites were commanded by God not to take any of the spoils from the victory over Jericho. However, one man, Achan, decided to take some of the spoils. It was only one man and it was only a little of the spoils; surely it would not be noticed or cause any problems.
However, the Israelites were defeated in their next battle and God revealed to Joshua His anger. Joshua immediately began to examine the people to find out who took the spoils. It came to Achan. He admitted to his sin of seeing, coveting, taking, and hiding the spoils in his tent. No harm right?
His sin caused Israeli to lose a battle; men died. His sin caused him to be judged and sentenced to death. However, not only Achan suffered this punishment, but his whole family suffered the same punishment. Achan, his family, his livestock, and the spoils were taken to the valley of Achor to be stoned. The wages of sin is death.
Does our personal, hidden sin hurt others? YES! Achan’s sin was passed to his family! Sin hurt us and those around us, even the secret sins we hide. Our sin will destroy our fellowship with God, our relationship with others, and our witness to unbelievers.
- Take some time to ask God to reveal the sin in your life.
- Make a detailed list of the sins. Beside the sin, write the names of the people that sin may have affected. One by one, go down the list and confess each sin.
- Ask God how to make it right with those your sin has affected.
Ask God to help you remove the strongholds of sin and discouragement in your life.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:1-6
We are in a spiritual battle. Don’t be deceived! You are in a spiritual battle and you need to be prepared!
In this passage, Paul gives us our hope for destroying the strongholds and footholds Satan has in our lives. What are strongholds? Literally, strongholds are defensive structures or fortresses that is the strong point for an army. It serves as an outpost for future strategic advancements. Spiritually, strongholds are the wrong mindset that you refuse to change; yet you know it is unacceptable to God (bitterness, contentment, gossip, immorality, etc.). It is a place in you life where the enemy has control and uses it for further temptation and attack.
In this passage, we are given our weapons to battle the enemy and to destroy the strongholds. Our weapons are not carnal, but spiritual, mighty and powerful. Our weapons are:
- The Word of God
- A Right Attitude or Mindset (taking our thoughts captive)
Strongholds will eventually poison our minds with doubt and discouragement. Strongholds will make us hostile toward God. Strongholds will keep us from living a victorious Christian life.
Transform your thought life and focus on God. Hunger for the Word of God and desire to learn more about Him. Guard your heart with the peace of Christ.
Write down the strongholds you need to destroy in your life.
Ask God to teach you how to equip yourself with the armor of God each day. Pray that God will teach you how to use this armor.
Read Ephesians 6:10-20
At the time of writing the Letter to the Ephesians, Paul was probably chained to a Roman Soldier. He used the armor of the soldier as an illustration of how to prepare ourselves for the spiritual battle that awaits us. It is not a physical armor, but a spiritual armor or character we must put on. As we saw yesterday, the weapons of our battles are not carnal, but spiritual.
The armor of God reflects the inner character we must have to protect us from the attacks of:
- Pure Mind
We must make a daily choice and effort to put on these pieces of armor. We are not automatically clothed with this armor; we must put it on everyday! In what ways do you put the armor on? How does it affect how you walk during the day? What difference does it make in your life?
In one column, make a list of the pieces of armor. In another column, make a list of ways Satan attacks you. Now, draw a line from the piece of armor that protects you from each attack.
Ask God to help you hunger and desire to be refreshed. Ask God to expose any dryness in your spiritual life and to explain its purpose.
Read Psalm 42
Why is the psalmist so thirsty for God? Why is he crying out to be satisfied? He may have been in a spiritual desert.
What does it mean to be in a spiritual desert? What does it mean to be spiritually dry? Well, it means to be is a spiritual rut in which it seems that God is not doing anything in your life and you become dry, tired, and spiritually worn out. You lose excitement in your life. You lose passion. You lose any desire to go further! There is no fresh breeze or wind from God. There is no water to quench your thirst! There is no worship in your life. People are all around you, but you still feel completely alone!
Sometimes it is too easy to write devotions that are completely objective and detached from myself. However, in these next few devotions, I want to share with you some of my own personal struggles, discouragements, and desperate pleas to God for help.
Several years ago, I was doing personal bible study on different people in the Bible that experienced time in a desert. I went through the studies thinking I was going to find a way out of the desert and back to an exciting life. However, as I studied these people and their time in the desert, I learned one truth that changed my thinking: the desert is a good place to be! Sure it is tough and hard, but it is a good place to be because that is where God works on your life.
Do you thirst for God? Does your spirit cry out in agony as the psalmist’s? IF not, it may be time for a desert experience! It may be hard and dry, but it will take you to a new place in your spiritual life. You will hunger and thirst for God in a completely different way!
Think through the times you have been spiritually dry and in a desert (it may be today!). What did you learn in those times? How did it help you prepare for God’s plan and purpose for your life?
Ask God to teach you how to depend on Him during the spiritual dry times in your life. Ask Him to help you learn during those times and how to be refreshed.
Read Hosea 2:14
A literal desert is hot and dry. A spiritual desert is no different; it is a dry place. The good news is that God uses this dryness to create thirst! The desert is a lonely place. No one races to spend time in a literal desert; not many people are there. It is desolate. A spiritual desert is a lonely time; you feel abandoned by God and others. The good news is that God uses this loneliness to create a longing to be with Him!
The desert is a quiet place. In a literal desert there is little sound; you cannot even hear the wind blow in the trees. A spiritual desert is quiet and solitary. There is little to distract you. The good news is that God uses it to quiet your life so you can hear His voice.
Lastly, the desert is a place where God speaks. In Hebrew the word for wilderness and desert is the same: “midabar.” It has the basic root word of dabar which means “to speak.” Therefore, it literally means place where God speaks.
Sometimes God leads you into a desert to speak to you. Sometimes you have to be in a dry, quiet, lonely place to hear God’s voice. In our busyness, we cannot hear God. Therefore as you read in (Hosea 2:14), God says, “I will allure Israel (you) into the wilderness (the spiritual desert) that I may speak tenderly (what we truly want through this fast) to her (again you).”
Where are you now? Are you in the desert? Are you in a place where God can speak to you? Are you thirsty for Him? God wants to speak to you and He doesn’t scream. Listen for His voice!
Take some time to get completely alone with God. Go somewhere that can be a symbolic desert and allow God to speak to you. Allow Him to allure you and speak tenderly to you.
Ask God to use the life of Moses to show you how to use the spiritual desert for your personal spiritual growth and demonstrate why you desperately need Him to refresh you.
Read Exodus 2:15-3:1
Moses was in the desert for forty years before God spoke to him through the burning bush. Now, some scholars say that number matter in the Bible (3 is the number of God, 7 is the number of completion, 6 is the number of man, and 40 is something really special. Forty means a long time!
It was not a fun time for him! It was not where he wanted to be! It was not the palace in Egypt! It was miserable! Yet, God used it to transform Moses and make him into a leader. God used it to do something amazing in Moses’ life and He will do the same for you!
God will use the desert to cleanse you from sin. Moses ran to the desert because of his sin of killing the Egyptian. Sin always makes us run from God! Secondly, God uses the desert to humble you. Moses was an educated Egyptian. He had arrogance in his own power. In (Acts 7:21-30), we see that Moses felt he could save the people of Israel by himself. However, when God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, Moses said, “Who am I? I can’t speak!” He had a different attitude; he was humble. In fact, (Num.
12:3) says that Moses was “a very humble man; more so than anyone on the earth.” What change his attitude? The desert experience! It humbled him! Thirdly, God will use the desert to teach you obedience. Look at (Deut. 8:2). Lastly, God will use your time in the spiritual desert to prepare you for something greater. Moses spent forty years in the desert in Midian. Why? God was preparing Him to lead the people out of Egypt. God was preparing Him for criticism and standing alone. God was preparing him to spend forty years in the desert with the Israelites.
What is God doing in your life now? How has He used deserts in the past? How is He using the spiritual dry times now?
Dream of what God is preparing you for. Write it down!
Ask God to show you how to take a stand for Him. Ask God to give you the boldness to search for idols in your life and to remove those idols.
Read 1 Kings 18:20-40
Why are we looking at Elijah’s stand on Mt. Carmel in the midst of devotions about spiritual dryness? Well, in order to understand Elijah’s time in the desert. We need to learn about what sent him there. The stand on Mt. Carmel immediately precedes his desert experience. So, it is worth while to look at this story.
How can you take a stand like Elijah? Here are a few truths to apply to your life:
- Realize a Divided Heart is Just as Bad as Idol Worship- They had to decide who to follow. The people were wavering between Baal and God. They had to choose and so do we. Look at (Rev. 3:15-16).
- There is No God Like Our God- Baal was the god of the sun (fire) and controller of the crop. They did all sorts of rituals, but no results. The false prophets could not call down fire from a false, fake god. In fact, Elijah mocked their efforts. Is it possible for us to go through rituals with no results? Our God deserves more than empty rituals and false worship.
- You Have to Fix What is Broken in Your Life- Elijah did not use their altar!
- He would not use the altars dedicated to false idols. Many times we need to tear down the altars to false idols that are in our lives. Find the broken altars of God in your life and repair your altars (areas in your life): relationships, attitudes, purity, etc.
- Never Doubt the Power of Prayer- Elijah prayed. That’s it! He prayed! Imagine what God is going to do through you just during this time of fasting and prayer.
- Never Underestimate the Influence of a Dedicated Life- There were over 800 false prophets of Baal; there was only one prophet of God. Elijah could have let the numbers scare him or intimidate him. He was dedicated to God, not himself.
Think of a time that you had to take a stand. What was God able to do because you took that stand? What stand does God want you to take now?
Make of list of things in your life that can be false idols. What will it take to remove those idols? How can you tear down those idols and repair the altar of God in your life.
Before you begin with the reading, ask God to encourage your spiritual. Ask Him to strengthen your resolve and help you to continue through this fast.
Read 1 Kings 19:1-21
Elijah had a great victory at Mt. Carmel. However, Jezebel, angered that he killed her false prophets, threatened him and he ran into the desert. It says that he went in the desert “another’s day journey.” So, he walked two days into the dry, lonely desert. After God told Him to go to Mt. Horeb, Elijah walked for forty days and nights through the desert. How long was Moses in the desert? How long were the people of Israel in the desert? How long did Jesus stay in the desert? Now, Elijah has been there for forty days and nights. There seems to be something with the number forty!
Have you ever had an awesome experience with God, then in a few days, you seem worse off than before? You had a mountain-top experience only to fall into the valley? That’s what happened to Elijah! Why did this happen to Elijah? Why does it happen to us? Well, here are a few reasons:
- He Lost Sight of God By Focusing on His Problems
- He Listen to Criticism and Threats
- He Withdrew from His Friends
- He was Physically and Emotionally Bankrupt
- He Had a Huge Spiritual High, and Everything Else Seemed Low
- He Got Lost in Self-Pity
Are you spiritually tired and worn out? Are you physically exhausted? Because of fast, you may be feeling weak, tired, and zapped of all energy. Look to God for strength and rest.
Just with Elijah, God will help you out of the desert. Allow God to do the following:
- Give You Rest- God gave Elijah rest. He did not get mad at Elijah. He simply gave him rest. Ask God to give you spiritual, emotional, and physical rest.
- Speak to You- God spoke to Elijah in a still and quiet voice. Still your life and listen to God.
- Give You a Friend- Elijah left his friends and went into the desert to be alone. Many times, we hide from people when we need them the most. God gave Elijah, Elisha as a friend. Ask God to give you are friend to help you through the dry times.
First, ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Secondly, ask God to lead you through the Holy Spirit. Lastly, ask God to empower you with the Holy Spirit.
Read Luke 3:21-22; 4:1-15
The last person we will look at experience a spiritual desert is the greatest example of all: Jesus. We have already seen that Jesus went in the desert to fast and pray. He then went toe-to-toe with Satan and won!
However, we need to see what happened before and after that time in the desert. First,
Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended on Him. Jesus was marked with the Holy Spirit. He was full of the Holy Spirit. As a Christ-follower, you have the Holy Spirit in your life. You need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Secondly, and most awesome, Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit! Jesus went into the desert, not because of sin or discouragement, but because He was led by the Holy Spirit. We need to understand that sometimes the Holy Spirit will lead us into places we don’t want to go, such as the desert. However, if He leads us, He has a great purpose for our tie mint he desert.
Lastly, it says that Jesus went to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit.” So, He was full of the Spirit, led by the Spirit and returned in the power of the Spirit. What an awesome thought for us! Our times in the spiritual desert can be used to empower us with the Holy Spirit. When we depend completely on God, He will supply all we need. When we hunger and thirst for Him, He will fill us with Himself. When we are looking for direction, He will led the way and when we follow, He will empower us!
Would you like to have the “Jesus Experience” in the desert? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Do you allow Him to lead you? Are you walking in the power of the Holy Spirit?
Allow this time of fasting create a desire for the Holy Spirit to control and empower your life. Don’t quit! You are almost there!
The fast is coming to an end. Pray that God will send you the Holy Spirit to strengthen you for the last few days.
Read John 16:5-16
Isn’t it great to know that we are not in this alone? As tough as the Christian life is, we have a Comforter sent to us by our Lord and Savior: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor and Comforter. The Greek word for Comforter is “paraclyete.” It means “one who comes along side of.” It carries the idea of the railing along a staircase. As you go up and down, the railing is there for support. It is the same with the Holy Spirit. He is here to help us with our ups and downs on a journey through life.
The Holy Spirit is our spiritual gauge to measure where we are with our relationship with Christ. He convicts us and challenges us. He motivates us and gives us self-control. The Holy Spirit is the very source of power for the Christian life.
Do you ever feel alone or abandoned? Do you feel you have no one to lean on? Why is it important to understand the role of the Holy Spirit?
- List the roles of the Holy Spirit in your life.
- Pray and thank God for sending you the Holy Spirit.