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THE daniel fastfeed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body
By susan gregory
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2010 Susan Gregory
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWho Is the Daniel Fast Blogger?
First of all, I'm not a preacher or a Bible teacher or a huge ministry leader. I am an ordinary woman whose life has been dramatically changed by stepping into a deeply personal day-to-day relationship with Jesus Christ. I've learned from my own experience and the experiences of others that we have a choice about how to live our lives. Jesus instructs us to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (His way of doing things). God told His people that He has set before us life and death, blessings and curses, and He instructs us to choose life so that both we and our descendants may live. The choice is ours. And it's a choice with benefits that go beyond spending eternity with God. Thankfully, we can choose to have a dynamic, powerful, and purposeful life right here on earth and accomplish great things for God.
Every morning I make the choice to live a faith-driven life. I try to make every word I say and every action I take line up with the Word of God. Do I sound radical? Well, maybe I am, compared to a lot of people. I am radically alive with Christ, and the more I focus my thoughts, activities,resources, and future on Him, the more exciting and at peace my life becomes.
I accepted Christ as a young woman and spent the next several decades participating in the typical activities of family, work, church, and social life. There were some great ups with family, motherhood, friendships, and achievements. And there were also some really tough downs, including an unwanted divorce and a long-term chronic illness. But I made it through those times with my mind and body still intact.
However, it wasn't until 2007 that I really started learning what living a life of faith is about. I was going through some really tough life experiences. It was the very beginning of the recession. My real estate investing business collapsed under the mortgage industry debacle and my finances were in shambles. I had no idea what I was going to do to even survive! Perhaps you've gone through that dark wilderness where hope seems so far away and relief seems out of sight. The pressure was on, and I felt utterly alone.
But I wasn't alone. I soon discovered the Bible's truth that Jesus will never leave us and will never forsake us. I learned that when we draw near to God He will draw near to us. I made a quality decision to believe everything in the Bible. I decided in advance that if doubt or fear reared their ugly heads, those would serve as signals that I needed to pursue more of the love and knowledge of Christ. Oh, He is so faithful! I set my mind on trusting God and His Word. I would get up every morning and spend hours studying faith and prayer. I wrote in my journal. I read books by well-respected and proven Bible teachers and preachers, spent hours talking with my Father, and proclaimed the truths and promises He made to His children.
It didn't happen overnight. It was like a big ship turning around-degree by degree, my doubt turned into faith and my fear turned into hope. I truly knew what it felt like to have the joy of the Lord as my strength. And through this process, my Father led me out of the wilderness and into His glorious light. The broken areas of my life began to heal, and as I purposed to build every part of my life on the Word of God, I entered into a life of stability, peace, and rest like I had never known before.
Part of this process was the Lord returning me to Christian writing. One day I was sitting on the couch in my living room. I wasn't meditating or praying or doing anything very "spiritual." I was just sitting. That's when I heard God's still, small voice in my spirit, Start writing about the Daniel Fast.
That seemed like an interesting idea. I had practiced fasting for many years and was actually preparing to start a twenty-one-day Daniel Fast at the beginning of the New Year, which was just a couple of weeks away. I also had experience as a writer, although I had not written professionally for more than ten years. I searched the Internet and learned there wasn't a lot of information available about the Daniel Fast. Maybe there were others who needed to know more about this fast, and maybe I could help meet that need.
I knew from my own experience that many people begin the New Year with prayer and fasting. Since the start date was fast approaching, I had to get the information out quickly. I decided to write a blog titled "The Daniel Fast. Soon I had pages and pages of good information posted about the Daniel Fast, and it didn't take long until people started entering comments and asking questions on the blog. I replied to each one, and the comments and questions increased as the New Year approached.
After a few days, I quickly saw that the number one need of the people visiting the blog was recipes. So I scoured through my own recipe collection and began to adjust some to fit the Daniel Fast guidelines and make them available on my blog. This is when I could see God's plan unfold. Visitors to the blog were ecstatic to have the information they needed for a successful Daniel Fast, and I was launched into a whole new line of work. I could see that my loving Father had led me back into Christian writing for a sure purpose. Plus-and this is the big part-what I thought was merely a writing assignment, God meant for a lay ministry where I would meet the growing needs of His people.
Today, the blog has received more than 1.5 million hits, and I've been able to minister to thousands of men, women, and young people. I call myself the Daniel Fast blogger, but in reality, the title doesn't matter. I have experienced the grace of God in my life. My greatest ministry desire is to help men, women, and young people to learn to trust God and His Word more than anything.
Through this process, God has opened my heart to brothers and sisters in the body of Christ as they search for answers and practical instructions about this fasting practice. My great blessing is to serve God by serving His people. Many of the letters I receive from people bring me to tears as they share their victories during their Daniel Fasts. People who have never been successful at dieting have found victory as they focus on Christ and develop the fruit of the Spirit of self-control. I praise God with men and women who experience restored relationships with their spouses, parents, or children. Many write about answered prayer and miracles. And I especially love the testimonies about how people have learned for the first time to have an intimate and loving relationship with Christ.
Our God is so good, and He so wants His children to trust in Him and follow His ways so we can have the good life He planned for us. My number one goal is to help people experience a successful Daniel Fast so they can grow in the love and knowledge of our amazing Father and experience the love of Christ in new and remarkable ways.
The Bible teaches in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Fasting puts us in a position to set aside a particular time when we can focus our attention on God and draw near to Him. In that nearness is the blessing and the power. In that nearness we experience God's presence and hear from Him. In that nearness we grow, work our faith muscles, and examine our hearts. The Daniel Fast offers you a Spirit-led opportunity to feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body.
I am immeasurably thankful to the Lord for giving me this ministry, and with that blessing I truly want to be a blessing to others. I am honored that men and women are served with the information I share about the Daniel Fast. And I am thankful to you for entrusting me with the time and resources that you have invested in this book.
Please feel free to e-mail me at Susan@Daniel-Fast.com if you have questions that are not answered in these pages.
Daniel Fast Recipes
Dried Fruit and Almond Granola
Granola is a perfect breakfast choice on the Daniel Fast. But most granola found in supermarkets includes sweeteners or other ingredients not included on the Daniel Fast. So making a big batch of this easy (and very affordable) recipe is a smart move. Plus it's so nutritious and filling.
- 2 cups rolled oats - 1/2 cup shredded coconut - 1/2 cup sliced almonds - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil (such as canola oil) - 1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (apples, figs, apricots, etc.) - 1/2 cup raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine oats, coconut, and almonds in a large baking dish. Drizzle with oil and toss until well blended. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until lightly toasted.
3. Allow mixture to cool slightly before mixing in dried fruit and raisins.
4. Store in airtight container and serve with soy milk, fresh fruit, and/or fruit juice.
Makes 4 cups (about 8 servings)
Apple Pie Oatmeal
This recipe is a tasty way to prepare and serve a great meal for yourself and your family. Rolled oats are an excellent food choice for breakfast because they provide valuable protein, stave off hunger for a long period of time, and provide beneficial fiber to do good work in your body!
- 4 cups water - 1/4 teaspoon salt - 2 cups rolled oats - 1/2 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice (see recipe below) - 1/4 cup chopped apple
1. Bring water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add salt and when dissolved, stir in oats and Apple Pie Spice. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 4 minutes.
2. Add chopped apple and cook for 1-2 more minutes until oats are cooked.
3. Serve in individual bowls with unsweetened soy milk, if desired.
Makes 4 servings
Apple Pie Spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon - 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg - 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice - 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Combine all ingredients. If making a larger batch, store in an airtight container. Use with Apple Pie Oatmeal or other recipes that call for Apple Pie Spice.
Banana Wheat Bran Cereal
When I was growing up, my father was often the one who prepared school-morning breakfasts. The most common fare was hot oatmeal and Zoom, a whole wheat cereal made by Krusteaz, a division of Continental Mills. Little did I know that good ole Dad was serving such healthy meals. Wheat bran is packed with fiber and healthy nutrients. Plus the cereal is perfect for Daniel Fast breakfasts. This recipe adds bananas, but you can be creative and add other fruits to suit your taste.
Twenty-One-Day Daniel Fast Devotional
Studies indicate that there are 2.1 billion Christians on the earth today. That's a lot of people! Christianity is the largest of all the religions in the world and includes more than 20,800 denominations. That's a lot of churches! But I wonder how many of the individuals who call themselves Christians would also consider themselves to be disciples of Jesus Christ.
Why the distinction? Many people attend church; let's call them "church attendees." But a disciple is something different. A disciple of Christ is a student who learns and follows the Master's teachings and lives according to His way. When you follow Christ, it doesn't mean that you will consider or obey selected parts of His teaching and ignore others. No, a disciple takes His teaching as truth in its entirety and then shapes his or her life according to those truths.
I can say without wavering or qualification that I am a Christian; it's my label. But the mantle that covers me is that I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus and His teachings that shape my life, determine my future, and serve as the foundation on which I stand in all things.
As a disciple, I learn and study God's Word so I can discover more about how I am to live, serve, and behave. It's a lifelong process with immeasurable treasures of joy, knowledge, peace, and supernatural power.
My hope is that you, too, can call yourself a disciple of Jesus Christ. My prayer is that the following devotions stir up your faith and strengthen your walk with your Father as you experience the Daniel Fast. And for this reason I do not cease to pray for you ...
And to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. -Colossians 1:9-18
DAY 1 Firstfruits Offering
The best of all firstfruits of any kind, and every sacrifice of any kind from all your sacrifices, shall be the priest's; also you shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house. -Ezekiel 44:30
Today is the first day of your fast. You are stepping into a different experience of feeding your soul, strengthening your spirit, and renewing your body. By entering into this special period of time, you are consecrating yourself (setting yourself apart) to focus more intently on the Lord and His ways.
We don't hear much about firstfruit offerings anymore. But they were a customary part of life for Old Testament believers, and there are many ways to make firstfruit offerings today. In Ezekiel 44:30, we see that the firstfruit is for the priest. So on this first day of consecrated prayer and fasting, you can say to Jesus, your High Priest, "Lord, today I give You the first of me. I put You first in my life."
We are also asked to give a firstfruits offering of our resources, just as God instructed the Israelites to do with their produce. The promised reward was "a blessing to rest on your house." You will recall that both Cain and Abel gave offerings to the Lord. Abel gave the firstborn of his flock and it pleased the Lord. But Cain's heart was not right before the Lord. Scholars conclude that his offering was not the best he had to offer, but rather leftovers. God rejected this offering.
The Lord doesn't want our spare time or our leftover efforts. He wants to be first in our lives. He wants the best of us. Throughout Scripture we are commanded to put God first. Exodus 20:5 says, "You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God." And in Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
When we put God first in our lives, when He is the first and last authority in all that we do, then we are pleasing to the Lord and we have access to all He has for us. Psalm 103:1-2 says it beautifully: "Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."
Does God want this position of priority because He craves our attention or needs our admiration? Maybe in part. I believe the underlying reason that God wants us to put Him first in our lives is because of the amazing, powerful, and immeasurable love He has for each one of us. He wants to pour out His mercy, grace, goodness, wisdom, and blessing over us in abundance. He wants us to be all He created us to be so we can experience a marvelous life and accomplish the good works He has already assigned to us.
Excerpted from THE daniel fast by susan gregory Copyright © 2010 by Susan Gregory. Excerpted by permission.
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