***Click Here to Read Angie’s Surrender 2014 Testimony***
Sometimes “Yes, Lord.” is a painful phrase for me to say. 2013 was a wonderful year of growth, but also one of many trials and testings. In the midst of the difficult, saying yes becomes much harder. Loving God and trusting His good plan for your life is formed in an intimate place of surrender. Surrendering our desires, our wills, and our plans. This year I choose to enter 2014 in a place of surrender. Join me January 5 – 26 for 21 days of surrendering the areas of our life which cause us the most stress, distress, and dis-ease.
We will be fasting as a group here at I Choose My Best Life. You choose the type of fast you feel best meets your situation. I will be doing the Daniel’s Fast (no meats, no sweets, no breads). Others are giving up coffee, desserts, or fast food during the 21 days. I will be sharing podcasts dedicated to the fast and we will have designated times of group prayer (via teleconference.) Start 2014 in position to be open to receive all God has for you, start in a position of total surrender. Click Here to join the mailing list.
Below my friend Kristen Feola shares additional benefits why spending this treasured time at the beginning of the year with God is good for your body and your spirit.
Why Fasting is Good for You
At the beginning of the New Year, nearly everyone sets at least one resolution. In most cases a person’s main desire is to get in better physical shape – to exercise more and eat less. However, it’s also important (and even more so) to make plans to improve your spiritual fitness. One of the best ways to accomplish this goal is to set aside time for prayer and fasting.
For the past few years I’ve committed the first three weeks of the year to participating in the Daniel Fast. It’s my way of saying, “Lord, nothing is more important than you. I’m ready to sacrifice my time, my physical comfort, and my desires so I can hear from you.” I spend focused time in the Word and in prayer to seek God’s direction for the next twelve months of my life.
Fasting is one way to develop a deeper connection with the Lord. Unfortunately, though, many people see it as a quick way to shed a few pounds. However, those who undergo fasting to improve their physical appearance miss the whole purpose of this powerful spiritual discipline.
When you fast, you deny yourself food, or certain foods, for a specified period of time as an act of surrender and worship to God. Someone who commits to a fast is saying, “There basically three different types of fasts:
• absolute – no food or water.
• liquid – water, fruit and vegetables juices, and/or broth.
• partial – eat certain groups of foods and restrict others (such as the Daniel Fast).
Even though the Bible doesn’t contain a direct command to fast, several examples of fasting appear in both the Old and New Testament. One of the most telling passages occurs in Matthew 6:16, as Jesus is teaching his disciples basic principles of godly living. Addressing the issue of fasting, he begins with, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.” Jesus’ words imply that fasting will be a regular practice in the lives of believers. Following are a few reasons why you should embrace fasting as a part of your journey with the Lord:
1. Fasting is the example set by Jesus.
First and foremost, we should fast because Jesus did. Our Savior spent forty days and nights in the wilderness fasting and praying before he began his public ministry (Matthew 4:1-11). During that time, the Lord was able to defeat Satan’s attacks because he was prayed up and armed with the Word of God. Jesus’ example shows us how fasting equips and empowers us for victory over sin. Besides, if Jesus, the Son of God, recognized the importance of fasting in his life, shouldn’t we as well?
2. Fasting helps you grow in faith.
Self-denial does not come naturally to us because the flesh is wired for indulgence. Therefore, when you commit to a fast, you understand and acknowledge that you can’t do it on your own. You realize how completely dependent you are upon the Lord’s strength. You learn to lean on him for the perseverance you need to finish strong.
3. Fasting changes you.
Fasting allows you to experience a greater sense of the Lord’s presence in your life and the indescribable joy that comes from walking in obedience. You are transformed as you meditate on the truth of God’s Word and apply his promises to your life.
Fasting also has many physical benefits. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, believed fasting enabled the body to heal itself. Paracelsus, another great medical pioneer, wrote 500 years ago that “fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.” Following are a few ways the body gets stronger through this form of self-denial:
1. Rest and repair
During a fast, your digestive system is given a chance to rest. Energy that would normally be spent breaking down and transporting food is diverted to other areas of your body. Harmful ingredients, such as chemicals, additives, and preservatives, are filtered and removed. Your metabolism slows. You feel less stressed and more at peace. Even when on a Daniel Fast (where you’re able to eat some food), your body still gets a break from foods that are difficult to digest, such as meat. As a result, your body is able to operate more efficiently.
2. Reduce risk of illness and disease
Studies have shown that regular and/or long-term fasts can result in a decreased risk of a variety of physical conditions, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. In an April 2011 report, cardiac researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute concluded that routine periodic fasting is good for your health and your heart. Their research showed that fasting not only lowers one’s risk of coronary artery disease and diabetes but also causes significant changes in a person’s blood cholesterol levels.
Fasting helps you gain self-control over your body’s physical cravings. It can also be an effective tool to help break destructive eating habits, such as emotional eating, bingeing, purging, and/or anorexia. If you struggle with any of these issues, fasting offers hope for this area of your life.
Through prayer and fasting you can grow closer to the God who loves you unconditionally. Don’t allow fear, laziness, or the excuse, “It’s too hard!” keep you from stepping out in faith and committing to a fast. You can do it. God will help you.
Are you hungry for the Lord? God promises to honor those who pursue him. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Accept the Lord’s invitation to draw near to him today. There is no greater reward!
Kristen Feola is the author of The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast, an encouraging resource for individuals and groups who are participating in the Daniel Fast. She has worked as a personal trainer, nutritional consultant, and fitness instructor. Kristen lives with her husband and two daughters in Springfield, Missouri. Kristen is leading an Online Daniel Fast – January 5-25, 2014 where participants can sign up to receive daily emails, recipe ideas, and fasting tips. Visit her website, www.ultimatedanielfast.com for more information and to register for the fast.