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Tag Archives: the Daniel Fast

Carnivore or Vegetarian?

A carnivore are creatures that feed on the flesh of other animals. Any mammal that falls into this classification eats mainly meat. Meanwhile, vegetarians are at the other end of this spectrum, consuming mainly fruits and vegetables. This dietary lifestyle is often inspired by health, moral or religious convictions. According to a 2017 study, only 2% of Americans are vegetarians with 1/4 of these individuals claiming to be vegan.

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile (taint, dishonor) himself with the king’s finest food or with the wine which the king drank; so he asked the commander of the officials that he might [be excused so that he would] not defile himself, Daniel 1:8. But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please, test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink, Daniel 1:11-12.

Every year pastors of certain congregations participate in a Daniel Fast at the beginning of January. When Israelites were taken into captivity by Babylon, one man was unwilling to change his strict diet. The passage above details to very first Daniel Fast. Similar to Catholics who give up eating meat during the season of Lent, fasting enables believers to focus on God for a specific period of time. Since Old Testament law prohibited Jews from eating food from unclean animals, taking steps to become a vegetarian is a way to honor and please God.

For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; Romans 8:5-6.

The New Testament reveals the spiritual symbolism between carnivores and vegetarians. In the passage above, the apostle Paul compares carnal desires to fleshly desires. In a letter to Galatia, this behavior is described as a sinful nature, contrary to what God desires. Instead of including vegetables within this analogy, the polar opposite of carnal desires is the Holy Spirit. Thus, eating healthy is one thing. However, obeying God has spiritual ramifications. The apostle Paul compares this to a battle between mind over matter. While deciding to be a carnivore or vegetarian is optional, God demands followers of Christ to steer clear of carnal desires.

by Jay Mankus

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Feeding Your Faith

Dieting is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions that adults make each January.  At the start of each year, more and more churches promote the Daniel Fast, based upon a ten day challenge made with a guard in Daniel 1:11-12.  This diet involves fruit, vegetables and water to challenge and encourage members to develop healthier eating habits.  Some who have been successful adopting Daniel’s diet into their daily lives may even consider a fluid’s only fast.  This follows Jesus’ model in Matthew 4:1-2 prior to beginning his earthly ministry.  Beside losing weight, my ultimate goal for fasting is to feed my faith.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, Galatians 5:16. 

Unfortunately, fasts are not for everyone, especially for those with medical conditions.  Others find that fasts result in irritation, easily annoyed by the slightest thing.  Whether you attempt to fast or not, everyone is under attack, wrestling with the human flesh inside of you.  If you use the Devil’s temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4 as a case study, the flesh is awakened by weakness.  However, each soul is different, vulnerable to various types of temptation.  Thus, one person may be tempted daily by food, another struggles with obedience and some simply possess bad judgment.  In the end, you have to decide if you are going to feed faith or your flesh?

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want, Galatians 5:17.

How you respond to this question will dictate the path your life takes.  The imagery of Matthew 7:13-14 illustrates how attractive the broad road can be.  Thus, if you don’t exercise the discipline necessary to keep the desires of the flesh in check, faith will be crippled.  One of the reasons why I start each January with a modified Daniel Fast is to reconnect with God.  It doesn’t take much to become sidetracked or be sucked back into the bad habits of your past.  Therefore, if you find yourself fighting a losing battle with your flesh, try a new approach with a combination of fasting. praying and worship to ensure that your faith will be well fed.

by Jay Mankus

Moving Beyond Hunger Pains to Experience Worship

A decade ago I attended a Bible Study and Sunday School with a few individuals who introduced to me to the Daniel Fast.  When the Babylonians invaded Israel in the Old Testament, several young Jews were taken back to Babylon.  Held captive against their will, these teenagers were reprogrammed to a new culture by king Nebuchadnezzar.  Overwhelmed with conviction, Daniel proposed a 10 day eating challenge limited to fruits, vegetables and water to a chief official.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way, Daniel 1:8.

This proposal has evolved into what churches refer to as the Daniel Fast, a three week period to eat healthy.  Some where along the way, 10 days was extended to 21, usually occurring at the beginning of each year.  To avoid shocking my own body, I do a modified fast in 7 day segments.  By the end of the first week, I give up soda or tea to transition over to water.  Depending on how I feel after 2 weeks, I might do a strict fast the last 7 days.  However, the hardest part of any fast involves coping with hunger pains which can ruin the spirits of any participant.

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink,” Daniel 1:12.

Although, I am still relatively a newbie when it comes to fasting, I discover something new each January.  During my first week of this year’s fast, the Holy Spirit placed a thought in my mind, “to move beyond hunger pains to experience worship.”  While I still have 2 more weeks to go, this mindset is helping me see the purpose of fasting, to draw closer to the Lord by worshiping God daily.  Thus, the next time you feel called to begin a fast, don’t forget to move beyond hunger pains to experience a heart set on worshiping God.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

The 12 Vibes to Spiritual Discernment

 
In a world of vanishing absolutes, civil citizens, good behavior and honesty are nearing extinction.  Instead, people are blaming bad luck, extreme circumstances and a poor economy for their crude and rude habits.  If there was ever a time to access solid advice, the 12 vibes of discernment are available to help steer you in the right direction.  Conceived by the Extra Ordinary Faith Bible Study curriculum, this list has been provided below like a check list used to process information before you accept or decline advice for life.
1. Your Conscience
This first vibe is indirectly mentioned in Galatians 5:16-18.  When the apostle Paul refers to the acts of the sinful nature being obvious, he is likely referring to the built in vibe God has placed within the human mind.  Whenever guilt expresses itself in a “I shouldn’t be doing this moment,” your conscience is trying to tell you to drop the forbidden fruit you have tasted.
2. Godly Influences
While not easy to find in a society filled with hypocrites, “do as I say, not as I do,” this second vibe requires effort on your part to seek out people who have experienced similar trials in life.  When you find the right person, you will be drawn toward ideal conditions like a young Samuel who needed Eli to point him toward God, 1 Samuel 3:1-10.
3. Knowledge and Vision
When a person loses their sense of purpose in life, depression, hopelessness and missteps often follow.  According to one of the minor Old Testament prophets, people perish, destroyed by a lack of knowledge or vision depending upon the translation you use, Hosea 4:6.  These 2 attributes help individuals see the big picture, bringing their life into focus, communicated by an encourager or optimistic leader you need to invest your time hanging around.
4. Reading the Bible
On the outside, the Bible appears like any other book.  However, this special collection of history contains supernatural powers, living and active according to Hebrews 4:12.  In fact, faith comes from hearing and or reading this book, Romans 10:17.  This instructional guide for life provides the human soul with knowledge and vision not found in this world.
5. An Accountability Partner
Like having a personal trainer, its essential to have someone who is blunt, challenging and inspires you to reach your full potential.  However, this suitable helper will take an unswerving desire and countless hours to locate a compatible personality.  This is the most difficult vibe to obtain, yet once established, its the most rewarding, Proverbs 27:17.
6. Through Prayer
Although many new comers to prayer treat God as if going grocery shopping, talking to the Lord at the check out counter, Psalm 34:18 gives any rookie comfort.  Before you start, make sure you isolate yourself in a place without any distractions.  If you stop talking for a moment by listening to God, you might even experience a Mark 1:35-38 like moment.
7. Weeping and Fasting
When prayer appears to stall, some have turned to weeping and fasting, Nehemiah 1:3-4.  In a sense, this is taking prayer to the next level, crying out to God with emotion, following in the footsteps of David, Psalm 4:1.  For those unable to fast, the Daniel Fast, eating only fruit, vegetables and water for 21 days should suffice.  As your heart is broken by the things that break God’s heart, this vibe will likely result in answers, discernment or both.
8. Accessing the Holy Spirit
Unfortunately, most men are like me, not wanting to read the directions of gifts they have to assemble.  On the other hand, first time mothers taking their newborn back home face a similar challenge, “what do I do know?”  The phenomena known as spiritual wisdom is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, accessible through the mind of Christ, Ephesians 2:6-8.  When you pray the promise of 2 Peter 1:3-4, the power of the Holy Spirit can be unleashed in your life.
9. Divine Intervention
At your weakest moment, God has a history of sending angels to the rescue, like Elijah in 1 Kings 19:6-9.  Missionary testimonies are filled with amazing encounters with angelic forces sent to save their lives or minister to them, Matthew 4:11.  The power of prayer can usher guardian angels into action, protecting God’s people from the schemes of the devil.
10. Through Meditation
Unlike New Age and Yoga practices, Christian meditation refers to concentrating on and memorizing the Bible, Joshua 1:8.  The best cure for sin is living according to God’s principles by hiding scripture within your heart, Psalm 119:9-11.  When you practice the words of Romans 12:1-2, God’s will for your life becomes clear and attainable.
11. During Worship
If you have ever reached a point of desperation, there are examples of believers who encountered God while participating in worship services, Acts 13:2-3.  Whenever you add fasting or prayer to this equation, God’s vibes are dialed in like having 4G.
12. Through Dreams
Whether your experience is like a book or a movie, when all other measures appear to fail, God uses angels or a still small voice to communicate his message through dreams, Matthew 2:13; 2:19-20.  As you test everything, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, to make sure your dream is relevant, you should be able to use these spiritual vibes as a measuring stick for discernment.
by Jay Mankus
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