December 31 – A Time For Resolution

    “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;  and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27

It has been customary to reevaluate one’s status at the year’s end to determine whether or not goals have been achieved and knowledge increased. Businesses tally their records to see what their profits are and what taxes will have to be paid. Most people discover that their well-intentioned resolutions formed on New Year’s Day soon become forgotten in their daily routines.

Moses’ prayer in Psalm 90:12 was: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” He implies that it is good to plan ahead to make every move count in the earthly days allotted to each person.

What kind of works have you done at the Lord’s bidding this past year? What kind of reward will be meted out to you when His record book is opened? As a new year begins, be encouraged not to lament over the failures or lost opportunities of the past. Rather, begin NOW with a deep sense of devotion to God’s divine purpose for your life, and RESOLVE to do some things just for God’s sake.

The motto is true: “Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last!”

PRAY: “Dear Lord, help me to establish my life’s priorities according to Your measuring stick. I want the activities of my life to have eternal value and to please You. Amen.”

December 30 – Benefits Of Fasting

“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly.” Joel 2:15

Fasting has far greater benefit than physical weight loss. It is aggressive spiritual warfare that better positions you for miracles from God.

1) Fasting increases your power over TEMPTATION, power to resist the devil’s lies as Jesus did when he fasted forty days in the wilderness. (Luke 4:2)

2) Fasting is a cure for UNBELIEF, as referenced by Jesus in Matthew 17:21. He told the disciples that their power to command the devil would increase through prayer AND fasting.

3) Fasting heightens your DISCERNMENT. Fasting feeds the spirit as food feeds the flesh, bringing vision and revelation. (Daniel 9:3)

4) Fasting starves out STRONGHOLDS, both spiritual and physical. Bondages such as alcohol, drugs, and nicotine addictions can be starved out as the flesh is brought under subjection. (I Corinthians 9:27)

5) Fasting changes God’s mind and moves His heart of compassion, as happened with Ninevah. (Jonah 3:10)

PRAY: “Father God, I want my prayer life to grow. Give me the will to declare a fast that is pleasing to You. Feed my spirit with Your love. I pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

December 29 – Prayer And Fasting

“But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:17-18

For years it has been a practice at Christian Retreat to pray and fast the first seven days of the new year. Jesus spoke of fasting as a normal Christian activity, right alongside of praying and giving alms. (Matthew 6:2,5,16)

Fasting is a complete or partial denial of food to the body for the purpose of building stronger spiritual discipline. Any time the physical body is brought under subjection, the spiritual man is made more alert.

The Bible speaks of regular fasts, such as on the Day of Atonement when all Israel was expected to abstain from food. Fasting is mentioned often in light of a crisis or emergency, such as in II Chronicles 20:3, when King Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah because an invading army was coming to do battle. Isaiah 58 cautions you to watch your motives when you fast. A fast should be God-ordained and accompanied with much time spent in prayer.

Consider setting some days apart at the beginning of the year to fast and pray for God’s help and guidance. It would invite His divine hand of participation in your life!

PRAY: “Heavenly Father, prepare my heart now to seek You in a deeper way over the coming new year. Amen.”