Daniel Fast – Day 12: Prayer Walk

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I went on my very first prayer walk around the downtown section of the City of Staunton.  At first, I debate on doing it, because of the temperature being in the low to mid-teens.  Since the purpose of my fast is spiritual, I decided to brave the temperature and do the walk.  I parked my car at the library and began to walk towards downtown.  At first, it was cold but after a few minutes I warmed up.  The walk was amazing as I would continue to pray to the Lord for his wisdom and insight to what he wanted me and my congregation to do to make a Kingdom impact on the community.

As I walked I only made three stops.  My first stop was on the steps of the courthouse to pray for God’s justice, mercy, and grace through the judicial system.  My second stop was on top of the Stonewall Jackson parking garage.  It was a great site to pray as it was quiet, windy, and I can overlook a good part of the city.  It seemed like a long time I was up there, by myself, praying over the city.  The final stop was at an abandoned restaurant.  Since 2015, I have felt an impulse to investigate the property.  I have a prayer for the building every time I walked by it, but this time there was purpose on the possibilities on what this site could be.

I then made my journey back to my vehicle.  It was on that journey that I ran into a homeless person.  The guy’s clothes were in tatters, he was very timid, and when he asked for money, he just simply asked if I had any change to spare.  I went and gave him a few bucks, which his reply was very shocked.  He kept trying to give me back the amount, but I told him, no, to take it and maybe get something warm to drink at the few shops around.  When I made it back to my vehicle, I checked the time and was out for almost an hour and a half.  I believe that the more consistent I am in my prayer walk, the more clarity from the Lord, I will receive.

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Daniel Fast – Day 10: Minister’s Meeting

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The third Tuesday of every month, I have a minister’s meeting where all the ministers in the area get together for some fellowship.  As I was getting in my car to go to this meeting, it occurred to me that there is always a meal provided.  Would there be anything that I can eat?  I get to the meeting and they have a lot of great looking food.  Broccoli and Cheddar Soup (Can’t eat), Salad (can eat, but with caution), garlic bread (can’t eat), cookies (Can’t eat) Cheesecake (can’t eat), and cheesecake toppings (can eat the strawberries and blueberries as they are not in a sugary syrup like the cherries).

So I get a salad and a side of fruit.  During the salad, I had to combat the chunks of chicken, cheese shavings, and croutons, while I ate the lettuce, cucumbers, onions, and olives.  After the meal, the topic to discuss was, “what spiritual disciplines are you participating in?”  The hosting pastor knew about my fast and asked me to share my experiences.  I talked about everything that I mentioned on Day 8 of my fast.  Other pastors talked about vision planning, prayer journaling, and even sitting in silence. As I listen to each pastor share what discipline they are practicing I thought, “Can these other disciplines be heightened during a fast?  My goal for this second week is to try a spiritual discipline and see how it goes.

Daniel Fast – Day 8: First Week Reflections

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Today is one week into my fast.  As I reflect on the fast so far, here are some of the things I have noticed.

Physically:

  • Lost weight
  • more energy
  • more alert
  • less patient
  • less impulsive with snacking
  • slower eating

Spiritually:

  • heighten spiritual awareness
  • increase the intensity of prayer
  • more spontaneous in prayer
  • better at discerning situations

Out of all of the things from my fast thus far, I am surprised at having more energy and more spontaneity in prayer.  With prayer, I would usually pray when a request comes through email, or at certain times (morning, afternoon, evening).  During the fasting period, I would have images of people or situations come to my mind, and instantly drop what I was doing and prayed about it.  Not a quick prayer, but one with conviction and intensity.

Having an increase of energy was very surprising to me, mainly because there is a market for having energy via energy drinks, soda pop, coffee, or any other caffeinated beverage.  There were some days where I would need to lay down for a bit because I was exhausted and could not function properly without a rest.

Even though I have had some weak moments in the fast, I am at a point where I am seeing some of the benefits of it and liking the changes.  Hope this second week will be better as I continue on.

Daniel Fast – Day 6: Early Morning, Carbon Monoxide, & The Bin of Shame

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4:00 am.  My wife wakes me up because she hears beeping downstairs.  A few weeks ago, our Carbon Monoxide detector was defective and I replaced it right before Christmas.  My wife thought that the beeping was another defective unit, but in fact, it was warning us that the furnace was producing CO.  So I shut off the heat (luckily we were having warmer weather in VA), moved the kids to our bedroom and I got the last few winks on the couch after I called the furnace repair company to send a worker out.

Since the workers would be coming soon, I went and cleaned up the furnace room a tad bit.  One of the items was to empty out the trash can downstairs where there was just a bunch of packaging from junk food.  As I was looking at each item, I was beginning to think about all the times I had put junk into my body.  As the fast has begun to purge my body of any unhealthy eating habits I have partaken in, I began to search my heart and pray for the Spirit’s guidance to remove any bad habits that have been inhibiting me spiritually.  As the spirit continued to search my inmost being, I have seen how my attitude, impulses, and anger has to lead to unhealthy choices on a spiritual, physical, and emotional level.  It is through revelation that leads to repentance and through repentance is a renewed sense of self.

Daniel Fast: Day 3 – Board Meeting, Meatballs, and Stealthy Salsa

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I had my first board meeting of the year in the evening.  It was a special meeting for two reasons. 1) one of our Elders was leaving the Board due to her term limit being up so we were having a party to celebrate her service to the Board. 2) Be able to discuss how God is leading us in the New Year.

At the beginning of the meeting, we prayed for healing for a number of church members, friends, and family and for the meal we were about to have.  It is important to note, that I had not revealed my fast to anyone.  So as I go into the kitchen, there is a counter filled with food; food I can not eat.

We had cocktail weenies, meatballs, chocolate cake, pimento cheese, BBQ potato chips.  I saw a can of almonds on the counter and went after it like a hawk, checking the label to see if there were no “added elements” to them.  I also looked at a jar of salsa to check for any processed junk, sugar, or any ingredients that I cannot pronounce.  One of our elders, who does mission work in Nicaragua, brought some salsa she bought from the country.  Homemade salsa?  I can eat that.  I asked her what was in it.  She then began to go through the list of ingredients.  With each natural ingredient, I was excited until she named two ingredients: Butter and Ketchup.  My lack of excitement was not because of the ingredients, I would try anything once, But it was ingredients forbidden by my fast.

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I often wonder how many things we buy into that we see as “good” or “spiritual” and when we partake in those things, we end up realizing it was a trap, snare,  or sneaky temptation.  I am someone who naturally is impulsive.  If I see something I like, I must have it.  If it is discounted, take my money.  If it looks like it will be a good investment, I’m all in.  But with each impulsive action, had lead to an even worst outcome.  That is why there is wisdom in waiting, especially when it comes to prayer.

Some of the best stories I have heard on the topic of prayer are the ones, that were answered a number of years later.  I read one story in “The Circle Maker” where a mother prayed for all of her 12 kids to accept Jesus as Lord of their life.  When she passed away, 6 of them were saved.  When the book was published, 10 out of the 12 have given there lives to Christ.  Daniel fasted and prayed for 21 days before he received insight into the revelation.  What things will the Lord reveal when we wait with obedience and anticipation?

 

Daniel Fast – Day 2: Thanks Facebook

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One of my skills has been social media marketing.  I took a free online class through Shaw Academy and learned the basics of building your brand on social media platforms from Facebook, to Instagram.  As a pastor and podcaster, I need to continue to keep my social media present up-to-date, and relevant which means I try to be on these sites quite a bit.

However, it seemed like today was the day where every friend I had on Facebook was posting those food videos.  I’ve seen things from Chocolate Lava Molten cakes to Cream Cheese Taco Dip.  Of course, all these food videos are things that I can not eat.  It’s it interesting that when you want to cut something out of your life (food, dating, etc.) that is when the temptation begins.

I’ve always thought about the difference between temptations and testings.  I remember a friend of mine decided she was going to spend the whole year focused on Jesus after a break-up with her boyfriend.  It lasted 4 months before she begins to start dating another person (which in turn lead to a devastating break-up 2 years later).  The same time, another one of my friends, decided to do the same thing.  The same situation happened to her, a male suitor found interested in her in a few months.  The difference was is she told the pursuer about her commitment to Jesus and did not date him, which he understood and respected her decision.  A year later they started to date, got engaged, got married, and continue to live a happy life.  Sometimes I think that temptations are ways to try to knock us off our path to our goals, dreams, and miracles.  However, I also think sometimes God tests us to see if we will be obedient to Him, to our promises, and our goals.

As much as I have seen those delicious food videos, I have the choice to linger (and drool) and be tempted to break the fast, or I can close out the browser and use those tempting opportunities as fuel to prayer.

Episode 22 – Shia LaBeouf’s Conversion

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Episode 22 – Shia LaBeouf’s Conversion

In this episode, Scott talks about Shia LaBeouf’s conversion, the critics, and what does a perfect christian looks like.

Shia’s interview in Interview Magazine

Holly Hrywnak’s “Cookie Cutter Christians” Article