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Focus Fast – Last Day

Almost done!!! I know that tonight there will be a celebration in some homes around our region!

[4:1] And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness [2] for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. [3] The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” [4] And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” [5] And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, [6] and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. [7] If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” [8] And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’”
[9] And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, [10] for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
to guard you,’
[11] and
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
[12] And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” [13] And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.
[14] And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. [15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:1-15 ESV)

I told you at the beginning of our fast that the purpose of “The Focus Fast” is for us all to seek God and ask Him to increase our faith. I hope that has happened. God has a vision, a path for your life. Fasting allows us to get quiet enough to rid ourselves of the junk that makes life loud.

After Jesus’ fast which we read above, it says in v.14, “Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. [15] And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” The fast is where Jesus got His direction. He came out of the fast directed and powerful. He was NOW ready for the task that His Father had called Him to.

You may be in that very same position – you’re different today than you were 6 days ago.

An experience that I had with fasting was that God used fasting to break some really big things in my life. Because of it fasting became a part of my life, something that I personally practice. I do this even though I do not enjoy fasting – i LOVE to eat!!! Which is all the more reason for me to occasionally forsake food to seek after God. These verses (and the chapter it came from) have become a very important part of my life:

[6] “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
[7] Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
[8] Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
(Isaiah 58:6-8 ESV)

Fasting, though we may feel weak, has an ability to make us strong in faith. It opens us up to the move of God’s Holy Spirit in our life. You must have the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work God has assigned to you. Seek Him with everything you have, and when that doesn’t quite get it done, FAST.

If you’re still with me I am SO PROUD of you. See you tomorrow!

Focus Fast Day Five

The Story of a King

In 1Samuel chapters 9 and 10 we find the story of Israel’s first king, Saul. In the story Saul, like Nehemiah, was just a regular guy. He meets the Prophet Samuel while looking for his father’s donkey’s and the Prophet says to the future king, (v.20) “And I am here to tell you that you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes.”

“You can’t be talking about me!” is the vibe of Saul’s reply as he says to Samuel, (v.21) “But I’m only from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of that tribe! Why are you talking like this to me?”

I’m Just an Ordinary Person

But Saul was “the one”, and Samuel confirms it over the next day in some pretty cool ways (you really should read it for yourself). After all that happened it was pretty obvious that God was all over this, though Saul wasn’t quite ready to accept the responsibility. In chapter 10 we see a ceremony that the prophet had put together to announce Saul as the king of Israel, but the new king can’t be found:

21Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the lord, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! 22So they asked the lord, “Where is he?”

Are you Hiding?

They couldn’t find him, it was like he vanished. The passage goes on to tell us:

“And the Lord replied, ‘He is hiding among the baggage.’ v.23 So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.

Once he came out of hiding it was obvious to everyone who saw him that he was special and that he was the man to do this. Maybe it’s time for you to “come out of hiding” from the calling that you have on your life. Pray today and ask the Lord to give you a burning passion for what it is that He wants you to do. Over the next few weeks I will share with you how to take that burden and to put action steps to it.

One more day until we feast… And as always, I am praying for you in your NEXT step.

Focus Fast Day 4 – Let’s Worship

You are 4 days into this fast. If you are still hanging in there on the full-fast you should feel better at this point. I have been so encouraged to hear from you, how you’re doing and what you’re doing. As we enter into this day let’s decide that we will worship the Lord with all of our heart throughout our day:

[12:1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1 ESV)

I love the way that “The Message” speaks the above verse – read it:  ”So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” That’s good there!

Things will go wrong and may bother you – worship Him through it! “Lord, help me to be in contact with people who love You and have a heart for worship and are walking this path with me.”

[111:1]  Praise the LORD!
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
(Psalm 111:1 ESV)

I suggest that you figure out a way to bring some great music into your day.  Check out Hillsong United Radio on   to stream some great worship music that will help you to experience the presence of Jesus today.

Pray: JEsus, I worship You with all that I am… my life, my heart, my relationships. May I not be ashamed to declare my love. So I humbly come into Your presence, Lord. May my life be a living sacrifice to You, In Jesus Name.

Focus Fast Day 3 – Hungry for the Wrong Things

Vertical Church is on our 3rd day of fasting and I have a question for all of my fasting friends:


“Am I hungry for the wrong things?”

Your answer for me is probably, “DUH!”, right? But you know, to be honest, as I write this on Tuesday I’m not THAT hungry for food. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my body and my mind crave physical food right now, but it’s more of a want than a need.

This morning as I was reading “Authentic Fasting from James MacDonald” I was struck by how easy it is for me to NOT be hungry for God. I am easily tempted by my hunger for things other than God: entertainment, the wrong foods, laziness. In the devo he pointed out that we don’t often miss a physical meal but find it VERY EASY to miss a spiritual meal (prayer, Bible, devotional material, spiritually uplifting sources like a book, movie, etc.). Does that resonate with you like it does me?

I was praying with some friends on Monday and was reminded of what Paul said in Philippians 3:

17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

I don’t want to mildly want God, like I often tend to do.

I think that often times I find myself hungrier for things other than God than I am for God. I don’t want to mildly want God, like I so often have a tendency to do. So today, as my fast continues, I am asking JESUS to chip away at the hardness of my heart, the sinfulness of my mind and the selfishness of my desires, that I might be content IN Him and WITH Him. “As You make me more like You, make me want You more.”

Here are a few verses I will dwell/meditate on today:

Psalm 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 42:1 As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. 6 I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. “Selah” 7 Answer me quickly, O LORD; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. 8Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the wayI should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

We can rejoice that God answers us:

Isaiah 55:1 ”Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, ”I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.


How was Day One of your fast? I am truly wondering and would love to hear from you about it. Also, share those prayer requests.

Are you ready? Today we will focus on drawing near to God.

Jesus’ brother, James, shared this thought when he said,

[8] Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. [9] Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. [10] Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10 ESV)

I am SO double-minded: I want one thing yet often do another. 

Humility, the act of being humble, is such a huge part of fasting. In the verse above we are told to “cleanse our hands and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Does that describe you like it does me? I am SO double-minded: I want one thing yet often do another. During this time of fasting, look at it as a time to be purified of the junk that so easily slows us down spiritually.

One way to purify our hearts is to prayerfully ask God to reveal any sin that would keep you from being able to experience His presence. Pray for the ability to see your sin as He does. Don’t rush this time – allow God to thoroughly examine your heart and show you your attitude and hidden things. As things surface, confess that sin, ask Him to break your heart about this as His is broken. Ask for His forgiveness and the ability to turn in the opposite direction of that sin.

[5] I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
(Psalm 32:5 ESV)

Now, draw near to God with boldness because of what HE has done, not yourself:

[16] Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 ESV)

I may draw near because of God’s love for me. He forgave me even though I wasn’t worthy of His forgiveness. (Romans 5:8 ESV) tells us this when it says, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Hallelujah! Even though my sin should disqualify me He proves His love by forgiving and loving us anyway. I can trust God’s love for me.

So, confess your sin…

[8] If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(1 John 1:8-10 ESV)

Thank You, God, for showing me that You love me and for giving me a hope to change.