January

GOD’S FAMILY

The word “family” can mean many different things to different people. Often, when people speak of family, they mean their blood relatives, specifically those with whom they live (often called the “nuclear family”). While this certainly is one aspect of family, it is not the totality of it. When Christians speak of family, we also refer to God’s family, his ekklesia, or “church.” Those who are members of God’s household, brought together in Jesus the Messiah, are more than random individuals who come together a couple of times a week. When we enter God’s kingdom, we become family with one another, forging a unique bond that transcends blood relation, culture, social class, or geographic location. We are all children brought together into God’s great family. 

Instructions for Daily Reading

Each day as you engage the Scripture, we recommend following this pattern of devotional reading.

[Take a brief moment of silence to quiet your heart.]

  1. Read the Scripture aloud.
  2. Seek out where King Jesus is at work in the Scripture.
  3. Pray over the Scripture.
  4. Discern how this Scripture impacts your life.

 [Demonstrate loyalty to Jesus in one tangible way today.]

Day 1

Mark 1:1-8 The Baptist Prepares the Way

Daily Reflection: As we begin our journey through the book of Mark, it is critical to note the author’s purpose in writing this particular account of the gospel. Mark was a follower of Peter, who stayed very close to the happenings taking place in the reading to come. He wrote this account for Christians in Rome who were suffering on account of their loyalty to Jesus Christ. For this reason, Mark opens his gospel account by first addressing John the Baptist. This was a strategic place to start because John the Baptist fulfilled prophecy that the world had longed to see. In a mere eight verses, Mark writes of the good news, baptism, repentance, prophecy, the Holy Spirit, and the coming of the Messiah-King. In other words, for suffering Christians in Rome, the Gospel According to Mark would provide a breath of fresh air to God’s people, as well as serve as a reminder for where they have placed their hope.

Daily Demonstration: In 10 days, we will be entering into a time of prayer and fasting. As a means of preparation for the fast, use today to reflect upon the goodness of God and all that he has provided through Jesus. With what purpose will you enter into the fast? What is God doing in your heart? What is God doing around you? Is there anything for which you need to repent? Take today to begin to prepare your heart for the fast that is to come.

Day 2

Mark 1:1-8 The Baptist Prepares the Way

Daily Reflection: As we begin our journey through the book of Mark, it is critical to note the author’s purpose in writing this particular account of the gospel. Mark was a follower of Peter, who stayed very close to the happenings taking place in the reading to come. He wrote this account for Christians in Rome who were suffering on account of their loyalty to Jesus Christ. For this reason, Mark opens his gospel account by first addressing John the Baptist. This was a strategic place to start because John the Baptist fulfilled prophecy that the world had longed to see. In a mere eight verses, Mark writes of the good news, baptism, repentance, prophecy, the Holy Spirit, and the coming of the Messiah-King. In other words, for suffering Christians in Rome, the Gospel According to Mark would provide a breath of fresh air to God’s people, as well as serve as a reminder for where they have placed their hope. 

Daily Demonstration: In 10 days, we will be entering into a time of prayer and fasting. As a means of preparation for the fast, use today to reflect upon the goodness of God and all that he has provided through Jesus. With what purpose will you enter into the fast? What is God doing in your heart? What is God doing around you? Is there anything for which you need to repent? Take today to begin to prepare your heart for the fast that is to come.

Day 3

Mark 1:21-28 As One with Authority

 

Daily Reflection: The first story shared by Mark regarding the ministry of Jesus is the driving out of an impure spirit in a synagogue. In this episode, the impure spirit approaches Jesus with questions regarding its fate. Did Jesus come to destroy it? Well, the impure spirit indeed recognized that Jesus had the power to do so. Interestingly, Jesus tells the spirit to be quiet and proceeds to rid the synagogue of this darkness. The authority expressed by Jesus at this moment was so powerful that darkness was forced to flee his presence.

 

Daily Demonstration: Jesus has the authority to drive out even the darkest aspects of life. In fact, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and the bearing of the name of Jesus Christ, so do you! Are there dark areas of your life or the world around you that need to be quieted? Confidently ask Jesus to cleanse the environment of that darkness. Speak with authority over your family, friends, and your life today. Take note of these elements as these may be necessary to revisit as we fast in the latter half of this month.

Day 4

Mark 1:29-39 Simon’s Mother-in-Law

 

Daily Reflection: In today’s reading, we are invited into the home of Simon and Andrew, the two men whom Jesus asked to follow him as they were fishing from their boat. Their mother has been stricken with an illness that has caused Simon and Andrew to worry, as they immediately told Jesus of the need. In this incredible miracle, Jesus not only healed her but also restored her in such a way that she was able to stand up and function as though she was never sick. An important element of healing is not only the miracle itself but also the miracles that continue to play out as a result of the healing.

 

Daily Demonstration: Have you ever experienced healing before? We often think of healing as a single moment in time in which God radically changes someone’s life. This may be true; however, what follows the miracle is equally as amazing. The outcome of divine healing is a functionality of life that, in the case of Simon and Andrew’s mother, is incredible with every step taken after. Today, take time to pray for healing for yourself or someone you know. Do not just limit the prayer to a moment, but instead, pray for healing that impacts the world because of its outcome. Perhaps this may become a radical prayer during the fast.

DAY 5

Mark 1:40-45 Jesus Heals a Leper

 

Daily Reflection: Before Jesus healed the man of his leprosy, Mark 1:41 states that Jesus was “moved” by the man’s asking for his help. This immaterial movement led to a physical reaction that resulted in Jesus’ touching of the man and his ultimate healing. Despite the chaos this would create for Jesus (see Mark 1:45), he was moved to heal anyway. This is how Jesus feels about his family; he is driven to see them thrive.

 

Daily Demonstration: Jesus consistently makes himself aware of that which causes him to feel moved. The result, he moves, and amazing things happen. Perhaps there will be something that causes something inside of you to move today, as well. Ask God how you can react to that particular movement. Looking toward the fast, ask God to continue inspiring you to move as you grow in a deeper relationship with him.

Day 6

Luke 7:1-10 Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant

 

Daily Reflection: The story of the Roman Centurion in Luke 7 contains numerous themes that encourage the family of God; listening, asking, believing, etc. Of all of these themes, however, perhaps the most influential is the very aspect of the story that led to the healing of the Centurion’s servant, his faith. Interestingly, Jesus’ response to this event is to declare that he has not seen this type of faith – not even in Israel. In other words, Jesus is alluding to the expansion of his family to include both Jew and Gentile.

 

Daily Demonstration: One of the most incredible ways to step out in faith as a family is through participating in a season of prayer and fasting. We are only four days away from beginning a 21 day fast. It’s one thing to sit back and watch others exercise their faith; it’s another thing to step out in faith on your own and participate. As we learned from the Centurion, these steps of faith become defining characteristics of the family of God. Begin to look toward the fast today and ask God how you will participate. What will you fast from? What will your prayer rhythm be? What will you be praying for?

Day 7

Luke 7:11-17 Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son

 

Daily Reflection: As we read through the gospels, it should never become common to see the miraculous work of Jesus. In this particular instance, Jesus raises to life the son of a widow. One of the most striking aspects of this story lies within Jesus’ compassion for the widow. In verse 13, the Bible says that his “heart went out to her.” This was not a heart of pity, but instead a compassionate perspective of her pain. Jesus was then prompted to heal her son, and as verse 16 proclaims, to “help his people” – the family of God!

 

Daily Demonstration: The phrase “my heart goes out to you” is a common saying that is used in a variety of settings. Perhaps the difference we see in Jesus is that this feeling resulted in a compassionate service that brought comfort to a troubling situation. What are some stories you’ve heard from family or friends that have recently caused your “heart to go out” to them? Is there something you can do today to help alleviate the trouble? Act on it!

DAY 8

Luke 7:18-23 Signs of the Kingdom

 

Daily Reflection: In Luke 7:18-23, a few of John the Baptist’s disciples come to Jesus on behalf of their rabbi. Their mission was to ask Jesus if he was the promised Messiah. Jesus, however, does not answer this question directly. Instead, Jesus affirms the “works” they have heard about him, and add to their understanding by outlining what he can do and why he is doing it. In other words, Jesus’ witness is found most profoundly in his actions and example. This was sufficient for the world to see who Jesus is – the King of God’s eternal family.

 

Daily Demonstration: We often feel as though we must present the gospel to people by giving people a defensive explanation as to why we attend church every Sunday. What if Jesus wants us to spread the gospel of the Kingdom as he did – with our actions and witness. In this way, the best way for someone to experience Jesus may not be through sharing a creative Instagram post but instead helping people in times of need. As you were reading this paragraph, who and what came to mind? Perhaps the Holy Spirit is nudging you to present the gospel with your feet today. How will the upcoming fast prepare your heart for how God wants to use you to spread the gospel?

Day 9

Luke 7:36-50 Dinner at Simon’s House

 

Daily Reflection: Today’s reading places us in a seat at the table of an exciting dinner – to say the least. Alongside Jesus and others, there is a woman who is caught up in sin. The text does not tell us exactly what kind of sin she was committing; however, we can see that it was enough to prompt her to come to Jesus for help. To make it even more interesting, the woman breaks an expensive jar of perfume and washed the feet of Jesus, all while her hair is down. In the First Century, this was seen as inappropriate in society. Not only was this woman willing to come to Jesus, but she was willing to do it in an extremely vulnerable way.

 

Daily Demonstration: One of the things that can quickly stop us from pursuing the Lord is the fear of public humiliation. As evidenced in the dinner story, the woman was so desperate for Jesus that she didn’t care what others thought of her in the process. Maybe this is where we need to be – so desperate for Jesus that we are willing to let go of our reputation. Tomorrow, we will begin a 21 day fast. What a perfect opportunity to come against the distractions of life and be completely vulnerable in the presence of the Lord! What kinds of things are you be willing to set aside if it meant a deeper relationship with Christ? How can these things be laid aside in a season of prayer and fasting?

 

Day 10

Isaiah 58:3-7 The Fast

 

Daily Reflection: As Christians, we grow closer to the Lord as we block out the everyday noise of the world and lean in closer to the voice of the Father. We block out these daily distractions by doing as Jesus called each of us to do in Luke 9:23: “and he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’ By taking up our cross daily, we are putting down the weighty things of this world that act as distractions, picking up what God has called us to bear, and following where he leads. With every distraction, we can easy to slip into “autopilot” in our relationship with God. However, we were never meant to have a passive, neutral relationship with God. In our walk with Christ, we can significantly benefit from hitting the pause button on our daily routine and, instead, hitting the refresh button in our spiritual lives. One of the best ways to reset and refresh our spiritual lives and relationship with God is to set aside time to seek the Lord through fasting and prayer. Fasting often reveals the raw state of our hearts. As we read in today’s daily reading, fasting should be done in humility – not in a self-serving manner. Fasting should always be about God.

 

The purpose of fasting is not to lose something, but to gain something; a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. Fasting can be done in various ways. The most common way people choose to fast is by fasting food, which can be achieved through a few methods. The first type of fast is called a dry fast. This type of fast consists of no food or beverages for a period of time. With a dry fast, it is essential to consult a doctor before beginning, as it could present or worsen specific health issues. Water fasts are when a person only consumes water, no food or other drinks, for a while. A partial fast is when someone refrains from eating a particular food or food group. Liquid fasts are when solid food is not consumed, just liquids. Ultimately, it is crucial to seek the Lord about what particular kind of fast He is asking you to choose.

 

Daily Demonstration: Today begins the beautiful process of seeking the Lord through prayer and fasting for the next 21 days. To help start this journey, we have provided some quick tips below in addition to the information provided above. Always keep in mind that this fast is about God, and with a specific purpose in mind, the next 21 days have the potential to change your perspective on the world around you and your relationship with God. Don’t forget – we are in this together! Take some time today to…

 

  • Pray. Be in faith as you prayerfully and thoughtfully step into this season of fasting. Fasting is more than merely going without something. It is supplementing the absence of something that feeds your flesh with prayer to feed your spirit.

 

  • Commit to a fast. Do not decide on a day-to-day basis. Commit before the fast, and be determined. Fasting options include water only, liquid only, one meal only, or traditional fasts (sun-up to sun-down, Monday through Friday).

 

  • Plan Your Calendar. Limit physical and social activities during the fast, conserve energy, and spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible. Remember to continue to engage The Whole Story reading plan throughout the fast. We will be reading scripture and discussing various prayer points throughout the next 21 days.

 

  • Consult a physician, if needed. If your situation does not allow you to fast food, determine an alternative that will work best for you. Such circumstances include pregnancy, a physically demanding profession, and medical conditions.

 

Ask friends and family to be your prayer partner throughout the fast and join with them together in the prayer points in this guide. Consider doing the fast within the benefits of community rather than in solitude.

DAY 11

Mark 2:1-12 Jesus Heals a Paralytic

 

Daily Reflection: There’s no doubt about it – there is just something about the presence of God. This truth is lived out among the four men who carried their paralyzed friend to be healed by Jesus. Interestingly, it was not their asking, in this case, that caused the man to experience healing. Instead, it was the faith of the four men who placed their friend in the presence of Christ. More, Jesus began by forgiving the paralyzed friend of his sin and then healed him of his ailment. It is incredible to see what a family of people can do to experience the Kingdom of God.

 

Daily Demonstration: Powerful things can happen when you have friends who have the faith to see your breakthrough. Who are those friends in your life? Who believes in you – even when you don’t? Additionally, to whom are you a friend that can exercise faith, as evidenced in this story? In this fasting season, make note to set aside time to pray for your friendships continually.

Day 12

Mark 2:13-17 Tax Collectors and Sinners

 

Daily Reflection: One of the most difficult challenges of life is to push beyond the trap of the pursuit of fame and fortune. In our minds, the better your reputation, the more opportunities will fall on your lap. This lie, however, is turned upside down when Jesus comes to earth. He came not to sit with the seemingly powerful, but instead with those whom no one wanted to share a meal. Jesus loves each member of his family equally and yearns to invite all who are willing into his glorious Kingdom.

 

Daily Demonstration: All too often, we find ourselves in situations where we run to build relationships with people who can elevate our place in society. This, however, was not Jesus’ social tactic. Instead, Jesus looked to sit with those that others avoided. Amid the fast, ask God to reveal where you have fallen short in this area. If necessary, take the time to repent. Who will you sit with today? Possibly someone you’ve never met? Or perhaps someone who no one else wants to meet?

Day 13

Mark 2:18-22 Jesus Forgives Sins

 

Daily Reflection: While the ministry of Jesus had an immediate, miraculous impact on some people’s lives, other people certainly responded to him with apprehension and disagreement. The most obvious of those offended were the Pharisees. In this particular case, they questioned why Jesus and his disciples were not fasting as the disciples of John and the Pharisees were. Jesus’ response was gentle, “things are different now.” This new wineskin means a new condition of the heart, and a new condition of the heart is fertile for a tradition-shattering Savior. The hearts of the family of God are postured to receive his will continuously.

 

Daily Demonstration: As human beings, it is easy to fall into the consistency of old habits and ways of viewing the world. Jesus, however, offers his people a new way to live, a new way to look at all of creation. Have you given your allegiance to the Savior of the world? Do you know people who need a “new wineskin?” In a season of fasting, there is all the more reason to evaluate these aspects of your life. Perhaps today is the right day to take a step toward a life in a deeper relationship with Jesus.

DAY 14

Mark 2:23-28 Grain on the Sabbath

 

Daily Reflection: In First Century Judaism, any work done on the Sabbath was unlawful and frowned upon by society. The Sabbath is an important practice for God’s people as it is a time in which they can rest in God’s faithfulness as he settles in amongst them. For this reason, it was frowned upon to do anything on the Sabbath except for keeping one’s focus on God. Little did these people know, however, that Jesus was their Sabbath rest. Yet again, Jesus turns this concept upside-down as he brings his disciples to a grain field to pick grain on the Sabbath for their needs. This was common practice for traveling folks outside of the Sabbath day. When challenged, however, Jesus’ response is to teach the Pharisees a critical lesson: the Sabbath exists to set the priority on God himself, not to blind his family from the work of God in front of their faces. Notice, Jesus did not condemn the Sabbath – it continues to be an essential practice of God’s people. Jesus, instead, focused their attention on him as their Sabbath rest.

 

Daily Demonstration: There are traditions and habits – which are meant for good – that can quickly become things that pull God’s family away from a deeper relationship with him. As you fast today, reflect upon the habits of your life that are meant for good but may have become stumbling blocks for your relationship with God. Do you need to revamp your devotional time? Do you need to serve in a new capacity? Do you need to make revisions to your work schedule? Ask God to search your heart – there is no better time than in the middle of a season of prayer and fasting!

Day 15

Mark 3:1-6 A Sabbath Healing

 

Daily Reflection: It is important to notice that much of Jesus’ ministry fell on the Sabbath. The timing of some of Jesus’ miracles is inclusive of the miracle itself. In Mark 3:1-6, not only does Jesus heal a man of an ailment, but also demonstrates his superiority over the Sabbath. In verse 5, the Bible notes that Jesus looked at those who challenged him with “anger.” Why anger? Self-righteousness and hardened-hearts are a constant nuisance in his daily life. God’s family can experience righteous anger, but we should avoid anger that divides and causes shame.

 

Daily Demonstration: Many of us struggle with anger – whether it is something we show the world outwardly or not. Even if it’s not a constant feeling, it is something that can be experienced in the blink of an eye. Jesus’ response of anger towards the Pharisees on the Sabbath healing lends itself for us to ask an important question: what kinds of things cause anger in our lives? Is it like the anger that Jesus demonstrates – righteous anger? Or is it like the anger that those who challenge Jesus? Has the fast revealed any areas of your life that elicit anger? Be sure to address these issues with prayer.

Day 16

Mark 3:7-12 More Public Healings

 

Daily Reflection: One of the most intriguing aspects of Mark 3:7-12 is that it doesn’t specify the types of people who came from surrounding regions where Jesus resided. What was their motivation? Was it spiritual? Was it selfish? The Bible doesn’t say. However, this story does state that he healed the “many” anyway – even the impure spirits couldn’t help but fall before him! This is the compassion Jesus has for his family. Despite the chaos that could play out from his miracles, he loves his family enough never to stop interacting with them.

 

Daily Demonstration: Have you ever considered the kind of impact you, your family, or your church has on others? Perhaps if you knew the type of impact you had, it would scare you away! Think about it – you are six days into a 21 day fast! You are loyal, committed, and strong in the Lord. Remember, you and your community can advance God’s Kingdom to the “many.” Pray that God would show you those people he wants you to reach out to today. Then, take courage and reach out – even if it is to say hello. You’d be amazed to know the kind of healing power a “wanted to say hello” can have for someone!

DAY 17

Mark 3:13-20 Jesus Appoints the Twelve

 

Daily Reflection: It is no coincidence that Jesus chose 12 disciples to send into the world to preach and help the oppressed. It just so happens that God’s original family, Israel, was a nation made of 12 tribes who were called to be set apart from the nations of the world. At the onset of the mission of the 12 disciples, Jesus is sending a new nation into the world – one that would include both the Jew and the Gentile, as we will see in the book of Acts. This new nation is to witness to the world the love of God.

 

Daily Demonstration: In the Old Testament, the family of God existed as the nation of Israel. Today, the family of God has been extended to all those who are willing to declare loyalty to King Jesus. As you pray and fast, set aside time to express gratitude to God for his inclusion of his family through the work of Jesus. There is no greater place to be than in the eternal family of the creator of the universe!

Day 18

Mark 3:21-27 Plundering the Strongman

 

Daily Reflection: A house is only as strong as its foundation, and therefore a house on a sturdy foundation will hold strong. In Mark 3:21-27, Jesus uses this parable to teach about the opposing kingdoms in the lives of his family. On the one hand, there is a Kingdom built upon the characteristics of God. On the other hand, there is a kingdom that is divided against itself built upon the enemy. With Jesus at the helm, the family of God can take down the enemy and bring down the fallen kingdoms of the world. To plunder the house, you must overcome the strongman – and we have King Jesus to help!

 

Daily Demonstration: Believe it or not, you are already eight days into this fast. You are doing so well! Take time to evaluate your surroundings today. Are there any obstacles in your family or friendships that have caused division and strife? Ask God to both reveal those things and the ways you can work to fix them. Perhaps as your house becomes more united, so will the world around you.

Day 19

Mark 3:28-35 Mother and Brothers

 

Daily Reflection: While being accused by his family of being a fraud, Jesus noticed the loyalty of those who stayed present in the turmoil of the moment. Jesus looked to these people and declared them as his new family – an eternal family that will continue to grow as the gospel is carried out in the world. This perspective shifted family loyalty from its limitations of biological connection to a spiritual family made up of all those who have been welcomed into God’s Kingdom.

 

Daily Demonstration: It’s easy to view your parents and siblings as family, but it is not as obvious to see other believers as a spiritual family. Ask God to open your eyes to this truth. More, ask that God would give you the eyes to see everyone in this light as inspiration to bring them deeper into God’s amazing family. There may be no better time than now – amid a fast – to see the world in this way!

DAY 20

Mark 4:1-9 The Parable of the Sower

 

Daily Reflection:  In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus is teaching the crowd the importance of genuinely receiving the “seed” of his word on good soil. This entails not just hearing the word of the Lord but listening and obeying it. Pay attention to verse 9, which says, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear,” and watch the Bible Project video for today to get a full understanding of what the word “hear” actually means. In this season, as we learn about many essential themes of our faith, it is crucial to remember this parable and allow the truths of God’s Word to fall on good soil, choosing not just to hear about them, but rather to listen to them and obey them as the family of God so they can take root in our lives and invite others into the Kingdom of God.

 

Daily Demonstration: Today, as you read the word, ask the Lord if there is a “seed” of truth that you’ve allowed to be devoured, choked out, or killed off in some way. Repent and choose to receive it on good soil. As you fast, ask that God would open your ears in such a way that you have never used them before – to hear the voice of God clearer than you ever have before. Be sure to listen and obey so that it can take root, grow, and yield a crop for the Kingdom of God.

Day 21

Mark 4:10-20 The Sower Explained

 

Daily Reflection: In Mark 4:10-20, Jesus is alone with the disciples, and they ask him to explain the parable of the sower. This passage draws on yesterday’s reading as Jesus expounds on the fact that only those who have true ears to hear will be able to understand, listen, and obey. Take note of verse 13, where Jesus says to the disciples, “do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” As disciples of Jesus, the more we cultivate a heart of good soil and put into practice what he teaches us, the more truths he will begin to pour out to us. Let’s be men and women who can steward well the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, being a guide for others who enter into God’s amazing family.

 

Daily Demonstration: Take time to reflect upon how God has been speaking to you during this fast. What are the mysteries and truths that the Lord has revealed to you? Perhaps consider sharing some of those “seeds” with others in your life, whether that be a family member, co-worker, others participating in the fast, or a friend today.

Day 22

Mark 4:21-25 More Parables

 

Daily Reflection: As God’s family, he has called us to steward well what we hear from him and his word. His word is living, active, and transformative in our lives. What we see in our reading today is very clear: what we do with what we hear will determine what we are given next.

 

Daily Demonstration: Today, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. You are 12 days into the fast. You may feel weak physically, but pray that the Holy Spirit build you up spiritually. Whether it be through the reading of his word or a prophetic prompting, listen and obey it. Act on it by putting it into practice or speaking it out. Believe that, because of your obedience, the Lord will continue to reveal more and more to you each day as you steward his word well!

DAY 23

Mark 4:26-34 Kingdom Seeds

 

Daily Reflection: Mark 4:26-34 compares the Kingdom of God to seeds. We read throughout the Bible that the Kingdom of God is here, but not yet. Right now, a simple way to think of the Kingdom of God is as a seed. Jesus came in the form of a seed through Mary – whom God made atonement sin and defeated death. He left the Holy Spirit to us, like a seed planted on the inside of each of us to serve as a guide, helper, and comforter. He gives us seeds of wisdom and truth in his word that are meant to take root, flourish, and grow. Right now, his Kingdom feels very much like a seed. However, we have to remember; there will come a day when he returns where that seed will grow into a glorious tree – his Kingdom! God’s family can experience heaven on earth now and in the New Eden, where “the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (see Rev. 21:3).

 

Daily Demonstration: Make a choice to plant or sow a Kingdom seed today. Allow God to use all he has taught you during the fast thus far to see that which he wants you to minister to today – whether it be through witnessing to someone, giving something, showing hospitality, or providing encouragement. Go and plant a Kingdom seed in someone’s life today. Pray it takes root and grows.

Day 24

Mark 4:35-41 Stilling the Storm

 

Daily Reflection: Isn’t it amazing that we serve a God whom even the wind and sea obey? As you pray and fast today, keep in mind that the same Jesus in this story is your heavenly Father, and you are a part of his family. He dwells inside of you through the Holy Spirit, and you are made in his image. What a powerful family in which you are apart!

 

Daily Demonstration: Take some time today to raise your level of faith. Perhaps there is something you’ve given up on or haven’t had faith to believe for. Today, in prayer and fasting, allow the spark of faith to ignite and choose to believe again. Remember, you serve a big God whom even the wind and sea obey.

Day 25

Luke 8:1-3 The Faithful Women

 

Daily Reflection: Luke 9:1-3 provides us with the beautiful story of Jesus welcoming women into his company. In the Lord’s eyes, we are all equal. Galatians 3:28 reads, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Jesus didn’t mind the past they came from because he saw them as his children, and he welcomed them to be a part of his family. We see that he allowed them to be active participators in his ministry. When you study the word “provided” found in verse 3, you will find that it also means to “minister to,” “to support,” and “to serve.” Jesus welcomed these women to partner with him in ministry, support, and service of his mission.

 

Daily Demonstration: Today, contemplate how you can participate in God’s mission by ministering, supporting, or serving in some capacity. Perhaps there is an offering the Lord is calling you to give to your local church, or maybe there is someone less fortunate you could care for or encourage. One of the most powerful actions you take during a fast is to not only believe what God has shown you but also demonstrate that word to the world. Whatever that demonstration may be, choose to participate in the mission actively.

DAY 26

Mark 5:1-13 Jesus Heals an Outcast

 

Daily Reflection: In Mark 5:1-13, we see an unclean spirit inside of a man both recognize and confess that Jesus is the Son of the Most High God. This unclean spirit knew God’s power and knew that he was no match for it. This same principle can be applied to any lesser god, principality, or power of darkness. They are no match for our God – the Most High God. In the end, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. God’s family is the safest, most comforting place to be. Anywhere else, and you’ll find yourself cowering in fear – as evidenced by the man in this story.

 

Daily Demonstration: You are now 16 days into this season of prayer and fasting. Great job! In what ways do you feel safer? More comforted? Spend some time in prayer today, asking the Lord if there is an area of your life that hasn’t bowed to his Lordship. If he reveals something, demonstrate your loyalty to him by laying that thing aside once and for all.

Day 27

Mark 5:14-20 Talk of the Decapolis

 

Daily Reflection: Could you imagine what it must have been like to be the man who was once possessed by a demon living as an outcast in society, only to be set free from the trouble in an instant? It’s hard to think about – especially for the man himself. More, could you imagine being a person who saw this man out of his mind, only to see him set free from the trouble in an instant? Be reminded of the truth we learn in 2 Corinthians 5:17, that God’s family is a “new creation” in Jesus. Of course, this man wanted to respond by telling the whole world, but Jesus asked that he’d stay right where he was as living evidence of the miraculous work of Christ for his family.

 

Daily Demonstration: When was the last time you felt a touch from God? Was it during the current fast? Have you ever been healed? Comforted? What was your response? Maybe today, God wants you to share some of the amazing things that he has done for you with people who are in your world every day. Who will you share your story with today?

Day 28

Psalm 103:1-5

 

Daily Reflection: The love that Yahweh feels for his family is inexplicable. Like a shepherd tending his sheep, he desires to guide his people to understand their purpose within his glorious Kingdom. While the world may offer circumstances that provide what can feel like wholeness, there is nothing that can satisfy the heart of humanity than Yahweh. As Psalm 103 teaches, God desires to trade the dark pits of life for crowns and glory in eternity. He wants his family to thrive.

 

Daily Demonstration: Often, we carry the burden of shepherding those whom God has trusted us to care for in our lives. It is rare to find moments in which you can focus solely on being a sheep. Today, take a moment to understand your role as sheep with God as your shepherd. Allow him to lead and care for you.

DAY 29

Psalm 103:6-14 The LORD’S Steadfast Love

 

Daily Reflection: There is nothing that we can hide from God – not even what it feels like to be human. Psalm 103 notes that God is aware of our very frame, the dust from which he made us. It’s a lot to consider that God knows the deep intricacies of each member of his family. Yet, he loves everyone just the same – with a steadfast love that defies what we can adequately understand. This love is the driving force behind his removing of transgressions from his people. Do we deserve this? No. Does God deem us worthy of this? Yes. What a privilege it is to be a part of his family – despite all that he knows!

 

Daily Demonstration: What are some of the transgressions in your life? Maybe today, the best next step is to make a list of those transgressions and speak to them. Tell them that God has removed them – as far as the east is from the west. After this exercise, invite someone else into the process. Share with them the things that God has revealed throughout the fast. Fill them in on what you’ve decided to leave behind because God has removed it. Don’t forget how much power there is in your testimony.

Day 30

Psalm 103:15-22 The Everlasting Love of God

 

Daily Reflection: Psalm 103:15-22 is a bit of a humbling scripture as it reminds us of the reality of our lives on this side of death. Yet, it simultaneously provides hope for this reality as it speaks to the secret of living a life of flourishing in the meantime. How? Fear of the Lord. This is not a fear rooted in being scared, but instead, a fear rooted in reverence and awe. When we view God in this way, we, as his family, can come together to make Kingdom impacts throughout generations. By adhering to his word, God will use his family to advance his Kingdom in such a way that the reality of the shortness of life becomes hope-filled in the reality that is to come in eternity with him.

 

Daily Demonstration: Today, take time to think about your children’s children. If you don’t have children, think about the generations to come behind us. In what ways can we, as God’s family, allow God to use us to bring heaven to earth in such a way that even they are impacted? In what ways can we help to see the generations to come to experience the steadfast love of the world? One of those most powerful things that you can do during a fast is to look into the future and pray for God’s will to be carried out. Pray and fast for future generations.

Day 31

Psalm 1 The Righteous Way

 

Daily Reflection: Psalm 1 paints a direct contrast between those who are blessed and those who are wicked. In truth, the answer is much more straightforward than one would expect. The difference between the righteous and the unrighteous is their relationship with the word of God. The Lord provides insight into his divine will through his will, and he has given his family the means to receive it. Whether it be through the holy scriptures or the Holy Spirit, the word of God is a lamp unto the feet of his family. Not only will it lead you down a path of righteousness, but it will provide blessings beyond comprehension.

 

Daily Demonstration: Congratulations! Today is the last day of the fast. It is essential to reflect upon all that you have learned in this season, while also staying intentional to keep the righteous path ahead of you. One very important means by which you can do this is through the word of God. In what ways do you currently utilize the word of God? By the mere fact that you are reading this, you embrace the scriptures through daily devotion. Even so, how can you take your relationship with the word to the next level? Maybe begin to do your daily reading in community. Perhaps you could spend time in prayer throughout the day. No matter the case, ask God to help you better your relationship with his word – the result will undoubtedly astound you. Take the principles you have demonstrated in this season through fasting and carry them into the next.