Now that the holidays are over and the feasting has added several inches to the waistline, it’’s time to tune up both physically and spiritually.

Thoroughly convinced that we need to push back from the table, we seek to expend more time and energy developing other aspects of our being —giving the mouth and digestive system a much needed rest!

The New Year is a wonderful time for reflection and new beginnings. While the world focuses on New Year’’s resolutions, many Christians turn their thoughts to drawing closer to God and getting to know Him in a more intimate fashion. Whether through church-instituted programs or individual decisions, fasting is an excellent venue for developing an inner awareness of the presence of God. While books and programs explain the mechanics of fasting and the various methods of doing so, people are often left wondering what activities they can or should do during this period of abstention. Keep in mind, the focus is not on denial but on increasing intimacy with God.

Here are some suggested activities:

A.    Reverence the Lord

  1. Begin each morning praising God. Cite 3-4 different reasons each day and write them in a  journal or notebook.
  2. Create a song or poem showing your holy awe and respect for Him.
  3. Make a blessings tree and illustrate things you are thankful for. Great to do with children!
  4. Take a ½ hour daily walk and worship God as you enjoy His creation.
  5. Listen to inspirational songs and music that create an atmosphere of worship.

B.    Recall the Purpose of the Fast

  1. Read Isaiah 58. Pray for the injustice in the world, those who are in bondage and/or oppressed.
  2. Make a food, clothing, or financial donation to a charitable organization to help the needy.
  3. Write a prayer of commitment to the Lord concerning one major area of struggle in your life.
  4. Create a prayer wall and write the names of individuals and their prayer concerns.

C.    Read the Word

  1. Commit a key verse to memory to guide you through the fast. (I use Philippians 4:8 which helps me with my thought life).
  2. Underline, highlight, add personal notes in the margins as you read. Note who was speaking, to whom, and why.
  3. Make a chart of the promises contained in the passage and the conditions.
  4. Read the passage in a different translation than you normally read and compare the wording. Is the meaning any clearer? **Do not go to other references- this is NOT a Bible study!

D.   Reflect on the Word

  1. Substitute your name (where applicable) in the passage.
  2. Sit quietly before God and pondering on mentally digest the scripture. Keep a pen and pad nearby.
  3. Listen for the voice of God to speak to your heart. Write down what He says to you through the Word.

E.    Respond to God

  1. Pray about what He has revealed or confirmed through His Word.
  2. Talk intimately with God (as a trusted friend). Tell Him your heart’s desires, dreams, goals, and fears. He wants to be the center of all you do and are!
  3. Be open to Him! What does He want you do? To change?
  4. Perform the stretching exercises in the fitness section of this eMagazine  and benefit also from the release of bodily toxins. Exhale slowly and relax. Rest in the Lord
  5. Enjoy a cup of herbal tea, warm water, and/or a lemongrass footbath ( in the aromatherapy section). Bask in the presence of God and wait confidently for Him to do what He has promised.