For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 – NKJV)
For spiritual progress to occur in our lives, we must come heart to heart with God, and reveal to Him the things that hurt us, frustrate us, anger us, the things that make us feel insecure, the things that worry us, and the sins that regularly tempt us.
Last night in our mid-week service, I announced that we would participate together in a “Daniel Fast,” which is a fast of sweets of all things refined and processed, and eating only what comes from the ground: fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc. for twenty days or three weeks. We began last night and will conclude Wednesday, January 25. And during this fast I suggested that we would take some time daily to allow God to search our hearts. For more info about a Daniel Fast, click on this link – http://daniel-fast.com/portfolio/foodlist/
The basis for this Daniel fast is Daniel 10: 2-3 (NLT) reads: When this vision came to me, I, Daniel, had been in mourning for three whole weeks. (3) All that time I had eaten no rich food. No meat or wine crossed my lips, and I used no fragrant lotions until those three weeks had passed.
So, we’re beginning this year with plans to seek the Lord with our whole heart in this Daniel fast for the next three weeks. If you would like to join us on this twenty one day journey, please do.
Here’s what I suggest. Let’s use this time as a opportunity to seek God from our hearts. Let’s use it as a time to open the door of our hearts to Jesus, and allow Him to inspect our lives in a fresh way. Revelation 3:20 reads: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. Jesus stands in front of each of us, waiting for us to allow Him into the various areas of life. We hold so much back from Him. And He wants to talk to us about everything in life.
During this twenty one day Daniel fast, I suggest taking some time every day to get alone and wait in the presence of God. I started this kind of “waiting on God” over forty years ago when I came to Christ. I had quite a few “wounds” from past events, and was very skeptical of closeness. My thinking was, it’s just too easy to get hurt if you choose to get close to people (even God) and to trust others very deeply.
Over a period of time this getting alone with God for some real time heart introspection began to change me. I found that God was very gentle and loving, and that He desired to help me. Layers of walls that I had erected around various areas of my life began to peel away, like the layers of an onion. I’ve continued this introspective prayer over these years now, and I continue to change. I have found this exercise keeps my relationship with Jesus fresh and current, and enables me to talk to Him about things that come up in life that bother me.
Practically to do this, I suggest a place where you can get alone with no interruptions. It may be a room in your home, or for some, it may be a long walk. During this time affirm your thanks to God for His love, mercy, and grace flooding your life. Then, just start telling Him the things that bother you. Tell Him what you think and how you feel about a situation. If what you are thinking and feeling is wrong, acknowledge it as sin and ask Him to forgive you. He will immediately. Then ask God to help you with areas of life. Start with what bothers you the most. Ask Him in specifics way. He longs to answer.
It will take some time to be thorough with this exercise. Go through each area of life beginning with those closest to you: Spouse, children, extended family members, work associates, church associates, friends, neighbors,etc. Also bring up personal issues that you wrestle with. This will take some time.
As you perform this exercise of pouring your heart out to God and being completely candid with Him, your life will begin to change. Rest will take the place of nervous anxiety. A new boldness and confidence will begin to form within you as you and the Father get closer and closer. This is how true life transformation occurs.
Here are the scriptures that form the basis for such God seeking. I’ve found these scripture over the years, and they have become at treasure to me:
2 Corinthians 5:10 – (Amplified) – For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities].
Hebrews 4:13 – (NKJV) – And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Psalm 90:8 – (Amplified) – Our iniquities, our secret heart and its sins [which we would so like to conceal even from ourselves], You have set in the [revealing] light of Your countenance.
Philippians 4:6-7 – (JB Phillips) – Don’t worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God which transcends human understanding, will keep constant guard over your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus.
Psalm 19:14 – (NKJV) – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
Psalm 139:1-18, 23-24 -(NLT) – O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. 5 You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand! 7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. 13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!…23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts 24 Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
I encourage you to start this journey with me as we get closer in a heart to heart connection with God. It only gets better with time!