Day 1: January 2, 2021 – Adapt in Fruitfulness (John 15:1-11)
Jesus shares with His disciples some significant insights about bearing spiritual fruit. Christ emphasized that Christ followers are to remain in the vine, love each other, and testify of Christ to the world. The three most familiar trees in the Mediterranean world were the olive, fig, and vine. Jesus did not and does not want His disciples to repeat Israel’s unfruitful history (Isaiah 5:1-7). Hence, ADAPT! Their adaptation and ability to produce is due to their relationship as identified in these verses. Disciples are the branches. Jesus is the vine. God the Father is the vinedresser. In verse 8, Jesus contends that God receives glory when disciples bear much fruit. We produce much spiritual fruit by abiding in the vine. Moreover, not abiding in the vine will yield NOTHING (vs. 5)! Fasting and praying is essential to abiding in the vine to maximize our spiritual fruit. Meditate on James 4:8 throughout the day! 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in fruitfulness! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 2: January 3, 2021 – Adapt in Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35)
Throughout Jesus ministry, He instructed His disciples to forgive. In the disciple’s model prayer, Jesus revealed the cause and effect of forgiveness. “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt. 6:14-15 (ESV). Christ followers must adapt and forgive others if we expect to be forgiven by God the Father. Forgiveness is reflective of God’s character and is an act of God. As you are drawing nearer to God during this fast, you will have to decide if you will continue to hold on to grudges, hurts, pains, words, thoughts, and images or forgive the person or persons. Holding back forgiveness prompts God to hold back His forgiveness which restricts how close one draws near to God. We should not be like the servant in our passage today who readily received forgiveness from the king for a larger debt but refused to extend forgiveness to one of his debtors. It is my prayer that you will ADAPT IN FORGIVENESS today! Two quick reminders about forgiveness:
-An unforgiving heart is an unforgiven heart.
-Forgiveness is living as one who is forgiven.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in forgiveness! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 3: January 4, 2021 – Adapt in Faith (Matthew 17:14-21)
According to Matthew 10:1, all 12 disciples have been given power to heal all manner of sicknesses. However, a father brings his son to 9 of the 12 disciples and they are unsuccessful in healing his son. When Jesus learns of this outcome, He immediately exclaims, “O faithless generation”. Jesus informs His disciples that they need to ADAPT IN FAITH. 20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. More importantly, Jesus provides instructions on how to adapt in one’s faith. This miracle narrative reveals that our faith can fluctuate due to circumstances and situations even though we have power and authority over them. Jesus asserts that your unbelief handcuffed the healing but fasting and prayer can empower one to ADAPT IN FAITH. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in faith! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 4: January 5, 2021 – Adapt in Faith Formation (Hebrews 5:12-14)
The author of Hebrews calls out the saints of God for their lack of spiritual maturity. Simply put, they needed to ADAPT IN FAITH FORMATION. The author contends that the disciples should be teachers and leaders in the body of Christ, but their spiritual growth has been stagnated. Their spiritual diet should be solid food, but they are only drinking milk. The key to adapting in faith formation is the WORD of GOD. We must study the word and put it into practice. Faith formation is essential business in the body of Christ. It is so essential that God has placed set gifts in the body of Christ to help us reach full maturity. Ephesians 4 states, “11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”.
It’s time to GROW. Fasting and prayer is and should be about FAITH FORMATION.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in faith formation! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 5: January 6, 2021 – Adapt in Finances (1 Cor. 16:1-4)
Most financial experts state that successful businesses, individuals, and families have spending plans or budgets. Spending plans only work if you work the plans. These plans require an investment of time to monitor the good, bag, and ugly. This is often the reality that we will discover if we would take the time to chronicle and count the blessings we receive on a weekly basis. Just as many of our eyes are opened and perhaps shocked when we review our spending plans or budgets to how much money we waste, spend unwisely, or don’t budget for, we will also discover the unsolicited favor and financial blessings that we do not account for. Thus, the words of the apostle Paul should ring loudly in our ears to inventory weekly the Lord’s blessings, so we know how to appropriately, willingly, and cheerfully give how God has blessed us. It is time to ADAPT IN FINANCES. Use this time in prayer and fasting to ask God to help in your finances. Declare 2021 to be one of the best financial years of your life. Begin by telling your money where to go instead of looking for where it went. The Bible provides the financial blueprint:
1. Put aside for God the Father’s Table (tithes and offerings) – 1 Cor. 16
2. Put aside for Future Table (investments, savings, retirement, college, etc.) – Prov. 6:6-11
3. Practically live from Family Table (living expenses) – Jer. 29:5-7
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in our finances! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 6: January 7, 2021 – Adapt in Focus (Col. 3:1-2)
One of the difficulties while praying and fasting is to stay focus. I am sure it has been a battle to stay focus on following the guidelines for the Daniel’s fast. Commercials, cravings, and social media postings of food and beverage can be a major distraction and feed your mind with negative thoughts, quitting, “cheating”, or feelings of swimming up-stream. The apostle Paul writes to the saints in Colosse who are being distracted due to some of the practices and sins of their past and provides some instrumental insight about ADAPTING IN ONE’S FOCUS. We adapt by looking up instead of looking around, down, at, or in. Fasting and praying helps us to set our minds on things above and not the things of the earth. As you begin to feel overwhelmed with or by distractions, ADAPT by flooding your mind with spiritual thoughts and fervent prayers to help you stay focused and to resist the Devil’s temptations. The apostle James declares, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you”.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in focus! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 7: January 8, 2021 – Adapt about the Future (Isa. 43:18-19)
Fasting and praying not only helps our focus but it also puts us on the same frequency with God. What a tragic trajectory our lives will take if we are on AM and God is on FM! In this passage, the prophet Isaiah has been assigned to deliver news to God’s people about life post-exile. This word is relevant to us as we are awaiting life post-pandemic. The prophet Isaiah declares, “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? My translation, “ADAPT ABOUT THE FUTURE”. The Creator has decided yet again to be “creative”. Elohim declares that He will be “innovative”. God is going to do a new thing, but the question becomes, “will His people perceive it?” Our ability to perceive depends on our willingness to forget the past and adapt about our future. This was hard for the people as the prophet was calling for them to forget the best of Israel’s past. For some of us, we welcome forgetting the worst but how and why do we forget the best. The past, where prosperous or painful, can paralyze our future progress. Can you imagine what the world would look like if people stop imagining? No cars, airplanes, drones, cell phones, robots, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, computers, and so on. Case in point, in order to move forward, we have to free ourselves to imagine, envision, and be innovative about a future that might look different than our present.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt about our futures! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 8: January 9, 2021 – Adapt in Fellowship (Acts 2:46; Acts 20:20)
From the genesis of the church, fellowship has been an important spiritual discipline. However, when one chronicles fellowship throughout the book of Acts, one will observe how the saints adapted in fellowship. In the beginning, fellowship primarily occurred in large gatherings at the temple and occasionally they would break bread in each other’s homes (Acts 2:46). As time elapsed and the saints scattered due to persecution, fellowship became more house to house than temple worship. The saints ADAPTED IN FELLOWSHIP. They did not stop fellowshipping due to restrictions or challenges, but they adapted. We are in a season in which fellowship has been fractured but we must adapt and find ways to still maintain fellowship. Many families, friends, and congregations have utilized technology such as Zoom, FaceTime, Duo, Google Hangout, House Party, and Skype to stay in touch. Case in point, we are engaging virtually until we can safely engage visually.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in fellowship! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 9: January 10, 2021 – Adapt in our Families (Ephesians 5:21-6:4))
The pandemic has caused many adaptations in our families. Families are not allowed to visit love ones in the hospital as in times past. Funerals have been limited in capacity amid travel restrictions. Consequently, families have paid their final earthly respects via Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, websites, and other technological mediums. Holidays were spent virtually. When I went home to visit my mom, our interactions and conversations adhered to social distance guidelines. I recall when I was preparing to leave, she said the following words, “It’s unfortunate that we are not able to hug”. Those words pierced my heart like never before as I came to realize that my mother had adapted. I know that she loves me. I know that she knows that I love her. We realized that we needed to protect each other simply because we love one another. COVID-19 has spread throughout families because we refused to adapt.
We not only need to adapt in our families physically, but we should use this time to adapt spiritually. On this day, fast and pray fervently for what you would like God to do in, with, through, and for your family. Joshua made a declaration that his family would not serve other gods and be driven away in idol worship. It’s time for our families to reaffirm our commitments and fidelity to the Lord only. Our parenting must adapt and be firmly rooted in the Gospel not rationalization only. Our marriages must hold to the truth and sacredness of our vows. Those who are single and unmarried must recognize that freedom does not promote or permit sin and riotous living.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in our families! In Jesus’ name. Amen
Day 10: January 11, 2021 – Adapt in Fitness (1 Timothy 4:8)
The Bible asserts that bodily training is valuable. Thus, Christ followers should engage in some form of bodily exercise to stay fit. The pandemic sent the fitness world in a frenzy. Gyms and public parks were closed, and people had to ADAPT IN FITNESS. People purchased bicycles, free weights, home workout stations, and even utilized household items and equipment to stay active. Though we do not fast for physical or bodily fitness, medical experts have noted for decades how the Daniel’s Fast is an adaptation in one’s nutritional fitness. Many Christ followers struggle with the Daniel’s Fast because they do not like this adaptation and refuse to adapt. As African Americans, we lead the nation in underlying health conditions that could be addressed through adaptation in fitness. It is my hope and desire that this fast will catalyze a lifestyle adjustment spiritually and physically.
PRAYER: Father, help us adapt in fitness! In Jesus’ name. Amen