The Daniel Fast: feed your soul, strengthen your spirit, and renew your body (Tyndale Momentum, 2010)

More than we may readily admit to, our physical condition impacts our spiritual and emotional health. The Daniel Fast is a tool which leads the reader to a thoughtful and well-planned blend of body-to-spirit awareness designed with a spiritual purpose in mind. Scripture references highlight different spiritual disciplines that require adhering to and purposed endeavor. One of these, the discipline of fasting, is often mentioned. Depending on one’s background, the person may have participated in fasting or they may not have.

This is a whole new opportunity to facilitate growth in the inner person through denying self of certain foods and drinks. Susan Gregory offers this book as a guide for a form of partial “fasting,” a fast that allows the foods eaten by Daniel and the three Hebrew boys during their initial period of  Babylonian captivity. For spiritual reasons, these young men refused to eat the King’s food and drink. Instead, they drank water and ate pulse, any seed-bearing food (vegetables, fruits, and grains). They fared very well.

As Gregory explains, a true “fast” is a relationship of denying food or drink for the purpose of a spiritual goal. The Daniel Fast incorporates devotionals, biblical background, a food list, and recipes. It is easy to read but serious in intent. My church ladies have participated in the Daniel Fast two times and are eager to do it again. They also purchased the workbook which works well as a compliment study. This is an excellent group activity. We saw much improvement in our physical health during the fast and also noticed a sharpness in our spiritual side as we completed the study.

Complaining, a Troubling Condition

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

Christian people like to complain; have you noticed this? They grumble about this and are unhappy about that, they complain about what they wish was different or how it should be done in another or better way. When things are not going well, they are quick to ask for prayers. But when the prayers are answered, they might still have a touch of the dissatisfaction in their comments, how it’s not quite what they wanted.

Be content in all things.” Not optional. Being content is expected of us.

Such a common verse.  One we disregard so easily. We excuse our complaining. Or we don’t recognize it for what it is. Contentment is related to a state of being in our spiritual sensitivities and our inward spiritual liveliness. Discontent or the tedious complaint, voiced often and repetitively, is telling on you. It is telling the rest of us exactly the state of your spiritual side or my spiritual side. Oh my!

Emotions are Fragile: Stop the Public Scoldings

Emotions are fragile. It troubles me when I see people stomp on other people’s emotions as if the other person has no feelings. Words, when said in order to cause humiliation or with unrestrained intense anger, will cause emotional damage.

In a conversation, a parent said to me that her husband intentionally embarrassed her son (his step-son) in front of his classmates. The reason? So the boy will remember to turn on his cell phone when he is leaving school. The mother thought it would make her teenage son more responsible. Not me, I think it is akin to shaming. The following statement is well documented.

Public shaming is one of the most damaging humiliations a person can experience. It is especially harmful to the person’s self-concept and emotional health.

Storyteller’s Magic: The Teachable Moment

The children look at me, expectation written on their faces. They are waiting. Interest is piqued. I know it is a teachable moment.

I jump in. I make my case. I take the time to draw them into it, to create growing curiosity, to put them “there.” There are ways to and not to tell a story.

It is the art of the storyteller.