Week 1: Hope

Recipes:

  • Cherry Cream Cheese Wreath
  • Broccoli Ham Wreath

Find the full devotional and recipes HERE.


Devotional: Bri Johnson


What is fasting? I think the modern Christian church often feels unfamiliar and even uncomfortable with the topic of fasting. For many people, the practice seems steeped in legalism and fear. However, we see the Israelites, the disciples, and even Jesus himself fasting – and we know that Christ came to fulfill the law and abolish fear.

 

In the Bible, the prophets speak of “the day of the Lord” approaching as a fearsome, wrathful judgement for all people. But God, in his rich mercy, calls to us. 


“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.”
Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

Joel 2:12-13  


We are called to “rend our hearts” through prayer and fasting - which literally means to violently tear into two. I don’t know about you, but I’m not over here jumping up and down excited about that… What a picture though! God is rich in mercy and love. He will be gracious towards us when we come contritely before him.

 

Fasting is an external expression of an internal reality. Our reality is that Christ came once into this broken world as a tiny baby – and He is coming again! In fasting, we repent in our hearts, confess our sin, and turn away from it in a tangible way.

 

As we remember the coming of Christ and anticipate his coming again, let us commit to a personal time of fasting as the Spirit leads each of us individually. If you would like to read more about fasting, you can read this article.

WEEK 2: PEACE

Recipes:

  • Shepherd's Pie
  • Sam's Biscuits
  • Vegan Blueberry Crisp

Find the full devotional and recipes HERE.


Devotional: Bri Johnson


Why do we fast? We see many reasons in scripture that God’s people fasted - for protection, for provision, in confession of sin, for the salvation of people, in the face of real fear, and for guard against temptation – just to name a few. Interestingly, God made us with a need for food in order to survive. When we go without sustenance, we feel deep hunger pains that cause us to yearn for something to eat. I do not think it is a coincidence that Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) These hunger pains that we feel when we abstain from food remind us of the yearning in our spirit for God to fill every empty part of our souls. In his book “Prayer, Fasting, and the Pursuit of God”, David Platt writes, “As we fast and pray, we remember that we can trust in the all-satisfying, all-sufficient goodness of the Father.” Friend, God is so much more satisfying and good than anything we could taste, touch, see, hear, or do. Let’s press into Him this advent season and ask Him to fill us until we overflow.


This week, as you spend time fasting and feasting, meditate on these scriptures. Set your hearts toward the message the angels proclaimed to the shepherds and the truth of the true satisfaction that comes only through Jesus.


Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

 

We know many families may have dietary restrictions, and we want everybody to feel included in this fast and feast focus of advent. However, this recipe is delicious regardless and makes a perfect dessert compliment to the rest of the recipes this week! Feel free to make them all or choose one that interests you.

 


As we remember the coming of Christ and anticidpate his coming again, let us commit to a personal time of fasting as the Spirit leads each of us individually. If you would like to read more about fasting, you can read this article.

WEEK 3: Joy

Recipes:

  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • Nona's Molasses Spice Cookies

Find the full devotional and recipes HERE.


Devotional: Bri Johnson


How do we fast? Well, as we seek to answer this question, let us turn to God’s Holy word as our guide. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides direct instruction on fasting.


“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”   Matt 6:16-18

 

Immediately following his teaching on prayer, Jesus illuminates the proper practice of fasting. The religious leaders at the time had turned many good things into practices of self-worship – including the practice of fasting. As humans, we desire to be praised by others for our good works, but God tells us to fear Him more than we fear man (Matt. 10:26-32). Jesus directs us to fast with a heart of prayer that is completely focused on Him.

 

In this passage, Jesus says “when you fast”, which assumes that we will fast, and in Matthew 9:15, Jesus also tells his disciples that they will fast when he is gone even though they had no need to while he was still with them. Since we are no longer under the laws and regulations that were required of the Israelites before Christ’s atoning sacrifice, how, how often, and when do we fast? Well, according to Jesus during the Sermon on the Mount, we are to fast in secret, cover our time of fasting in prayer, and commit to the Lord with a heart of obedience. The good news is that Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit (John 14) who dwells within us and enables us to live righteously and faithfully. When we press into the Holy Spirit, I believe wholeheartedly that he will lead us in obedience. Maybe you fast for one meal or maybe it’s a full day. Perhaps you commit to fasting every week, or maybe it is only in certain times of distress over sin, strife, or suffering. Ultimately, God will guide us as we seek to honor him through prayer and fasting.

 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6


As we remember the coming of Christ and anticipate his coming again, let us commit to a personal time of fasting as the Spirit leads each of us individually. If you would like to read more about fasting, you can read this article.

WEEK 4: love

Recipes:

  • Orange Cranberry Granola
  • Overnight Yeasted Waffles

Find the full devotional and recipes HERE.


Devotional: Bri Johnson


As we have sought the Lord through fasting, we have learned that fasting literally means “not to eat”. The giving up of a physical necessity in order to dwell on our spiritual necessity of worship, intercession, or confession.

 

Today, I challenge you to contemplate the beauty of this. Ultimately when we fast, we are FEASTING on the glorious nature of the one, true God. When Jesus spends time fasting in the desert, he is tempted by Satan to turn rock into bread. Jesus’ response?

 

“Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God’s mouth” Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3

 

Jesus meant these ancient, well-known words. He was feasting on the scriptures and was sustained - just as the Israelites were by the manna God provided. We have the same opportunity to experience God’s provision of eternal food through the Scriptures.

 

So how do we start?

 

We must cultivate an appetite for God’s Word. Ask the Holy Spirit to spur you on in a desire to know God more. Meditate on scriptures such as Psalm 19, and PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. Seek the Lord, and you will find him (Jer. 29:13, 2 Chron. 15:2). We know that His Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword” (Heb. 4:12) and that these words spoken to us “are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). So as we contemplate this literal definition of fasting, let us direct our hearts and actions toward the true opportunity available. To feast in the life-giving food provided to us by our Father, and…

 

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 2 Peter 2:2-3

 


As we remember the coming of Christ and anticidpate his coming again, let us commit to a personal time of fasting as the Spirit leads each of us individually. If you would like to read more about fasting, you can read this article.