If you’re new around East Coast Christian Center and seeing this devotional for the first time, we’d like to introduce it to you.
The devotional is based on the idea that we take time at the beginning of the year to press in a little bit more to the things of God and the person of Jesus. We’ll get to know Him better and start the year with a focus on the Kingdom of God. There are a lot of things going on at the beginning of the year, and our focus can go many different directions, but we need our focus to go toward God and connect with Him.
The Christian life is just that, a lifetime of relationship with God and service for God. God is looking for marathoners who will run the race with endurance, not just sprint for a season. The Christian life is more than a season, just like a marriage is more than a ceremony or even a honeymoon. Flowers and candy turn into diapers and laundry, and kisses turn into dishes, but there still need to be seasons throughout the marriage that are intentionally set apart to be special and intimate. In the same way, the Christian life needs seasons that are set apart for greater intensity and focus on seeking God.
One of the truly great things about God and living the Christian life is that every day can be a fresh start. God’s grace and mercy are freshly prepared for us each and every day. There will always be enough— enough grace, enough joy, enough faith, enough hope, and enough love for what you are going to face today. New Year’s Day is one of those times when I think it would serve both God and us well to think about a fresh start. Whether it is a new year or a new day, God has good works foreordained that we should walk in them.
Our lives can be like a chalkboard or white board that has seen a lot of heavy use. It becomes cloudy, and the residue from previous use makes it look unattractive and dirty. But when we use that special solution to clean the white board or a wet rag to clean the chalkboard, it looks fresh and new.
“I knew nothing about who he was—only this: that my task has been to get Israel ready to recognize him as the God-Revealer. That is why I came here baptizing with water, giving you a good bath and scrubbing sins from your life so you can get a fresh start with God.” John 1:31 MSG
At the start of the New Year, we will be taking some time to be set apart— making time for cleansing. We will be getting into the Word, fasting, and preparing our hearts during this time of seeking the Lord. We will be doing devotions, praying, pressing in to the services, and sharing the gospel with our friends and family. Our focus will be on Christ, connecting with one another in His body, and moving with compassion for our neighbors.
We’ll start out our year with a Daniel Fast. You might have heard of Daniel and the lions’ den. Daniel was a guy in the Bible who had this lifestyle of seeking God. In one of the seasons of his life, he fasted sweets and meats, which means he didn’t eat desserts or meats for a period of time. God showed Himself mightily on Daniel’s behalf, both in the culture as well as in the Kingdom of God. It was a powerful thing.
This devotional accompanies our time of fasting. It is connected to the vision we believe God has given us at East Coast Christian Center. If you have been here more than once, you have heard that we are “building a life giving church that lasts.” We want to build a church that’s going to last through the generations and be here when my generation is gone and my grandchildren are serving God. We want to build a church that’s not just here as a mausoleum, but is relevant, life-changing, and life-giving.
We also believe in a three-pronged mission statement that fits the vision God has given us. Here are the three prongs:
UP: This is our relationship with God, our worship, our love for Him, our fire, and our desire to be His children and to honor Him with our lives and our words.
IN: This is our relationship with the Church as a part of the body of Christ. He wants us to be edified, which means to be built up. We have times of getting in the Word together, times we serve together and love one another, and times where we provide an atmosphere for people to come from the community and other parts of the world to be a part of this life-giving church that lasts.
OUT: This is our outreach. That’s reaching out to a lost and hurting world. We’ve said it this way, “We’re taking the gospel out of the four walls of the church house to reach Merritt Island, Brevard County, and the world for Jesus.”
We verbalize those three prongs this way: LOVE GOD, LOVE THE CHURCH, and LOVE PEOPLE. This devotional is about centering in on God, centering in on His Church, and centering in on reaching the world for Jesus.
As we launch into 2019, seek God no matter what, read the devotions, and come to services whenever you can. Let’s press in and make this a year where the presence, the power, and the passion of God are evident in the world we live in.
Let’s all join together and press into His presence with a renewed sense of urgency and passion as we kick off the New Year right— with a fresh start.
“Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 MSG
Thank you so much for Loving God, Loving the Church, and Loving People as we work together to Build a Life-giving Church that Lasts.
A Daniel Fast is based on the following scriptures:
Specifically, Daniel 1:12 (KJV) says:
“Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.” The word “pulse” is translated as “vegetables”. Pulse comes from the Hebrew word “zero,”which is something sown, like seeds to grow vegetables for food.
Daniel ate only what grew from the ground. He avoided meat for two reasons:
It was dedicated to idols and would defile the person who ate it knowing it was dedicated to idols (Daniel 1:8), and he was abstaining from this food to seek the Lord.
Daniel avoided sweets, desserts, and sugar. He proposed in his heart to find his joy and fulfillment in God, not in food.
Daniel 10:3 (KJV) says: “I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” In Hebrew, “pleasant bread” translated comes from “chemdah lechem,” which is delightful food, food that one eats for pleasure rather than purpose of nourishment.
So what do we eat? Keep it simple and follow the leading of the Lord. The purpose of a fast is to seek God, not just go on a diet. If you would like to lose weight while doing this fast, you can cut out dairy as well.
A suggested meal plan:
• Breakfast – Eat fruit until noon
• Lunch – Eat a large salad with vegetables
• Dinner – Eat beans and rice, vegetables or salad
Here are some resources to help you plan meals according to the Daniel Fast:
Our vision at East Coast is simply stated in three parts: Love God, Love the Church, Love People. In 2019 that vision is coming alive in the fresh word of “The One.” At different times and seasons, God brings us fresh vision that will ignite us as a community. “The One” is simplifying our focus so that we can see what’s important through all the distractions.
This devotion is broken up into three weeks that will coincide with three themes of teaching on what “The One” is all about.
We will be looking at three statements that will crystalize the vision for 2019.
Week 1 // JESUS IS THE ONE
Week 2 // TAKE ONE STEP
Week 3 // GO AFTER THE ONE
With this devotion, we are also asking you to take one step toward fasting and prayer. Fasting and prayer is simply giving up food and distractions and seeking God. Please read the fasting section to learn more.
First we are asking you to take One Step. This will be different for different people.
Give up distractions.
Stop eating and drinking harmful things.
Give up habits.
As a church, we are going to do the Daniel Fast during this 21-day time period. Some of us are going to take a step to fast all food for the first three days. Take the time to pray and ask God how and what you should fast for Him.
With the devotions and fasting, we will also have opportunities to meet as a church and pray. You will find these times and locations in the app, on the website, and they will be announced at the service you attend.
The best is yet to come, and if you embrace this new season called “The One” in 2019, we believe that this year will be life-changing, not only for you, but for the people God is bringing into your life. Our hearts will change, our church will grow, and our community will be drawn closer to Jesus!
Our big focus:
JESUS is the One
– Do I have the right view of Jesus?
– Is Jesus the center of my life?
– Following Christ as my Leader and Lord
– Putting down distractions that would keep you from following Christ
Our big focus:
Go After the One
– Who is that one person I can pray for, love more, and pray with?
– Invite the one person to church
– Open your eyes to the people that God loves
– Seek the lost person
YOU’VE COMPLETED THE 21 DAY DEVOTIONAL!
We are proud of you for finishing, and we believe that you were encouraged and challenged by the devotionals and the Word of God. You might say, “This has been great! I have really enjoyed it, but what should I do next?”
You have several options. Here are a few:
– Morning Breath, which is a daily devotional program to help you jump-start your day. You can access it via radio broadcast on WMIE 91.5 FM at 5:00 AM, 7:30 AM, and 4:00 PM. You can also find it on the East Coast App.
– YouVersion – this is an app you can download on your phone. There are hundreds of devotionals and Bible reading programs you can start.
– Pick a book in the Bible to read. You had a great start by reading the scriptures in this devo – keep on going!
– Join a Dream Team and start serving in the local church
– Join a Small Group
It’s said that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. You have formed a good habit, and we encourage you to stay with it and see your life changed by the Word of God!