The Vine - Fasting

Devotional
Devotion:
You are nearing the end of your fast. You only have five days to go, and hopefully your time over the past 16 days has been significant with the Lord. Our devotions have encouraged you to look back, reflect, quiet your heart before God, and hear his voice. Over the remaining days of the fast, we now want to encourage you to begin to look forward. We want us all to focus on what's ahead, and to be excited for the year God has prepared for each of us.

Daniel 7 is one of the most important chapters of the Old Testament. It's known as apocalyptic literature and has much in common with the language, style, and visions that are found in Revelation. This kind of literature contains prophetic announcements of what is going to happen in the future, and more specifically the end times when God acts again to redeem his world and his people. Daniel 7 introduces us to what became known amongst God's people as 'The Day of Yahweh' - the day when God sends one 'like a son of man' to establish his kingdom on earth, a kingdom that would be everlasting from generation to generation. While the language and imagery can be sensational, the theme and purpose is clear - God will act again to save his people, and that act, when it happens, will be final. In other words, God is sovereign, in control, and will have the final word. He started it all, he will finish it all. As Jesus echoes in the opening words of Revelation - he is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Modern songwriter John Mark McMillan has a beautiful song called Future/Past where in the chorus he sings: "You are my first / You are my last / You are my future and my past". As we intentionally focus on looking forward over the remaining devotions of this fast, our starting point has to be knowing that God is our ending point. He will come again, and he will save his people. God is the full stop on all of our sentences, and that should give us real hope. Tangible hope. Hope to make today, this day, full of value, life and purpose.

Listen to 'Future/Past' by John Mark McMillan

Reflection:
What does it mean for you to consider God as your beginning and your end? How does knowing God has the last say on all things in our world help you to change your perspective on your current circumstances? As you look forward to the year ahead, thank him for being your omega, for how this empowers you to trust him with everything.

Prayer:
Father, you began all things and you will end all things in your timing. Thank you for being sovereign and in control of the whole world, and therefore also my life. As I look forward to the coming year I do so in hope, and I commit my expectations and dreams once again to you. Amen.