WEEK 1 – Loose the bonds

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke” Isaiah 58:6a ESV

This week is about identifying the things in your life that keep you tied down, and keep you from walking in freedom.

Community Fast: No Sweets

Giving up: Anonymity and Independence

Alive to: Community, the Strength of the Lord

Day 1: Sunday, March 1

Snack: Isaiah 58:6-7 Meal: Isaiah 58

Ask yourself: Who is a partner you can ask to join you in this 4-week journey? This is your Fasting Buddy. Contact them and explain this Month of Dedication, and how they can support you in this. Write their name down in a journal or somewhere you can keep notes on what God is saying to you this month. A family member or friend who is part of this church would be a great person. List in concrete terms how they can support you (i.e. checking in how often? permission to ask if you are keeping your commitments? Specific prayer needs or challenges you foresee…)

Decide: What foods will I fast this week? What specifically am I praying for/turning to? How will I pursue God this week?

Day 2: Monday, March 2

Snack: Matthew 6:16-18  Meal: Matthew 7:1-14

Ask yourself: What are your food restrictions this week? Solidify this in your mind. If you haven’t yet, write it down, and tell your Fasting Buddy.

Action Challenge: Decide: who would be blessed by the food I am not eating during this fast?  Take time to clean out your fridge and pantry. Give the “off limits” foods from your fridge and freezer to a neighbor, friend, or just throw them away. If you have pantry items you want to save, put them somewhere that is really hard to get to.

Day 3: Tuesday, March 3

Snack: Matthew 6:5-6  Meal: John 17

Ask yourself: What are your media restrictions for this fast? When are the times you most often find yourself wanting to “tune out” and (fill in the blank: watch/play games on your phone/surf online) instead of engaging with God or the people around you? This could be an emotional trigger, a situation, or a certain time of day.

Action Challenge: Decide: what media is God calling you to give up for the duration of this fast? If you haven’t yet, write it down, and tell your Fasting Buddy.

Decide: What are you going to do instead of (watch TV, surf the internet, etc.), especially during your biggest trigger time/event. Planning a healthy response is crucial. You can’t just avoid something unhealthy. You have to replace it with something healthy.

Day 4: Wednesday, March 4

Snack: Matthew 6:7-11  Meal: Matthew 7:15-28

Ask yourself: What are your crutches or personal addictions? What might God be calling you to give up or do less of, in order to have more time or energy for your pursuit of God or important relationships?

Action Challenge: Decide: what are the “crutches” God is calling you to give up for the duration of this fast? If you haven’t yet, write it down, and tell your Fasting Buddy.

Decide: Where can you place a highly visual reminder of what you are turning to? (Bathroom mirror, phone home screen, a named alarm to pop up on my phone or computer everyday…)

Day 5: Thursday, March 5

Snack: Psalm 51:10-12  Meal: Psalm 51

Ask yourself: How do you process information and emotions? Do you learn/process better by reading? By writing out your thoughts? By talking with someone? By taking a walk/jog? Thinking in the shower?

Action Challenge: Make time today or in the next couple of days to spend some time “processing” in the most effective method for you. Schedule a day for your personal “Feast” and think about what you will do that day (page 13-14).

Day 6: Friday, March 6

Snack: Matthew 4:1-4  Meal: Matthew 4

Ask yourself: How hard has this fast been so far? What is the hardest part? Why do you think this is?

Action Challenge: Write out or tell someone about the difficulties you’ve experienced so far in this fast. Talk/write about how this is affecting you, and the emotional effect of what you have been giving up. Try to figure out the “WHY?” questions to get to the heart of what this Month of Dedication may mean to you, and what areas God would free you in, if you will let Him.

Day 7: Saturday, March 7

Snack: Psalm 105:1-2  Meal: Psalm 105

Ask yourself / Action Challenge: Make a list of things you are thankful for!