The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four young men and unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
Daniel 1:14-17 NLT
God doesn’t call us to give something earthly up without the promise of something better spiritually, something amazing that we would never have imagined or asked for in our finite knowledge. In Daniel’s story, he knew that the king’s food would defile him, so he abstained from eating the rich food and wine of the king and had only vegetables and water instead. God rewarded Daniel’s faithfulness and sacrifice by giving him the special ability to interpret dreams and an incredible capacity for understanding literature and wisdom. Write or draw about a time in your life that God rewarded your sacrifice with something amazing.
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
Hebrews 12:14-15 NLT
We are exhorted to work out our faith, to work at living in peace, to work at being holy, to do good works. Design a business card for the “job” you do best in the kingdom of God. Are you best at encouraging others? Teaching? Serving or hosting? Describe your job and design a logo or a slogan for your business card.
Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same. And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king. If I must die, I must die.
Esther 4:16 NLT
Fasting is most often a tool for praying specifically with laser-like intention and focus on one topic – an important decision, a stronghold of sin, or even a national crisis like the one Esther was facing. Pray and ask God to point his laser beam into your life and show you where you may need a focused time of prayer or fasting. Write that in the center of the page and draw a shape around it. From that central idea, brainstorm actions you need to take and draw the thoughts God brings to you as an idea map.
When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. The your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
Matthew 6:5-13 NLT
Meditate on these instructions Jesus gave us about prayer. God honors our humility, honesty, and directness when we pray. Jesus then models that in the next verses (Matthew 6:9-13) that we call the Lord’s Prayer. Rewrite that prayer in your own words to reflect your needs and your relationship right now with God.
The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. Hes dressed himself in burlap ans sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree through the city: “No one, not even animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must turn from their evil way and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
Jonah 3:5-9 NLT
The fast declared by the king of Nineveh was both a demonstration of belief in God’s message and mourning for his people’s evil ways. The king recognized that an about-face was required if they were to escape God’s wrath. Imagine that you are a news reporter on the scene. Write an article about the events in Nineveh or an interview with a character in the story.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, on final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:6-8 NLT
As you read these verses, write down seven words that stand out to you. Use these seven words to write a poem, with each word in your list as the first word of each line. Your poem doesn’t have to rhyme or follow any set verse pattern, so just follow God’s prompting and write what fills your heart.
Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have – Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials – gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.
1 Corinthians 3:10-14 NLT
Jesus is our foundation, our cornerstone. In this passage, our works are imagined to be a building that will survive the fire of judgment so long as everything is built on Jesus. Draw the temple that you are building on Christ. Then draw the temple you have built with your self or the world as a foundation. What are your bricks made of for each temple? How solid is the foundation of each temple?
And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Matthew 6:16-18 NLT
Fasting as a spiritual discipline serves to focus our energy on God, and not to draw accolades on ourselves. Using this scripture as a reference, write an advice column answer to someone seeking guidance on fasting.
Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work. But if I do his work, believe in the evidence of the miraculous works I have done, even if you don’t believe me. Then you will know and understand that the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.
John 10:37-38 NLT
The miracles Jesus did left evidence behind, and that evidence pointed straight to Jesus being the Son of God. What evidence of Jesus at work do you see in your own life? Draw something that represents the proof that he is working in your life and that Jesus is who he says he is.