Let’s say you are standing looking over this brand new piece of “property” you’ve acquired,  which is in this case,  the year 2009.  With your drawings in hand, you survey the land in front of you on which you plan to build your dreams, and picture in your mind how it’s going to look when it’s all finished.  That alone should bring a smile to your face!

Just yesterday, my husband and I attended a New Year’s Day party.  The house where it was held was in the process of being remodeled. The owner took us on a lengthy tour, proudly telling us the plans he and his wife had for each individual room.  It was a huge house!  Some of the rooms were nearly completed, and some of them were still stripped down to the bare bones.  A couple of them had not even been started on yet.

Never-the-less our host beamed with pride as he explained “This will be the master bedroom, and here is the master bath, and the closet ….” etc.  It was obvious that he didn’t see a big house with a lot of unfinished work when he walked through his home.   He saw instead,the finished product.

And it was BEAUTIFUL!

I can say that with a fair amount of certainty, because I too have remodeled houses in the past and know that in order to remodel, you’ve got to first have a vision of the home as it will look in the future.  That’s what keeps the momentum going and the dream alive in one’s heart.  Whenever you feel discouraged, it’s wonderful to take a fresh look at your plans and be reminded of the reward that lies ahead at the completion of your work.

What do you see in your future?  What will you accomplish in the coming days, months … year ahead?

What can you do TODAY to take your first step toward that end?

May I make a suggestion?

Chances are there is some debris left from your past that might impede your progress or even worse, prevent your success altogether.  It’s imperative that the debris be identified and removed so you’ll have a clean slate to work with. Otherwise, your efforts will surely be undermined.

Debris comes in many forms.  It can be old hurts from the past such as, “emotional baggage” that has no place in your life.  Debris can consist of bad relationships, negative influences or  habits that are counter-productive and can seriously cripple your efforts to move forward once and for all.

Get rid of it.


I apologize if I’ve said anything up to this point to insinuate that building a dream is an easy process.   Quite to the contrary,  it can  be very hard work.  Breaking an old habit is hard.  Getting negative people and influences out of our lives can be even more difficult.  But it can and must be done!

Our church holds an annual fast that starts the first Sunday of each year and lasts for twenty-one days. Our annual fast has become so widely known that not only does our own congregation participate, we are expecting about 100,000 people worldwide to join us in 2009

The fast can take various forms and our Pastor leaves it up to us to choose one for ourselves.  The “Daniel fast” is the most popular by far. While on the Daniel fast, one avoids all meats and sweets, and drinks nothing but water (an occasional glass of natural fruit juice is allowed)  Our diet consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and some beans and legumes.  While it’s possible to stay on the Daniel fast for three straight weeks and never actually feel all that hungry, let me assure you, it is not an easy endeavor.

The fast has a wonderful effect on the physical body.  Many of us spend the first three days on a “water only” diet.  This jump starts a de-toxifying process.  Not only do we avoid introducing new toxins into to our bodies, we begin to cleanse ourselves of any that were already present.

While as I said, this is a wonderful effect, it’s also something I dread terribly!  You know why?  Because it invariably makes me feel downright sick every year.   For beginners, my body is accustomed to absorbing unhealthy amounts of caffeine on a daily basis. (My own stubborn fault!)  Without that caffeine intake, I must go through a withdrawal period.   This translates to an horrible, sick headache that can last up to an entire week.

During the fast, not only do we deprive our bodies of most of the foods we normally eat, we also “feed” our spirits by reading God’s Word and praying.

Wonderful things happen as a result!  At the end of the fast we all feel physically and spiritually clean!  The fast enables us to enjoy a clearer vision of our purpose in life.  We feel closer to God and more in tune with what He is saying to us not only as a church body, but as individuals.

Because the “debris” we had in our bodies and spirits before the fast began has been eliminated, it is as if we are seeing the world through brand new eyes.   All distractions that once hindered us have disappeared. Often, we discover we’ve been given a whole new dream.  Our priorities are rearranged.  Our understanding of what’s important … and what isn’t, is crystal clear.  We are free to forge ahead and pursue our real calling.

Here at the beginning of this New Year, please begin the task of ridding yourself of any debris that is standing in the way of your dreams.  Prayerfully consider how to go about it.  Personally, I’ve found fasting to be a wonderful tool for cleansing both the physical and spiritual aspects of our being and provide a solid foundation on which to build the future.

May God richly bless you as you begin this marvelous experience!

(For more information on the Daniel Fast and other types of fasting, please see:  http://www.jentezenfranklin.org/fasting )