My Daniel Fast Journey Few Days After: Phase III

What an experience to have completed 21 days of consecration and intentional focus on the Lord!! I thought I was done, but the Lord wasn’t finished with the process. I’ve learned the discipline of reflecting and re-evaluating. In doing so, there is always the possibility of change, adaptation and re-adjustment. That’s exactly what happened.

In meditating and reading over my hard copy journey of the fast, I felt the need to press in a little further. There was a feeling of the need for something else. Unfinished business. Better yet, there was more to go through, more to be gained. I always am reminded of the fact that new levels bring new challenges.

I still yet have some giants to slay.

In coming off the restrictions of the Daniel Fast, I am led for another week to lay off bread!! That is one of several weak spots for me when it comes to favorite foods. Not only do I enjoy eating it, I enjoy making it. Fresh, soft, tasty breads!!! Is it worth being obedient to a few more days of self denial? Yes!!! I admit I had a small struggle because there are a several other items in addition that I am having to let go of too.

Bottom line is, Lord I surrender.

I wrestled with the idea of further restrictions. Was this from the Lord, the enemy or just me in overload making things up… But then I thought, either way where ever it came from it is a win win situation and sacrifice!! I did pray it through and feel that it is the leading of the Lord. I am expecting great things and where expectation is there is a level of requirement on my part. Obedience.

This is phase three of my journey. When I really look at it, it’s nothing that is impossible. Basically, I’ve been led over the next seven days (actually, this is the second day) to give up specific items, one of which is my beloved bread. I must say, the challenge came quick so I hadn’t mentally prepared and I almost failed twice yesterday only because I had forgotten I was doing without!! Thankfully, I passed the test. I accidentally ordered  a footlong tuna on “Italian Herb and Cheese Bread!!” I didn’t remember about my restriction till I was walking in the parking lot on another errand before returning home with the sandwiches.

It would have been so easy to say, “Oh, I’ll just start tomorrow.” But I remained strong…scrapped off the tuna and veggies onto a bed of lettuce. I must say that was the best tuna salad I had eaten!!!

Yes, obedience pays off.

It was hard to deny my appetite for that footlong sandwich. Afterall, I’ve just come through 21 days of denial. But was I willing to give up further reward, blessing and breakthrough for a piece of bread? I really had to talk to myself and look at it that way. I’m not going to be like Esau and give up blessing to appease my desire to eat (Gen. 25:27-34). Plus, there are tons of other things I can have. I’m only doing without a few.

Chuckle, also reminds me of Eve in the garden (Gen. 3). She had all the trees in the whole garden to choose from, but she gave into the lie and deceit of the devil and took of the one that was forbidden to her. How easy for us to be persuaded by our own lusts and appetites. Guess, maybe that is what the Lord is trying to further strengthen in me. My resolve.

Here’s the salad that saved me…

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My Daniel Fast Journey Day 20: Coming to a Close, but not the end…

Twenty days have gone by and there is one more to go on this time period of consecration. It’s hard to believe, but I am saddened that this time of focus is ending. My flesh will rejoice because most of the restrictions will be lifted. Most but not all. I will retain some new adaptions to add to our lifestyle. Though, my spirit will long for those focused times of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit on a heightened level.

During this period of 21 days, I have had the most productive and fruitful experience!! I am overjoyed because that was my goal. I planned for it even though most of my plans changed, but preparation went forth just the same. I think that the prepared heart, soul and mind was the key. I didn’t just jump into the fast hoping to make it to the end. I put forth effort to victoriously do so. Praise God the Spirit did the rest.

“Draw nigh unto God and He will draw night unto you!!”

I wish I could have shared with you every detail of every day and all that came to me in the wee hours of the mornings. I received so much. It wasn’t all easy or good. There was correction, physical and mental challenges as well. Yet, all in all it was a wonderful experience that will be life altering. As I was feeling sad because of the thought that my season of the Daniel Fast was coming to a close, the message came to me in watching a sermon on YouTube. It said “you have been shifted to a new season!”

I thought “oh my, that’s it, that’s it!” I’m shifting into a new season. During the fast I was in a place of inner strengthening, blessing, and revelation. A place where I received from the Lord so easily and clearly. A place where there just seemed to be a flow. I simply didn’t want to leave that …but I don’t have to. What the fast has done is to position me for more!! I thank God for increase. Increase in all areas. For a refreshing start of a new season.

I’ll hold onto to the new habits that I have developed. I’ll put into practice the words of instruction that I received. I must say I have grown and am much better having gone through these days on the fast. I even was blessed to create a new space for prayer. I have an awesome prayer closet that I could really call a small prayer room, but I now have developed another spot of prayer right smack on my office floor in my home. Guess I already knew that it doesn’t really matter where you are as long as you are in the presence of the Lord. How very special it is when God just shows up 🙂

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There it is, just a cozy spot on a blanket with a bible, journal, pen, tissue, trash can, flashlight and a bluetooth speaker (not shown) for my prayer and worship music in the background if I so chose. In my last week of pressing in, buckling down and tightening up, I’ve had the most wonderful times with the Lord. I prayed, cried, read, laughed, journaled, worshiped …received in ways that will bear fruit of the life changing kind.

Thank you for bearing with me and allowing me to share. If ever you have the thought of going on the Daniel Fast, I would advice by all means GO FOR IT. Research it out, plan and prepare for your days and then open yourself up to the Lord. You will definitely be blessed.

I have one more official day, but will probably share a few other insights in the days to come. It was a great experience. I look forward to my new season. I’ll leave you with one of my devotional pages, a fruit bowl and a bowl of bean soup… Blessings!!

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My Daniel Fast Journey Day 16: Buckle Down

It’s been quite a journey like none taken before. That is what I wanted. And that is exactly what I have gotten. The times of devotion, worship, prayer and study have been very enlightening, soul searching and even joyful at times. It is always fun to discover new truths and encouragements from the Word and to spend delightful moments with the Lord. But there have also been the times through this fast that I’ve been shown the hard to swallow, feel the pain, time to change revelations and lessons. But again, that is what this is all about.

Praise God for not leaving us the way we are.

New choice, new decision, new level, new challenges, new victories!!

In my morning of training yesterday (okay my training only consisted of running a mile on the treadmill, but it was training just the same) I received my “running mana.” Two things were dropped in my heart as I pounded the tread rejoicing in the fact that I was only scheduled to run one mile!!

First, was that you always have to go through the “process” to complete the journey. No matter how bad you want what’s at the end or how excited you are to reach it. You still must go through the process, first. All the way. Completely. Then and only then can you successfully reach the desired end. My prayer: Lord, help me to willingly go through what ever it takes to make it to my destination, my destiny, my expected end…to include goals, achievements, projects, life’s purpose and yes, workout training programs! Lord, help me to go through the process and get out of it all that is there for me to gain having done so.

Second, was that even though you have been given all the necessary items needed to succeed you still have to do the work. God may bless you with all the tools, wisdom, resources. You may have the intellect, the equipment, God’s divine favor. You may have all the answers, but you still have to do the work that is required. My prayer: Lord, let me not become disillusioned and become distracted not putting forth the effort, time or focus that is necessary for any given task. Let me not be discouraged at the amount of resolve or personal sacrifice that may be required. Put in me the strength and determination to complete and finish what is needed utilizing everything  in my reach. By Your grace and mercy Lord, let me meet every plan and purpose that is set before me.

Needless to say, I finished by schedule run filled with encouragement and resolve!!

Yes, this fast has been quite a journey!! This is the third day since I altered the specifics of my fast. I buckled down and am having only two meals a day and no snacks in between. This adaptation to the fast was what I needed to help me “afflict” my soul. It has become the challenge and discipline that I need to help me make the changes for better. I am having to push a little harder into the spirit to help me dominate the wants of my carnal nature and natural tendencies. Having participated in the Daniel Fast several times before, I had adapted to the food requirements of the fast quite well. There was a need for intensity and reducing the number of meals a day and having no snacks is how I determined to buckle down.

Praise God for His patience, strength and direction!!

Wanted to share another recipe I came up with. I discovered what I call South Western Chili Pasta. Again, I am a dump and pour cook so there are no measurements, but you can’t really go wrong with adding the basic ingredients. I just used what I had at hand in the kitchen that met the criteria. Being in the third week of the fast, the ingredients were running low. Used what I had left over and wow, it came out pretty good. I will probably make this dish even after coming off the fast!!

South Western Chili Pasta

South Western Chili Pasta Dinner

I just quickly put it together so I’ll try to recall what ingredients I used:

  • chopped onions, garlic and celery (lots)
  • can of diced tomatoes
  • frozen corn
  • can of black beans (drained)
  • tomato paste
  • apple juice or orange juice (just a little)
  • whole wheat penne pasta (cooked)
  • bragg’s liquid amino acid (soy sauce substitute)
  • seasonings: salt, pepper, pepper flakes, basil, garlic powder
  1. In a large skillet or dutch oven saute the onions, garlic and celery
  2. Add diced tomatoes, corn and black beans
  3. In a separate bowl, mix a little apple or orange juice with the tomato paste
  4. Pour tomato paste mixture into skillet with the vegetable mixture
  5. Add seasonings and amino acid
  6. Stir well mixing all ingredients. Add a little juice if more liquid is needed.
  7. Let simmer for 10 – 15 min (or continue right away)
  8. Add pasta. Mix well. Heat through.
  9. Enjoy!!!

Again, always check your labels on any canned, bagged or bottled food making sure they meet the Daniel Fast criteria. Along with the pasta dish served was brussel sprouts and homemade whole wheat tortillas.

We also had a fruit bowl to top off the meal:

Fruit Bowl

Pineapples and strawberries topped with chia seeds!!

Hope you will try the recipe and discover something new and healthy to enjoy.

 

 

 

My Daniel Fast Journey the Second Week: Evaluate and Adjust

Now that the first week of the fast is gone and the second week is nearly completed the reflection of things has been quite “thick” for a lack of a better word. Thick in revelation, discovery, increase and correction. All good when held in the right light, yet it hasn’t been without struggle. My spirit is willing, but my flesh with it’s desires, wants and established ways is weak. Though, that is what this time set apart is all about: recognizing, acknowledging and making the necessary changes for good. For better. For HIS glory and our benefit along with the result of benefiting others in our realm of influence.

In coming to this second week, I was reminded of the fact that the enemy of our soul does not want any change for the good to take place. Therefore, beware of his attacks, his subtle way of creeping in to dismantle and cause any type of hindrance or havoc. Sure enough, this week I had to re-examine my thoughts, plans and purposes. I almost fell into the mindset of mulling over all that I hadn’t accomplished failing to look at and celebrate all that I had.

The consistency of getting into the Word directly studying in the Bible, the reading of books by Christian authors as well as listening to sermons and messages from the internet have been soakingly substantial. Yet, negative thoughts would arise as to attribute those times to moments wasted. “How long are you going to pull your self away and just sit and read, write, study, research, listen and pray…? You could be doing other things…” Oh, the enemy is good when he wants to disturb your peace!! But I am thankful I have too much under my belt to be pulled away.  After all, this is a “spiritual” fast!! Though, admittedly it causes you to pause and ask yourself the question if you have the right balance. The answer, a resounding YES!!

Another area of evaluation and adjustment was the way I have handled my intake. Yes, the food. I have done exceptionally well staying in the guidelines of cooking and eating. I’ve done so well, that I think I was doing too well. I enjoyed it. I think to the point where I’ve enjoyed it a little too much. I would be excited to get to the next food item or meal time. Excitement just to see how it would come out or just to enjoy the taste.

So where then is the sacrifice or at least the focus?

It has been fun to research and discover ways to eat healthier.  Not only healthier, but at the same time eat delicious tasting and satisfying foods. I’ve come up with recipes, combinations of food and ways of preparing dishes and items that the struggle food wise is quite minimal. We eat very tasty filling meals and enjoy fun satisfying snacks.

So I had to pull back and simplify.

So for week number three on the fast, I’ve chosen to daily skip one meal (breakfast or lunch) and also to have no snacks. Something else that I have done previously but not yet during this season is to go on a one day water fast within the 21 days. In my shifting, I will do this also in the last and third week.

Basically, I need to “tighten” up!! I know what works for me, and I know how to comply. Yet, I’ve done it within my comfort zone. I also know that I want the most I am able to receive. So this calls for an intentional pressing in. I’m serious about my purpose for the fast and I’m going to listen to the evaluation that has risen in my heart and spirit in order to make the needed adjustments!! I’m not who I use to be. I’ve grown spiritually so I have to increase the level of commitment. The intensity has to increase! I shouldn’t condemn myself but applaud. New level, new challenges, stricter requirements.

Look out. The best is yet to come!!

Granted because I have made this declaration to delve in deeper and harder, the challenge is going to warrant a fight. But as David stated in Psalm 144:1 , “Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight…”

I mentioned food combinations that I normally would have never put together had it not been for participating in the Daniel Fast. I would like to share one of my discoveries. It is a dressing for garden salads. On the fast the only store bought dressing I knew to buy that met the criteria was Paul Newman’s Oil and Vinegar. This dressing was fine to use when I roasted vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, purple onions, and garlic) which by the way is very delicious, but for my garden salads I needed something else. So my favorite dressing is made simply by placing the following ingredients into a Nutri-Bullet or mixer until blended:

#1 Salad Dressing

  • cooked sweet potato (roasted or microwaved)
  • Beets from a can with a little of its juice
  • pineapple juice (I use juice from the canned fruit)
  • sesame oil
  • purple onion to taste
  • 100% natural peanut butter (just a little)
  • apple juice or orange juice

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Sorry, I’m a dump and pour cook, so I have no measurements. Experiment to your liking and thickness. It’s excellent and meets the criteria. Of course, check all ingredients if using bottled or canned that they meet the Daniel Fast criteria. Checking labels can also be time consuming, but anything worth anything is worth the extra effort 🙂

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Though, I must say, it is tempting to have the fruit juices you can only cook with in front of you when you are only suppose to drink water!!

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The potato soup in the photo was also a dump and pour. No strict measurements. I just cut up diced vegetables, added water and boiled til all was soft. Again, delicious!!

Potato Soup

  • potatoes (lots of diced raw potatoes)
  • onions
  • celery (plenty)
  • carrots
  • garlic
  • seasonings: salt, pepper, garlic, pepper flakes, parsley flakes
  • sesame oil (to first saute the veggies and potatoes)
  • plenty of water to boil and cook down
  • you can find the whole wheat tortilla recipe on post for day 4.

It’s been an amazing journey. I’m looking forward to the home stretch…

 

My Daniel Fast Journey: Reflection of Day 6 – Praying the Psalms

A week or so before I started the Daniel Fast (DF) I came across in one of my readings the suggestion to pray the Psalms. The author (I can’t remember which because I’ve been reading several books at one time…) stated she challenged herself to read each Psalm and then pray it through. I liked the idea of intentionally slowing down to focus and take in all that is before you in the Word. That is the ideal way to study!!

Sometimes when a particular passage or verse is familiar, we tend to rush right through it. Not all the time, but honestly, there are passages that don’t jump out at us or hold our undivided attention. But if it is in the Word of God, it is there for a reason…sometimes that verse or chapter that you’ve quickly passed over will be just the Word you’ll need in a particular season.

As apart of my own challenge, I also decided to journal the Psalms with pictures. I am a visual learner. If I see it, I am more likely to remember it. So when I read the Psalms, if there is picture that comes to mind, I draw it to represent the verse. Mine are very basic. I just write out the verse that stood out to me and then make a drawing. I use a basic $1 composition notebook and the pen I’ve been writing with. Nothing fancy like the journaling Bibles they have where you use colored pencils, markers, stencils. I’m just not there yet. But I have enjoyed the result of a more focused time in each chapter. I like to doodle, so to doodle the Word has been rewarding. The slower pace through the Psalms has been enlightening.

So on day 6 of the Daniel Fast the Psalm I read was Psalm 13. The verse that stood out to me was v.6: “I will sing unto the Lord because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Bet you can guess what I drew in my notebook. Yes, you were right: music notes all around baskets that were overflowing. So apart of my morning devotion time, I meditated on and thanked God for His bountiful blessings, mercy and grace in my life.

Slowing down has such benefits. It takes effort as well as time, but again the rewards are so great. The Daniel Fast is another way of slowing down. Taking time out to focus on the spiritual so you can do better and be better where it really counts.

My hope for you is that you too will be able to find ways to pause, slow down and invest in yourself where you can.

 

 

My Daniel Fast Journey Reflection of Day 5

Day 5 on the Daniel Fast fell on the “rest” day of my 5k training program. I spent my time to roll out of bed this morning in conversation with the Lord. It doesn’t really matter when or where you have conversation with Him, just as long as you do.

My special places of prayer just happen to be the shower…behind the veil so to speak; the throne room where the toilet just happens to be 🙂 and my actual prayer room that I have been blessed to have in our new home. A carpeted floor in my office or right beside my bed are also special places for me when the need arises.

Do you have a special place where you feel the most comfortable that you prefer over another when you pray? Do you find you have more than one place? What is the oddest or most unusual place you have prayed? For the longest time I thought the bathroom was the strangest place, but I have found that it is one of the more popular places. It almost always guarantees privacy!!

Isn’t it so awesome that God can meet you anywhere. I use to have lengthy daily commutes and the car was another place where I fellowship, commune and pray with and to God. He says to just draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to you. It did not specify rules or structure, but just to come.

That is simply amazing to me.

I don’t think I could have made it back in the old testament days. They had so many rules, regulations, specifics and laws. Only the priests were allowed to come into the presence of God. Only one priest, once a year. Thank God for the dispensation of grace and the tearing of the veil by the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, so that we can have access to God anytime, anywhere.

My time during the fast has been very focused during my prayer moments and devotions. But I have also purposed to have an ear for the voice, prompting or nudging of the spirit throughout the day. When you really begin to listen and become more sensitive, you’d be surprised how often God speaks!! It may not be in an audible voice as depicted in the movies, but He does speak through your conscience, your gut feelings, a thought, an idea, an example, a sighting, an impression. He speaks in so many ways. Just slow down and intentionally “listen” with your heart.

Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me…”

My Daniel Fast Journey: Day 4 Reflection of a Lifestyle Change

I spent more time in the kitchen than I had planned for. The fast is not about the food, but it does take a little extra effort to prepare items within the guidelines set forth for the Daniel Fast (DF). I thought about the time spent and realized that what I was doing was investing in a “lifestyle change.” My family already has adopted to several of the DF standards from previous times we participated.

Some of the things we now do as a result:

  • almond milk instead of cow’s milk
  • wheat bread instead of white
  • no sour cream
  • use 100% whole wheat pasta more often
  • no meat to season greens when cooking legumes, kale, spinach or collards
  • make homemade humus, pico de gallo, and ketchup
  • cook with olive or sesame oil instead of butter
  • fruit bowls, plain popcorn and nuts are the norm
  • oatmeal with no sugar just fruit, nuts and almond milk
  • more grains and legumes in diet
  • and I finally found a whole wheat tortilla recipe that works for me that can replace the white flour tortillas

What took me a while in the kitchen yesterday was that in finding the new recipe for the tortillas, I made two batches! I made one for now and froze the other for later use so I would not have to spend the time again making them. My other time snatcher was making veggie patties…my third attempt. I have yet to find a recipe that works for me; washing, cleaning and cooking greens, not to mention making the pico de gallo and homemade ketchup for the oven roasted potatoes for dinner. I enjoy my time in the kitchen preparing healthy filling meals for my family. This is also a time where I am able to think and reflect. Kinda odd the combination during a season of fasting I know, but dinner was going to be prepared and my time in the kitchen (as usual) was shared with the presence of the Lord as well.

My kitchen time has always been filled with singing, whispered prayers, listening to music, audio books, podcasts, sermons, worship music… now there is the added focus of wise healthy choices for food preparation. Yes, one of the many benefits of the Daniel Fast is a Lifestyle Change!!

Soon I’ll share some of the recipes that have been nutritious and a blessing to prepare and eat all the while staying within the guidelines. The tortilla recipe you will find in the link above.

 

My Daniel Fast Journey: Reflection of Day 3

Lord, Melt My Heart…

Lord, heal me of my callous heart. Those hidden spots of selfishness and bad attitude. Those areas only you can see. Melt any hardness deep within. Those areas that only arise occasionally reminding me that there is a cleansing that still needs to take place. A purging that still needs to be done.

Wash me. Cleanse me. Make me whole!!

Psalm 139:22-23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in thy way everlasting.”

Any time with the Lord is special. Time that you just allow Him to lead You in your worship, in your prayer…in however He chooses to lead you. Morning prayer was equally special on day 3 of the fast. I prayed over my prayer sheets that listed all the requests for prayer. One by one I lifted the names, situations, circumstances and requests up before the Lord. I don’t know how He does it. God attends to every need, desire, issue… day and night. I praise Him and I am so thankful that nothing, no thing is too much or too hard for Him!

Yet in His awesomeness and Holiness, He is ever so loving and gentle to correct, transform and cleanse His children. He will do it. As far as we will invite Him to. Sometimes we overlook areas that are very much present, but get lost in the everyday shuffle of living life. Areas that need attention, yet buried deep within.

I am thankful for this time of 21 days to slow down and put my attention and focus on what truly matters. Transformation from the inside out. Not to say that this is the only time, no. But this is an intentionally intense time. The result: blessings on all levels!!

Yes Lord, melt my heart!!

 

My Daniel Fast Experience: Day 2

Yesterday, second day of the fast!! Notice I said yesterday. I had purposed as a discipline and as a help to the flow of writing to post a quick reflection each day while on the fast…well, here I am on day 3 writing on day 2!! Need I say more…LOL

That has been the flow these first two days… Have plans will change…

That is terribly okay. Life does happen. In reflection, what I gained from yesterday is to be open to other things, but do not lose your focus on what is important or level of standard for you. Simply put…

“Flow as you go, yet hold on to what’s right!!”

The presence of the Lord makes the difference. When you yield yourself to Him, He makes things be just the way they ought to be… or He takes it and makes good come out of the not so good. God causes order, peace and structure to come out of the unexpected.

Flow as you go!!!

Along with everything else, yesterday even in my morning prayer time my focus shifted in mid-prayer as I felt the leading of the Spirit. My prayer of revelation to the Lord (though it was more of a reminder to me) afterwards as a result:

Lord this is YOUR time. Lead me in what YOU would have me to say and do. Help me to be obedient and sensitive to YOUR Spirit and not so set on MY own agenda.

Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, 
saith the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher 
than the earth,
so are my ways higher
than your ways, and my thoughts
than your thoughts.

My Daniel Fast Journey: Day 1

Preparation took place many days ahead. Motivation and enthusiasm was at a high for the expectant time to begin the Daniel Fast for January 2016. Well, today was the day. From all the preparation and thought that went into this 21 day journey ahead, all I needed to do was to follow the plan.

Day 1:

Well, today did not go as I had planned!! Four items of the day unexpectedly took place to throw a well laid out plan off it’s schedule. But I am thankful to say, because of the heart preparation that took place before hand…all is well. Other things were that I didn’t get to read and study as much as I had wanted; I didn’t get to still away in prayer as much as I would have liked (actually, only in my morning devotional time and the moments I will take right now after writing here); I wasn’t able to accomplish all that I set out for this first day of the fast, but what I did, I did and my heart and mind have been in the right position!! That’s a big part of the fast: having your mind, body and soul in the right place.

Right spirit, right results.

Yes, as excited as I was for this day to come, so was the enemy of my soul. He couldn’t wait to launch his attacks. Thank goodness they weren’t huge attacks, but they sure opened the door for my flesh to rise up in the wrong way. I can only imagine, what he will try to pull will only get worse. He is very strategic. He doesn’t want me to gain from this time of consecration. But Praise God greater is He in me, than the devil in the world!!

Today’s lessons:

  1. Preparation pays off
  2. Remain in the armor of God at all times
  3. Keep pressing forward, regardless
  4. God definitely wants you to succeed and He is right there to help you