Date & Ttile: 2009-03-08 Breaking Through To God

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          A counseling client took me seriously when I asked her to seek the Lord with her whole heart. She called me this past week and related that she had engaged in several weeks of fasting and prayer. Last Wednesday was a weepy, heavy, sad day and she went to bed with this depressed mood. In the night she awakened with more heaviness. Suddenly, like the sun breaking through the clouds on a rainy day, God’s peace shone into her heart. The heaviness was gone and a deep peace settled over her soul. She had never felt this peace before in her entire life.

          Caretakers are like that. They are assigned to carry heavy loads from earliest childhood. I’ve met these “burden-bearers” of irresponsible others and heard their stories over and over in my 32 years of pastoral counseling. Some of them began carry these heavy burdens when they were as young as four years of age. My task as a pastor and counselor has always been to set these captives free.

          Breakthroughs happen occasionally in counseling and when it does, I imagine myself as the great healer. Then, the gentle Holy Spirit reminds me that He, and not me, is the Great Physician. Yet, breakthroughs are available to all of us who seek God with our whole heart, holding nothing back. Sometimes He shows up with a sword to help you as you battle forces of evil within and without.  In this sermon we explore Daniel’s breakthrough and the things that hindered his access to God.


Sheepfold Ministries, March 8, 2009

Pastor Phil Roland



Daniel 10:2-4; 12

“Daniel understood that spiritual breakthroughs come with extended, intensive prayer together with fasting. It involves seeking God with your whole heart.”             Pastor PHIL


“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD. . .” Jeremiah 29:11-14a



          A. Daniel had to confront three enemies on three false battlefields

                 1. Himself, his flesh desiring gratification

                        a. Fasted from pleasant food and anointing

                        b. Distanced himself from earthly pleasures

                        c. Humbled himself as he sought God

                 2. The World and its values

                        a. America is currently in a forced fast from materialism

                        b. Time to divest from hoarded treasures

                 3. The Devil

                        a. Resisting the Devil is a messy business

                        b. He mostly “oppresses” rather than “possesses”

            B. Daniel was in mourning three weeks

                 1. While he was in travail, warfare was waged over the nation

                 2. Daniel was unaware of the magnitude of the battle

                 3. Two powerful warring angels came to contend for Daniel

            C. If you seek Jesus’ Presence, provocation / contention will follow

                 1. Jesus provoked demons to cry out

                 2. Healing and Deliverance resulted from the contention

                 3. People didn’t react favorably to His Presence

                 4. Tried to stone Him, drive Him away, or even kill Him




          A. When the Blessing comes your way, you slack off

                 1. Don’t need to seek God and pray

                 2. The leeks and garlic of Egypt’s fleshpots were a blessing

                 3. If the blessing is merely material, then you are stuck

                        a. The more you have / possess

                        b. The more hold on you what you have exerts

            B. Breakthrough only occurs in confrontation

            C. Confrontation, Engagement, Persistence and Overcoming

                 1. We HATE confrontation, prefer indirectness

                 2. Don’t like hand-to-hand combat      

                 3. Prefer Desert Storm Engagements

                        a. Kuwait - January 16, 1991 to Feb. 27, 1991

                        b. Brief, short term warfare

            D. Worship is Warfare – James 4:8

                 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands,

                   you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

                 1. When you draw near to God, the enemy sees a threat

                 2. Entrenched strongholds in the heart and mind are toppled

                     2 Corinthians 10:4,5

                     “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for

                        pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high

                        thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every

                        thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

                 3. Worship can lead to the Breakthrough: Public and Private

                        a. His Joy is our Strength – Nehemiah 8:10

                           “for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

                        b. Worship sets captives free - Acts 16:22-26

                            “Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the

                              magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be

                              beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them,

                              they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them

                              securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the

                              inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight

                              Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the

                              prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great

                              earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken;

                              and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's

                              chains were loosed.”



            A. He is not afraid, upset or provoked by the enemy

                 1. He has a Warrior’s Courage

                 2. He knows his enemy is already defeated – James 4:7

                     “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

                 3. We must embrace our Warrior King and become like Him

                 4. He known Himself and He knows His enemy

                 5. We are to assume His nature of holiness and lovingkindness

                 6. We are also to put on his warring nature

            B. Breakthroughs begin on the battlefields of human existence

                 1. Many types of battlefields

                        a. Personality Conflicts in families or churches

                        b. Power struggles in vocational environments

                        c. Battlefield of human suffering and pain

                        d. Battlefield of deprivation and lack

                        e. Battlefield of grief, sorrow or loss

                        f. Battlefield of aging and accepting mortality and death

                  2. In the midst of the struggle is when the Mighty Warrior appears



      “Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set

        your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your

        words were heard; and I have come because of your words.”

          A. Obstacles to breakthrough are self, the world and the enemy

          B. Human battlefield is intercession, fasting and humility

            C. We may not choose warfare, but we are engaged in a battle

            D. Seek what God seeks for you

                 1. Let His desires be your desires

                 2. Long for more and more of Him in your life

            E. The breakthrough can be yours!




Daniel 10:2-4

In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a message was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. The message was true, but the appointed time was long; and he understood the message, and had understanding of the vision.

2  In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.

3  I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.

4  Now on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is, the Tigris,

I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!

6  His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

7  And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision; but a great terror fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves.

8  Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength.

9  Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

10  Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands.

11  And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you." While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

12  Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.

13  "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.



Biblical Fasting

"When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you" Jere. 29:13,14

The Normal Fast: There are very few rules when it comes to fasting. What you do is really between you and the Lord. There is only one fast command in the Bible and that was the fast on the Day of Atonement. This fast was from sunset of one day to sunset of the next (Leviticus 16:29;23:32). Since, people usually don't eat during the night that makes the fast fairly easy, since you can eat again in the evening before retiring to bed. According to the Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: "The rabbis ruled that one could not eat a quantity as large as a date on this day...According to the Mishna, Yoma 8:1, on the Day of Atonement it is forbidden to eat, or drink, or bathe, or anoint oneself, or wear sandals, or to indulge in conjugal intercourse" (Zondervan Encyclopedia, vol 2, 502). Of course, this direction is not from the Bible, but perhaps we can look at that as a template for a "normal fast." So in this type of fast the person abstained from food and liquid for a period of one day (from sunset to sunset). This is a normal fast. The Partial Fast: In this type of fast, the emphasis is placed on restriction of diet, rather than abstaining completely from eating. Examples are: Daniel, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego eating only vegetables and drinking only water (Daniel 1:15) and later on when Daniel alone practiced a limited diet for three weeks (Daniel 10:3). Some people would argue that this isn't really a fast at all, but Daniel 10:3 does use the word "mourned" which is a Biblical occasion for fasting (see below) and a common synonym for fasting. The Radical Fast: This type of fast is one in which the person refrains from both food and water OR simply food (but not water) for an extended period of time. A radical fast can be harmful to your health and in most cases should not exceed three days. An example of a radical fast can be found with Esther and her household. Esther decided to fast for three days abstaining from both "food and water" both "day and night" (Esther 4:15-16). The rabbi Ezra and the apostle Paul also went without food and water for three days (Ezra 10:6-9; Acts 9:9). David is another example of a radical fast. He went seven days without food (but probably with liquid) as a plea to God to save the life of his child (2 Samuel 12:15-20). Fasts that extend beyond three or seven days can be found in the Bible, but these exceptions were based upon direct guidance from God or a supernatural ability given by God to complete the fast. Examples of these extreme fasts are: Moses (Deuteronomy 9:9-18 and Exodus 34:28); Elijah (1 Kings 19:8); and Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11).