Repent of Worry

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Devotion: Matthew 6:33

As I worked on my Precept Study of Matthew; the Lord revealed I must repent of worry.  I had begun to take my eyes off of Jesus and place my trust in life’s circumstances, rather than in Him.  In Matthew 3:2, John was preaching this message.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  John’s message applies to everyone on this earth both now and forevermore.

After Jesus encountered Satan for forty days and nights; He fasted on the mountain top.  He began to preach the same message John had preached. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  He began going throughout Galilee and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.  In Matthew 5; Jesus gave His famous “Sermon on the Mount” where He proclaimed:  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  He also said, “Blessed are the persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

In Matthew 6; He taught the people if they “annul any of the commandments, they will be least in the kingdom of heaven but if they keep and teach them, they will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  Unless their righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, they would not even enter the kingdom of heaven.”

         Would you agree the kingdom of heaven                                             must be pretty important?

The disciples had just asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. One of the lines in the “Lord’s Prayer” is; “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

A major portion of Matthew 6 is spent telling us; “Do not be worried about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.” Jesus asks, “Is not your life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”

You can’t add one minute to your life through worrying.  In fact, you may shorten your life.  Worry and anxiety affects you spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Jesus exhorted us in verse 33 to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

What things will be added to us?  Everything for which we could possibly have need will be provided.

Repent of your worrying; The “kingdom of heaven” is at hand.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, please forgive me of worry.  You are in control of this world.  Remind me to observe the birds of the air and watch You provide for these beautiful creatures. If You provide for them; how much more you will provide for me?  Help me remember; You will provide my daily bread and all of my needs.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

 

God Always Fulfills His Good Purpose

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Devotion:  Acts 3:15-18

These powerful verses speak life to those of us who crucified Jesus.  You say; “What?”  “I had nothing to do with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.”  Let me remind you; it was your sin and mine that put Jesus on that cross.

Look again at verse 17.  Peter says, “I know you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.”  Verse eighteen is key.  “But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, and he thus fulfilled.”  Of all the prophecies spoken in the Bible; this should encourage you to the core of your being.

You see; “God will accomplish what concerns you.”  Even when you act in opposition or ignorance; God will fulfill His promises. Even when the people around you act in opposition or ignorance.  That does not hinder God.  They are for your good and His glory.  Christ suffered for sinners, (that’s us) and bore the sins of many.

John MacArthur says, “When God decrees to fulfill some good purpose for us, no amount of opposition from ignorance or godlessness can stop Him.  He will simply make all opposition and all ignorance serve His purpose.”

We should always be full of praise; regardless of the opposition of ignorant people.  Glorify God in the midst of it all.  He is “teaching you and training you in righteousness.”  I know you wish He would “let up” just a little bit.  People are watching how you respond to the opposition in your life.

Verses 19-20 provides an escape. “Repent therefore and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord…,”  No matter what you are going through; remember, “God will fulfill His good purpose in your life.”

Prayer in Motion:

Thank You Lord for fulfilling Your good purpose for my life.  You are more than wonderful to me.  No matter what I’m going through Jesus; I trust You.  I know that You will fulfill Your good purpose in my life.  I will glorify You both now and always.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

Holy Boldness

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Devotion:  Luke 14:23

Seven year old Luke came in the door from playing with his friends.  He got himself a snack and began to spill out what was on his mind.  He said; “MiMi, my Awana’s teacher said I should invite my friends to church.”  He then said; “Naming their names, each one told him they didn’t need church and they didn’t need God.”  Luke is 7 years old.  SEVEN!  His friends are close to that age.

It’s heartbreaking to hear that a seven year old already wants nothing to do with God!  Luke was fulfilling our Lord’s command by asking. I encouraged him to keep on asking.

That same morning as I pulled into Luke’s neighborhood;  I could hardly believe what my eyes beheld.  I saw four young girls waiting for the school bus, holding hands and praying. My heart lept with joy.   Precious reader; I pray that encourages you for today’s generation.  There will always be a remnant!

Would you pray for young believers in your country and across the world, to have Holy boldness?  Pray they will continually be courageous to pray in public. Pray they will invite their peers to church and to Christ.

Satan is relentless in going after our young people.  If he can keep them blinded to the truth; he’s accomplished his mission.   I am begging you to pray for any and all young people; those you know and those you don’t, to step up with Holy boldness.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord, I pray for young people to rise up and pray bold prayers, witness boldly and compel their friends to come to the House of the Lord.  I am believing You for revival in our churches Oh God. Manifest Your presence to them.  Spirit of the Living God, fall freshly upon them.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Un-Selfconciousness

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Devotion:  Daniel 9:1-23

My eyes fell on this word; as I began reading a book my dear sister in law gave me by Anne Graham Lotz. The word is un-selfconciousness and the prayer is called The Daniel Prayer.  The sub title reads; “Prayer That Moves Heaven and Changes Nations”

We are a very self-conscious people.  I’m not suggesting to let yourself go; however, Americans worry about our appearance more than most cultures.  All one must do, is glance at the magazine racks in the grocery store.  Image is everything.  How we dress, where we live, what we drive; appears to be critical to being American.

As Christians; how do we balance out this cultural attitude of self being at the center of our every waking thought?  Many are totally consumed with their body image, health and wealth. Therefore; we have the prosperity gospel. You are only blessed if you have all that society screams you must have.

Daniel prayed this fervent, effectual prayer that moved the very heart of God.  Daniel stayed humble before the Lord and made no demands.  He confessed publicly his sins and the sins of the people.  He knew he was not called to just be comfortable.  God had great and mighty things in store for this man of prayer.

Daniel decided to pray even when it wasn’t popular to pray.  He prayed three times a day even after the king had put an executive order into place.  This man found reasons to be thankful in the midst of his captivity.  When you’ve been denied what you thought was rightfully yours; can you still be thankful to the Lord your God?

We need to be less self-conscious and more conscious of what God’s Holy Spirit is speaking to us through His Word.  Can we lay aside our own plans and listen to the plans God has for us?

When you read this humble, yet powerful prayer; you can hear Daniel’s authentic confession, thanksgiving, and intercession.

Prayer in Motion:

Oh God, may I humble myself and pray this kind of prayer before You.  I want to pray the kind of prayer that moves heaven and changed nations.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

 

 

Pump This Iron

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Devotion:  Proverbs 27:17

One of my former churches had several very young pastors. They were all about building their muscles and their strength. That’s a good thing.  I recall one day as I walked into the church gym asking  a couple of the pastors, “Should you be lifting that much weight?  I must say, it looked quite painful. One of the pastors said; “Ms. Libby, you are such a mama.”   They both said, “No pain, no gain.”  They keep each other challenged to become stronger.

These young men are physically and spiritually strong.  They encourage one another to keep healthy and fit.  I am certain they do the same spiritually.  I’ve heard them tease each other unmercifully, but always in good fun.  They keep each other accountable.

                      Iron should always sharpen iron.

Do you sharpen the countenance of your friends?  You do if you hold them accountable.  Sometimes it’s not exactly popular to ask the hard questions.  Ask one another about your quiet times, your relationships and your Christian walk.

Ask questions like: “How do you deal with anger?”  “In what ways do you serve?”  “What about your giving?  Do you go above and beyond your tithe?”  “How’s your prayer life?” Some of these are not comfortable questions to ask and they are definitely not popular. You may hear, “None of your business, or that’s between me and God.”

If you are going to sharpen the friends God has given you; you must be real with one another, as you journey through life together.  You will strengthen one another as you challenge one another to “pump that iron.”

Prayer in Motion:

Lord may I be willing to pump the iron You have placed before me.  I want to gain new spiritual strength.  May I be willing to ask the challenging questions to the people I truly care about.

Be Perfect

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Devotion:  Matthew 5:48

Perfect!  I often envy Type A personalities.  These women and men are awesome to watch!  Everything must be as perfect as possible; their whole world kept in order at all times. That is; all things under their control must be kept perfect at all times.

After all; it was Jesus, the only Person to ever be perfect who said, “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Webster defines perfect in the following way:

a :  being entirely without fault or defect :  flawless <a perfect diamond>b :  satisfying all requirements :  accuratec :  corresponding to an ideal standard or abstract concept <a perfect gentleman>d :  faithfully reproducing the original; specifically :  letter-perfect e :  legally valid

Every human being born to this world is flawed.  Romans 3:23 tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” So what did Jesus mean when He asked us to be perfect?

Go back and read verses 21-47 of Matthew 5.  Pay close attention to all the phrases stating; “You have heard that it was said.”, as well as the “But I say to you,” statements made by Jesus.  These are key to striving to be perfect.  We are to strive to be Christ like.  He alone is perfect.

          To be perfect is to be as Christ-like as possible.

Even the disciples argued among themselves who would get to sit beside of Jesus in heaven.  What did Jesus say? In Mark 10:38 He asked, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptize with?”  They said to Him, “We are.” In vs. 40 Jesus states; “It’s not up to Me who gets to sit beside Me; It’s for those whom it is prepared.”

Let’s strive to obey what Jesus said to us.  As we submit to His control, He will help us to be as Christ-like as is possible.  Ask Him to make you Holy as He is Holy.

Prayer in Motion:

Lord Jesus, I want to be perfect as You were perfect.  I long to be Holy as You are Holy.  May I stay in prayer and in Your Word and obey all You say do.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Journey of Journaling

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Devotion: Isaiah 8:2

Isaiah took for himself those who would record or write down everything important.  So what are the most important things for which you have been praying; the one thing you’ve prayed and hoped for? …for a very long time….  How fervently have you prayed and wept to see this thing come to pass?  Have you fasted?  Have you seriously sought the face of the only One who can do anything about your petition and request?

              “All things are possible to him that believes.”

and yet….It’s been years.  God’s faithfulness never wanes, not even for a second.  George W. Shay wrote this amazing song: “I sing because I’m happy.  I sing because I’m free.  His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

Your enemy will tell you; God has forgotten or He’s not even listening to the cries of your heart. My friend, God is working in your life, to accomplish what concerns you and the one for whom you are praying.  That’s the kind of God you serve. He never forgets.

I must confess I haven’t been a great “journaler”.  I write daily but I have not journaled my petitions and requests to God.  I know people who have journaled for many years.

Tom Howell encouraged me to begin to journal my prayers and petitions.  “Seek the Lord while He may be found.  Call upon Him while He is near.”  I was quick to hear but slow to act upon his advice.

                             Today is the day to begin.

I want to encourage you my reader to do the same.

Date your requests.  Watch and wait expectantly for the great and mighty things you know not of.  So this is my challenge for you and for me.  Let’s buy a spiral notebook and begin to journal our prayers.  Set a goal of twenty one days.  I pray that God will greatly encourage you as you journal and believe God for the impossible.  Let’s call it our “journey of journaling.”

Prayer in Motion: 

Lord God, “my heart and flesh cry out to You the Living God. Your Spirit’s water to my soul.  I’ve tasted and I’ve seen.  Come once again to me.  I will draw near to You.”  I offer up my petition and requests to You Jesus.  May I pray what’s on Your heart. May my petitions and requests be a sweet smelling savor to Your nostrils.  In Jesus Name I offer up this prayer.  Amen