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Week 2 devotionals / 21 days of prayer & fasting

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Day 8 - January 17th, 2016

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:3-9 (MSG)

I am sure I’m not the only one to start a new year with an “all in” resolution only to see it quickly become a distant memory. Maybe it’s a diet, or exercise plan, maybe we’re going to read the whole Bible or change our job. We focus every bit of energy and thought on achieving this one goal. Why is it that so many times we fail at something we were so determined to do? It can be defeating, crushing. Even though our resolutions may be good things, needed things, if we don’t remember where our power comes from we can find ourselves depleted quickly. We find the pursuit of our goal has become ineffective and unproductive. This same pattern often plays out in our walk with God. We pursue Him with an “all in” resolution. We focus all of our energy on Him, and yet we burn out. I think the secret to follow through in the resolution to follow God whole heartedly and even to follow through with changing habits and lifestyle is found in these verses. “Make every effort to add to your faith - for if you possess the qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We can’t just cut some things out. We can’t ride a wave of new year determination. We can’t make a to-do list for following God or changing a lifestyle. We have to go to the one who has “given us everything we need for a godly life,” and begin to step by step add to our faith. We aren’t adding rules or things to check off a list. We aren’t focusing on failures or getting hyped up by an experience. We are relying on the promises of God so that we can participate in his divine nature and escape the desires of this world. When we do that he walks us through the life changes – the self-control for the diet, the perseverance for the exercise plan, the knowledge to study his word, the mutual affection to care for others, and the love that leads to God and his people all add to each other. From goodness to godliness, when we add to our faith we are sure to receive the divine power to do whatever God sets before us to do.

 

Day 9 - January 18th, 2016

When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:9-10 (NIV)

He was sitting at the gate begging for money as he had for a very long time. Everyone knew him – the beggar who couldn’t walk. I’m sure some of them gave him money as they passed. Some were probably cruel, others felt sorry for him. I’m sure there were rumors about why he was like he was, broken and destitute. And then, Peter and John walked up and everything changed. All of the sudden he was up on his feet and the news spread like wild fire. Can you imagine the facebook explosion as one person shares and then another? His story would go viral in our world. People saw him walking and praising God and they recognized him. Being recognized can be great sometimes, but there are other times where we would rather someone not know who we are because, well, they know who we used to be. The moment God changes your life is beyond wonderful. You are a new person, but sometimes we can become fearful that those who knew how we used to be won’t believe it. Maybe they’ll laugh, maybe they’ll remind us of all of our failures. And doubt sets in. Who are we to tell anyone about Jesus – we did so many things, we hurt people, we embarrassed ourselves, we made such bad choices and everyone knows it. They will recognize us. We’re broken and destitute. But you see the beggar wasn’t just walking – he was praising God. When God saves you, he doesn’t just stand you up, he fills you with his presence, his power and his love. You don’t have to be fearful of being seen as who you were – just be who you are and amaze them with the change. Who knows, they might want to join you.

 

Day 10 - January 19th, 2016

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:4-7 (MSG)

Let’s be real. Somedays life is crazy and you start to wonder if everyone you know and the complete strangers crossing your path got together and planned to see how far you could be pushed before cracking. We have all made it home and closed the door behind us on a day that we would rather not remember. Sometimes those days stretch themselves out and we find ourselves in a tailspin. And here is the Bible with these verses and I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, or bury myself below the covers. It’s like God knows what we’re going through and he’s not going to give us the easy way out. The start of these verses can sound impossible when you first read them. My first thought is to say yeah right – how do I show that mean woman at the store that I’m on her side and that I’m not trying to make her life hard? How do I stop worrying? Pray? Praise?  How is God going to give me a sense of wholeness and good when my life is full of holes and junk? How do I celebrate God when I’m spinning so out of control I can’t catch his face in the storm? And then the last few words – “It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Our lives have a center point and everything fans out from the center. When worry takes the wheel we spin out of control and we can’t focus on what’s real – life gets blurry and messy and we feel a bit like a kid fresh off a merry-go-round. We can’t find God on the outside of our tailspin. We have to let him come in to the eye of the storm and displace the worry. To replace the center of our life with peace. When we change out what controls the wheel we will find that the drive is a lot more peaceful and we might even be able to celebrate God and bring a little bit of that peace to the craziness of the lives spinning around us. God come and displace the worry – we want to sense your wholeness, we want to see your good plan for us – settle us down.

 

Day 11 - January 20th, 2016

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:26

Doors and locks are meant to keep people out. We lock the doors on our house because no matter how much we love and trust our neighbors we would rather they not have access to our home all the time. And let’s be real. We’re a little scared. We don’t live in a perfect world and not everyone cares about us. So we lock the doors.  But the door to our house aren’t the only locks we have. We lock different areas of our life. We lock our hearts, we lock our dreams, we lock our hurts and pains. We lock ourselves down tight. We don’t want to be hurt. We don’t want to be weak. We have good reason to keep most people locked out of our inner life. But here’s the thing about God, locks don’t really work on him. He can walk through any wall you’ve built. In these verses the disciples were fearful. Their Savior was dead, so they thought, and anyone who was a friend of his was obviously a little on edge. They locked themselves up. Their dreams, their hearts, their grief was all locked inside a room. But Jesus, came and stood among them. He walked right through the locks and fears, right into their midst, and just as he spoke to the storm, he spoke to those fears and dreams and broken hearts and said “Peace be with you!” The winds and waves know his name and obey, and the same God who made the waves, made your heart, made you. Your heart knows his name, it knows his voice. He can speak peace, and your soul will obey. Don’t let the locks and walls you’ve built keep you from hearing the voice of God. He’s standing with you and he says “peace be with you!”

 

Day 12 - January 21st, 2016

Scripture Reading 1 Sam. 1:1-20; 2:1-10

                                                            A Cry and a Song.

1 Samuel 1:9-18(NKJV)
9So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacle of the Lord. 10And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 11Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.” 12And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. 13Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.
14So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” 15But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman, for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” 17Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” 18And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.

A Woman of Surprising Purpose, WOMEN IN GOD’S DESIGN. God uses the burden of Hannah’s heart to bring a surprisingly larger solution to a burden of His own heart. Barrenness was not only Hannah’s condition, but Israel’s condition as well. It was a season of spiritual need and with little prophetic activity (3:1), and God sought a voice to speak on His behalf to His people. Hannah could not know that her intense intercession for a child was moving in concert with God—bringing her a son, but also bringing forth the will and blessing of God for a whole nation. As she entrusts the longings of her heart to God, He moves on her behalf, but also advances His larger plan through her at the same time.

Remember, when nothing is seemly going right God has a plan even when you don’t see it. God can be waiting for you to open the door in prayer.

 

 Day 13 – January 22nd, 2016

Scripture Reading

Matthew 6:5-15(NKJV)
5“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. 14“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

This is the Greatest Prayer in the Bible as Jesus shows us how to prayer. When we pray we should use this as an example in our approach to prayer (6:9). We recognize God as our father (6:9). We pray that his Kingdom is soon to come (6:10).  God’s will is more important than ours (6:10). Understand that all our need come from God. Forgive and we will be forgiven. Don’t give in to life’s temptations (6:13).

Every day we should use this as a model for our prayer life and we will succeed!

 

Day 14 – January 23rd, 2016

Scripture Reading

Acts 4:23-33(NKJV)  

Boldness of Prayer

23And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? 26 The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 27“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” 31And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. 32Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. 33And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

 

We are to be strong and bold in our prayer life. The people raised their voice to God with one accord. They weren’t divided rather unified. Pray that with all BOLDNESS we may speak his word. The results were Great Grace was seen upon all of them.

Stand in your place and declare you are a child of the King. Walk like one, act like one, be one.

 

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