40 Days of Prayer & Kindness – Day 5

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Psalm 139:23-24

23Search me, God, and know my hearttest me and know my concerns24See if there is any offensiveac way in melead me in the everlasting way.

CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET

It’s one thing to pray for a larger house, a new car, a different job, or for a raise. It’s another thing to ask the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to search our hearts and test our thoughts. Scripture tells us god is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.  That means he is all-knowing, all powerful and ever-present.  He even knows us better than we know ourselves. NOTHING surprises our Father, or separates us from his love.

Health experts tell us an annual physciscal exam is wise. Early dtetection and prevention is key to to our physical health. Spiritual health merits examination too. That’s part of the reason for today, the Lord’s Day or a day of Sabbath – a day to rest in the Lord and let him minister to our heart, soul, mind and strength. On this day of rest ask the Lord to search your heart. Ask him to remove whatever you are clinging to – things competing for his love. Let go and welcome his full presence and love in your heart.

Our solitude and transparency before God may lead to personal awarness and revitalization and together may we experience vitality in the body of Christ.

PRAYER:

Father, I let go of my desires that differ from your perfect will for me. I let go of my desire to change any situation, person or myself. I open my heart to Your love and presence and actions within me. Amen.

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40 Days – Day 4 Devotional & Prayer

Saturday, Feb 17

PURITY of  HEART

Matthew 5:8   Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

I love to watch the snow fall as it accumulates on the ground. However, once the snow falls on the road, it begins to lose that pure white color as vehicles and dirt make a sloppy mess of it. The world can make a sloppy mess of our hearts as sin, suffering and damage drive all over us.

Jesus teaches us that the pure in heart are blessed and see God. Seeing God, knowing God, and living in his eternal presence is the satisfying climax of the story of life in Christ! It’s the snowcapped peak of the mountain of God.

But as Thomas Watson (1620-86) said, “Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.”

When was the last time you saw God? Our vision may be clouded by the dirt of the world. So long as our hearts are holding the dirt of the world (anger, rage, malice, hatred, jealousy, lust, idolatry etc… Galatians 5:19-21) we have no space to take hold of the Kingdom of God and our vision of God is clouded.

Like shoveling snow, we sometimes need to clean out the toxic sludge of our hearts and turn back to God. We need to get serious about seeing him and welcoming his purifying work in our midst. Jesus offers forgiveness and cleansing to all who confess their sin and call on him. Has our pure white snow been mis-colored by the world?

Let us pray for one another that we would pursue holiness and purity through the confession, repentance and faith in Jesus love and forgiveness.

PRAYER:

Father, let our sin be bitter and sour to us, and lead us to flee all that is evil and every temptation. By your Spirit, give us the strength to pursue holiness through the sweet forgiveness and all satisfying love of your Son. Amen.

 

 

40 Days Prayer & Kindness – Day 3

February 16, 2018

EMBRACING HUMILITY

LUKE 18:9-14

9To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Pride is a subtle sin. It is not always easy to detect in our own lives. Jesus got this so he gave us a picture of pride and humility with two characters in this parable. The Pharisee modeled pride and the tax collector humility.

In pride the Pharisee refuses to admit he has a need. Conversely the tax collector, recognizing his need of forgiveness, beat his chest and humbly pleaded for mercy.

Pride sees the problem with others and is happy to point out their faults. The humble man owns his own sin, brokenness and faults. Humility is not self-deprecation, but owning our need and dependence upon God’s mercy. It is the ability to own our brokenness and even our God given limitations and dependence upon others.

The focus of pride is earning our righteousness before others or convincing ourselves we are “good enough.” Humility on the other hand accepts that we are sinners and desperate for God’s redeeming love. The prideful heart is reactive and unreceptive. Humility accepts help and is receptive to love.

PRAYER:

Father, reveal to me where I am prideful and reactive rather than receptive to your love. Help me to see the limitations you’ve given me and accept the goodness of my gifts. Help me too to turn from sin and accept the transforming power and love of your Spirit to pursue holiness and peace with others.

40 Days of Prayer and Kindness – Day 2

Thursday February 15, 2018

REMEMBERING GOD’S POWER

Read Jeremiah 32:17-44

17“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you. 18You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, 19great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve. 20You performed signs and wonders in Egypt and have continued them to this day, in Israel and among all mankind, and have gained the renown that is still yours. 21You brought your people Israel out of Egypt with signs and wonders, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror.

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PRAYER:

Father, we pray that you will bring fresh life and vitality to CCG, we are your church. And we pray you would  do it in a way that shows us your power, your love, and that you alone deserve the glory. Amen.

40 Days of Prayer & Kindness – Day 1 Devotional

Day 1 Wednesday,  February 14, 2018

This is the beginning of 40 Days of Prayer and Kindness.

Let’s pray together for CCG and for one another – for 40 days, and trust the Lord for a beautiful outcome.

The Missed Opportunity of Unbelief

Matthew 13:53-58

53When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. 54Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. 55“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? 56Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” 57And they took offense at him. 

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

58And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

This is a sad picture of a people missing out on the opportunities of faith. It is the account of Jesus teaching in his hometown. When people heard him, they were astonished. Yet their astonishment did not lead them to respond in obedience and faith. Their lives could have been radically changed. Their community could have been transformed for good.

Unbelief pushes away the transformational power and love of Jesus. Faith opens the floodgates to connect us and change us from the inside out.

When God looks at you through the lens of Jesus, he sees a treasured child whom He loved so much He gave his Son for you. He calls us to respond in faith, receptive to love, and trusting Him to be faithful to His promise to secure us and give us every blessing we need. Will we trust? Will we risk falling into the arms of Jesus? His love will do a work of renewal in you and in our church, when we belief it, live in it and act out of it.

PRAYER: 

Father, the road of faith is hard and at times we get stuck in disbelief. We turn to our own solutions and remedies, wondering if you are really there for us. Maybe we think we have a better way. We confess, our hearts and minds are sometimes far from you and too near the worlds ways and answers. Father, fill us again with the power and love of your Spirit that we might walk by faith and trust in your promise to build up your church for our good and your glory. Amen.