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Pray First


Day 21

Day 21 finishes up with something we need to keep ion mind every day: we are part of a royal priesthood…

Devotional Point 4 today: “I am one spirit with you, Lord! I am yours, and you are mine.”

Scripture 4 today: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV

Reflection 4 today: I have been called out of some very deep darkness into some very bright light. In fact this is the situation for all of us who have been called to become Christians. But beyond that we have been incorporated into a real Family actually loves each other, and then next we have been incorporated into a royal priesthood.

Other Notes: I hope you have enjoyed this last 21 day focus on prayer, something we need more of every day… next we are going through a short 6-day look at the character of God from the Bible Project. Invites out later today…

Day 20

Devotional Point 4 today: God gives as much as we will

Scripture 4 today: “Awake, awake, Zion, clothe yourself with strength! Put on your garments of splendor, Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again.” Isaiah 52:1 NIV

Reflection 4 today: today’s verse is a statement by the prophet that the time for all this captivity business is over. It has taken more than 100 years, but the time has come for it to end. In the same way we have been through about 100 years of church where the focus of a Discipleship has been slowly eroded to the point where it is virtually non-existent. However, that day is over now it’s time to get onto the work of the work of discipleship.

Day 19

Day 19 delivers to us the solution for difficult situations: more prayer…

Devotional Point 4 today: “this kind” can only come out by prayer…

Scripture 4 today: “He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mark 9:29 NIV

Reflection 4 today: this story is also found in Matthew where Jesus rebuke to the disciples for their lack of faith. So it is a lack of faith and a lack of effective prayer. The Barna research tells us that the average Bible believing Christian prays on average 2.2 minutes per week. It is probably the hardest of all of the spiritual disciplines because of how much concentration and focus requires. So, time to re-double our efforts here…

Day 18

https://youtu.be/iTXGD8WP38g

Day 18 gives us the only type of prayer and fasting and righteousness that matters to God: serving the needs of the oppressed…

Devotional Point 4 today: True righteousness will be shown by our commitment to justice and to helping the poor and oppressed…

Scripture 4 today: “Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 NIV

Reflection 4 today: The needy, in all their forms of neediness need us to use the resources we have to help alleviate that neediness, as God provides for us to do that. here in the West, we forget how horribly needy the poor around the world actually are. They start out each day not actually knowing how they will lay hands on food for them and their families. Can we help with all these issues? Of course not, but we can help with some of them, and ought to…

Question for the day: what needs are you coming across today that you can help with?

Day 17

Day 17 gives us the straight story about the role of ministry people in our lives, one word: equipping…

Devotional Point 4 today: God puts you in a church body for a reason.

Scripture 4 today: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

Reflection 4 today: The metrics of success during this past broadcast cycle of the church were simply attendance numbers and “hands raised“ numbers. As such, members were essentially there to give money and “do what they were told“. However Paul puts a very different focus on that: leadership in churches is just there to equip the people. The people have to do the work of the work in the every day ministry of the church. And how are they doing at that? Barna study recently showed that less than 1% of the current ministers even know where to start…

Day 16

Day 16 gives us the main key to our new lives in Christ: transformation

Devotional Point 4 today: Help me to see those around me with your eyes…

Scripture 4 today: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

Reflection 4 today: these are two of the most famous verses in the Bible and certainly one of mine as well. We live in a world and in a church which for the most part will tolerate some “modification“ but not total transformation. Total transformation means that people might walk completely out of their current life into a completely different life and most environments will not be very happy with that… So, we have to completely change the way we think…

Question for the day: what choices do we need to make today to change our thinking…

Day 15

https://youtu.be/KQctVv5szUo

Day 15 gives us the picture of what life in the spirit is all about, we have rivers of living water flowing out from us…

Devotional Point 4 today: picture a river of living water within you…

Scripture 4 today: “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 NIV

Reflection 4 today: The more we allow the Holy Spirit to have his way inside of our hearts and to fill our empty spaces, is the extent to which the work of the Holy Spirit can flow out from inside us to others. So, it is pretty easy to tell whether or not the Holy Spirit is filling up all of the empty spaces and having an impact on someone if there are rivers of living water flowing out from them. No rivers of living water, no Holy Spirit filling them… Embarrassing but true…

Question for the day: How can we better access the river of life within us as Jesus did?

Day 14

https://youtu.be/A0FL4PYkelg

Day 14 delivers on of the most important promises to a Talidim: God answers the prayers of our hearts…

Devotional Point 4 today: What do You desire for us to do together…

Scripture 4 today: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 NIV

Reflection 4 today: this set of verses about prayer and praying and receiving are some of the most important in the New Testament. Here in the west, we have confused praying with the presentation of a “laundry list“ to God. If the things we are asking for, and in our own minds require, are the primary reason for praying, then we most probably have missed the point. When the things we require are almost an afterthought in the praying process, that’s a lot closer to where God wants us to be.

Question for the day: Are we praying for or praying with?

Day 13

https://youtu.be/gMt6A3luEpk

Day 13 gives us a peek into the results of the allowing the Holy Spirit to infuse our lives: the very things the world around us us missing in a big way…

Devotional Point 4 today: Open your heart before the Lord…

Scripture 4 today: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” Galatians 5:22 NIV

Reflection 4 today: The “work of the work“ in the Christian life years allowing the Holy Spirit to develop and change and transform us. As we obey and do what he has commanded us. the fruit of the spirit begins to develop. Paul has given quite specific instructions regarding how to make this happen, starting with the renewing of our minds. There are three parts to this equation: the vine the branches in the fruit. Our job is to be the best developed branches on the planet…

Question for the day: Is there anything within me that may hinder my ability to receive that fullness? Only by allowing distraction to get me off course…

Day 12

Day 12 gives us the benchmark of effectiveness as Christians: obedience and love…

Devotional Point 4 today: the direct correlation between obedience and abiding in God…

Scripture 4 today: “The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” A 1 John 3:24 NIV

Reflection 4 today: we have the spirit of the creator of the universe living inside us now that we are followers of Christ. Not some warm fuzzy feeling, but the actual spirit of the living God. With the Holy Spirit inside us, keeping those commandments is not some onerous and difficult thing. He gives us the strength and power to do that, not “White Knuckling“ it but gladly obeying. The concept of “gladly obeying” is something that spins straight out of a deep relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Question for the day: How can we understand and obey better?

Day 11

https://youtu.be/sOdcJvheyjo

Day 11 gives us the keys to prayer: asking, seeking, and knocking on the door…

Devotional Point 4 today: we are fully dependent upon him for this provision…

Scripture 4 today: “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Luke 11:10 NIV

Reflection 4 today: Asking implies humility and a consciousness of need. Seeking is asking plus acting. Knocking is asking plus acting plus persevering. So, the big problem most of us have is really two part: the first part is we just don’t take enough time to pray. The second part is the most of our prayer is weak and pathetic. To be a disciple, prayer is not an activity, it is life itself. Pray first I’ll also pray correctly!

Question for the day: Why so we forget to ask God? Mostly because we see it as an activity…

Day 10

https://youtu.be/DpHtNuZ3Z3g

Day 10 gives us the starting point for all discipleship…

Devotional Point 4 today: Empty Yourself to be Filled…

Scripture 4 today: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25 NIV

Reflection 4 today: this concept of taking up the cross and following Jesus is an anathema to the world we live in, and most especially the church… Activity and lots of it, yes, but this self denial required to take up to cross? Not a very common thing. Taking it up the cross in the world we live in involves very focused discipline in reading God’s word praying, and serving. It involves focusing on what we can give, not what we can get…

Question for the day: Father, what would it look like for me to walk in complete oneness with you today?

Day 9

Day 9 gives us one of the secrets behind effective praying, remembering and focusing on the fact that we are not of this world, we are jus passing through…

Devotional Point 4 today: Everything in the spiritual life comes to us through faith.

Scripture 4 today: “Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16 NIV

Reflection 4 today: One of the great mysteries is that God extracts part of his identity from the faith and commitment of some of his people. Clearly not all of them, but definitely some of them. Are we living in a manner that could cause God to extract part of his identity from my day-to-day life? He is so serious about this identity with those of faith he has prepared an entire city for them in heaven. This is mind boggling…

Day 8

https://youtu.be/UMdIIm7W8Ow

Day 8 gives us the formula for what to do when we are at the end of ourselves: allowing the Holy Spirit to fill us

Devotional Point 4 today: allow praise to fill up your mind and heart…

Scripture 4 today: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,” Ephesians 5:18-19 NIV

Reflection 4 today: Paul here is speaking very clearly to people who are in a position where they need to make a choice to get some help that is outside of their normal life. Usually for us that means when we have stress to the breaking point. So when we are stressed to the breaking point, most of our society will attempt to self medicate through alcohol or something similar. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know these things don’t work. The only solution? The Holy Spirit which we have the full measure of already…

Question for the day: what is stopping the work of the Holy Spirit in you today?

Day 7

https://youtu.be/ETPt2C6TPIU

Devotional Point 4 today: we must be totally surrendered to Him

Scripture 4 today: “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 NIV

Reflection 4 today: The entire Jewish race was almost eradicated in Babylon. It took getting into the position to cause them to actually understand what their relationship with God needed to be. The reality is that we are all lamps of clay. Some of these lumps of clay are smarter than others, but not nearly smart enough to be moulded the way the Potter wants us moulded. In total surrender, He takes over the moulding process, then we can be what He wants of us…

Question for the day: Father, what are your thoughts toward me today?

Day 6

Day 6 gives us the key on what to do when there is absolutely no hope, be still and let Him do the fighting…

Devotional Point 4 today: Thank You that You are my defender!

Scripture 4 today: “Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:13-14 NIV

Reflection 4 today: in quite a few places in the old Testament the Israelites were in battle situations where they were out my hand and outgunned. This of course it is one of the most famous because they had absolutely no hope if God didn’t come in and save them. When we have situations that are of no help we need to remember that God will fight the fight for us. However there are lots of situations where God wants us to do the fighting, we come across many of these every day. He will reveal them to us in prayer…

Day 5

Day 5 opens the door for us to understand the root of disobedience and unanswered prayer, unbelief…

Devotional Point 4 today: we must understand the roots of unbelief that lie in our hearts…

Scripture 4 today: “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” Hebrews 3:18-19 NIV

Reflection 4 today: Praying effectively is founded on belief, and belief is something that has to be continually built and reinforced. This whole passage in Hebrews is deep in meaning with regard to this. At the heart of all disobedience is unbelief, and we see that in vs 13 that we are responsible for each other’s belief, we need to encourage each other daily. We, myself included, are guilty of not doing this. No good reason, just we haven’t done it… let’s build each others’ belief today!!!

Question for the day: what can you do starting today to build others belief?

Day 4

https://youtu.be/SrGNoT7grrI

Day 4 gives us some valuable information the whole issue of praying and praying first, it is all about seeking God where he can be found, when he can be found and the way he can be found…

Devotional Point 4 today: Take some time to remember…

Scripture 4 today: 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7“Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” Isaiah 55:6-7 NIV

Reflection 4 today: there are a couple of very important points here. The first is that we need to see God when he can be found which implies that he can’t always be found. This is probably a day of research for another day, but it is still there. The second issue is that there is “turning“ and “returning“. Israel had actually forsaken their faith and was stuck in Babylon, we are not that different because we end up forsaking our faith all the time for all sorts of gods that we create. But He is always there fo us…

Question for the day: Is there anything stopping us from “returning” to our faith today?

Day 3

https://youtu.be/EGPWPYkPU6A

Day 3 gives us insight into what God really wants for us, to understand that he has restored us to righteousness, not based on anything we have done…

Devotional Point 4 today: Father, is there anything that I am still trying to earn from you?

Scripture 4 today: “My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today: there were two components to the relationship being a “son“ in the many thousands of years up until Jesus time. The first one is the relationship component and the second is the financial component of the process. For most of the time, these two things were inseparably liked, but Jesus wants to help us understand that they or not. Whilst the Prodigal son is accepted back into “sonship standing”, the financial benefits that he had accrued previously did not. However, Jesus is very clearly saying that the return to righteousness needs to be celebrated!

Question for the day: How have we confused the standing as sons and daughters with the rewards attached?

Day 2

https://youtu.be/4JYR20wq-X8

Day 2 gives us the starting place for every day: Be still and know that I am God..

Devotional Point 4 today: Still your soul as you come into God’s presence.

Scripture 4 today: “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today: This Psalm begins with the statement that God is our refuge and strength. Every morning when we take her first breath after a night of sleep the first thing we need to do is to truly be still and know that God is God. All of us have phenomenally busy days and all of us will have loads of challenges today. However all of those challenges can only be met in one place: our God. So we need to start it out by letting go and letting God be God. It has to be the first prayer of the day…

Question for the day: How can we do a better job at this?

Day 1

Day 1 of our new devotional starts on a foundational note: Jesus wants a life with Him and of Him and from Him…

Devotional Point 4 today: Take time to allow Him to speak into this praise and surrender

Scripture 4 today: ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Reflection 4 today: these are a couple of the most miss translated words from Greek to English, causing most of us to miss the actual meaning here. all of us carry the “yoke“ every day, what Jesus is offering is to exchange the yoke you are already carrying for his a yoke, which is a lot lighter than the one you are carrying. The second is perhaps most important “miss” is about “learn” from me. The Greek language is actually “of me” and “with me” and “from me”. We are invited to learn of Jesus and be with Jesus not just pursue instructional didactic information transfer. The “of” and “with” we have lost…

Question for the day: what could be stopping from coming to the Father with your every need? Mostly distraction…

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