devotion [\ di-ˈvō-shən] times when you focus on the person of God in prayer and/or the Bible and set your heart and mind on his divine truth. Devotions are quiet times of reflection, confession, examination, and worship.

Welcome note

This 21 Days of Prayer filled focus for 2020 is to move us towards Solid Living.  Yes, even in the midst of the COVIN-19 pandemic we can discover together.  It may be hard and very emotional as we work through the coming months, but take time to slow down for each daily devotion knowing that #hopeishere #wecan #connectedtogetherhearttoheart #solidlivingisforme #ihearfromGod #wewillgetthroughthis.

 

Our focus verse: Luke 6:46-49

Week 1 | Coming

Day 1: 

Luke 6:46-49 NLT

  46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

  47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

  48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.

  49 But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”

Day 2: 

Luke 6:46

  46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

  We must get down to bedrock for SOLID LIVING. We cannot be those who talk out of both sides of their mouth and claim one thing and then do another.

 

Matthew 7:21 reiterates this when he wrote, "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter."

  Today we verbalize to Father that we need his help to get down to the bedrock in our life--and when there are inconsistency in letting Jesus be Lord of our lives--we ask for forgiveness and stop building on shifty sand, for we desire SOLID LIVING.

 

Day 3: 

Luke 6:46

  46 “So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?

  As we call on Jesus as our Lord in faith, believing according to Romans 10:9-10: "9 If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved." then we can move forward in our relationship with Father God.  We do this through the work of GRACE by Jesus Christ, and not of our own merit as Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

  It is impossible to experience God's divine favor when you have not called on the Divine--Jesus.  Do more than call him Lord today, show it with your actions.

  What actions would honor God and show him that Jesus is Lord of your life?

Day 4: 

Luke 6:47 NLT

   47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

 

  This passage holds the real focus of this 21 Days of P&F in that when we "call Him Lord" then we move towards obedience.  Not obedience related to being good or being bad--but because we love Father God and we desire more of him each day.  So let's finish the week thinking about the 10th word in this verse... "come".

  What is coming?  Where do we come to?  What will we do when we get there?

  First, let's say that "coming" doesn't have to be moving or going any where.  "Coming" is the state of focuing our attention to the Spirit of God.  This may be reading God's Word, discussing the Word with other believers, or entertaining an attidude of being present and aware of God the Father, Jesus the Son, or God the Holy Spirit.

  Now, we can also say that "coming" is not--merely attendance during a church service or reading scripture aimlessly to meet some agenda. "Coming" is an intention spiritual connection where our spirit is engaged with the Spirit of God.

   Schedule a time today to stop the buzyness and "come" to God and envoke your relationship as His son or daughter that has been bought by the blood of Jesus.  Feels his presence today because he is your Lord.

 

Day 5: 

Luke 6:47 NLT

   47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

  Yesterday we read that we are to "come" to God.  review this focal verse... what other verses do you know that come to your mind that supports the need for a strong connection?  If you are having a hard time recalling a verse or two, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal one to you or consider calling a friend and talk about what is on your mind.  They might have a verse that would be perfect for today.

 

  Connecting with God, others, and even your own personal being is very important. To be in one accord in spirit, soul, and body has a lot to do about being at peace and being truly happy. Read our keynote scripture and then remain still and get re-tuned to God's voice.

 

  John 15:5 “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”

Day 6

Luke 6:47 NLT

   47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

 

  It’s towards the end of the first complete week of a new year—a new decade..2020!  I pray that you are finding greater margins in your life as you are looking for ways to "come" before the Lord and to be a better "listener"?  It could be that we all are having a hard time with this exercise of being patient to be present.  Let me give this encouraging word that might help.  I caught a great phrase this past year that has really made me think and experience Father more that I ever have before.  Especially when it comes to resting in His presence.  Here it is...

The God you seek is ALREADY HERE! 

  Some people feel that God is not listening and that they have to do something special to get His attention.  Actually, they are trying to do something to get their own attention. 

  When you arrive--Father God will be there!  May we decide to let our practice move past it's routine exercies into truly engaging and enjoying Father God who is already here to meet with us today. 

"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Day 7: 

Luke 6:47 NLT

   47 I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

  Luke, a disciple of Jesus, lists three things that will help us live the SOLID LIFE!  The first one is to "come" to Him, the second is to "listen" to His teachings, and the last one is to "follow" what has been heard. 

  "Following" usually involves having a leader.  Our issue is we often pick the wrong leader.  We begin to "follow" what will bring potential wealth, or popularity, or pleasure. 

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."

~Beverly Sills 

  Jesus is not popular and has limited airtime in many arenas, but He is still the CONNECTION that will bring us the greatest fulfillment in life! 

 

Jesus is the foundation--the bedrock for SOLID LIVING

Week 2 | Listening

Day 8: 

Luke 10:24 NLT

"I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”

 

  As we continue to focus on "Coming, Hearing, and Doing" let us draw our attention to the second piece--"Hearing".  For all practical purposes let's refer to this as "Listening" as one can hear and not be actively listening, for to listen is to be engaged (seeing or preceiving what is being said and hearing for content, meaning, and action or application).  

  As we step into this new week--Seek to COME (be present) and to LISTEN and to KNOW the relationship you have with Father God!

 

Day 9: 

Luke 10:24 NLT

"I tell you, many prophets and kings longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it.”

  Ok, it may look like deja vu, and it is!  We looked at this verse yesterday, but let's focus on a different part of the verse.

 

"...And they longed to hear...."

   Think about that one word--"longed". This Greek word simply is to say, "I will" this to happen or to wish, desire, am willing, intend, design, or delight for it to take place.  Does that describe your relationship with God? of do you meet Him in a rush rush time crush?

  Think of the outcome you are wanting from this relationship.  Ask yourself, "What should be my response to Jesus dying on the cross for me?"  "Why can't I sit in  His presence for a lingering moment and not be anxious?"  As we learn to  LISTEN, may we retrain our phone, our stomach, our job, our hobbies to start with an exsagerated time with the One who--

Made You. Forgave You. Bought You.

 

 

Day 10: 

Luke 10:41-42 NLT

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  Jesus didn't pull any punches here when talking to Martha.  Jesus didn't use the Sandwich method (Praise-Correction-Praise).  Nope, He just said it like it was.  Let me reword it a bit for our Post-Modern culture.

 

  "Martha, you are all jacked up worrying about all this serving.  Stop it!  Look at your sister as she has bowed her heart at my feet--to spend time with me and listen to me.  It is times like this that no one can take this away from her--and why would they?"

 Can you feel the passive-aggressive action that Martha was leaning into as she compared herself and Mary together.  You don't have to do Jesus like everyone else, but you do have to spend time with someone if you want to know them.

  Stop today and read Luke 10:38-42 a couple of times and just ask yourself, "What is the gauge of my heart saying to me when it comes to spending time with Father?"  Then do what your heart says.  You might be pleasantly surprised to feel the guilt fall off your shoulders and Joy rise up in your heart.

 

Day 11: 

Luke 10:42 NLT

41 But the Lord said... 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  As we take a short look today at verse 42, in the NLT it uses the phrase "Mary has discovered it".  In our culture today we probably agree that we have sought after things that possibly has got us off our focus from "DISCOVERING" the beauty of spending time with God.  That ONE thing that out shines every thing else.  We have sought after being accepted, after being pleasing to other people, and working day and night to keeping up with the people next door.

  Let's ponder on this today by making a list of those things you do or the way you position yourself where God gets the glory and your heart doesn't condemn you.  Then simply DO IT!

 

Day 12: 

Luke 10:42 NLT

42 "... Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  Well, did you make that list?  Those things you do or the way you position yourself where God gets the glory and your heart doesn't condemn you?  If you really didn't DO IT--DO IT now before you go any further in our devotion today!

  Here is the thing--when we DISCOVER how to hear from God we will also DISCOVER how to hear our own heart's cry!  You will notice when you are really aching and need some down time.  You will DISCOVER that it doesn't do any good trying to mask over the hurt or empty feelings.  CALL out to God today and declare that you want him to raise the bar in your life so that you can be more sensitive to His VOICE.

 

  I am not talking about raising the bar as if you have to do more to be saved--NO!  I am talking about being a better listener, a better ruler of your heart and mind, and find that Father God is pleased with you.  Yes, just where you are in your life is important to Him.  Listen deeply and you will hear His wooing to draw you deeper and deeper into recognizing whose you are.  Ponder on this verse and write down some of the ways that you have begun to look like God's very own people and how He has shown Himself to be YOUR very own God.

7 Then I will make you my people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the forced labor of the Egyptians.

Exodus 6:7  (GW)

 

Day 13: 

Proverbs 4:10 NLT

My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life.

 

  In these closing days of this week let's ponder on three things to improve our listening skills--NO, let's ponder on four things.

  First--if you want to hear from God you must believe that HE wants to speak to you.  Just like Adam, God came in the cool of the evening to spend time with Adam.  What time is God coming to meet with you?  Better yet what time are you giving Him or is it hard fitting Him in to your schedule (believe me--I know how you feel).  No one can escape the pressures of this world, but we can have dominion over those pressures.  We learn to be present and enjoy Father God who is right there in front of you.

  Second--Pray for your ears to be open and sensitive to God’s voice.  To know God is very crucial if you want to know HIM.  Paul writes to the Ephesians in chapter one verse eight-teen (1:18)

I pray that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better.

  Let's lean into God and believe that He wants this relationship just like you do--maybe even more.  Then take the next step and confess that your LISTENING SKILLS need some work.  Ask Father to help you KNOW CHRIST BETTER!

 

Day 14: 

PROVERBS 2:1 NLT

My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

 

  To find the treasures we must grab Father's words.  We must really HEAR them.  There are several times in the Bible where  author writes, "He who has ears let him hear" (Luke 14:35).  So, point number THREE is to develop the art of listening.  This will take time.  It doesn't happen over night, so be patient.  God is not like the Drive Thru at McDonalds.  Jesus describes this relationship as a Farmer sowing seeds.  Our relationship grows as His Word takes root in us. 

There is no true maturity in Christ without

growing up emotionally too.

  Thus, we must become LISTENERS who hear His VOICE and become doers--not just at church, but in every social circle you are in.  Ephesians says we come to maturity by way of those who teach us the Word.  James says, "...to show your faith."  Now, that is where we must spend some time next week--FOLLOWING.

  And last of all this week, the FOURTH point is to KEEP IN THE WORD OF GOD and hanging out with those who do.  There is no substitute for God's Word.  Worship songs is just that--worship songs.  They may have God's Word in them (Ephesians 5:19, "songs and spiritual songs"), but it never takes the place of God and His Word.  

  Read Psalm 1 this weekend.  Make it your hearts focus this weekend and enjoy being a tree planted near the waters of LIFE and grow and never wither.

Psalm 1 NLT

1 Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

4 But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6 For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Week 3 | Following

Day 15: 

Mark 8:34-37 NLT

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

 

  As we go into this last week of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, I want us to focus on the word FOLLOWING.  

 

  Our first point in FOLLOWING is never just “talk”—it is totally about taking “action”.  This act of FOLLOWING must begin with a heart of surrendering. This is not really easy as we have this built in essence of survival, to strive and promote me, myself, and I.  Right?  Yet to FOLLOW, we take steps that give up our own dictates. We can define this as: 

 

sur-ren-der 

v. To relinquish possession or control

of (something) to another...

 

  This can be done as a command, a voluntary act, or as a point of giving up.  When Jesus says, “...you must give up your own way...” it is a voluntary act to “give up”—to FOLLOW.  Can you hear Joshua questioning the tribes of Israel?  Well, it was more like a challenge or ultimatum He says, “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve...But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

(Joshua 24:15 NLT)

 

  Consider asking the Holy Spirit (who is our Helper), “what ways do I choose my own way instead of choosing God’s Way?” Or maybe take time to write down 3 or 4 emotions that get you distracted or off-balance in your daily walk with the Lord.  In both exercises, make your thought be faith filled convictions to ask the Holy Spirit for His help in seeing growth in your life. Amen.   #wehearfromGod 

Day 16: 

Mark 8:34-37 NLT

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. 36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? 37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

 

  Asking the Holy Spirit for help can seem to be lame if you have been a strong professing Christian over the years. Could it be that being a Professed Christian doesn’t really relate to being a FOLLOWER.  I have experienced this in my own walk in Christ. Maybe you can relate?  I know that God's Word says one thing and  then I end up choose my own way instead.  Ouch! 

 

  In verse 35 (above) it says, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”  I have known people who thought of this passage in a way that debased (reduced in quality or value) themselves. I think that God is more about seeing His children grow up, mature, and reach their full potential NOT punish themselves or devalue His creation.  I believe we are to be his “light set on a hill” and not a sad and broken down “bruised reed”.  Let’s look at this process of “losing our life” to FOLLOW Christ in this way. 

 

  My brother often says, “there is lots of flour, sugar, and eggs—but some is much better than others.”

 

  If we could see that no matter how clean and smooth we might be, that we are just plain flour.  That by ourselves we are just plain dry ingredients and not very palatable.  But when the flour gets mixed with the right ingredients, blended together as one mixture, and cooked just right (Oh my!).  “May I have seconds?”  

  When we sink our teeth into that delicious cake, strudel, or buñuelo -- you normally don’t say, “Boy that flour sure tastes great.”  Our normal compliment is all about the whole presentation of ingredients. 

 

  We are the flour and God has all the ingredients we need to find life, joy, peace, and salvation.  It’s time for us to get lost in our Father God, just as the flour gets lost when it gets mixed with the other ingredients.  To surrender to Christ (“if you give up your life for my sake”), letting the Holy Spirit use “the Good News” in and through us— “will save” you.  [Ok, now just add coffee!  Lol!]

Day 17: 

Mark 8:34b-35a NLT

34 ...he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it....

  In focusing on being a FOLLOWER of Christ we can easily miss the Master's plan for us.  We can become over achievers or decide not to even try, because we don't see that our HOPE is not in us--our HOPE is in Jesus!  We are choosing to give up "our way" and in turn embrace "His Way".

 

  With this new choice of our will--we "pick up our cross" and move the way He moves, in Peace.  We speak the way he speaks, using words filled with love.  Thus, moving and speaking along this new "Way" we forgive like He forgives.    

 

  Now take a breath and observe 2 or 3 actions or thoughts where you take your cross off the Path" God has for you and you try to justify your own actions.  At that point--STOP!  Declare you were moving wrong, that you used the wrong words or thoughts, and with that take the step or steps to forgive.  Choose to forgive is choosing to live with the choice of another that has brought ill to you or others and no longer holding them accountable.  Now take another deep breath and live stronger.

Day 18:

Mark 8:35 NLT

35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

  What is the "Good News"?  

Is it that the stock market is doing good?

Or that your doctor gives you a great report?

Maybe that you saved $179.00 when you switched to GEICO? 

  Those are great pieces of news, but the "Good News" is not about INSURANCE--but more about ASSURANCE!

 

Romans 6:23 NLT

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Isaiah 61:1 NLT

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to Proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

 

Mark 16:15 NLT

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

 

2 Timothy 4:2 NLT

Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

 

When we FOCUS on JESUS and what His Father

has done for us we release the POWER that

changes the world.

Romans 1:16 NLT

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

Take a moment and make a list of ways that the "Good News" can be released into your normal, mundane, oddly unique day.  Think about it for a day or tow and then push the button and "GO!" for it.

  

Day 19: 

  I hope you have been encouraged these past 19 days? Get connected today. 

 

(If this has not been the right time for you to maximize your Connection and Budding in Christ—you can come back to our website (www.okmulgeefoursquare.org) or pass it to a friend and follow the devotions again. There are two more days then a New Year, a New Decade, and a New Virus--but we will not give up.)

 

 

Day 20: 

Jeremiah 18:6

“Family of Israel, you know that I can do the same thing with you. You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”

        

  As we begin to wind down this 21 Days, I came across this devotion shared on November 9, 2015 and thought that I would re post it here to bring depth to our closing couple of days.  I believe that God is always in the business of loving us, redeeming us, and putting us in places to give him glory. 

THE POTTER AND THE CLAY

  When we, or the people to whom we minister, are in a place of brokenness, God assures us that He is faithful--that He "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20, NKJV). He is the Potter and we are the clay. During the final years of the house of Israel, God told Jeremiah to go to the potter's house. In obedience, Jeremiah went down to the potter's house and saw the potter molding the clay at the wheel. He observed that the vessel made of clay was marred in the potter's hand.  Unperturbed by this flaw in the clay, the potter proceeded to make another vessel that was pleasing to him. Then a word from the Lord came to Jeremiah that expressed the passion of His heart for the house of Israel:

"O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?" says the Lord. "Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!" (Jer. 18:6 NKJV)

  God longed for His rebellious people to return to Him. God had a plan to give them a future and a hope (Jer. 29:10-11). Even today the Lord wants to bring restoration to His people who are marred through sin, disease, injury, emotional distress, the death of a loved one, and broken relationships with the Lord, family, or friends. He wants to mold them, as clay in His hand, and fashion them into vessels that are pleasing to Him.

 God performs miracles and restores marred vessels today. Ultimately, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem His creation. God has a purpose and plan for every person and He sees something valuable in each one of us. God takes the shaping of His people seriously and He, alone, knows what He is fashioning. Each person has infinite promise and potential. There is no intrinsic beauty in clay, but placed in the hands of the Master Craftsman, it has limitless potential. God does not throw away marred clay, but He makes another vessel of outstanding worth. God works patiently and personally to restore and redeem us in every facet of our life. Blessings to you!

(Written by Cheryl Iverson/Foursquare Association Member in Tulsa Oklahoma)

 

 

Day 21: (last day to start anew)

  Your connection with Father will develop as you keep Coming, Listening, and Follow Him day after day, year after year, decade after decade! We never get too good for God and his loving guidance and correction!

There is a  Beginning...New Year/Decade/New Virus

but we will press in for a "New HOPE and a FRESH Witness" in the midst of this termoil.

In an article posted by MSN/Lifestyle by Elizabeth Bacharach March 31, 2020​ she talks about 10 Short Rituals to Boost Your Mental Health.  Ms. Bacharach quotes Patricia Harteneck, PhD Senior Psychologist at the Seleni Institue and Ada Pang, Psychotherapist with People Bloom Counseling often throughout the article of which one stated that, "Gratitude boosts hope and happiness."

Isn't that what David was trying to tell us when he wrote "Give thanks unto the Lord for He is Good"?  It gives us perspective beyond our self and leads us to a greener pasture of hope and fullness of joy.

Now What?

Take time to write down 3 or 4 things that you are graitful for then take a deep breath!

Now whisper to God words of thanks for two of them and then call a friend and tell them the other two.  The may have a couple things to share with you also.

Mark 8:34-37 NLT

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Mark 8:34-37 NLT

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 35 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.

Romans 1:16 NLT

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

Consider our first thoughts when we started this 21 Days of Prayer--verbalize to Father that we need his help to get down to the bedrock in our life--and when there are inconsistency in letting Jesus be Lord of our lives--we ask for forgiveness and stop building on shifty sand, for we desire SOLID LIVING.

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