Clothing Closet is open today from 10-1. Our lots, stairs and sidewalks are ready for today and worship tomorrow at 10.
Good Morning Praying Friends! Worshipers, (Prayer) Warriors, Watchman (on the Wall), and (Harvest) Workers. Those are different prayer stations I have been praying for God to fill in our Body. Maybe one of these is a "do" and "be" word God might want you to explore and develop in the year ahead? Yes let us worship God for Who and all He is with much thanksgiving and praise. Let us continue to battle in prayer for we fight against principalities and powers in the spiritual realm. Let us pray for eyes to see, ears to hear and mouths to sound the alarm as we pray a covering over our Body. Let us do the hard work of prayer and cry out for revival to come. One of the critical roles needed in our Good News Delivery Co. is pray-er and that shows up in all of these stations of prayer. Keep at it! Revival is coming! Birth it in prayer and prepare us in prayer to be all God made us to be and to be prepared, ready and willing. Thank you! Check out Harvest Prayer's revival prayer below! Pray through it!
Let me tell you I have been in a spiritual battle lately. I NEED your prayers and covering! Thank you! It all started when God led me to initiate the Become More in '24 Challenge. It is God's call to seek Him and His ways more. To die to self, take up cross and follow Jesus more often and fully. It's a call to (and this has been the prayer, I believe triggered this pinching) live a life fully sold out to Christ and living this life as if Christ is all that matters with earnestness and intentionality. My from-the-heart earnest prayer has been more of You Lord and less of me. Those kinds of prayers, the Bible teaches are "powerful and effective." And I can affirm that as God has led me to deep soul searching in my quest to become more like Jesus. It is a cry for personal revival and to be a man of integrity. Help me Lord!
Yesterday, I allowed God full control and invited Him to edit our completed Sunday message. He obliged with a full rewrite that consumed most of my day off. My agape word--dying to self and loving like Jesus--was put to practice. I just couldn't understand the fire and brimstone tone of the message that began as a call to teaching about spiritual gifts and words to possibly work on for us for the year. Then this morning when I invited God to come edit some more and I then opened our devotionals prayerfully God spoke and clarified. (check them out below) Oh God is speaking to my heart, pinching and answering heartfelt cries for Him to cleanse me and purify me and make me useable and His man of integrity. I may now be in a full rewrite shortly on a very busy Saturday. But His will not mine! Die to self, take up cross and follow Jesus' lead. I long to and have been crying out to become more like Jesus. That includes living, loving, teaching, leading and making disciples like Him and to allow Him to be the Lord of me, my day(s), my agendas, and my choices. I have been cut to the marrow by His Living Word in response and led to deep inspection of my ways and what needs to be corrected--purified. Can I truly say that if you don't know how to follow Jesus, follow me? Or am I one of those that call others to do what I say but not what I do? Am I a Pharisee in shepherd cloths? Purify my heart Lord!
I think the reminder God had me include in yesterday's blog really struck home. It's the one where God told Joshua to tell the people to purify themselves because they were to prepare themselves for obedience and service as they finally followed God into the Promised Land. That is God's call for us as well. Do we realize the awe and reverence we need to show to Almighty God and His ways. He is all powerful and holy. We are not, yet He calls us to be holy as He is holy. Ouch, right? My studies of spiritual gifts took me even deeper into this self examination before my holy God. And I wrested (still am some) with how to balance that awe and reverence with God's sacrificial love and forgiveness. He knows me and loves me despite my sins and flaws. He has a plan for me that leads from being a very unrighteous sinner to one walking fully in my potential and His holy ways. We are all somewhere in between on that journey. But if we want to see revival in the nation and even our church, we need to first purify ourselves (confess and repent our sins) before God will use us. Yet He says, come as you are. I love you! I have plans for you. Come!
Maturity in Christ and working on reaching our fullest potential in Christ moves us to leave our old nature behind and step more fully in our new. I am struggling with that. We all tend to hate change, leaving our comfort zones, dying to self and readying to roll when God calls. Purify yourself is a very soul searching endeavor and the pruning it may lead to really hurts. Think about how God had all the men and boys be circumcised before he led them to the Promised Land. it was symbolic of the cutting away of their old nature and it hurt! How could they go battle the enemy and take the land while healing? Well they had to fully rely on God. Today we are commanded to be a people of circumcised hearts. OUCH!!! But that is what God has called me and His church to be and do. 2 Chronicles 7:14 keeps ringing in my ear: Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
And I cry out COME! Prepare and send me! Help me humble and purify myself. Cleanse me and use me Lord! Bring revival and may it begin with me! Is the Holy Spirit pinching you right now? Don't turn off that noise as we tend to do. Tune into it and ask for clarity and help with what to repent and to purify yourself. God has great plans a because that is not noise, but God's whisper to you. He's waiting and wants you to be ready and willing. He is preparing a people for Himself. You can be one of those! Are you listening? Willing? Ready?
I then opened Our Daily Bread titled Calling out to God. They use Psalm 25:16-22. meditate on that. That has been part of my prayers. This some just lifted me up as I cried out to God in praise and prayer with it.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord,[a] is in you.
22 Deliver [me, Your Church and this nation] O God,
from all their troubles!
The Upper Room followed up with Letting Go. They use Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." That's me. Is that you? God is preparing us to be able to connect and lead those of the world who He is drawing and whose heats are broken--those who's spirit is crushed as their world comes crashing down. God loves us with a refining, purifying, and preparing love as He sends us to people experiencing the things we have gone through. We can look back and see that but rarely understand during the purifying and pruning.
The Word for You Today kinda redirected my thinking today with their reminder from Psalm 84:7 that God will move us from strength to strength. He is not content to leave us the way we are. We are created for more and He builds on our strengths and prunes our weaknesses. Great fruit lies ahead! We have been and may still be being pruned. Why? Because that is required as we purify ourselves and offer ourselves to God. Pruning leads to much better fruit and forces us to draw on the strength of the Vine, Jesus, for nourishment, sustaining and growth. As we start to grow and bud, we become more aware of what God is doing and wants to do as He leads us to the great and lasting fruit of the Spirit we have cried out to develop for Him to use. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Have you chosen one of these as your word, like me? I have prayed for some of these and especially self control. God will gladly prune us to give us opportunities to grow into those desires of our heart. And then use them to bless and minister to others and for His glory.
Don't be surprised if you hear some of this again tomorrow. It bears repeating and really is God editing His message to us as I prayed, less of me and more of you. He loves us with a refining, patient, everlasting love. He created us with so much potential and wants us to get there for such a time as this. He has plans for today, a bright hope for tomorrow and everlasting plans for you to grow into. It's time to get earnest and intentional at purifying yourself, allowing God to have His way with you as He prepares to lead you to His best and to be one of those people He is preparing for Himself. As we sit in awe and reverence and worship, we see His hand of blessing and love upon us and come to know His peace beyond understanding as we choose joy that flows from deep trust that He knows best and is at work in us, around us and through us to prepare a people for Himself that are purified and ready. Man, I want to be one of those! How about you? Let us covenant to work on this together and hold each other up in that journey to His best. Let us seek to become more in '24! Amen!
I'm praying for me, you and us. I want to answer questions and process with you. I need accountability and so do you. Ask God for some close trusted co-laborers. He has some custom made great plans for you and us together and He is working all things together for those who love Him/agape Him and are called according to His name. Which is a call to holiness and becoming more like Jesus. Lord, help us to want to and work on Becoming More like Jesus in '24. Prepare, purify and send us! Amen
Harvest Prayer, Revival prayer:
January 20, 2024 - Praying for Revival (Day 20): Revival Is a Coronation
The manifest presence of Christ is when God reveals His Son to a new generation of His people. He does so in such dramatic fashion that it almost seems as if Christ has been hiding from us until that moment. Then suddenly He reinserts Himself among us. He arrives, in other words.
Revival is a “Christ-awakening movement.” It is God’s people waking up to God’s Son for ALL He is, not only individually but also corporately; not only in a moment but for a season. Revival ultimately becomes a movement with wide-reaching impact on society as well as among the nations.
One could almost say that revival is like a coronation. In other words, it leads believers to reaffirm their wholehearted devotion to the Lamb who sits on the Throne (Rev. 5). It reconnects them to His marching orders as their King. It serves as a powerful sign of the supremacy of Christ. The renewing reality of revival should be basically defined as this: Jesus expressing Himself more fully to His people as Lord.
Many believe a gracious “Christ Awakening” even now is bearing down on top of us, in answer to today’s unprecedented global prayer movement. May it be so!
I praise You Jesus, for You are the Lamb who sits on the throne and reigns supreme as my Lord and King! May Your manifest presence be revealed to my generation and those to come in powerful and refreshing ways. I pray for a revival that will demonstrate Your sovereign reign before all of heaven and earth.
Lord Jesus, invade my church with Your revolutionary and transforming presence so that we will increase our vision for the proclamation of the gospel and our mission to the world.
Pr a y e r Po i n t s:
• Praise Jesus as the Lamb who sits on the throne and reigns supreme as your Lord and King!
• Pray that the manifest presence of Christ will be revealed to your generation in powerful and refreshing ways.
• Pray for a final revival that demonstrates Christ’s sovereign reign before all of heaven and earth.
• Invite Jesus to invade your church with His revolutionary and transforming presence.
• Pray that the presence of Christ in your church increases the vision for gospel proclamation and mission to the world.
--Adapted from Day 20 by David Bryant: Do It Again, Lord (30 Days of Hope-Filled Prayer for Revival) compiled and edited by Carol Madison.
In his book Adopted for Life, Dr. Russell Moore describes his family’s trip to an orphanage to adopt a child. As they entered the nursery, the silence was startling. The babies in the cribs never cried, and it wasn’t because they never needed anything but because they’d learned that no one cared enough to answer.
My heart ached as I read those words. I remember countless nights when our children were small. My wife and I would be sound asleep only to be startled awake by their cries: “Daddy, I’m sick!” or “Mommy, I’m scared!” One of us would spring into action and make our way to their bedroom to do our best to comfort and care for them. Our love for our children gave them reason to call for our help.
An overwhelming number of the psalms are cries, or laments, to God. Israel brought their laments to Him on the basis of His personal relationship with them. These were a people God had called His “firstborn” (Exodus 4:22) and they were asking their Father to act accordingly. Such honest trust is seen in Psalm 25: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, . . . free me from my anguish” (vv. 16–17). Children who are confident of the love of a caregiver do cry. As believers in Jesus—children of God—He’s given us reason to call on Him. He hears and cares because of His great love.
By John Blase
REFLECT & PRAY
How comfortable are you taking your cries to God? Why? How might you offer up a lament to Him today?
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your faithfulness to hear my cry and to act.
In the superscription of Psalm 25, the only information provided is that David is the author. Unlike some of his psalms (see Psalm 51), there’s no hint as to the events that triggered its writing. Based on the lyrical content, some scholars suggest that it may refer to the times when David was pursued either by Saul or Absalom, but due to the penitent nature of the psalm, others see it as perhaps following David’s sin with Bathsheba. Either way, Psalm 25 is an individual lament (as opposed to a national lament). Its main feature is that it’s an acrostic—each verse begins with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This feature is a Hebrew poetic device that’s likely intended to make the psalm easier to memorize. That same characteristic is found in Psalms 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, and 145.
UR: Letting Go
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18 (NIV)
My family had experienced three recent deaths: my father, my mother, and my nephew. After cleaning out my parents’ house for a new family to move in, reality hit hard. We would never gather at my childhood home again. Dad would not read Luke 2 on Christmas Day. Mom would not make raspberry jelly or pecan pies. My nephew would not give another prank gift or bear hug. Our family would never be the same.
As I walked through the empty house, Dad’s orchard, and the woods at the edge of the yard, I cried. I
thanked God for a great family and childhood home and asked for God’s blessings on the young family who would live here now. Yet, a few hours later, I realized I had never given God my grief. I understood in a new way that God loves us and reaches out to us in our sorrow. However, we must offer our sorrow and grief to God.
Doing so does not remove our pain or eliminate the need for grieving. But it does offer the assurance that God holds our lives and sustains us through any devastating loss. We will never have to carry our burdens alone because God carries them with us.
Thank you, never-failing Father, for your presence, comfort, and peace, especially in times of grief. Amen.TWFYT: