Saturday, February 03 2024
Thank you for the prayers and understanding yesterday. I slept over 15 hours yesterday and another 8 last night. I am feeling rested and better and hope to get back at things today. Working from rest is God's best and I was weary and in need of rest and God blessed with that choice. I could have pushed through possibly yesterday and then been more exhausted and sick today. Ministry happened throughout the building without me yesterday. PTL! And thank you to all our servants! God is using you! And God has refreshed me and brought me out of spiritual attack, refining, a depressive funk and weariness to a place of being able and ready to follow Him. The 23rd Psalm comes to mind. Check out the Harvest Prayer blog for today about that and pray it and pronounce it over you and us! The Lord is MY Shepherd! The Lord is OUR Shepherd! Amen!
Good Morning Humble, Readying, Reflectors and Followers of Jesus! As you pronounce this over you and our fellowship, the thought may come to you as to me, "Is Jesus really my Lord and Shepherd? Am I becoming more like Him? Am I willing and ready to go incarnate Him and His love when called to?" And many other self-examination questions. Part of my time the past few days as been a deep soul searching and questioning of God about these things and more. Self-examination before God with an open heart to receive His correcting love and a willingness to repent is essential to a healthy, fruitful walk with Christ. Praying earnestly to be pruned and prepared, repentant and purified will lead to some hard places and dark spots to walk through. BUT GOD! He walks through these dark valleys with us, comforts us and restores our souls. He leads us through the paths of righteousness for His names sake, not our glory, but His. When we pray, "Have at it Lord. Have all of me. Purify me. Make me more like Jesus." we will come to know that God has great plans for us, is with us and wanting to prepare us for His best. God has sure been at work with answering my prayer to die to self and be more earnest. And PTL there is light and joy and shalom as we walk out of that valley with Him!
We have just completed our first month of the Become More in '24 Challenge. Less of me and more of Christ and working at becoming more like Jesus this year and doing more of what He's wanting to do in and through us. It's almost like starting a new year's resolution but more earnestly and keeping at it for more than a week or two. Check out the article from the Upper Room below about "Building the Kingdom". This might lead you to a word or two to work on or be a reminder that we are called to work out our faith with fear and trembling and allow God to mold and stretch and purify us so that we are ready to continue to follow Him well into the new things, the better things, He has planned for us. He really does have some great things planned for you and us, custom made things that we are gifted to do to build His Kingdom and Church.
What's your part? What will you do about it? What may God need to purge from you? Who are you processing these things with? Who is covering you in prayer? Does God have to humble you or are you becoming more like Jesus and have His attitude of humble servant? Are you leaning on your own understanding or seeking God for more of His wisdom, direction, correction and help? OH so much soul searching I've been going through, but man has it been profitable and productive and will lead me to become more like Jesus. Join me! Process with me! Follow with me to God's greater and best things! We need each other! Amen. Check out our devos below speaking into these things today. Allow Jesus to be Your Lord and Shepherd with me!
The Christian life lived well is not for the weak and timid, just like getting old is not for sassy's! But remember, when we are weak, He is strong! Amen! God is in the business of transforming us into His image and into the people we are created to be. He has greater purposes for us that will be revealed as we allow Him full access with a humble willingness to allow Him to have His way with us. The Become More in '24 Challenge continues to take us deeper into Christ and His ways. We've worked through yearly challenges for the past few years that have led us here and have prepared us for what's next. We are becoming humble, readying, reflectors and followers of Jesus both individually and as His Body. And we are beginning to see the fruit of that labor. PTL! Let us continue to spur each other on as we earnestly pursue more of Christ and His ways! May we live more sacrificially and love more lavishly like Jesus the rest of the year and beyond--and together! Amen! I'm praying for you and God is cheering you on and His Spirit is in you and ready to help!
February 1 - The Lord Is My Shepherd
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4, ESV)
The 23rd Psalm doesn’t actually have the word “peace” in it. Yet the entire psalm is about peace. As I focused on the One who walked with me in or through dark places, I realized that I did not need to fear any evil. Peace replaced fear because of the awareness of the presence of Christ with me.
From green pastures and still waters to dwelling forever in His house, David gives us a picture of peace and the means of peace. The key to all of what the psalm promises is the presence of God.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, because you are with me.”
For followers of Jesus, the indwelling Spirit is an absolute promise. He is with us! The trouble often is our lack of awareness of that fact in the moment of danger or fear. That’s why it is so important to bring the power of the Word of God into our lives continually. Whether it is singing a psalm or praying it without melody, the promises of His presence will bring peace.
Make it a point each day to affirm the Lord’s presence in your life. You can use the phrase from Psalm 23 and simply say “because you are with me.”
Lord, I am so grateful that you have provided for me green pastures to lay down in and still water to walk alongside. Thank you for preparing a table before me, even in the presence of my enemies. How grateful to know that your goodness and mercy will be with me always and that you have provided for me an eternal home. “Because you are with me,” I will not fear. Most of all Lord, I am grateful that your presence is continually within me. Keep me aware of that amazing fact. Thank you for the peace that comes from your presence.
--Adapted from Prayer, Peace and the Presence of God (A 30-Day Journey to Experience the Shalom of Jesus) by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
- Praise God that “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Rom. 11:36).
- Thank God for being both your dwelling place and your destination.
- Confess times that you have tried to live independently of his authority.
- Commit yourself to offering your body “as [a] living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Rom. 12:1).
- Ask God to help you in “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, [to] do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).
- Pray for all the unsaved persons in your city, that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:10-11).
“Prayer is hardest when it is hardest to pray.” —Anonymous
Charles Stanley from yesterday I was unable to share
Charles Stanley: Today
After a game, a college basketball star stayed behind to help workers throw out empty cups and food wrappers. When a fan posted a video of him in action, more than eighty thousand people viewed it. One person commented, “[The young man] is one of the most humble guys you will ever meet in your life.” It would’ve been easier for the basketball player to leave with his teammates and celebrate his role in the team’s victory. Instead, he volunteered for a thankless job.
The ultimate spirit of humility is seen in Jesus, who left His high position in heaven to take the role of a servant on earth (Philippians 2:7). He didn’t have to do it, but He willingly humbled Himself. His ministry on earth included teaching, healing, and loving all people—and dying and rising to save them.
Although Christ’s example can inspire us to sweep a floor, pick up a hammer, or dish up food, it may be most powerful when it finds its way into our attitude toward others. True humility is an inner quality that not only changes our actions but also changes what’s important to us. It motivates us to “value others above [ourselves]” (v. 3).
Author and preacher Andrew Murray said, “Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness.” May our lives reflect this beauty as, through the power of His Spirit, we reflect the heart of Christ (vv. 2–5).
By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
How has Jesus’ humility affected you? In what areas are you tempted to be prideful?
Dear Jesus, thank You for humbling Yourself for me. Help me to follow Your example of valuing others’ needs above my own.
Philippians 2:5-11 describes what Jesus gave up by coming to earth and becoming a man, and it’s spawned much debate over the centuries. Verse 6 affirms that prior to His incarnation, Christ was equal to the Father in every way. But in coming to earth, He “made himself nothing” (v. 7) or “emptied Himself” (nasb) of something. The key issue is found in the word emptied (Greek kenoō). Some have said that He emptied Himself of His deity, but, if so, how could His sacrifice fully atone for our sins? The most satisfying view is that He retained His deity and all His attributes but set aside the right to use those powers for His own benefit. Instead, He chose to submit to the Father’s will and purpose.
Examine the evidence that God became a man.
UR: Promptings from God
Who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. - 1 Corinthians 2:11 (NIV)
I had kept a Bible in the backseat of my car for several weeks with the belief that God would show me whom to give it to at the right moment. When I arrived at work one morning and got out of my car, I felt a conviction and a nudge from God that I should take the Bible inside with me.
That morning, one of my co-workers looked sad and subdued. She told me that her dad was being tested for a serious illness and explained her fears about his possible diagnosis. Feeling certain this was the reason God had prompted me to bring the Bible inside, I took it out of my bag and told her about my belief. She hugged me, thanking me with tears in her eyes. I told her it was not my merit; I was only an instrument in God’s hands.
I prayed for my co-worker’s dad. Ultimately, the test results showed that the doctor’s concerns about possible serious illness had been wrong. My co-worker now looks to the future with confidence, and she places her hope in God. Every day we try to find time at work for a little break with God.
Dear God, thank you for listening to our prayers, for opening our hearts, for helping us to give joyfully to others, and for giving us clear convictions and guidance. Amen.