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The Kingdom of God Devotional

by Pastor Michelle Smith

 

     Jesus said: “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Matthew 6:9-10

 

     Jesus spoke continually about the kingdom of God.  The purpose of this devotional is to immerse ourselves in what He taught about how to enter God’s kingdom and how His kingdom works.  God has invited us to partner with him in BRINGING HIS SUPERNATURAL INVISIBLE WORLD into our visible world.  As we study and meditate on Jesus’ Words let them be as fresh, life-giving bread to your spirit and allow His words to wash your mind of all doubt, unbelief or confusion because the King of the Kingdom has issued YOU an invitation much too important to miss out on!


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Monday, January 13th

Scripture:  Matthew 3:1-3

Meditation:  John the Baptist said, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand or near”.  Notice that his message was not about religion, but the Kingdom of heaven.  In Matthew 11:11 Jesus said of him, “I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom is greater than he.”  All the prophets before John spoke of the coming Messiah King and the coming of His Kingdom, but as a forerunner prophet, John had the privilege not only announcing, but actually meeting, baptizing and presenting to the world the King of the Kingdom!

Prayer Focus:  As we begin this study of our incredible King Jesus and His kingdom, let us start by asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate our minds and to fill our hearts with deeper levels of truth on this most important topic. 

 

Tuesday, January 14th

Scripture:  Mathew 6:25-34, with emphasis on verse 33

Meditation:  Jesus’ words here are not intended to be a yoke of burden, laying heavy responsibilities of religious duty and performance upon us.  Instead, I believe they are an invitation to us.  He is saying something like this:  don’t concentrate so hard on the things that worry and trouble you.  I have something much better to offer you!  I invite you to enter into my Father’s Kingdom – seek this above all else.  When you do, you will learn how His Kingdom works and then His blessing will affect all areas of your life.

Prayer Focus:  Take the time to ask Father God’s forgiveness for ways your focus has been out of order.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you enter more fully into the KINGDOM!

 

Wednesday, January 15th

Scripture:  John 3:1-21

Meditation:  Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews who sought out Jesus because he was hungry to know more of God – he saw something in Jesus that stirred his heart to seek after answers.  His desire was so great that he sought Jesus in the secret of the night.  Jesus cut to the heart of the matter and explained that the Kingdom of God is not a visible realm, but it is a state of being when the rule or dominion of God comes in the hearts, minds and will of people.  When we yield our lives to the Lordship of Jesus we become born of the Spirit, it is then that we begin to see the Kingdom and are enabled to actually enter His incredible Kingdom. (See John 19:38-42 for more about Nicodemus and his spiritual journey.)

Prayer Focus:  Ask God to open your spiritual eyes to more fully SEE the realm of God’s Kingdom and to understand the WAYS of His Kingdom.

 

Thursday, January 16th

Scripture:  John 1:1-18

Meditation:  Hebrews 1:1-3 says, “in these last days, God has spoken to us in His Son.”  Jesus is the WORD of God.  He is the perfect revelation of the person and nature of God.  (See also Colossians 2:9-10.)  When we receive Him and believe in His name, we become bona fide children of God!  We not only enter His Kingdom, but we become part of His family, welcomed and fully included.  It is amazing.

Prayer Focus:  Ask the Holy Spirit to explode this truth in your heart and mind. You belong!  You belong to a loving, accepting and forgiving Father.  When we trust in Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice for our sins, God  forgives our sins and receives us into His family with complete acceptance and great joy.

 

Friday, January 17th

Scripture:  2 Corinthians 5:21

Meditation:  Through Jesus our sins are forgiven, and we receive a full pardon from God.  The word righteous is a legal term, not a religious one.  It means to be put back into right relationship with God so that we are qualified to receive the promises of God.  When Jesus offered His blood on the cross, He made a way for us to claim our inheritance as citizens of the Kingdom of God.  When we are in right relationship with God, He can extend His Kingdom and rulership into our lives and extend His Kingdom and rulership into the earth through us.

Prayer Focus:  1 John 1:9 says, “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your mind any sins that you need to ask God’s forgiveness for – any things you have done that separate you from God; any actions that do not demonstrate His love to others.  Picture Jesus’ blood washing and cleansing you from all unrighteousness or sinful stain.  Now, thank Him for His love and mercy!

 

Saturday, January 18th

Scripture:  Matthew 4:1-17, Luke 3:21-23

Meditation:  After Jesus was tempted and tried in the desert, he was baptized by John.  At 30 years of age He made His first public statement concerning His earthly mission: From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”  (Matthew 4:17)  Some translations say the kingdom “is at hand” or “has arrived”.  His first public declaration was regarding the arrival of the Kingdom or government of God on earth – He was stating His mission and purpose on earth.

Prayer Focus:  If we belong to Him then His mission and purpose is OUR mission and purpose.  Pray for His Kingdom to be more fully manifested in and through you daily.

 

Sunday, January 19th

Scripture:  Ephesians 2:4-7

Meditation:  The Greek word for grace is charis and can be defined as God’s unmerited favor.  In other words, God doesn’t give us what we deserve, instead He gives us His favor and blessing.  This favor gives us access to God’s throne – we have the blessing of continuous relationship with him; we have the blessing of his continual involvement in our life; we have the blessing of his continual protection and guidance in our lives and so much more!  The favor we have with Him in the invisible world will manifest and become evident in our visible, physical world. 

Prayer Focus:  Read Numbers 6:24-25.  Pray this blessing over yourself, your family and our church family.

 

Monday, January 20th

Scripture:  Matthew 28:18-20

Meditation:  Jesus emphasized that when we become followers of Christ we are commissioned just as He was, with His authority behind us, to lead others to Christ and make them followers too.  We are to teach them everything that He has commanded.  In other words, from heavens perspective, entering the kingdom by being born again is not enough!  Salvation is the door into the kingdom, but as “Kings kids” we must next learn how to live His way in this world and teach others to do the same.  We are to demonstrate the kingdom by the way we live, talk and interact; the invisible heavenly realm is to manifest through us in the visible realm in our everyday life, impacting those around us.

Prayer Focus:  Ask Jesus to teach you more fully how His kingdom works.  Ask Him to open your understanding, giving you revelation into the supernatural, invisible realm, to make you more aware of His presence in your everyday life and to work through you more fully.  What an exciting privilege!

 

Tuesday, January 21st

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 2:12-14, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Meditation:  Those who have not yet been born again will regard the things of God’s kingdom as foolishness.  The natural mind cannot conceive of or understand the things of God’s supernatural and holy kingdom.  God’s Word tells us that the “god of this age” (satan) blinds the minds of those who do not believe, making it difficult for them to receive the Gospel.  We battle for the souls of mankind when we preach the good news – when we share our story of what God has done for us and how He has changed our lives.  Your testimony is powerful and when you share it, it will begin lifting the blindness off people’s minds and hearts. 

Prayer Focus:  Because of the authority Jesus has given us we can pray in faith for our unsaved loved ones and friends.  We can command the enemy to take the blindness off their eyes with confidence, knowing we are in God’s will and using His authority!  Ask the Holy Spirit to bring them into the kingdom.  Ask God to soften their hearts, to send His representatives to them that their spiritual eyes and ears would be opened to see and hear the truth.  Ask God to give you opportunities to share your story, “holding out the words of life”  that can rescue them from darkness. Philippians 2:14-16

 

Wednesday, January 22nd

Scripture:  Matthew 13:1-23

Meditation:  Jesus explains what the parable of the sower means so I would like us to focus on us realizing that the seed or message of the Kingdom must be scattered into many hearts and lives – don’t ever hesitate to scatter the seed of God’s word into people’s lives.  Our work is to sow it and the Holy Spirit’s work is to cultivate it. In this parable Jesus reveals that not everyone you share your faith with will respond. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9 that one person sows the seed and another waters the seed, but it is God who makes it grow.  Don’t go by what you see with your natural eyes in in people’s lives, instead continue to pray for them; encourage them, love them, and water those seeds! 

Prayer Focus:  Ask God to give you opportunities to share your faith with others by scattering seeds of truth into their lives.  Ask Him to specifically give you several individuals to pray for.  As part of your prayer focus begin to thank God for bringing them into the kingdom.  Don’t be discouraged if the process seems slow – God is at work!  Continue to pray for them each time they come to mind.

 

Thursday, January 23rd

Scripture: reread Matthew 13:20-13

Meditation:  Jesus lists several things that can rob us of being fruitful for the Lord: persecution or  trouble can cause us to fall away, and the worries of this life, and the deceitfulness of our wealth and possessions can choke our spiritual life.  He goes on to speak of the one who grasps and comprehends the word and produces a fruitful crop, yielding 30, 60 or 100 times what was sown into their heart.  I want to give hope to those who do not always feel they understand the Word of God or the Bible.  I believe Jesus is saying that the person whose heart is hungry for Him or wants more of Him, will be fruitful.  Sometimes we do not fully understand what we read in the Bible, especially when we are new believers.  We start out as “babies” in the kingdom and we gradually grow in understanding as the Holy Spirit teaches us.  So, do not feel disqualified if you have difficulty understanding and remembering the Word.  DO continue to read the Bible for it is food and life to your Spirit.   DO ask for prayer to help you in this area, as sometimes there can be a spiritual clouding of your mind that can be broken off through having others praying over you. 

Prayer Focus:  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if trouble, persecution, worries, oly Spirit to show you seeking wealth or accumulating possessions has taken your focus off the King and His Kingdom.  All these things are secondary to the King!  Ask His forgiveness for how these areas may be choking out the fruitfulness in your life.  Perhaps pleasures, things not necessarily wrong in themselves, are distracting you from keeping your eyes on the King, if so, ask His forgiveness for letting them take His place.  Ask Him to MAKE YOU FRUITFUL.   I don’t know about you, but I really, really want to be as fruitful as I can possibly be.  In many ways I am the one who controls my fruit production – Jesus doesn’t limit me.

 

Friday, January 24th

Scripture:  Acts 1:8, reread Matthew 28:18-20

Meditation:  In this passage from Matthew the Greek word exousia, translated authority, denotes the power that was divinely given to Jesus.  In Acts 1:8 the Greek word dunamis, translated power, denotes supernatural power in action when put forth in performing miraculous works.  When Jesus commissioned the disciples, they understood that they were to go out and do exactly what Jesus had shown them.  For three years He had taught them to hear the Father, to grow in dependence on the Holy Spirit, to minister out of a heart of mercy and compassion, and to expect God to perform miracles through them in His name.  He promised them “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.   My dear sisters and brothers, we are still in that age!

Prayer Focus:  Pray for greater faith to walk in the authority and power that Jesus has made available to you.  Think on and meditate on these key words and their meaning: power and authority.  Jesus commissioned and empowered each one of His followers to advance His kingdom; that includes you and me.  As King David often wrote in the Psalms, “Selah.” Or, pause and consider this!

 

Saturday, January 25th

Scripture:  John 14:11-12, Mark 16:15-20

Meditation: Basically, Jesus said this “When I came to earth, I brought my kingdom with me.  Now I am giving you the keys to the kingdom.  Go out into the whole world and openly preach this good news!  Go in my authority and spread the kingdom everywhere you go.  I will be with you and my power will work through you.  In my name you will set people free from demonic bondage, you will lay hands on the sick and they will get well, you will speak with new languages or tongues, you will even have authority over things that might normally be dangerous or deadly – these things will not harm you.”  This message is woven throughout the four Gospels.  He conveyed it through his words and actions.  He demonstrated it and modeled it over and over.

Prayer Focus:  Jesus said, “Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.”    Let’s pray: Lord, I make myself available to you - help my unbelief.  Wash my mind as I read your words.   Make my attitude new and conform it to who you are and who you want to be in and through me. 

Meditate on these things throughout the day.  Watch for opportunities to step out of your comfort zone.  Perhaps it will be a small baby step but take that step.  Or perhaps you will take a big step of faith.  The main thing is to do it.  Be bold!  The more you step out the easier it becomes.

 

Sunday, January 26th

Scripture:  Reread Mark 16:19-20

Meditation:  I have been pondering and meditating on this portion of scripture.  One definition of “meditate” is to chew on, kind of like a cow chews its cud – you keep going over it and over it until it becomes alive to you in a deeper way.  I get excited when I read how the disciples went out and did what Jesus told them to do!  Mark says they “preached everywhere…and that the Lord kept working with them, confirming the message with signs and miracles.”  The Lord worked with them – this is a truth here we need to understand.  Often, we are waiting for God to do something, but He has already done it all.  He has issued us an invitation to partner with him, to work with him in advancing His kingdom.  When we say yes, He gives us everything we can possibly need to do the task – all of heavens’ power, authority, wisdom and strength is behind us, backing us up.  Lord Jesus, help us to grasp this and believe Your Words to us!

Prayer Focus: Pray that our church family will grow in faith – faith to share the Good News, faith to reach out to others, faith for transformed lives and faith for miracles. Pray that for increased boldness  and courage to declare God’s Word so He has something to work with - when we do our part, He does His part.  Be bold, be strong, for the Lord your God is with you!

The Kingdom of God

 

Monday, January 27th

Scripture:  Matthew 13:53-58, Mark 6:1-6, Matthew 17:14-21

Meditation: I think unbelief is the number one factor that influences whether we see God’s kingdom manifested or not - unbelief and doubt negate and cancel our faith.  Jesus was unable to do the things He wanted to for the people in His hometown because of the corporate atmosphere of unbelief there.  They took offense at Him, this caused them to doubt and slip into a state of unbelief regarding who He really was and what He could do.  In the case of the boy the disciples could not heal it clearly WAS God’s will to set him free since Jesus healed him.  The deficit was obviously on the disciples’ part for Jesus told them it was because of their lack of faith.   He lamented over the unbelief that permeated their culture – this same unbelief surrounds us today.  The solution?  Press into the truth of God’s kingdom and do not be conformed to this world’s way of thinking and living.  Allow the Holy Spirit to live BIG in you.

Prayer Focus: This is a good time to repent of our unbelief and doubt; to ask God to forgive us for allowing the wisdom of man and the thinking of this age to influence us more strongly than His words of truth.  Talk to Him about this in your own words.  Take the time to renounce and break agreement with all thoughts of unbelief that may be holding you back; things like: “God will use others, but not me.”   “I can’t share my faith; I don’t know what to say.”  “I’m afraid of what people will think.”  Instead, choose to focus on the truth that all of heaven is behind you, Jesus is with you, and the Holy Spirit is in you!

 

Tuesday, January 28th

Scripture:  1 Peter 3:13-17, Matthew 5:13-16

Meditation:  “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have.”   This verse sums it all up – sharing our faith begins with simply telling what God has done for us and of the reason for our hope.  Like salt, we will make others thirsty for God’s Living Water.  You are salt and you are light…it’s not about you…it’s about the King and His Kingdom.  You are in the family business and the family business is PEOPLE!  For God so loved people…that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Prayer Focus:  Father, increase my love and concern for the people around me.  Make me more conscious of the “God appointments” that you set up, those opportunities that you send my way to sow seeds of truth and light into others’ lives.  Help me to remember that You go before me and prepare their hearts and that You are the one who cultivates the seeds that I sow. 

 

Wednesday, January 29th

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Meditation:  God has equipped us with spiritual gifts.  These gifts may operate through us at any time as the Holy Spirit determines the need.  In our western culture we often talk ourselves out of this type of experience because it doesn’t fit into our logical way of thinking.  Remember, our natural mind thinks that the things of God’s kingdom are foolishness.  We must purposefully be open to and sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings or leading. He is our guide and teacher and will teach us how to use the spiritual gifts for God’s glory.  The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:1 to “earnestly desire spiritual gifts”.   The Greek word here means to be zealous or earnestly covet.  In other words, God wants us to want His gifts!  It pleases Him when we pursue the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Prayer Focus:  Father, I want these gifts to work through me so that I can be a blessing to others and see Your kingdom come in their lives.  Make me more sensitive to Your Holy Spirit and teach me.

 

Thursday, January 30th

Scripture:  Acts 14:8-18, 19:11-20, and 28:1-10

Meditation:  These are just a few examples from the book of Acts where we see the gifts of the Spirit in action.  In each case God used the manifestation of His power gifts to confirm the preaching of the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In each case souls were brought from darkness to light as the reality of the Kingdom of God was demonstrated.  In each case the realm of darkness was plundered, and captives were set free!  In each case the disciples gave glory to Him and did not take any glory for themselves.  God so desires to meet the needs of humanity through you and me. 

Prayer Focus:  Pray for increased revelation that God can and will use you.  Ask Him to help you get the big “I” out of the way, focusing not on yourself, but on God’s purposes.  Meditate on what He says. Remember, His words are truth.

 

Friday, January 31st

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Meditation:  Smack dab in the middle of Paul’s instructions on Spiritual Gifts and how they operate, the Holy Spirit strategically placed these well-known and often recited verses on love.  Since they are so well known we have the tendency to think, “I’ve heard those verses before.  I know all about that portion of Scripture.”   There is a difference between knowing Scripture and letting its power change our heart and life.  Paul says that we can speak in tongues, prophesy, be filled with knowledge, move mountains with our faith, give everything we own to the poor and even offer our body to be burned, and yet none of these things will please God if we do not do them out of a heart motivation of love.  Through Paul, the Holy Spirit firmly states that our self-sacrificing, great deeds and amazing demonstrations of power are NOTHING, if not done in love.  Our self-efforts do not impress God.  He says we GAIN NOTHING – we are like a clanging cymbal; all noise with no beauty or substance.

Prayer Focus:  These are sobering words.  Let’s pray:  Father God, forgive me for the times I have done things with the wrong heart motivation; out of selfish motives to impress others and receive the approval of man or to make myself feel as though I’ve done my duty and fulfilled my obligations. Teach me to love with the Your kind of love, not the worldly counterfeit that is self-based.  I want to love my neighbor as myself and love You above all else.  Teach me what this kind of love looks like.

 

Saturday, February 1st

Scripture:  James 1:21-25

Meditation:  God’s word is like a disinfectant and detergent to our mind and heart.  It will help rid us of moral filth and evil ways.  As we humbly accept God’s word and let it do its work in us, we WILL BE CHANGED!  God promises we will experience freedom and we will be blessed in what we do.

Prayer Focus:  In your own words, ask God to make His word alive to you and to wash and disinfect your soul (your mind, will and emotions).

 

Sunday, February 2nd

Scripture:  Mark: 1:40-41, Lk. 7:11-15, Matthew 9:35-36, 14:13-14, 15:29-39, 20:29-34

Meditation:  Throughout the Gospels it is often recorded that Jesus was moved with compassion toward the masses of humanity who came to Him.  In the Amplified Bible Jesus’ words are translated as “I have pity, sympathy and am deeply moved for the crowd”.  Whether it was a widow who was about to bury her only son, or blind men who stumbled toward him shouting for mercy, or milling, unruly crowds who were without food, Jesus looked at them all with a heart of empathy and pity.  He was moved by this deep compassionate love to minister to their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  In Galatians 5:6b the Apostle Paul says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”  The King James Bible says, “faith works by love.”

Prayer Focus:  Lord, I think I’m starting to get it - love must be the primary motivation of my heart.  As I learn to love more fully, my faith will grow and the fruit in my life will have eternal value; my actions will not be wood, hay and stubble and I will not sound like a clanging gong. (See 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 if you’d like to read more about this.)  So, as Paul said, I make this most excellent way, the way of love, my quest and my aim.  Lord, God, work your love in and through me.

 

Monday, February 3rd

Scripture:  Matthew 5:1-12

Meditation:  Earlier in this study we read the Great Commission Jesus gave to all who choose to follow him.  We pondered the amazing delegation of His own power and authority to us so we could fulfill His command to go into the entire world, make disciples of Christ and advance His kingdom.   In this passage Jesus gives us a glimpse of the radical nature of God’s kingdom.  He issued them an invitation to enter a new way of life.  He promised that those who would let His kingdom revolutionize their hearts would be blessed!  The Greek word here means to “be happy, spiritually prosperous, with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of our outward conditions”.  In simple terms He was saying, “happy are those who live this way”.

Prayer Focus:  Jesus, I see that there are principals in the Kingdom that will lead me into a blessed place of favor and spiritual prosperity.  Hmmm, let me consider this:  “Do I want to be blessed? To prosper spiritually and have your favor on my life?”   “Yes, of course, I do!”  This is an incredible offer - my spirit jumps up and down inside telling me to say, “YES!!”  Lord, cause me to understand these truths and apply them to my life.

 

Tuesday, February 4th

Scripture:  Please reread Matthew 5:1-12 and let the words sink more deeply into your being.

Meditation:  What do these words mean?  Poor in spirit speaks of those who know they need God, are humble and teachable, and welcome God’s presence and truth into their life.  (Read Luke 18:9-14 for an example of someone poor in spirit.)  Mourning refers to being sensitive to our own spiritual condition, grieving over our sin, the sins of the world and the things that grieve God.  Meekness is defined as being gentle and humble, but it also means positioning oneself to continually yield to God’s control. Moses was described as the meekest man on earth (see Numbers 12:3) and yet he was strong and authorative in the strength of the Lord.  Hungering and thirsting for righteousness refers to a deep longing in our heart to have more of Him and to be more like Him. 

Prayer Focus:  Jesus, I want to accept your invitation into this revolutionary way of living.  Work these characteristics in me.   I want the kingdom of heaven, I want to be comforted, I want to inherit the earth, and I want to be filled.  Talk with the Lord about this in your own words.

 

Wednesday, February 5th

Scripture:  Luke 6:36-38, James 3:13-18, 1 Peter 3:13-17

Meditation:  Let’s continue with the remaining Beatitudes in Matthew 5: Being merciful means allowing God to extend His mercy, compassion and kindness through us to others – when we do this, we too, will be shown mercy.  Jesus said that the pure in heart would see God.  Jesus was referring to us having untainted or clean motives in the core of our being.  Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on our heart.  (1 Samuel 16:7)  An undivided heart attracts God.  Peacemakers seek to bring others to peace with God through Jesus and they endeavor to bring the peaceable kingdom of God to mankind in every arena.  Peacemakers are called sons of God.  Jesus even said we are blessed when we are persecuted, maligned and insulted on account of following him - great is your reward in heaven!  This is all part of picking up our cross daily and following him.  (Matthew 16:24)

Prayer Focus:  The Amplified Bible says to “rejoice and be supremely joyful” when we suffer for Christ’s sake.  Luke 6:22-23 says to “leap for joy” when we are excluded, insulted or rejected because of Jesus.  Jesus, thank you for calling us to a walk of joy and consecration.  Make me strong in you that I will not flinch at the hard or difficult things but will remain steadfast and pure in heart.  Help me be joyful in every circumstance. May my life be fragrant even when I am tested and tried.  Amen.

 

Thursday, February 6th

Scripture:  Matthew 17:1-8, Matthew 5:43-48 (if you have time, read 5:17-48 in its entirety.)

Meditation:  God the Father spoke audibly from heaven to Peter, James and John when Jesus was revealed in His glorious heavenly state on the mountaintop.  He said, “Listen to Him.”  Wow!   We need to take these words as if they were spoken audibly and directly to us, because they are for us too.  God says, “Listen to my Son!”  When Jesus taught His first sermon, found in Matthew chapters 5-8, He frequently said these words, “You have heard it said… but I tell you…”, and with each example He challenged the religious thinking of the day and the selfish motives of their hearts.  The world has its message and our selfish, carnal nature has a message, but we must not be led by these false ideologies or motivations, we must be led by the Holy Spirit and by God’s words of truth.

Prayer Focus:  Father God, I want to listen to Jesus and be led by Your Holy Spirit.  Please sift the motives of my heart and purify them.  Please center me in the truth of your nature and character.  Jesus, make me a wise builder.  Amen.  (End this prayer time by pondering Matthew 7:24-27.) 

 

Friday, February 7th

Scripture:  Matthew 18:1-4, James 4:6

Meditation:  Jesus was trying to get his disciples to see that true greatness is not a matter of jockeying for position or working our way up to a title or performing well.   In God’s eyes, true greatness is an inward matter, expressed by a life well-lived.  Greatness is not about being childish or selfish, but about being child-like; humble, trusting, sincere, dependent and willing to be parented by our Father.  God wants us to become great in these areas.  He firmly states that He will set Himself against or oppose the proud and haughty, yet He promises to continually give grace (His favor and ability) to those who are humble enough to receive it.

Prayer Focus:  The passage of scripture in James 4 continues on, “So, submit to God, resist the devil and stand firm against him, and he will flee from you.”  Pride and haughtiness were satan’s sin and downfall.  As sons and daughters of God we must have nothing to do with satan’s ways.  Father God, I do not want to be prideful, arrogant, haughty or self-reliant.  Please forgive me for my prideful ways.  I choose to submit my heart and life to you, and I resist the enemy and all his ways.  I command satan to flee from me, in the name of Jesus.  I praise you, Father, that through Jesus Christ, I am yours.

 

Saturday, February 8th

Scripture:  Luke 4:31-43

Meditation:  I love this passage of Scripture.  It appears to give us a glimpse into a 24-hour period of Jesus’ life.  He ravaged the realm of darkness and continually rescued people from the enemies’ grip.  With authority, He delivered those held captive by demonic oppression. Even as the demons came out, they were declaring His Lordship.  With compassion He healed those sick in body, releasing God’s loving kindness and mercy into their lives.  Details are not recorded here, but masses of heart-broken, desperate people heard the news of His ministry and did whatever it took to find Him.  As the sun began to set, those who had traveled from afar were just arriving.  It had been a long day, but Luke, the physician, records that, “laying hands on each one, He healed them.”  The imagery here almost brings me to tears.  “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  (Matthew 20:28)

Prayer Focus:  Lord, make me a warrior servant; one who plunders the enemies’ camp and rescues those who are held captive; one who is moved with compassion and walks in your power and anointing.  Make me alert to those times when you have brought someone to me to hear the good news or caused my path to cross with theirs so I can shine your light and love into their hearts.  Make me sensitive to these God appointed moments and to Your Holy Spirit so that I am led by Your voice within me. 

 

Sunday, February 9th

Scripture:  Luke 5:15-16, 6:12-13, 21:37-38, John 5:19-24

Meditation:  In the passage we read yesterday, Jesus went out to a solitary, private place at daybreak. (Luke 4:42)  These times of solitude were spent seeking His Father for new spiritual strength, refreshing,  wisdom and guidance for the new day.  Jesus said, “I can do nothing by myself.”  The Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all record this pattern of intimacy that Jesus had with Father God.   He ministered and lived out of a place of continual intimate relationship with His Father, our Father.  Through Jesus, the Way and the Door, we are also invited to enter this intimate type of relationship with Father God.  When we take time to seek Father and turn to Him in dependence, asking for His wisdom, guidance, strength and ability, we will become a fruitful vine.

Prayer Focus:  Father, forgive me for my busyness and how I am distracted by everyday responsibilities and the many things that vie for my attention and time.  I can do nothing lasting or eternal by myself.  Help me to remember that my strength is in You, my hope is in You and it is Your grace that sustains me. Please awaken in me a greater desire for intimacy with You.  Help me to recognize those times when your Holy Spirit is calling me to come away and spend time with You.

 

Monday, February 10th

Scripture:  Philippians 2:1-16, I Corinthians 1:26-31

Meditation:  Paul exhorts us to look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others; to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ. He humbled Himself and became a servant.  He accepted the inconvenience, suffering, ridicule, and sacrifice necessary to redeem mankind and defeat satan.  He voluntarily “emptied Himself” (Greek definition), laying aside His heavenly glory and privileges, and limiting Himself to live as a man, anointed by the Holy Spirit, all in total dependence upon the Father.  He was timeless God, entering the realm of time; wrapped in human flesh and living in a created body, limited by the same limitations we encounter.  Through His incredible sacrifice He has made the way for us to enter into His realm and live out of the same place of intimacy that He has with Father.  Pause and deeply consider this amazing privilege and gift.  What Adam and Eve lost in the garden is offered to us through Jesus Christ, the King of kings!

Prayer Focus:  In your own words respond to these scriptures and thoughts – talk to your Father about your relationship with Him – about where you are at today and what you want it to become. 

 

Tuesday, February 11th

Scripture:  Romans 5:6-19, 8:12-17, Galatians 4:4-7, Ephesians 1:3-6

Meditation:  Adam brought sin and death – Jesus brought grace and life!  I am so grateful to have been brought into a place of peace with God and to have eternal life.  Yet, there is more!  Jesus shares His Father with us and welcomes us into the same position of as sons and daughters.  We become His children and the Holy Spirit within us cries out “Abba, Father”.  This is an intimate term, like “daddy” or “papa”.  It is what a child affectionately and confidently calls their father.  We have been redeemed - we are no longer slaves – we are adopted!  Through Jesus we have been welcomed into the family of God so that we can enjoy a childlike, love-based relationship with our heavenly Father.   Jesus is our brother and He shares all that is His with each one of us. 

Prayer Focus:  Marvel over and meditate on this truth.  Let it go from your head to your heart.  Begin to work on calling God “Father”.  For some this is a big step, it may feel too intimate.  Continue to talk with Father God, asking Him to draw you into a place of deeper intimacy with Him.  See yourself as His child whom He loves so much that He sent Jesus to die for you and to redeem you from the pit of your sins.  For some, the thought of trusting God may be scary; perhaps you have never been able to trust your earthly father; perhaps those who should have protected and provided for you continually let you down.  Your Heavenly Father is not like that!  Let the truths of His Word, which is His love letter to you, wash away the past –  you are invited to enter into the family of God in a new way today.

 

Wednesday, February 12th

Scripture:  Hebrews 4:14-16, 10:19-25

Meditation:  In both these passages we are reminded that through Jesus we can come to God when we fail, and He will give us mercy.  We can come to God when we need help and when we are weak. Whatever we need and whenever we need it, we can boldly and confidently come to Father God’s throne of grace for our need.  He promises that we will receive His unmerited favor.  He understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses.  He will give us His help.  He will cleanse and empower us.  (See 1 John 1:9)  He is for us and not against us!  He is on our side!  He wants us to succeed and become more and more like His Son, Jesus! 

Prayer Focus:  Father God, you are amazing.  I cannot fully comprehend your love for me.  Now, pray the Apostle Paul’s prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19 over yourself, your family and our church family.

 

Bonus Thought

Scripture:  John 16:5-15, 17:20-26

Meditation:  We have become the temple of the Holy Spirit.  We have the incredible, powerful presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us.  He has been given to us as a love gift from Jesus and our heavenly Father.  He will guide us into truth and reveal the things of Jesus and the Father to us.  Learn to recognize His presence, voice, guidance, and power.  Jesus prayed this prayer for all who would believe in Him (John 17:20), that includes you and me.  He declares that He has given us His glory and that we are one with Him and the Father.   He also prayed that His followers would be unified with a spiritual unity of hearts devoted to King Jesus and His kingdom purposes.

Prayer Focus:  Jesus, my King, my Lord and my brother, make me a servant, humble and true; empower me each day to follow and exalt you.  Release your power in and through me; cause me to grow and mature in your character and grace.  Use me for your glory, so that I bring you honor; cause me to be strong in your strength and might so that I don’t become weary in the battle.  Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You, for You are the author and finisher of my faith.  Fill me with Your joy, peace and love.  In your mighty name I pray.  Amen.

 

Always remember God’s promise in Philippians 1:6 (Amplified Version),“He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ – right up to the time of His return – developing that good work and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”                                    

 

We are each a work in progress, and each have all of heaven’s resources available to enable us to run the race and finish the course!  So, my dear friends, run with confidence, for all of heaven is cheering you onward.