Day 2: Gird Up

Monday, March 19, 2018

Prepare: Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13 NASB

Today we are focusing on the phrase, “prepare your minds for action.”

A more literal translation of this phrase is actually “gird up the loins of your mind” (NKJV).

“Gird up the loins” may be a very unfamiliar phrase for us today. However, the cultural meaning behind these words are rich with meaning and intent. It describes a picture of a person gathering up their loose outer robes by pulling them between the legs. Then they would wrap the garments and tie them firmly around the waist. This was done in order to prepare for running, working, or some other strenuous activity. For example, in 1 Kings 18:46 in the Amplified version it says, “Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah [giving him supernatural strength]. He girded up his loins and outran Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel [nearly twenty miles].

Workmen, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, and warriors gird themselves up to get ready for important action. This preparation not only removes all hinderances that would impede motion but it also braces and supports the body for action. 

This is the picture the Apostle Peter used to describe what it means to prepare our minds for action. What is God revealing to you through this picture? Take a moment and allow the Holy Spirit to show you what “girding up the loins of your mind” means for you personally. 

prepare your minds for action

What an important mindset to approach prayer and the reading of God’s Word. This mindset is like a match firmly set on the striking strip or a bow ready to release its arrow. It is an attitude of readiness that is set to go once the word is given. Let’s go into prayer and the reading of His Word in this manner. 

Read: Luke 12:22-38. Remember to read slowly with a listening heart. This means you are not reading to simply read all the verses. Rather read with the intention to hear God speak. You may need to pause and stop over a part of the passage and read it again and again. This is one way we meditate upon God’s Word and let His Word work in our hearts.  

Apply: Take one verse or one word or part of the passage that stood out to you from today’s reading and take it into prayer.

Remember there are many ways a person can pray. You can write them. You can use your voice. You can listen to worship music as you meet with God. You can take a walk or ride a bike or simply be still and silent before Him. Prayer is simply a back-and-forth conversation with God. The method does not matter.  It can happen anywhere and anytime. What is most important is that you receive His word and respond to Him. 

What did you receive from His Word today? How is God’s Spirit working to prepare you for action? How is your heart responding to the work He wants to do in you? Talk with Father God about what He is saying and what is in your heart. 

Yield: Obedience to God’s Word is how the life and power of God is worked in us and released through us. 

What does it mean to be obedient to what God has shown you today? Are you willing to yield to Him?

 


 

Day 1: Prepare Your Heart

Sunday, March 18, 2018

For this week of Prayer & Fasting, the theme is simply to “prepare your heart.”

The vision that God has given to us for this year is rooted in Isaiah 54:2, “Enlarge the site of your tent, and let your tent curtains be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your ropes, and drive your pegs deep.” 

God has repeatedly shown us through His word and in prayer that He intends to enlarge and stretch us both within our own hearts as well as a church family.

At the beginning of the year God instructed us to (1) make room in our lives for the birth of His promises, (2) be willing to go beyond our comfort zones, (3) give freely and fully, and (4) take greater ownership of the purposes and responsibilities He has called us into. These are very clear instructions for us, and we believe this week is a wonderful opportunity to process what He has spoken to us in prayer as a whole church family. 

In our evening of Prayer & Praise last night we also prayed upon a picture that He gave to us of a common, ordinary train suddenly accelerating beyond its natural capacity. It appears we may also be in a season where God intends to divinely accelerate the plans He has for us.

We believe these glimpses into God’s heart and His plan is for the simple purpose of preparing our hearts. It is important to remember that there is nothing we can do in our own abilities, strategies, and strength to fulfill God’s will. He alone is able to fulfill His promises. However, what we can do is prepare our hearts in fasting, prayer, and obedience to His Word and instructions. 

In order to guide our hearts in fasting and prayer throughout the week, we will use the acronym P.R.A.Y. as a means to help our focus each day. For the purposes of this week, P.R.A.Y. will stand for prepare, read, apply, and yield. 

Prepare: Each day we will meditate upon a portion of the passage in 1 Peter 1:13 where it says, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” As we go deeper into the life and truths in this verse, I believe it will help ready our hearts for focused prayer. 

Today we will focus on the words, Therefore, prepare

I would like to encourage you to prepare your heart for the week by making some willful decisions. Firstly, I encourage you to deliberately make more room for prayer. Prayerfully consider the practicals of when, where, and how. Not only for this week but as an ongoing priority of your day. It doesn’t need to be long – 10, 15, or 30 minutes is a great start. More time not necessarily better but you might find that you want more and need more! Let the Spirit of God lead you in those details. What is most important is that you make a willful decision to set apart time and make room to spend time with Him. 

Secondly, make a willful decision to fast. Biblical fasting is the abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose not for any other purpose (i.e. peer pressure, dietary benefits, etc). For many, this is one area where we can allow God to stretch us and go beyond what is comfortable. Through fasting we can experience the truth that we are first and foremost spirit beings (not physical beings) fully dependent upon every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). 

However, there is no set rule, regulation or mandate on how we ought to fast. Learn to allow God’s Spirit lead you in decisions such as this. He loves to do so. So make time to discuss with God this matter of fasting and how to proceed. Discuss your concerns, questions, and motivations for fasting. If you are led to fast then also make a decision about how you will do that. Will you fast one meal, two, three each day? Or does it work better to fast a certain type of food? Also, how long will you commit to this type of fasting? You can choose to fast all 7 days but you definitely do not need to feel that you must do that. This is not a challenge, it is a deliberate choice to set your mind on things above (the eternal), not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). If you want to learn more about Biblical fasting you can listen to a message from our last prayer and fasting week here that may help you.

Read: Passages of Scripture relating to what God is teaching us about heart preparation will be provided in this section. 

Today, however, please look up, read and meditate on the passages below. Some relate to the matters of preparation discussed above and some were shared in our Prayer & Praise evening last night:

John 6:25-35; Isaiah 43:19; Matthew 25:1-13; 2 Timothy 2:4; Romans 8:31-32

Apply: This section will guide us in applying God’s Word in prayer.

What is God growing in your heart to pray based on what you’ve read today?

Let the Holy Spirit guide you and lead you in what to pray, for we do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us (Romans 8:26).

Yield: The ultimate purpose of our will is to freely choose God’s will and yield fully to Him. This is how God’s great and precious promises are birthed and experienced in our life.

James 2:17 in the Amplified version tells us, “So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).”

In this section you will have the opportunity to record and yield to the things God is speaking to you about.

What decisions have you made in your heart about this week and beyond? What actions of obedience are you committed to based on what you prayed about today?

Write them down, share them with someone, and in prayer trust God to empower you with His faithfulness. 

 


I Am the True Vine

Saturday, 28th October 2017

(This will be our discussion notes and points for prayer during our Prayer & Praise evening tonight. It starts at 7PM at GSIS in Room #312. Hope you can join us!)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16

1. What words of Jesus have made a home in your heart this week?

2. What have you learned about how to let the word of Christ dwell richly in you?

Read these verses:

If you love me, you will keep my commands. John 14:15

The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him. John 14:21

Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24

3. What do you think about this crucial connection Jesus is making between love and His commands / words?

4. What has been your personal experience as your trust in God’s Word increases?

Read these verses:

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:1-6

1 The Lord spoke to me. 2 “Mortal man,” he said, “how does a vine compare with a tree? What good is a branch of a grapevine compared with the trees of the forest? 3 Can you use it to make anything? Can you even make a peg out of it to hang things on? 4 It is only good for building a fire. And when the ends are burned up and the middle is charred, can you make anything out of it? 5 It was useless even before it was burned. Now that the fire has burned it and charred it, it is even more useless.” Ezekiel 15:1-4

5. What purpose and value does the branch have apart from the vine?

6. What purpose and value does the branch have when it abides in the vine?

7. What does this reveal to you about your life?

Prayer Points:

7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples. John 15:7-8 ESV

1. What are you thankful for from this past week?

2. Is there a word, phrase, sentence, or verse from the readings above that can be the focus of your time in prayer?

3. If you are going through these in a group, are there any other prayer requests and needs in your group?

I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life

Friday, 27th October 2017

Indigestion. There are many possible causes but some common reasons for an upset stomach include eating foods that are not good for your stomach (e.g. fatty foods, spicy foods, etc), eating too much, eating too fast, or eating when we are stressed. As you can see, it is not just what we eat but also how we eat that affects our body’s ability to digest food. 

How we eat is just as important as what we eat.  How we approach reading God’s Word either helps us digest what we are reading or it doesn’t digest at all. However, when it comes to God’s Word the “how” isn’t about how fast or slowly or how many times we are reading the Bible verses. The method itself is not what brings the life of God’s Word into our hearts.

Jesus said in John chapter 6, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you…This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (vs 27-29). Our work (the “how”) is to believe in Jesus. God sent us Jesus, the very Word of God (John 1:1-5), so that we can believe in Him. The activity of reading God’s Word is all about believing in the Word of God, Jesus Himself. 

How shall we eat then? Make the activity of reading His Word all about Jesus – not about you or what you feel you have to accomplish or anything else. Start by believing that Jesus wants to draw you deeper into Himself. Jesus wants you to know Him and to believe in Him through what He shows you. There can be a subtle but significant difference when you decide to focus on Jesus’ relationship with you instead of your relationship with Jesus. Make it all about Him.

Today we will read passages about some serious and surprising events that Jesus tells his beloved disciples will happen soon. The disciples’ response to this troubling news is natural (fear, confusion, grief) but Jesus’ reply is an eternal truth meant to fill their believing hearts with an unshakeable security and hope: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

As you read through this story, there will be a suggested process that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.


“I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Key verse: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 ESV

Read: John 13:21 to 14:15

Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passage of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.

The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read this passage of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What do you notice about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in this passage?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passage of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the passage (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). Don’t worry about having to read the entire passage all the way through again. You may or may not need to do so. Your spiritual appetite will hone in on what you are hungering for in God. This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What specific parts of this chapter (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse) stand out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through this again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through this passage of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

Thursday, 26th October 2017

Before you start today’s reading remind yourself of what God spoke through His Word yesterday. Get in the habit of remembering what God said first. This can help start your time with God from a place of listening instead of talking, which is the heart of prayer. It also keeps us in a constant flow of conversation with God.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “pray without ceasing.” In other words, be in constant conversation with God. The best conversations build off of what was already said; they can also spin off in a totally different direction that can lead to exciting discoveries and deeper connections only made possible by the previous statement. 

Remembering what God said first also sets our minds on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). It can instantly set us in the realm of the eternal instead of spending a lot of time trying to wade through the things of the temporal. The intentional act of remembering puts us right in the presence of God with His Word already at the forefront of our heart and mind – ready for God’s Spirit to open the eyes of our heart. 

Today we will read the whole chapter of John 11 to capture the context and fullness of this next truth about Jesus when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” As you read this chapter, there will be a suggested process that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.


“I am the resurrection and the life.”

Key verse: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me, even if he dies, will live. John 11:25 CSB

Read: John 11 (entire chapter)

Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passage of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.

The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read this passage of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What do you notice about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in this passage?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passage of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the passage (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). Don’t worry about having to read the entire passage all the way through again. You may or may not need to do so. Your spiritual appetite will hone in on what you are hungering for in God. This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What specific parts of this chapter (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse) stand out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through this again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through this passage of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?

I Am the Good Shepherd

Wednesday, 25th October 2017

There will be a little overlap of Scriptures from yesterday and today. The context of Jesus saying, “I am the good shepherd,” is in the same chapter in the Gospel of John when Jesus declared, “I am the door of the sheep.” Ask the Holy Spirit to join these truths about Jesus who is “the door of the sheep” and “the good shepherd” in your life today.

As you read the Bible, you will find there are some very difficult passages of Scripture. This is a normal experience. Your natural mind will never be able to comprehend what can be only spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “the natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” It is natural to read with our natural mind; however, it is only by God’s Spirit are we able to appraise what is spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:15).

Sometimes Jesus explains His teaching very plainly but sometimes he doesn’t. Earlier this week we read in John 6 that many of Jesus’ disciples withdrew and stopped following Him after a “difficult teaching” (John 6:53-66). Jesus could have easily explained it to them and prevented them from leaving Him, but He didn’t. Why? Because “this is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29). Following Jesus starts by believing Him, not understanding.  Your work is not in trying to understand; your work is to believe in Jesus. If you seek to understand first, somewhere down the line you will begin to withdraw and stop following Jesus altogether.

God’s Word is not a step-by-step handbook on life. It is not a textbook to educate you. If you approach His Word this way, it will discourage you very quickly. It contains gaps, difficult words and sentences, and eternal mysteries that often produces more questions than answers. The Word of God is not a textbook. It is an invitation from God for you to commune with Him.

So Christian, don’t let the gaps and difficulty of understanding cause you to withdraw. Instead, seek Him all the more through it. That is how God designed the Bible so that we lean not on our own understanding but trust Him with all of our heart. Let Him direct your path (Proverbs 3:5). As you do, you will begin to fully relate with what Peter said in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. May you to do the work of God as you read His Word – to believe in Jesus whom God has sent.

Today we will start with John 10 and read through some other portions of Scripture that will further help you meditate on our Lord Jesus as the Good Shepherd. As you read these passages, there will be the usual suggested process after the passages of Scripture that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.


“I am the door of the sheep.”

Key verse: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 ESV

Readings:

1 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:1-18

34 David answered Saul: “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:34–36

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, Galatians 1:3-4

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

20 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus— the great Shepherd of the sheep — through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with everything good to do his will, working in us what is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. Isaiah 40:11

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23


Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passages of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.

The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read these passages of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Please feel free to open up your Bible and read around the verses to get a better feel of the context. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What are you discovering about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in some of these passages?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passages of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the readings (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What word, phrase, sentence, or verse stands out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through these verses again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through these passages of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture(s) would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?

I Am the Door of the Sheep

Tuesday, 24th October 2017

Yesterday, through God’s Word, we opened our hearts to the Spirit of God to illuminate into us Jesus, who said, “I am the light of the world.” If you haven’t already done so, write down what God is showing you this week. Writing (as well as verbalizing aloud) allows for what God is doing inside of us to be expressed through us. We get to “see” God’s internal work from an external perspective, which gives opportunity for His revelation to go back into our hearts and grow deeper roots. This is can be a very helpful as you learn to chew and eat God’s word.

Please also remember that though we are meditating on seven different statements Jesus made about Himself, they are all perfectly connected. Why? Because it is about the same Person we are seeking to know, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Jesus said in John 14:26, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Helper will connect the dots and bring forth other truths that He has already planted in you from earlier this week and prior. Thus, open your heart to allow the Spirit of Christ to link, join, and build His Word in you so that you may be able to see the full glory of Jesus and experience His magnificent, transforming power.

This Saturday, October 28th, we wrap-up our 7 Days of Prayer & Fasting with an evening of Prayer & Praise. Come, join, and share what God has been showing you through His Word. This is one of the many beautiful ways we as the church “build up the body of Christ,  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness (Ephesians 4:12b-13). Praise God.

Today, the passages of Scripture will center around what Jesus said about Himself, “I am the door of the sheep.” As you read these passages, there will be a suggested process that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.


“I am the door of the sheep.”

Key verse: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. John 10:9 ESV

Readings:

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. Matthew 7:13

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. Luke 9:23-24

7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:7-10

22 Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. 23 I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will declare allegiance to me.” 24 The people will declare, “The Lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.” And all who were angry with him will come to him and be ashamed. 25 In the Lord all the generations of Israel will be justified, and in him they will boast. Isaiah 45:22-25

He lets me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters. Psalms 23:2

1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. 2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100


Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passages of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.

The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read these passages of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Please feel free to open up your Bible and read around the verses to get a better feel of the context. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What are you discovering about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in some of these passages?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passages of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the readings (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What word, phrase, sentence, or verse stands out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through these verses again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through these passages of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture(s) would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?

I Am the Light of the World

Monday, 23rd October 2017

When Jesus identifies Himself to us in order that we may know Him as He truly is, it would be very wise for us listen, open our hearts, and seek to know Him. That is why for this week of prayer and fasting we will be centering our hearts on the 7 “I Am” statements Jesus made through the Gospel of John.

Each day we will focus on one of the 7 “I ams” and read the passages of Scripture that gives context to the specific truth that Jesus made about Himself.

As you read these passages, there will be a suggested process that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.


“I am the light of the world.”

Key verse: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV 

Readings:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5

9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. John 1:9-11

19 This is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. John 3:19-20

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God. John 3:21

12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God. John 1:12-13

13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13-14

8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:8-14


Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passages of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider.

The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read these passages of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Please feel free to open up your Bible and read around the verses to get a better feel of the context. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What are you discovering about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in some of these passages?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passages of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the readings (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What word, phrase, sentence, or verse stands out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through these verses again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through these passages of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture(s) would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?

 

I Am the Bread of Life

Sunday, 22nd October 2017

For this week of prayer and fasting we will be centering our hearts on the 7 “I Am” statements Jesus made through the Gospel of John.

In the adult service last Sunday (15th), we looked at Jesus’ first I am statement: “I am the bread of life.” It was with the specific purpose to prepare for this week of prayer and fasting that we honed in on the true and spiritual purpose of fasting. If you missed that message and feel it could be helpful for you to prepare for this week you can listen to it here.

Each day we will focus on one of the 7 “I ams” and read the passages of Scripture that gives context to the specific truth that Jesus made about Himself. As you read these passages, there will be a suggested process that may help deepen your interaction with God and His Word. Please feel free to either follow this suggested process or engage in God’s Word in a completely different manner. Whether you are doing this as a personal devotion or in a group setting, the most important thing is that you allow the Spirit of God to lead your time together.

“I am the bread of life.”

Key verse: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. John 6:35 ESV

Read: John 6:1-65

Suggested Reading Process: Read the above passage of Scripture three times through. Each reading will have a different question, instruction, or focus to consider. The three reading stages and instructions are:

1st Reading – Enter

God’s Word is our spiritual food (Matt 4:4). When you read this passage of Scripture for the first time allow yourself to enter into His Word and familiarize yourself with the people, places, setting, and situation. Similar to entering into a place of eating: take in the atmosphere, smell the aroma, survey the food, and get settled in your seat.

Discussion Question: What do you notice about the people, place, setting, and/or situation in this passage?

2nd Reading – Engage

As you read the same passage of Scripture for the second time, allow God’s Spirit to direct your attention to specific parts of the passage (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse). Don’t worry about having to read the entire passage all the way through again. You may or may not need to do so. Your spiritual appetite will hone in on what you are hungering for in God. This is an important time to allow your soul to engage with the Holy Spirit through questions, thoughts, memories, and emotions about what He is showing you.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. What specific parts of this passage (e.g. word, phrase, sentence, or verse) stand out to you?
  2. What were you thinking, remembering, or feeling as you read through this again?

3rd Reading – Enjoy

As you move through this passage of Scripture for the third time, “chew” on the specific revelations God has given you. You may do this through praising God in prayer, worshipping Him in song, writing down what He has shown you, immediately obeying what God has asked you to do, going further into His Word, etc.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are you feeling thankful for?
  2. What Scripture would you like to take into as the focus of prayer?
  3. Is there something God would have you start doing, stop doing, or do more of?