Daily Devotions

HEARTFELT, CONTINUED PRAYERS

Today’s Bible Verse The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. James‬ 5:16‬b (AMPC) Heartfelt, Continued Prayers Elijah’s prayers were heartfelt. He didn’t half-heartedly approach prayer. He was sincere and genuine in his requests. He also continued in prayer. He prayed with persistence and determination, unwilling to give up until he received an answer. Elijah didn’t approach prayer as a last resort and give up easily. Paul tells us, “Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]” (1Thess.‬ 5:17‬ AMPC)‬. We should persevere in prayer as Elijah did: Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” So he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’” (I Kings‬ 18:41-44‬ NKJV‬‬) He prayed for rain without immediate results, but perseverance paid off. God sent a downpour. (Pastor Henry Acevedo) Change My Story We can learn a lot

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ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS?

Today’s Bible Verse Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations;you’re going to resettle abandoned cities. Don’t be afraid—you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back—you’re not going to come up short. Isaiah 54:2-4a (MSG) Are You Ready for Christmas? Are you ready for Christmas?  I’m not talking about decorating a tree, buying presents, planning your menu, or even figuring out what ugly sweater you are going to wear to that party.  I’m asking, Is your heart ready?  Have you prepared your heart for the opportunity this Christmas season brings?  Have you asked God to enlarge your heart for souls? In the hustle and bustle of all the activities that seem so important, we can quickly forget Who we are celebrating and why.  God gave us His most valuable gift, His son, Jesus, for the restoration of His family.  As a born again believer who has received the gift of salvation, how big is your tent?  Do you have room in your heart for others?  In the verse above, God is asking us to… 1 – Clear lots of ground In Mark 4, Jesus talks about four types of grounds and correlates it to the ground of our heart.  Pray and apply the blood of Jesus over the ground of your heart.  Ask God to remove any thorns; the cares of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for

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WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER!

Today’s Bible Verse They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Acts 2:42 (NIV) We’re In This Together This verse is referring to when the original church was established. If you read Acts 2:42-47, you will see some important characteristics about the church: it was growing constantly; Christians always spent time together, and everyone was committed and submitted to the teaching and guidance of their spiritual leaders. As a result, even in the midst of extreme persecution, the church remained strong, resolute, and never stopped serving God! This happened because they were interdependent and humbly submitted to leadership. They remained open about their personal lives and allowed their leaders to guide and encourage them in the word! This is how Jesus Christ established the church through His 12 disciples: interdependent, submitted under Godly leadership, and growing together always! The worldly culture we live in, however, prides itself on independence and a “Do It Yourself” mentality. This worldly idea has driven many Christians to isolate their personal lives, personal struggles, and inner battles from other believers and Godly leadership. In my personal experience, when I chose to hide my inner struggles and isolate my personal life, it left me in bondage. I felt I could figure it out on my own. I didn’t want someone telling me how to take care of my insecurities, pride, anger, and frustrations. However, that prideful independent and isolated spirit caused me to stay in the

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PRIVILEDGED

Today’s Bible Verse My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up in you the power of endurance. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. James 1:2-4 (TPT) PRIVILEDGED So how are you doing? Have you found yourself backed up against a wall? Found yourself being attacked on every side? How about your past being thrown in your face? If you have found yourself dealing with some difficulties, some testing, or challenges, or presently feel surrounded…be encouraged! You are not alone! And you are definitely equipped to get through it! James tells us to see it as an opportunity to experience joy…well, actually, he said to see it as, “an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!!” This kind of “encouragement” or “advice” would be considered odd, to most, but to us, as disciples of Jesus, it is sound advice and privilege! To know that when and where most would give up and blame others, their circumstances, or even God, we are encouraged to “see” difficulties through different lenses — lenses of faith…for opportunity, maturity and growth. So let’s look a little deeper at three specific words from this scripture: invaluable, opportunity and experience. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines invaluable as: extremely valuable, useful and/or informative advice. It

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ROPE’S RHYTHM

Today’s Bible Verse Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. Hebrews‬ 10:22-25‬ (HCSB) Rope’s Rhythm One thing I’ve noticed in this post-pandemic time is as things begin to normalize, our pursuit of Christ can often destabilize as we get back to our creature comforts, regular routines, and the rhythm that comes from a busy life. The real challenge with this is that busyness does not always equate or translate to a productive or fruitful life.  Kind of like when we were kids on the playground watching the jump rope go round and round, waiting to catch the rhythm and jump in… wait…. Wait…. Wait…. JUMP. We’re finally in, and we start jumping: wait wait jump…wait wait jump…wait wait jump.  The longer you are in there, the more focused you are on the rope’s rhythm. Here we are jumping away and perhaps not even noticing that we are so focused on the rhythm of the rope that we fail to notice we’re not moving in any given direction.  The teacher

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