There are a lot of skills we need in life to cope with the realities of our daily existence but none more critical then learning WHO CHRIST IS!
Yesterday’s message focused on the BREAD OF LIFE which is CHRIST!
Actually He is more than just Our Daily Bread! Jesus Christ insists on being our LIVES by being Lord of our Lives, the very hub around which our lives revolve. Only then is He God and we his subjects. Only then is He Savior and we the Redeemed.
John 20:29 NLT Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me."
In Christ we discover THREE C’s for our lives. They are:
God is real and He is actively involved in our lives and our world.
We experience how real and reliable God is when we trust Him first.
Going to God should not be a last resort, but a first resort.
Matthew 6:33 NLT Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.
Here are some practical ways to trust God first in your life now and forever.
First Things First
First of each day: Seek God
At the first of each day, seek God.
Psalms 63:1 NLTA psalm of David, regarding a time when David was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I earnestly search for You. My soul thirsts for You; my whole body longs for You in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
First of the week: Worship
At the first of each week, gather together for worship.
Acts 20:7 NLT On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord's Supper.
Hebrews 10:25NLT And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near.
First of the month: Tithe
At the first of each month, give God your tithe.
Leviticus 27:30 A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.
First of the year: Fast
And at the first of each year, set aside time to seek God through fasting and prayer.
Joel 1:14 NLT Announce a time of fasting; call the people together for a solemn meeting. Bring the leaders and all the people of the land into the Temple of the LORD your God, and cry out to Him there.
It is in this context that we announce A 21 Day Daniel Fast Beginning yesterday and lasting until Sunday, February 2nd.
And during this Fast we are focusing on the THREE C’s Of Most Importance For Connecting.
For a greater Connection with God through Jesus Christ SO THAT we might grow in holiness and love, thereby walking in Right Way Living.
For a greater Connection with our Community SO THAT we might bring them to Faith in Jesus Christ.
For a greater Connection with Each Other, SO THAT we might shift from taking to giving, embracing offense to extending forgiveness thereby creating a rich and vibrant environment for us to grow in AND becoming a Team of Worship and Service unto our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today In Your Time Of Prayer And As You Are Fasting Ask Yourself ….
Is God real and reliable in your life?
How have you experienced this as you trust Him first?
In order to put God first, what area of your life most needs to change?
Which of the “firsts” (seeking God, worship, tithe, fast) is the most challenging for you?
DAY 3 ~ JANUARY 9
“Have you any days of fasting and prayer?
Storm the throne of grace and persevere therein,
and mercy will come down.” — John Wesley
“Perhaps you will have to spend hours on your knees
or upon your face before the throne.Never mind.
Wait.God will do great things for youif you will wait for Him.
Yield to Him.Cooperate with Him.” — John Smith
Falling isn’t Failing
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
One way to know without a doubt that the Word of God is divinely inspired is because if one of us had of been writing, we could have definitely left out certain sections. I personally would had skipped the part where Abraham lies about being married to his wife or maybe the part where David cheats on his wife then kills someone to cover it up. How about the time when Samson told the secret to his success simply because he had a bad case of ‘puppy love’?
However, that’s part of the genius of God and the importance of us knowing His Word. The Word of God is filled with people like you and me who were inescapably human. They lived their lives, made mistakes, did things they regretted and probably wished they could’ve taken back. However, as you read through the stories of their lives, you’ll see God never left their side.
There’s a peace and comfort in knowing God loves us even if we don’t always get everything right. He’s more concerned with picking up the pieces and continuing our relationship with Him rather than wallowing in our failures. He knows us so well that He’s already accepted the fact that we might fall. John says,
“8If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” 1 John 1: 8-10
God loves you even when you don’t always get things quiet right. The important thing is to keep trying to move forward and grow in your relationship with Him. One great way to do this is through fasting.
How has it been going so far? Have there been some difficulties?
A real issue even at this stage of your journey is trying not to convince yourself you cannot do it because you tried before and didn’t complete your goal.
That was yesterday. Today is a new day. You can do it and go all the way with God’s help and a firm resolve.
Thomas Edison tried and failed over 10,000 experiments before patenting the incandescent light bulb. When asked about why he kept going after failing so many times he said, “I did not fail. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The great mind Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.“
Difficulties don’t always mean dilemma. Most of the time trouble is simply a curtain just before great breakthrough. If you can only outlast the temporary discomfort your miracle could be just beyond the next corner.
Is that worth continuing for a few more days?
The worst thing you can do when falling is to fail to get back up again. With today’s devotion we’ve included a playlist at the bottom that contains the song, “We Fall Down”. The words simply say, “We fall down but we get up for saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up.”
Don’t be afraid to get up and try again. If you’ll only try, God’s arms are waiting to help pick you up.
How are you doing today? Headaches?
I can’t help but smile cause I can almost hear some of you shouting at the computer, “YEAH!!!” Don’t get mad at the fasting. Be upset with Mr. Caffeine. Just a little while longer and it’ll be out of your system. Great things and increased energy for some is coming. Wait for it.
DAY 4 ~ JANUARY 10
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work;
prayer is the greater work.” — Oswald Chambers
On Saturday, January 11th former Priminister of Isreal Ariel Sharon pasted away after EIGHT YEARS in a Coma. A famous Rabbi in Israel, Rabbi Kaduri, declared in 2005 that the Messiah appeared to him, told him He was Jesus the CHrist and that He would return soon after Sharon's death. Perhaps of little interest to us modern Believers with all our activities, plans, purposes, and subjecive understandings - EXCEPT - except for so many Bible Prophecies coming true in our day - our life time! JESUS IS COMING SOON of this we can be sure. The time of Harvest is nearly over - the Son of God shall soon rise in the Eastern Sky - and our work will be done.
I challenge you to make this say the First Day of the rest of your life. Everyday determine to let your time in God’s presence grow longer as you PURPOSE to expose your life more and more to His Life Giving Rays. Everyday cry out “Lord Jesus, less of me and more of You!” An together let's become one of the Greatest Harvesting Crews the Lord has ever had in His Kingdom. Lift up your heads - His Redemption Is At Hand!!
Proverbs 23:7 For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, says he to you; but his heart is not with you.
Genesis 6:5-6 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
Psalm 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Psalm 94:11 The LORD knows the thoughts of man
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end”
Psalm 144:3 O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
2 Peter 3:1 NIV Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking.
Remember John Lennon’s song, “Imagine”?It speaks of imagining no war, no poverty as well as other themes that were common among the hippie movement.
The imagination is a powerful force both for your good and for your detriment.
With it, mankind has given birth to amazing things.
Everything you see around you started out in someone’s mind.
The design of the chair your sitting in, the computer in front of you, the clothes your wearing, the car you drove today all started in someone’s imagination as they thought of what could be.
The Bible says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7
Imagine yourself being all that God has for you.
Imagination can be used for great good!
Imagining your achieving great things for God’s kingdom can bring about much good.
But that entirely depends on the condition of your heart.
What are your motives? They are all important and worthy goals.
Which one fits you best for God’s plans in your life? Can you ‘think it’ in your heart?
Your imagination can also be used for evil.
The atom bomb, the holocaust, and terrorist attacks of 9/11 were also once only within the recesses of someone’s mind.
Are you careful where you let your mind wander to?
Daydreaming can be a distraction when it causes you to think on unholy things or bring you into captivity to depression or unfruitful thinking.
Paul tells us that it’s important to keep our powerful minds only on the right things.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
God wants you to be successful as a mature Christian and operate in the Power of His Spirit more than you ever could.
You may say, “Well of course He does. Everybody knows that.” Do we?
Why do we so often act as if we have to convince God to give us another chance to serve Him or to operate in His Kingdom?
He wants us to be healthy and active in His Kingdom even more than we do. According to the Word of God, He’s thinking about you. He has plans for you. His plans for you are amazing. They’re even greater than what you have planned for yourself.
How can I see my imaginations stop being just thoughts and make them a reality?
Fall in love with God all over again.
The Word of God says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalms 37:4
As you begin to fall in love with God again, and return to Your First Love, He will give you the desires of your heart. The hardest part here is even admitting we need to do this. Pride, ugly pride, keeps us from admitting that we have left our first love and need to revive, refresh and renew that intimate love relationship with Him.
I will warn you though, the more you fall in love with God the more you will begin to find certain things you use to think you ‘had’ to have no longer mean as much to you.
This time fasting will begin to illustrate that. There are things you may watch on TV or songs you currently listen to that will begin to grieve your spirit as you draw closer to Him. There will also begin to be a longing to do things you aren’t use to as well. Such as spending more time in His presence or sharing your faith when before you were too intimidated. Your desires will begin to reflect His. That’s a good thing because the Bible also says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
So, Let me encourage you to dream big.
Let your mind soar and dream big on the things of God and the promises contained in His Word. They are ALL for you if you will only reach out and claim them.
There was a young lady once who desperately wanted to win the coveted first place prize at a state beauty pageant. She prepared for years and when she finally reached the right age, she was the first that year to sign up. She worked, prepared, prayed, and imagined herself winning the competition for almost a year before pageant ever took place. At long last the night came and all her hard worked paid off. She won first place. As was the custom, the winner always walked the length of the runway while everyone took her picture and applauded her accomplishment. As she walked, the flashes from the cameras were so bright she couldn’t see anything. There was only one thing to do. She closed her eyes and walked the length of the runway and back again without looking once. She didn’t make one misstep. Afterwards, when asked how she was able to walk, knowing exactly where to stop and where to go without looking she simply said, “Oh, it was easy. I had imagined myself wining and walking across that runway so many times, actually doing it wasn’t difficult at all. I must have done that in my mind a hundred times.” She believed she could do it.
You can too. You can become all that God has for you. Only believe in God and believe in yourself through His strength.
Think on this statement today once spoken by D.L. Moody:“If God be your partner, make your plans large.”
(If you are using these daily devotionals please email me at CraigC@swflministries.com and let me know what you think about this site. Thanks P Craig)
DAY 5 ~ JANUARY 11
“In no other way can the believer become as fully involved
with God’s work especially the work of worldevangelism
as in intercessory prayer....When the prayer warrior intercedes,
he forgets his personal need
and focuses all of his faith and prayer attention on others.
”To intercede is to mediate.
It is to stand between a lost being and an Almighty God,
praying that this person will come to know about God
and His salvation.” — Dick Eastman,
The Hour That Changes The World
NOT JUST FOR YOURSELF
John 1:47-49; NIV When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” 48“How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”
Matthew 5:15-17; NIV Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven
Ever get the feeling you’re being watched?
There’s an old Ray Stevens song that says, “Santa Claus is watching you. He’s everywhere. He’s everywhere.”
Well, Santa may not have his eye on you but you definitely are being watched. The problem is those who are really putting your life under a microscope will probably never make you aware of it. That’s right. They may weigh and measure every word, every action, and every reaction without you ever even having a clue.
Who is this mystery guest?
You might be surprised. It’s your co-workers, your business partners, your family and even the lady who takes your order at the local restaurant.
What are they looking for?
They’re looking for someone who is a REAL Christian.They want to see someone who sincerely seeks after God and seeks His presence in his or her life.
Someone who will say with Paul in
Philippians 3:10 “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death“
That sounds like a lot of pressure. So many people with their eyes on you waiting for you to either prove to them it’s possible to serve God or it isn’t. The thing is they’ve been doing it ever since they found out you go to church.
The secret is people are searching desperately for someone who is real.
They may tell you they don’t go to church because all Christians are hypocrites but the truth is they are longing for someone to be real. They want you to succeed whether they ever tell you or not. They want you to make it because they want to have hope for themselves.
Fasting and prayer can help us with this.
Fasting and prayer allows us to draw closer to God so we can be a better witness with our lives in front of all those around us. Just by being around God, you’ll begin to take on His character. Then as those around you begin to see this change in you, it sparks a hunger within their souls as well.
Shine as a light today and allow God to use you to light up the darkness around you.
Sir Francis Assisi once said, “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”
Matthew 5:15-17 NIV Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
(If you are using these daily devotionals please email me atCraigC@swflministries.com and let me know what you think about this site. Thanks P Craig)