Day Twenty-Two of 40 Days of Prayer for FRC


Father,

In reading about John the Baptist, we find that he was never in competition with Jesus. His aim was to elevate and increase Jesus and decrease himself and man. Our role as followers is to uphold the glory of God not the glory of man.

In light of our church, we should be the same. I like how John says, “A man (or church) can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven” (John 3:27). You bring to each church family the people you wish them to minister to. At River Club, you have brought specific people to us that we are called to minister to. Forgive us when our minds wander to numbers, events, and budget items when our focus should only be to disciple people in following you with their whole heart, mind and soul. Once we are free from controlling the attendance totals and are focused on making disciples of the ones you have given us, we will feel peace and we will see growth; for we plant, but you give the increase. 

Convict us when we sway from your mission. Humble us when we choose to elevate man’s glory instead of yours. Keep us on our knees always looking to you for your purposes, not the culture’s or the world’s. If we are to be different from the world, show us how to be the opposite. No one coming to our church is looking for more of the world; they are looking for Someone radically different from what they experience every day of their life. Love is a verb not an entertaining show. God is love and He wants to be the One people see, know, and experience through His church.

Make us a simple church – a church that focuses on bringing people into a saving relationship with Jesus who are fully devoted to our Lord with their whole life. Sanctify us, cleanse us, and keep us focused on You above and not on the world below. Remove any programs that keep us from focusing on you, your word, and the people you have brought to us. Make us a church where people say, “These people have been with the Lord.”

In Jesus Name,

Amen

John 3:22-30; John 17:15-16

 

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Day Twenty-One of 40 Days of Prayer for FRC


Father,

You are sovereign in all things. You sent your Son as our authority on earth and heaven. Jesus said to his disciples and says to each one of us that call Him Lord, “…all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” You also said through your Son, Jesus, “He who believes in me is not judged; however, he who does not believe in the name (authority) of the only begotten Son of God is judged already.” The Greek definition of “name” is authority. Again, you are sovereign in all things and we wish to submit to you! 

There are many opportunities to serve our community through our church. We have a plethora of needs that come across our path in our church and in our lives. We have so many good things to choose from and we could carry out great ministries at our church. But you are sovereign, Father, we are not. The problem with answering to every need, every opportunity and every possibility is that we end up entrusting ourselves to man, when we should be entrusting ourselves only to you. Guide us in your purposes. Man makes many plans, but we want to follow in the steps you have set out for us.

We have decisions to make about our children’s ministry as well as other ministries. Please guide our every step. Please make it clear to us the path to follow. Help us to submit to your leading and discard anything that is not of you. Give us the courage to say “no” to good things and only say “yes” to God things. Give us the discernment to weed out what is not of you and embrace what is of you. Give us wisdom to use the money raised for Let’s Celebrate to create a children’s ministry that will  honor you and bring many children to your heart. 

May you receive all the glory, the power, the majesty and worship you deserve! May we honor you with our life and our choices. As Solomon asked, “give us wisdom.”

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Matthew 28:18; John 3:18; 1 Kings 4:29

The Sting of Patience


“The people became impatient because of the journey. And they spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food (manna and quail)” (Numbers 21:4-5).

On the heels of victory when God allowed the Israelites to conquer the Canaanite King of Arad and all his people in their cities, they complained. They became tired of their journey and tired of the provisions God had given. They not only complained, they spoke against God and His leader, Moses.  They didn’t just dislike the food provided, they loathed it – they scorned, they detested, and they abhorred the blessings of God!

Their impatience became the rudder of their soul. It directed their mind, their heart and their spirit. It became the wedge that interrupted the call on their life to love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind and soul.  Impatience is a dangerous place for our souls to frolic!

How many of us have become impatient with the journey our God has us traveling? If our impatience rules our hearts, our souls become short. Our soul suddenly moves from seeing through the lens of eternity to only seeing through the eyes of the flesh. The more we focus on the flesh – the here – the now – our current circumstances, the more likely we will distance ourselves farther and farther from our God. Our distance will take us further from His blessings; we will see His provisions as debris and reject the changes He is trying to make in our life.

In the desert the Israelites were in the process of becoming a holy nation unto God. While the Israelites were the chosen of God, they were not consecrated yet. God was sanctifying them and cleansing them of sin. Consecration takes time, it takes a journey and it takes trials.

Likewise, God does the same for each of us.

If you are experiencing a hard journey, be patient. Don’t lose yourself in your flesh or your circumstances. Focus all your energy in loving God with all your heart, mind, and soul. Remember that the first part of the definition of love is patience. Therefore, love God by being patient and trusting that the journey you are on will indeed cleanse you, sanctify you, and consecrate you for His work. His work is a new life; a new destination; a new land filled with hope. I have heard the old saying come from athletes, “No pain, no gain.” So true! Anything worth having is going to take some pain to get it. It takes work. And patience is work. But what we get in return for our patience and faith in God is worth every sting along the way. So, in the meantime during this journey “delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

Day Twenty of 40 Days of Prayer for FRC


Father,

You are the giver of grace and mercy. You are the defender of our faith. You are the quality of our life. You are the One who saves all. You are the One who wipes our sins white as snow. You have promised to honor us if we indeed honor You.

We repent of the mistakes we have made in the past. Many of us at FRC know intimately what it means to have a past that has served self and sinned against Your name and Your word. We know what it means to be at the bottom of life and to only have one chance to look up – which is to look to You and You only. You are the One and Only Savior of our life.

Lord, I lift up those in our church family that are facing mountains of hopelessness. Their future now seems like it is going to take a very dark turn. Their pain is great and their faith is being shaken. Use this time in their life to strengthen their fragile faith; bind up what is broken; gather what is scattered; bring to peace what is strife; release Your gift of grace and shower them with mercy. Turn their mourning into praise. Give them the oil of Your gladness. Pour Your favor on them and help them feel with intimacy Your peace and Your presence. Mightily turn the cards toward them in favor just as you turned the cards for the woman caught in adultery. You said to her “Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one.” And You said to her, “Then neither do I condemn you; go now and leave your life of sin.”  The same grace You bestowed up this woman bestow upon those caught in the middle of bad circumstances. Have mercy on their hearts because they now want to serve You. Use this opportunity in their life for good. As you have promised to work all things together for good for those who are called according to Your purpose.

We ask this in Your name, Jesus. You have promised that whatever we ask in Your name, it will be given to us by Your Father in Heaven. I pray that this promise will be realized in the lives of those in our church family who are facing incredible difficult circumstances. May Your Power be revealed!

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Ezekiel 34:16; Isaiah 61:3; John 8:10; Romans 8:28

 

Be the Sign of the Wine Maker


The signs and wonders that our Lord Jesus Christ performed on earth served the purpose of credibility to His divine nature as well as His divine mission on earth: “…that we may believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God; and by believing we have life eternal in His name” (John 20:31).

A sign is the finger-mark of God. They point to Christ, our Savior. While signs and wonders are certainly an amazing experience, what’s even more astonishing is that they each have the power to unveil to the ordinary man the majesty of our Lord’s grace and mercy! Signs point to something far greater than they themselves disclose. It was never intended that the sign be immortalized. The Sign Giver is the One we worship!

What’s really interesting about signs is that we (those who have received the Lord Jesus as our Savior) have become the sign to the world that points people to Jesus! We are the finger print of God. We are the result of His touch on our commonplace life that is now extraordinarily changed forever. Our life reveals the glory and power of God’s Spirit working inside us. We have gone from being the mediocre tasteless wine to becoming the best tasting wine of the land! And our lives (our signed life sealed with God’s Spirit) are pointing others to the One that can save them from their own second-rate existence that leads to death. What a privilege we have: to be one of Jesus’ miraculous signs that direct dying hearts to life in Him!

Sadly, though, we tend to waste this sign performed in us and quench it by watering it down with the world and its “treasures.” We allow ourselves to become tasteless, useless and smother the power of God. All because we have chosen to uphold the horizontal powers of this world higher than the power that lives within us through God’s Holy Spirit.

It’s time to clean the temple of God – the temple of our spirit. In haste, lets’ clear the den of robbers (the life sucking materialism of our culture) and replace this beautiful temple with prayers of repentance and praise to Jesus! He is the author of our existence now, not the horizontal riches of the land. Be the choice wine that the world tastes and says, “This is wine that has never been known. A wine that helps me believe God IS higher than the filth I have served here on earth.” Make use of the beautiful sign God has made in you and point people to the Wine Maker: Jesus!

John 2:1-12; 13-23

 

The Day Before Battle – Day Nineteen of 40 Days of Prayer for FRC


“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5).

To consecrate has many meanings. One of them is to “keep oneself apart or separate.” Joshua instructed the Israelite nation to do this before they entered Cannon. They were facing danger – eminent war!

They were up against the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites. These “ites” worshiped other gods and practiced despicable acts in the sight of the Lord. They were quite influential. Therefore, God’s plan was to – one by one – over a period of time – remove these people from the land that He had promised Israel through Abraham. During this time of removal, God was very instructive to the Israelite people, “Do not make a covenant with these people or with their gods. Do not let them live in your land or they will cause you to sin against me, because the worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you” (Exodus 23:32-33).

In keeping with God’s instructions, the Israelites were to keep themselves apart and separate from anything that would influence them away from God’s mission. Interestingly, (in this point and time), it would take a whole day, for it was tomorrow that God would do amazing things among them. How did they consecrate themselves? They were cleansed ceremoniously by walking through the Jordan River on dry ground. Their faith was tested, their endurance was tried, and their obedience was practiced meticulously. God gave them specific orders in how to cross through the Jordan River, how to carry the Ark of the Covenant, how far from the ark to be, what stones to recover from the Jordan River and where to place them as a memorial. Each instruction was a test of obedience, devotion, and consecration – all in preparation for what was about to happen the following day.

As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about the American churches of today. How many preachers, ministers, lay leaders, and congregants actually consecrate themselves the day before service? How many truly allow God to test their faith, try their endurance, and practice their obedience before the Sunday service comes. How many take a whole day in preparation for the great things God is going to do on the morrow? Do we go about our business, living as any other day, not preparing for the upcoming battle we face on Sunday? Indeed, we face a battle every week, on every Sunday.

We may not be fighting Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites and Jebusites, but we are certainly fighting “ites.” They come in the form of parasites: the parasite of fear, the parasite of depression, the parasite of apathy, the parasite of animosity among believers, the parasite of habitual sin in the lives our church family – sin that is never dealt with, challenged or reconciled. We are up against the god of this culture that sadly is infiltrating our churches. Why? Because we have chosen not to consecrate ourselves for a whole day before battle. Therefore, what we experience on a Sunday morning is mediocre; not amazing things God can do.  We may very well be serving as the dam that keeps Jesus only knocking on our doors wanting to come in.

We may not be crossing the Jordan River to prepare for battle, but there are ways we can increase our faith, prepare for endurance and learn tenacious obedience to God. For a whole day before Sunday, we can prepare ourselves in the River of prayer, in surrender to our Rock, Jesus; we can allow His Presence to be our Guide, and let the scriptures wash us from sin and ready us with the sword of truth. Trust me when I say this: when we consecrate ourselves like this the day before Sunday, we can be assured that we will see God do amazing things among our people. Every “ite” that wants to eat away at God’s people will be demolished right before our very eyes!

Keep yourself from the world, its influences and it’s deceptions. Take yourself out of the world and into God’s presence for a whole day. Consecrate yourselves, so God can combat the gods that want to pilfer God’s salvation from His people.

“Now when all the Amorite Kings west of the Jordan and all the Canaanite kings along the cost heard how the Lord had dried up the Jordan before the Israelites until they had crossed over, their hearts melted in fear and they no longer had the courage to face the Israelites” (Joshua 5:1).

“Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Come, Lord Jesus, come! 

Father,

I lift up our church family this week that we would each ready ourselves for the battle on Sunday. Consecrate us, Lord. Draw our hearts to you so that we are fully prepared in faith, devotion, endurance, and obedience to do Your will!

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Joshua 3 & 4

Day Eighteen of 40 Days of Prayer for FRC


Father,

Your love for women is clear in how you have approached Mary, Elizabeth, the Woman at the Well, the Widow at Zarephath, the Shunammite woman and many more in the word of God. Your approach loves, cares and accepts women. You took the time with these women to help them gain hope, to calm their fears, to intervene in their difficult circumstances and reveal your power, your presence, provision and your priorities to them. Thank you for how you love women.

Today, the world treats women with such contempt. In other countries many women suffer horribly just because they are women. They are treated less than human. Even in our American culture, women feel used and disrespected; many of them feel guilty if they do not make themselves an immoral tool for the world to use. Sadly, there are those that get caught in the trap of deception and they often bow to its demands. They are left feeling inept, unworthy, and dirty.

I pray for protection of the women in our church body. Young and old. Give each woman a view of your grace and a knowing worthiness in your sight. Hold her close to you. Allow her to embrace the good news that she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Help her soul to know this well. Help her to disregard culture and welcome your embrace.

Many of our women will be starting groups this month and next. Prepare their hearts for your truth. Help them grow closer and closer to you and give them strength to overcome their adversities in their life. Renew, rejuvenate and encourage them to press on. Help them come through their studies as new person, a growing follower, and a blessing to their family, their church, and their community.

In Jesus name,

Amen

2 Kings 4:8-37; 1 Kings 17:7-24; Luke 1:26-38; 39-45; Psalm 139:14