Week 1 Devotionals
Use these devotionals to assist you in your prayers.
DAY 1 Return to Me (Jan. 11)
"Even now", declares the Lord, "Return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Joel 2:12 (NIV)
As we walk with God, there are times that we feel far from Him or dis-connected. Joel's words resonate with us, even if we live in a context of grace: "Return to me with all your heart." There are times we realize that though we have chosen to follow Jesus the flame of our love for Him has grown cold.
Your time spent in prayer and meditation each of the next 21 days can result in a new richness, a rewarding connection with the Father. No matter where you are on your journey with Jesus, you can always take a step closer toward Him.
The arrival of a new year brings a great opportunity to renew our faith and love for God and Jesus. It’s also a wonderful time to renew the joy of salvation in our hearts as a new creation in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Let us move into this new year knowing that God loves us and wants the best for us. As we begin this 21-day journey, let’s turn our hearts toward God. Let’s pray that the new year will be focused on healing ourselves through repentance and the renewing of our minds. We were not meant to do life alone! We can bring the light of hope into our own heart, home and world. Make a commitment to seek Him daily.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Is There a Fire Burning in You?
“Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” Jeremiah 20:9
You will often hear people when they talk about their passion talk about it as if it is a fire that burns inside them. We hear many athletes say when they near retirement that the “fire is gone.” It means they lost their passion and burning desire for the game that they played.
Many will say similar things when they talk about other things that they are passionate about. Recently, someone said those same words when talking about resigning from a volunteer position. They said that their passion for the role was gone and that they felt it was best to let someone else take over.
God created us in such a unique way that we feel that burning desire inside us for the things that we are most passionate about. Jeremiah described that passion as a burning fire here in this verse. He was talking about God and his passion for God.
Jeremiah initially said he would not speak of God anymore. He found that he couldn’t. He had such a passion and desire for God that he was unable to remain silent. He couldn’t hold it in. When you have a fire and passion inside you about something you will never be able to hold it in.
If we examine ourselves, do we find that we have a passion for God like Jeremiah? Are we so passionate about the things of God that we have to talk about God and all of His goodness? Just like Jeremiah, God is looking for Christians who have a burning fire in their hearts for Him. If you find that you don’t have that type of passion, ask God. Tell Him to show you how you can be set on fire for Him!
Take a moment to reflect and journal: What is your biggest obstacle to experiencing the zeal and passion described in Jeremiah 20:9? Ask God to ignite or reignite a passion in your relationship with Jesus.
DAY 2 Change Is Possible (Jan. 12)
Christianity means change is possible. Deep, fundamental change. It is possible to become tenderhearted when once you were callous and insensitive. It is possible to stop being dominated by bitterness and anger. It is possible to become a loving person, no matter what your background has been.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32
The Bible assumes that God is the decisive factor in making us what we should be. With wonderful bluntness, the Bible says, “Put away . . . all malice” and be “tenderhearted.” It does not say, “If you can . . . ” Or, “If your parents were tenderhearted . . . ” Or, “If you have not been terribly abused . . . ” It says, “Be . . . tenderhearted.”
This is wonderfully freeing. It frees us from the terrible fatalism that says change is impossible for me. It frees you from mechanistic views that make your background/upbringing your destiny.
As you focus on how you can become tenderhearted, spend some time in introspection.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:3-5
Do you value others above yourself? How often do you take an interest in others? Would someone describe you as humble or proud? These are some questions to ask yourself as you think of your relationships with friends, co-workers and family members. How can you change these relationships to have the same mindset as Jesus?
God’s commands always come with freeing, life-changing truth to believe. For example,
- God adopted us as his children. We have a new Father and a new family. This breaks the fatalistic forces of our “family-of-origin.” “Call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:9).
- God loves us as his children. We are “loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). The command to imitate the love of God does not hang in the air, it comes with power: “Be imitators of God, as loved children.” “Love!” is the command and being loved by God is the power.
- God has forgiven us in Christ. Be tenderhearted and forgiving just as God in Christ forgave you (Ephesians 4:32). What God did in Christ is powerful. It makes change possible. The command to be tenderhearted has more to do with what God did for you than what your mother or your father did to you. This kind of command means you can change.
- Christ loved you and gave himself up for you. “Walk in love, as Christ loved [you]” (Ephesians 5:2). The command comes with life-changing truth. “Christ loved you.” At the moment when there is a chance to love, and some voice says, “You are not a loving person,” you can say, “Christ’s love for me makes me a new kind of person. His command to love is just as surely possible for me as his promise of love is true for me.”
Don’t be a fatalist. Be a Christian. Change is possible. God is alive. Christ is risen. The promises are true.
Take a moment to reflect and journal: What is your biggest obstacle to becoming the person described in Ephesians 4:31-32? Ask God to help you change into the person you were designed to be.
DAY 3 New Covenant (Jan. 13)
Under the Old Covenant, the entire mindset was to “do in order to become.” But under the New Covenant, the operating principle is “you already are, therefore act like it.” Rejoice and celebrate that Crist has set you free.
I have put off the old man and have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him Who created me (Colossians 3:9-10).
It’s so important to know who you are in Christ. Many people spend their entire lives trying to gain God’s approval. Under the New Covenant, you perpetually live in the favor of the Lord. Do you see the difference?
The day you put your faith in Jesus, you have a new identity in Him. The more you get to know Jesus through His word and time in prayer, the more you will understand your identity in Him.
“I am holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:16).
When we pray and fast, we don’t do so to change God or His will; instead, we are the ones changed. Coming into alignment with God helps us curb our doubt and fears. When we pray and fast, the thing that leaves – the thing that goes out – is our unbelief. Today, spend time contemplating on who you are in Christ.
Knowing your God-given identity gives you validation and increases your faith. When you know that God validates you, you're no longer worried about your performance. You know that you're already equipped to do what God is calling you to do (2 Corinthians 5:20), and you have faith that He will do the work through you.
Not sure who you really are in Christ? Read this list of Biblical truths that reveal who God made you to be:
I am complete through my union with Christ, Who is the Head over every ruler and authority (Colossians 2:10).
I am alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5).
I am far from oppression, and fear does not come near me (Isaiah 54:14).
I have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
I have the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).
I have the Greater One living in me; greater is He Who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
I have received God’s wonderful grace and His gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death, through this one man, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
I have received the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus, the eyes of my understanding being enlightened (Ephesians 1:17-18).
I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13).
I show forth the praises of God Who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
I am God’s child for I am born again of the incorruptible seed of the Word of God, which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23).
I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
I am a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind (2 Corinthians 4:4).
I am a doer of the Word and blessed in my actions (James 1:22,25).
I am a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
I am an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).
These are only a few truths of who you are in Christ. Meditate on each scripture. Toss out the lies others have spoken about who you are. Receive these truths into your heart. Memorize these truths so you can draw upon them in times of trouble. Act upon them, for these are who you are.
Take a moment to reflect and journal: What is your biggest obstacle to becoming the person described under the New Covenant? Ask God to help you change into the person you were designed to be… an ambassador for Christ…
DAY 4 Agreement with the Will of God (Jan. 14)
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Amos 3:3
In the heart of every believer is the desire to walk closely with God. We know that He, too, desires a close relationship with each one of us. A key to having a strong level of spiritual intimacy with God is living in agreement with His will for your life.
In Genesis 5:22, we read of Enoch and see that his life modeled a long journey, walking consistently with God, for it says, “Enoch walked with God three hundred years.” Enoch lived a powerful life. He was a man who walked in agreement with God’s will and lived a life pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:5).
It is one thing to know God’s will for our lives; it’s another to live in agreement with His will. In order to enjoy the best life that God has for us, we must first understand that God does not change, but we sometimes must. Let’s earnestly seek to know and agree with God’s will. The level of our agreement with God will determine the degree of closeness in our walk with Him.
Pray today that you can walk in agreement with God and enjoy the life He desires you to have in Christ.
Do you think of yourself as a temple? The Bible says that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We've got to get "the gunk" out of God's temple so we can hear his voice clearly and prepare ourselves for new things He wants to do in and through us. Even if you are going to church, reading your Bible, and worshiping there are times when you need to give your soul a good spring cleansing to make it fresh again.
As we live our lives, over time we can get all "gunked up." While our spirit is eternally made new through Christ, our soul, which is the intersection of our mind, will and emotions, can become weighed down, heavy, negative, and sluggish.
The constant demand on our mind, the distractions, and the noise can weigh us down and put us in a spiritual fog. Life has a way of stacking on the pressure and pain, which causes our emotions to get out of whack. As we get tired and weighed down, our conscience can become desensitized, not really bothered by things that once convicted us. God's voice is slowly muffled, and we begin to lose our passion for Him. The fire within dims, and we shift into autopilot, operating from a position of obligation or routine in our relationship with God, instead of one of affection and fervor.
Prayer and fasting hits the reset button of our soul. To receive the new things God wants to bring into our lives, we have to periodically hit the reset button. This is what I call experiencing a newness of soul. What a powerful gift we have been given through prayer & fasting.
DAY 5 When Grace Comes Down (Jan. 15)
For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a personal visit with God? What would He say about the state of humanity? About religion? About our propensity toward sin?
There is no need to wonder about what God is like or would say, because to know Him, we have only to look at Jesus. In Jesus we have received grace, but there is even something more we have received: truth.
The kind of truth in today’s scripture is not a list of laws and rules such as were given to Moses. Make no mistake –the revelation of God through the word of the Law was glorious. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai after receiving the Ten Commandments, his face shone so brightly with the glory of God that he had to wear a veil (Exodus 34:33-35). But the word of the Law cannot compare with the word of life that has been revealed through Jesus Christ!
In John 1:18 we learn that no one, not even Moses, with his glimpse of God’s back, has ever seen God. But Jesus has not only seen God – He is God. The truth that John was speaking about is a clear and unveiled vision of the true nature of God.
Looking at God through the lens of legalism and religion is like looking at Him through a veil. Only when we see Him through Jesus Christ can we truly get a glimpse into His heart. It is from a state of grace, not legalism, that we will find real and lasting transformation (2 Corinthians 3:7-18).
Have you been looking at God through the veil of legalism and religion? In Jesus, we see the full revelation of the nature of God: His love and holiness, mercy and justice, compassion and power all perfectly and beautifully expressed. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help you see God through the eyes of grace and truth given to us in Jesus Christ.
One of the reasons I think prayer and fasting are so powerful when combined is that together they activate a chain reaction where we see God's kingdom manifest on earth. This sequence is what I call agreement...alignment...assignment. When we come into agreement with God, we are aligned with God's perfect will on earth as it already is in heaven. When we are aligned with heaven, we find that God can use us in ways we never thought possible; then we begin to walk in our assignment - the purpose that God created us to fulfill.
God has given you a specific and unique assignment. You are a master piece designed by God to make a difference in this world. There is a very specific purpose for which you were created. God is the only One who can truly inform you of that purpose, and in order to fulfill it, you will need His power.
Here's the deal: when it comes to pursuing our God-given assignment, if you and I are not in tune with God's voice, we will only hear the voice of the crowd and get weighed down by the pressures of life. Like a radio station we can't quite hear clearly, all the voices will cause static and make it difficult for us to tune into the Voice we need to hear.
DAY 6 The Spirit is Willing (Jan. 16)
And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. Romans 7:18-20 (NLT)
There’s an internal war that rages within each of us. Paul described this so well in Romans 7. Though we desire to do the right thing, we don’t have the power to do so in our own efforts and we mess up.
The good news it that we don’t have to rely on our own strength to make right decisions. We don’t have to be dominated by our sinful nature and end up doing the things we don’t want to do. But the only way we can live this kind of life is by yielding to the Holy Spirit and relying on the strength of Jesus Christ, not our own.
When we’re facing struggles, we must rely on God’s power alive within us through the Holy Spirit. When we are born again, the Holy Spirit resides in us and places in us the desire to do what is pleasing to God (Hebrews 10:16). The Holy Spirit always wants to do what is right and to uphold the perfect will of God, pleasing the Father in every way.
It is our job to lay down our stubborn fleshly will and yield to the will of God. In that moment, the Holy Spirit will be there to help us. Let’s learn to yield to and become totally reliant upon the Holy Spirit.
Are there areas in your life causing an internal struggle? Make a decision today to yield to the Holy Spirit and lean on His strength, not your own, to overcome obstacles of sin and selfishness in your life. Surrender and release those areas to God, knowing He will help you.
The hardest decisions to make are usually not between what is good and bad. Usually the most difficult decisions are between what is good, better and best. It is so important to be able to clearly hear the voice of God when facing important decisions. Jesus regularly disconnected from the world to hear the voice of God. This awakening season is all about disconnecting from the world so that we can hear the voice of God.
All sorts of things will try to crowd God out of your life. Jesus faced pressure from the crowds, and he had to choose between doing good and doing God's will. The crowds constantly tugged on Jesus to heal them or to do another miracle. What might have happened if Jesus had listened to the voice of the crowds? He would have settled for a very good cause, healing, but missed his primary purpose to preach the kingdom of God to lost humanity. Jesus knew that with so much need everywhere, He had to hear the voice of His Father, or He would have mistakenly chosen what's good instead of what's God. That is exactly what will happen in our lives if we're not tuned in to God and hearing His voice over the voice of the crowd.
The voice of the crowd cannot answer the question, "Why are you here?" When you hear the voice of God, you begin to understand His purpose for you and what you are all about. It is then that you can prioritize your life around that purpose; this is a freeing place to be, and it uncomplicates your life. Once you begin to realize God's purpose for your life, you start to understand something foundational about yourself; you're not here on earth simply to exist but - guess what? - you were sent. Your whole life will change when you understand that you were sent here by God.
I don't know your specific assignment in regards to your career, relationships, or other matters. I do know that we are all called to be witnesses for Jesus. I want to challenge you to look at the normal activities of your everyday life and see them as opportunities to be a witness for Jesus. During these 21 days, look for ways to serve and encourage others at work, at home, in your neighborhood or at church.
DAY 7 Fervent Prayer (Jan. 17)
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
Fervency speaks to our level of intensity, passion, and persistence. Many times, we can lose our passion in prayer or stop praying for certain things altogether because we lose heart or give up. But God invites us to keep them before Him and trust Him for an answer in His time (Matthew 7:7-11).
The Old Testament prophet Elijah practiced a lifestyle of fervent, intense prayer and witnessed incredible miracles in his lifetime. In the book of Kings, the story is told of a woman whose only son became ill and died (1Kings 17:17-24). When Elijah heard the news, he quickly took action and did what he knew best – he fervently cried out to God. Elijah fully believed that God could bring the boy back to life, and he prayed not just once but three times that the boy’s soul would return to him. He prayed fervently and repeatedly and he wasn’t going to give up. This was the result: “Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.” (verse 22)
Elijah’s prayer was answered through his persistence and fervency. God hears your prayers as well and will bring an answer in His perfect timing. But don’t be discouraged or disheartened if the answer takes time to arrive or is not exactly what you expected. Commit to praying to God with passion and persistence, trusting the answer will come in God’s perfect way at the perfect time.
As you close out this first week, continue to pray fervently for the main areas of concern in your life. Trust God to bring an answer as you journal your thoughts and inspirations through this time.
We must never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests. Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful by comparison.– A. W. TOZER
I love an ice-cold coke. Pop the top, and it has lots of fizz! Have you ever drank a canned coke after the top has been off for a while, and it has gone flat? There is no fizz! Yuck! Just Gross. We expect the fizz when we open up a carbonated drink, don't we? We expect the fizz every time!
Passionate Christianity should be the norm for every believer - not the exception! We would never settle for a flat coke that has lost its fizz. Likewise, we should never settle for a stale, mundane, dull boring relationship with God. Are you vaguely unsettled with the idea that somehow a daily relationship with God ...the God of the universe... can end up flat?
Begin again today with a John 10:10 passionate, expectation of abundance! Don't settle! Guarding the fire of devotion in your heart is the most foundational discipline of your life. Refuse to accept a faith experience that is so far below what God intended for you.
As you complete the first week of Awakening, make sure you are writing down the things that God is speaking to you. Continue to pray fervently for the main concerns in your life. Trust God to bring an answer as you journal your thoughts and inspirations through this time.