Weekly Devotion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sacred Finances

“But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” ?1 Chronicles? ?29:14? ?NIV??

King David knew about honoring God with his stuff. He knew that his days were numbered. I don’t mean that he was about to die. But in the grand scheme of life, David had a limited amount of time with which to honor God. We all do. And David knew that whatever he did in this life was somehow connected to life in eternity. He understood that even though he was materially wealthy that everything he had came from God. He wanted to be sure before he returned to spend eternity with God that he honored God with his finances.

If you look at Paul’s instructions to Timothy, he makes reference to this very same idea. He said, “Command those who are rich in this present world…” (1 Timothy 6:17)  Did you catch that? In this present world? Why would Paul word it that way? Is there a non-present world? Like a future world? In this statement, the apostle Paul tips his hand to the fact that he believes there is more to this life than this life. He believes there is something beyond this life. And he’s not alone. Ninety-seven percent of Americans believe there is something beyond this life. There’s another world besides this present world. And even if someone’s rich in this world, it won’t last forever. Another world is coming right after it. So rather than carry on like nothing will ever change, we need to honor God with our stuff now. Because not only are we guarding against the side effects of wealth here and now, we’re actually laying up treasure in heaven for eternity. We are investing in our Christian retirement account – Our E.R.A. or Eternal Retirement Account rather than our I.R.A.

There are many theories to describe exactly what that looks like, but you can be sure of this: Jesus talked about this concept throughout the Gospels, so there’s little doubt that the degree to which we honor God during this age will impact our experience in the age to come. Paul instructs Timothy to tell people that they get one opportunity to do good in such a way that they will impact their standing in the age to come. Don’t miss the opportunity. When Jesus talked about it, he was very clear. He asked the question, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36). In essence, he implored his followers to view wealth through the lens of eternity. That’s how David viewed it. David sacrificed and gave generously for the building of the new Temple. He encourage his leaders and other followers of God to do the same. When we do the same, we lose our grip on wealth, and wealth loses its grip on us. We live out our understanding that our finances are Sacred and part of our covenant with God.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Future Vision

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21?

About 12 years ago we did a worship series called IMAGINE. We looked at how God could do more than we could possibly ask or imagine. Our first Future Vision was to build a cross for the front of the Great Room. When we moved into the ministry center at Cedar and Dodd we had banners only on the front wall. CROSSROADS family members constructed a cross and attached it as a focal point of our worship space. We set future goals about paying down debt and raised $400,000 in the next three years. We prayed about an apartment building for senior citizens being built near the church and four years later God answered our prayers with CROSSROADS COMMONS. We prayed about opening our building for a preschool and daycare and seven years later God answered our prayers with Foursquare Daycare and Preschool. We prayed about a Christian school and once again God answered our prayers by allowing us to partner with Christian Heritage Academy. God has continued to be faithful in doing more than we could ever ask or imagine.

This Sunday we are discussing the life of King David. As king he had a future vision to build a Temple for God and the people. God challenged David to build a special place where ministry could happen in a more permanent setting. God is giving CROSSROADS a “Future Vision” as well. We are asking God how we can be a ministry where faith and life meet. We are praying about expanding our partnership with Foursquare by selling land and connecting their new building to ours. We are praying about how we can invest in our next generation by paying off the existing mortgage debt on our Lakeville campus. Once debt free, it will allow us to spend more on outreach and less on interest payments. At our Inver Grove Heights campus we are praying about starting a daycare, building a playground and expanding more outreach ministries. Both campuses are looking at ways to do building repair and remodeling. Along with the investments in buildings we are also praying about doing extensive investments in our children and youth ministries. As our communities are growing we are praying about ways to reach our new neighbors and friends. With God’s help we hope to invest in places where we see God leading us. May God give you a “Future Vision” this week to draw you closer to Him and His will for your life.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Heart Of Faith

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”…..Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”” 1 Samuel? ?17:32, 36-37? ?NIV??

With our youth last year we did a “trust fall” for youth group. A trust fall is when we stand on a table or counter and then fall backwards. We cross our arms and stay stiff as a board while falling to allow our friends to catch us. We have to have faith they will not drop us or allow us to hit the floor. I remember how hard it was to let go of my fear and put my trust in those behind me. I kept thinking I was too heavy. Or they won’t be strong enough to hold me. Three deep breaths. Let go. Fall. And then it seemed like an eternity and then I felt their hands and arms slow my fall. They caught me and supported me.

Last week I discussed how God told Samuel man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. David had a heart of faith. He put his trust in God even though others did not believe in him or support him. David had limitations placed upon him by so many, but it never stopped him from pursuing God’s direction for his life. He was the youngest brother and the least in his family but that did not stop him. He faced the taunting giant Goliath but that didn’t stop him. Saul tried to kill him but that didn’t stop him. His heart of faith allowed him to overcome the limitations others placed on him. We have to remember with God’s help we can overcome limitations put on us by others.  May God grow your heart of faith this week to overcome the obstacles in your life.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



Investing In Generations: Firm Foundation

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ?1 Samuel? ?16:7? ?NIV??

In college, I shared with some of my football buddies I was thinking of being a pastor. I remember one of my early critics said, “No one is going to want to look at your ugly mug for 30 minutes standing in front.” I don’t know why but I thought of the scripture quoted in 1 Samuel 16 and quoted it back to my critic. “God does not look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” I am grateful that I love and serve a God who is more focused on the heart than outward appearances. Otherwise, I would be in big trouble. David became King of Israel and built the foundation for his kingdom on his faith in God. He realized without God’s presence and power that kingdom would not stand.

My brother used to say, “Paul you have a great face for radio.” I couldn’t agree more. I am blessed God looked at my heart and not my appearance or natural abilities. God called me into a life of serving Him and I hope some day people will say, like they did of David, that I was a “man after God’s own heart.” May you build your life’s foundation this day on God’s love and grace. May you live your life chasing the heart of God.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



30 Days of Prayer: Day 6 – Birth and Death

Prayer Focus: Family Transitions

Ecclesiastes 3:2 – There is a time to be born and a time to die.

I am very blessed as a pastor to be with people at their most intimate moments of life. I am privileged to go to the hospital or to a parent’s home to hold babies when they are born. It is a joy that I am allowed to pray with parents and family members to celebrate life. Sometimes I sit in Children’s Hospital in Intensive Care praying for a child to cling to life. It is never easy for parents regardless of the transition.

Likewise, I get to hold hands of many CROSSROADS family members as they move from the Kingdom of God here on earth to the Kingdom of God in Heaven. I am privileged to mourn and celebrate eternal life with family members and friends. I pray at the bedside, the hospital, the various gatherings, the funeral, and eventually the graveside. A variety of comfort and support is needed at a time of family loss.

Family transitions can bring joy and sorrow. Babies bring joy but also sleepless nights. Losing a loved one to a battle with cancer can bring sorrow, but also relief as the suffering comes to an end. Regardless of the transition, it is important to spend time in prayer. If you are going through a time of transition, be in prayer for God to guide you and support you. If you see someone going through a transition, then offer to pray for them. As a CROSSROADS family sign up to be a part of the prayer small group team or join the prayer Facebook page to help support others through intercessory prayer, (Contact the church office at info@crossroadschurch.org for more information). Allow God to use you as an instrument of love to pray for others going through times of birth and death.

In Christ’s love and service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



30 Days Of Prayer – Day 5

Prayer Focus – Seasons of Prayer

Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.

Life has its seasons and so does Minnesota. I love living here because of the seasons. Even when I return from Mexico to 30 below wind chills, I still appreciate the change in seasons. I find our faith walk and prayer life also follows seasons. These seasons aren’t necessarily by age, but more by experience and maturity. Each season we explore our prayer relationship with God a little differently.

In spring we experience the warmth melting the snow. Spring is fun and exciting. Everything is new. The rains fall and new life abounds. Growth is all around us. God in the spring of our lives helps us enjoy our new life in Him. We often find our journey is led by those more mature to guide us. We are excited to learn new things and explore new options. We plant seeds of faith and start to see them sprout.

Summer is warm and sometimes uncomfortably hot. In summer our prayer life can run hot and cold. Ever step into air conditioning in July? It can be a drastic change. We learn who we are and we grow in what we can do. We may make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. We may go through extremes in our faith walk and prayer life, but God is never far away.

Autumn finds us reflecting. We spend time enjoying the fall coolness and crunch of the leaves as they fall from the trees. Reflective prayer may take a slower pace. We may spend more time listening to God and appreciating all God has done. We seek God’s guidance and enjoy the harvest season of answered prayers.

Sometimes in winter it is warm and cozy inside and we don’t want to go outside. We wrap our faith around us like an old sweater and we feel comfortable at last. We may become more introspective. At other times we venture out like my three year old grandson and play in the snow. We take advantage of our mature prayer life and pray more frequently for others. We intercede on the behalf of others and also think more about eternity.

No prayer season is better or worse. Each season has its own benefits and God uses the seasons to grow us in prayer. Some of us slip between the seasons of prayer in our lives and experience all four in a short period of time. Prayer has an ebb and flow between the seasons that keeps us dependent upon God. May God use the seasons to draw each of us closer to Him.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn



30 Days of Prayer – Day 4

Prayer Focus: Assurance that God hears our prayers

Scripture: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

I know when I was a young child I struggled a lot with talking to the “grey bearded guy in the sky thing.” I had a children’s Bible and it showed pictures of God looking down from the heavens. Kind of like a heavenly grandfather. It was hard for me to imagine how He could first, hear me and everyone else since the world had billions of people. Second, if He did hear, how did He have time to answer them all? (Quantum physics and Star Trek later helped me understand the time/space continuum better). Anyway, I thought I was probably talking to the air and no one was listening. It made my parents happy to pray with them at meal time and before bed, so I did. I didn’t want to be disrespectful to my parents, but I figured the bearded guy wasn’t listening.

Then one day I went out to the barn and found one of my sheep had been attacked by wild dogs. I chased the dogs away, but one little lamb named Rachel was severely injured. My parents were not around and the vet wasn’t available so I had to try to clean out the wounds stitch the lamb myself. I prayed and prayed to God for help. I was so scared. I had never done anything like this before. The lamb was lifeless and had stopped bleating for its mother. I felt helpless as I saw her life slip away. Through the prayers and tears I heard from God that she was going to be ok. Rachel would be alright. It was an audible voice and I even felt a warmth come over my body. My crying stopped and my heart stopped racing. Then Rachel got up and started bleating for her mother again. God had answered my prayer. From that day forward I not only believed in God, I had an assurance God was listening. I also realized He cared about me and what I was going through.

Jeremiah, in today’s passage, wanted to remind the Israelites God hears and answers their prayers. That is a staggering thought; God hears our prayers. Think about it. The God of the universe, that brought all things into being, cares about you personally. When we call out to God we are not praying words into the air but to the living and loving God who cares for us. As your prayer life increases so will your faith and trust in God who loves you and can meet your deepest needs.

Let us pray: Gracious and loving God, help me to remember You are listening. This day remind me how much You want to hear from me and how You listen to me personally. Also, help me to understand how You answer me. Allow me to see Your answered prayers in tangible ways so I know You are real. Demonstrate Your love to me this day through answered prayers and through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.



Wesley Covenant Prayer: 30 Days of Prayer – Day 3

John Wesley encouraged Christ followers to say the following “Covenant prayer” every new year. It was a reminder to surrender our will to God’s each year.

As we go through 30 days of prayer at CROSSROADS may this prayer guide you this month and this year.


“I am no longer my own, but thine…
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”



Prayer and Fasting: 30 Days of Prayer – Day 2

Prayer Focus: Growing closer to God through fasting.

“Nothing will be impossible for you. This kind of action only happens through prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21

Fasting has not always been part of my spiritual heritage. I wasn’t taught fasting in my church as I was growing up. I first experienced fasting as part of a fellowship group in college known as “Campus Crusade for Christ.” This group taught me a great deal about the how’s and why’s of fasting. In Seminary, I learned a great deal more by studying John Wesley’s journals on fasting.  He modeled in his ministry the biblical principles of prayer and fasting. He taught the early Methodist movement the following:

Fasting is not to be exalted beyond all scripture and reason and yet is a means ordained by God, and when duly used is surely a source of God’s blessing… Let the fast be done to glorify our Father in heaven; to express our sorrow and shame for our transgressions, to wait for purifying grace; drawing our affection to things above; to add seriousness and earnestness to our prayers; to avert the wrath of God; and to obtain all the precious promises in Christ…With fasting let us always join fervent prayer; this is a season for enlarging our prayers, both on behalf of ourselves and our brethren. (Wesley’s Sermon XXII – Our Lord’s Sermon On The Mount, Mt 6:16-18)

I have witnessed the most powerful transformations in our church when the leadership of our church has humbled themselves through fasting and prayer. Both Deb and I want you to experience the power of God through fasting and prayer. Deb and I are doing a “day fast” for the 30 days of prayer at CROSSROADS. A day fast is not eating during daylight hours. For most of us this means missing our daily lunch and snacks. Pastor Deb and I will spend our noontime in prayer this month rather than eating. Please consider fasting this month as well. Whether for one meal or several days take the time to focus on God through prayer.

Let us pray:

Holy and loving God. Help me to grow closer to you through fasting and prayer. Allow me to be sensitive to the leadings of your Spirit as I focus on You. Encourage me through prayer and fasting to see You at work in my life and the ministry of CROSSROADS.

In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

If you would like to learn more I have written down the following 7 keys to help you in your faith journey as you allow God to shape you through fasting. I learned these through the years from a variety of spiritual leaders who have helped me grow in fasting and prayer.

7 Keys to Successful FASTING

How you conduct your fasting will determine your success. Follow these basic steps to make your time with God more meaningful.
 
 

1st Key: MAKE THE COMMITMENT

Jesus implied all His followers should fast. Matthew 6:16-18, 9:14-15. For Jesus it was not a matter of “IF” we should fast, but “WHEN”. Before you fast decide up front:

  1. How long you will fast – one meal, one day, one week, several weeks, thirty days, continuous lifestyle fasting, etc…. Beginners should start slowly building up to longer fasting periods.
  2. What type of fast does God want you to undertake – water only, water and juices; what kind of juices and how often.
  3. Fasting can also mean a discipline of abstaining from something other than food. Ask if God is asking you to stay away from things like alcohol, caffeine, T.V., sexual activity, or other physical craving.
  4. What physical or social activities will you restrict to remain steadfast in your fasting?
  5. How much time will be spent in prayer and devoted to God’s Word while you fast?

Making these commitments ahead of time will help sustain your fast when physical temptations and life’s pressures tempt you to abandon it.

 

2nd Key: SET YOUR GOAL OR OBJECTIVE IN FASTING

Pray about the kind of fast you are feeling called to undertake. Answer the question, why am I fasting? Is it for spiritual renewal, for guidance, for healing, for the resolution of problems, for special grace to handle a difficult situation, or deepening your relationship with God? Ask the Holy Spirit to clarify His leading and objectives for your prayer fast. Search the Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as to how you are to specifically pray.

Biblical Objectives for Fasting:

  1. To experience Spiritual renewal by seeking God’s forgiveness. Nehemiah 9:1-3, Joel 1:14-15, Joel 2:11-13.
  2. To seek God’s guidance and direction for a difficult decision. Acts 13, Acts 2:21-23. (Vs. 23) “And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
  3. To ask God for healing. Psalm 35:13-14. (Vs. 13) “Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.”
  4. To receive resolution for problems.
  5. To humble ourselves before God and to ask Him to redeem the consequences of our sin. II Samuel 12:15-23. (Vs. 16) “David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of His household stood beside him in order to raise him up from the ground, but he was unwilling and would not eat food with them.”
  6. To seek justice on behalf of others. Isaiah 58:1-14. (Vs. 10) “and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like noonday.”
  7. To battle temptation and resist weaknesses in areas of our fleshly desires. Mark 1:12-14, Matthew 4:1-10. (Vs. 10) “Away from me Satan! For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’. Then the devil left him.”
  8. To intercede on behalf of our nation or a group of people. 2 Chronicles 7:14. “If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
  9. To seek God’s protection and support as we take a great step of faith. Ezra 8:22-23. (Vs. 23) “So we fasted and petitioned our God concerning this matter and God listened to our prayer.”
  10. To seek prospering of God’s people for God’s purposes. Nehemiah 1:1-4. (Vs. 4) “Now it came about when I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven.”
  11. To seek God’s deliverance from a difficult situation or power of which we are powerless to control. Psalm 109:22-26, Joel 2:13-19, Esther 4:3-17. (Vs. 16) “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”
  12. To build our relationship with God. Matthew 6:16-18. “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (New American Standard)

 

 

3rd Key: PHYSICAL PREPARATION BEFORE FASTING

Before fasting consult your physician and make sure you are taking the necessary precautions. If you have a medical condition or are taking certain medications the type of fasting may need to be modified. Proper physical preparation allows the transition in your eating habits to be less drastic so you can feel free to focus on prayer. Remember to prepare your body by eating smaller meals before the fast. Avoid high-fat and sugary foods prior to fasting.

 

 

4th Key: PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE FASTING

While fasting you are abstaining from all solid foods and have begun to seek God’s help to sustain you. It is especially important to care for your body during this time since you will be weak and vulnerable to the Satan’s temptations to break the fast.

  1. Limit your activity – schedule less, pray more.
  2. Exercise only moderately. Walk or do other easier forms of exercise.
  3. Rest as much your schedule permits. Extra sleep will be needed.
  4. Prepare yourself for the fact you will be easily irritable and may experience impatience and anxiety. Don’t take your fasting out on others.
  5. Expect some physical discomforts. If you are doing an extended fast you may experience some hunger pains, dizziness, and lack of energy on the second and third days. Other physical annoyances include weakness, tiredness, and overall fatigue. If you experience fatigue or hunger pains increase your liquid intake. As you continue to fast, you will eventually experience a sense of comfort both physically and spiritually.
  6. Put yourself on a schedule. Begin your day in praise and prayer in lieu of breakfast. Read and meditate on God’s Word. Pray for God’s vision for your life and empowerment to do His will. If other persons are fasting with you, meet together for prayer sometime during the morning or evening. Avoid television or any other distraction that may dampen your focus. If possible, end the evening on your knees in prayer.

Some possible liquid diet suggestions taken from Dr. Julie C. Ruibal – Nutritionist, Pastor and specialist in fasting and prayer:

  1. Fruit juices – preferably squeezed or blended and diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acid. Buy juices without sugar or additives.
  2. Herb Tea with a drop of honey. Avoid caffeine at all costs.
  3. Soup broth or bullion cubes.
  4. Dietary protein drinks may be consumed in moderation.
  5. Avoid chewing gums or mints even if your breath is bad.
 

 

5th Key: SPIRITUAL PREPARATIONS BEFORE FASTING

Remember sin will hinder your prayers. You need to get right with God before fasting. Here are some ways you can get right with God:

  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you make a list of your sins. Think not only of sins of commission (stuff you have done to hurt others) but also sins of omission (stuff you should have done to help others.) For example, you saw someone discriminated against at work but did nothing to stop it.
  2. 1 John 1:9 – Confess every sin before God and accept God’s complete forgiveness.
  3. Actively seek forgiveness from persons whom you have offended and forgive all who have hurt you.
  4. Make restitution (make peace) with whomever you offended.
  5. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit according to His word in Ephesians 5:18. “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
 

 

6th Key: SPIRITUAL CONSIDERATIONS WHILE FASTING

Do not underestimate spiritual opposition to your fasting. Satan often intensifies the natural battle between body and spirit. Galatians 5:16-18 reminds us of this battle between our flesh and our spirit. Fasting (or abstinence from food or other physical cravings) helps bring our body in right alignment with God’s will. God over spirit, spirit over soul (soul = mind & emotions), soul over body/flesh. Too many times our body tells our soul how to think or feel, and then we try to tell God. Take advantage of putting on the “Full Armor of God” while fasting. Ephesians 6:11-17 reminds us how to use the promise of our salvation and the Word of God as primary weapons against the evil one.

 

7th Key: JOURNAL/SHARE YOUR RESULTS

Expect results when you fast! God will respond. Fasting is not twisting God’s arm behind His back and saying “listen to me.” It is the complete opposite. Fasting reminds us God is in control and we need to get rid of some of our worldly desires in order to focus and listen to Him.  Fasting draws us into a closer and deeper relationship with Him. If you sincerely humble yourself before God, repent of your sins, fast, and pray then God will answer. The answer may surprise you. Search throughout the Scriptures and you will see this pattern repeated time and time again. If you consistently meditate on His Word, you will experience a heightened awareness of His presence. Because we become fully aware of how to rely on Him for all our needs, one huge result from fasting is that our faith in God is strengthened. Write down how God has answered your prayers. Next time you are struggling, this journaling will remind you God is listening to you and He cares. Be sure to share your results with others. Do not brag or imply you are more spiritual due to fasting. However, as a testimony to God’s power, encourage others by sharing God’s responses to  your prayers.



30 Days of Prayer and Fasting – Day 1

Prayer Focus: Prayer that Christ will dwell in our hearts through faith.

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:14-17.

Prayer is the way we communicate with God. It is the vehicle for fellowship with Him. In the same way you would foster a relationship with another human through quality time and communication, you can strengthen your relationship with God by communicating frequently with Him through prayer. We can learn of God’s character through prayer. We can learn of God’s plans for our lives and His activity in the world through prayer. It is by prayer that we can play a role in His ushering in God’s Kingdom here on earth. 
Too often we view prayer as transactional. I need something so I talk to God to receive what I want. For example, a loved one becomes ill or we run into financial trouble so we call out to God to help us in that specific situation. While God certainly hears these requests, His deepest desire is to have ongoing fellowship with us through prayer.

The Holy Spirit places prayer requests and petitions on our hearts. We then offer them back to God. What begins in heaven returns to heaven through the mysterious power of prayer. Prayer is not communicating to change our Father’s mind; it is instead helping us discover the mind of God.

Set aside a specific time to pray today. Perhaps your first prayer could be, “Lord, I ask for Your help and Your strength to assist me in faithfully and consistently praying over the next 30 days.”
We will be sending out a prayer reminder daily for the rest of January. Feel free to share these devotionals with others if you feel they may want to grow in prayer. Pastor Deb and I as well as some leaders of the church are fasting for all of January. If you would like to join us for one meal, one day, or some other amount of time please contact the church office. We would love to add you to our prayer and fasting group.

Dear God,

May you richly dwell in our hearts this day. Help us to be strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit so we may be filled with Your love. Help us to focus on You these next thirty days as we pray daily. May we grow in our faith as we continue to pray.

In Jesus name, Amen.

 

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Paul Marzahn