April 16 – Watch and Pray

“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping, ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  Mark 14:37-38 (NIV)

PRAYER keeps your spiritual man awake and alert. Many Christians fall into temptation and sin simply because they are asleep spiritually, through an obvious lack of prayer.

PRAYER is communication with God. Communication builds relationship, and there is just no short cut if you desire to get close to God. It takes time. It takes communication.

PRAYER opens the door to the supernatural in your life. Everything you desire of God is available through petition in prayer.

God says: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Jesus says: “. . . Ask, and it shall he given you: seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall he opened unto you” (Luke 11:9)

In short, PRAYER IS WORTH IT! Make prayer a vital part of your day. . . and start today!

PRAY:
“Father in heaven, renew and refresh my mind so that it will be uncluttered and clear to communicate with You. I delight in hearing Your voice and I desire to understand more of Your ways. Amen.”

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April 15 – Teach Me To Pray

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

Evidently the disciples were impressed when they heard Jesus praying. The close, sweet communion He had with His Father became obvious to them as they watched, and the miraculous power He gained through that contact was awesome.

Praying to the Father consists of six specific areas:

1) PRAYER begins with PRAISE.

2) PRAYER continues with THANKSGIVING.

3) PRAYER involves CONFESSION.

4) PRAYER delights in INTERCESSION.

5) PRAYER invites PETITION.

6) PRAYER ends with LISTENING.

Learn well. Do not miss out on the blessing of prayer! It is through prayer that actual communion with your Creator IS possible.

PRAY:
‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.* To You be the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forevermore, I pray. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

*Luke 11:2-4

April 14 – Praise it Away

“Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.” Psalm 149:1

Praise in song is a powerful tool. David, the psalmist, must have mastered the ministry of music well, because even King Saul’s troubled soul was comforted and refreshed by the skillful hands of David upon the harp. (See I Samuel 16:23.)

Many Scriptures have been put to music and are like medicine in times of trouble. Here are some that are sung at Christian Retreat:

FOR FEAR (Psalm 27:1): “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?.. .”

FOR DEPRESSION, HEAVINESS (Isaiah 61:3): “He gives me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…

FOR SICKNESS (Romans 8:11): “If that same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwell in you… it shall quicken your mortal body. . . .”

Praise away your problems today with Scripture in song!

FOR JOY (Psalm 96:1): “Sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.. .”

PRAY:
“Maker of music in my soul, I will open my mouth to sing praises to Your Name today in all circumstances. As You heal my sicknesses and resolve my problems, I will dance in jubilant triumph. Amen.”

 

April 13 – A Holy Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” II Timothy 1:9

Isn’t it great to know that you have been called to a “holy calling”? It is the purpose for which you have been created… that is, to be holy and able to have fellowship with God.

In the beginning, man was created “in the image of God.” (Genesis 1:27) God has always taken a personal interest in man. When Adam and Eve sinned, God clothed them and made a way of atonement. Through the death and resurrection of His Son, the Father made a way for all men to be reconciled back to a right relationship with Him.

God is always leading you upward in the path of holiness and righteousness. His desire for you is to be HOLY. . . separate from the sin of the world and set apart for His service.

Peter refers to the promise of God to make you a partaker of His “divine nature”so that you can escape the “corruption that is in the world through lust” (See II Peter 1:4.)

Friend, you have got it made! “If God be for [you], who can be against [you]?”(Romans 8:31b)

PRAY:
“Hallelujah! Thank You, Father,  for calling me into a sanctified lifestyle which is to reflect Your image with You by my side.   I cannot lose.  Amen.”

April 12 – A Triumphal Entry

“And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” Matthew 21:8-9

As you remember the events of Jesus’ life that mark Palm Sunday through Resurrection Day, renew your faith in the LIVING CHRIST who lives within you!

All four Gospels give an account of Jesus making His final visit to Jerusalem in what is commonly known as the Triumphal Entry. (See Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12.) He rode in on a colt with enthusiastic crowds surrounding Him, carpeting His path with palm branches and clothing amid shouts of praise hailing Him as KING!

Indeed, God’s King had come. . . not of an earthly kingdom but of an eternal one. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus told the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. . . for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

There were many on that first Palm Sunday in Jerusalem who did not recognize Jesus as King. Others rejoiced in His coming but quickly turned away when events did not materialize as they had expected. What kind of “triumphal entry” has Christ made in your life? Will you still trust Him in the hard times?

PRAY:
“Lord, today I shout ‘Hosanna’ to the King of kings Let Your kingdom grow in me so that I might serve You faithfully. Amen.”

April 11 – Preparing for the King

“Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Psalm 24:7

“Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle… The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory.” (Psalm 24:8,lOb)

Are you ready for the King’s coming? Is the door of your heart ready to be opened at His knock? Has your lamp been trimmed and filled with oil?

This psalm of David asks the question, “Who shall stand in his holy place?” (Verse 3) What would be your answer? Would it be like David’s. . . someone with clean hands and a pure heart. . . someone who does not lie or swear deceitfully? (Verse 4) Yes! Be one of those people included in this generation who seek to know and see the Lord.

As stated in all of God’s Word, there are consequences for your actions — good or evil. There are blessings or curses. Today, if you will appear before Him with clean hands and a pure heart, with all falsehoods and any deceit cast aside,“[You]shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of [your] salvation.” (Verse 5) What a wonderful reward!

THE KING IS COMING! PREPARE TODAY!

PRAY:
“Most holy Lord, I lift up the gates of my heart for Your coming right now. Forgive my trespasses.  Bless me with Your salvation and righteousness, for I ask it in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

April 10 – Forward Motion

“But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil heart. They went backward and not forward.” Jeremiah 7:24 (NIV)

Bill Wilson, a youthful, dedicated minister to thousands of children in the heart of New York City, often has been asked: “How long can you keep on doing what you do?” His answer: “I just go on. If you stand still or turn back, you die.” What DOES it take to “just go on” in life?

Read about four lepers at the point of despair, in II Kings 7:3-9 (NIV), who learned the value of FORWARD MOTION. Their progress to divine intervention illustrates five points:

1) MOTION – “Why stay here until we die?” they declared. Get into motion. . . do something. God cannot steer a parked car!

2) DIRECTION – Allow God to give you direction. Be led forward by His Word and by your spiritual eyes.

3) URGENCY – The lepers said, “Let’s go at once “Without a sense of urgency, apathy and procrastination sets in. Do it NOW!

4) CAMARADERIE – The lepers stayed together. Do not try to go it alone! Proverbs 17:1 7b says, “. . . a brother is born for adversity,” meaning that adversity makes brotherhood even more necessary.

5) DIVINE INTERVENTION – The lepers got their miracle. So can YOU! Anticipate it! Proclaim it!

PRAY:
“O thou Great Deliverer, I am hanging on and going on with expectations of Your intervention in my life. Amen.”