DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eleven, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eleven, Day Six

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 (NIV)

 

The Apostle Paul wrote a second letter to the Christian church in Corinth. At the time, major issues within their congregation were still persisting. False teachers were leading and the Apostle Paul needed to set the record straight. No other relationship will satisfy the longings of the soul apart from Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. May we pray for sure footing as we traverse in a land of broken promises, broken dreams and broken hearts. No other love will quench the thirst of the inner most being apart from the Lord Jesus. Simply put, we were never designed to find and experience lasting fulfillment apart from a divine connection with God Himself. Chaos is real and heartache is a hallmark of life; but radical redemption and overarching victory of the trials found in this world are the trademarks of Jesus Christ the risen Savior. Clarity comes through revelation of the Holy Spirit; may we pray continually to be in step with His leading for He alone is worthy of our praise (Ephesians 6:18).

 

Prayer For Today:

Dear God, thank You for each detailed provision for those I deeply care for throughout this journey. Thank You for the help, the friendships and the countless encouragements You have ordained during this time. Make my heart grateful amidst the difficulty. Break me of my discontent within this severe discomfort. Teach me to look to You Jesus to find comfort and also pass it forward to others in dyer need. Sever me from my love of this world. May the gods of my heart be burned before You-as was true for the Israelites once they had been delivered by Your hand from Egypt (Exodus 32:1-20). LORD, I repent of my arrogance. Teach me to use Your light to illuminate hearts. Allow me to drink of Your fresh water and refreshing presence amidst this continued heat of the journey (Psalm 23). Thank You for divine provisions in the middle of major unknowns and suspended answers. You are my true comfort and I cling to You; knowing that You are above it all, Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eleven, Day Five

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eleven, Day Five

 

“All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (HCSB)

 

Excuses for destructive and ungodly behavior are commonplace within human history. The first biblical account of man and woman deal with this very issue; blame shifting (Genesis 3:12-13). Each new generation of humanity has fallen for the same traps of the devil; deception, manipulation, revenge, rage, vengeance, jealousy and the perception of power. Rather, than focusing on what we do not have in this world, the Apostle Paul encourages us to raise our standard and be willing to praise the Lord amidst trials and sincere tribulations (Ephesians 4:14-16). The Apostle Paul was writing the book of Ephesians to the Christian church within the city of Ephesus—while he was within a Roman prison. Yet, the Apostle Paul refers to himself not by his bondage to the Romans, but to that of God (Ephesians 4:1). And in doing so, he edifies the church to seek out forgiveness and unity among the body of Christ in order to focus more fully upon furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and desperate world.

 

Prayer For Today:

Dear Lord God, Your presence silences my soul. Teach me to rest in the position of honor that You have given to me as a child of God. Teach me to desire Your praise over that of any other. Teach me to be content with where You have called me and to be a living witness to Your faithful help and everlasting love regardless of whether I am a princess or a prisoner. Infuse my bones with gratitude and my mouth with Your praise. Help me to never turn back amidst my fatigue. When the challenges seem too great and the storms cause paralytic fear within my soul, fill me with Your truth. When I feel lost and am tempted to grab hold of anyone or anything to subside the the chaotic spin; ground me deep in Your love, Lord. Teach me to love You more than revenge. Teach me to crave Your embrace more than that of hate. Teach me to forgive others as You have in fact forgiven me. In Jesus’ powerful name I pray, amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eleven, Day One

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Theme of Week Eleven: Our God is Mighty

Week Eleven, Day One

 

“The LORD of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah” Psalm 46:7 (HCSB)

 

Despite being dear to our hearts, people who we trust can see the difficulties we are experiencing and encourage us to turn back from where God has called us. Much like the story of Lot and his wife (Genesis 19:15-26), we are called to obey the LORD; no matter how many others choose to ignore His leading. People in our own spheres of influence can try to persuade us to reject God’s call and return to comfort and familiarity. Yet, if the LORD has called us to walk this path (e.g. being am “married-single parent” of tired and hurting children while daddy is deployed, battling through another moving season with attitudes flaring amidst the chaos, etc.) it’s not a matter of appeasing those we admire-but rather taking our difficult situations to the Lord in prayer; for He is the God of Jacob Who is our stronghold.

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord Jesus, You are good and Your faithfulness endures to all generations (Psalm 100:5). Thank You for being my refuge. Thank You for giving me the strength to keep going when all others share their own worries and discouragements with me. Hold me fast to the course You have called me to, Lord Jesus. For Your honor and for Your great name’s sake, keep me faithful to Your teaching and leading (Psalm 119:9-16). Thank You for Your divine protection and victory over the attacks and divisive words coming night and day from multiple directions (Psalm 91:13-16). I cling to the promise of Psalm 46:7 that You alone are my refuge and stronghold. You are my God in Whom I place my trust (Psalm 91:2). In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Nine, Day Seven and Review

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Nine, Day Seven

 

“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Jeremiah 31:25 (NASB)

 

As the world around you shakes violently and it seems that all you have ever known to be secure is questioned, hold fast to the promises of God. When the unthinkable leaves you speechless and wondering how you should respond as a believer in Jesus Christ, tightly grasp hold of the Word of God. When we receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we are not signing up for a life free of fire, but rather a life marked by rescue to freedom by the God who made us (2 Timothy 4:18). Take a moment to apply this reality to your own personal circumstances this very day.

 

Prayer For Today:

LORD Jesus, I am so tired. You see how beat down I am with the many challenges and stresses upon my shoulders in this time. Thank You that You continually invite me to throw these worries at Your feet. Thank You for the promise to refresh those who suffer and languish, found in Jeremiah 31:25. LORD, You are worthy to be praised! I will not allow the devil to gain victory over my mind. I pray Your protection over (name)_________ in this time. For Your glory, please protect and direct as You see best. You are trustworthy. You are steadfast and supreme in power. Even the wind and waves hush when You say “be still” (Mark 4:39). You can quiet the storm raging within my heart as well. Thank You that You are God and there is no other. In Your name I pray, amen.

 

**Week Nine in review: May the rich and savory promises of God’s Word soak deep into your soul this week! How encouraging to recall that the Lord of Hosts will revive those who are weary and refresh those who languish (Jeremiah 31:25)! Ladies, in the midst of your present reality, ask the Lord to give you the faith to receive that promised refreshment in this time. It is yours for the taking! We may be walking through a dark valley, but rest assured that our refreshment can be found even there as we cry out to Jesus Christ our Lord. Take a moment to write a prayer of thanks to the Lord for bringing you through yet another week of this journey.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

***Optional (Acts 20:35):

This week our service project involves animals. Contact a local animal shelter and see if you would be able to volunteer in some capacity. If you are allergic to animals, ask if you would be able to donate a few toys or a bag of food for the animals of the shelter.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Nine, Day Four

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Nine, Day Four

 

“LORD, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds.” Psalm 36:5 (HCSB)

 

As traumatic moments turn into dreadful days, or weeks, or longer—our hearts can grow very tired and weary. In such times, we can find ourselves wondering if prayer is really doing anything at all. In such times, we can be tempted just to “hold on” rather than actively pray for the Lord’s continued will for the situation. In it in such times, praise God for His Word, that we need to return our gaze back to the Holy Scriptures. Psalm 36:5 plainly states that the LORD’s faithful love extends to the heavens and His faithfulness to the clouds. Allow your aching heart to soak in these truths today. The LORD loves you and is able to bring about beauty from any situation; no matter how hopeless or beyond repair it may seem. Do not give up in praying—meditate on this verse today and write it down where you can reference it frequently. In the midst of the chaos, God is more faithful than any friend or family member could ever be (Proverbs 18:4). Reach out to Him in a vulnerable way today and ask for the strength to trust Him with this heartache and to use it for His eternal purpose. Your life or the life of one you love may be in harm’s way, but nothing can separate us from the faithful love of God (Romans 8:31-39). And as faith hits fire, our doctrine and our determination have the opportunity to become more solid as we press, further still, into the Holy Scriptures to guide us in our distresses (1 Peter 1:7).

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord, I feel the heat of the fire. Gosh, I hate this. I hate what it is doing to (name)___________. Help me to see this situation from Your eyes. Help me to see any good that could possibly be coming out of this mess. Lord, Your Word assures me that Your faithful love and faithfulness are endless. Impression Your love and presence upon my heart in a fresh and vibrant way today. I need You every second. I am sorry for turning to other means to numb the pain. Please forgive me for turning to screens, people and other things, rather than turning to You for help in this. I accept that You alone are faithful at all times and through each stage of this life. Help me to walk out the truth that I know. Please help (name)___________ to hold fast to You in the midst of this fire. You are worthy of all glory, honor and praise. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Nine, Day Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Nine, Day Three

 

“Satisfy us in the morning with Your faithful love so that we may shout with joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14 (HCSB)

 

When we go through seasons of our life that simply leaves us reeling, we can reach a point that we do not want to get out of bed—in fear of what may be the next and newest bad news. Yet, if we are willing to fall to our knees in the deepest sincerity each morning as we pour out our hearts to the LORD in prayer, we can rest assured that nothing will be allowed into our lives that is not first approved of by the LORD to be used somehow for His divine glory within our stories. It can be easy to state that God is not in control, if bad things happen in our lives. Yet, may we recall that we are fallen and stained by sin. And as a result, our vision is skewed by desires to get ahead, establish justice and harmony—through our own definition—and create a world that suites our own eyes. Yet, this is the very thing Adam and Eve tried to do back in the Garden of Eden when they decided not to believe that the Lord had best in store for them…and they ate the fruit (Genesis 3:12). The world in which we live is fallen and the ground itself is cursed (Genesis 3:17). But, praise God that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to set things right and restore the right relationship which was intended between God and humanity from the beginning of the world (1 Corinthians 15:45). Oh, what joy each believer has to look forward to! Thus, way we forever surrender our pain and limited understanding (in light of eternity) to the ever loving and forever trustworthy LORD whose ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

Prayer For Today:

Jesus, how precious is Your name. Just as the old hymn states, “I need You every hour”. Lord Jesus, You see the need. You see the hurt. I ask You to take away the suffering, if it be Your perfect will in light of eternity. If it be Your will for us to walk straight through this terribly difficult time, I ask for You to hold my hand and guard us with Your rod and staff (Psalm 23). I don’t know what is best to pray, but Your Holy Spirit does. I ask for this earnest plea for mercy to reach Your ears as an offering of devotion. Help me to learn to love You more through experiencing the ups and downs of today. Lord, I am out of words to pray. Please reach (name)________ and provide the loving touch and encouraging word that is needed in this time. No situation is beyond Your reach (Ezekiel 37:5). It is in Your Holy and Perfect name I pray, Jesus. Amen.

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eight, Day Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eight, Day Three

 

“Help me understand Your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.” Psalm 119:34 (HCSB)

 

At times, the very ways in which God asks us to travel are the ones that seem the most harsh and daunting. If we are not willing to take our gaze off the immediate circumstances and ask the Lord for His eternal perspective on the matter, we can loose heart. The psalmist asks the Lord to grant him divine understanding for the ways and methods God is leading. When we do not understand the Lord’s ways, we are tempted to doubt His goodness and intricate involvement in our personal stories. Yet, the Bible assures us that the Lord cares for us (Isaiah 49:15, Matthew 10:30-31 & 1 Peter 5:7), keeps track of our sorrows (Psalm 56:8, Psalm 126:5 & Revelation 21:4), and has only the best plans in store for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11, Zephaniah 3:17 & Ephesians 2:4-5). Thus, when hard times hit, may we cry out to the Lord for His perfect understanding in order to walk the road marked out for us—in obedience of both word and deed—with the knowledge that God can and does use any hardship to strengthen our relationship with Him.

 

Prayer For Today:

Dear Lord, I am at a loss for words. As much as I do not want to walk through this difficult time, I see that it is not going away. Prayers for immediate healing and imminent rescue have seemed to fall to the wayside. And, to be honest, I am tired; so very tired. Give me Your understanding to walk this extremely difficult road. Help me to lift up (name)_________ in the midst of the tiring journey. God, You alone know the outcome. Yet, with all the uncertainty, I trust in the truth of the Bible. I believe Your promises are true. Help me to pray scriptures back to You when my heart feels faint. I want to be found faithful to obey Your leading. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Seven, Day Seven and review

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Seven, Day Seven:

 

15Then I said, ‘Who are You, Lord? ’ “And the Lord replied: ‘I am Jesus, the One you are persecuting. 16But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of what you have seen and of what I will reveal to you. 17I will rescue you from the people and from the Gentiles. I now send you to them 18to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that by faith in Me they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified.’” Acts 26:15-18 (HCSB)

As trauma hits our lives, our view towards certain individuals or even whole people groups can become jaded. This was the interaction between Paul and Jesus Christ, as Paul was traveling near Damascus—ready to kill and persecute more followers of Jesus Christ. How beautiful and redeeming is the grace of Jesus. Paul had become jaded towards all who followed Jesus—as Paul did not yet know Jesus as the Messiah. Much like Paul, war, death and deceptive actions can all become fuel to a growing attitude of sin within our own hearts towards others. As believers in Jesus Christ, may we repent of such feelings, and ask the Lord to wash our eyes so that we may see all people through His grace and mercy once again. Praise God that such gifts were extended to our own lives—or we too would have no hope and no option for redemption. May we ask the Lord how He would choose to use us to forward His kingdom to help win such people for the name of Jesus Christ.

Prayer For Today:

LORD, I feel very convicted over some deep routed thoughts I have buried deep within my heart. Please forgive me of them now. Help me to bring honor to You through not only my words, but also through my thoughts. Thank You again for Your grace and mercy within my own life. Use me to minster to (name)___________ for Your glory. Help (name)__________ to come to realize that You are the God of love and forgiveness. Thank You that my own life is a testimony of Your radical redeeming power. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

**Week Seven in review. Which verse did the Lord use this week to really speak to you in your current situation? In what way do you feel God asking you to trust Him more? As we thank the Lord for walking with us for seven weeks amidst this season of need, may we also take the time to declare to the Lord anew our devotion to His plans and purposes for He alone is good.

**Optional Service Project: At church this week, find some extra money (the amount does not matter) to go towards the furthering of missions through the church. By helping others that are speaking to other nations about Jesus, the Lord will bless you as you allow God to use you as a vehicle to further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Seven, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Seven, Day Six:

 

“8For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (HCSB)

Punishment is what each and every heart deserves due to our moral and spiritual conduct. But, praise be to God above, that all who trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior does not get what we deserve. Jesus Christ stepped down into His own creation to ransom humanity from the punishment we each merited (John 6:40). Jesus Christ did this by taking our flaws and blemishes upon His spotless life as He died on a cross and rose from the dead in victory on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). As we recognize and acknowledge our utter dependency upon our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we are able to extend grace and mercy to others who have caused harm against us. Ephesians 2:10 states that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, were created to do good works for the glory of God. He has prepared these tasks for us and it is our great honor to fulfill God’s calling for our lives so that we may be used by God to help testify to others of the salvation that is freely available to each heart, from every culture, every language and every country (John 3:16).

Prayer For Today:

Lord, I want to bring you honor in each season of my life. I want to do Your will and follow You in faithfulness. Give me the grace to accomplish the tasks that You have placed before me. Help me to use kind words when interacting with (name)____________. I want to represent You well. Give me a heart that is filled with Your grace and Your mercy. Thank You for extending this same mercy and grace to my life. I am lost without You and thank You for Your daily guidance in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Seven, Day Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Seven, Day Three:

 

“Lord, there is no one like You among the gods, and there are no works like Yours.” Psalm 86:8 (HCSB)

 

How incredible to ponder that time itself was an invention. Sound, light, fire and love were also created elements from an Infinite Mind. Yahweh, the LORD, taught the lion to roar, the sun to set and the eagle to soar. All authority was given to Jesus Christ over heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18). Thus, it is our great honor to proclaim His salvation for every heart. No matter if their origins of birth are Tel Aviv or Togo, Paris or Pakistan, California or Kirgizstan—we are called to proclaim God’s supremacy around the globe for the hope of winning hearts and minds for Jesus Christ. In the middle of the conflict, in the center of the struggle, I encourage you today to not loose sight of this larger picture. Prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal to you whom He would choose for you to declare His goodness to in the midst of trying circumstances.

 

Prayer For Today:

Dear Jesus, help me to be a bold witness for Your redemptive work on the cross and resurrection from the grave—even now. Help (name)________ to experience the freedom that is found in You alone. Help me to pray for (name)_________ in this time. Please speak to (name)__________ through visions, verses in Your Holy Word and dreams. Make Yourself so evident that You cannot be ignored or denied. Please use me and my story to further Your message of hope and grace to the people around the world both here in my city as well as where You may choose to send me in the future. In Your name I pray, amen.