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 Two

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

Week Seven, Day Two:

 

Teach me Your way, Yahweh, and I will live by Your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear Your name. I will praise You with all my heart, Lord my God, and will honor Your name forever. For Your faithful love for me is great, and You deliver my life from the depths of Sheol.” Psalm 86:11-13 (HCSB)

 

If we have walked with the Lord for any length of time, each heart can look back with gratitude on all that the Lord has spared us from. In a season of heartache, it is important to keep in mind the many times and seasons when the Lord personally came through for you in your own story. As we travel across cracked roads that are riddled with difficulty, may we seek the Lord in earnest, as we desire to praise God in the midst of our struggles. God has not called us to a situation that is beyond His redemption. If you are not living a life that is bringing honor to God, come clean before God and begin this very day. The Bible states that God is faithful to cleanse us from every kind of wickedness so that we are seen as pure before God (1 John 1:9). With our minds then freed from past guilt and shame, we are able to more fully praise God and focus on living out His truths in praise (Psalm 86:11-13).

 

Prayer For Today:

God, I have hidden this guilt in my heart for years. For the first time, I surrender ______________________ to You. I beg for Your forgiveness and claim the power of 1 John 1:9—that I am now pure before You because of my confession that Jesus paid the price for my imperfection. Give me a cheerful heart. Help me, like Psalm 86:11-13 says, look for ways to live out the truth of the Bible every day. Give me Your eyes and Your wisdom as to when I can share my own story of Your great rescue to (name)___________ who is greatly in need of encouragement. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

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

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

Week Six, Day Six:

 

“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Proverbs 16:7 (HCSB)

 

Within the book of 1 Chronicles, there is a brief description of a man by the name of Jabez. His name literally means “he will cause pain” (reference footnote of 1 Chronicles 4:9). Within each of our lifetimes, we will both experience and cause pain. In our times of deep sorrow and great longing, may we cry out to the Lord, as Jabez did. He pleaded with the Lord to be with him, to enrich his territory and to keep him from causing pain to others. The Bible goes on to say that God granted Jabez this prayer of his earnest heart (1 Chronicles 4:10). Much in the same way, Proverbs 16:7, clearly states that those who are your enemies, those who have been inflicted with pain from you, will be at peace with you—when your ways are pleasing in the Lord’s sight. May today be a marker for your heart. Run to the Lord in prayer and ask that He would guide you along the best pathway for your life to bring about good—not evil—in your life, in order to bring the Lord glory. He will do it—just as was true for Jabez and is recorded within Proverbs 16:7. There is no enemy too great for the Lord to subdue. There is no opposition to mighty for the Lord not to overcome. Acknowledge your need for His favor this very day and prayerfully purpose to walk in a way that is pleasing before the Lord.

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord, if it is not arrogant, I too wish for my territory to be expanded for your glory. I too want my enemies to be at peace with me as I seek to follow hard after You. Please grant me the stamina to follow even in the darkest valleys and starless nights. Please help (name)__________ to experience Your richness of blessing and favor, as was true for Jabez and all who seek after You. Thank You for the truth of Your written word, the Holy Bible. Remind me to listen for Your leading this very day. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Check Point and Week Six, Day One

Check Point Two: Be Advised–Severe Thunderstorms with Hail

 

During our last few weeks in the Middle East, prior to parting ways with my husband for a year due to his next assignment, we encountered an incredible storm—unlike any we had ever heard of in this part of the world. Hail, severe wind, booming thunder and flashing lightning lit the sky as pelting rain attacked the backside of our home. As the rainwater and desert dirt were blown violently into the house as the storm raged, a poignant lesson was ingrained in my heart. It is not until we encounter the “storms of life” that we actually see where our “leaks” are. Whether your leaks (or holes) are within your perception of God, your relationship with your spouse, or another topic entirely, the reality remains the same—until the waters hit the house and the winds rage, you would be unaware of the hole. Speaking from personal experience, while weathering the storm, it is vital to remember where your hope and security are found as a follower of Jesus Christ—and that is in the Lord Himself. The storms have proven to be perfect opportunities, if I have been willing to see them as such, as ways to learn to follow the Lord more closely as the chaos, stress and strife of difficult times pound on the walls of my heart. Thus, rather than becoming paralyzed by the overwhelming reality of water “leaking in”, may this current “storm” be used by God in your own stories to push us to the Lord for rescue. May this “storm season” prompt you to take the needed steps to further fortify and protect your “home”—be it your heart, your relationships or even your faith in Almighty God (Proverbs 16:9). Why? Because you are worth it to an Eternal God who loves you (Galatians 2:20).

 

Theme of Week Six: God Knows The Way

Week Six, Day One:

 

“You are blessed when they insult and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me.” Matthew 5:11 (HCSB)

 

When we follow hard after the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, there will come a time when persecution will come. At that moment, may we be shown as faithfully aligned to the Lord as we call out to Him in both sincerity of need and urgency of deliverence. God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7). Thus, the Lord will be our defender and the One to ensure that all who call upon His name will be redeemed for His glory—in His perfect time. If you find yourself in a place today that leaves your faith feeling attacked or trampled on, realize the great opportunity you have been given to highlight the source of your strength. In the midst of hardship, as Christians, it is in our raw cries for rescue and our heartfelt need for salvation that the world is able to plainly see God on display. Ask the Lord to equip you, this very day, with an ability to stand tall in the midst of insults and crushing circumstances. In doing so, as a Christian you can declare with boldness He will see you through and that there is nothing unrighteous in the Lord (Psalm 92:12-15).

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord, I don’t know where to begin. You see the opposition. You see the massive obstacles I have to get around. I am overwhelmed. Help me to look beyond these present challenges. Help me, as is echoed in Psalm 92:12-15, be firmly grounded firmly in You like the palm and cedar of Lebanon so that I can withstand the storms and challenges that are all around. I want to be found faithful to declare Your goodness and righteousness to all. Please help (name)_________ to be like a palm and cedar as well; sturdy, grounded and bearing fruit until old age, for Your glory. You are bigger than this circumstance. Thank You that nothing catches You off guard. I trust You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

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

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

Week Four, Day Six:

 

“On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138:3 (NASB)

 

With the LORD, we are truly able to endure any grievance and hardship. With the knowledge that the LORD indeed hears and responds to our cries for help, we can be assured that our souls will be strengthened to walk through even the darkest valley. When life seems too oppressive to escape, call upon the LORD for needed relief. When all resources and back up plans have failed, call upon the name of the LORD as a sure rescue. When your spirit is downcast and needing something to hope in, call upon the name of the LORD Jesus Christ who will both edify and affirm your worth and purpose in life.

 

Prayer for today:

LORD, this is too much. This is too hard. I can hardly breathe. The circumstances are nearly swallowing me whole. Help me! Help me, please! I believe that You rescued the psalmist in Psalm 138:3 and that You can do it for (name)_________ now. Please step into (name)_________ situation and glorify Yourself. I trust You and thank You in advance for how You will rescue. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

Identity Theft: The Case of the Missing Christian Church

Have you ever read the Bible and wondered, “Why do Christians of today look so completely different than the Christian church of the Bible?”

 

Stories from the new testament, such as those from the book of Acts, as well as many others, share of a people who devoted themselves to one another in brotherly love and took care of the needs together through the body of the church (Acts 2:42). The problem that many non-Christians have today with Christians compared to those in the Bible mainly revolve around one word: #hypocrisy (Luke 12:1-3).

 

As Christians we speak of a God who loves others, enough so much in fact, that He gave His only Son (Jesus Christ) to bare the burden of punishment for all humanity—for each one who would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (1 John 4:9-10). As Christians we speak of a God who forgives others and are sure to point out that we have been forgiven by this God, but are slow—if at all—to forgive those who wrong us (Matthew 18:21-35). As Christians we speak of a changed heart loving God more than anything else; while many non-Christians only watch us on an endless pursuit of more “stuff” and never being satisfied with what we have (1 Timothy 6:6-11). Can we see the sincere thoughts of hypocrisy coming from the non-believer? I mean, really, can you blame them for holding such a view?

 

In addition to these observations, many non-believers will note that many Christians do not value sexual purity before marriage and partake in the same drugs, alcohol and slanderous online sites as non-believers—all hoping to get the most “followers”, “likes” and additional peeps added to their “tribe”. Each egging one another on to get the next best and most jaw dropping photo…no matter the risk…no matter the cost. And the question then begs to be asked, how are we different from the world as we are called to be?

 

I mean, seriously. If Christians are just as concerned about getting followed, rather than following Jesus Christ—we have a problem. If the Christian church is more worried about getting “likes”, rather than aligning our hearts to what God likes—we have a problem. When we are more consumed by our digital platform, rather than the platform of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we have missed the mark completely. What am I getting at? It’s time for the Christian church to take an honest assessment of priorities by looking at what consumes our schedules and our finances. From conversations with non-Christians, the feeling is that they hear us speaking of political positions more than caring for the status of souls. Further stated, rather than sharing of Jesus to those who do not look, think or act as “we” do, often times the non-Christian feels marginalized from the start and is repelled from wanting to have anything to do with anything we are in fact associated with.

 

Ladies, may we ask ourselves honestly, what has happened to us? Dare I say that we have forgotten what our Lord Jesus taught us in Luke 12:15. It’s time to realize that our identity is not found in our things or even our temporal relationships; our hope and identity is found in Jesus Christ our Lord—and that is a message that all people, of all nations, from all backgrounds NEED to hear. May we close today with the words of Jesus Christ:

13Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14But He said to him, “Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 16And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17“And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21“So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

      22And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26“If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28“But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

      33“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Luke 12:13-34 (NASB)

 

 

 

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Four, Day One

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer

“Through The Valley of Achor”

Theme of Week Four: God Is With Me

 

Week Four, Day One:

 

“The LORD will always lead you, satisfy you in a parched land, and strengthen your bones. You will be like a watered garden and like a spring whose waters never run dry.” Isaiah 58:11(HCSB)

 

The LORD looked after the Israelites as they wandered in the dry and austere desert for forty years (Exodus 16:1-3, Exodus 16:35). As they grumbled and begged to go back to the land of slavery due to the hardships of following the LORD, each of their needs were met each day with literal manna and quail from heaven (Exodus 16:13-15). Water was also brought forth from rocks to satisfy the people (Exodus 17:5-6). God provided for their every need. When we feel that we are just barely surviving in a desert setting, may we claim the words of Isaiah 58:11. God will provide nourishment to sustain us as we express our daily needs to Him through prayer. Take heart that just as He provided for the Israelites in their times of greatest need, the same is true for you and your desert living as well. Be on the look out—blessings fall from heaven—even while in a desert.

 

Prayer for today:

Lord, I pray for eyes to see Your blessings in the midst of this situation. I believe that Your Word is true. I believe that You can sustain me as You have done time and time again for the Israelites. Help (name)__________ to tap into Your deep wells of blessing and strength to endure this season. I ask for Your blessing to shower (name)__________ today with the every words and help needed to keep pressing on. You are not done in (name)_______ life. Thank You that the desert is not the final destination! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.